It's been four months since my last post. With FB and Instagram, I haven't felt the need (or had the time!) to document our life with a blog post. Until this past Friday and Saturday, that is. After four months of not much to write about, it felt like an epic two days in a row.
First, Sophie got to spend a few hours at a horse ranch at the Little Wranglers day camp at Silver Buckle Ranch in Brush Prairie, WA. As we look ahead toward the long summer break between K and 1st Grade, all Sophie wants to do is go to horse camp. So I thought this would be a good test.
When I dropped Sophie off, she headed out to clean the pony stalls with the other 5 little girls in her class. I left for a couple of hours and wasn't sure what I'd find when I returned. A whiny 5-year-old complaining about the cold or something else? Nope. I drove up to see her leading her horse, 26-year-old Domingo, from the stable to the indoor arena. When I caught up with her inside, she had mounted Domingo and was beaming. The girl was so at home. She got to ride Domingo (without a lead attached to the teenage volunteer who was helping her) all by herself around some barrels and then trotted for the first time ever. It was pure bliss. For me, too. Just being around horse people and horse culture made me wonder what life in a small town (like Gunnison, Colorado, where we own some land) would be like. I felt calm there and was so impressed with all the teen volunteers who appreciated the simple joy of riding and caring for horses. I would love Sophie to grow up as grounded and happy as these girls.
Then we kicked off our muddy boots and packed for a night at the coast with new friends from Sophie's kindergarten. They invited us to join them at the Surfsand Resort in Cannon Beach. Since we arrived around dinnertime, we weren't able to spend too much time enjoying their company and the surroundings. But we woke up the next day to loads of sunshine and a spectacular day. I started it off with a 2-mile sunrise run past Haystack Rock. Wow! I think it was the most beautiful run I've ever had. I almost settled for the hotel treadmill because I thought I was unprepared for the cold. Man, I am so glad I didn't! Truly gorgeous and exhilarating. Then we played with our friends the rest of the day, having breakfast together, exploring the tidal pools for anemone and starfish, splashing around in the indoor pool and hot tub, painting sand dollars and then ending with chowder for a late lunch before heading back to the city. We all returned completely refreshed and relaxed. And amazed at how awesome the Oregon coast can be in the Winter. (It's almost the best time of year to go, because you have no expectations for warm weather.) The Surfsand played a big part in the awesomeness ... kids eat free at every meal, they give every child a sand bucket, you can rent cruiser bikes for free, they offer a beach bonfire/smores package, they gave the kids a free toy, they have a free ice cream social and fresh cookies. The list goes on. I can't believe we got all of that for $100/night.
So, if we never get to build our dream house in Gunnison, Colorado, or buy a little vacation place at the beach, at least there are places like Silver Buckle Ranch and Surfsand to help us escape every now and then. After three years in Portland, I appreciate the slower pace of life that we had in Älmhult. I want more of that in our life here.
And, yes, my husband foolishly challenged me to a race on the beach... (And I foolishly took him up on it and tweaked my hamstring. But it was worth it!)