One of our friends booked an Airbnb (the last one available Labor Day Weekend anywhere near here!) We packed everything we could on Thursday night to be able to leave Friday morning first thing. We traded in a raining Seattle for a sunny Bainbridge Island and the rest is history. We drove to Sekiu, checked into our Airbnb, and then headed straight for Hobuk. Tyler ordered a new surfboard - a shortboard. Shortboards are kind of trixy, so Washington State waves would be a challenge, but this board could at least be stored in our apartment and taken out when we wanted to go off for a weekend. He has since named it "Squirly," and I can officially say it's his newest love.
Tyler grabbed Annie and his board and took off for the ocean. She loved it - riding waves on his back - until she fell in and screamed the entire rest of the afternoon. She wouldn't go near any waves and kept screaming, "Issss tummmmmeeen. Issss tummeeeeennnn." Tyler surfed and we all dug for crabs and hung at the tide pools. I stepped on a wall of sea anemones that spit juices all over me. After sunset we grabbed some burgers and headed back to the house. We were greeted by the Cheungs. The Longhursts came a bit later. I went to bed early and at midnight the Petersons arrived. The fun was just about to begin.
Saturday began with delicious breakfast, hanging at the beach off the house, the brightest most brilliant orange-colored starfish I have ever seen (spotted by Alex), a meditation session, and lunch.
For our meditation session I walked everyone through a breathing/mindfulness routine, using Nicole's book on Mindfulness. Pete, Courtney, and Tyler laid on the living room floor on their backs around the coffee table. Luke sat against the wall. Nicole and Alex were making lunch (an awesome Thai chicken noodle soup!) As soon as the youngin's stopped giggling (ahem...Courtney and Tyler) we began counting our breaths, and length of breaths, not forcing thoughts in or out, just letting them be and counting again. We are trying to control our crazy by coming back to our breath and controlling our mind and emotions, and this session was the perfect start to a weekend where us girls could talk about how hard it can be to come back to our breath. "Do the dishes to do the dishes." This resonated with me: If I can't do the dishes to do the dishes I will never enjoy my cup of tea. I will be constantly thinking about, and waiting for, the next thing. I will not live in the present moment, or be able to fully enjoy it. "Do the dishes to do the dishes."
After lunch we headed back to Hobuk. Some rented 5/4 wetsuits and long boards. Tyler's mom overnighted us 2 of their 3/2 wetsuits for our trip. Which was perfect! Tyler spent two full days in the water. His new board was fun and tricky and he loves it - it's definitely a challenge. Melanie mentioned to me, "We are not beach people but I love it here. Everyone is so happy." That is exactly why we love the beach - it's easy! Everything about it is entertainment: tide pools, waves, boards, sunshine, wind, sand, hot dogs, clouds, everything my family needs to be happy is found at the beach. Kids don't fight at the beach. We love it there, too.
I was in charge of dinner that night, which I had thrown in the crock pot. We had shredded chicken tacos, that tasted good mostly because everyone was starving after having surfed and played allllll day. The kids went to bed and the grown ups spent the evening eating candy and cracking up over games that may or may not have included any cheating...
Day three was just as wonderful. French toast and gobs of peaches for breakfast. Everyone raced out the door to try to make it to a church service. We were stunned to find out the church services started an hour later than we anticipated. We found a Presbyterian church and were greeted with the warmest welcome I've ever known. The 11 of us quadrupled their typical audience. I played some prelude music (quite proudly after having listened to an NPR talk about creativity. A musician, and neuroscientist, connected a piano to an MRI machine and hooked up Jazz players to study their brains and "find the source of creativity." While sitting at the piano and clunking through a hymn book I started playing around, playing what I wanted and hoped my brain would create. It was the smoothest part of all of my playing, and now I want to practice that more!) The kids ran a little rampant through the building going in and out of the "Cry room" that is connected to the chapel by a glass window.
One of our favorite stories of the morning: On both ends of their Sacrament table were two tall, lit candles. Toward the beginning of the service the pastor was welcoming all of us, asking what religion we came from, and talking about how excited they were to have us (again, there had to be only 5 people, give or take, who come each week and that includes the pastor and his wife.) While he was moving through introductions and announcements Zeke slipped up to the front of the room. When Pete and Courtney saw him he was standing behind one of the candles, took a deep breath, and held it in his large puffed out cheeks. Pete said recounting the experience and pointing a very serious finger, "I gave him the meanest dad face I possibly could, letting him know that if he blew that candle out...!!!!!" No harm done, God wasn't blown out of the chapel, and Zeke returned to the last pew in the room where we all sat.
