Friday, May 23, 2014

Camping Weekend

Over my birthday weekend we went camping with our good friends and Miles' godparents at Fort Stevens State Park in Oregon. It's located near the coast. I didn't realize there was so much to do at this park until we arrived and started talking about what we would do the next day. Off the top of my head I can name a few: visit the forts that were in service from the beginning of the Civil War to the end of WWII, 9 miles of paved bike trails, hiking trails, a lake for swimming and fishing, and the beach with silky sand and an awesome ship wreck. On top of all that they have war reenactments at one of the forts and shoot off cannons as well. It's now added to my list of favorite places to camp.

We arrived Friday evening and finishing setting up just after it got dark out. The only downside were the mosquitoes. They were everywhere and relentless about eating us. Bug spray and a campfire helped a lot. The boys were in heaven exploring the campsite and checking out the tents. Saturday morning brought a little rain so we were slow to get started. But all at once the clouds disappeared and the sun came out in full force. It was gorgeous by 10am. That was our que to go on an adventure to the first fort.

We were surprised by how much graffiti was all over the forts. It was sad how some people couldn't appreciate the history in those forts.

We explored this fort for a couple hours. It was very interesting to look at and fun to imagine soldiers walking the steps we were. Most of the time we had no clue what we were looking at. I wish they had brochures to follow along the way. I think one could go online and check out the fort beforehand. The boys enjoyed checking it out, even the dark spaces in the back of the fort where light hadn't shown for over 60 years.

Afterwards we headed back to camp for lunch and naps. Patrick and I and Grant (when he woke up) were able to sneak off for a 20 minute bike ride. Tuan and Sara were kind enough to stay back while Miles and their boys finished napping. I forgot how fun biking is! The trails were beautiful and very easy to ride, or should be for people who are more in shape than I. There was two teensy hills (I don't even think I can call it that, maybe more like an incline) that by the time I got to the top by legs were burning. I suppose it didn't help that I couldn't figure out how to change gears...

When everyone woke up from naps we made the 3 minute trek out to the beach. It was gorgeous! The sand was so silky, the sun was warm, and the water was ice cold.

Miles somehow got into his mind that because we were at the beach he needed to swim so after a few belly flops with his coat on we finally gave in and let him "swim." He absolutely loved it. I couldn't believe how fun can overpower the pain of ice water.

He was so happy.

This was the neat ship wreck on the beach.

He finally got cold. Then spaced out for a good 5 minutes.

That night we had campfire dinners, put the kids down and played Ticket To Ride. It's a fun board game that Tuan and Sara brought. They always have neat games to play!

The next morning it rained again. Poured. The boys were soaking wet and had no dry shoes or coats (I packed three of each for them). So, we decided to pack up early and head to another fort on our way out of town. With sack lunches in tow, and after a very wet campsite cleanup we pulled out of the park right as the sun came out. Go figure.

It was sunny up until the time we were ready to head home from the fort so it ended up being good timing for us to be out there walking around. This fort had a beautiful view and a small army museum.

The boys and I slept almost the entire two hours home. It was so much fun camping with Tuan and Sara and their boys at a new place. I told Patrick I'd really like to go back again. I recommend this campsite to everyone!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Storage Project

Our home has been in dire need of a real storage solution for quite some time. We've hit our 4 year mark in this house and accumulated enough baby stuff and other stuff that the closets and shed and garage were much to be desired. As a new home, there wasn't anything along the lines of shelving in the garage, the closets only had one rack, and the attic doesn't have any walking space so that was off limits.

A while ago Patrick made a doorway in the coat closet to get underneath the stairs for extra storage. It's truely amazing what goes into the projects we decide to do. Even after planning and research there is always something we hadn't thought about. For instance, during this project we realized in order to stay up to fire code we had to make a door for the hole we cut, tacking on a few more hours of extra work. Even though it's in the closet there still needed to be an air tight door. So, now we have a tiny hobbit door under our stairs.

Another surprise was all the garbage we found under the stairs. The houses in this neighborhood were built quickly and it's becoming more and more clear the corners that were cut in order to save time. It must have been quicker to wall in construction garbage and pop cans than to take 5 minutes to pick it up.

The boys loved "helping."

Anyway! Patrick did a great job on these cabinets. Even though there were a few hiccups with getting the correct lumber and improvising when we had forgotten the measurements would be different with said lumber it all turned out as we planned.

With cabinets in the garage we were able to better organize our car maintenance stuff, camping things, holiday decorations, and baby clothes and more. Now the garage makes sense. Everything has it's place. We were even able to make room next to some food shelving storage for a future freezer. That's the part I'm most excited about because it's basically an extension of our kitchen storage.

To the right is the food storage and an open space for the freezer. And, notice the shoe shelf. That was Patrick's first solo wood DIY project. To the far right is the treadmill followed by a table saw and chop saw (not pictured) and weight bench. It's truly amazing what can fit in such a small space when it's contents are well thought out and organized.

It was a beautiful weekend so the boys were happy clams playing with the hose and sprinkler.