Olympic National Park
To pass the weekdays between Pop-Pop's brithday weekend and Adrienne's wedding, we decided to head down to the Peninsula and check out The Olympic National Park.
We got many looks of "you are crazy" when we told people our plans of camping with 4 kids in a cold/wet rainforest.
We also got many comments and looks from fellow park visitors. Most were along the line of "your kids are so cute", "you've got your hands full", "We saw you guys yesterday...", and my favorite was while passing people hiking we got lots of, "how many of you are there?" :)
We stocked up on rain gear, brought our winter clothes, boots, lots of socks, clothes to layer and invested in a very good tarp.
The preparation worked and even though it rained everyday and night, we all stayed dry and warm. Which resulted in very happy campers.
This trip never would of happened without Paul. I am not much of a camper, but he made sure we were prepared, he stayed calm when things got a bit crazy, and he got up and started breakfast each morning while I mentally prepared to exit our comfy and warm bed into the rain.
Since most Washington schools were still in session, our camp ground at Lake Cresent
was practically empty. Gave the kids plenty of room to roam and explore.
We had a pretty sweet set up.
I had brought cards and coloring books to pass some of our downtime with, but there was so much exploring to do we never pulled anything out.
This is Miles being a gnome one night. It was very entertaining.
We soon realized we were about 2 years early on perfect ages for this trip. Meaning, Paul and I never got to sit down and relax, because Ruby always needed adult supervision and was everywhere.
and she tended to get a little cold at night, because she has a hard time keeping clothes on. :)
All in all though, she was a pretty happy camper.
We did some exploring around Lake Cresent (where we camped) and would of spent some time swimming and hanging out more if it was actually above 60 degrees.
It was absolutely gorgeous though.
And our view out the tent door, is kind of hard to beat.
We visited Hurricane Ridge
, where it was snowing.
it was gorgeous and almost kind of erie up there. Made sense why some people think Vampires could live in the area. :)
We hiked to Marymere Falls
, where it rained on us the entire time.
eating lunch in the car before the hike.
This hike was a blast though. Trees to hide in, bridges made out of tree trunks, and a river...all before we made it to the waterfall. I don't think any of the kids complained, which is a first for us.
Ruby loved touching the moss on the trees.
We spent our last day visiting the Hoh Rainforst.
Where is actually didn't rain, but when we got back to our campsite we learned that it had rained all day there.
We could not get over these trees. They were so tall and completely covered in moss.
Slugs were a huge highlight of this hike. Slugs are not something my kids are familiar with, so we had to stop EVERY TIME one was spotted on the trail.
We learned about Banana Slugs at Northwest Trek, so apparently that meant my kids thought all slugs were named after fruit. We found green apple slugs and blackberry slugs on the trail. :)
This was the trip of balance beam tree walking.
The trees also proved to be nice resting spots too.
The last stop was Ruby Beach.
It was amazing.
There was driftwood everywhere and the Pacific Ocean was just right there on the edge of the forest.
Wish we were prepared to spend all day there.
We had planned to spend a day in the Sol Duc area, but the weather was suppose to be perfect in Bellingham and the kids were really sad we didn't find any crabs at the beach. So, we decided to head home a day early, skip Sol Duc, and find a beach in Bellingham to explore.
It was a good choice. But, I am hoping to make it back there again one day when kids are older.
Washington weekend 1
We were not planning on going to Washington this summer, but I realized it was my dad's 60th birthday and then my childhood bff called to say she was getting married that same week. So, we did what anyone would do, we planned a 10 day vacation extravaganza.
It was a bit of a crazy drive, between Miles and Ruby, but we survived.
First stop was Brianne's house for the beginning of Pop-Pop's birthday festivities.
The next morning we all headed to Northwest Trek.
The kids had a blast on the amazing playground.
seeing all the animals,
riding the tram,
and running around together.
And how cute are these "best cousins" in their matching orange jackets.
So fun to have everyone together.
Next stop was a ferry ride to Whidby Island to explore Fort Casey.
We used to come here with our grandparents when we were little, so it was very cool to be able to take my kids with their cousins and grandparents.
