Thursday, July 29, 2010

When Visitors Come, Part 3: Long Beach

When my mother-in-law comes to visit she comes with an agenda, which is generally fun and fast paced.  This time it involved heading to the coast for a little sun, sand and Sunday market.  Let's start with the sand part.

Long Beach, the world's longest beach, spans the length of the Long Beach Peninsula.  And if you manage to visit on a sunny, not too windy day, it is loads of fun.  Of course the girls think it is fun no matter the weather--so long as sand gets between the toes, among other place, they are happy campers.

It was just our luck that some sort of sand castle building extravaganza was taking place the day we arrived.

Not only was a parking lot converted into a sandy wonderland, but a huge stretch of the beach was decked with sandy castles and sea monsters, chest pieces and. . . actually I am not sure what else the long stretch of beach contained.

The girls had no desire to go find out, so we parked ourselves between the chest pieces in danger of being beaten by the surf and the sea monster that was no match for the tide.

The only sand sculpture these six girls cared about was their own.

But even it held little appeal when the waves came rolling in, tempting them to dip their toes in. . .

and their hands in.

The only moment of uncertainly was experienced by me when the seagulls began circling overhead.

I have been pooped on by not one, not two, but three seagulls in my lifetime.  All on the head, I might add.

 I snapped pictures of them with a sense of tempting fate, knowing that if I became their target, instead of the other way around, at least I would have something to show for it.

The girls weren't that concerned, though.

They were too busy playing and collecting treasures.

After an hour of playing chicken with the surf, we headed back to our cozy little beach cottage, tired and sandy, bellies full of ice cream, to dream about adventure to come.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

When Visitors Come, Part 2: Mount St. Helens

After living in a state a short jaunt from an awe inspiring force of nature with the capacity to affect my life in a major way, one would suppose I had visited long before now.  Better late than never.

Over the past almost three years our family has admired Mount St. Helens from a distance--on those few days when the sky was clear enough to actually see it--but never ventured too close.

This is in part because our oldest daughter learned all about it the first year we moved here and was rather reluctant to see it up close and personal.

It took a visit from my mother in law.

This is actually typically how we see our historical places of interest.  As a school teacher she has accompanied us to many interesting sites with visitor centers and gift shops.

This time our group also included Rob's sister and her four daughters.  And the day we went couldn't have been more beautiful: blue skies and 70 degree weather, great for hiking and picture taking.

We stopped at several points along the way, ending up at Johnston Ridge where we watched a video about the 1980 eruption.

 When the film ended (which Signe shook through with her hands firmly clasped over her ears), the screen and curtain rose to reveal a large glass window framing the volcano right before us.  It was awe inspiring.

The girls hiked up the trail ahead of us, but it was nearly six by that time, so we didn't linger long before heading back home.

Next time I would like to actually take the hike up the trail.

Regardless, the girls had a great time and deemed it worth the long car ride--which is saying something!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

When Visitors Come a Knockin': Part One

It's funny how much more you appreciate where you live when people come to visit.  Suddenly you are thinking of all kinds of places to go and things to do to entertain them while they are visiting. . . things that you could do any other time, but somehow just don't. Even simple things like going to a certain restaurant, or walking along the river.

We have a restaurant we love that's on the river, but only seem to go there when we have guests to entertain.

Luckily, we have guests quite often.

That happens when you don't live by family and you when you make loads of friends in one state and then move to another.

They come see you--which I am grateful for, since we don't get out to see all of them as often as I'd like.

Even going to a park and playing on a playground is more fun with cousins in tow.

It sparks the imagination in new ways to have an accomplice by one's side.

And sometimes things get downright silly.

But that's the way we like it around here.