Yesterday I forgot to mention we managed to squueze in free slurpee day, much to the kids' delight. Today we had cereal in the hotel room, then headed out to the Oregon Coast Aquarium It was very well done. Nice paths, little rock caverns, hallways that have water and fish on all 4 sides. The kids enjoyed the petting zoo (Snails and cucumbers and anemones, oh my!). There was a giant anaconda at the start that really shoudl ahve been last. All the other snakes were sadly disappointing after that one. I feel bad for them. They're probably very scary snakes on their own, but next to that guy....I liked the jellyfish the best, and got some great shots. In general, I like the ocean. I hope to scuba dive someday. There are some amazing, weird, and ugly creatures down there. Not unlike up here, I suppose. There was one that looked like a baby's knit cap. After that we headed over to the marina area for a great lunch and a trip to the undersea gardens. We probably should have done that first, as it ended up being a much paler version of the aquarium. Basically a gift shop with stairs down to a smelly, dark, narrow, short set of aquariums. They have scuba divers that go down there and talk, put on a bit of a show apparently, but we had an hour until the next show (which she helpfully told us after we'd paid). There's a Ripley's Believe it or Not and a Wax Museum, but we didn't make it to those. Lunch was at a local place, we were starving, and it was all very good. We saw some Sea Lions, one male and two females I think, sunning themselves by the dock. Mara was worried about walking on the boards of the dock, with the gaps between them. Then we hurried back to the hotel to try to catch high tide at 2. We all ran down there and dipped our toes in. It was FREEZING! Gillian had a great time though. Absolutely loved it. Running in and out with the waves. Hated to bring her back in. Then it was naps. After that we headed to the Chowder Bowl for supper where we started a wave of Rock Paper Scissors across the restaurant. GIllian was brave enough to try the breaded oysters, and Mara liked the clam chowder. We then took a drive up to the lighthouse. It was closed and the camera was dead, but it was a beautiful area. Big rocks, black beach, very cold. Now we're watching sunset in the hotel room while the kid's have snacks, yet another late bedtime.
Not sure the plan for tomorrow. Shannon wants to go back to the lighthouse, and there's a little shop area she wanted to check out. There's also the pool here. We need to start making plans for the rest of the trip tonight. Either start winding our way back or head off on one more trip. Maybe fit in the sea lion cave and the redwoods. I was in total agreement with a comment by Shannon's mom earlier where she bacsically told us to go to Disneyland and live through our kid's eyes, but Shannon swears I read it wrong. Either way, I'm thinking of rounding a few days on to the trip. Even if it's just aonther day here. I've had an amazing time, and I love my family. Gillian is smart and helpful and learning how to do so much. Mara I don't see much of at home, so it's been nice to spend time wth her, holding her hand as we slowly walk back while Shannon and Gillian are up ahead. She's very thoughtful, in every sense of the word. And Ryan, well - he poops whereever he wants, gets food whenever he wants, and people buy him everything. I'm 37 years old and I still haven't figured out how to get away with that. He's already livin' the dream. Plus he's seconds away from talking and days from walking.
I try not to mention too much of 'the other place' in here, lest the kids read it some day and ask why we never took them. But at least we're getting the trip down out of the way. Next year we can just fly there. Although, I enjoyed this trip so much I may not want to fly. That's the good and the bad of trying new things. Sometimes it works out great, and now next vacation I'll want to do exactly this every year instead of trying somethig new. I figure we can cycle 'em. Every 5 years we do this trip. But then I start to realize how GIllian is practically 6 which means, at 5 years apart, we have two more trips, tops. . I have trouble living in the moment. Time is so short, and we waste so much of it at work. I should have taken the 37 weeks parental leave.I can take unpaid leaves at work, and I think I'll try to arrange it so I can take a month every year...I don't get to wait until I retire and then see the kids. Cats in the cradle and all that. Anyway. The sun is setting over the ocean, literaly, and I'm going to watch it for a moment.
It's so lovely here. The ocean is loud and cold and violent and beautiful. Mara was afraid of it and Gillian danced in it. She was free and wild and not silly - just loving it. Didn't care if were were watching and it was fantastic! I can't wait to go back to the lighthouse in the morning. It was too cold for us tonight - very windy and we weren't dressed for it. There are tidepools there with creatures just like the ones we saw at the aquarium and I think the kids will like it. To heck with them, I'm going to like it. It was so beautiful - just like a postcard. With the waves smashing up and over the craggy rocks. There was one large rock - if you can call a 100 foot tall monolith a rock - that had about 1000 seabirds hanging out on top. The sun was just about to set and Mara was enjoying the strong wind by walking backwards into it and Gillian and our darn camera battery died - I guess I'll just have to buy a postcard and scan it and Photoshop a picture of Mara with windy hair into it. There was a cool viewpoint on the way there that had sand dune looking patterns on the beach - perhaps we'll capture a photo of it tomorrow. Nature is awesome. Goodnight.