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Family Weekend Getaway Part 4: Cannon Beach

Driving home from our weekend getaway, we drove up the coast.  We were looking forward to taking Julie to the ocean for the first time.  We weren’t sure where we were going to stop, but just planned to stop when Julie woke up from her nap in the car.  We ended up stopping at Cannon Beach, where we had never been.

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It was a beautiful day, and warm at the beach.  Brandon and I enjoyed walking in the sand an the waves.  Julie, however, clung to us, and did not want to be put down.  She did not like the sand on her feet, and kept trying to wipe it off.  Brandon picked up some sand in his hand, and she touched it, but, we weren’t about to build a sandcastle.  Julie also didn’t like having her feet put in the water, although that was better received than the sand.

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So, we didn’t have a long trip on the beach, and we’ll need to try again, to let Julie warm up to the beach experience.  It was a beautiful day at Cannon Beach, and a great way to end our weekend.



After all of the fun memories made, all that was left was to drive home.  We went over the beautiful Astoria bridge, and up the coast towards home.  We had a wonderful mini family vacation.  Can’t wait until we can get out of our routine and make some special memories again!

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Family Weekend Getaway Part 3: Tillamook

We woke up Sunday morning and packed up everything from our hotel room.  We then enjoyed our delicious continental breakfast before checking out.  Then we hopped in the car to go see the Tillamook cheese factory!


We had a great tour of the cheese factory.  It was neat to read some of the history of the Tillamook Bay area, and how Tillamook became the company it is today.  Watching the cheese go through the factory was fascinating, between seeing the large vats for storing the milk, and watching the large blocks of cheese go along the conveyer belt being cut down to size and packaged.


We enjoyed our delicious cheese samples.  Julie’s very favorite is the extra sharp white cheddar.  We got some squeaky cheese curds and milk chocolate fudge for the road.  Then Brandon and I each got a scoop of Tillamook ice cream.  We felt a little silly eating ice cream at about 10 AM, but it was a rich and delicious special treat.


The cheese factory was very interesting, and a mouth watering experience.   We look forward coming back again!

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Family Weekend Getaway Part 2: Portland

After our nice hike around Mt. St. Helens we drove down to Portland, where Brandon’s cousins graciously hosted us.  We went out for a delicious Mexican meal, and were introduced to Salt & Straw for an indulgent ice cream treat.  Julie was very intrigued by all the toys in the playroom at the house.  When getting her ready for bed, I asked where the bathroom was so we could brush her teeth. At hearing the words “It’s through the playroom” Julie tried to push her way past me, ran  into the wall and fell down.  After such a full day, Julie had a wonderful night’s sleep.  Brandon and I were able to enjoy the beautiful evening on the porch, chatting with our cousins.  It was very relaxing and fun to catch up.

The next morning we had a delicious breakfast at Jim and Patty’s.  Brandon nearly completed the “Freight Train” breakfast.  Afterward, we walked to church and enjoyed some time of worship.  We kept Julie with us, instead of putting her in a new Sunday School.  She thoroughly enjoyed clapping and dancing during worship!!  She also enjoyed climbing up and down the stairs, and playing with some toys in the children’s check in area.


After church we got all packed up into the car again. Julie was given a few stuffed animals friends and other gifts from her cousins.  Those little boys are quite generous and kind to “Baby Julie” as they called her.  We then went to pick up Aaron, and have lunch with him.  We had a delicious meal at Dick’s Kitchen.  Julie, however was not a fan of their homemade pickles, where as I was tempted to eat the slice that she threw on the floor.  Nom, nom, nom, that place is good!  At lunch we got to hear some more details about Aaron’s mission trip, and what God is doing in his life.  It was very encouraging, and we’re so glad we got to see him while he’s there.  You can read more about Aaron’s summer activities here:

After lunch it was 3:00 PM, so we decided to head on to our next stop, and have a relaxing evening at our hotel.  It was a beautiful scenic drive out to Tillamook.  Driving on Sunday, it was nice to be going the opposite direction of all the traffic.  I don’t think I’d ever seen so many campers and RVs in  my life, as they drove past us from their weekend.  We were glad to have Monday off.


We checked into our hotel, jumped on the bed and explored the room a bit.  Julie really liked turning the tv on and off, and on again.  We had dinner at the hotel restaurant, and then it was time for bath and bed.  But, Julie did not like that we put her in her bed to sleep and then continued to be in the room and awake.  Despite her being very tired, she stayed away in her pack and play until we were all ready for bed, so baby girl had a late night.

Our phones didn’t have service in Tillamook, so we felt being pretty relaxed, like a real vacation, being off grid for a few hours.  We all had a nice, relaxing night’s sleep in our hotel.

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Family Weekend Getaway Part 1: Mt. St. Helens

This last weekend was a wonderfully rejuvenating time for our family of three.  Brandon took off Monday from work, and we had an exciting little road trip where we made some great memories together!

Our first strop was Mt. St. Helens.  Neither Brandon or I had ever been, and we were excited to see this unique mountain up close.  It was awe-inspiring to see how the landscape was still greatly affected by the mountain’s eruption 34 years earlier.  The contrast from the old forest, and the new vegetation was breathtaking.


We ended up going on a hike, which ended up being a bit more ambitious than we had planned.  But, it was a fun challenge, and it felt really good to be out in nature, exploring.  I was so grateful that my body was feeling good, and I had energy to spare as we walked the trail, as a couple of weeks earlier I had made a couple trips to the ER for Ulcerative Colitis issues.  While I was definitely out of shape, I was pleasantly surprised at how I was able to complete this trail, and enjoy the beautiful scenery that it took us through!



We hiked the Lava Canyon loop trail.  It was stunning to see the rushing river carving out a path through the islands of hardened lava left from St. Helens’ eruption.  At some places the water was so clear it looked like a hot tub you might like to relax in with all the nice bubbles.  But, I have a feeling it might have been a bit cold.


Julie enjoyed picking up sticks and pine cones along the trail, looking down at the rushing river from on the bridge, and riding on Daddy’s shoulders as we hiked along.  She also did a little hiking of her own.  When we were nearly to the end of the loop she was climbing up the path, on rather tired toddler legs.  She fell down abruptly, and scraped both her knees for the first time.  Then, she stood right up, dusted herself off, and kept walking without so much as one tear.  We were very proud of our little trooper!


The trail took us over a fun suspension bridge.  Julie was even a brave little girl and began to walk out on it with Daddy’s help, but she quickly decided that it was better for Daddy to carry her little toddler self across the swinging, wobbly bridge.


One of the funniest moments of our trip was on the car ride the first day.  Julie was fussing a bit in the car before lunch, and we weren’t sure what was wrong.  She had been playing with the velcro on her new shoes.  When I went to get her out of the car, I saw that she had velcroed one foot to the other, and was unable to get them apart!  I laughed until I cried at that.  Poor baby girl was frustrated because she stuck her feet together. Haha.

All in all, we loved Mt. St. Helens, and look forward to visiting again.  There is a lot more to see there!  Such a beautiful place to enjoy God’s creation!  Perhaps a camping trip will be in our future.  We didn’t spot Sasquatch, but maybe next time.