The kids woke at 7:30 this day, so Nate and I also stumbled out of our futon and into the triple-shared bedroom of our kids. Jon had open gym for his high school girls volleyball team again, and both he and Nate really wanted me to come along this time. So we had planned for Tony and Lois to hang back with the kids during this adventure, and they arrived for coffee and breakfast around 8:00.
Cecelia and all of Brittany's stuffed animals from the 80s, CC was a HUGE fan.
Nate, Jon, Brittany (our photographer for the day), and myself went to the high school at 9:00. Brit took pictures but I haven't seen them yet, probably for the best, and I played with the girls (who are now approximately half of my age, kill me now). Nate and Jon played, too, and it was honestly the most fun I've had in a long time, at least for sports-related experiences;) We warmed up, practiced hitting and serving, and then we scrimmaged six on six, then five on five as girls started to leave, and eventually we were playing three on three by the end. I was pretty rusty considering I haven't played indoor volleyball in, oh....seventeen years (!!) since I graduated high school myself. But once we got loosened up, I found my mid-aged groove. Dripping in sweat, feeling my forearms pulsate from bruising that definitely never happened in high school, and tweaking my neck ever-so-slightly, we had the best time. Lots of high fives and cheering and a little trash talking between the brothers MIGHT have happened. Nate also had a series of serves that he aimed right for my head, which was fairly annoying, until I started passing them (and contributed to the horrendous bruising on my forearms). Anyway, we played hard for 3.5 hours and hobbled out of the gym at the end---boys were hobbling, too, don't worry.
Four days later, at home:
We got back home around 12:30, showered and ate lunch with everyone. Porter was having a grand old time with his grandparents and didn't want to nap but we made him anyway, around 1. Then at 2:15, it was time to go mushroom hunting with Brittany and her professional mushroom hunting father. He really does find rare mushrooms and sells them to restaurants in Oregon, brings his dog, knows all of the secret spots, etc. So our crew of Jon, Nate, Brittany, Truman, Cecelia, Tony, and myself met Brittany's dad near the forest.
We expected it to be cool in the woods but it was surprisingly warm, so we shed layers quickly. Both Truman and Cecelia had already gone mushroom hunting once on our trip, so they knew what to look for and were excellent little fungi hunters. Once I knew what Chanterelles looked like, I also found several by myself, but mostly I just wanted to take a million pictures of the scenery around us. There is something so peaceful and reassuring about being surrounded by trees and moss and sand and dirt.
By the time we reached the 'really secret' part of our trail, the mosquitos were out of control. So Brittany and I headed back with the two big kids and only got semi-lost on our way through the woods without the dudes. We ended up finding a butt load of mushrooms and the kids seriously discovered maybe 50% of our entire loot, filling a reusable grocery bag (since: Oregon).
We finished up our mushroom experience around 5pm, stopped by a vegetable co-op for Jon and Brittany (and gave the employees some mushrooms), then headed home. Porter and Lois were having a ball back at home, and then we all started making dinner for the HUGE group of friends and family that Jon and Brittany invited.
Brittany's grandma was there, her cousin with her kids, her dad, and then a lot of their friends from Florence came, too. We attempted to feed our kids early and put them to bed at 6:30, which worked quite well for the mushroom hunters...not so much for the two year old. He was screaming in his pack-n-play for several five minute intervals before I finally just let him come out and hang with us on the porch. This caused him much delight, and I think I finally put him to bed for real around 9pm.
For dinner we grilled salmon and tuna, had pasta salad, veggies, fruit, an amazing spinach and beet salad that we have since recreated in WI, a ridiculous amount of wine, and a chocolate cake. Just hanging and talking with everyone was a highlight of the trip, and I have written down that we went to bed at 11 but I could have sworn we stayed up much later than that!
Friday, July 22 | Day 9
This was a 'travel day' for us, since we weren't flying home until Saturday but we were going out of Portland again----which proved to be a brutal drive on our way in to the vacation. So we packed our clothes (i.e. jammed everything in suitcases, including clean clothes since we did laundry about three times during our trip) and loaded up Brittany's car and also our rental minivan.
A little reading and coloring with Uncle Jon before we left:
Their house, so cute and very 'Oregon'.
We said goodbye to their adorable house in Florence around 11am and caravanned up the coast to Yahachts for our first stop. Nate demanded to return to Green Salmon for coffee ('best Americano of my life') and cookies. For this first leg of our drive I was in the very back of the van with Truman, Cecelia and Porter were in the middle, then Nate and Jon were in the front. Tony, Lois, and Brittany were in B's car but we ended up switching things around because I wanted to vom after those windy roads in the back of our
Hand-holding in the van, makes me less pukey.
