Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bringing You Current and Our Oregon Coast Weekend

Warning: This is very, very long. You might want to grab a cup of coffee or something before you start reading. Oh - and a bathroom trip might be a good idea, too. :)

Ok - so when you last heard from me it was the day after Valentines Day. Since then, I've been running here, there and everywhere. Friday morning I had an appointment at Picture People to have an annual shot of the kids and I done. I learned a painful lesson: when you are having your photo taken with two young children who are pushing you this way and that; it is good to remember that you need to reposition yourself because the photographer is so busy getting the kids to look at the camera that she doesn't tell you that your neck is being shoved forward giving you the look of having 15 trillion chins. *sigh* Oh well - what's done is done and it didn't turn out that awful.

And here are a couple other shots we were able to get before the kids melted into complete silliness.

While we were killing time at the mall I went by the boys section at Penney's and found a sale on cute shirt and tie sets for Kelton. Regularly $22 they were on sale for $17 and since I've always found it handy to have dress clothes for him, we went about trying some on. He settled on a dark purple shirt and I have say, he looked incredibly dapper in it. He wore it home so he could show Dakota.

He was so proud of himself and kept saying "I look just like Uncle James!" So darn cute!

Fridays are Dakota's big study day and she normally heads over to her moms house to study (she lives really close and it's quiet enough there for Dakota to get in good quality studying - as opposed to if she stayed here. The kids just can't leave her alone. Can you blame them?) but this Friday she was studying here because she had a pretty nasty cold and didn't want to expose her mom to her germs. Trying to keep the kids quiet and away from her was difficult, at best. We showed off the photos and the shirt to Dakota and then Kelton bee-lined for the computer to play while I settled Kaylen down for her nap. All was quiet for about an hour and then Kaylen woke up. All bets were off as I struggled to keep both kids quiet enough for Dakota to study...oh yeah - and I had to keep them from hanging all over her, the table and the chair. *sigh* It was exhausting. I love having Dakota in the house with us but I definitely see the advantages for both of us to have her studying at her moms. :)

Finally, she was done and we headed out to The Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner. It's a great, inexpensive place and very kid friendly. After a good meal, we headed home and soon the kids were tucked in tight.

Saturday morning dawned far too early for my liking so Dakota took the kids into the living room and let me sleep for another hour. (She is a goddess!) Soon we were up and at 'em and somewhere between coffee, breakfast, showers, watching the kids get completely soaked and muddy in the backyard sprinkler (hey - it wasn't *that* cold and the sun was shining beautifully!) and breakfast dishes we hit on the idea of escaping to the beach for a couple of night. It took a bit of doing but Dakota was able to talk her mom into tending to the pets and secured us a hotel room. The kids and I were bouncing off the walls with excitement as we went to throw stuff together. We were out the door in an hour!

Traffic sucked big time and it took us about 90 minutes longer to arrive at our destination than it would have. We didn't go to our usual beach town (no availability at any of the hotels) and instead drove to the place that Dakota went to back in October for the family law conference.

We stayed at the Salishan Resort and Spa which is between Lincoln City and Newport Oregon. Now I know a lot of people love that area but honestly, it's way too "city-ish" for me. I want the small coastal town feeling so for me, Cannon Beach and Seaside are just the ticket. I can see a WalMart and a Walgreens at home. I want things like The Picnic Basket, kite shops, etc. I just want that feeling like I'm away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Now don't get me totally wrong - Salishan itself was peaceful and beautiful! I could just do without the traffic and the big chain stores.

Shall I pause here to let you make a bathroom run or so you can get more coffee? :)

Ok so anyway....we arrived around 4:30 and settled into our hotel room. Can I just tell you that the beds were to die for! They were so plush and wonderful that I wanted to crawl in and stay forever. But alas...a small child stood near me yelling "BEACH MAMA! BEACH!" Yes, it's true. My girl is a beach bunny. So we packed up extra clothes (because what would a winter trip to the beach be without pouring rain?) and sand toys and headed out. We found a beach - more of a cove or an inlet really but it had sand and water and since it was getting dark, it was as good as it was getting.

