I have to blame it all on my cute little sis-in-law Sheri. She had this weird idea that all the grownups in my family should get together and go on a family trip so that we could spend time together with my mom, who is living with steadily worsening Alzheimer's. I have to say, at the beginning of this, that Sheri is so wonderful. We aren't even her own family but she is dedicated enough to us to want to get the ball rolling for us to spend some time together. Which makes her the most real kind of family there is.
Wow. Where to begin? It was a journey in and of itself just to get all 6 Romneys plus 3 spouses to find a date and place to go on vacation, say nothing of the effort it took for all of us to find babysitting and organize the details of the trip like cars and food. But....I'm just going to skip all of that because it really isn't all that interesting and I'm sure every trip of this kind involves similar stories for everyone.
Though we considered several locations including Cabo...(part of me would have liked to go there and maybe will at some point...soon....) we ended up choosing a small resort community on the coast of Washington called Seabrook. It is sort of like DayBreak for vacationers - just a pretty little seaside neighborhood nestled in pretty much the middle of nothing much but some logging towns, an old Air Force base and some trailer parks. Doesn't sound especially pleasant but I have to say, pretty much anything on the coast of Washington is so green and beautiful and unbelievably lush that I'm sold. Plus we were just a quick stroll down to the beach where we went for many many walks, strolls, jaunts and even a few saunters.
I do need to take a moment to mention that I have never before left all three of my kids for one night before, not to mention FIVE. I had some anxiety about doing this; partly for my kids and partly for all my friends from whom I was asking for help. So much so that as I was driving the kids to their first sleepover location I was nearly hyperventilating with nerves. And as soon as we got there, despite the fact that I was expecting tears and sad goodbyes, the kids all leaped out of the car and tore off to play without even saying goodbye and basically didn't bat an eye about my absence for the rest of the trip. Okay, there were probably a few tears here and there but no major meltdowns or catastrophes, and thus I have learned that I am going to leave over night more often.
So basically we just had almost six very lovely relaxing days where this really weird thing happened in which I had all this, what's it called again? Oh yeah...alone time with my husband. I vaguely remember that! Plus spending great times with my siblings and parents. (Sheri and Whit, you count as siblings. I love you like the sisters you are.)
Here are some of my highlights from the trip:
Okay, let's get the embarrassing one over with first. The minute my brother suggested Seabrook and I saw on a map that it was within driving distance of Forks, Washington, (the setting for the story of Twilight,) Sheri and I both got a little gleam in our eye. The gears in our brains started working on how we were going to get the other seven members of our family up there as well as appear nonchalant about our interest in visiting. The first part of that scheme went well, the second....not so much. I can't deny it. I was pretty excited to visit Forks, though really truly it wasn't so much a pilgrimage for me as it was a desire to witness what was up there and say I had visited. And what is up there, you ask? I'll tell you. A small little town with a sign in pretty much every shop window advertising a Twilight tour, food item, souvenir or some other sign of vampire life. I even ordered "The Bella Burger" at the local burger joint and received with my meal a small set of vampire teeth. It was kind of hilarious. And wonderful. We stopped at the Welcome to Forks sign, the high school and a big trinket shop with clerks that knew every aspect of those books inside and out. (I listened in as they were talking with some other customers.) I really wanted to purchase the weirdest keepsake I could find but just couldn't bring myself to spend money on the stuff they had in there. I ended up with a magnet. Wah wahhh....
I do have to say that our drive TO Forks was possibly more adventurous and exciting than our actual visit. Somebody's GPS took us on a winding tour through a forested Reservation that took us on such small dirt roads we weren't sure we were really on our way to anywhere. It was really fun, actually.
More fun than the trip to Forks was the trip to 1st Beach on the nearby Reservation, La Push. (Book 1 Chapter 5.) Just kidding. Really. Anyway, what a spectacular series of beaches lie along that coast. It kind of totally made my vacation to see the magical combination of rain forest, beach and mountain all combined into a spectacular afternoon.
Okay, other fun adventures of our trip. Like I said, we spent lots of time on the beach near Seabrook. We watched quite a lot of Olympic coverage. We played frisbee on the lawn, we ate lots of m&m's, we tried multiple times to eat at the local restaurant and never did have a great experience there. We even drove into Aberdeen for an afternoon showing of my new favorite movie, Moonrise Kingdom. I have never been in a theater with only five rows of seats. I have seen home theaters bigger than that one but really it ended up being completely charming, especially because mom shared her red vines with me.
Oh yeah, we spent a great day on Lake Winnipesaukee. Wait, no that's not it. (Name that movie.) Lake Quinault, it was. It's not too far from Seabrook and has an old school lodge nestled right there between the road and the water which looks like the place in Dirty Dancing and was built in the 20's. It was kind of stinky inside but held not only the perfect bear toy to bring home to Bundle but also provided canoes and kayaks for rent. Our family spent about an hour on the water rowing our hearts and arms out. Everyone was in a sea kayak but me and my folks and I would like to say that canoes with three people are harder to row than sea kayaks with two. But it was really fun - I sang all my favorite old camp songs my mom taught me when we were little and she joined in, both of us at the top of our lungs. Loved that time with my mom.
So pretty much we did your basic trip stuff of eating together, talking and reading....I will confess that Sheri hoped we would all stay up late laughing our heads off and telling stories but we are some seriously tired grown ups who needed some sleep! We did a lot more going to bed and sleeping in than we did playing games and laughing. But honestly, that was just what we needed.
Oh yeah, there was this fun little thing - there are a couple of different ways to get down to the beach from the houses in Seabrook. One way is a prominent path that leads down some cool stairs and it's quite scenic. But there is another secret way that took us a couple of days to discover. It's a little winding path that takes you first through a forest that looks like it could be either on the forest moon of Endor or enchanted and full of gnomes and sprites. In fact, that is what everyone thinks because the path is lined with little gnome homes and is completely adorable. On the last day there Margaret, Sheri, Peter and I built our own little gnome home back in the trees. I just love the woods on the coast.
|Ours - hard to see, but trust me, it was fabulous.|
In summing up this marathon post, I just want to say that I love my family and friends and thank them all for making our trip possible. I hope we get to do it again sometime!