Party Like It’s Halloween!

Ellie went to her first ever Halloween party, held at her daycare Friday night, and was the cutest little Minnie Mouse I’ve ever seen! I even fished out some old Minnie Mouse ears from a trip to Disney World a few years back to coordinate with her costume.

She loved showing off her costume to her teachers and had the time of her life playing with her friends! There were a ton of people but Ellie didn’t let them get in her way. 🙂

Now I can’t wait for Halloween so we can wear our REAL costumes!

Passport to Oregon

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Andrew and his parents helped me check three major bucket list destinations off my list last week–Astoria, Oregon, Haystack Rock, and Crater Lake! I’ve wanted to see these places for as long as I can remember, so when Andrew’s parents said they were planning a family reunion on the Oregon Coast and asked us to come come, my mind went wild with all of the possibilities. Oregon is a BEAUTIFUL state-even more so than I expected-with smooth beaches, dense forests and raging rivers at every turn. Andrew prefers the mountains and I prefer the beach, but in Oregon you can have both!

We left home on Saturday morning and had four days to spend touring the state before we met up with Andrew’s extended family in Lincoln City on Wednesday. We definitely made the most of our time, squeezing in as much as we could. Ellie was a travel pro. Long flights and drives didn’t diminish her spirit–she was WAY too excited to be in so many new places. She slept about 80% of our flights and spent the rest of the time looking out at the world. She prefers the window seat. 🙂

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The first destination on our itinerary after landing in Portland was Astoria, Oregon. I’ve always loved the movie, The Goonies. Ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to visit the city where the movie was filmed, and am fortunate enough to have a husband who wants to make all of my dreams come true. We got to see several locations from the movie, like the jail the Fratellis escaped from, the bowling alley where Chunk sees the police chase, and the museum where Mikey’s dad worked. We even drove to Ecola State Park, where the kids match the rocks to the metal skull piece they found before going into the restaurant. If there is any question about whether I’m aware of how nerdy all of this sounds–trust me, I’m fully conscious. But honestly, I was in Heaven. We even got Ellie a t-shirt that says “Goonies Never Say Die.”

It turns out Astoria is NOT just a movie set. It’s actually a really nice, quaint town. All three of us really enjoyed walking along the paths on the waterfront and pushing Ellie down the sidewalks in the stroller, although, she was not a fan of Seal Pier. About 200 stinky seals barking at her was not her cup of tea.

We made our way to Ecola State Park, which offers beautiful views of the coastline. There were a couple of short trails we walked on before we headed to our next hotel in Cannon Beach. In CB, we stayed at The Ocean Lodge, right on the beach and with a beautiful view of Haystack Rock. I loved seeing Ellie run around on the beach and pick up seashells.

Our next destination was Crater Lake, a six-hour-long drive from Cannon Beach. Needless to say, I was not happy by the time we got there, but seeing the view of the crater the next day definitely improved my mood! These pictures don’t do it’s beauty justice. Andrew’s mom and dad were driving in from Nevada and met us there to spend the day touring the East Rim since the West Rim was closed for the season. The morning started out really cloudy and cold at about 30 degrees, but by afternoon we had warmer temps and sunny skies–it was perfect. We let Ellie do some hiking and took the opportunity with Andrew’s parents to take some family photos.

On our way to meet up with the rest of Andrew’s family, we made a quick stop at Oregon’s tallest lighthouse, Yaquina Head. Ellie got to run around after being in the car for four hours, and we even saw some gray whales in the bay. Win-win!

Our last destination was the gorgeous beach house Andrew’s parents rented in Lincoln City with his grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousin. We got to reconnect with them and with each other, while they entertained Ellie for us. They even had an early birthday party for her with new toys, clothes and even a Cookie Monster cake. She was definitely one spoiled little girl. My only regret on this trip is not taking more pictures of them!

Andrew and I even got to go on a date! We spent a wonderful day going on a whale watching tour where we saw about eight gray whales, wine tasting and did a little light shopping. We had sparkling champagne at lunch and watched the waves crash on the bluffs from a bench above the bay. It was my favorite part of the trip.

Overall, this was a trip that will be on my mind for a long time to come with so many great memories to choose from. Ellie won’t remember it, but I’m so happy and thankful I’ll be able to show her (through photos and videos) so many special experiences on her first trip to Oregon.

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Fall Picture Time!

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This little sweetheart got her fall pictures taken at daycare and they are so cute! When Andrew or I ask Ellie to smile for pictures, she usually does the opposite, but for some reason she has no problem cheesing for complete strangers. I figure it’s because she’s not comfortable enough with them yet to be her normal rambunctious toddler self. Whatever the reason, kudos to the photographer for not only getting her to smile, but also getting her to stay still long enough to snap THREE super cute fall photos.

Seeing her pictures this time of year is fun because we’re coming up on her birthday, so the pictures almost mark each year of her life. Of course, there have only been two fall photo sessions as we’re coming up on her second birthday, but I am always surprised by how much she has grown right in front of my eyes. I don’t always see it day-to-day but I definitely see it when looking back at earlier photos. On the left is last year’s fall picture, with this year’s picture again on the right. My little baby is not a baby anymore!