Monday, January 20, 2014

Pinch me

If you have a weak stomach and words like "perfect" and "paradise" make you want to gag, then this may not be the post for you. Consider yourself warned.  So I forgot that we had one more stop before we made it here, but I think I forgot about it because I had suppressed the memory into the dark recess of my brain. The cabin with the cloud of dust mushrooming off their circa 1960's fleece blankets each time you moved on the bed and the constant smell of fart. The community kitchen with its rusted out cookware and spices that had expired 4 years ago. The floors where I played hot lava and jumped from stool to suitcase to bed so I wouldn't have to actually touch it. And laying there staring at the bunk above me with my eyes barely peeking out of the sleeping bag as I thought two things 1) if I open my mouth at night there's a good chance I would be involuntarily consuming dust, dead skin or bed bugs and 2) I can't believe we actually paid money to sleep here. But it was nice enjoying a semi-warm evening eating a spaghetti dinner on the picnic table and they did have some bikes and a tennis ball tether ball thing for the kids (which they each got pegged and cried at least 3 times) and the walk to the river was enjoyable as the kids collected and smashed colored rocks before it rained. But that's neither here nor there, because all was forgotten as we pulled up to the beach cottage hidden behind lush vegetation and bright flowers. We've learned through experience that sometimes pictures can be deceiving and we weren't quite sure what to expect when we got here. But it was perfect (see, I warned you). The perfect amount of bright yellow paint and seashell collections to make it charming not tacky. The perfect sheer white curtain blowing in the breeze with birds singing in the overgrown trees outside the bathroom window that made you feel like you were in a rain forest. Rain streaming down the huge picture window overlooking the ocean while slow dancing with babies to Bruno Mars. Enough board games and movies to keep us entertained on rainy days and keep us up late into the night. A deck for barbeques and hammock laying and a sun room for meals and drying clothes (Jason took on the laundry as his own little pet project. As soon as he would get it hung, it would start raining so we would bring it in then take it out then bring it in...three whole days to dry two loads of clothes I tell you). Okay, but there was one huge downside. The spiders. As we tucked the kids into bed the first night Kylie was on the top bunk and as she lay down she saw like 3 daddy long legs a foot above her head. We looked around and they were crawling in every single corner. Jason was on top of it smashing them all, but one fell on Maddox's bed in the bunk below which set off a domino effect, he started screaming, Ryder started screaming and they all swore there was no way they were sleeping in there. I reassured them that dad had killed them all, while at the same time subtly motioning to Jason that there were like 4 more hiding under the shelf. The good news is, daddy long legs don't bite. At least that's what I told myself when I had a Little Miss Muffet moment in the bathroom. But besides that, the best part of all was the storybook perfect little gate leading out to our own little bite of paradise (which halfway made up for the spiders).

And when they said private beach, they meant PRIVATE beach. Some days you could look down the coast and not see another soul for miles. There were the occasional kite surfers, or beach joggers or silver haired shell collectors. Other than that I felt like the Swiss Family Robinson on our own private island. It was so remote that the only water supply came from the rain. So maybe we were a little glad that it rained a lot.

When the tide was up the water was lapping at the edge of the property, but when it was out it was waaaaay out. The kid's favorite thing to do was to go exploring to see what the tide had washed up. Lots of crabs, jelly fish, sand dollars and their favorite, starfish. They were the self proclaimed starfish rescuers as they made little pools to keep them in until the tide came back. And then they would find the same starfish the next day, usually missing a few arms. And by the last day I think we found 3 of them dead. So not so sure how much rescuing they were doing in the rescue, but they had good intentions. We also found a seagull all tied up in a fishing line. And after Kylie forgave me for using her towel to catch it and swaddle it, we felt pretty good about ourselves as we untangled his wing and leg talking about how good it felt to save a life. But then we discovered a fish hook was stuck in it and as soon as I saw the blood I was like, dude I'm out, who really likes seagulls anyways? But then Jason, a self proclaimed seagull hater, found some pliers and worked his magic and it was free. Who knew he was a softie for feathered friends.

Business in the front, party in the back...seriously, amazing views no matter what direction you looked.

Seriously, empty beach for miles

The night shift at the Young family rescue center

After living out of a suitcase for a week and driving almost every day and eating out of a cooler every meal, it was so nice to have a place to settle in, to unpack our clothes and brush up on my domestic skills.

