cousins

Christmas at the Beach

Over the weekend our family had a nice little getaway. My family is pretty big (on my mom’s side) and we used to do a summer camp out party and then a Christmas party every year. This year my cousin Di organized and coordinated a fantastic new Christmas party!

She found a giant house on the beach in Rockaway, OR. It was a giant house, big enough for the majority of people to stay there. I think there was something like 4 or 5 bedrooms (several rooms had bunk beds) so tons of people could sleep there.

We decided to rent a house in Rockaway with my parents. Our house that we rented was on the north side of town, the other house was south but it was literally 7 minutes to drive to the party, so no big deal.

You can see pictures of the vacation house we rented on my Instagram. It was really cute! It was big with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, the garage was converted to another bedroom/playroom. There was a fenced yard for Bella (fabulous) with a fire pit and picnic bench. The decor was super cute and kind of modern/retro. Check out the photos I took.

Plus, there was a GIANT closet stuffed full of toys for kids of any ages! Logan had SO much fun playing with the toys. What a great surprise!

Our house was one block from the beach, too! We had easy access to the beach. The weather was perfect this week–sunny and not windy and fairly warm. It was in the 30’s in the mornings, though!

We all arrived at the house Friday afternoon and then went for a walk on the beach. It was gorgeous and we basically had the beach all to ourselves.

After Logan went to bed, my Dad and Michael went to pick up pizza and Caesar salad for dinner and the four of us had pizza (Michael and I had beer from Buoy) and we played card games. It was so much fun!

Saturday morning my parents played with Logan and Michael and I went for a run. It was a very cool, cold morning but the sun was out and we warmed up pretty quickly. The sun felt nice! We ran around the neighborhood and by the beach. I ended up running around 2.75 miles. Then while Michael was making his famous mac n’ cheese for the potluck, my dad and I went for a long walk on the beach while Logan napped.

Bella was LOVING the beach! I have some cute videos on my Instagram if you want to see.

After lunch on Saturday we packed up the stuff we needed for the party and went down to the party house.

Here is a video of the BIG house everyone else was staying in! It was huge and right on the beach! It had a hot tub and a fabulous view. Lots of room for a big group.

How nice is that deck?! What a cool place to stay in the summer time. The party was fun. My cousin brought her 14 month old twins so Logan had a BLAST playing with his little cousins! It was so cute!

Logan is all about giving high-5’s and fist bumps. 😀

Logan did so good. There were a LOT of people (30? ish?) and he was a bit shy and unsure at first but he warmed up and had so much fun. It was so cool to see him spending time with family we don’t get to see often.

How cute (and hilarious) is the below photo?! HAHA

There was a potluck dinner. After dinner my dad and I took Logan back to the house we rented because he was fading fast. My dad stayed with the baby and I went back to the party for the white elephant gift exchange.

This is the gift I brought for the gift exchange. 😀

Have to say, the sweater might be the best gift!

Then a bunch of us went down to the beach for a bonfire. Nothing better than that!

The next morning we had breakfast and packed and then went for one last walk on the empty beach.

I didn’t want to leave. I love the beach. We checked out of the house and headed home. Rockaway is about 2 hours from Portland. Logan slept for a good chunk of it, which was nice.

Home to unpack and I went swimming. It was a great weekend!

Two Date Nights

Michael and I lucked out and got TWO date nights this weekend!! The first was Friday night. Daycare had a “parents night out” and they were open until 10pm. We took advantage of that and got dressed up (sort of) and went to Chart House for dinner.

A coworker has been talking about how this is their date night spot because happy hour lasts until 7pm. So we decided to take advantage of that. We got there and it was valet parking only (free) and the bar is downstairs of the restaurant. It’s perched on a hill in SW Portland with amazing views!

The picture above was the view from our table, right by the window. It was a nice view of the river and downtown Portland. We could also see Mount St. Helens and Mt. Hood in the distance.