Sadly, in Kelton's excitement to reach the beach he didn't see the curb and took a header onto the sidewalk. His hands were full of sand toys so his poor little face took the brunt of the impact. It was awful!! At first look it wasn't bad: scrapes above his eye and a bit of blood. I wiped away the sand, dried his tears and we were off and running. Ten minutes later his eye and forehead looked terrible! So bad that Dakota and I quickly discussed finding an emergency room. It was grossly swollen and absolutely white. I've never seen a bump look that way before. He seemed fine. Oriented, focused, speaking well, looking and acting fine. We decided to watch him closely for a bit.

Since it was freezing cold we didn't stay on the beach too long. Instead of heading into Lincoln City for dinner (at The Pig'nPancake - which is my favorite place and they are scattered up and down the Oregon coast.) we headed back to the hotel to get ice for Kelton's face. All still seemed well with him so we adopted the "wait and see" approach. It was still bad looking but it wasn't getting worse.

After a bit we decided to head into town for dinner. It was late, mind you. Going on 6:30 which is late when you are a kid who is usually heading to bath and bed at that time. Still, we had a good dinner and were back to the hotel and in the pool (our hotel routine!) in no time. The kids were out like tired little lights by 9:30 and, I admit, Dakota and I were only minutes behind them.

The next day found us in Newport for breakfast. Ummm....actually it found us in Newport trying to find breakfast. After much searching we settled on The Shilo Cafe. The view was amazing. Which is all the positive things I can say about that place. On a busy three day weekend is it *really* that much to ask for that you have soap in the bathrooms? And what is with places not having kid-friendly cups to drink from? Like a two year old isn't going to spill milk from a filled to the top GLASS container? Yeah right. I'm just saying. But like I said - the view was breath taking. Too bad I left the camera in the car (which was parked way too far away).

After breakfast we headed to The Oregon Coast Aquarium. Not at all as I had expected but still very nice. Kaylen loves watching the seals and birds and well...just about everything. Kelton, on the other hand was in meltdown city. There are several outdoor exhibits and there are large carved rocks that you wind through, along the way there are windows to view creatures and whatnot. Wait! Did I just say you have to wind through carved rock? Like tunnels? Yes. Yes I did. And there lies the crux of the day. Kelton does not like tunnels. Apparently he does not like octopus. Or darkened exhibit halls filled with fish. Or hallways. Or anything inside a building. Or anything outside a building. Do you see where I'm going with this? The boy was a mess. Screaming, crying, begging, pleading. Nothing says a waste of $31 like that scene.

According to the map, there was a "nature trail". Finally something he would agree to do. We walked, he bounded like an excited puppy with too much energy, along the trail. It lead, as I knew it would, to the undersea exhibit building known as Passages of the Sea. Luckily, the lobby was light filled and had those really great "squish a penny to make a souvenir" machine (a highlight on our vacations) so Dakota and the kids got busy picking out a couple designes to make. I went to see the exhibit. I didn't see much of it when I realized there was no way we would be able to talk Kelton into seeing it. It was dark and very noisy. It wasn't until later that we realized we entered at the bottom of the ocean and if we had come in at the top of the ocean, we probably would have had a shot right off the bat since it was lighter. I didn't go in far before turning back. I stayed with Kelton while Dakota took Kaylen. Umm..yeah - she took one look at the darkness and the fish swimming around and under her and she wanted nothing to do with it either. Dakota brought her back out. Kelton, meanwhile, found some internal strength to stand at the entry. Before I knew it, he was back out begging Kaylen to go in with him. She still held fast to her "no way!" no matter how much he tried. Finally he got his nerve up and went with Dakota. He had a great time and was so proud of himself! They went completely through the exhibit and then, because it dumped them out at the other end of the aquarium, wound their way through the carved rock because they figured Kaylen and I had gotten tired of waiting for them (they were gone forever!) and would be out looking at the seals. Was Kelton scared? Nope. They were on a mission and he wasn't scared at all....except for the place where the octopus lived. No way would he go near there! He is such a silly kid sometimes.

Kaylen and I *had* gotten tired of waiting and I had convinced her to cover her eyes and bury her face in my neck so I could race through the exhibit looking for them. I got through it without finding them (and without really being able to look at anything) and said "Honey, I think we need to go back through in case they went around to find us." Nothing doing! She would have no part of that. So....I had no choice but to walk the long way back to where we had been waiting.

