Cannon Beach

Last Wednesday I was in a major funk. Emphasis on major. I was already in a mood and it was cold. I didn’t want to hit the trail—the trail always puts me in a better mood. Instead, I parked on the couch. Blaise and Laine were at their wilderness class; Saige and Baby were playing upstairs; Maive was toddling around downstairs; Brian was working in his office; and I was sitting there, letting my emotions build up. I was about to break. I was so over everything. And the monotony of pandemic life was really starting to get to me.

As I was sitting on the couch—staring into space—I had an idea. Cannon Beach. Something different. A reset. And I LOVE Cannon Beach. We go every year. And the beach, the ocean… I was craving both. I looked up the weather in Cannon Beach for the next few days: sunny and in the 50s. Then I looked up hotel availability at the Wayside Inn: one room left. Everything was lining up nicely. Except I’m not a spontaneous person. Taking off the next day was a crazy thought. I’m a planner and like to know about things well in advance so I can properly prepare. I decided I’d brave the cold and hit the trail, to think a bit more about my idea. Luckily it had warmed up.

The trail didn’t perk me up like it usually does. I felt a bit better but was still close to breaking. When I got back home and Brian asked me how my run went, I about teared up. It was in that moment when I decided Cannon Beach was happening. I told Brian my run was okay but that I wanted to go to Cannon Beach the next day, for two nights. I said I’d take Maive—since he’d be working—and Blaise and Laine. I figured since he had that work thing, and Saige and Baby had outdoor classes on Thursday and Friday, they were the best ones to leave home. Brian, being the overly supportive guy that he is, of course said I should go. Then he suggested we all go. Sold. I immediately booked the last room, which was—thankfully—the two bedroom suit. I guess one of the bonuses of having a large family is that not many people book the large capacity rooms. That was that. We were going.

My mood immediately improved. I was so excited to be going somewhere, doing something different. Away from schedules and household chores. And to Cannon Beach, one of my favorite places. I got right down to business: asking my friend if she could watch Melvin, emailing the kiddos’ classes and activities that they’d miss, preparing the house to leave for a few days. I have this thing where I have to come home to a clean house. Everything has to be put away in its place, no laundry in the baskets, no dishes in the sink, and so forth. I run a tight ship around here to begin with so it wasn’t terribly difficult to leave on short notice.

The younger gals and I picked up Blaise and Laine from their wilderness class. They were in great moods, as usual. I immediately told them we were going to Cannon Beach. They all got super excited and asked when. When I said tomorrow, they all got giddy almost in unison. I took them to Blake’s for ice cream before heading home. The whole time we were ice creaming, we were planning all that we would do in Cannon Beach. It was such a great moment, to all be happy and excited about the same thing.

Ice cream kiddos, excited about ice cream and the Cannon Beach trip.

At home we quickly ate dinner before Brian took off with the older four to gymnastics. Maive fell asleep right after they left, which gave me the evening to prepare. By the time they got home, I was ready to roll to Cannon Beach. I take that back; I still needed to pack. I like to pack right before we go because I need a few of the things I pack. Blaise and Saige packed when they got home from gymnastics; Laine and Baby were too tired and went to bed. Everyone woke up Thursday in amazing moods, excited to hit the road. Even Brian.

After dropping off Melvin at my friend’s house, we were on our way. What a perfect time to go. There was no traffic. Not even on the 5 near Tacoma. That’s almost unheard of. We stopped in Kelso for lunch, grabbing McDonald’s for the meat eaters and Burger King for the vegetarians. Ever since going vegetarian, I rarely eat any kind of fast food. Not like I did much before but now I can count on my hands how many times I’ve eaten fast food in the last three years. Kelso is right there before the bridge over the Columbia River into Oregon. The kiddos always like to announce when we’re in a new state. Laine especially likes to point out that Brian and I are briefly in another state before they are, sitting in the back of the Suburban.

