Spring Break 2013 – Oregon Coast – Camper Style

dsc_1167Now that we have the camper we have been making a point to use it.  A lot of people say they know people that have campers or RVs but they never get used. Well, we are not going to be those people, yes it does get me a little exhausted getting ready to head out for the trip, but once we are on the road, I never really want to go back to our stable home, I really prefer our mobile home! 

For Spring Break this year we decided that since we have spent the majority of the winter in the snow, it was time to play in water and try some surfing, so we headed down the Oregon Coast. This was going to be our first chance to explore the state beaches and see what they had to offer so we can decide where to go back.dsc_1245

Our first stop was Cape Look Out State Park. It is a just South of Tillamook, Oregon. It is a really big area with lots of hiking trails, plenty of hook ups, and a lovely beach. One of the (small) drawbacks was that you had to cross the main road (where traffic comes to the different camping areas) to get to the beach. Which made me a tiny bit nervous so I wouldn’t let the girls head to the beach alone. But again, it was only about a minute walk to the beach, we had hook ups and were very close to the bathroom.

dsc_0050We did not surf at this beach but we did take a long walk in the misty rain. We had the beach to ourselves and found a number of treasures, including shells, sand dollars, kelp jump ropes and a swing made out rope and driftwood. The lovely thing about the camper is that after this long walk in the rain, we have a nice, warm place to change clothes, eat lunch and regroup, so that when the sun came out we were all ready for more beach time and sand castle building. We also love being able to bring our own food and make our own fresh dinners.

dsc_1023 dsc_1063

After two nights it was time to head south for our next destination, Beachside State Park – just South of Newport, Oregon.  One thing I loved during this trip was my morning walk on the beach, just a short outing, a little me time to say hello to the beach and the waves. When I got back from my walk, we started out mornings like we do at home: a little coffee, breakfast and reading the news, etc. Since it was Monday, we knew we might have some work emails to tend to, this Monday, Tax Day, Boston Marathon Day, I was checking the news/Facebook and was excited to hear about the US runners that had finished in record time. But sadly, shortly after hearing that news, the tragic news of two bombs exploding at the finish also came in.  My feelings for this could go on and on – my shock and confusion of why someone would do something like this to such a strong willed, amazing community still gives me chills. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and the families.  But this is about our trip, so I will continue. After Andrew and I tried to comprehend the news, we squeezed and hugged our girls a little tighter and we got ready to enjoy our beautiful day with our family. We had lovely weather and took our time heading down the coast, stopping at multiple waysides/rest stops to take in the views.  We arrived in the afternoon at Beachside State Park, a camping spot right on the beach! Our spot was literally next to the beach access walkway, which for some might be a draw back, in the height of the summer I imagine there would be a lot of foot traffic but for us in April it was not a problem. The highlight for me was again the proximity of the beach. We could hear the waves when we went to sleep, we could see the beach from our bed and the girls could happily run to the beach to build castles while we made lunch or got dinner ready.  The first night we had an amazing dinner, fresh caught salmon, veggies and rice. Not too fancy, but delicious. A lot of times I get ideas in my head and it’s hard for me to get them out until I act on it. One of my fantasies for the trip was to find a local fish market where we could get fresh caught fish to bring back to camp and grill. It’s not a lot to ask, but what we found was so great, a little fish market in Newport, right off the docks on the Bayfront, called Local Ocean Seafoods. It was a fresh fish market and restaurant. The first night we picked up salmon and the next day we headed back for lunch for more fresh caught fish.

dsc_0267 img_0658

Since Beachside had such a great proximity to the beach, this is where we did most our surfing/playing in the water. Once we were all suited up in our wet suits we headed out! The sun was shining and it was warm, we played in the waves and in the surf and wore ourselves out. None of us really stood up on the board and the waves were not very big, but we were playing in the water and we were warm and it was April!

