I am a God-loving, husband-adoring, mybabyboys-hugging, mind-reeling, photo-taking, life-documenting, yummyfood-cooking, garden-planting, country-living girl. Writing about life, with boys, in the sticks...
this is life... with boys... in the country...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Beach House

We spent the long holiday weekend at the Beach House in Port Ludlow, Washington and although it was the first time we’ve done so as a family of five, it was my 27th 4th of July spent there. In my 28 years, I’ve only missed one.

We left our house at 7am on Saturday and after 4.5 hours of relatively peaceful driving (I think we only heard “Are we there yet”… “How much longer”… “This is taking forever!” about 217 times) we veered left at the old Barker’s County Store (which is now, unfortunately a real-estate office) and only a minute later found ourselves pulling down the familiar gravel driveway.

Immediately memories flood over me and for a moment the shrieks of ‘There’s Grammie!’ and ‘We’re here!’ from the back seat, are drowned out by flashbacks from my own childhood.  And even though I know she’s not there, I can picture my own Grammie standing by her little deck waving both arms to greet us.  I see that, of course, Pyramid Rock, is still there out in the middle of the water as it has been long before the Beach House came to be.  I take inventory of the cars already parked on the lawn, figuring out who’s beat us here. How many times have I taken in this scene?  Countless, but never enough.

Snapped back to the present, though, by Gage kicking me in the head in his attempt to climb over Cooper and out the window into Grammie’s arms, I remember that memories are still being made – for me and now for my children.  Their excitement may as well be the same excitement I felt when I was a child.  This place, the Beach House, just has that effect.  Anticipation of the water, the walks on the beach, the late nights with hot dogs and s’mores by the campfire, fireworks, and camping.  The family.  I don’t even try to restrain the boys as they tear out of the car and begin racing around the vast lawn, because though I contain my excitement, I know that I feel just as much joy for being there as they do.  

Over the next few days, I’d like to share with you some photos of our time at the Beach House… even though I took over 300 pictures, I still came away feeling as if I didn’t capture enough.  I can blame it on not being totally comfortable yet with my camera or on carrying around Kaden, or on being preoccupied with worry that Cooper is going to eat a jellyfish, but in the end, I just wish I’d taken more.  However, maybe I’m grasping at straws, thinking that it is possible to really capture all that makes this place what it is.  That’s a tall order.  Anyhow, here’s my 2010 attempt:


We were so pleasantly surprised to find that Uncle Craig made the trip up from Arizona to be with us for the 4th… between him and Cooper, there’s never a dull moment.


My parents’ bring their camper every year and park it on the top of the hill, overlooking the property.  This is also where we set up our monstrosity of a 12-person tent.  Its a great location to sit and observe all the activity happening below.  Though after walking up the hill 72 times a day, often with a child on front or back, it is enough to make a person wish for an escalator (to give them shin-splints, like it did my mom.)


While Uncle Craigy came up from Arizona, my Uncle Eric and 2 of his kids, Leah and Noah, came down from Alaska. Along with teaching my kids about how to golf, Noah also gave them a weekend long lesson on what it means to be energized.  I never thought it’d be possible, but Noah’s energy level made my kids seem lazy. 


Easy to feel overwhelmed by all the activity, Cooper never had a problem finding a quiet place, like Papa’s lap, to rest and take it all in.   4th-of-July-025

These three were inseparable for much of the first day…


Ah, the bear rug.  When I was Gage and Cooper’s age, our trips to the Beach House meant actually staying in the cabin that is the beach house.  We’d sleep in the beds covered with antiqued quilts, sit in the little built in benches by the front windows and best of all, cuddle on the old bear rug.  This guy is as much a memory of the beach house for me as the beach itself.  But, once my Great-Grammie passed away, and the property was divided amongst her children, venturing into the cabin became a rare treat and my kids won’t have the same memories of the cabin as I do.  But, I really want them to know my old friend, the bear rug. Thankfully, my Auntie Shirley graciously invited the boys in to visit him and they thought it was pretty cool. 4th-of-July-0724th-of-July-058

And I love it because I know my mom has several pictures of my brothers and me, sitting on him just like this. 