We found a cute seal to entertain us while we waited for the ferry. Yes, Washington is kind of the best.
It was seriously a less than 10 min ride, so we were the lame parents who didn't let their kids out of the car. but, we did let them have their ipads to make up for it. :)
don't worry, we assured them that we had more ferry rides later in the week and we would let them get out then.
We ate lunch and ran around before heading off to explore Fort Casey.
Giant guns, dark tunnels to explore and plenty of room to run and climb made for some very happy kids (and adults).
It was a bit of a process getting all the kids organized and keeping them from running off down dark hallways or climbing up tall staircases without railings.
But, we managed fairly well and the headlamps made it much easier to keep track of everyone in the dark.
We lucked out with the weather too, it was perfection.
We ended the afternoon with checking out the lighthouse.
and entertaining ourselves by jumping off the picnic table while waiting for everyone to climb to the top of the lighthouse, since only 5 people could fit at a time. :)
Then it was off to Bellingham to complete the birthday festivities for the best Pop-Pop around.
Ruby was constantly eating chips to keep her energy up for socializing at the party.
We of course had to do a picture of everyone in Ski-to-Sea shirts
Love this family of mine.
Pearrygin Novel part 2
Besides the people, the highlight of Pearrygin is the boating activities (with said people).
The Gopro has kind of been the best when it comes to behind boat activities, because it allows us to get pictures we normally couldn't.
And capture these kinds of faces.
Macey started taking the Gopro on the kid GTX rides and she felt like a big deal. We found lots of awesome selfies like this on the roll.
Kneeboarding was a very popular activity this year and I believe all the kids 5 and older gave it a try.
Miles wanted to go on the back of Paul's kneeboard, like he did 2 years ago.
But, it proved not to be as thrilling as he remembered, so he decided to try going on his own kneeboard.
He didn't make it too far on any of his attempts, but I was so proud of him for trying!!
Macey and Owen were the daredevils of this trip. Trading places on the GTX or double kneeboarding without an adult were just a few of the new things they tried.
I think Macey will be ready to try 360's on our next Pearrygin trip.
The GTX once again proved to be the favorite mode of behind boat transportation.
We of course had to get in our family ride. Ruby actually didn't seem to mind too much and actually smiled and laughed a few times.
The Rensink's even stopped by for an hour, so we made sure to get the kids on a GTX ride together.
I think it was enough to convince them to come to Pearrygin for more than an hour next time.
We were able to squeeze in a few adult only rides and I haven't laughed like that in a LONG time.
It was good for my soul.
People did more than just ride the GTX and kneeboard, but I don't really have many pictures of that. But, here's a pic to prove my kids have the coolest grandparents around.
Towards the end of the week, when we'd made sure to get enough use of the blowup animals, I let Paul and Christopher take them behind the boat.
It was extremely entertaining and we became the talk of the campground.
Never a dull moment. And only the Turtle didn't survive, not too bad.
We also stuck Crew in the boat, ALOT, to keep him out of trouble. Usually he got a little nap in and was contained for a few moments.
One of Macey's favorite things this year was when Dave would drive the boat, he would stop in the middle of the lake, if it wasn't busy, and let all the kids jump in to cool off. They thought they were pretty awesome swimming in the middle of the lake.
There was of course some sleep deprivation and the late afternoon whineyness from all ages (me included). But, I loved watching my kids making the same memories at Pearrygin that I did. Pearrygin was the highlight of my year as a kid, and I'm glad it's turning out to be the same for these kids.
Pearrygin Novel part 1
We braved the drive and elements again and made the trek to Lake Pearrygin to camp with my family for the week.
There were of course a few moments where I questioned our sanity, as to why we came camping with 4 little kids so far from home. But, early morning cinnamon rolls from sherri's helped make it worth it.
And it didn't take long for all us to settle back into the Pearrygin Lifestyle.
Don't be fooled by this serene moment, there are 3 wild animals sleeping in here, just waiting to break out and cause chaos.
But watching these cousins play made it more than worth it. Crew and Mason ran right up to each other when we pulled in and it was like they'd never been apart.
And these 4 were bff's just like always.
