Monday, October 14, 2019

Camping: Lake Quinault, July 2019

So, we went back!  This time with my sister in tow.  Since we had been at this campground before, I knew which campsites I liked, and reserved the best 2!  However, after doing a 4-day camping trip in June, 3 days at the lake, with two of those days being travel days, was not enough.  We have officially graduated to 4 day camping trips, especially if there is any significant travel.

The only photographic proof that my sister came with us.
This time, we rented kayaks in the morning and paddled around.  This was the first time kayaking with kids.  They loved it, especially Finn.  Mr. F. kept suggesting to Finn that he could rest when his arms when they got tired, and although they did, he didn't ever want to stop.  We kayaked for about an hour, although we paid for two.  (I don't know what I was thinking.  My arms could not have lasted for two, they didn't even last for one.)  However, they let us take out some paddle boards too for a bit.  It was my first time on a paddle board, and I wasn't super confident on it. We also swam a bit at the lodge swimming area where we had rented the kayaks and paddle boards.  They have a floating dock that you can swim out to and then jump off.

Enna sat in front of my sister in our kayak.

After lunch, we played in the water near our campsite.  We bought inflatables!  It was the best idea ever.  It increased the fun of playing in the lake by 100%.  Not pictured is the adult-sized Millennial Falcon inflatable which was absolutely delightful.  The water was quite brisk, and the outside temperature was in the 70's.  I was nice not needing to be fully submerged in the water to play in the water.  However, that didn't stop the kids from dunking themselves.

He thought of using the shovels as paddles to get him around.

I *think* we all slept well.  However, it has been three months since we actually went, so I can't recall.  I know that I didn't sleep well enough to make any early morning walks with my sister, like I wanted.  Nor did I stay up much past the kids' bedtime to talk as the mosquitos were a bit more active this year, and I was just trashed. No adult one-on-one time was realized.  Bummer.

I think everyone would like to make camping at Lake Quinault a yearly tradition.


Lunch: Potato salad, vegetables and hummus, fruit
Dinner: Chicken, pepper, snap pea salad, potato chips, broccoli, s'mores
Breakfast: Breakfast sandwiches, hot cocoa, kefir
Lunch: Pizza quesadillas, fruit, vegetables, hummus
Dinner: Italian burgers with mozzarella, potatoes, cauliflower, s'mores
Breakfast: Pancakes, bacon, hot cocoa, kefir
Lunch: Rice cakes, lunch meat, veggies, crackers

Friday, October 11, 2019

July 2019

Playing with momma's hair:

Eating 4th of July dessert which was a Russian creme with fresh blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.  So delicious and relatively easy.

Fourth of July Fireworks.  Finn typed up a list of our fireworks and put them in order.  And you better believe that we followed it.  Also, notice that the kids are wearing long sleaves and pants in July.  Compared to the flushed cheeks and shorts when we celebrated the 4th in Maryland.

Making giant bubbles out of dish soap and pressure cooker silicon rings.

Next, Finn had a weeklong soccer camp.  We came to watch the tournament that they do on the last day.  I played around with my zoom lens which I hardly ever use.  I have no idea why.  Enna had a curiosity camp and gymnastics that she did in July.  However, I don't have any pictures of those.

And we finished mid-July with our local library's summer reading program by reading 100 hours!  We earned free t-shirts!

We finished the month camping at Lake Quinault which will be its own separate post.  July was busy and about killed me.

Friday, September 20, 2019

June activities and camping near Mt. St. Helens

Let's pretend that it is 1815, and we are back in town after rusticating in the country for the summer.  I can imagine that it would be completely normal in 1815 to ask about your acquaintances about their country activities of the past few months: How were the various estates running? Were they in need of some new horseflesh? And did they tour the Lake District as planned?  I have heard that the Lake District is particularly stunning during that time of year.

In this frame of mind, it is completely natural to share what our summer activities were now in September.  (Unfortunately, they did not include a tour of the lake district.)  We will start with June and work our way forward.  Expect a lot of photos.  Since I am no longer using Flickr, I am going to put most of them in this post instead!

In June, I went on a ton of field trips with the kids' classrooms. There were so many that they interfered with one another, and I had to decide which one to go on.  With Enna's class we went to the bus barn, the fire department, and the seashell museum/beach.  With Finn's class, I went to the local library where they learned about the summer reading program and all the types of materials you can check out.  I won't lie, some of those trips were more interesting than others.

The kids actually missed the last couple of days of school.  Due to our crazy snow in February, there were snow days tacked on to the end of school.  Unfortunately, I had already made reservations for camping back in January.  The kids were inclined to be grumpy about the fact, but then I reminded them that we were going CAMPING, which is way more fun than the last couple of days of school. 

Kids *in whiny, heartbroken tones*: But mom, we are going to miss field day!
Me *exasperated*: We will be camping, which is, like, four whole field days!