The drive to Cannon Beach once hitting Oregon is beautiful. Not that Washington isn’t but driving down the 5 isn’t really all that exciting. Again, no traffic. We didn’t even get stuck behind a slower driver on the two-lane highway. Once we hit Astoria, we were counting down the minutes to Cannon Beach. I love Astoria. I think I could easily live there. But that’s something to be spontaneous about another day. We arrived in Cannon Beach 10 minutes before check in. We took the long way to the hotel, through town. It was fairly quiet. Not busy like it is during the summer. Score.

We checked in, unloaded the car, and set off to the beach. The beach was PERFECT. Not only was it mood lifting, it was calm. There was no wind. It wasn’t hot. It wasn’t cold. There were people enjoying themselves. But not too many. We settled on a spot and let the kids roam free. The older four got down to business—hitting the water to jump in the calf-high waves and playing in the sand. Maive was experiencing the beach for the first time as a walker. When we went last September, she wasn’t even crawling. Maive was an instant fan. I sat and took it all in: the ocean, the beach, happy kiddos, all of Maive’s beach firsts, Brian… I really scored in the partner and kiddo departments.

Dinner time was approaching and we had reserved the hotel pool for 7pm. Another Covid benefit: pool reservations (I hope this stays a thing when the pandemic ends). Brian wanted Mo’s. He placed an online order from the beach. Brian grabbed the food while the kiddos cleaned the sand off their feet. We all walked back to the hotel and grubbed on Mo’s. Then it was pool time. Luckily I bought all the kiddos new swimsuits a few weeks ago. I know how quickly swimsuits sell out as spring and summer approach, and wanted to get ahead of the crowd.

Normal smiles and then Baby being Baby, haha!

Maive was barely hanging on. She rallies hard to keep up with the older four kiddos. Brian dipped her in the water before I took her back to the room for bed… she was out cold in about two minutes after I got her ready for bed. Brian and the older kiddos were back in the room around 8pm. They all got in their jammies and it was movie time. Captain Marvel. I love this hotel. They have movies you can borrow from the lobby. And bonus, they give you popcorn. They were all so tired. Even Blaise who is a night owl. Baby fell asleep sitting upright, watching the movie. Brian called bedtime about 9:15pm. Not one kid complained. Saige and Laine took the second bedroom; Blaise and Baby took the pull-out couch in the living area. All were fast asleep. Brian and I called it a night about 10:30pm. We all slept hard.

Friday was all about checking off our standard Cannon Beach festivities. First up, breakfast. This is where I have to laugh. The week before, hiking with Karann, I told her I wasn’t ready to eat in a restaurant. Covid and all. And that’s exactly how I felt… until we were in Cannon Beach. Haha. Kind of like how people have strong opinions on things until it personally affects them, then they do a 180. Guilty. If I’m honest, I wasn’t the one who suggested we eat in a restaurant. Brian did. But I was all in. In keeping with tradition, we went to Pig ‘N Pancake in Seaside. I was impressed with their Covid precautions. We ate and then left for the Seaside Aquarium.

This is the tiniest aquarium. I like to think they treat the critters extra special to make up for the small habitat spaces. We first went back in 2012 it was only Blaise and Laine, and they were both toddlers. Times have changed! The current toddler got in on the seal feeding action… she laughed and laughed at the seals doing their cute tricks for fish bites. After feeding the seals, we nosed around the rest of the one-room aquarium. It was as short visit but worth checking off our trip list.

The kiddos hit the swings on the Seaside beach before we loaded up and went back to Cannon Beach. It was imperative we hit the candy store, haha. Downtown Cannon Beach was quiet. There was some action but the fact that there was ample parking let me know it wasn’t going to be all that busy. Thank goodness. We easily parked and walked to the candy store. The kiddos all grabbed candy bags to fill and got down to business.

Brian told them two scoops total each… Blaise may have milked that a bit. Saige acts like she likes sweets but when given the opportunity to get two scoops, she goes for maybe one scoop. And then she ends up giving her siblings most of her candy. I went for the walnut fudge. Over $80 later, we left on a mission to find a Cannon Beach coffee mug. I decided it was time to buy one. I like coffee mugs to have a meaning. Laine and I found one. I absolutely love how ridiculously cheesy it is, and that it’s super colorful.

