Thursday, August 18, 2011

Oregon Vacation: Part 2

Such a great trip! I loved having a whole hotel section to our trip and then a camping one. It felt like we had two vacations in one! Okay, so here goes the Oregon Coast portion...
We took about 2 hours to drive from Vancouver, WA to the coast. We stopped first at Cannon Beach. The boys were in love with the sand the second we arrived. They wouldn't walk, they just wanted to play and lay in the sand. This day was actually my birthday!
We then went to our campground, just half an hour south, at Nehalem Bay State Park (just $24 a night in case you are interested). Awesome. We loved it there. We were just a short one minute walk to a playground that the boys loved, the bathrooms (with free showers), and a paved 3km bike loop (which we jogged). To get to the beach, we just had to hike over a sand dune. It took just 10 minutes to walk to the beach and it was a bit of a workout, that's for sure:)
I will say now that we only took our camera out maybe 5 minutes a day. This was family time and not family photo session time. I don't want my kids to grow to detest the camera! So ya, no amazing photos to share but just some to document our time:) Admittedly, I wish we did have a photographer along though, just to capture us being a family together on such a beautiful beach.
Kai LOVED the junior ranger program there and made it through all three levels to become an official junior ranger. We attended a tide pool program and an insect safari one. I have to say that I learned a thing or two at each one too! Kai was super confident in the classes and gave a ton of answers, loud and clear. Several mom's commented that he was very articulate (and smart). That's my bragging for the day:) Whenever we needed help around the campsite, Kai would come and say `Junior Ranger, here to help!'.
Kai did miss his Mario Kart, so he set up a track that we had to run around (three times) and then have the award ceremony afterwards. Usually it was just him and Koen doing it but Gary and I would join in once in a while too. The funniest part was when Koen would exclaim `Banana peel!' and veer off running into the bushes.
Koen was hilarious and wonderful. The only part that was a struggle was bedtime. Really, he just laid awake trying to entice Kai to escape the tent. He would stay up until about 10pm each night. What a monkey. Thank goodness we had a sleep sack to put him in. It was freezing! When I told Koen he would now be warm, he thought I said he was a `worm' so from then on he would announce `I'm a worm! Kai's a worm!' etc. Gary and I slept on a double blow up mattress. Two things:
1. A blow up mattress is key. No more thermarests for me. Yes, I'm no longer a backpacker, I'm an old lady who uses a blow up mattress.
2. It was a double. We sleep on a king size bed. Being that it was FREEZING at night, Gary and I cuddled more in those 3 nights than we ever have. I wonder if there is some correlation between marital satisfaction and the size of your bed. Seriously, you can't be mad at each other if you have to sleep so close together!
I would say that this was my favourite place to camp ever (no bugs!!!!) but the weather drove me crazy. One minute there is no wind and you're wearing your bathing suit. Three hours later, you need to be wearing pants, two sweaters, a touque and gloves. It was so cold at night and I would be up every hour or two to make sure the boys were covered enough.
We saw tons of animals there. There were the racoons that Gary had to chase out of our vestibule at 3:30am (yikes!), the deer that roamed the sites, voles, sea stars, tons of crabs, sand dollars etc.
I read a book (Midwife of Venice-good!) and wish I had taken another one. It was good to do nothing. We went to the nearby town of Manzanita for ice cream two days in a row:) Yum! I love the no tax thing and also, prices are soooo reasonable.
We did two geocaches which the boys always love.
Below is the 3km bike loop that we walked and ran several times. If we go again, we will definitely take our bikes as everyone was doing it!
The boys had s'mores for the first time and loved them! Gary and I tried some with peanut butter cups instead of chocolate. YUM!!!
It was fun to have a fire with them and for them to see that mommy could actually make one:)

We did end up leaving a day early. The nights were just too cold for us to have a good sleep. It took us 8 hours to get home because we took our time. Koen did great toilet wise and only twice did he announce `I'm peeing!' and we had to quickly pull over (he made it!). Once Koen told us that his tummy felt `gumbly' (that's his word for strange). I asked him if he was going to throw up and he said yes. I gave him a bucket. He proceeded to do a very theatrical, and fake, `A-a-a-choo!!!'. He also forgot the word thirsty and at one point said, `I'm hungry and drinky!'.
The boys watched their DVD players about an hour a day and that was fantastic. Either driving or when they first woke up. They seriously watched the same one each time. We had borrowed my sisters Leap Frog DVD's. Koen LOVES the letter factory and Kai LOVES the word factory. I would highly recommend them! Koen would often be reciting all the letters and their sounds when he was supposed to be sleeping at night:)
There's nothing like being in a tent with your family for 4 days to make your house seem huge! I love being home and just taking a shower in my own house. However, I am slightly overwhelmed by the laundry, getting caught up on emails, work, and all the bills/mail to deal with.

The Oregon Coast is so beautiful. I love it and was so glad the boys loved it so much. Kai's highlight was setting up the tent. Koen's was the beach. Mine was seeing the boys enjoy the beach so much. They would run in to the water and then as soon as a wave came, they would squeal and run back up to where we were. Gary's highlight was seeing the boys enjoy the camping experience so much.

I love holidays. I love the memories it evokes for me...good times with my family growing up. I hope we are able to continue creating special memories for our boys.

Now, time to get at that 5th load of laundry! Oregon Coast, you are awesome.


  1. What a wonderful sandy beach! Glad you had such a great vacation!

  2. Sounds and looks like you had a great trip! I'm filing away the campground for future reference for myself. And I'm going to tell Steve that our double bed is helping our marriage :)

  3. I love the photo of you as a family, on the sand with the grass behind you - looks great! Nice to know you guys are able to camp with two boys! Glad you had such a good time!

  4. So much fun stuff in this post! Loved every bit of it. I'm just amazed that you got all those (look really great to me!) photos in just 5 minutes a day. I could spend 5 hours a day and not get many good ones. I really like the b & w shot. What a great family you have. So glad you had fun (the cold nights sounded tough!).

  5. VERY fun!!! Love the pictures, the memories you made with your family and all the funny little tidbits the boys said/did :)

  6. kristin heinen12:12 PM

    we stayed at the same park when we did our trip down the coast last summer. glad you could enjoy it too! the coastal drive was so beautiful!

  7. Oh my gosh I cannot get over how gorgeous ALL of these photos are!! The color of the blue sky & that green brush-y grass is super pretty. Sounds & looks like an awesome family trip :)