When we got there, Kelton and Dakota were there. Kelton was beside himself with excitement and wanted to take me through. I went happily while Dakota walked Kaylen back the other way. After checking out the seals again, Kelton decided it was time to go. I thought it was a good call. Kaylen was tired. So was I. All that 4 year old angst earlier had been exhausting for me.

We drove back to the hotel while the kids slept. Kelton woke upon our return so he and Dakota went in the room while I stayed in the car with Kaylen. She finally woke and I took her inside only to have her promptly fall back to sleep.

Seeing that she wanted no part of being awake, I suggested Dakota and Kelton go to the toy store in the shopping area of the resort. They were up and out in no time. Finally Kaylen woke and we went and joined them. Kelton found a couple of fun games, Dakota and I got a much needed mocha and then we headed back to the room so the kids could have some down time.

See those rocking chairs? I MUST have one! They were so comfortable and it was great to just sit out there and rock while looking across the driving range. I admit that I thought about how I could tie one to the roof of the car. I'm sure the price would have been more than worth it. I LOVE rocking chairs!

So after playing for a bit, we once again headed to The Pig'nPancake for dinner. Kelton was out of control. Seriously. So not pretty. Dakota took him outside once (to get a grip) before the meals arrived but before I could even finish my Eggs Benedict (OMG! If you ever go to this place you MUST have the Eggs Benedict. No one makes them like they do and I should know...it's just about the only thing I ever order when we are out.) I had to take both kids to the car. He just wouldn't settle down and it sure isn't fair to other people to have to listen to him carry on, kick the table, bang his silverware, etc. Kaylen, while I know she was just mimicking him, was doing the same so out she went too. Dakota stayed to finish up and pay the bill.

Finally he calmed down enough to be allowed to go swimming (the pool is a huge thing for the kids whenever we stay at a hotel. A huge, huge thing! They are both water babies.). After the pool it was time to head back for bath and bed. Since Kaylen had taken such a long nap she was difficult to get down - she tried but she just couldn't fall asleep so even though she was quiet and resting, we couldn't do anything until she was asleep.

Finally she passed out. Dakota and I turned on the TV and watched Desperate Housewives before we went to bed.

Yesterday morning we went to a great little hole in the wall place called Gracie's Sea Hag. It was fun and left me feeling like we had finally had a "coastal experience". Kicked back and relaxed. The kids were even well behaved which is always a plus.

After breakfast, we headed out to the beach. It was pouring but we promised them they could play in the sand and fly a kite before we left. We did both those things and were drenched to the skin.

We headed back to our room for the final time and changed into dry clothes. We finished packing and hit the road. It rained a good deal of the way home which wasn't much fun but thankfully, the kids napped for the worst parts so it wasn't as stressful as if they had been awake and talking.

We finally arrived home - safe, sound, tired and happy. We had navigated through injuries and meltdowns (too many of those to count), temper tantrums and a fair share of "You go away! I want the other mom!" episodes which I will touch on later this week. Let's just say that a 4 year old can say things that can hurt an adults feelings so deeply. I know it sounds unreasonable. I'm an adult. I should be able to shake it off and chalk it up with child behavior and yet...when your son looks and you and screams "I don't like you - GO AWAY!!" it hurts. A lot. More than maybe it should.

Sunday night, as I tossed and turned in bed because of the incredibly rough day (I was trying to figure out what was the cause behind the onslaught of obnoxious behavior that was directed at me all day) I was formatting my blog entry. The jist of it was "What a huge waste of money this weekend was." But you know, as the hours stacked up between then and now I saw that, sandwiched inbetween all the yuckiness, there were some really great times. And today when Kelton and I were talking about the weekend his whole face lighted up with excitement as he talked about all the great things we did and saw. Suddenly, and without warning, I found myself feeling really happy that we went.

I'm such a sap and all but, for me, there is a lot of truth behind the thought that if my kids are happy, then I'm happy. Today life went back to usual. Dakota went back to work and school. My daughter continued with her happy go-lucky, hero worshipping ways and my son returned to his sweet little self with a tad of obnoxious thrown in for good measure.

Yeah - it was a great weekend! :)


Jen said...

Oh Casey...don't ever take a 'I hate you' from a 4 year old to heart. It just means he loves you the most and you are the safest person to say that to. I know it doesn't make sense but he knows that the bond you have together is so strong that he can melt down and count on the fact that it won't matter a bit to you and you'll be there with him. Just keep it in your heart that it really means that he loves you. :-)

Canadian Jen

Lynilu said...

