Monday, April 01, 2013

Sprint to the Finish

One month of school left. Laying on the beach on Saturday made me realize just how bad my senioritis is. I'm close enough to taste it, and far enough out to feel pretty discouraged at all there is yet to do. Still, I didn't get this far in life by giving up before I was done. I have no doubt that I will finish and finish well. I suppose that might sound prideful, but I think it also comes from long experience in knowing my limitations. 

Still, Plantboy seems to have timing that saves my sanity, and our mini yurt vacation was just what I needed to make it through the home stretch. Despite the horrible head cold I've come down with and the Mount Washmore that I'm still working on, I'm still so glad we went. Here is the run down:

Reading Peter and the Starcatchers while sitting around the smoke. I mean fire. It was smoky because we were working on coals for foil dinners. Add sweet potatoes and a bit of rosemary to your foil dinners next time; you will not be disappointed. I forbade the boys from bringing technology on trip and look what we ended up with: quality family time with a book. Wow. Novel. Yes, of course, the pun was intended. In the background is our yurt. Isn't it cute? Plantboy wants to put one in the backyard. We figure that we'd never see the children again.

 The yurts and the campground were on a lake surrounded by a one mile trail. Just up the hill was the lighthouse and the Pacific ocean. If we cut off and took another "secret" trail we ended up in the sand dunes. And as long as we stayed to our side of the line . . . the ATV's didn't smash my children. They spent about three hours rolling, skiing and somersaulting down the dunes. The sunshine was exhilarating. We didn't get down to the ocean that day, but we weren't far from it.

Coolest kids ever. Okay, not really. But they sure THINK they are. 

It is crazy how much I love these monkeys. Mom missed this picture. I went to the two little nearby towns looking for someone, anyone who was renting a canoe for our lovely little lake. No luck. It was all ATV rentals. Raspberries. Next time, we will find a way to bring a canoe. It would have made this mini trip 100% perfect. The little sticker on The Youngling's shirt celebrates him seeing his first blue whale. We lucked out and this week is near the beginning of the whale migration. Before hitting the dunes we went to the whale watching station up by the lighthouse and saw several "blows." Yeah, it was way cool. 

We eat good even on campout. I made a really delicious (homemade, of course) chicken pot pie filling that we brought with us. When the coals were hot, we threw the mixture in the bottom of the dutch oven and added some tube biscuits to the top (those will be home made next time too). It was really so delicious, especially with a shmear of jam on that top flaky biscuit layer.

Skillet apple crumble. We chopped the apples fresh that night, but I made the topping ahead and brought it in a bag. It needed a bit more topping and fewer coals on the top, but it was still quite delicious.

Though we've lived in Oregon nearly six years, this is only my second sunset over the Pacific. Usually our weather is too cloudy or we leave too early. It was glorious.

Umpqua lighthouse. If you ever get a chance, you have GOT to see this thing at night. It is so bright and alternates red and white beams of light. It was like looking at a carousel with 4 bazillion stars shining through the other side. So lovely.

Enjoying a little nature hike around the lake on our last morning. The Youngling informed Plantboy that he would like to a be tree scientist. Plantboy nearly wept for joy and the proceeded to teach Youngling how to identify various coniferous trees. Guess who has a pine cone collection at her house (and in her dryer) now? That's right! This girl.

We put the bandana on to keep his precious Padawan forehead from sunburning the second day. And he was just so stinking cute. He kept stopping and doing this little hip jiggling thing that kept me in stitches all day. 

The lake. Pristine above. Spoiled by man (boy) below. 

 The beach was a wonderful, if windy choice. Plantboy and I each got to take a long, solitary and much-needed walk. Padawan and the Youngling spent about two hours pretending to be puppies rolling in the sand, and then at least an hour throwing handfuls of mud into the oncoming tide. 

 After the camp clean up and trip to the beach, we convinced the boys to do one more hike. We took the short arm of a loop that can be backpacked down to the ocean. (Plantboy and I are trying to figure out how we can do it on our own in June). They were up for it; truthfully the three of them are getting more fun all the time. We don't have nearly the vacation melt-downs that we used to. The five year old still gets pretty cranky when he is hungry, but even that is getting better. Vacation is still a lot of work, but now it is starting to get FUN again!

 The kids take pictures of the parents. They all turned out blurry or had soembody's head cut off. This was actually the best. Good job camera boys.

 Chillin' with my peeps somewhere between Highway 101 and the Pacific Ocean. In another month, this forest will be ablaze with rhododendrons. I think another day trip will be in order then.

Yurt camping is excellent. We did get rain the first night, but there was no worry that it would hold. And on those cold mornings when you aren't too keen on building a fire because it will warm up soon, the yurt had a small electric heater that was just the thing for a quick warm up. Our yurt was a pretty basic variety, but we are thinking of heading back in the summer with some extended family and renting a couple of the fancier ones. But whether it is this year or not, this will be a vacation we definitely repeat.


Shiree said...

It all sounds so awesome. Congratulations on being so close to being done with school! You are doin' great! (p.s. I should go camping with you to learn how to eat that well while camping!)

April in CO said...

Oh, I emphasise with your senioritis! I applied for my graduation (August) and then had a mini breakdown on Saturday when I realized the extent of the work I still have to do. Maybe I need a yurt. Alone. With wi-fi.

Janssen said...

This trip looks so fun!

And I didn't even know what a yurt was before this post.