Thursday, July 28, 2011

Out to the Coast ~Part Three~ Ending in Astoria

We closed out our little day trip with antiquing and dinner in Astoria, Oregon. This was my fourth visit to this lovely town (where they shot the movie The Goonies) and the weather was the clearest I've ever seen it- as in, you could actually see. It's been raining or foggy the few other times we've been, and with the sun out and all the views we were pretty much ready to move. The homes here are fantastic- mostly Victorian era, set into the hill that rises from the town. Such cozy and historic neighborhoods. Ready for a picture? Me, too. Problem is, at this point my camera got left in my car in my haste to make the antique shop run before they closed. Very, very sad. Especially not being able to share all the great goodies in the stores I stopped in. Of course, there wasn't much time to do any browse-type shopping since everything was ready to close in half an hour once we got there (relief to the rest of the family), so I had to be focused and on a mission. However, it didn't take me long to find a few treasures to bring back home. Including a bit of what I was actually looking for.

My shopping money spent, it was then off to the pub for some sustenance. We ate dinner at the Wet Dog Cafe chosen by Husband who had heard good things about their beer. He was not disappointed. Nor was his family- we had a great water view, there was live music, good food, and even desert (Husband skipped desert for more beer). We ended up bringing home two growlers of beer- one for Husband and one for our brother-in-law for his b-day.

This here is Husband's treat- shown empty, since some time has elapsed since it's homecoming. And yes, this is all Husband's because I won't touch the stuff.
So then, after our dinner, we made our way out of the cafe to the car and took one last detour before heading home- the Astoria Column. This is located at the top of the hill and is quite impressive.Obviously I had my camera again at this point. :)
Here is a close up with a smidgen of the detail on the column.
The cool thing is that you can climb the million stairs (okay, gross exaggeration) up to the top and enjoy an unobstructed 360 degree view.See? Here we go! Up, up, up in a tight circle all the way to the top.
Now we're looking up . . .
You get quite dizzy as you go- in fact, for me the dizziness is worse than the aching legs, though that soon ended, while the aching muscles lasted a few days.

Then there was light, and we emerged at the top! Behold the view . . .

Quite a nice view, don't you think? Though I wish the pictures had turned out better, but due to it being rather crowded (yes, crowded on a nice, clear day-imagine!) it was very difficult to get decent shots, let alone shots without others' body parts somewhere in there.

I'm so glad I got a chance to go up to the top. You see, I was at the column twelve years ago and only made it to the first platform inside when I had to turn around and go back down. Why? Well, it wasn't because I was afraid of heights or stairs -though, actually I am afraid of both- but I was forced down due to being eight months pregnant and suddenly starting contractions from the effort. So I had to go back down and sit and wait for everyone else I was with to go enjoy the view. But at least I didn't go in to labor on top of the column- though that would be quite a story, wouldn't it? And now, I finally got to see what I was missing! :)

After thoroughly enjoying the view and running around to blow off boundless energy (the kids, not the parents), we said good-bye to the Oregon coast and headed home. It was a superb evening to be driving home, and we even got one last surprise- the setting sun reflecting on Mt. Saint Helens as we hit the top of a high hill on our way home through Longview. Breathtaking!

So that was our lovely little day trip- in three parts. Good thing we weren't gone for a week, or it would take me a year to share it all. Oh, but there's a little more . . .

Here are the sweet goodies I picked up while in Astoria:
Another white pitcher to add to my growing collection! (insert Husband's eye-rolling here)

I fell in love with this little birdy couple. I love the colors . . . . . . and the surprise on the back!

And this is what I had been actually searching for- some 'summer time' antique postcards. I really love these.

I just love little mementos from trips~ they bring such happy memories to the home.

Thanks so much for sharing the day and the memories with me! :)
Happy, happy weekend to everyone!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Out to the Coast ~Part Two~ Beach!

After our little visit to Manzanita, we drove north a ways to Hug Point for some beach time.

