I really do miss writing on here because it ends up being a scrapbook of sorts for us, and gives friends and family a chance to catch up on what’s going on. For some reason it also feels less crazy that Facebook and other social media. No idea why.
So, I gave a bit of a recap in the last blog post about what we’ve been doing, but figured it would be fun to actually post some of the billions of photos I’ve taken, instead of letting them live forever on my phone or in a file on my computer. Novel idea, I know.
So, here we go!
We flew out of Haiti on June 17. Things had been tense politically and there were road blocks off and on for about a week before we left. We weren’t sure if we would be able to get to the airport, so to be prudent we went in a day early when things were open, and stayed at a hotel close by. We were able to get there early on the morning of departure, and found about 300 people who had the same idea. Honestly, it was actually a big stress relief to stay at the hotel and have some down time where we could swim and relax. Yonese, our housekeeper, who is amazing and who we missed dearly after a prolonged absence from work, came back to work two weeks before we left, and then chose to schedule her trip to the US to see her daughter for the same day we were leaving so she could be at work. When we found out she was planning on traveling the same day we insisted she come in and stay with us so she could get to the airport as well, and it was a sweet way to spend our last night in Haiti. We also got to hang out with one of our good friends, which was an unexpected treat.
We arrived in Portland just after midnight on the 18th, and came home and crashed. We decided to leave for BC on the 19th so we could get some rest, which was a fabulous decision. We always have to take the time to unbox all the packages we have sent to meet us here, pack up what we could, change luggage over to prepare for our time in BC, and get the van ready to go, so it was nice to not feel rushed with any of that and to leave the next day feeling more refreshed.
When we got to BC we had things like passport renewals to take care of, then headed out camping with my parents for a week. My brother and his family joined us on the Friday for the Canada Day long weekend. It was a good time of being all together. We had a fishing derby and the kids all had a great time hanging out. This was actually the first time they’d ever gotten to spend more than a few hours at a time together, and it was so worth it. We’re looking forward to doing it again next summer.
We celebrated Alex’s 8th birthday while at my Mom & Dad’s. It was a fun day of making him feel special. Because his birthday always lands on our vacation time, he usually gets the simple birthday, so this year we wanted to make a bigger deal, and he was super happy about it. He got a computer from us, which he was VERY happy about.
We headed back down to Vancouver, and then Chris and I headed out to the Long Beach Peninsula for a few days of R&R before the family joined us. It was bliss! We realized it was the first time in a very long time where no one needed us or had expectations for us. We slept as long as we needed to, we ate when we wanted to, and we did what we wanted to, even if that was nothing more than reading all day because the weather was drippy and wet and not good for going to the beach.
A few days later Chris’ parents and sister came out with the kids. We ate more oysters, and spent time on the beach.
After a week at Ocean Park, Chris and I packed the kids into the van and we headed up the Washington coast to explore places we hadn’t seen before. We spent one night at Cape Disappointment State Park, which we had visited on a day trip before. It rained. It was wet.
After Cape Disappointment we headed further north to Twin Harbors Stat Park for two nights. One night was beautiful, and the next day was very, very wet. Not gonna lie, it wasn’t fun. If we hadn’t already pre-paid for two nights we would have given up and headed home that morning, but we stuck it out, and of course, by the time we got back the sun was shining and hot again.
We got back to Vancouver last Thursday, and since then…
Chris and I got to go and use a gift certificate that Chris’ dad won at a Rotary event for an AirBnB on Monday night. The place was AMAZING, but all the pictures are on Chris’ phone. Let’s just say the owner built this amazing home from what used to be his family home, and there were a pair of peacocks that liked to peek in the kitchen door window to keep tabs on things. It was amazing and we just wish we could have stayed longer. It was one of those tiny little getaways that was completely refreshing and much needed.
Earlier this week we took away all the kids electronics and cut back on their tv watching. Now they actually want to get out and do things. I highly recommend it! On Tuesday after Chris and I got back, we packed a picnic lunch and went adventuring with the kids. First stop was Crown Point Vista.
The next stop was the Bonneville Fish Hatchery. When Chris said he wanted to go there I had this vision of some big fish ponds and staff wearing park ranger type outfits, and just kind of wandering around. I was SO wrong. This place was amazing! Imagine old wood buildings, all painted in bright white, green grass, flower beds, visitor information boards, rearing tanks with staff cleaning, and some educational pools mixed with walking trails. It was stunning and so much fun. If you’re in the area, you NEED to stop here. It’s completely free, and I promise you’ll see the largest rainbow trout you’ll ever see in your life, and some very cool sturgeon.
Our last stop of the day was Multnomah Falls. It was crazy busy. Chris was the only one that hiked up to the bridge. We had done it before, so the kids and I stayed down below and waved ridiculously from the bottom.