Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bodega Bay is for the Birds, and the Mannions

This last weekend we went on our annual/biannual camping trip with our dear friends, the Mills. I was told I was crazy for going camping at 8 months pregnant, but we have a great air mattress, and I would much rather do it now than with a baby. Besides, Dave is a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) RN, and the handiest camper, so I figured we were in good company. We headed up to Bodega Bay on Friday. The town is famous for being the location of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds." We did have some fairly intrepid birds visit our campsite, but nothing frightening. We also had a couple of voles poking their heads out of holes right by our tents. The kids named them Mohawk and RolyPoly.

The campground was on a thin strip of land at the bottom of the bay, right by a couple of jetties and our site was just a few feet from the beach. We were expecting the weather to be clear and in the mid 70's, but instead we got overcast and mid 50's. Which didn't slow the girls down one bit.

They dived right in.

Can I tell you how happy I am to be getting smiling pictures of my little girl? I love that grin.

Chloe and Josh in the water.

Running Chloe.Is it just me, or does this picture look like I have just given birth to Addie?
She was very into "hoodies" this trip. She kept pulling up her hood, and anyone elses, and yelling, "Hoodie!" She also discovered her name as we were driving out, and kept repeating, "Addie, Addie Addie" throughout the drive. And the whole time we camped. And constantly since we've been home.
This was the first time we've been camping without a child who was just learning to walk. Add in the fact that we were also camping on rough sand instead of fine dirt, and the whole trip was a much cleaner experience than we'd had in the past. We also didn't have to bring a pack'n'play. Both our girls slept in sleeping bags. The first night could have gone better. I, of course, put off my midnight potty trip as long as possible, then couldn't get back to sleep. Addie then woke up and wouldn't settle back down, even though she was in bed with us, and I started to fear that we weren't going to get any more sleep that night. Oh, and did I mention that there's a beacon that beeps every 5 seconds at the end of the jetty? Fortunately, we were all able to get back to sleep eventually.

The next day we headed back to the beach. Here are Addie, Bracken, Dave, Parker, Chloe, and Ashley looking for shells. Josh has apparently had enough of that activity and is off to bigger and better things.Addie and Daddy walking down the beach.

Chloe and Parker examining a starfish.
Chloe, Addie and Dad, smiling for the camera. 2 out of 3 ain't bad.
Excited Addie. There were all sorts of dogs (She fortunately shows no lasting trauma from her dog bite experience, though I was angry to see that same man, and his dog, sitting even closer to the playground than before when I last went to the library), crabs, starfish, water-squirting anemones, and lots of nice people to check out.

Cute face.

Chloe, in her swimsuit, in the freezing cold, but loving it. (She's just ahead of Josh and Dave.)
Bracken and Parker. I'll have to see if Ashley's shot of the front side is as cute.
Playing in the sand.
Me, feeling the wet soaking into my bum, but still not motivated to get up.
Sharing M&M's by the campfire.
These two are such buds.
Playing horsie. How many times did we have to shout, "No ropes around the neck!"
Addie enjoyed the opportunity to play with Josh's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. She particularly liked making them kiss.
We nearly packed it up and left early that night. The wind changed direction and intensity and it got chilly. Fortunately, by the time our fire died down for the night, things were much calmer. We slept much better that night. No one woke up, except for me, and boy was that a freezing walk to the toilet.

The last morning of camp, all dressed and ready to go. As soon as she can call all her peeps.
Cute girl Chloe.
Is the loudest child in the world actually telling me to be quiet while she makes a fake phone call?
These next couple shots were taken by Chloe. She's finally figured out the view screen, and did a good job! There were several more still lifes and documentary style shots I didn't include, that were nevertheless well composed and clear.

Posing while eating. Note the hand on her sister's arm.
This picture I find very amusing. Where's my belly?
We took one last visit to the beach that morning. We have so much fun camping with the Mills, and we get along great, but we have one major problem. Our kids wake with the dawn, and there is no getting them back to sleep. And, as I've mentioned before, Addie does not have a volume control or mute button. The only way to let our friends get the rest they deserve, is to just take the kids somewhere else.
As we played on the beach, Addie uttered her first complete sentence, "I see a boat!" Bracken and I were both pretty shocked. She uses a lot of words, but usually sticks to screeching one noun or verb at a time.

We packed up camp and stopped at the bathrooms before leaving the campground. We turned off the car to pray for safe travel, and then couldn't get the car to start again. After a panicky half hour in which we decided not to tour the sights of Bodega Bay, even though Bracken loves Hitchcock, and just go home, the ranger was able to jump our car. We left the park and drove past the visitor's center, and Bracken went in to look for just a minute. I was actually really glad when his 1 minute turned into 10 and he came out grinning with a map in hand. I would have hated to be so close, and have him miss seing parts of Hitchcock history. We checked out the Tides Restaurant, the location of the reverse shot of the kids running from the schoolhouse, then went inland to the town of Bodega to the schoolhouse.
By the time we got home, Addie had been strapped into her seat for about 4 hours. You'd think she'd be dying to get out of the car, but, no. We had the whole car unloaded before I finally dragged her, kicking and screaming, into the house. I guess she just didn't want the weekend to end.
I can't say I blame her. It was so nice to spend time with friends, meet some new people, enjoy time in nature, and fall asleep to the sound of the ocean. And even though it took me 3 days to finally get everything put away, and my car is still full of sand, I would do it again in a heartbeat.


kimberly said...

Looks like fun! I can't imagine camping while pregnant! You are Wonder Woman!!!

Missy said...

I'm so glad you all had so much fun together! The picture where Addie is hugging your legs is priceless! I'm happy for Bracken and hope he was truly in heaven having visited bodega bay! Fun, fun, fun!