Sunday, July 29, 2012

Vacation, Part 2

After surviving our first night camping (barely), it was time to explore Kalaloch beach and the nearby rainforest. Even though we live near the ocean, sandy beaches free of seaweed, sharp shells, and rocks was something new.  So was weather warm enough to stay on the beach for more than 15 minutes.  Yeah!

After patiently waiting for Jason to untangle the kites (I'm not kidding about being patient - it took about half an hour)... wasn't hard to get the kites in the air.

 What was hard was making sure the kites didn't pick the girls up and carry them off.  It was windy!

Enjoying the surf...

...and realizing it's faster than a three-year-old.

Isabelle worked hard to become a Junior Ranger.  Here she is taking the oath to protect the national parks...

...and receiving her badge.

Another hike, this time into the Hoh Rainforest.

On most of our hikes the girls ran, danced, and leaped through the forest while Jason and I plodded deliberately behind.  Maddy did have one moment where she refused to go any farther...

...but she quickly came around...

...when posing was involved.

The beach at sunset.

Waking up to another sunny day.  Just like Mama with her coffee, the girls couldn't start their day without a hot chocolate boost.

After learning all about tide pools at a ranger talk, they identified lots of animals at low tide.

Dancing down the beach.

Once Maddy saw Isabelle's shiny gold ranger badge she realized becoming a junior ranger was a dream she'd had her entire life.  We made it come true.

Last day at the beach!

Back-to-back snacking.

After all these beach pictures you might think I like the beach.  Nope, not so much.  I did love watching the girls play and the waves crashing on the shore.  The ocean is beautiful - it's just all that sand (in all the wrong places) that bugs me!  Not pictured?:  Stripping the girls down behind the tent while Jason held a towel (for privacy) and I used water from the tea kettle to clean the sand off my two very gritty girls.  Let's not even talk about the pounds of sand in Maddy's hair.  It was a nightmare I need not relive for a very long time.

What was my favorite part of camping? - Not having to do the dishes!

Next up:  We escape the dirt!  Can I get an Amen?!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Family Vacay, 2012

Even though I'm usually a hotel/spa type of girl we thought it was time to brave the wild and take the girls camping.  Several days without electricity or running water, under constant threat from mosquitoes, bears, and the wayward axe murderer (not to mention stray vampires and werewolves), seemed too much to manage in theory.  However, a streak of nice weather and beautiful scenery won out as we traveled to Olympic National Park, just a couple hours from home.

We were up bright and early to catch the first ferry of the morning to Port Angeles after our last Starbucks run for a week.  (Thankfully my French Press was packed safely away so I didn't have to deal with the rigors of camping without my morning coffee ritual.) 

The first sunny day of the summer was blinding!

 Winding roads = first carsick break of the trip.  A little fresh air and a waterfall quickly put the girls back in good spirits.

Hurricane Ridge

Isabelle worked hard our entire trip taking notes in her field journal.

The girls did great on our first hike.  The last time we hiked at a national park (read about it here) Maddy was in the hiking backpack and slept most of the way.  What a difference a couple years make!  It was an easy peasy two miles for her!

Isabelle loved the herd of deer we saw...

...while Maddy loved observing the humans...

...and her own hand.

After a night at a hotel (yep, already cheating on the whole camping thing) we drove to Lake Crescent and visited the lodge, still decorated for the 4th of July.

After a yummy picnic lunch on the shore...

...we hopped on the rowboat for a trip around the lake.  Daddy was so excited to get to row all by himself for a solid hour while the three ladies relaxed.  I really think it was the highlight of his trip. 

Then another hike, this time to Merrymere Falls.

Camping time!  I was very relieved that our 3 ft high, queen size air mattress fit in our tent after some creative thinking (and pleading) on my part.  I also didn't mind the eye rolling and stares directed our way as we tried to get said mattress into the tent.  I slept just fine thank you. :)
  Isabelle was a huge help...

...and Madeleine did her part too by staying out of the way.

Thankfully she woke up just in time to put her new camp chair together!

Stay tuned for more of our vacation adventure!  I'll give you a hint about what's to come:  sand, kites, wolves, and banana split pedicures (I was pretty sure we deserved some type of reward after the rugged lifestyle we'd led).