I wish I could relay every delightful (and not so delightful) detail of our trip, but my brain is still as foggy as the Oregon coast. So I'll let the pictures do most of the talking this time around. Although I might be convinced to divide the week into chapters. Okay, you convinced me. Here goes:
Chapter One: The Site
The weather was mild and sunny when we arrived, perfect for setting up camp. Although we do tent camp, we aren't so much into the "roughing it" part. In addition to air mattresses and a canopy, I bring an entire kitchen (including a tea kettle!). But more on the food later. The older the kids get, the more helpful they are in setting up. It's kinda nice.
Chapter Two: The Beach
It was lovely to be within walking distance of the beach. We spent time digging in the sand, exploring the coastline, flying kites and just sitting and listening. The ocean is good for that. I usually brought along my Bible or a book (Unexpected Treasure, a Goodwill discovery about a family's wildlife refuge -- perfect "outdoors" reading) and just burrowed down next to a large piece of driftwood, alternately reading a line here and there and delighting in the sounds of my family at play.
Chapter Three: The Trap
I always love to see how Aidan's brain works, especially when we're away from home. This week his brain decided to build a trap for the critters that visited our campsite. The spotted squirrels (different from the gray squirrels we're used to at home) and the chipmunks were bold as ever and had no trouble being lured by the goldfish crackers that Aidan placed around his trap. The plan required a few modifications along the way, but he realized that what he mostly needed was patience. ("A big part of this is patience, Mom.") He had that patience, and you know what? He actually (momentarily) caught a squirrel.
Chapter Four: The Food
Jamie and I love the food part of camping. Meals are not events to be rushed through. Rather they are carefully planned in advance. The preparation, eating, and cleanup are all a part of the rhythms of the day, and everyone contributes. When I was growing up, one of the first things my mom used to ask us when we would return from a trip is, "So . . . what did you eat?" It helps to picture the event if you can almost taste and smell it, too.
So I'll give you a little peek into our menu for the week. Our first dinner was rather gourmet for camping, but a lot of fun. We made individual chicken foil packets that were cooked over the fire. Each person made their own, including the seasonings and vegetables desired. Oh, they were yummy. Our other dinners were taco salad and the traditional hot dog roast with baked beans. (Only it wasn't so much a roast because it ended up raining that night. We relied solely on the Coleman for that meal.) After dinner treats included s'mores (obviously) and popcorn.
Breakfast is cozy in the woods, whether gathered around the fire with hot cocoa in hand or lined up along the picnic table under the canopy if the weather isn't cooperating. Our first breakfast was blueberry pancakes, always a favorite. Jamie fried up some bacon, too, and we just lingered and smacked our happy little lips until our bellies were full. The next morning we had bacon, eggs, and muffins, and the kids chose cinnamon French toast and sausage for the last day. By that time it had rained the night before, so we were a bit wet, tired, and cranky. A warm and yummy breakfast was a good pick-me-up. (As was my daily cup of tea, complete with cream and sugar.)
For lunch we simply did sandwiches with fruit, chips, and veggies on the side. And by "simply" I mean that we piled those puppies with meat, lettuce, tomato, avocado, cheese and every spread possible. (Did I mention that we like food?) Our last lunch took place after we had packed up. We headed toward Tillamook and found a quaint spot along the shoreline. The first building had us feeling somewhat skeptical, although there was a certain shabby charm to it, but we were quite satisfied when we found the actual restaurant and dined on huge, steaming bowls of clam chowder.
We finally piled back into the vehicles and meandered homeward through the coastal forest, listening to the playlist that Aidan had compiled (a rather eclectic assortment of Star Wars, Neil Diamond, Abba, Tobi Mac, Britt Nicole, The Lennon Sisters, Roger Miller and The Beach Boys).
We were eager to be home, yet thankful for the days we'd enjoyed together. The kids couldn't wait to see Maizy (our friend Andy house-and-dog sat for us and did a wonderful job -- what a blessing to come home to a clean house and a happy pooch!), and I couldn't wait to take a shower, start that laundry and (re)wash those dishes in a real dishwasher with plenty of hot water. Speaking of which, I have a few mountains to fold. So I'll be off now. Thanks for joining me, my friends. Have a lovely weekend!