Monday, September 7, 2015

A Very Minimalist Christmas III

Ah, Christmas in August! It's become a tradition, and you know what? It. Is. Awesome.

To recap: Since coming out as minimalists, my lovely parents have (mostly, I'm still trying to break Mom) foregone giving us Christmas presents in favor of all of us going on a trip together in the summertime. Past trips have included Wildlife Safari and the Redwoods, and Leavenworth, Wash.

This year, we went to Sunriver for an extended weekend.

We didn't mean to stay as long as we did, but apparently when you book rentals in Sunriver in the summer, they expect you to stay four nights at a minimum. So what could we do? I'm not sure you could even spend too much time in this place, anyway -- there's just so much to do, including sitting on your deck and reading the day away.

You can't get more perfect than that.

Oh, nothing, just a wild animal out the back door.

Friday, Aug. 21:
We rolled into town about 6:30 p.m., as we had to leave after I got home from work and it's a three hour drive. My parents were already there, and after taking a quick tour of our new digs (which were really nice -- some rentals are better than others, and ours was prefect for the six of us), we hit the Village to see what we could see. My parents hadn't been there before, so it was fun showing them the various shops and where we'd hoped to take them to dinner later.

And then we went home and hung out and were basically just awesome.

Saturday, Aug. 22:
The great thing about Sunriver is that there are wide, paved bike paths all over that place, so you basically just walk out your front door (well, we had to cross the street, but still) and you're on your way. (Eric said the thought was golf cart access, but it's turned into a bike trail that's equally as friendly to walkers. Which is good, 'cause we ARE.) So after breakfast, the six of us decided to check out Fort Rock Park. It was a pretty good stroll from our house, but no one seemed to mind. Once there, the girls lamented that they forgot their basketball, but Jo managed to still have a pretty good tetherball game with Grandma (and then Eric and Abby went all Napoleon Dynamite on each other), and Jo also enjoyed the playground scene.

So that was fun.

When we got back, I cracked open a book -- by which I mean I turned on my Kindle. This is where I read "Eleanor and Park" all in one day on the back porch of our house. I have no regrets.

But Johanna, Eric and Papa decided to go to the Sharc. Which is to say: A really great waterpark that includes basically any sort of water feature you can think of, from a "lazy river" to waterslides. This is also were Eric and Jo learned that 2-year-old Walmart sunscreen is not up to the task. Oops.

Our rental was within walking distance (well, everything in Sunriver is within walking distance if you're crazy enough, but this was only about a quarter-mile) of the Catholic church, so we hit the 5:30 Mass. And then got recruited to bring up the gifts. So we did. The priest was awesome, by the way. That's always a bonus.

After Mass came dinner -- Mom's lasagna -- and then Mom, Eric and the girls played Apples to Apples. Papa and I declined. But we got ours the next night, so don't even worry.

Sunday, Aug. 23:
When my parents saw that our rental had bicycles, my mother decided then and there that a bike ride was on her bucket list. Even though she apparently hasn't ridden a bike since high school.

Um, what could happen?

Still optimistic 'cause we're only in the driveway.

So we took a 78-mile ride (just kidding ... it was probably only four or five round-trip) with the Lodge as our final destination. Except you guys, I haven't ridden a bike since high school either, and wow, bicycle seats HURT. So when we got as far as the Village, I was like, you know what would be awesome? Coffee! So Mom, Abby and I found a coffee spot while Eric and Jo (who were riding tandem) and Papa went on.

Good thing I got a large.

That coffee shop was so crowded that I wasn't even back with our coffees by the time the other group went to the Lodge and back again. But I would like to announce that my iced latte and Abby's peach smoothie, and that blackberry crumb bar that also looked too good to resist, were amazing and totally worth the 20 minutes or whatever it took to get them.

And then we rode back.

And no one died!

