I think when you travel with small children, the majority of your time is spent under a certain amount of stress, but every once in a while, a gem of a moment occurs that makes it worthwhile. Here's one of them — a rainbow over Lake Crescent, in the heart of the Olympic Peninsula.
We drove around the entire Olympic Peninsula, with two nights in Port Angeles. That's a lot of driving — more than we anticipated — but it was so beautiful, and Ben and Daniel held up fairly well most of the time. (We spent about five minutes passing through Forks, the setting of the popular Twilight Series vampire books, possibly the darkest, grayest, rainiest spot on earth.)
Here we are on top of Hurricane Ridge, a spot about 5,200 feet above sea level with magnificent views of the Olympic Mountains range.
We had a minivan all week, and I must say it was nice and roomy.
After six long hours or so on Pacific Coast Highway 101 Monday, we arrived in Seaside, a little beach town about two hours outside of Portland where I used to come with my family and friends when I was growing up. Our hotel overlooked the ocean, so we got to see some gorgeous sunsets from our room.
There was a swing set right on the beach, too, much to Daniel's delight.
Just after I took this picture below, a rogue wave caught Daniel's feet. He turned around and tried to run away, but he tripped and fell face-down in the ocean. Cold, wet and frightened, our boy had no desire to go back near the water after that, but he did have fun playing in the sand later in the day. I hope he doesn't have recurring nightmares of falling down while trying to run ... like I do.
My sister Ellen and her dog Arthur came out to spend the afternoon with us. They're in the background of this picture.
The end of the week was spent in Portland with family, like Daniel's 5-year-old cousin Teresa, and friends, like Susan and Charles, whose kids had a good time playing with Daniel and Ben.
Here are 19 members of my family — aunt, uncle, parents, cousins, husbands, wives, siblings, nieces and nephews and children — piled together for a group photo. It was great to see them all!
The biggest downside of the trip was that my hip took a significant turn for the worse in the last couple of days. I don't know if I overused it with too much walking or baby carrying, or if the tumor that area is growing, but it is now extremely painful for me to walk, and I cannot straighten my leg all the way. I needed a wheelchair to get through the airports on the way home, and I could barely walk down the aisle of the plane. I am worried that the tumor might have wrapped itself around a muscle, and I'm scared about what this might mean. Do I have to start thinking about using a wheelchair? Maybe some more radiation? I'll ask my doctor Monday, when another round of chemo begins.
At any rate, it was a good trip, but like all long trips, it was good to be home at last. Daniel slept in our bed last night, and as we were going to sleep, we talked about the events of the week — the exciting airplane rides, the beach, seeing grandma and grandpa, going to the Portland Children's Museum, playing with Teresa and his new friends Colin and Phoebe.
"What was your favorite part of the trip?" I asked Daniel.
"Umm ... home," he said.
P.S. On catching up with the blogs today, I learned that my friend Vanessa has had quite a dramatic week herself. Congratulations, Vanessa and John, on the birth of your baby son, Solomon!