Such a highlight for the boys this year was going out on Papa’s boat. Puttin’ around in such open water was a first for them, and you can see it by Cooper’s face – they loved it.  

4th-of-July-076 4th-of-July-086 4th-of-July-088 While the big boys were out on the boat, Kaden finally got to have his Grammie-time… some ‘suckin’-on-chin’ time.  I am so thankful for all the arms that were willing to embrace this little guy. 


A few hours after we arrived, my cousin Kjersten, her husband Michael and their 3 children came to spend the afternoon – lucky for them, they live only 45 minutes from the Beach House and came come and go as they please… unlike those of us who have to make such a production out of it (ie. dealing with a monstrosity of a tent to make the trip possible).

Here’s Sarah, taking in the scene. 


And here’s the boys with their entry-level fireworks… good ol’ Pop-Its.  They thought these were the Bee’s-knees, until they saw the ones that actually involve fire.   


Some things, like playing with Pop-Its, remain the same, year after year.  But some things change… like the critters one can find on the beach.  I don’t recall ever seeing so many jelly-fish lining the rocky shore.  But this year, the multitude fascinated the kids; this one in particular. 


I suppose I only fuel that fire when I say, “Let’s see if it is as big as your face, Cooper!”  I can only blame myself. 


Fold-out camping chairs and a campfire make up our ‘living room’ and even when it is in the mid-70’s this is where the visiting happens.  Pardon the shadows – I just couldn’t bare to make them change their comfy positions for a photo-op.  4th-of-July-128

If the boat rides weren’t enough, Papa further thrilled our little guys with lessons in the sport of Sling-shot Shooting.  This is ‘throwing rocks into the water’ on steroids and boys of all ages love it.   4th-of-July-131 Clear skies, sunshine, and bright sand and water make for a rough combo for a kiddo with sensitive eyes.  Without the shades (“Bomber Glasses”) Gager was a squinty-eyed, scrunchy-faced mess. 

4th-of-July-136 Nature wasn’t the only thing that fascinated Gage and Cooper this weekend – Noah’s Nintendo DS (not a Gameboy… I stand corrected) had them starry eyed with glazed over attentiveness. 


From technology to the rugged basics… entertainment comes from every which direction for boys.  Case in point:  find wood on the beach, borrow a hammer from Papa, and logically, attempt to pound the wood into the grass.  4th-of-July-170

She’s just too cute not to photograph whenever possible…


Fireworks aren’t reserved just for the 4th of July at the Beach House… the 3rd of July gets in on the action, too. And it is wonderful how amazed these little guys were of the simple Roman Candles on display.  

4th-of-July-178 4th-of-July-182 My dear cousin Leah was so critical in my ability to actually relax a bit on this trip.  She’s not your typical self-centered 16-year-old – she willingly and lovingly hung-out with and watched-over the little kids, making up for all the time spent apart, since she lives in Africa… oh, no, not AFRICA Cooper, Alaska.  Leah lives in Alaska. 

4th-of-July-191-E My eyes are blurry from this post… from looking at the computer and from tearing up at the memories (and I’ve only been back home for one day), so I’ll end today’s with one more of Kaden/Grammie ‘snuggle-time’. 


And by the way… I think that if everyone could have a place in their life like the Beach House… where the fresh air and laughter is plenty, the memories long and wonderful, and the history meaningful and deep… the world would be a better place.

More to come…


Stephanie said...

Lacey - it looks like you had a great time and these photos are precious. I really think that once you've been doing it for the year, you should get a blog book and save it for your boys. One day, they're really going to treasure these.

Anonymous said...

And the bear rug?? Love it! ~Kelby

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