October review 2017

October was a crazy busy month that needs recapping. At the beginning of the month, my Mom came to stay with us for the week. She blessed us by watched Zach overnight so Luke and I could go away for our 5th year Anniversary. Yes, it’s been five years.

It took several months to pump and save up the milk needed for that one night away, but it was worth it. We drove out to Westport where we visited for Valentine’s day last year (for more see Day-cation) and stayed in a cottage on the jetty with ocean views. We toured Westport Winery, they had good red wines. Then we tried a unique dinner from Aloha Alabama, a Hawaiian/Southern BBQ fusion restaurant.  I had my first Poke bowl and Luke of course had brisket and ribs, it was great. We thoroughly enjoyed the first full night of sleep in more than four months. In the morning we stopped by Granny Hazels for specialty chocolates, and a thank you treat for Mom, then got coffee and headed back home. It was the perfect get-away.

That week Mom and I did fall baking and holiday décor shopping. I treated Mom to the Country Chicks Fall Festival  at the local fair grounds. We loved exploring vendor after vendor or shabby chic and country themed fall décor and goods. The place with abundant with pumpkins, wreaths, and holiday signs. We walked away with a felt green pumpkin and a used very cheap Pendleton wool blanket as well plenty of ideas for home decor.

The next weekend Mom and I drove down to Stevenson WA, along the gorge, where I helped Mom-in-law with a day conference while my Mom, once again watched Zach. The next day we met my Dad for lunch in Woodburn, did a little Christmas shopping, then Zach and I drove back home in time for our small group at church that night.

We had one full week and weekend to re-group, during which we fought seasonal colds. Then we left at the beginning of the next week for Luke’s parent’s place. Luke and John left early Tuesday morning for a week of hunting at their “elk camp”. Mom-in-law and I had the week together with Zach. During the week, I got a few Christmas cookies made (yes I have to start this early to get them all done; at least this year). We also did Christmas shopping, went to a few meetings, and Zach did a great photo shoot. Zach’s great-grandmother visited on the weekend, then the men came back on Sunday afternoon.

We packed up and left the next morning headed back home then took the CRV in for work. The next day was of course Halloween. On Halloween Zach turned 5 months (more on this to come)! I drove Luke back and forth to work and used the car to run errands and take Zach to a doctor’s appointment.

Because of the crazy-busy month we did not have time to work out any creative or special family costumes like you see all over facebook or pinterest. But Zach and Luke were able to show-case what I got Luke for father’s day: coordinating star wars shirts. I was also wearing a black and grey shirt with yellow words “star wars” on it (although no pics of me).

We ate my homemade pumpkin sausage sauce over gnocchi, our Halloween/Fall Fest special dinner. Then we got in the car (for the fifth time that day) and drove over to the church’s Fall Fest. We toured the games and activities checking them out for future years. Since we live on a country road, we didn’t get any trick-or-treaters but think the church’s fall fest will be a fun alternative in future years.

So, that is our October, and why I was too busy to be blogging. How has your fall been going?

 

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Day-cation

This past Monday Luke and I decided to celebrate Valentine’s day  by spending a day on the coast.

We were overdue for a day-cation so we could enjoy moment, and focus on each other and the beauty around us. Our goal was simple: enjoy a scenic drive, take a walk on a beach, and have some good food.

We took the 12 to Aberdeen, about an hour drive north west, then decided to explore the southern end of Gray’s harbor.  Driving a half hour southwest we came to the town of Westport. A small boating town mostly for collecting oysters, clams, and crabs, it also maintains a few seasonal tourist shops including charter boats companies,  candy and gift shops, and several restaurants across the street from the boat docks.

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Anxious to get to the beach,we drove to Westhaven State Park. We bought a Discovery Pass; an annual pass which pays for itself if you visit any state park more than three times in a year. Then walking over a short  dune we reached the beach.

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The day was unusually sunny and warm (in the 50’s).  Kira was more comfortable with the beach compared her first encounter at Christmas. (for more on this see). She chased the sandpipers and seagulls, jumped over driftwood, chased the waves, and even encounter a live crab.

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Luke and I enjoyed a quiet stroll down an almost deserted beach and soaking in the sun from natural seats in the drift wood. When the tide hit the drift wood we decided it was time to leave. We climbed back up the dune then discovered a concrete walking/bike path with views of the ocean along the jetty. We took advantage of this to get exercise in and to give Kira a chance to dry off  (I forgot the towels).

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I voice and interest in salt water taffy so our first stop back in town was Granny Hazel’s candy shop.  After selecting a  our favorites Luke noticed  unique truffles in the front display: all with beer bottle caps on top made of candy and filled with beer reductions (like bourbon balls). It didn’t take much for him to want to try them. Well if Luke gets chocolate so do I, so I got an espresso and salted caramel truffle.

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Next we decided it was time to eat. For an early dinner we went to Bennett’s Seafood Shack.  Luke got the hand breaded halibut and fried clam basket, I got a cup of chowder and their chicken tacos. There was plenty of food, and all of it was very good.

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Full and happy, we decided to  drive to Grayland. Only about ten minutes from Westport going south, we found the Grayland Beach state park which houses a large campground. There is no car access to the beach, instead their are several walking trails from the campground. Driving a little further we found several  remote and rustic state beaches with minimal drift wood.  We were surprised we could drive right out onto the sand.  Overall it was quiet and peaceful. We let Kira out of the car to run around and took in the view as the sun began to set. There was no better way to end a perfect day-cation.