Thursday, January 21, 2010

Indulgences






This weekend our family took a little overnight trip to the coast. As we were pulling out of the driveway Curt dubbed it the weekend of indulgences - little treats that won't put us in the poor house, but things we don't do on a daily basis. Here's a list of some of our indulgences

  • Fancy coffee. We stopped at Coffee Cottage on our way out of town and indulged in fancy coffee. Curt - a white chocolate mocha with whipped cream. Me - a traditional cappuccino with the feather in the thick foam. Talk about a little glimpse of heaven.
  • Laughter. Curt is the KING of quoting movies. He busts out lines at precisely the right moment in the exact way they were presented in the movie and it always makes me laugh. As we were approaching McMinnville, he burst out into song Adam Sandler style, and I almost wet my pants laughing. The luxury of laughter continued to be something we indulged in all weekend.
  • Night at a Motel. Yes, I said motel, not hotel. In July, Curt and I stumbled upon a diamond in the rough, Whistling Winds Motel in Lincoln City, a restored 1930's motor coach motel. Each unit has been painstakingly remodeled with exquisite touches like oil-rubbed bronze door knobs, stained glass in the doors, and wood floors, walls and ceilings. I couldn't wait to see Unit #2, The Gathering Place, which promised a separate bedroom, a living area, fridge, and two additional queen sized beds. I was a little disappointed (okay - a LOT disappointed) when we opened the door with our old-fashioned key to find that Unit 2 is one of the few remaining units that has yet to be fully remodeled. As we pushed open the door, we were greeted by a musty smell, bubbled up 1970's paneling and navy blue well-worn carpet. Not exactly the indulgence I was expecting, but I think I was the only who cared about the decor. The kids were thrilled to be sleeping in a motel so I consoled myself with the fact that at least the bathroom had been remodeled beautifully.
  • Playing. When you're holed up at home living the daily grind of life it's easy to forget to stop and play. Even though it was drizzling steadily and a high wind advisory was in effect until morning, we bundled up in our rain gear and headed to the beach. It was surprisingly enjoyable and the rain lighted up so we didn't get drenched. The kids found "treasures" in the sand, chased the waves which were being whipped into monstrous crashing beauty from the high winds further out at sea, and ran around. Curt brought the football and we played catch on the beach. I didn't grow up chucking a football - we played baseball or softball. But with a little instruction, I was soon throwing spirals to my man and chasing down his bullets. I could see his eyes light up as we played together and it made me feel pretty darn good that a simple thing like playing catch upped my value in my husband's eyes.
  • Going Out to Eat as a Family. We rarely go out to eat as a couple and almost never go out to eat as a family. When our kids were younger, it simply wasn't fun to try to wrangle four kids to stay in a booth for a sustained period of time and hope they wouldn't fight, cry, yell or spill something. Now that they're older, it's actually enjoyable but it's so far out of our realm of normal so we were all excited to indulge in dinner as a family at a restaurant. We drove from one end of Highway 101 to the other through Lincoln City searching for the perfect spot and finally settled on greasy burgers from the 60's Cafe. We told the kids they could order anything they wanted and Grant ordered a fully loaded bacon cheeseburger from the adult menu. He had an ear to ear smile when his huge burger arrived and he systematically dismantled it and took down EVERY bite. His excitement and smile may have been the highlight of the trip for me.
  • Sleeping terribly. So it's not an indulgence, but it's part of an adventure. The bed in our motel was hard as a rock. And since our unit hasn't been remodeled, the walls and windows seemed paper thin. The winds were whipping and it was howling in our room. It seriously sounded like a fire truck was about to plow through the wall. Combine that with a good old fashioned thunder storm that rolled through around bedtime complete with lightening and grand thunder crashes and we knew a good night sleep was out of the question. Curt was mumbling under his breath about the impossibility of sleep in these conditions, so I jokingly suggested that we pack it up and head home. He broke into Clark W. Griswold and bellowed, "Oh no. Nobody's going anywhere. This is going to be the hap-hap-happiest Stilp family coast vacation ever," which put everything in perspective as we died laughing on the nasty blue carpet. We certainly felt indulged when we slept soundly in our own comfy bed the next night.
  • Family time. All six of us snuggled on the futon and settled in to watch a movie. But the fascination of being in a motel won the kids over and 3/4 of the way through the movie, they baled and started frogging around. An hour after the kids had been officially put to bed, we peaked out our bedroom door to see them wide awake, giggling, building pillow towers and screwing around. We only half-heartedly scolded them because when you're on vacation you have to indulge in family time and staying up late.
  • Sunshine. Sunshine at the coast is a rare commodity and for our morning beach time, the sun broke through the clouds. I actually had to dig out my sunglasses that have been hiding in my purse for at least two weeks. Grant built a wall of defense with drift wood and the girls made sand pies. I found it particularly interesting to watch a flock of tiny birds that run along the sand after a wave comes in, pecking at the ground. Curt and I both were mesmerized by the huge surf and the relaxing sound of the waves crashing against the shore.
  • Treats. We stopped at the outlet mall and everyone got a treat. The boys spent a good hour in the Christian book store and emerged with new man music, a couple movies and a new Bible for Curt. The girls and I spent our time in Claire's Boutique and finally settled on hats and rings for Katie and Alli, a hair party for me, and a backpack and lunch box for Paige.
  • Hiking in the Oregon Rain Forest. We finished our trip with a beautiful hike through Oregon's rain forest to Drift Creek Falls. To get there, we took a (surprise, surprise) single lane, windy, mostly paved road with no guard rails and steep drop offs on one side and mountain cliffs on the other side. We wound our way 10 miles up Cougar Mountain before a parking lot with an outhouse emerged and we were at the trailhead. It was 3 miles round trip with a clearly marked and easy to hike trail. We took our time meandering through the rain forest and took pictures at little bridges, babbling brooks and huge fallen trees. We heard the falls before we saw it. As the sound of roaring water filled our ears, we turned a corner and saw a huge suspension bridge (or extension bridge as the kids called it). It hung at least 20 or 30 feet above Drift Creek and had spectacular views of the rushing creek below and the falls to one side. Curt made the mistake of saying yes to Paige's plea for him to hold her and ended up carrying her for the last half-mile. Though he pretended to complain, it was obvious he enjoyed some time with our baby girl who is growing up way too fast.
  • Quiet. With four kids, a dog, and two adults who aren't known for their docile mannerisms, quiet moments can be tough to come by in our house. But the drive home was blissfully quiet. The girls conked out immediately, thoroughly exhausted from staying up late, playing hard and hiking. Grant was content to veg in the back and listen to his new Switchfoot CD. Curt and I just sat, enjoying the silence and reveling in our many blessings.
It was a weekend of indulgences and lived up to Curt's prediction of it being the hap-hap-happiest Stilp Family coast trip ever. At least until we do it again next year.

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