And, during the moment of silence, Jonah started screaming his head off - I think about a truck.
I learned an 87-year-old lady's life story at the end of the meeting. As she walked by with her walker Annie about plowed her over to get to the popcorn. I grabbed Annie so she didn't shove the little lady over and tried to tell her to be careful as this lady was fragile! The lady, very naturally patient and loving, talked about how beautiful all the children are and how thankful she was that they were all there. She said she was a foster mom of 50 years and loved having children in her home, she said it's what she's good at. She said with a smile, "I still have my license. Sometimes they call me asking if I can take a child but I tell them 'no.' They don't know how old I am. When the babies get to walking they're a little harder to take care of." She was the sweetest thing I have ever seen. She kept saying, "You have to keep your eyes on them - they are here one minute and gone the next!" and "I love children." and "Children are so wonderful." She was not giving me advice, or talking at me, she was very sincerely stating the practicality of children. She spoke truth! I could see she was endlessly patient now - maybe practice really does make you perfect, or better at least! She is now raising her 10-year-old granddaughter - she has had her 10 years. This sweet lady showed me pictures of her recent 2-month trip to Everett, and then said, "If you're ever in the area stop by! Lake Ozette. 13 miles up. Person." I'll stop by one day.
I enjoyed the service. The pastor said meaningful and sincere prayers, and because their sacrament is a bit different from ours I paid more attention to what was happening. I was more present during that sacred time than I have been in awhile. I'm glad to have had that experience that has opened my eyes to the sacredness of that performance in my own life each week.
After church they served popcorn and coffee and mingled. Next week they are having a potluck after church. We left with happy hearts and ready to get our surf on.
Here is all the fun from a combined two days:
These last few photos are overcast - Sunday was cold. Saturday was sunny and beautiful. We had planned the Cheungs family photoshoot for Sunday evening back at the house in the pink sunset. When we were having so much fun at the beach on Sunday, and it was cloudy, we all came to a group decision that clouds didn't make the best pictures so we should cancel the shoot and enjoy the last day, stress free, on the beach until as lated and we chose. Cheers erupted! As the evening progressed and we all had been surfing, and subsequently were freezing, we each packed up and headed home. When we arrived it was sunny! and perfect picture time. I told Nicole if she wanted a blow dryer I would go door to door in search of one and we would make these photos happen. They kicked it into high gear to get themselves ready, I ran to the neighbors, and sweet Betty happily passed over her hair dryer. When everyone was ready, and with a few nudges from the photographer to "go now!" we literally ran out the door for the beach.
Here is one example of what came of it:
Our last day was spent eating loads of leftovers for breakfast (one part of it being left over egg/chili casserole that was soo good), and smoothies!, cleaning up the Airbnb, and then heading straight for the woods. We drove to the Sol Duc Hot Springs. It's a resort, ya know. Loads of cabins adorn the front lawn and it costs $14 per adult and $10 per kid. There are 4 pools: 98 degrees, 99 degrees, 70 degrees, and 105 degrees. Think: "pools" containing loads of people (I tried to write sardines with a strikethrough but this blog won't allow it) shoved into these tiny just-larger-than-hot-tub sized [cess] pools. The kids loved it and the adults tried not to breathe much - sulfur is a wonderful smell...or has healing properties...or...??? We had a heck of a time and then were sure to shower well before touching...anything.
I've only known hot springs to be in an actual river so, these were fun...
After the hot springs the Petersons and Longhursts headed for other adventures and the Cheungs and us headed for Lake Crescent. The boys, of course, with their surf boards, ran in head first, into the lake, with their surf boards, the boys, into the lake, that was only 1 foot deep, with their surf boards. And while running in they say the line we've all heard before: "Seriously, it's so warm! It's warmer than the hot springs! Seriously! You guys have to come in! It's so warm!!!"
(The lake actually does drop off to 50 feet just outside the buoys, and gets deeper from there.) They hung out paddling and chatting while Nicole and I sat on the shore gabbing and taking ridiculous amounts of pictures. When Tyler and Alex headed back the kids went running for their daddies. The girls were crazy about paddling around, and the lack of waves of course. Jonah loves sitting on the shore finding all sorts of treasures, Annie had a good time sucking lake water through a straw, and Kate is always along for the ride.
The photos of Nicole in the middle of the lake are dubbed, "I am the zoom." These prime lenses are amazing in every way, but you can't zoom in. While sitting on the shore not getting the shots she wanted she said, "This is where photography gets interesting. I am the zoom." She hiked her pants up and walked into the lake after her loves.
Our trip was really, really fantastic. We had an amazing time. We love our friends and we love living in this beautiful place.