Pax is five months old today. I will spare you the full extent of my maudlin feelings on the subject, but it is true what they say, "long days, short years," etc. There's some extra angst around her grandparents missing her babyhood and this possibly being my last baby and on and on. Anyway, Pax celebrated by vomiting rather spectacularly all over our bed during her assigned "tummy time." I broke out my backup fitted sheet and Bear promptly crawled into bed totally caked in sand.
Today was also notable for being the end of the westward portion of our journey. We reached the Pacific coast and now turn South. We first saw the ocean from Road's End state park just outside Lincoln City. Bear ran around like a barefoot maniac, scooping up and and throwing it again, running with his arms out pretending to be an airplane, squealing when his toes touched the cold stream water that ran down to beach to join the ocean. A child in nature - pure joy.
We continued down the coast to Newport, where the kids and I visited the Oregon Coast Aquarium (Benjamin napped in the RV.) Aquarium highlight: the tidal touch pool, where Bear and I were brave enough to touch some colorful anemones (sticky) and sea urchins (spiny).
I'm finally getting better at the maneuver I call The Solo Extraction (TSE). TSE means getting Bear to leave a place - any place - with Pax and without the help of another adult. I'm told that I had difficulty with transitions as a child as well. My uncle Mark enjoys telling a story about how I had to be removed from my grandmother's house "in a football hold, kicking and screaming." Well folks, lets just say that allllll those chickens have come home to roost in Bear. His standard response to "it's time to go." has evolved from merely "no," to "you can't catch me." So when I say I'm getting better at TSE, I just mean I did not have to chase him through the entire aquarium, though there was still screaming and biting.
The kids napped in the RV. We pulled over at a particularly gorgeous overlook with a view of the rocky beach far below. Besides the usual seagulls, there were some black and white birds hopping along the rocks and occasionally diving into the water to catch a fish.
Then we spotted a pair of sea lions swimming through the water like graceful mammalian torpedoes. They would disappear under the waves and then surface together, perfectly synchronized. It became a fun game to try to predict where they would come up. I watched them until they disappeared around the edge of the rocky outcropping.
A little later down the road there were official sea lion caves where you could pay $14 to take an elevator inside the rock to see them more closely. We didn't go - the kids were sleeping and we'd already spent money on the aquarium, but mostly I was happy with my private experience of this one pair of sea lions far below us, moving through the water together and not caring about us.
Our campsite for the night was at Honeyman State Park where we were at the right time to catch the Rhododendron bloom. After partaking of the campground playground, ate a dinner of leftovers, had a small fire, and went to sleep.