And waking up to this every morning was something I got used to real quick. Okay, so maybe we woke up to closed doors so we wouldn't get eaten alive and drapes pulled tight to keep the 5 AM sun out, buuuuut, if I wanted to wake up to this view I could.

I can't wait until the boys get the memo that vacations are for sleeping in, but this morning I didn't mind. While the rest of the world slept we got a head start on the day's castle building. And I wasn't mad about it.

And then we were rewarded with dolphins. It was amazing, we've never seen them in nature and it was incredible to watch them jumping out of the water as they traveled along the coast. I yelled for the kids to come and see and as I ran to grab my camera Jason pulled out his phone to record it. All you can hear is Maddox going hysterical in the background because I am neglecting my starfish pool digging duties and they were all going to die because of me. Apparently he's not very impressed by dolphins.

Maddox loves washing dishes. Your welcome, future wife.

He even found time for crafting. Of course he did.

The kids set up a spa for us and I must admit, the waves crashing in the background as we got massages was well worth the $5 souvenir money.

We had a spontaneous Young family Olympics one night. I am the rightful winner of the log balance. 2 min 32 seconds. Those three yoga classes I took really paid off. I don't really remember who won the other events, I was too busy gloating.

Jayden definitely got style points for the long jump.

Bonfires on the beach always seem so dreamy. This is the first one we've ever done and it was worth the wait. We lit the sparklers that were meant for New Years then Maddox sat on my lap wrapped in a blanket as we looked for shapes in the clouds and counted stars as they slowly appeared. Ryder woke up and stumbled out of the house crying so I sat with them both snuggled close on my lap in the quiet air inhaling the smell of campfire and decided it was official, I could die a happy girl.

Our last day here rained and rained and rained. We had played every single game at least 5 times. Monopoly is brutal, man. And watched the entire Spiderman trilogy. Twice. While Jason snuck over to a nearby campground to borrow their microwave and pop our last bag of popcorn, I rummaged through the bookshelf and came up with a dusty 2002 Reader's Digest. This was seriously not the way I wanted to spend my last day at the beach.  The clouds finally cleared up and we went out to see what some local fishermen had caught in their net that they had set right in front of our house. Kylie's irrational fear of sharks all of the sudden became not so irrational after they pulled out this lemon shark. It wasn't a big guy, but good luck ever getting her back in the water past her ankles.  They also caught a few huge King Fish, the kids were fascinated watching them, until the guy came and sliced their brains open. Such is the circle of life. But really, these 7 days that we spent here were some of my favorite yet. And before we had even gotten home and unpacked we looked into booking it again next year.


Tyson and Dawn Jolley said...

How PERFECT! This place looks so dreamy! Your kids crack me up between crying about your starfish duties and kylie with the shark. And who knew Jayden liked doing dishes? He was always the first one gone once dinner was over whenever I saw him! He is a changed man!

Ali said...

Truly lovely, Jamie. I remain confused by the fear of Daddy Long Legs spiders (sneeze at them and they drop dead, they're so fragile and harmless) and the love of Starfish (not always a friendly species - in some cases really quite nasty) :-) ... but adore your peace as you've written this, your joy in your family and nature. The photos are more and more spectacular and One truly wonders where your limit is... if the photos get more beautiful each post, where is this all going to end up !?!?!?:-)

PS Thanks for the lovely note on my flying blogpost. I'm alison dot rosier at gmail dot com in case you'd ever like to write directly to the snow from your paradise beach.

Jodee said...

"and them we saw dolphins" Of course you did! It just keeps getting better and better. I love it. What a dream vacation. That place looks amazing! I love the little fence with flowers leading to the beach. Just perfect. But I too was cracking up over the freaking out of the daddy long legs yet carrying around star fish. Hilarious. I love that your adventures over there have tuned into animal rescue missions every where you go. So fun.

Janessa said...

Ah, I feel so relaxed and rejuvenated just reading your post. What a picture perfect week! I'm so glad you had this experience. I can't even think of anything that would have made it better. Okay, maybe the rain, but then again you did need drinking water. Oh, and the spiders. But they made for a good story. Perfection at it's finest! You are so talented with your writing and picture taking. I was laughing the whole time and blown away by your pictures. One of these days when your talents will are discovered in a big way, don't forget us little people:)