Looks good at the moment.
I rode with Brittany in the front of her car to Newport, which was the most adorable costal town ever, and we all stopped for lunch at Cafe Mundo. This is one of Jon and Brittany's favorite restaurants and it didn't disappoint, mostly because the kids could climb all over trees and random slides that were set up outside on the patio. It was pretty chilly next to the ocean but the food was delish (grilled cheese, yes, please).
After lunch it was time to divide and conquer the next leg of the horrible drive to Portland. Brittany and I took Porter in her car, hoping he would nap basically the entire ride and then some. Nate, Jon, Lois, Tony, Truman, and Cecelia rode in the van and stopped at the OSU 'touch pools' for some live marine animal sightings/touchings. Porter would have loved it, too, but I figured that by 2pm he really needed a long car nap and we had about three more hours on the road until Portland.
P did fall asleep in the car and Brittany and I had some much-needed girl talk time on this leg of the drive. Talking about the boys, monthly cycles, high school boyfriends, children, etc probably wouldn't have happened if we were with our husbands on this ride!
Porter woke up after an hour and a half of car napping. The first thing he said was 'touch pools?' because apparently he thought we were going there, too. Poor buddy. I found a crusty old lollipop in my bag for him which helped but then he needed my phone to watch Thomas for a majority of the drive (hello, data usage). Portland traffic was nuts yet again, and it took about four hours for us to get to our hotel, starting in Newport (this is not great time at all, FYI). But eventually we did arrive at the hotel near the airport and the three of us crashed on the beds. Not sure of the time, but maybe around 6-ish?
The rest of the crew somehow arrived just 45 minutes after us, which is awful since they spent 1.5 hours at the touch pools without us and made much better time than us. They had stopped to feed the kids, too, and I gave Porter some of the leftovers when we were all reunited. We talked about letting the kids swim in the hotel pool, but opted for the more logical route of an early bedtime since they were all pretty zonked.
Brittany had made reservations for 7pm at Ground Breaker Gastropub, so we sort of had to book it out of the hotel before the kids' bedtime. Tony willingly put them to bed for us, while Jon, Brittany, Nate and I met Brittany's mom and step-dad at dinner. Brittany eats gluten free and this restaurant is 100% gluten-free....all of the beer, everything! My mom also eats GF and so I've had my share of really gross, dry, gluten-free options. But this place was amazing!! Highly recommend, and the company at dinner didn't disappoint, either.
We said goodbye to Brittany's mom and step-dad, then the four of us youngsters (ha) put toothpicks in our eyelids to stay awake, and headed to Deschutes. I think this is probably Nate's top three favorite breweries of all times and his eyes definitely widened when we walked inside. Also, downtown Portland is super cool and hip, and I'd love to go back and stay the night for real in Portland instead of just passing through on our way out of the state. But yes, Deschutes had delicious beer (my favorite beer ever on tap! Fresh Squeezed IPA on tap is even more drool-worthy than bottled, who knew?) and it was fun to chat with just Brittany and Jon. We reminisced over the entire trip and realized that the wedding seemed like it happened months ago, since we packed this vacation full of activities. But the wedding itself was also awesome and we relived several memorable moments with the newlyweds, saying it was so very 'them'.
Deschutes! And it's a good thing I wear glasses now, or I wouldn't fit in with this group. If we stayed in Portland longer, we would have for sure needed a flannel shirt, BTW.
At midnight, we went to bed in the hotel--Nate and I with our three kids in one room, my in-laws with the newlyweds in another room. This was a horrible night of sleep, though---Cecelia slept with me and Truman with Nate in full sized beds, Porter in a pack-n-play. Cecelia started crying randomly at 2 am for an unknown reason and wouldn't stop, Truman smacked his head on the side table, and tempers ran short because we were all just so freaking exhausted and antsy to get home. Sigh.
Saturday, July 23 | Day 10
The alarm went off awfully early at 6:30 am this day. Bad moods abounded (Nate and I) but the kids somehow slept until I was forced to wake them around 8am. Nate and I showered, packed up again/tried to organize things better in the numerous suitcases, and Nate tried to eat breakfast in the hotel but it was quite picked over by this point. Jon and Tony dropped off the rental minivan since us travelers were taking an airport shuttle. We hopped on board at 8:30, saying our final goodbyes to Jon and Brittany. I was shocked that Truman didn't cry then and there, but he held it in like a champ (for now, the tears came later once we arrived to our house).
We got to the airport with plenty of time, since our flight didn't take off until 10:30 and security was a breeze. They let us keep the beloved BOB stroller this time but even that accomplishment didn't suffice for sweet Porter. He was melting down like a boss during security and even had to throw an actual temper tantrum because he wouldn't walk through the scanner thing, and I was forced to carry him (the horror). After he settled down a little and I muttered the first of many curse words under my breath, we all found coffee (nectar of the gods) and breakfast (McDonalds, not quite nectar but still satisfying).