Yeah, Casey, what Jen says is true. It pierces your heart, but it is just the child's attempt to express himself. BTW, to a child with undeveloped concepts of emotions, "hate" and "anger" are synonymous. Children “hate” things, people or situations that anger them, scare them, etc. Just think of a pool of negative feelings; the child, especially in a heightened emotional state, just generalizes, and it usually comes out as “hate.”

I love the pictures, but especially the one of Kaylen feeding Kelton! So adorable! But wait a few years! LOL

What a wonderful trip! I wanted to be there!

Lynilu said...

PS - I just looked for an email connection on your blog, and I didn't find one. I'm curious about something ... what software did you use to do the slide shows of your pictures? It would be fine to go to my blog and email the info to me, if you like. And thanks!

Brenda said...

Whew! Good thing I had my chi tea latte from Starbucks with me when I dropped into your blog! :o) tee, hee.

I can't improve upon what Canadian Jen said. I'm glad that there were some fun times mixed in between the "fun" 4 year old behaviour.

Caroline said...

Wow, what a weekend the four of you had. Looks like fun was had by all.

Love the pictures and I also love how you have them in slide shows.

I love how you guys decide at the last minute to go away for the weekend. I will never forget the one getaway you guys went on a little over a year ago and in the sand you wrote "stolen getaway/weekend". Very cool

Casey said...

Jen: You know, I've come to the same conclusions. What I think is Kelton is angry at Dakota for being gone so much so when he has time to be with her, he wants her all to himself and I am just in the way. It's safer to get pissy with me because he knows I'll always be here where Dakota comes and goes because of school, studying and work.

Lynilu: Makes total sense. As for the slideshows, I create them via my account at www.picturetrail.com. I know they have free membership though I am not sure of the specifics as to whether you can do Flickr Shows. Check them out. I think a base membership (which would definitely allow you to make the slideshows) runs about $20 a year. Pretty reasonable. :)

Brenda: You are cracking me up. Still spelling things in Canadian. :) In the US, we spell it "behavior" :) You know I love ya and I only tease you in fun. And I warned you it was a long one. I did, after all , have 5 days to cover. It took me over 90 minutes to put together. So thanks for reading all the way through. :)

Caroline: Thanks! :) I, too, love that we can just throw things together and hit the road. I never thought I'd like to be like that (I'm a planner) but I've actually takena liking to it. Less stress really because it's not like you have more than an hour to get it together. That Oct. beach trip is one that I will forever remember. Dakota just showed up at home in the middle of the afternoon and said "It's supposed to be beautiful this weekend. Wanna go to the beach? I already made reservations." So, so much fun!!!!!

Froggymama said...

I love the pics of Kaylen looking up at her big brother with a look of admiration. And I wouldn't feel too bad about all the things that didn't go right on your vacation. Our family vacations were always a nightmare, cars breaking down, natural disasters, major meltdowns, and after all these years, I look back on them fondly. And now those little disasters are funny, memorable and ultimately brought our family closer together. :)

Mieke said...

Pony told me he wished he didn't have a momminy today. So for the next half an hour I acted as if he didn't have one. Boy he didn't like that! He said he was sorry and we talked about how much I love him and all the things I do to make him happy so it really hurts my feeling when he says that to me.

We'll see how long it takes for him to say it again.

It's all about individuating for them. did I spell that correctly? Anyway...that's what it's about but it's hard not to take it personally.

I feel your pain.

patti_cake said...

Awwww I loved loved loved this post! You share so well and love the pics too (even though poor Kelton's face did look pitiful).

I know what you mean about hurt feelings. Even though Madison is only two she frequently tells me "No Mommy, Daddy do it" and i'll say "I love you" she'll say "No DADDY LOVE ME". etc. You get the jist. It hurts A LOT. I try to tell myself, too that she's only two and really doesn't know that she hurts Mommy's feelings but it just doesn't stop the hurt sometimes.

I know what you mean about thinking about the wasted $$$ but the good moments make it worthwhile. We are waiting until April to take a Beach trip and I can't wait and i'm not letting the hub guilt me out over the $$$ because we just bought a new house and everything. No, i'm not.
Dakota ab-so-lutely ROCKS for being spontaneous. Not much better trait in a person and VERY hard one to find!

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