Sunday, April 8, 2012

Globe Trotting Lee Style

We're back from our Spring Break vacation, and I am exhausted.  Like some years before, we've been fortunate enough to spend that time with friends that we love like (sometimes more than?) family, and as usual the time went by far too quickly.  We, like many families, spent a good portion of our time at the beach.  However, normal families spend Spring Break at beaches that require a swim suit.  We've never claimed to be normal, so obviously chose to go to a Godforsakenly frigid area where we had to bundle up.  There's nothing quite like no sand between your toes, especially when you can't feel your toes from the cold.

Kidding.  The typical unpredictable weather for the Oregon Coast proved in our favor, only raining sideways when we were conveniently inside the warmth of our rental condo having breakfast and planning our next outing.  The sun seemed to know that our combined brood of nine couldn't stay cooped up too long and gave us just enough reprieve to enjoy ourselves.

God, it feels good to be a gangster.

Our busy and curious children explored and climbed and touched and prodded, and I proudly left my hand sanitizer behind.  They were very careful and gentle with some of the specimens they found...

....and others, not so much.  Esten kicked this poor fella all up and down the beach mistaking it for a rock until he asked me what it was:

Gwoth, Mom....thoooooo gwooooth.

We also got lesson after lesson in history and despite our best efforts, we just can't seem to avoid extremes in our lives.  We live in the shadow of North America's deepest river gorge (suck it, Grand Canyon), and already got to ride the world's longest gondola during our mini-winter-weekend getaway recently.  Our list just gets longer with this trip with the addition of crossing over the D River, the shortest river in the world (at 440 feet one must ask why Lincoln City's engineers couldn't figure out a way to NOT have to cross it).

We visited this lighthouse, which doesn't hold any records until you're half way up the steps, then you'll swear it's the tallest freaking building in the world:

Correction: Tallest lighthouse in Oregon.
Also....probably haunted.

The only two in our family that are excited about all the steps.

Once safely back outside, Esten insisted that the whale-watching telescope was much more effective for staring into the deepest parts of the universe.  So deep into the universe, in fact, that he felt that was the explanation for total blackness when he put his eye to the lens:

I'm serious, Mom....I can see
the way far away part
of the universe.

We visited the associated "Discovery Center" and were greeted outside the front doors by our guide, who promptly and with an indescribable enthusiasm drew our attention to a peregrine falcon who had made an appearance that day.  The guide, who conjured up recollections of Will Ferrell channelling Janet Reno almost lost her wig, either from the wind or from her head bobbing around and her arms flailing about as she tripped over her own tongue.  She could not emphasize to us enough how rare a peregrine falcon sighting was, and she didn't think we were really absorbing the magnitude of how significantly our lives would be changed from this moment forward.  She returned to the front of the building several times while we were at the center to check on the status of the bird.  She said "Peregrine Falcon" so many times that it became a running joke of sorts after we got back in the car.  Lucky for you, we recently purchased a zoom lens and Hubs was able to snap this pic, though that testy bitchy bird would NOT look at the camera.

Soak it in, people - you'll probably die and never see
one of these in your life.

Yet another record breaker for our roster.  This peach is sometimes referred to as the fastest animal on the planet (you thought it was a cheetah didn't you, stupid?) during its hunting dive where it will hit its prey at speeds up to 200 (TWO FREAKING HUNDRED) miles per hour.  What a bad ass.

The real joke here came after we got home and I realized, and now can't wait to share with our friends, that though it's not our State's bird (the Mountain Bluebird is), this is what the new 2007 Idaho Quarter looked like:

Yep Scot, that's a you-know-what.

We stopped at a waterpark on the way home, and wouldn't you know, they just happen to have the Spruce Goose there....the largest flying boat ever built, having the largest wingspan of any aircraft in history.  Double whammy.  Howard Hughes, thank you for being so bat-shit crazy.  Ironic fun was actually made out of birch, not spruce.


When we got back my fellow mommy and I got a pedi day and a last minute lunch with ElliePie's Mom, MommaPie.  Ellie's a blogger that I've never met but through whose blog I've gotten to know, and MommaPie is a lovely lady, one of the few I've been lucky enough to have come into my life through that necessary evil sideline called work, but we kindled a special understanding and respect, and her friendship has been timeless and unconditional.  I hope every girl has a MommaPie or two in her life.

Through all the animals we saw, we only got up close and personal with one species....the seagulls.  Hands full of mini bagels, we tromped across the street to lure them in with our treats.  Guided by the advice and courage of a 9 year old boy and his 10 year old sister, I decided to show my children just how big their mommy's balls really were:

Mommy's balls are at least as big as a 10 year old girl's.

Esten decided he wanted to just eat the remainder of his bagel himself.  Once breadless, we wandered down the street and into a candy store for some saltwater taffy and caramel corn and while we were waiting in line, and the sunlight beamed in the tiny shop's window just right, Hubs and I caught one another's eyes and just stood there, time frozen.  I realized how even sometimes crazy flurries of hurriedness in vacation-land can recharge your soul when your children are there, and that here we, in tandem with another couple, were managing to pull off some pretty awesome memories with them.  He's an amazing father and I also realized how much I love him for making this critical time in our family's young life so special.  I knew he was thinking the same thing just by the look in his eye.  He didn't have to say anything to make the moment any more perfect for me but he did.

"Hey, Babe?  You have bird shit all down the side of your face.  You might wanna wipe that off."

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