Oregon Spontaneity

It all began with a text from Kelsey.
"Hey, if you drive to Vale tomorrow you can come with me to Newport for a few days."

I don't usually do spontaneous 15-hour road trips, but the truth is that we don't have a lot of commitments right now to hold us back.  So the next morning the kids and I sent Roy off to work and loaded up the car for the first leg of our journey.

After being on the road half a day, we made it to Aunt Ruth and Uncle Lowell's farm in beautiful Vale, Oregon.  The kids travelled remarkably well that day.  Those long stretches of freeway are always intimidating when you are outnumbered by children, but they had the farm to look forward to  With ducks to feed, tractors to climb on, cows to visit, quads to ride, and Duma dog to play with, there's almost nowhere else my kids would rather be.

Thankfully, the Oregon coast has it's own unique fun: grandparents, cousins, the beach, the aquarium, dense forest to explore, etc.  Otherwise, it would be nigh impossible to get these kids out of the farm.

The next morning we were off.  No matter how happy the kids are in the car, it's always so nice to have someone along to help.  Even thought it was a longer day of driving, it somehow felt shorter with Kelsey there to keep us entertained.

We decided to keep our arrival a surprise.  It was fun to watch everyones' reactions when Hallie and Camden walked in the door to Grandma and Grandpa's house.  I mean, who doesn't love surprise houseguests?  Am I right?

Camden and Hallie just wanted to be playing with the Carpenter kids non-stop.  They are such cute kids.

The first day Leah and I took our fun bunch to the Oregon Coast Aquarium.  We also got to meet up with my friend from high school and her family while we were there, and her son and daughter fit right in with our kiddos.

The biggest hit were the glass tunnels.  Our kids wanted to stay sprawled out on the floor watching sea life forever.  Hallie also loved the touch tank, and wanted to take a sea start home with her real bad.

Later we got to play at the beach.  This was a major highlight for Hallie, who is always asking to go to the beach.  Leah and I reminisced about the days when Camden was terrified of the entire beach experience.  Even sand.  It made me so happy to watch him get his clothes all wet and sandy, loving every second.

Whenever we weren't out exploring, the kids kept themselves entertained just being together.  Lots of tag, lots of riding bikes down the small hill by the side of the house, lots of sandbox and hide-and-seek and hula dance parties.

One day I took Camden, Hallie, and Zoey on a walk to the end of the street, where there is a gorgeous view of the ocean with a lighthouse in the distance.

When we got there the kids asked to go down to the beach, but I wasn't exactly sure how to scale the cliff.  I remembered doing it in years past, but there were quite a few paths and I wasn't sure which one to take.

So we randomly selected a trail and began our decent.  The further we got, the clearer it became that no sane person should be attempting that kind of rock climbing.  So we went up and tried a second path, which turned out to be even more treacherous.  Turns out I can carry three children down a steep, slippery slope while pregnant.  Feel free to be impressed.

Even though it was crazy terrain, where I had to coach the kids on where to place their feet, they kinda loved it.  It felt like a real adventure!

Here I had the children wait so that I could test the safety of this next precipice... Camden was almost in tears because he thought I was going to fall to my death SOOOO we turned back.  Never made it to the beach.  Found out that later that day a man was trying the same paths and had to be rescued by helicopter.  So I guess I should be grateful we made it out of there without having to call in special forces!

We did go on a few less dangerous hikes around the neighborhood.  There is so much beauty to be found in Newport.  Sometimes I'm jealous Roy got to grow up in such a place.

On one of the last days we went to Yaquina Head, where I learned that I can also carry children over wet, slippery rocks while pregnant without falling into tide pools.  Well... my phone fell into a tide pool, but that wasn't nearly as embarrassing.

Camden was fascinated by all the creatures in the tide pools.  We even got to see a whale out in the ocean.

What a fantastic spontaneous trip!  I love being a part of this awesome family.

Hallie Turns 2

Days after we moved into our new house, Hallie turned two years old!  On her birthday Grammy, Papa, Jaxon, Aunt Jess, Uncle Zac, and the Tietjens came over to help us celebrate with a little kitty party.

Yes, this is the best picture I got of them eating dinner, haha!

Hallie had lots of help blowing out the candle, and she didn't mind one bit.

Our friend Shellena offered to make the cake for us, and it was the best thing any of us have eaten ever before.  Hallie actually stuck her finger in before we lit the candle, tasted it and said, "Oh, that nummy!"  {yummy}  She was a little disappointed that she didn't get to eat the entire thing.  I couldn't even blame her.

Most of her gifts were princess themed, and Hallie was thrilled.  Especially with the dress-up princess gowns.  She requests them daily, now.

We sure love this adorable little girl.  She brings so much laughter, joy, and sass into our family--we wouldn't be the same without her!