My apologies for the lengthiness of this post. Some memories are just too great to put into words ;)
Day 1: Wednesday, August 31
It should have been no surprise at all when we pulled out of the driveway heading for the beach an hour and a half later then we had scheduled. But perhaps we had not figured in all of the Portland traffic that we would run into along the way. That could have accounted for why we pulled up to the B's Nest at 9 PM. But that was not too late, according to mom to prepare a warm dinner for her food deprived family. Within an hour, as the house became abuzz with people unloading and putting away bags, mom whipped up a mean meal of chowder ;) The last remaining thing to do that evening before everyone retired to bed was to pass around the family brochure that Dad had made for our vacation ;)
It was so good to smell the salt sea air through my open window and fall asleep to the sound of the rushing waves again, I thought as I drifted off to sleep.
Day 2: Thursday, September 1st
Determined not to miss that first morning of "sleepy monk" coffee at the Bread and Ocean Bakery, some of us kids got up early the next morning and made the jaunt down the familiar streets of Manzanita. The smell of coffee greeted us, our little table awaited, and shelves stacked full of day old bread were soon cleared away by the purchase of one family. It felt so good to be back again! This particular tradition is one that is long-awaited for and talked about all year round.
Nothing ever changes in that town...we see the same people from year to year.
As I have said many a time before, there is never a dull moment at the Spafford household...which could be why our family has quite the reputation with the firemen :/ I don't know how it always happens to us and each time it does, I want to just disappear...but it would seem that we have had a few too many visits from the fire station in perfectly safe situations just as a precaution. We were making a fire in the fireplace that morning and Austin had only put in the kindling. Right away, the fire started billowing black smoke and the fire smelled very toxic. It seemed as if the fire could get out of control. Dad said that we should call the firemen before it got out of hand because it's better to be safe then sorry (I wasn't so sure about that ;) Well, a police car pulled up, instead of a blaring fire truck (...I was thinking, "oh, good, at least it's just one guy and not the whole fire crew") The officer came to check it out By the time he had come, it was looking more controlled, "But the experts would know more," he said..."Oh, great!" I thought, "so this isn't all that's coming after all." No, we had yet to receive a visit from the fire chief. He said that it looked fine, but the firemen would check the chimney out when they arrived! Goodness me, were we to receive a visit from every firemen in the country? I had just one question in the back of my mind when the large, flashing firetruck pulled up, "Are there any more of you coming?"
We visited the antique shops in Nehalem and Wheeler later that day, but tried to keep our antique shopping to a minimum this year.
That night, we enjoyed a picnic with some friends of ours at the park in Manzanita. It was a true Oregonian style picnic...under a canopy in the pouring rain.
Day 3: Friday, September 2nd
Friday was declared a day of rest rest and relaxation. Nothing was scheduled, save for activities of leisure such as reading, walks, games, and napping :) Kevin Kern serenaded us in the background as everyone sat around doing their own thing. Like every morning thus far, we made our morning walk to Bread and Ocean, only this time it was made in the pouring rain. The people that had not thought to bring umbrellas were a good deal drenched when they finally arrived at the coffee shop.
Friday was fairly uneventful, just the way we like it...multiple walks through town, reading on the beach, relaxing in the cabin, playing games of catchphrase as we downed our third cup of coffee. The day cleared up beautifully and we were able to enjoy a long anticipated pizza dinner on the porch. We decided to take a walk along the beach afterwards. There's something magical about catching that first glimpse of the beach, peaking your head above the reeds and taking in the scene before you. The first sights you see...footprints covering the sand, broken shells, and sand dunes. Then there's that feeling of the first bit of sand between your toes. Then taking off for the ocean and letting the waves come up to your ankles. There's something about the ocean with its endless ripples of waves disappearing into the distance...it's just so vast and awesome; so wild and unpredictable.
There was not a cloud in the sky as we walked back, but as we were sitting in the cabin preparing to watch the next installment of Cranford, the clouds rolled in and the sky opened up and rain poured down on our roof. Our evening concluded watching an episode of Cranford by a crackling fire (a little more under control ;)
Day 4: Saturday, September 3rd
Sometimes in a big family, things don't always go as planned and you learn to be flexible. Austin had gotten sick and had a fever. We all decided it would be a good idea to make it another cabin day. The air was just chill enough that morning to don on our flannel shirts as we headed to Bread and Ocean, I curled up on the couch reading my bible with the morning commotion going on in the background. Breakfast was being made, slices of Bread and Ocean's bread being placed in the toaster, the sizzle of sausage cooking on the stove, the gentle chatter in the kitchen, Celtic Serenity playing softly in the background, and someone whistling along to the tune...all the sounds that make the B's Nest such a cozy place. Leisel, Cosette and I took our books down to the beach to read there. Nothing quite beats reading with the wind in your face, the sand at your feet and the ocean rushing in the background. We had not been there long before our reading turned to sleeping.
That night, we took advantage again of the porch chairs and sun shining down on us as we enjoyed our dinner outside.
Day 5: Sunday, September 4th
The Astoria Farmer's market has been a Spafford tradition nigh on these past 15 years. We make it to the early service at Manzanita's Calvary Bible church before heading to Astoria. The market was crowded with the usual Labor Day rush. We managed to find an empty table at the food court and all ordered food from different stands. As we were making our way back to the van, we noticed a gelato shop that was having a sale that day. We had absolutely no room, but we decided to go in anyway. How very fortunate we were, for this was the day before they were closing down and the owners, eager to get rid of the ice cream, dished out extra large servings.
