We just got back from a great week at the beach with family. Each year my family meets at the coast and most of us go fishing for salmon on the Columbia river. We like to call our annual family tradition “Buoy 10” because that is the general area where a lot of the fishing happens, although it is not very often that my family actually fishes there.
Normally, we camp at Fort Stevens for our family trip. This year, however, despite waking up 9 months to the day before our planned trip to book our cabin sites, we could not get the reservations. Someone else clicked a millisecond faster than us after the clocks turned to 8 am I guess. We were all wondering what we’d do for awhile until my dad found us a nice house in Warrenton, Oregon. We all went in and stayed there together.
Nathan loves going fishing with my family, but let’s just say I’m not a fisherwoman. I stay home with the kiddos, so a house sounded great to me compared to the cabins. The cabins are a lot of fun but are also a lot more work and a lot smaller!
On Monday evening I drove up to Warrenton with the three boys. Nathan stayed home so he could work one more day and attend a vestry meeting at church.
Tuesday morning I woke up to find myself alone with four boys aged 5, 3, 1, and 8 months. (I watched my nephew so Uncle Scott and Auntie Kristy could both go fishing together). I was confident we’d all have fun and stay safe, but I didn’t know quite how it would go with four little boys.
The morning actually went really smoothly. Caleb took a good nap, and I used that opportunity to let the older boys do some watercolor painting.
Tuesday evening I stayed up late to wait for Nathan to arrive, and was happy to see him when he did.
On Wednesday, Auntie Kristy and I took the four boys to Seaside to ride the carousel and get some treats. We got home just a bit before the fishermen. My mom was super excited because she caught the biggest fish of her life – a 30 pound salmon! Caleb was happy to be reunited with his Daddy.
He also was excited to look at the big fish.
Wednesday evening we took the boys to nearby Cullaby Lake so that they could try fishing. We had no luck and the boys were disappointed…but it was just a lesson in what fishing is really like.
I love the look of concentration on Simon’s face here while he is reeling:
The spectators: (We got to see a few bites but no fish).
Thursday Ama stayed back with me and we took the boys into Seaside again. They got to ride the carousel again.
Caleb didn’t ride the carousel. Maybe next year! After the carousel we took the boys to the arcade and Elias got to try out his first ride on the tilt-a-whirl. I went with him and felt like I was going to hurl for a few minutes afterward. He wanted to go again really bad so my mom went with him. I’ll never forget the look on Elias’ face when he rode that ride. He looked terrified. But he always came off with a smile saying he wanted to ride again so I guess it wasn’t so bad!
Thursday evening we took the boys for a boat ride. We started out on the Skipanon river with plans to make it out to the Columbia if it wasn’t too rough and windy. The Columbia was definitely pretty choppy, but we made it out to the Astoria bridge. Elias remembered driving over the bridge with Grandpa in June. Now he got to see it from a new angle! Both of the boys got a turn “driving” the boat.
I enjoyed looking at the bridge from down below.
Caleb was lulled to sleep by the sound of the motor and the bouncing of the boat. Ama kept him in good hands. I think it is cute that he is holding on to Ama’s life jacket even though he is asleep.
On Friday, Auntie Kristy stayed home with me again and we took the boys to see the Peter Iredale and play on the beach. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and we missed some really hot weather at home. Caleb and James loved just playing by our spot, and I was able to run around the beach with Elias and Simon a bit.
Elias ended up getting all the way in the water. He was so freezing when he was done that we had to warm him up in the shower when we got back to the beach house.
Friday evening we gathered around the campfire for smores and fire songs.
Elias learned how to cook what Uncle Scott referred to as the “perfect mallow”. Elias was very proud.
It was so much fun to be able to spend a lot of quality time with family. I’m so thankful we are able to have this family tradition!
Saturday was the last day of fishing. Auntie Kristy and I stayed back with the boys again. We decided to drive to Fort Stevens State Park to use the nice bike paths there. We loaded the boys, the strollers, and the bikes and headed off. Elias is a whiz on his bike, but Simon is still working on it. He is learning how to use the pedals, but it is slow going. The first 100 yards or so neither Kristy or I said anything, but we were both thinking that we wouldn’t be making it far. Auntie Kristy, though, resourceful as she is figured out how to make it all work.
We took turns pushing Simon with our strollers and actually made it all the way to the lake for a snack and some rest before turning back….almost 2 miles round trip!
Sunday was our family day. No fishing. We went into Seaside for some family fun. Ama and Uncle Scott rode Tilt-a-whirl with Elias again.
Nathan rode the bumper cars with Elias, and we had a lot of fun at the arcade. Then we got to do something I’ve always wanted to do! Rent a bike! And we rented a big one!
We had Caleb up front with Cousin James in the beginning, but it made me too nervous. He only lasted about twenty feet there, then we moved him back with Baba for a few blocks before moving him again to his final spot…in the ergo with Auntie Kristy where he promptly took a nap.
We rode that bike all around Seaside. It was a lot of good exercise! My mom directed us to one of the cool historical sites that her dad always took her to…the saltworks.
Simon had to get in some cousin love as we were loading the bike back up to head in to town again.
After an hour of biking we decided we had exerted enough energy to award ourselves with a treat. Then Auntie Kristy, Simon, Uncle Scott, Elias, and Ama all went on the tilt-a-whirl one last time before we said goodbye to Seaside.
In the late afternoon we went to Sunset Beach so that the boys could play some more. Baba came with us.
We weren’t done with our family day yet, though! After dinner, we all loaded up in the cars and drove back to Sunset beach with everyone for some kite flying. It is a beach where cars of all kinds drive onto the beach. A lot of people have beach fires or watch the sunset from their cars. Nathan didn’t want to drive the van onto the beach so we parked right at the entrance and all piled into the back of Uncle Scott’s truck. Elias was very nervous about it…especially after just completing his safety town course and told us in no uncertain terms that it was not safe without seat belts. Good for him!
We went anyway though and told him it was only on the beach that we would ever be doing that, and Auntie Kristy only drove about 10 miles an hour.
James was impressed with the kites.
Caleb also enjoyed watching them.
Just about everyone else took a turn flying the kites from the beach or the truck.
Simon had an especially good time, and led us all in singing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.”
We finished our family day with some more cousin love.
Monday morning we had to pack up and leave the beach house and say goodbye to family for now. In total, they caught five salmon…some of the biggest we’ve ever caught, but generally there were a lot less bites than normal. More important for me, though, we got to spend a lot of quality time together.
After leaving the beach house, the Smiths went to Fort Clatsop. We had never been there and wanted to explore it a bit.
The boys enjoyed seeing the fort replica, walking around in the woods, and completing some Junior Ranger activities.
They even got to watch a man make fire how Lewis and Clark would have done.
At the end they got to get Junior Ranger badges. Here they are saying the junior ranger pledge.
We arrived home to a really warm house, two excited kitties, and a lot of unpacking to do. Caleb also learned to crawl during our week away so I’ve really got to get going on finalizing our babyproofing! We’ll have these memories to take with us all throughout the year!