It was a short hike down to the beach from the road. I'll admit my first thought as we walked down was of the impending walk back up the hill after our fun in the sun- steep hills and I don't get along. But no more thoughts like that to impede the day- Ocean, here we come!

Oh, yes! That's more like it!

And this too! It was amazing how gorgeous the day was. Sunny and warm, which just never happens for us. Such a rare treat! I had brought a sweater with me and didn't even need it. This little spot was a perfect break from the constant wind and an ideal place for exploration. There are caves in those rocks!
Inside . . .And outside . . .
So after sunscreen,

. . . we went exploring!
We found waterfalls. . .and chased the gulls.Then, on to the ocean!
Dad gives a skim board lesson . . .
. . . which would have probably gone better, if he actually knew how to skim board! ;)
So when the attempt at skim boarding lost it's appeal, (and after Husband landed flat on his face!) our whole party moved inland for some digging and castle making. Oh, and napping!

While family played, I enjoyed the opportunity to have my own time. I read, I water colored, I listened.
I relished every moment of this afternoon: the gentle wind, the sound of people making merry all around us, the sparkle on rocks and surf from the sun, content and concentrated kids (a hole to China requires lots of focus!), and that clean, far-off horizon that stayed so blue. After awhile, you simply feel free and unfettered. Really, what more is there then seeing and breathing and daring to be alive in this world? This living is beautiful, and defies description. I believe this is how we were meant to live from the beginning, and it is my longing to live each day just like that. Ah, but I digress . . .
Husband and I took a nice walk together, alone down the beach. Climbed a rock and narrowly avoided being stranded from the incoming tide. Found some drift wood.
We came back to this . . .
An Older Brother's dream! Notice how gentle he is as he pats the sand higher and higher; hoping that maybe little brother will be buried for good! Poor kid; all his long, hard work to cajole his brother to the hole for burial was ended with one quick burst from the sand and he was free. It was a good try though.

And by now we were pretty hungry. Time to head out.
Rinse off and pack it all away!
Facing that uphill climb to the car, we said our goodbyes to the beach.
Onward to our last stop on the coast; Astoria, Oregon~

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Out to the Coast ~Part One~

Things are a bit overcast here in our little realm- and not just outside, though that is certainly also true. We are having difficulties with our new toilet that have us at the mercy of a plumber at this point, as well as an uncomfortable situation between a friend and I, topped off with the lethargy from moody 'blah' kids and the irritation of a husband in his lost fight with our plumbing.

~But this too shall pass.~

What I really want to share, is the bright spot in our clouds of late: our day out to the coast. I have to say, it is most likely a day none of us will forget, because it ended up being about as perfect as a day can be. Or, at least I like to think it was.

I think what really made it special is twofold- one thing being a get-away in the middle of distress can be an instant mood lifter and the other is that we haven't been out to the ocean since we last camped out there three years ago. Lucky for us, it ended up being warm and sunny-not just here, inland, but out there too. The Oregon coast is really hit or miss when it comes the weather, and we certainly hit it well.
Of course, we were not the only ones heading to the coast on such a spectacular day. It probably took us twice the usual time to get there just due to the slow procession of cars along the highway. But all was fairly peaceful due to the D.S. to occupy the younger and a good book to occupy the older (I don't even know how he manages to read in a moving car!) I was well occupied with eating Swedish fish and chattering away to a Husband behind the wheel with no way to escape my ceaseless orations! Bliss! -at least on my end. ;)

We started our little trip with a quick visit to our favorite little beach town, Manzanita. Manzanita has a darling little main street (don't think it's actually called Main Street, but you know what I'm getting at) full of cute little shops and cafes. It's not far from the beach at all, and is surrounded by cozy little cottages (some of which we saw several times as Husband drove 'round and 'round looking for a parking place) and a very cute park.
Our first stop was our favorite little place for ice cream. They are very generous with their scoops which earns big points in this family.

Here I am with the boys.- no, I didn't get two cones! I'm just holding husband's so he can take the picture; if I have to do a little 'melting maintenance' to keep things from getting too sticky, that's just part of me helping, right? ;)

So after our ice cream, we took a walk up the street to purchase a bucket for building castles with.

