Last January a few weeks after Caleb was born, Grandpa came to visit us. During that visit, he mentioned that he really missed sitting around a camp fire. He can’t camp much anymore because sleeping on the ground is hard on him. I mentioned that we had been to Fort Stevens and they have nice cabins where you can have an actual “bed.” He seemed interested but that is as far as the conversation went.
A few weeks later I realized that cabins really fill up quickly on the Oregon coast. Most people book them nine months in advance. If Grandpa wanted to stay in a cabin with us, we were already late in booking it. In late January I looked at the reservation system and found that (at that time) there was only one cabin left with more than one night in a row in the whole system! Fort Stevens had a cabin from June 7-10. I snapped it up and figured that Elias would be out of school by then and if Grandpa couldn’t make it, we’d still have fun.
Nathan notified his dad of our reservation, and that prompted Grandpa to drive over 3000 miles out to Oregon….for a campfire! We crammed a lot more fun in than just a campfire, but we made sure to get in a good fire each evening.
Tuesday evening we arrived at Fort Stevens to find that June is a mosquito month! Luckily they don’t bother Grandpa, and none of the three boys got a single bite. Nathan and I suffered, though with many bites each. There were swarms of the things. I was appalled when one of the camp hosts walked by and said, “skeeters sure are better aren’t they?” I couldn’t imagine them worse!
After unpacking our stuff in the cabin, we sat together around the campfire for the first time.
The boys really loved throwing pine cones into the fire and they loved making up their own fire songs.
Then I got the joy of sleeping with all three boys in the same room. (Nathan and Grandpa slept out in the front room). It was Elias’ first time sleeping on the top bunk, and Simon was thrilled to sleep in the same bed as me so all of the kids were happy. I was just thankful when they were all asleep.
On Wednesday morning after the obligatory coffee run, morning nap, and play ground stop, we went to the beach to play and see the Peter Iredale. This was Caleb’s third beach trip in the last month.
A lot of the wreck was showing. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much exposed. It was fun to walk so close to the ruins. When we first got there, the tide was low and we could almost walk right up to the bow. By the time we left, the tide was pretty high and had covered much of what was there. Here are Grandpa and Caleb enjoying the history.
Later Elias came down and explored with me as well. He wanted so badly to climb on the ship but alas, I would not let him.
Simon would not be Simon without getting majorly dirty at least once on a trip. Here he rubbed charcoal from a beach log on his face while playing with his sand toys.
After a long time on the beach we returned to the cabin for dinner and our first smore’s of the trip. Luckily, marshmallow bags come with way too many marshmallows. More than anyone cold ever use. It made it easy to try to teach the boys correct marshmallow roasting technique. We lost many marshmallows to the fire and the ground, but we had enough good ones in the end for some tasty smore’s.
But…here is reason #572 why camping with toddlers is difficult.
Simon managed to step on one of his fallen marshmallows.
We got the cabin for Grandpa, but let’s face it…it was kind of for me too. Camping with an infant, a toddler, and a preschooler is not easy. (I was especially happy for myself that we had the cabin because of all the mosquitos as well!). Caleb was a champ, though. He had a good time and did well with all of the things we put him through.
On Thursday morning we visited Battery Pratt. There is a fun museum, a few different batteries, and some great views. Here are the boys and dad having some fun with a vehicle on display.
I love these two brothers. They don’t always get along by any means, but they really are great together overall.
In the afternoon we went to the Columbia River Maritime Museum. We’ve gone to Fort Stevens every August since 2009, and every time we’ve gone Nathan has said he wants to go to the Columbia River Maritime Museum. This time since I knew Nathan’s dad would be with us I encouraged him that we should finally go. The museum was really great. Elias was especially interested in some of the exhibits. There was the bridge of a destroyer that he loved playing on, and a big live map/screen of all the ships in the river and crossing the bar.
I snapped this picture of Elias next to buoy 10 because of its significance for my family. We go salmon fishing every summer and although the fishing does not always take place at buoy 10, that is what our family has named the annual vacation.
Simon fell asleep in the car on the way to the museum and Caleb stayed awake so I wore Simon in the ergo. It has been a really long time since he rode in the ergo so it was kind of fun. He got really heavy really fast, though!
Thursday evening it started raining, but we decided to attempt a campfire anyway. Luckily, we had some pretty good tree cover so our fire (and ourselves) stayed pretty dry. A true Oregonian beach trip/camping trip always includes rain! Caleb even experienced it!
This morning it was still raining pretty hard so we were holed up in the cabin as we packed up all of our stuff. It made for a bit of a stressful time with the boys cramped into a small space. We promised them that we would go into Seaside so that they could ride the carousel at some point so after we packed up we headed there before going home. They got to ride the carousel twice and had a blast. We even let Caleb ride once for his first time ever. He had a really fun time until the end when I tried to take a picture and he hit his head on the pole. It wasn’t my proudest Mommy moment, but I did get this cute picture of Simon:
Overall it was a wonderful trip and I’m so glad it worked out that Grandpa could come with us to enjoy a few campfires, some history, and some great family fun!