Day trip to the Beach!

We were told about the Hatfield Marine Science Center’s Family Program and made plans for Micah & Ezra to attend two different sessions. While the guys were learning about sea life, Audrey & I got some girl time. We stopped & picked out a kite for flying on the beach and then I asked her what she wanted for a treat. “Chocolate Cake” was her answer! A girl after my own heart!


Lots of chocolate, ice cream, & whipped cream! Yummy!

After the guys finished with their session, we had a look around the rest of the science center before heading out to explore the area!


The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse – we made it just in time to tour the house before they closed up. From the front porch we could see whales spouting off in the distance!


At the Yaquina Head Lighthouse


Way off in the distance we could see bumps on the rocks, so Micah zoomed in with our camera & they were Seals!


Watching for whale spouts! We saw a couple pretty close to the shore!


I LOVE the Oregon Coast! I know I say that probably every time I post about it, but it hasn’t changed, it’s just SO gorgeous!


Our little explorers at the lighthouse!

As we were driving back up the coast, Micah happened to look out at the ocean & thought he saw spouts really close to shore, so he pulled into the pull-out aptly named Whale Cove and in the space of about 30 minutes or so, we saw so many spouts we lost count! And not just spouts, but backs, pectoral fins, & possible even the sides of tales!


The back of two whales!

Hunger finally drove us from our prime whale-watching spot and we enjoyed burgers at our favorite spot!


The kids LOVE playing on the beach! Mom is a little less enthused as it usually results in sandy, wet clothes, so I try to put it off until the end of the day!


Stunning! Nearly all of my favorite things in one picture!


H&M selfie


A beautiful sunset to end a beautiful day!

(Well, that & a little DQ before we left town!)

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First Camping Trip!

Micah grew up camping. My family did not. My Dad has always said that camping is when the Marriott runs out of towels. However, Micah has great memories of camping in spite of his family’s curse: the rain starts when they set up their tent and stops when they take it down! Being back in the states where we could acquire some basic camping gear for a reasonable price, we decided to give it a try! Thankfully, my cousin & her family who have camped quite a bit & have all the necessary gear to make a camping trip successful joined us, which made for a much more enjoyable trip! Plus, she was super helpful in the whole ‘buying the absolute minimum necessary in order to have a camping trip’! It’s good to know that Micah’s family’s curse still holds power, but in spite of the rain we had a great time! And honestly, it mostly rained at night when we were all in our tents, so we were able to enjoy the days!



Learning to play uno!


Who doesn’t love raw peas???


Playing Trouble!


Roasting JUMBO marshmallows (they actually aren’t better – just stick with the normal ones! In this case, bigger is not better!)


Messy, marshmallow-y faces


One day was really rainy & we needed a break so we went to visit the little museum in the next town over! We found a snow mobile to try out!


On our way home we all stopped off at Mt. Hood. It was pretty cloudy, but we got a few brief glimpses!


Inside Timberline Lodge, we got to pet this pretty dog! Ezra’s face lit up when he learned that her name is Heidi! He felt like he’d met the real live version of his lovey!


Audrey insisted on having a picture taken with Smokey Bear!


She also needed her picture taken with her Daddy!


Our whole group at Timberline Lodge (dirty, smelling like campfire, but happy!)

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Summer Road Trip, Day 16 & 17

We had one day to spend sightseeing in San Francisco so we crammed it full!


We drove down Lombard street!


Posing for a picture in Union Square


Never has there been a more perfect bench for our little Miss Audrey!


The gate to Chinatown


We had a super yummy lunch while in Chinatown!


After lunch we walked along the Embarcadero to Pier 39 where we found a couple of cute crabs!


There’s Alcatraz from a distance (we decided not to spend the time or money making the trip out there)


Sun & wind & the San Francisco skyline (including the TransAmerica pyramid & the Coit Tower)


Since we were tourists we had to stop in at Ghirardelli Square!


Someone couldn’t wait to taste our Sundae!


Time for a trolley ride!


Selfies while we wait for our trolley ride to start!


The painted ladies looking pretty in the sunshine!


One last look at the Golden Gate Bridge before we headed back to our tiny house for the night!

