An Alternate Summer Bucket List

I originally wrote this post earlier in the summer, when I had barely made it through any of the things I had imagined myself doing that season.  Since then, we crossed off a bunch of “Summer Bucket List” items, but I wanted to share it anyway, as a reminder that it’s completely okay to take summer at your own pace and maybe not get to all the things you thought you were going to get to.  There are plenty of future summers for those things and in the meantime, you might just discover happiness in a whole slue of unplanned activities 🙂

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When I looked at my Summer Bucket List, hanging on the magnetic board in our kitchen, with just two items crossed out, I felt sad.  But then I thought of all the wonderful and fun things I did this summer that weren’t on that list and I felt sad no more.  I didn’t fail, I just wrote the wrong list!

What if, instead of spending most of our time trying new things, we just fine tuned/perfected/cemented our love for old things/routines/habits/experiences.  Getting better at stuff you already know you love is totally an accomplishment to me.

We went to the Farmers’ Market every Saturday we could and knew the best tents for tomatoes and just how much we could fit into my bike basket (even if we still bought more than that every time…).

We watched Dirty Dancing at Film on the Rocks and knew you forego the tailgate in favor of a amphitheater picnic because it means getting in earlier and grabbing a better seat.

I went to Yoga on the Rocks, not once but twice!  We went to so many good concerts and even upped our tailgate game by buying an actual table to sit at.

I baked ALL THE THINGS.  If weekly pie/cobbler/cake is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.  But don’t worry, we still made time for a trip to the ice cream parlor too.

We dined al fresco so many times and didn’t take a single backyard dinner for granted because they are, arguably and low key-ly, the best part of summer.

I read and ran and relaxed.  Uptight might be my middle name, but when there’s corn to grill and hammocks to read/nap in, who has time to worry about how clean (or dirty) their kitchen floor is.

I got a new grill and we found that sweet spot between BBQing for a group and just grilling up a quick dinner for ourselves.  In the end, that mostly means we just ate a lot of good things this summer.

Don’t even get me started on our little garden that I love with all my heart.  We were so much more organized and prepared this year and it was so fun to see new things grow and have that 10-minutes to water and admire all those cute little vegetables after work.

And let’s not forget weddings and vacations and weekends spent with our families that could have been stressful but ended up being relaxing and rejuvenating and a good reminder that despite all the bad things in the world, you have your people and they have you.

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So today, we say goodbye to Summer 2017 and hello to the official fall season and I’m feeling really good about it all ♥

Family Vacation to Oregon: Depoe Bay

Last summer, my parents took a trip to the Oregon Coast and returned a week later with whale sighting reports, pictures of beautiful beaches and a deep desire to return the following summer, but this time, with the entire family!

I’m so used to travelling places and feeling all go-go-go to see all the “must see” spots, so when my parents warned that there wouldn’t be a ton to do and lots of down time, I was so absolutely THRILLED.  If the whole point of vacationing from your normal workaday life is to return feeling rested and rejuvenated, you sometimes just need a vacation without an agenda, ya know?

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Before leaving Portland, we hit the grocery store and piled our rental cars full of fresh food for the week.  I’m all about hitting up new restaurants when we travel but staying somewhere with a fully stocked kitchen and people who wanted to cook made my heart so happy.  It was like I didn’t realize what was missing from my vacations was home-cooked food until I had it.

Also, my parents weren’t kidding when they said the ocean was right outside the window.  Wow, wow, wow!  We whale watched for a bit then Joey and I were on dinner duty and cooked up some crab cakes for everyone.  We maybe didn’t realize there might be shells in there so they had a little added crunch but whatever 🙂  Maybe also retreated to our room to watch Game of Thrones afterwards (LOOT TRAIN!) and remember when GoT was still on?  Those were the days.

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The Oregon Coast does NOT mess around with the fog, you guys!  It was eerie in the best possible way.  On our second day, we took a little drive to Newport for lunch and then we took off our shoes and walked around on the beach.  I was so surprised by how warm and soft the sand was!  I wonder if people who live near the ocean ever tire of seeing it?  I don’t think I would.

We did margs, guac and tacos for dinner that night and whoa, Oregon, whatcha doin with those teensy shrimp?  I’ve never seen such a thing!

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Hit the other side of Newport the next day — after the Dorsey Girls made a beautiful chicken Caesar salad for everyone, of course — and these sea lions were ornery!  They were not about sharing space or having their nap disrupted by another sea lion moving around.  It got a little heated between them at times.  Highly entertaining though!

Afterwards, we headed back to our condo for a little happy hour action and my sister and Wayne made wings for everyone!  Afterwards, I was like, “WHY DON’T I EAT WINGS MORE OFTEN??”  And then we watched The Matrix like a good little 90’s family and look, if I’m living in The Matrix right now, please leave me here because I am not cut out for that bleak real world of bald heads and rag clothing.  Let me get a blue pill over here!

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We hit up Tillamook for the County Fair the next day and I was so excited at the prospect of eating a really legit grilled cheese and then there wasn’t any.  Sad times!  But we DID watch a horse race (thrilling!), pet a baby cow (aka a calf) and saw a bunch of pigs that really grossed me out.  We were so close to the actual Tillamook Factory that we couldn’t not go, so we stopped in long enough for my mom, Joey and I to eat several cheese samples (CHEESE CURDS, FTW!), for me to realize I should have just held out for a grilled cheese from the factory and for Joey to discover he also has multiple stomachs and is maybe part cow?

For dinner, Joey and I made everyone our favorite spinach goat cheese turkey burgers (plus waffle fries, roasted broccoli and margaritas!) and tried not to be sad that we were leaving early the next morning while everyone else stayed for a couple more days.  Family vacations are a dicey business and even though my sister was making side bets on which family members would be the first to fight, this trip was so fun and so easy going and now I’m plotting our next vacation destination 🙂

Thanks for this trip, Mom and Dad! ♥♥♥