I rarely got to sit down and chat with people, but I suppose that is what happens at this stage in my life.
Ruby was eating up the Pearrygin Lifestyle and just ran around our campsites checking things out and constantly taking the Stephen's little blowup animals.
I didn't even think of opening a book this year, but I didn't mind too much. There was just too much playing and chasing to do.
Luckily the kids got to spend some quality time with the great grandmas and Nana & Pop-Pop.
And there was always lots of late afternoon reading sessions happening in the shade.
We did get a few game nights in, my favorite being a rambunctious game of Dutch Blitz, where we got to break in our new expansion pack.
We made as many visits to Sherri's as possible and only got chased away by the bees once (Ruby got her first bee sting here).
And we learned, don't sit by Crew. The bees just flocked to this kid for some reason. :)
This was one of the hottest years I remember, so we ended up playing less games and spent more time floating and playing in the water.
The lobster, turtle, sting ray, and dolphin blowups we brought were one of our better summer purchases.
Paul came up with the idea to do a floaty parade.
He got all the animals tied together behind the kayak, we got the kids situated on their desired animal and he took the parade on a tour past our neighboring campsites.
Cutest parade I've ever seen.
Next post will be about our all thrilling adventures behind the boat.
I was having a good kid day and then I found an amazing deal on airplane tickets, so I decided I could totally handle flying alone with the 4 kids to visit my family. :)
I had some serious regret and anxiety a few days later, but it was for nothing, because everything went about as smooth as it could flying with 4 kids alone.
My mom and Paul were both able to go back with us to the gate, which was life saving. I loaded the ipads up with new games and shows. And the newish rule of being able to use small electronics the ENTIRE flight, pretty much saved my life as well.
If I didn't have Miles with me, I would of even been able to take a nap or read a book. Other than an incidence in the airplane bathroom with Miles though, things really couldn't of gone smoother. And once again, everyone we flew with was as friendly as could be, offering me smiles and words of encouragement along the way.
It was a short trip with the main objective being to play with cousins, Nana & Pop-Pop, and The Great Grandmas.
The 3 two year olds were quite hilarious and adorable the entire weekend.
One of my favorite moments was when Shaunna and I taught them how to play Ring Around the Rosie.
Crew and Mason together have proved to equal trouble. Anytime it was quiet in the basement someone had to go down to investigate.
They emptied my purse, locked themselves in the furnace room, were caught with metal baseball bats and a hockey stick, and even did some terrorizing of Ashton and Ruby.
There was also lots of pretend fighting.
Pretty much they kept us entertained the entire weekend.
Ruby once again was her happy social self.
She spent lots of time with Nana, exploring the entire upstairs, playing with her favorite toy (a small basketball), and watching the chaos.
She also learned to wave while we were there, which we all thought was the cutest thing any of us had ever seen.
T-Rex got to make the trip with us too. He loved the airplane ride and pretty much everything about Nana and Pop-Pop's.
Due to the sleeping arrangements there were some early mornings.
So, my dad and I took advantage and hauled the girls to my favorite local donut shop, Lafeen's.
Almost made being woken up at 6:00 am worth it. And it was just a happy coincidence they all packed their Elsa nightgowns. Best Cousins.
Since they would go crazy in the house if left contained for too long, we made sure they had plenty of time to run around and get their energy out.
A favorite spot is ALWAYS the trail that runs behind my parent's house.
I'm sure we frightened some other trail walkers with our numbers and loudness, but no one seemed to mind too much.
One of my most favorite places.
A new park just opened in Bellingham, so the moment it stopped raining we ventured there.
Pop-Pop was a saint and pushed Miles for at least 30 min on the swing. And I was very happy for the break.
We also had another entertaining cousin photo session while there.
Macey also made sure there was LOTS of game playing happening.
It was very obvious that my kid missed Uncle and Shaunna and were very happy to have some of their favorite playmates back.
It was a great trip and it feels good to have accomplished traveling alone with the 4 kids and actually surviving it well!
Poor little Macey though, cried herself to sleep the first night we were home because she missed Nana and Pop-Pop so much. Thank goodness they will be here in a month to ease all our pain.