Here goes nothing!
I also made everyone stop at a cute little souvenir shop in the airport so we could bring wine and chocolate to our neighbors who dog-sat for us. Spoiler alert: Henry did fair but he did manage to poop in the neighbor's house four days in a row and ate a TON of people food during his time down the block. He also got spoiled and was allowed to snuggle on couches, and the neighbors swore they'd have our mutt back anytime....but we won't be asking any time soon:/
We boarded our plane in Portland and sat in a similar arrangement from when we flew here: me at a window, then Porter, then Lois; Nate with the two big kids in another row; then Tony across the aisle from Nate and kids. The four and a half hours in air are a total blur, but I do recall a poopy diaper change in a tiny plane bathroom and a lot of failed attempts at naps for Porter. Plenty of snacks, screens, train books, and prayers to the travel gods happened. I don't think it was a great flight and I know when I spotted Nate snoozing away with the easy big kids, I wanted to 'let' Porter tap his daddy's head....but somehow I stopped him.
A lot of this nonsense.
Landing in Chicago at 4:30 central time felt like a gift! Until we noticed that nobody was actually exiting the plane, and the pilot came on the overhead speaker announcing that the door malfunctioned and had to be fixed. &*#%X! It was another 20 minutes sitting on the plane before we were released but it definitely felt like 20 years. We found our bags at the baggage claim, took the trolley to the parking lot, and got in our van just as heavy black clouds were descending upon Chicago. I think if our flight had been an hour later, we might have been diverted....to Milwaukee, of all places. Without our van, which would have been in Chicago. So glad that didn't happen!!
We were delirious with hunger at this point, as we pulled away from the parking lot at 6pm. The kids all fell asleep before we could stop and get dinner, so we plugged along towards Wisconsin with our growling stomachs (no real meal since 9am current time, going nine hours without a meal is like my own personal hell). Porter slept maybe 30 minutes which was his one and only nap. Can you say 'overtired?".
We pulled up to our house around 7:30pm and said 'hallelujah' in unison. Tony and Lois drove home, we unloaded a billion suitcases and turned on our air conditioner in the house since it was SWELTERING and about 90 degrees inside. The temperature change from the Oregon coast to Milwaukee was certainly shocking, going from about 65 as a high to a heat wave in the 90s!
This is when I noticed Truman crying on the couch, saying he missed Jon and Brittany. We lamented that vacations are always so much fun and saying goodbye to family just sucks. Then we ordered take out from our favorite burger joint (Gilles for the locals), ate, and put the kids to bed. I picked up Henry from the neighbors, delivered the wine and chocolate in return, and then we crashed in our own beds by 10pm.
No better feeling!
It goes without saying that this trip was seriously awesome, despite the sucky-ness of the actual travel. I will summarize by mentioning a few things:
-Ten days seemed like it would be way too long before we left, but it turned out to be the perfect amount of time to be gone. Anything less would have felt too rushed, especially since the days of travel took a lot out of us.
-If we could do it again, we would try to fly out of Milwaukee, not O'Hare, and attempt to land in Eugene, not Portland. That will mean a layover somewhere but would take the dreaded drive to/from Portland out of the equation. This was basically a destination wedding for us with fourteen hours of travel, door-to-door. Anytime you clock numbers like that, with three children in tow, you know it is going to be brutal. Even with four adults to help, it just isn't fun to travel with small children (in my humble opinion). Someday it will be easier, like when Porter is four years old or something.
-Oregon is a badass state. I can see why Jon and Brittany love it so much. I still wish they'd move to Wisconsin, and I know they try to tempt us with moving to Orgeon. Ain't happening, though! We love the midwest too much and will happily travel to the west for vacations....just not every year, but we WILL be back!
-When we return, I will make sure to pack cooler weather clothes. One hoodie per child and no pants for anyone was a silly choice with costal temps in the 50s. I guess I just didn't believe the forecast when we packed at home, during abnormally high Wisconsin temps!
-Favorite parts: besides the wedding itself, it has to be eating the freshest seafood and partaking in Oregon wine. Also, bumming on the beach was a major highlight, plus sand dune boarding and dune buggy-ing were not boring. Oh, we just enjoyed all of the activities so much!
Thanks for reading along, I know vacation recaps can be horribly boring for many people but I enjoyed re-living the trip (over a month later) by typing it all out on the blog. In true 'end of summer' fashion, school starts in two days!! Expect a post on all.the.feelings with sending two kids to school this year.