Vacation – II

Today is our last day on the Oregon coast, and I can already tell that leaving will be hard on all of us, but probably especially for Li. Deb commented that she thinks Li has laughed more this week than she has ever before… every single wave that catches us results in a delighted laugh. It has been a very relaxing week of doing very little: lots of time just walking and playing on the beach, chasing (and being chased by) waves, watching the surf continuously sculpt and change the beachscape. Where yesterday was our last full day here (we head south to Newport today and then to Albany to see friends this evening before starting for home on Saturday), we pretty much did nothing but hanging out yesterday and played on the beach as much as Li wanted to.

Deb and Li on the sandstone bluff at Cape Kiwanda
Deb and Li on the sandstone bluff at Cape Kiwanda

We took part of Wednesday and ventured south to Cape Kiwanda, for a change of scenery and it was definitely that: impressive surf, sandstone, and dunes. It was also surprisingly busy for mid-week in late September, and left us wanting to get back to the quiet of Rockaway Beach where we are staying. As soon as we were back, Li and I headed down to the beach to play in the waves and were treated to the highest water we’ve seen all week: lots of wave-racing, laughing, giggling, and more than just a little getting wet. Li and I got caught by a couple surprising waves that left us wet more than waist high…

This is about as hard as we've worked all week...
This is about as hard as we've worked all week...

We’ve intentionally not filled our days with much: a late afternoon stop at the Tillamook Cheese factory early in the week (and a subsequent return for ice cream), an afternoon trip to the Cape Meares lighthouse (and the Octopus tree there), and our jaunt to Cape Kiwanda mid-day yesterday. Other than that, we’ve just hung out on the beach or spent some time reading.

Renting a place here on the coast was a great choice. Having something resembling a “home” has worked really well for Li in terms of stability and has contributed greatly to a relaxing week. A washer and dryer have been a godsend to deal with changing clothes multiple times a day. We’re right on the beach — as in 10 seconds from our door — in a sort of condo building that appears to be new construction on the northern end of Rockaway Beach (the town) where they are renting four of about a dozen units, but we’ve had the place completely to ourselves almost all week (another family showed up late yesterday afternoon).

Playing in the waves on a grey afternoon
Playing in the waves on a grey afternoon

We’ve had really weather since we arrived, with lots of sun and really comfortable temperatures. Yesterday was grey and overcast, and was misting (not quite drizzling) when we hit the beach. A bit of a breeze yesterday also marked the first we’ve really seen of anything other than calm. Today looks to be dawning grey and overcast, but without the fog and mist of yesterday morning; we’ll pack and then venture down to the ocean one last time for this trip to say our goodbyes to the sand and waves…


We’re on vacation. I really like the sound of that. I’m sitting on a couch in the living room of our rented townhouse on the beach on the Oregon coast, watching the fog slowly lighten as the sun begins to come up and listening to the waves roll in, as Li and Deb sleep off the effects of 800+ miles in the car.

Eastern Oregon
Eastern Oregon @ 65mph: I had forgotten how pretty this part of the state can be...

This is our first real vacation since we got Li, and she traveled far better than we might have hoped: she did great in the car and although she took quite a bit longer to fall asleep, it lacked much of the drama of our “travels” the past few years. We stopped briefly in Boise to leave a huge bag of peaches for Deb’s folks and then made it as far as Ontario. We left Ontario after breakfast; I was reminded again of how pretty eastern Oregon (after Ontario) actually is. The rain started at The Dalles — intermittent rain, thankfully — but let up long enough for us just to get misted on at Multnomah Falls (pix coming). Heavy rain and heavy traffic through Portland (where “heavy” probably really means “light”, but you have to consider the source), and steady rain all the way to “home” on the coast.

Li saw and felt the Pacific Ocean yesterday evening for the first time. After a day and a half in the car, we grabbed a bite for dinner, found what passes for a grocery store in a tiny Oregon coast town, and then Li and I headed down to the water. It had rained all afternoon as we drove and was actually still raining when we arrived, but by the time we were done with dinner the rain had stopped and the fog had started rolling in… but we were determined we were going to the beach. Early evening, fog, surf, seagulls, and the two of us… and she laughed and giggled and ran from the waves and laughed when they caught us and washed the sand from under her feet as they slid back out.

“How big is it, Dad?” “Really big, Li; it goes all the way to China.” “Wow…”

Happy Birthday, Li!

Li's first outing on skis (Jan 2011)
Li's first outing on skis... just ahead of her 4th birthday (Jan 2011)

Today marks birthday #4 for Li, and we’re coming up on three full years with our little girl… who’s not so little these days! This has been a pretty amazing year, marked with changes galore in her life, including

  • she kicked of this year by gaining a new big brother in Mathias, our exchange student from Denmark
  • she started preschool right after Ian left for OU for college — and while she loves preschool, she’s not crazy about losing her brother (and she’s going to miss him terribly when he leaves for school in ten days)
  • she’s finally figuring out the sleep thing — early November she must have finally decided it was OK to sleep through the night in her bed in her room… and she has since ditched the crib/day bed for a “real” bed (all of which brought much rejoicing for all of us!)
  • she got out on skis for the first time in her life — just squeaked under the wire on that one, as Li and I got our for a bit of skiing in the tracks set around Tautphaus Park just yesterday

Snow Day

Another first for Li: her first snow-day for school… they called last night to let us know they were cancelling pre-school for today based on the weather. She’s going to crushed… and she didn’t sleep well last night. I think she sensed the pending disturbance in The Force: the anguish of a thousand (OK, eight, actually) pre-schoolers finding out they don’t get to go to their Thanksgiving Feast.

Turned a corner…

It’s been a long time since I’ve written much here, but I felt like this was worth writing about. For day-to-day stuff, I’ve found it simpler — despite all of Facebook’s shortcomings and things I dislike about it — to put stuff there…

Li and Monkey on her new bed
Li and sleep: no longer mutually exclusive

Li has definitely turned a corner with respect to sleep: she’s coming closer to sleeping through the night on a regular basis and she’s spending the whole night in her own room. For most of the past year or so, she’s started the night in her room in her bed but has come in and slept on the floor in our room next to our bed at some point during the middle of the night. Prior to that, it was likely to be some combination of time in her bed, time on our floor, and time in our bed. Starting a couple weeks ago, she just started spending the night in her room — sort of all of a sudden — as in the whole night. Two weeks in, and it is rare that she wakes up and fusses.

She’s sleeping; we’re sleeping. It feels odd. It feels great. It is two and a half years of prayers answered all of a sudden…