Unless that movie is National Lampoon's Vacation.
This time last year, our family went on an impromptu beach day.
The kids still talk about it, it was SUCH a great day. We thought "What's better than one beach day? Two beach days, of course!"
We planned ahead a little and pre-purchased tickets to the aquarium and packed the van the night before. Here in Oregon, you never know what the weather is going to be like at the beach. It could be raining cats and dogs here in Springfield, but be gorgeous on the coast. Or vice versa. So taking extra clothes, blankets, coats, snow boots, etc. is a must.
The day was going to be fantastic ( cue "Holiday Road" music here).
We didn't tell the kids where were going, you know, to be extra cool and all. It took seeing the ocean for MOST of them to figure it out. (I love my kids and I'm not saying that they are dumb but...come on! You would think that the ocean would be a huge clue that we're going to the beach.)
And of course, it was raining. And not just the normal Oregon rain. But the huge drops that totally soak through any kind of clothing.
That's ok. We decided to go to the aquarium first. We're easy like that.
We pull up to the front doors of the aquarium and there were four school buses unloading elementary students. Four. Buses.
Now, I like kids. I even have some. But. Four bus loads? Not so much. The aquarium ain't that big. There certainly would not be enough room for us to look at things unobstructed.
You know, when you finally find a cool exhibit of something and you think it would be nice to sit and look at it for awhile. Then, about 1200 kids come running up, and get in front of you and your kids?
Didn't appeal to us.
We decided we could eat our picnic lunch and wait the four bus loads of kids out.
But, it was raining! So, picnic inside the van it was.
We parked at the jetty and watched the boats come into the bay. The kids liked that. For about 3 minutes. We had a really hard time convincing them that it was NOT a good time or place to go swimming.
Seeing as lunch killed approximately 20 minutes, surely not enough time for the gaggle of school children to be done with the aquarium, we decided to go to Old Town Newport and look at the sea lions.
There were 2 school buses unloading there.
But, they were taking a boat tour out into the harbor so really didn't bother us too much.
Saw the sea lions. Walked along the docks. Jeven discovered the ladder that the fishermen use to go down onto their boats. Made the statement that it would be a perfect ladder to use to get into the water, to go swimming.
Used death grip on my child as we walked back up to the street.
Decided that by this time, 1:30, surely the school kids would be done. They have to head back to school, right?
Go back to aquarium where not only are the 4 school buses STILL there, but now there are an additional 2 buses.
Decided we'd save the pre-purchased tickets for another day. Decided we'd go just behind the aquarium to the science center, where donations are appreciated for entrance. (read: cheap!!)
Get to science center. And guess what was there. Go on guess. I'll wait.
Did you guess school buses? You would be correct!!!
Again, I have nothing against children. But. It was suppose to be our perfect day.
Luckily, the kids WERE packing up and leaving. Which meant that we had most of the place to ourselves. It's not a huge center, but the kids got to touch tide pool creatures and roam around pretty much as they pleased.
We decided to take the more scenic route home, which adds about 2 hours to our already 2 hour trip home. But, hey, we had all day.
The weather was so bad, the traffic so slow, we only made it about 25 miles south before deciding to cut across the mountain, using a highway we'd taken only once before and "I wonder why we never go this way? It's so pretty!".
This highway had so many "S" shaped curves that someone had to get out of the van and barf. Which made all the kids laugh hysterically.
"Wow, Mom!! What did you eat?"
"Was that Oreo barf?"
"People stared at you when they drove by! "
"That. Was. Awesome!!"
The day did not go any way whatsoever like we had planned. I didn't take a single picture. Who wants to take a picture of rain? And school buses?
We didn't step foot on any beach.
There was vomiting.
There was fighting.
There was also laughter.
There were also lots of "Thank you,Mom and Dad".
When doing our prayers with the kids that night, they each thanked God for the great day they had.
I'm so glad things don't have to be perfect for our family to enjoy each other and have a good time. Lord knows, things are rarely, if ever, perfect.