Our last day of our trip was all driving…in the 12 hours it took us to get home, we spent 10 of those hours in the car driving! (We got to stop & visit with a friend of mine from college in Redding that helped to break up the drive!) And our kids did awesome!!


Mt. Shasta

We were happy to see our home again, but sad to have our “vacation of a lifetime” come to an end!

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Summer Road Trip, Day 15


Our kids had their first experience of having breakfast in “The Great Outdoors” next to our little cabin!


The pinecones (fir cones?? Redwood cones?? What do you call them if they don’t come from a pine tree??) were HUGE!!! Audrey had tons of fun collecting them! Thank goodness, we were in a National Park so the collection couldn’t come home with us!


That was one big tree!


View of Kings Canyon National Park


Standing inside the base of a Redwood tree!


Standing next to the General Grant Tree! It was SO big!


It was hard to see & comprehend just how big this tree was! It’s 267 feet tall! (For a point of reference, the statue of liberty from base to torch is 151 feet)

After visiting the General Grant tree, we headed back to the western part of California to…


The Golden Gate Bridge!!!


First time visit for all of us!!


Crossing the bridge!

Micah has a cousin who lives in San Francisco so we met up with her & her boyfriend for dinner at a delicious Mexican restaurant! After dinner we walked down to Ocean Beach!


Their dog joined us for our walk on the beach! The kids enjoyed getting to know Odin!


Such a fun evening together!


That night we stayed in a Tiny House south of San Francisco! It was really fun!!! The kids were super excited to sleep in the loft!

(photo taken from their website as I forgot to take any pictures)

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Summer Road Trip, Day 14

After meeting up for coffee with friends from Spain, we headed inland for Sequoia National Park! We did have to take one quick stop in Bakersfield for ice cream at the recommendation of friends!!!




It was a bit of a drive to Sequoia National Park, but the views when we got there were amazing!


Moro Rock


Such TALL trees!


Looking down from the top of Moro Rock! That’s right, we climbed up that HUGE rock!!


Oh, yeah… there were stairs. And it was only about a 10-minute climb from the parking lot!


The view from the top was spectacular!

(I found it funny, because there were all these in shape 20-somethings with their Camelbacks at the top & we were there with our kids! Micah pointed out that they probably had hiked a lot longer before climbing to the top, but still…)


Beautiful sunset!


A drive-through tree!

That night we stayed in the National Park at the Grant Grove Cabins. Our kids had never camped before so it was a new experience having no electricity and having to go to a bath house to use the bathroom! Ezra had a reality check the next morning when he discovered we were staying in wifi-free lodging!

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Summer Road Trip, Day 13

We started our trip home with a big surprise (thanks to my parents)!


Another day at Disney! This time at California Adventure!!!


We started our day in Cars Land


We saw Mater &  Lightning McQeen and got to meet Red!


I could NOT get over how much it felt like we had just walked into Radiator Springs!!


Next we got to visit Arendelle!


We met Elsa & Anna!!


We got to see the new Frozen Live at The Hyperion – it was essentially the whole movie on stage! It was very well done!


We gave warm hugs to Olaf


Looking SO cool in our glasses while waiting to ride the Toy Story Midway Mania


“Stick ’em up”!


Playing around in “A Bugs Land”


Ezra showing off his new hole! He lost a tooth during the Little Mermaid ride!!!


“Radiator Springs” looked amazing at night!

We had a great time at California Adventure & got to do everything we wanted to do & even a couple things twice!

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Summer Road Trip, Day 11 & 12

We had a couple fairly quiet days, which were much needed after all the fun adventures we’d been having!


We had to say good-bye to Nene & Da as they made their way back home. It was a sad morning with plenty of tears!  It makes me thankful that we all love our family so much! We’re already looking forward to our next visit together!



The next day we got to have lunch with friends from BFA! It had been quite a while since we’d seen them!  Their girls, who were quite young when we saw them last, are all grown up now! It was fun to catch up!



We also spent quite a bit of time at the pool next to our apartment! Audrey wasn’t tall enough to go down the slide & Ezra wasn’t too keen on the idea, so we spent most of our time in the pool or at the splash pad or in the hot tub! (photo taken from the resort website)






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