Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Don't Mess with Texas!

Over the past three weeks, it has been noticed that Austin has transformed into a rather dangerous weapon. Within a short period of time and with only five Kempo Karate lessons under his belt, he has already worked himself into a yellow belt. 

Well on his way to an orange belt, he has already mastered the:
~Japanese sword
~Knee of Vengeance
~Fang of the Cobra
~Breaking the sword
~Kempo shield
~Twisting Talon
~Returning the Dragon

Austin says the key to success is, "Full concentration, proper breathing, and no distractions!" :)

You definitely do not want to mess with Texas...All those who have tried (and survived) would tell you that this guy means serious business and the chances of victory are slim ;)
Though he is currently of rather small stature, he is proof that size has nothing to do with it :)
His sisters now feel a lot safer walking the streets of Brush Prairie knowing that their personal body guard is ever on duty :) 

He wanted to acknowledge the amazing help that he has gotten from his instructors: 
~Jeff Sunderland
~Stan Hatfield 
~Jonathon Spafford

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Weekend at the Beach

Thursday afternoon, the Spafford van pulled out of the driveway headed for the best place on earth!
We had just gotten our van back from the mechanics that day and by one o'clock that afternoon, we were packed up and ready to go :)
The drive up to Manzanita Beach was just beautiful with acres and acres of farm land stretching out before us! 

I knew that we were getting closer to our cabin as the excitement and chatter in the van rose to a higher pitch. Kevin Kern albums were playing softly in the background those familiar tunes that everyone recognizes as "official Manzanita music". I was starting to see the familiar street signs that lead up to our little B's nest cabin; the place that has been our vacation spot for these past 14 years! "Treasure Cove", "Beeswax", and finally "Pacific", the last turn into to our street :)

I also knew that as our favorite spot in all the world got nearer and nearer, dad was getting more and more relaxed. We had no schedules, no internet, and no stress from work!!! We always tease dad that we can tell when he's getting too much rest because he stars to really tease mom :)  I could hear him and mom going back and forth up front as to whether we were going to eat out at our favorite pizza spot or head straight to the cabin to eat the chili that we'd pre-made :) Mom's reasoning overruled, and we decided to stick with our chilly plans ;)

Our Cabin :)
We arrived in perfect timing at our little cabin. Immediately Nana and Papa were taken through every inch of the house and shown the place that we all love so well! Jonathon's first comment when he entered the house was, "Ah, it smells like home" :)

Nana said that the last thing necessary to make this trip perfect was that we needed the sun to stand still so that no time would pass at all :)
Papa said that everything was just perfect except for one thing...he was lacking a cup of hot coffee :)

We were all in total agreement. We decided that we would all head downtown for a cup of coffee, We first hurriedly unloaded the cars and then all headed straightaway to Manzanita town. When we got there, we found that both of our favorite coffee shops were closed. But, it just so happened that Jonathon had been planning on treating everybody to pizza at our favorite pizza spot, Marzano' in the end, Dad's pizza cravings were satisfied :)

As we all sat around the table chatting, everybody stopped to listen when the restaurant began playing "Annie's Song" by John absolute favorite of papa's :) 

I'm telling you, there's no place on earth that serves a meaner pizza then Marzano's with their very thin crusts, and the thin layer of cheese, topped with thinly sliced fingerling potatoes and prosciutto ham :) Papa agreed that it was the best "cup of coffee" that he'd ever had ;)

That afternoon, we took our first walk on the beach with Nana and soon as Papa got near enough to the ocean, he took off running :)

Our table at "Bread and Ocean" ;)
That first morning, we headed out at 7 to get a cup of coffee at the best place in town, "Bread and Ocean". When everybody had served themselves a cup of sleepy monk coffee and ordered one of their delicious pastries, we settled around a table in the backroom and slowly woke up one sip of coffee at a time ;)

We always try to make it first to Bread and Ocean so that we can buy out all of their day old breads ;) 

Papa was so full of energy and wanted to take in every scene at the beach...he took three walks just that morning!

When we got home, mom whipped up a breakfast of fried potatoes, sausage, eggs and homemade bread and we all sat around for a family breakfast. 

We didn't care what we did that day, we were just happy to all be at the beach together showing Nana and Papa some of our favorite places in the world. We took all of our traditional pictures in front of all of our traditional spots :) 

We decided to stick around Manzanita Beach and kind of take it easy for the first day. Around noonish, we headed into Manzanita town and visited some of the shops along the way. The trip would not have been official without a stop at our favorite milkshake shop known for its superb Tillamook ice cream :) 

Milkshakes ;)
You may have already discovered this fact after following my blog throughout the years, but the Spafford family is rather particular about all of their traditions. And they have been only known to increase in number throughout the years as each new place is discovered. 

Dad got to feeling a little antsy as we sat around the cabin after we finished walking around town, so we decided to head to Manhattan beach. The jetty is always the highlight of that beach...that and the fact that you can usually find the most unbroken sand dollars there. 

Manhattan Beach

There was plenty of time for resting up at the cabin...I even got dad to read through a good part of a book while we were there ;) 

In the evenings, Papa gave a devotional on the study of Philippians. Then we all gathered into the living room and watched a bit more of "North and South" :)

Day #2...the early morning sun soon wore off and we were left with some rather chilly weather. As we sat around our traditional place for coffee, it began to drizzle outside. By the time we left, the rain had dissipated and we were left with an overcast sky :) But that didn't stop our plans from moving forward that day. We were heading up to Astoria :) 

The view from where the column sits
It's about a 45 minute drive from our little cabin to Astoria. We decided that first off we would take Nana and Papa to the upper edge of town where the Astoria column is. No sooner had we walked into the gift shop to pay for our parking then the sky opened up and there was a huge downpour. The tiny gift shop quickly filled up with people wanting to escape the rain. 

Nana and Papa weren't sure if they wanted to conquer all 164 steps up the column that day so we contented ourselves with enjoying the beautiful view from below. The panorama view overlooks the mouth of the Columbia river as well as Astoria's Megler bridge. 

World's best fish 'n chips

Jonathon and Nana decided that they couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit our favorite little fish 'n chips restaurant. They make the food in a little boat on the street and serve the fresh caught fish from that day :) 

Columbia River Walk
We decided since we were in Astoria, it might be kind of fun to try and locate Malarkey's old home. Malarkey is one of the easy company soldiers from WWII. Dad, Papa and I have all read his book and we were eager to see the home that he spent his childhood in. 

After making inquiries at several different places, we finally were successful at pinpointing his address. The librarian took out these old and yellowed phone books from the 1940's and found his address. When we finally drove to the spot where it was supposed to be, there was just a paved road running in the middle of a row of very old houses. 

On our way back from Astoria, the traffic got backed up so much because of an accident up ahead that most of the cars decided to turn around and head back instead of waiting there for two hours. We were half way home, but dad made the executive decision to head from there to Costco so that we could eat dinner. Most of us hadn't eaten anything since breakfast, so dad treated his famished passengers to pizza :) By the time we headed back, the road was clear and we were able to go straight to the cabin. 

It was our last evening at the beach and the night before Papa's 81st birthday. After we had finished the final episode of North and South, we stayed up playing a game of ten dice until midnight. It was only then that we could wish him an official "Happy Birthday" ;)

As always, such splendid trips always end way too soon! But we were very thankful for the time that the Lord allows us to spend there with Nana and Papa!

 "Oh, how great is Your goodness,
Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
Which You have prepared for those who trust in You" 
Psalm 31:19

The End