After two nights here we had to say good-bye, for this trip we decided two nights at each spot would be enough. I could have stayed at Beachside longer, but there was more to see and of course, we don’t have unlimited time. The next destination was Nehalem State Park, just outside of Manzanita, OR. This park is also amazing and gigantic. It wasn’t packed in April, but you can imagine the place filling up throughout the summer. There was a playground next to our site and we were just steps away from the beach access, again a little too far for the girls to go alone, but the park wasn’t and they enjoyed playing there, even in the rain! The first night we got there we took a nice long walk on the beach into Manzanita for dinner and a few groceries and then the next day we took the camper to Seaside where we did a little surfing at The Cove. Thanks to our friend and surf coach Lexie, we knew when and where the waves would be best for the family. Another perk of the camper was when we parked for surfing – we had ALL our stuff with us, we could have lunch, change, etc and then just step out the door and surf. I’m telling you, taking your house everywhere you go is really convenient!  Although it was a bit cloudy, we were still able to catch some fun waves and play in the water.

img_0739 dsc_0089

After a couple nights in Nehalem we pack up and headed north for the trip back to Washington. On our way home, we planned some crazy fun for the girls, gave ourselves a little extra space and clean showers by booking one night at the Great Wolf Lodge. We had a great day and night playing at GWL, we had friends meet us there and that was especially fun and a great change of pace after being just the four of us for the week.  It was also a bit of a culture shock after 6 days of quiet beach time, we jumped into pretend waves and tons of people, but it was still fun. The Howling Tornado got us screaming and the girls loved playing in the arcade. And the next day we were all ready to get home, which was perfect, we had a short drive back to Seattle and had the rest of the day and weekend to clean up and get ready to transition into reality.

dsc_1283Although the camper is going to stay parked for a few weeks now, we are always thinking about our next trip and when we can get back on the road. It’s too bad that work and school thing gets in the way of all our fun plans! Until Next Time! – kg

PSA: Yarn & Cats DO NOT Mix

catwithyarnYes, its an iconic image, the fun little kitty, frolicing with a ball of yarn for hours of fun, right? NO! We recently found out the hard way that any type of yarn play needs to be supervised. Especially when your cat is pushing 14 years old. Our little Lola had an emergency vet visit last weekend when my daughter asked the strange question: “Mom, why does Lola have a string coming out of her butt???”. Well, dear that is a perfectly legitimate question. Ugh! Yuk! Oh God, WTF?? We have some crafty little girls in our house and there is quite a bit of yarn lying around on the floor and spread all about, and I will admit, I did give Lola a ball of yarn as she was lying on the bed, thinking maybe that would get her to play a little (in her old age she needs some activity). Well, I didn’t expect her to EAT IT! And there in lies the problem, Lola ate the green yarn and in turn, it needed to come out. Although, she did get sick a few times we thought it was just a hairball, and then it came out the other end (sorry for the gorey details – but sometimes this stuff needs to be documented). When the yarn didn’t come out with a simple tug (GROSS!), we headed to the emergency vet – 7pm on a Friday, must have been a fun way for the vet to start her weekend too! After about an hour of so of “tests”,

LOLAxrays and other exams Lola got to come home. Now we have the fun task of giving her a pill 2x per day and as any cat or pet owner knows giving pills to animals is not a fun task.

Hopefully Lola will be just fine, we didn’t kill her with our yarn (although I certainly thought we did as I was driving her to the vet). But now we know, for next time, no more yarn for our kitty cat! And hopefully, this post will help other cat owners out there, so they never have to experience this themselves.

The Joys Of Parenting & Truck Camping

As I have written before, our family has been embarking on the adventure of Truck Camping. We have taken the camper overnight a few times now and have really enjoyed it. That is my husband (A), my youngest daughter (N) and I have really enjoyed it, but this weekend my oldest daughter (S) expressed how much she really did not enjoy it. Which in turn ruined the whole trip for the rest of us. The weekend went something like this: We got up to the ski area on Friday afternoon, there was no school, and A had the day off from work so why not go skiing? The sun was shining, we had visitors, uncle A & Aunt A with Baby O came to visit and we had a great time, the mountain was empty we zoomed into each chair lift it was great. After our visitors left we made a yummy dinner, took some night time runs and went to the lodge for a little after dinner drink and got to watch some ski racing on our walk home across the ski slopes. It really was a great way to spend an evening and a weekend. We all went to bed and fell asleep quickly because we had a busy day. Although, S did express a concern that she does not care to sleep in the camper, its not the same as at home, she is sharing a bed with her sister, etc, etc. The usual complaints from a 9 year old that is not interested in trying something new, she still fell asleep quickly and got up happy. On Saturday, we woke up at a reasonable time, had our breakfast in the camper, the girls played in the snow and took a run before the lessons. I relaxed, did the dishes and had some tea before I headed out to the slopes, so civilized!