Super cheesy coffee mug.

Driving back to Cannon Beach from Seaside, we stopped along the 1 to check out the Historical Marker called out on a road sign. In all the times we’ve visited, I’ve never noticed this before. It’s a replica of the cannon that washed ashore the beach, giving it the name Cannon Beach. Brian took a selfie?! Haha!

Historical marker!

Breakfast, candy, shopping, check. Back to the hotel for some down time before hitting the beach again. While the kiddos and Brian relaxed, Maive and I hit the beach for a walk. The goal was to get her to nap… she never napped. But she enjoyed down time in the stroller. None of our kiddos have ever just sat. If they aren’t sleeping or strapped in somewhere, they are on the move… until they are sleeping or strapped in somewhere. Even without a nap, it was still nice to get an almost kiddo-free walk on the beach.

Baby relaxing at the hotel while Maive and I hit the beach.

Friday afternoon we spent at the beach, all together. There was a random log on the beach that we decided to use as a home base. Blaise started digging; Baby collected rocks; Laine and Saige jumped in the shallow ocean waves; and Maive played with her new sand tools I bought for her earlier in the day. Brian and I switched off hanging with the different kiddos. We must have spent about two hours beaching. It was getting close to dinner; we needed to get back to the hotel.

Before packing up and calling it a day, we walked from our home base down to Haystack Rock. I walked with Blaise while pushing Maive in the stroller. Blaise decided the other large rocks protruding out of the ocean needed names also… that Haystack Rock shouldn’t be that special compared to the others. So he started naming them. One was Bobby and the other Joesph. Laine caught up with us and named one Muffin. There were more names tossed around for the other rocks.

The kiddos explored around Haystack Rock, finding see urchins and other creatures in the tide pools. It was time to make the trek back to the hotel. It was pizza time. And then another round at the hotel pool. Brian looks forward to the pizza every time we visit Cannon Beach. It’s pretty damn good. The only bummer this go around was when he went to pick up our order, there had been another Brian who had ordered. The young kid working was overwhelmed. Luckily we ended up with our pizzas but not the breadsticks. Bummer. Pizza, yum. On to swimming.

Haystack Rock.

Side note! Everyone needs someone in their life who looks at them the way Blaise looks at Maive! I take about 10 pictures in a row and find the best one later. Five kids and all, one great shot is highly unlikely. This was one of the multiples… he ADORES her. They all do, I just happened to capture this moment.

Maive love!

Maive hadn’t napped at all Friday. She was ready for bed while we were still on the beach but rallied hard to hang in there. After pizza, I readied her for bed while the other kiddos and Brian went swimming. Maive was so overtired that it took her a good 30 minutes to fall asleep. That’s rare for her; she’s usually out pretty quickly most nights. The rest of the crew finished swimming, readied for bed, and watched another movie. This time it was Power Rangers. Laine and I selected it from the hotel lobby with Baby in mind. We were spot on. Baby loved the movie. It was after 9:30pm when the movie ended and we all called it a night. Even Brian and I went straight to bed. It had been a fun-filled Friday.

Maive was up bright and early Saturday morning. And when there is a toddler awake in a hotel room, everyone is awake. Brian had big plans to hit the beach for a run but it was cold—mid 30s. Brian would rather run in the afternoon of a 90-degree day than on the beach in the 30s. He’s weird, haha. Instead, we decided to pack up and hit the road. The big plan was to drive home and detour through Bremerton to see the USS Nimitz that’s docked there. Blaise is SUPER into warships these days. Like, SUPER, SUPER, even DUPER. He can tell you about any warship, all details, and does over every meal. And at bedtime when we go to kiss him goodnight. He’s a walking 10-year-old warship encyclopedia. On the drive home, we were all tired. We decided we’ll check out the USS Nimitz on a separate day—make a day trip out of it, it its own right.

The toddler out cold the night before waking everyone up Saturday morning.

Home again, home again. It was so needed to get away. And I booked again for summer. Same hotel, same room. Three nights next time, with an added night in Astoria. We’re already counting down the days we go back!

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