Zach and I have wanted to take the kids to the Oregon coast to see the Pacific Ocean and Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, and we just haven't had the chance to since we moved to Washington. My in-laws are visiting and my mother-in-law especially is always up for an adventure, so we thought, "why not?!" So, Thursday night, I went to the grocery store, made sandwiches, and prepared food for our beach picnic. I got directions from Google maps and loaded up the Suburban with blankets, extra clothes, boots, jackets, the stroller, and the diaper bag. We left around 9:00 a.m. on Friday morning. This was supposed to be about a 3 hour drive each way. I thought, "Perfect! We'll get there in time for lunch, enjoy our picnic, splash around in the water a bit, play in the sand a little, take a walk, and then head home in time for dinner." Um, not so much! Sometimes, "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." I swear, this is the story of my life.
Amongst construction, potty breaks and nursing the baby, it took more like 5 hours to get there. By the time we arrived, it was nearly 2:00. Everyone was starving and the kids were near "Zombie-mode" from needing a nap. My father-in-law was on edge from Zach's, er, shall we say, "aggressive" driving; Zach was annoyed from the trip taking nearly twice as long as originally anticipated; my poor mother-in-law had sat on the floor between the Captain's chairs in the second row of the car and her back had to have been killing her, and I had been sandwiched between Sophia and Asher's car seats in the third row neither being able to lean back due to their width or lean fully forward with my elbows on my knees because I would block Asher's view of the movie that we succumbed to playing to try to pacify them. So, I just sort of slouched down and balanced on the front half of the seat for the entire ride.
Don't get me wrong, the drive could have been worse, and the scenery was definitely beautiful, but we all just wanted to get there. Finally we arrived, parked the truck, and unloaded all necessary belongings, and descended the narrow, sandy stairway to the beach. Feeling guilty and mostly responsible for having talked everyone into this little excursion, I was relieved to have finally arrived. When my guilt, combined with my overwhelming surges of pregnancy hormones was about to get the best of me, I cleared the last step, and looked up to see Haystack Rock directly in front of me. Beautiful! Absolutely breathtaking! I took a deep breath of the fresh ocean air, and buried my feet in the sand that had been warmed by the afternoon sun. Ahhh! Totally worth it! Asher stripped down to his underwear and darted for the ocean and frolicked in the bone-chilling tide for longer than I could bear. Soph built her "sand fortress" while Frankie was happy to sit on blanket while wrestling with her Grandad. I held Eva, and took a mental snapshot of her "first day at the beach." We enjoyed our picnic lunch, took some pictures, and checked all of the other previously scheduled activities on the "to do" list. And, most importantly, we were together, all of us, in a place none of us had ever been to before, but, certainly, one we will not soon forget.