After a long day of skiing with cousins and friends we all ended up in the camper, it was a great day, we all enjoyed the sun and snow, but by the end we were all tired. Our plan was to rest and then go to the Ski Patrol Spaghetti Feed, see the girls instructors, socialize with other camper folks, come back to the camper get into our pj’s and snuggle up and watch a movie. Well, S had some other plans, after we had told her we wanted her to stay with us, she continually asked to go home with her cousins, and although it really would have been okay, we really just wanted to have a family night together. So, instead of having a fun family bonding night we had a cry, fight, yelling night that eventually ended up with everyone angry and upset and the family going home early (all because we wanted to spend more time together… how ironic!).  In her defense, I will admit that my parenting skills were not the best in the moment, I am trying to relive the experience and figure out what I could have done differently, I know that I did try to start with a calm voice and explain how much we wanted her to stay with us, but she wouldn’t give up. She was tired and hungry and she was mad. She was angry and she was not going to move or budge on her stance. So, the yelling and fighting continued – which didn’t really work. In the end, we were all so angry and mad and frustrated, we just packed up and went home. A very quiet and tense ride home. S ended up being grounded, no play dates, no screens, nothing for a week. Now we are working on our listening skills, when we say No that means NO. How hard is that to accept. The next day, S missed out on a playing with her friends, which may have helped her realize we were serious. We have never grounded her before and no screen time for a week is really going to be tough on everyone, but hopefully, it will help her to remember that throwing a fit and fighting with the parents is not the way to go.  We will see how the week goes, hoping for the best. Until next time.

WINTER CAMPING? WHY NOT!


TruckMy family and I have recently discovered the joys of Winter Camping. I will admit Winter Camping will not be for everyone. My husband and I are avid skiers, he enjoys a lot of the back country and touring ski trips, while I have tried this a few times I am still learning, but I do love and enjoy skiing inbounds at the wonderful ski areas here in the Northwest, specifically Snoqualmie Pass and Alpental.

This fall we made a huge leap and purchased a Ford F350 Truck and with it a Wolf Creek 850 Truck Camper (the camper that sits in the bed of the truck, see below for a photo of the set up). This little camper is just about 105 square feet inside, it sleeps four people fairly comfortably and could possibly push it to five people, although the top bunk only holds 125 pounds, so that spot is reserved for small people. So far it has just been our family sleeping in it, 2 adults and our 2 girls (ages 6 and 9). And yes it is cozy, but what we have also found is that it forces us to get out in nature even if its snowing and blowing, we bundle up and hit the slopes or take a walk in the snow or do some sledding outside the back of the camper.

This small space living is also helping us in other ways too, we are ALL learning to use our words, so that we don’t get on each others nerves, telling people what we need instead of screaming (since we are in a small space, that would be a bit too loud), we are learning that everything needs a spot, since space is tight we need to put our clothes back in our bags or closets and we need to do the dishes after we are done and clean up our messes quickly. These are all great rules and should really be translated in our real home too, but for some reason its not as easy or natural at home.

Although we have only explored a few ski areas specifically Alpental at Snoqulamie Pass which does not have RV power (so your RV or camper would have to be self sufficient), we are looking forward to exploring the camping areas near Stevens Pass and Crystal Mountain. Both of which have hooks ups on a first come first serve basis (with the exception of certain holidays where you can reserve your spots).

The idea of camping in the snow and rain might not be for everyone, but it is something different and with our beautiful and wet Northwest winters you could stay inside all season long if you wait for the perfect day to get out or you could bundle up, put on your coat and hat and get out there enjoy nature as it comes to you rain, wind, snow and all.

Tragedy in Connectiut

Aside

I am finally able to put some words together about this tragedy.

What happened in Connecticut at the elementary school on 12.14.12 is a horrible senseless act. Me writing about it does nothing other than providing myself an outlet to process what happened. I can not even begin to start to feel what those people are feeling. They lost their children for no reason. How would you go on. What was going on in that killers mind. What possesses someone to think such horrible thoughts and then actually carry them out? Is it really about gun control or mental illness or both or just random, senseless, craziness. I feel all this discussion of the end of the world that the Mayans have been predicting, well here it is. I can tell you right now, that if I was one of those moms waiting to get my kid out of school, waiting to reunite during the horrific event and my child never came out. I would lose it, there would be no going on for me, that would be the worst day of my life. It would be the end.

*This was written back in January after the shootings and just now getting posted. The sentiment is still the same although the timing is a bit off. 

GF – Annoying but true.