After camping at Mt. Rainier, I made an unofficial goal to try to camp at all the major peaks in Washington state.  This summer we made headway on that goal and camped near Mt. St. Helens.  This was also our first time going for three nights instead of two.  In the past, no one has slept well during camping, and so by the end of two nights, we are ready to kill each other.  The kids are getting older, and sleep seems to be less of an issue.  In the end, it worked really well.  So well in fact that the kids forgot that we normally camp only two nights and complained during our other camping trips that it was too short.  Go figure.  This camping trip was extra special in that I had some sort of bronchial infection and was sick, sick, sick.  I brought with me all the meds and the super-strength cough drops and thus armed, I made it out alive.

The first day, we drove up the East side of Mt. St. Helens to Windy Ridge interpretive site where you can see the destruction of the 1980 eruption and the log filled spirit lake.  On a clear day, you can see the crater and lava dome.  However, it was not a clear day when we went.  There is a steep staircase to climb to get to the overlook viewpoint.  I thought I was going to die as I slowly ascended the stairs behind my young children running up the steps with relative ease.  My lungs were burning, and I was so weak from being sick.

Parenting fail: we forgot to grab bag with all the coats, etc. and like the name suggests, Windy Ridge is windy and cold.  Mr. F. gave his jacket to Enna.

Luckily, we had an emergency poncho in the car which provided *some* protection for Mr. F.  He was loud, however, but stylish!  ;)

The hillside was covered in these beautiful wild flowers!

Here I am dying because of all the stairs. Not a recommended activity for someone who has bronchitis!

The *view* of Mt. St. Helens.

On top of Windy Ridge

This awesome picture of spirit lake and all the logs covering it was taken by Mr. F. through his binoculars.

Spirit Lake.  You can see the logs along the perimeter.  You might think it is beach, it is not.
After driving up to Windy Ridge, we hiked a short trail in an old growth forest with lovely, towering cedars.

Our personalities captured.

The second day we went the opposite direction from our campsite, to visit Lower and Middle Lewis River Falls.  (There is an upper Lewis River Falls, but we didn't see it.)  The falls were incredible.  I want to go back when the kids are older to really get in the water and play.  This time, I was more of an anxious mother hen.  (And we weren't really dressed appropriately to take advantage of the water.)  The signage and other information I read regarding the distance between falls was misleading and inaccurate.  We were expecting the hike between the lower and middle falls to be closer together.  It was not, and it took us a lot longer to hike it than planned.  As a result, instead of enjoying the middle falls, Mr. F. ran back to the lower falls and our van so he could drive and meet at the middle falls and not need to hike back.  This was key to the sanity of us all.

Lower Lewis Falls

"Kids! Smile for the camera!" And this is what I get.

Middle lewis falls.  I Carefully cropped out the hoards of tourists also taking pictures and bathing.
They day we drove home, we stopped by the Ape Caves to explore and hike the lower caves.  (The upper Ape cave hike is longer and less smooth.)  That was super cool.  However, it is really hard to judge distance in a cave.  We walked what seemed like forever to get to the end.  We even stopped some people who were on their way back to ask how much longer it was going to be.  The kids were disappointed that they didn't see any bats.  It was pretty crowded (on a Sunday), and I am glad we didn't go any later as it was filling with even more people.

The biggest news of the trip was that Enna learned to ride her bike without training wheels on our camping trip! She was trying to ride her bike with training wheels around the campsite, but kept getting stuck with the uneven ground, and dirt roads.  Exasperated, we took off the training wheels since they were causing more trouble than help.  The first evening was rough as she had trouble steering and pedaling at the same time.  But the next day, she had it down and was soon zooming around the campground by herself and racing her brother.  It was so exciting!  I really wanted her to learn, but our street is too hilly, and we hadn't taken the time to go somewhere else to practice.  This was the perfect place and opportunity.

Other campsite activities involved kicking around the soccer ball with dad.  The kids have told me that they want more time at the campsite!  I plan too many other activities when all they want to do is hang out and play near our tent.  Note to future self!

And because I appreciate knowing the nitty gritty details of other people's camping trip down to what they ate, here is our menu:

Day 1
Lunch: egg salad, vegetables, fruit (apples/grapes)
Dinner: chicken, pepper, snap pea salad, hashbrowns, s'mores

Day 2
Breakfast: breakfast burritos (prepped at campsite using leftovers hashbrowns), hot coco, kefir
Lunch: Lunch wraps, fruit, vegetables, hummus
Dinner: taco salad with frozen taco meat, chips, toppings, steamed cauliflower, pudgie pies

Day 3
Breakfast: pancakes, bacon, hot cocoa, kefir
Lunch: taco quesadillas
Dinner: hamburgers with buns, broccoli, potato chips, s'mores

Day 4
Breakfast: breakfast sandwiches in pie iron, hot cocoa, kefir
Lunch: premade grain and bean salad, veggies, fruit


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