I'm pretty sure that's the best we could have hoped for. I crashed on the couch because 78-miles (or four or five) is A LOT. Then I realized that a nap on the couch wasn't half as awesome as a nap on the deck, so I moved outside. Eric and Johanna decided it was game time at the kitchen table, Abby retreated to the room she was sharing with Johanna, and my parents decided what they really wanted to see was Tumalo Falls in the nearby Deschutes National Forest. Which they said was amazing.

My nap? Was also amazing.

For dinner that night, we took my parents to the Sunriver Brewing Company. You guys, if you are in Oregon and you want a great meal, look to the breweries. They're all family-friendly, the menus are generally reasonably priced and you're going to get full.

Three orders of fish and chips, two orders of pulled pork sandwiches and a cheeseburger later, we waddled out of there feeling pretty happy. That place is always packed, but we got there at the crack of 5, the logic being that only losers would be eating dinner that early, so we didn't have much of a wait. But it IS worth the wait, just FYI. Go there.

Ready for dinner!

Oh, and then we walked about the Village again ... and drove to the Lodge so the rest of us could see it. The wildfire smoke was so thick that you couldn't even see Mt. Bachelor, but whatever. We've gotten sadly used to wildfire smoke this summer.

Mom had such a fun time the previous night playing Apples to Apples that she made Dad and I play when we got home from dinner. The best part was knowing which cards were Dad's because he kept giggling every time he played. And even though the two of us are not game players, we had to agree that Apples to Apples is pretty great.

And then it was bedtime. We were wiped out.

Monday, Aug. 24:
One stop on Dad's list was Crater Lake, since we were so close. And by close, I mean within a couple of hours. But the park's north entrance was closed due to wildfire. No biggie, so we take an extra hour or whatever and hit the south entrance. Except the park cam showed it was socked in with that damn smoke, so we decided to forgo the lake in favor of Sisters.

Which is like a half-hour from Sunriver.

Mom bought me coffee because she loves me so much.

We walked around the shops, and I was half expecting to run into Rainn Wilson because one of the shopkeepers was going on about how she met him (he has a house close by?) and asked if he got told he looked like himself a lot and he said yes but she didn't know it was him until later.

More coffee, an apple fritter the size of my head, a chat with some UO fan who coached various sports who saw the girls and wanted to recruit them (his dog was AWESOME), and a picnic lunch in the park.

So that was fun.

Back at home, Eric and the girls and Dad went to play basketball, Mom and I chatted on the deck, and THEN some of the crazier among us decided to take another bike ride. You guys, what?

Tacos for dinner (or leftovers from the previous evening), and then! We hit the Village one last time for a round of mini-golf. That was super fun. Then Eric, the girls and I went on the bumper cars, which was also fun, but let's just say I don't need to do that again for a while. I came off of that thing feeling a little dizzy. Still, there's something to be said about crashing into your girls.

Hole in one!

Again! Abby and I were the only ones who did NOT.

Back at home, Jo and I hit the hot tub because she needed some more water time. And, I mean, how often do you have access to a hot tub in your back yard? Not often if you're me because my husband doesn't believe in hot tubs. I've tried.

And then bed. All that fresh air makes a person pretty tired.

Tuesday, Aug. 25:
Oh, you guys, I was so not ready to leave! Yeah, it was smoky for all the days except our first, but a girl can really get used to the quiet. I made Eric take some pictures of the deck before we left because I want to recreate such an oasis at our house. He said he thought it was actually a pretty boring deck, which surprised me. I mean, yeah, there wasn't much too it, but ... it seemed perfect to me.

You can't make me leave!

We all had such a great time, and we're already talking about next year -- same house, same time, same plan, except TWO rounds of mini-golf (one at the beginning and one at the end to see if we improve), more time at the Sharc, and Crater Lake this time for reals.

Bonus: We came back so relaxed from this trip. I really felt like I'd had a vacation.

P.S. My parents are super awesome for giving us this kind of a gift -- and I absolutely love that my girls have these memories. This kind of a thing is priceless. And it seems rather rich for a minimalist. But maybe that's the beauty of it all.

Thank you again, Parents! You guys are the best!

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