Over the last month or so I have been experimenting with going gluten free (GF). It started because I wasn’t feeling well. I had a lot going on in my belly. I felt sick a lot after eating (usually I just thought I had too much), I also had symptoms of what I thought was the start of a YI (sorry for the gory details, but it might be helpful to others out there with similar problems). In any case, in one of the articles I read it said to cut down on wheat and sugar, so I gave it a try and the symptoms went away! Wow! I thought – I really am in charge of my own body!

After a month of this, although I have not been super strict, when I am eating GF, my belly feels better, I have more energy and I feel better overall. Fast forward to tonight, and I take my girls out to sushi since the husband is out for the night.  We order like usual and when we were getting ready to leave I felt full but not great, once we got home it hit me, I started having the same belly trouble as before. But I thought I was in the clear with the rice? Not the case, after googling “is there gluten in rice” (I do love the internet) I found out that apparently a lot of Japanese restaurants make their rice with a grain-based vinegar. Who knew? Probably a lot of people, but not me.

I also found out with this research that some of the other problems I was having (specifically, joint pain and numbness in extremities) might also be a result of a gluten intolerance. Which is really great to learn since I went to my doctor complaining about numbness and joint pain, she took some tests and basically said nothing was wrong. I figured I was just a hypochondriac. I do realized that  I still have more research to do, these issues I am having could be completely unrelated to gluten, but I will be interested in getting more specific testing and I should probably talk to real a doctor not just the internet doctors.

Bottom line, I realized that it is vital as I am getting older that I really need to focus on my eating habits and figure out what makes me feel good and what does not. I will say that I very am fortunate that my problems are really not big problems at all, these are just things I am discovering and learning in order to help me feel better.  I am also happy I don’t have a life threatening nut allergy like other folks, namely my daughter – whose allergy is probably not life threatening, but is certainly something we are cautious of. Now we will be the nut free/gluten free table – I admit its high maintenance and a bit annoying, but we’ll do what we need to do to feel good and I will be flexible when necessary and deal with the consequences when they come. I will also be doing more research and experimenting to see what comes up. I know this might be TMI for some people, so I apologize for that, but this is a new topic for me so we will see where it takes me. More on this until next time.

Chicago 2012

This blog post was started back in September, and finished after the race in October.

Marathon #3 – A major. Not sure how major it will be for me. Training is slow, but I am feeling good. I ran 14.70 miles on Sunday, stretched and took a cool shower to semi-ice the legs and overall I am good, the soreness is not as bad anymore.

Why a major everyone asks, why Chicago? I have decided that marathons are really just a good way to see new cities. We get an excuse to travel and have a weekend away, and then we feel great because we completed a major accomplishment. My goal is to beat my last marathon time, I would love to get between 4:20-4:30 but as I have realized on my long runs, I take breaks and my pace slows after about mile 10, so this is something I need to work on.  I am continuing the training and will run my only long run of 20 miles in 2 weeks, then start tapering. Only about 4 weeks until the race. Here we go!

Well, here I am a week after the race. I got in all my long runs, got through all the training, but in the end, no PR, but definitely a marathon that will go down as one of my favorites. The city of Chicago is awesome, so much to see and learn and wonderful food to eat. The race itself was super packed. There were a total of 45,000 runners registered for the race, which means there is no stretching out, there are no long open spots, its people, people and then some more people all around you. Which is really fun, the energy is high and the support was amazing, people on every corner lined up 3-4 lines deep. But because of all this support, so much to see, lots of water to drink, and lots of potty stops. That’s my main problem on the marathon distance runs, I see the stop every 2-3 miles and well, if I have to go I usually stop. Luckily, I felt great the whole time I was running, sure my back ached and my feet were tired but I  did not kill myself, I felt like I could keep going, I had energy left in my tank to pick up the speed at the end and run that first, last and final hill that they place the finish line on top of.

Overall, the race was a lot of fun and even though I had my pre-race jitters (as I  always do) and I although during training and while I was getting up at 5am to get ready, I thought maybe this would be my last race, when I finally got running I had a great time and I also realized I am not giving up marathons.  I will do more, but I think one a year is probably a good number for me.

In the end my time was not in that 4:20-4:30 range, but actually ended up being 4:51, which is not horrible, but its not a PR and with the course the way it is, nice and flat, it would be a race you could do quickly if you didn’t stop. I imagine the guy that won the race, in 2:05 didn’t stop to pee.