Here is the front garden of the cottage connected to this shop~ isn't it sweet and cozy?

So after a minor purchase, I continued on to do a little more shopping while the males headed over to the park. Didn't end up finding anything I was after, but I did snap a couple shots of some cute details that I love about this town.

These guys are on every garbage can on the street . . .
. . . and this bench just doesn't let you forget you're near the ocean, does it?
While I was on my way to the park to meet my family, I walked past this fantastic bungalow. Isn't it welcoming? I absolutely love the entry with the clematis crowning it. Lovely, lovely, lovely. It's so great to have a camera on hand, and no Husband around to give you the crazy-lady-taking-pictures-of-stranger's-homes look.

To end today's post, I'll just share my moment of humiliation once I found my family at the park. There happened to be a volleyball game going on there, and some of the shirtless guys playing happened to be rather well-sculpted if you get my meaning. So all in fun, I gave Husband my little teasing smile knowing he would get exactly what I meant- as a joke between us, mind you. Unfortunately, older son also understood that smile, and decides to point to these guys and yell at the top of his lungs, "MY MOM THINKS THOSE GUYS ARE HOT!" Oh, yes- I was mortified. I don't think I've ever run to a car faster in my life. And yes, they were looking at me. And yes, they were probably at least ten years younger than me. And yes, Husband thought that was just about the funniest thing ever. And lucky for older son, I couldn't reach him in the backseat to wring his neck. But that's okay. I'll just save it. It all just gives me more reason for torturing him when he's old enough to have a girlfriend. And believe me, I will. ;)

So much more to share tomorrow!

~to be continued~

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tea for Two~

The other day I had the privilege of hosting a little tea party in honor of a sweet friend's birthday. It was very little, as it was just her and I. Of course, I enjoy putting together larger teas too, but this was a very nice way to while away the afternoon- just the two of us.

Nothing more fun than setting a table, wouldn't you say? Pretty dishes, flowers (complete with dried on mud that I simply could not remove- it's all the rain we've had lately), vintage tea things . . . I love to set a mood!~

On our menu was Deviled Egg Salad Sandwiches . . . (must have some protein!)

Heart and star-shaped scones from the wonderful Susan Branch's Autumn book. These are hands down the easiest and most delicious and funnest- yes, funnest!- scones to make. I use whole wheat flour to make them good for you! ;) We needed that to offset the lemon curd.

And for desert (because all that other stuff is so healthy) I made some chocolate shortbread. Oh heaven on earth! This is so fabulous with tea (or coffee or milk or juice or water or . . .)

And just as our time was ending, the younger gave an impromptu performance on his violin- a birthday serenade.

Enjoy your weekend- may it be filled with (not-too-hot) sunshine~ It looks like ours finally will be! It's off to the beach tomorrow!

~ Cheers!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

~Morning Puttering in the Garden~

It was a beautiful morning today~ a gentle sun was out and no rain or dark clouds for the first time in nearly a week! It just hasn't felt like summer around here at all this year. But today was perfect and after pulling open all the curtains to let in as much light as possible, it was off to the garden for a visit~

First off, a quick hello to my precious hydrangea bush- a house warming gift from my mother nearly six years ago. It has been evidently loving all the cool and rain we've been having!

Got some weeding done in the veggie patch. The tomatoes are not too happy with the lack of sun, but the lettuce has been loving it.

Then spent a good while pulling out grass and weeds along the stepping stone path. Peaceful and still even with the constant squeak of the swing set in the background.

Of course, it wasn't long until I had some company-the crazed and wild kitty kind. I was not the only one happy to see the sun again. . .

After pruning the butterfly bush back (along with more 'help')
I was startled to find the day lilies in full bloom! Amazing what goes on over a few days' time .

Then to end my pleasant puttering, a quick arrangement of the bush 'trimmings' for the porch. Aren't they pretty?

The garden assistant agrees!

Tea party to share tomorrow!
Until then~ Cheers!