We got drinks–I got a white wine and Michael got a beer.

We got the calamari with kim chee (and it had deep fried veggies in there, too). It was really good and flavorful! And who doesn’t like deep fried veggies?

We shared the mahi mahi fish tacos. They were pretty good but needed some spice or something. They were a little on the bland side.

We shared the lettuce wraps. It was chicken with cucumber and carrots and a soy sauce glaze. I thought they were pretty good. Very messy to eat!

Lastly, we got the prime rib sliders (they had cheese and caramelized onions in it). Michael wasn’t a fan of the sliders but I thought they were really good! I loved the caramelized onion flavors and gooey cheese (and let’s be honest, the bread!!!)

We split a piece of cheesecake for dessert. It had caramel, crushed macadamia nuts and a little bit of Heath Bar crumbles. It was REALLY good but very, very decadent. Thank goodness we split it!

It was a really nice experience. We hadn’t really been on a real date night and been to a nice restaurant since February when we went out to sushi. 😀 It was definitely time for us! And it was perfect timing because this week was our 9 year anniversary. Hard to believe 9 years ago we had our first official date. <3

Then Saturday it was time for date night #2: my cousin’s wedding. My parents drove down from Seattle and got to spend some time with Logan and then we left Logan with Michael’s mom and drove to Ridgefield for the wedding.

It was at Bethany Vineyards. I’ve never been there before but it was a really beautiful wedding venue! It was off the freeway in Washington near Vancouver, amongst countryside and farms and lots of trees. I guess there was a brewpub nearby, too.

Her flowers were gorgeous!

The wedding was outside. It was a sunny, bright day, but unfortunately it was also 100 degrees (not exaggerating!). Here are a few photos of the venue:

It was too bad they didn’t have some kind of tents set up for the tables because we were in direct sunshine, no shade, and it was very very very hot! Thankfully they had tons of ice water.

The ceremony was kind of off to the side near the vineyards and there was a bit of shade over there, so that was nice.

And we got to spend some time with another cousin and her husband, whom we don’t get to see very often but it was a really fun night hanging out and catching up.

Since it was at the vineyard, they had plenty of the wine for drinks or tastes. I tried the Pinot and it was really good so I ended up buying a bottle. 🙂 My other cousin and her husband and I snuck into the tasting room for about 15 minutes after the ceremony because it was air conditioned and SO NICE in there (LOL) so we did a small taste and their Cuvee was excellent!

almost bought that bottle, too, but decided to be an adult and just buy one.

The signature drink for the wedding was a white wine spritzer, which I had never had before but it was quite lovely! It was the Bethany Vineyard Riesling with tonic water and fruit. In 100 degree weather it was very easy to drink those!

Very refreshing! I drank a ton of water and tried to stay hydrated as much as possible.

My cousin looked gorgeous in her dress and guess what? Her aunt HANDMADE the entire thing for her! It was absolutely stunning! And what a cool heirloom to pass down to your daughter or granddaughter someday. The ceremony was lovely and the food was really excellent! It was heavy Hors d’oeuvres –fruit and veggies, pasta salad, green salad, meatballs and these really yummy cold sandwiches. It was actually the perfect food for a hot, outdoor wedding.

There were these little chicken salad sandwiches on croissant rolls that were to die for! So good! Then it was the speeches and cake cutting and they had cute cupcakes, too:

I had one of the cupcakes. They were really good. By then I was pretty stuffed. So the homemade macarons that my cousin made as favors came home for later…

I’d like to say it was starting to cool off by then, but it was still nearly 100 degrees when we left at 6:30. We had to get home for Logan. It was a really nice wedding and it was nice that it was an afternoon wedding. I remember when Michael and I were planning our wedding we considered a Sunday brunch wedding (we loved the idea!), a vineyard wedding, or an afternoon wedding. I’m very happy with what we did but it’s still fun to experience other weddings and think about what it would have been like if we’d done that.