Friday, September 21, 2012

Volleyball Season

It's already that time of year again!

The difference in Hannah's skill level is clear - you can tell she's done this before!

She had her first game on Wednesday and it was so much fun watching her play!
Her team won all three games!

Does being really really cute give you an advantage?
If so...they've got one!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Our Final Summer Fling!

School has started, but that doesn't mean that summer is over.
It's not officially done until September 22nd.
So that means WE aren't officially done either!

About a month ago we decided to take one last trip, so last week we stayed in a little house in Arch Cape, Oregon.
Arch Cape is a quiet residential coastal community.
Just homes, gravel roads and pathways to the beach.
That's all we were looking for!
There were lots of homes for sale in the area.

This pretty cottage above was for sale for a mere $950,000!  
Guess we'll hold off on buying our "beach house" for a while!

The best part about this beach AND heading there after the Labor Day weekend...?
...pretty much had the place to ourselves!

So our story starts out on a Sunday.
Driving merrily along looking forward to a relaxing time.
We passed through Portland and exited to get some gas.
As we approached the overpass, the van made a funny little lurch.
Donald and I looked at each other...hmmm...

We got gas and headed on towards the coast.
After a while, Donald noticed that all the instruments were dead.
No RPMs.
No Miles Per Hour.
No change in the odometer reading.

Next came the worst!
The van wouldn't shift past second gear!

I'll admit...I was pretty worried!
I wanted very much NOT to be a grown-up at that moment!
I wanted to be a kid in the back seats with my nose stuck in a book or a video game.
Sooooo thankful that my big strong husband was in the driver's seat!

Donald decided that we needed to head back in the direction we came.
Where we were traveling to, there were not many options for assistance...whatever that was to be...

I could bore you with the details of the rest of the day, that night and the next day, but I'm going to condense it to this...

Found a wrench and tried to fix the problem - that didn't work out.
Found and test drove a Toyota Sienna - that didn't work out.
Found a Chrysler/Dodge dealership with a service department that opened at 6:30am the next day.
Found a hotel to stay at for the night.
Found out they wanted $4000 to $5000 for a new transmission!!
Found a Chrysler Town and Country that was perfect!
Found true Mom-mobile love!

That's right!
After almost 14 years we have a new van!
And wow...there have been a lot of changes (meaning "buttons to push") in the past 14 years!
Very exciting!!

But, minus a few hiccups, our old Dodge Caravan was a great car!
It's where I buckled in my first baby.
It has taken us across the country and back...more than once!
We've had many memories created by the trips that our van took us on!
photo from July 2007

But, it was time for a change and I highly recommend this way of car shopping!

Get 'er done!

So anyway!
After our unexpected detour, we finally made it to our beach house destination.
And even though we lost a day, we still had an amazing time!
It was hard to return...I could get used to that sort of life!

We wasted no time in heading down to the water.
The first thing Donald and the kids came across was the biggest and most disgusting piece of "seaweed" I'd ever seen.
I actually thought it was some sort of dead eel or something.
This picture of Donald swinging it around gives you a bit of perspective on how long it was!
Somehow that thing managed to stick around with us and in the area we hung out for the entire time.
It got broken in half and still managed to be a source of entertainment...
It even got a burial on the last day.

At the time we arrived on the beach the first day, the sun was shining on the water so beautifully!
It was cool, but not cold in the air.
Of course the Pacific was freezing!
But there were waves - and, well, it's the the kids went for it!
After playing around in the sand,
and looking for treasures.
 After I took a billion pictures of the water and waves and children,
we went back to the house for dinner.
Afterwards, I watched for the sunset!
I wanted to take some pictures of course.
I loved that we were watching the sun go down.
I'm sure a sunrise on the beach is equally beautiful, but this way, you don't have to get up early!!

If you know this blog at all, you probably know this is where I will insert a TON of photographs.
Feel free to move along if you like.

Hannah had them create this pose...
After dinner, they showered and got into pj's.
I told them that they had to stay out of the water if they wanted to come with me.
This is their idea of staying out of the water...pulling their pants legs up high and running away from every wave that came their way!

The next day brought more of the same...
...and that was a wonderful thing!

We played at the beach and in the water for a while -

Then back to the house for lunch, relaxing and mid-day happy hour -

Then back to the beach -
Perfect sand...
Dribble castles...
Serious forts...
 Sand dollars...
 54 in all...
 Long walks to tide pools...
 Beautiful treasures!
 Ancient volcanic rock structures...
 And scary creepy sea shells...

When we take our kids on vacations, trips, etc., each time at least one of them says, "This was the best vacation ever!"
This time, driving home in a new van, they said that this was the best, and craziest vacation ever!

It was a really super trip!
I'm usually ready to get home, but I could have stayed and stayed.
Back home was work and school and routine, but here, time seemed to stand still for a few days.
And that felt so good.

P.S.  Plus I got a new van!!  :)