It is tradition to shop at the Costco in Warrenton and pick up the second half of our groceries for the week. Jonathon was very disappointed to see no Christmas decorations had been put up there yet. As we all gathered round the couches that night, dad started our night out leading everyone in singing a few of our favorite hymns. As soon as the singing was through, the quiet turned to shouting as we played multiple rounds of catch phrase...the game in which Charae declared everyone to be stupid. As you may guess, she was on the losing team.
Day 6: Monday, September 5th
The town had almost cleared by Monday. We had the whole bakery to ourselves and the pick of the day old bread. By now, the employees knew our orders by heart.
These cabin days were resulting in way too trips to the ice cream shops and we were wearing down the sidewalks on the streets in town. I was a frequent customer at the Little Apple Grocery and Deli to purchase Dad and my favorite brand of Bundaberg root beer.
By day six at the beach, you start to discover that sand has made it's way into everything...your dresser drawers, all of your pockets, the van, and your shoes, and even your books.
Dad announced that it was a "pig in mud day", being at the best place on earth with the sun shining.
Leisel and I had been making as many trips to the beach as possible to read or just take in the beauty of the ocean. We wanted to take in as much of the beach as possible. We played monkey in the middle as a family later that day and Ania and Annie tried out their new Olaf kite to see what a snowman actually does in summer. We were starting to realize that our favorite days were those in which we really did nothing at all but hung around the cabin and spent time at the beach. It didn't really matter whether we had places to go or not...really what made our time there was the moments spent with family and the memories that we built that will stay with us forever!
Day 7: Tuesday, September 6th
I love the smell of cows...it's always been associated in my mind with the memory of driving through Tillamook and making our way to the cabin. Fifteen years of vacations begun with a drive through this town.
Going to the Blue Heron has been a rather new tradition for our family but no less important. It is there that after many cheese samples, Jonathon chooses out a few of his favorite blocks and some smoked fish for the family. We decided after a look through town that we would stop by the Tillamook Cheese Factory for the children. Austin had been wanting to take me into town for a date so as soon as we had gotten back to the cabin, he wasted no time in getting two bikes ready. We headed for town and I was treated to a scoop of Tillamook ice cream. we enjoyed every bite and he even offered to go back to get another straw so that I could share in his milkshake. When we had both finished, we took our bikes to a place where the sand was a bit more compact. But when the sand had proved too difficult to ride on, Austin offered to show me some of the trails that he has ridden so many times with dad. It amazed me how well he knew those roads. What an amazing thing it is to see your little brother maturing into a little man. He had this time planned out perfectly and took such good care of me. Throughout our bike riding, he was constantly looking behind to make sure that I was alright. When my bike was too heavy to carry up the sand and onto the road, he placed his bike down, carried mine up for me and then retrieved his own.
That night, we enjoyed the freshest halibut and salmon around that Jonathon had purchased for us.
Day 8: Wednesday, September 7th
It seems from year to year as we as we return to the coffee shop, we see so many of the same people there. There was one man in particular that had captured all of our attention. He was a sweet older gentleman that sat in a little corner of the coffee shop sometimes drinking his coffee alone, sometimes talking with someone, and other times, drawing little pictures. We decided we would introduce ourselves to him. Frants had grown up in Denmark and was only nine when WWII ended. We listened intently to the fascinating story of his life and what finally drew him to America.
Later that day, we headed to Astoria to satisfy our cravings for Bowpicker's fish 'n chips. To work it all off, we climbed all 164 steps up the Astoria column. There was a breath-taking view at the top for those who were not too height-sickened to enjoy it. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Rainier from the top.
Game nights are always my favorite! It was to be an Acquire Championship that night, and no team was a match for Jonathon and his accomplice, Kayleen.
Day 9: Thursday, September 8th
We had postponed our little outing to Cannon Beach due to the fact that another one had fallen prey to the virus. Instead, we were going on Thursday. We passed up our morning trip to Bread and Ocean anticipating drinking our cups of sleepy monk coffee at Cannon Beach. It took a while to rouse everybody, and even my blaring oldies music did little to stir the slumbering inhabitants of the B's Nest cabin. I had already made a hasty trip down to our coffee shop myself, not wanting to miss getting a loaf of their gluten-free bread that day. The meal was worth the wait, and after we had eaten way more then we should have, we took our picture by haystack rock and continued into town.
Day 11: Saturday, September 10th
Saturday night was our annual campfire roast on the beach. Though it always takes a little extra effort and energy to collect everything and actually get down their, it's always so worth it when we do. The sky was perfect...a light pink haze hanging over the beach. As the sun set, it created red shafts coming down over the ocean. A distant ship moved slowly through the waters towards a flickering light. The green and blue colors of the ocean were just so majestic! As the family headed back up o the cabin after enjoying a couple s'mores, Leisel and I lingered by the ocean and headed back by way of town.
The Last Day
No matter how long we stay, nobody's ever ready to leave when it's over! After the car was all loaded up, Leisel and I took off for the beach to catch one last glimpse of the ocean and feel the sand between our toes one last time. I think as life gets busier and everyone begins to go their separate ways, vacation times become even more precious to us. But we thank our Heavenly Father for another year all together at the beach.