We arrived in Oregon on Friday and we hit the ground running. Or perhaps, I should say, swimming. The heat was sweltering and the humidity made the air seem almost tropical. I was instantly struck by the lush, green vegetation everywhere - even climbing up and hanging all over the parking structure at the airport. It was quite lovely and lent a bit of mystery to the edifice. The whole thing made me feel like I was walking straight into an abandoned Mayan ruin, overrun with thick jungle vegetation. Anyway, I digress. Ratchet and Faces picked us up at the Portland airport and we took the three boys (Buddha, Bugga and Faces) straight to the park to burn off some energy before we got home. When we got too hot at the park (which didn't take long at all), we did a bit of shopping and then headed to the casita. Ratchet dropped us off there and went back to the Bella Vie Birth Center to spend the night with Chub and Auntie. Back at the home front, I stuck the three turbulent toddlers into a warm bath, made some stir fry (ha ha ha) for dinner and started to ready the house for bedtime. This involved opening up all the curtains and windows to let the cooler night air break up the steam room atmosphere inside the home. I ended up putting all three boys in my room because Buddha and Bugga sleep with a white noise CD and I knew that if anyone broke in or anything else happened outside the room (like Faces waking up in the middle of the night and crying), I wouldn't hear it. I wasn't sure it would work with all three boys in there, but they all zonked shortly after putting them in there and they slept the whole night through just fine. I, on the other hand, started contemplating the long, lonely evening ahead and eventually freaked myself out so bad (you know, open windows and unfamiliar surroundings and all) that I couldn't sleep in the room with the boys for the very same reason that I didn't want Faces in another room - I couldn't stomach the thought of someone breaking in and me not being able to hear it. So, I slept on a bed in the living room. It was great. I was tired.
Friday was spent mostly at the birthing center preparing Auntie and Chub for their homecoming. We did some much-needed grocery shopping to restock the fridge for the coming days and then we collected the precious cargo - driving away from the birthing center listening to the Beatles singing "Hey Chub."
On Saturday, I decided to take the boys to this free indoor kids playhouse I'd heard about. It's in McMinnville and it's located at The Church on the Hill. I was floored when we walked in. I couldn't believe that it was free; that I could walk in and let the kids play for four hours and walk right back out without spending a dime. Unreal. Seriously. The boys had a blast and I even got in on the fun as I boldly disregarded the age rules (only kids 3 and older left Faces and Bugga out of the mix...at first), crawling through tubes, sliding down twisty slides and maneuvering over and under horizontal pylons all while juggling two little guys and warding off the bigger (more exuberant) kids. It was a workout and despite the blessed air conditioning I ended up sweaty and stinky at the end of four hours. Here's to a sunblock-and-heatstroke-free Saturday activity. FREE!! We're going back again tomorrow.
Sunday, Ratchet and I took the boys to church at nine (I can't seem to escape the early morning services no matter where I go). Buddha and Bugga sauntered into their respective classes without so much as a backward glance and I suddenly found myself struggling to keep up with the very adult scripture discussions in Sunday School and Relief Society (I've heard Primary does that to you). After church and naps, Ratchet and I took the three little guys to explore Glacier Rock - a random stone that scientists believe must have been deposited here by a receding glacier since it doesn't fit the geology of the area. It wasn't much of a hike, so after climbing all over the rock for a little while, we headed back down and took the boys to romp through a field. They had fun running around and smelling flowers. We were happy to help them get the lead out.
Yesterday (Monday) we didn't go anywhere and definitely regretted it at the end of the day. Apparently the honeymoon had worn off for the three boys and we were busy breaking up fights all day long.
So today, having learned from our mistakes, we planned to hit the beach. However, Auntie's friend Kristen, who is in her first trimester and very ill, brought her two boys over and we had to rethink things a bit. Well, though I have a terrible memory normally, yesterday's house-bound fiasco was still quite vivid in my mind. So, we decided to squish two more car seats in Auntie and Ratchet's new van and in no time at all Ratchet and I found ourselves headed toward the ocean with five boys behind us, ages three and under, yakking away sounding like a gaggle of geese. We were hoping for good weather, but as we got closer to the coast, we hit rain. We were not to be deterred. So we found the beach Ratchet had been telling me about - pebble strewn and graced with a picturesque lighthouse - parked the car and opened our doors. That's when we realized our trip would probably be cut short, really short. We were blasted with a chilling, gusting wind and rain droplets while we struggled to keep our doors open. Still we pressed on. We changed some of the boys' clothes, switching shorts with pants and donning jackets, then started our descent down the cliffs on the rickety wooden staircase they had in place. When I arrived at the bottom with the three older kids, I seated them on a bench and ran back up to help Ratchet get the younger two down faster. The rain was picking up and the wind was relentless. The kids were huddling together in a miserable mass of jacket hoods and dripping eyelashes. Coming to the bottom of the staircase for the second time, a sign caught my eye warning visitors to be on the lookout for sneaker waves - random large waves that can suddenly crash higher up on the beach, sweeping away innocent onlookers who aren't quick enough. That was it. Looking down into the brooding, choppy ocean water not fifteen feet away on this rocky shore, I knew our outing was doomed. After a brief conference with Ratchet, we agreed to hike back up the endless staircase to check out the lighthouse. Let me tell you, trying to keep five kids under the age of four going in the same direction at the same time and rate is like trying to herd cattle - I was yearning for a horse to help me keep up with the quick little escapees. At any rate, we finally arrived at the lighthouse only to find that it was like a cattle drive inside. All the visitors were packed tightly together and the lines were barely moving. The kids couldn't climb up the lighthouse because they weren't tall enough, so, yet again, we were foiled. We trudged back outside into the driving rain and Ratchet went ahead to get the van and drive it closer while I deposited all five boys on a bench and threatened them with fruit snack confiscation if anyone so much as twitched. It worked. They sat there obediently, faces squinted against the stinging, frigid rain. What little troopers! When we arrived back at the homestead, we discovered that a winter storm was moving into the coast. A winter storm - in August. Go figure.
Tomorrow, while Ratchet gets a massage, I'm going to give Auntie more peace and quiet by taking the kids back to Scotty's Playhouse at The Church on the Hill. I still can't get over it being free - and the kids absolutely love it! Ha, this is funny. I was going to just upload some pictures and put a couple of videos on here for The Chief, but of course, I waxed eloquent and now I have another chapter in the novel I constantly seem to be writing.
Bugga and Faces in the ball pit
Bugga running on air
Climbing up to Glacier Rock.