Saturday, December 27, 2014

Kalaloch Lodge and Cabins

Four semesters of school down and three more to go!  We are so excited to be on the "home stretch" with school.  There have been a LOT of changes in our lives in the past year and taking any kind of a vacation has not happened in a year and a half.  During the summer we normally go camping but with an infant that just did not happen. So it was time for a three night getaway preferably in a cabin with a washer and dryer, hiking with a dog available, and in the right price range.  I am pretty particular about how much we spend a night.  My searches always start with places $100 and under and I don't think I've ever gone over $115 and we have stayed at some pretty fun places!  The trick is to go off season which normally is the perfect time for us!

After searching an looking at some very promising places we decided on the Kalaloch Cabins on the Washington coast.  There was not a washer and dryer (which I wanted to wash the cloth diapers) so I purchased a pack of disposables.  Now I know some (most) of you will think I'm crazy for doing cloth but I love my diapers.  They are easy, save money in so many different ways, are easy on Little Man's skin, and cute.  Disposables on the other hand I find disgusting....they get very squishy....just saying!

Buster got exercise and some medicine to help him relax in the car and we were off on an adventure!  Everyone did really well until about twenty minutes before we arrived and Little Man became really fussy!  Longest twenty minutes in a car ever!  

We got all checked in and headed to our cabin.  The cabins are arranged in three rows (with only three cabins in the third row).  Our cabin was in the second row and had "peek-a-boo" views per the Lodge but I thought we had an excellent view of the ocean!  If you wanted more of a view in the second row request to be in cabins 21 -24 as the entrance to the beach is in front of them so they're no cabins blocking the view.  Further down is a large building called Seacrest with multiple units in it.  The Lodge itself also has a few rooms available but without kitchens.  

Inside was the normal welcome items like paper, pen, and information about the facilities but also included binoculars, matches, maps, and more detailed information on the history of the Lodge and things to do in the National Park.  I really enjoy reading about the history of places so was fascinated to learn that the original cabins were made from drift logs, that it was used as a Navy (in I am remembering the correct branch...could have been Coast Guard) base during a World War, and how it became part of the national park.  

These cabins have been kept very nice over the years and I noticed that the inside walls were all big logs but when you looked at the outside they had been refinished.  I did not feel any drafts inside so they have weather proofed it well.  It was very stormy during out stay!  Also they were remodeling the Seacrest building and also one of the large rooms in the main Lodge.  We did not even pay near to full price of the room but I can see how they can charge $221 during the summer.  I was impressed with the facilities.

Cell reception is sketchy and not to be relied upon.  There are no phones, tv's, or internet in the rooms so if you must contact the outside phones are available!

Our cabin had a kitchenette that included a two burner stove, small refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and lots of dishes, pots and pans, two queen beds with a privacy wall in between, futon, and wood burning stove.  They also provide pack-n-plays free of charge.  The beds had nice Pendleton blankets on them.  Each day you are delivered a pack of wood that includes fire started and kindling.  Our cabin really heated up using the wood stove!  

Since we did not have an oven I prepped our first night dinner of salmon and baked potatoes at home and cooked the green beans right before we ate.  Night number two was chili mac on the stove.  With all the leftovers I was able to make big salads for lunch, chili mac again, and had brought baked chicken for chicken salad.  Food prep was pretty easy!  We also asked for coffee filters and made pots of coffee to go with our rainy and windy weather.  I also packed my tiny food processor and ground up sweet potatoes and chili mac for Little Man.  He enjoyed it like he enjoys all his food!  And to finish it all off the kitchen sink makes a great bathtub after making a mess with all the food.

During the day his pack-n-play would be in the main area and at night I would transfer it to the other section where it was darker.  This fun setup met we had to crawl over the second queen bed but it was worth it to not have to turn all the lights off at 6pm.  He had a bit of a rough time sleeping but overall did well.  I brought him into bed with us one morning when we woke up super early and he leaned back toward the Big Man and said "da da" nice and drawn out like he was ready to get up and play!  Pretty cute!

We were also able to spend some time down on the beach each day.  The waves were incredible!  Huge, powerful, and could easily sneak up on you if you were not paying attention.  This is one of the few beaches that allow dogs on it in the National Park.  There are signs posted that it is a leash and scoop beach and poop bags were available next to the cliff entrance.  Buster had the time of his life chasing sticks and running in the waves.  He would play till he died if you didn't tell him to come home and lay down!  

During check-in you sign a statement acknowledging the risks of the waves and logs.  Every year people are killed when the ocean shoots a massive log out unexpectedly.  It is particularly hazardous during high tide.  The waves just toss and turn the logs like they are tiny sticks but when the waves recede the logs are huge!  Even a small imagination could see the damage these logs could do.

There is a restaurant in the Lodge that is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner or if you are like us take-out dessert.  I had the cheesecake twice.  It was really that good. The staff was so friendly and one of the cooks (right term...he had a white coat on) was telling me how you can transfer to different park for a time period.  He was from Shenandoah National Park and was spending a few months working at Kalaloch.  What an amazing opportunity!  They loved the company they worked for.

Most of our time was spent inside playing, reading, and listening to Christmas music!  What else would you want to do when you have such a happy little man?!  What a great last minute vacation!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Coho Cabin

Having a baby automatically changes your stage of life and what you are able to do.  Enter the women's retreat at church, the need for fellowship, but not wanting (and others did not want) to bring my baby and disrupt the retreat.  This is a time to rest and rejuvenate not be woken up by other peoples babies!  Our church has lots of babies right now and each mom is in a different stage.  Many have family in the area or older children that can help with the baby while they are gone.

Several other mom's had commented that they would love to go on the retreat but were not able.  Planning a mom baby retreat kept popping up in my mind and I ran it past several other women in my small group and they were all on board!  One of the other mom's and I got together and planned a leisurely weekend for four of us at the end of October.  We called it the "Rebel's Retreat" (this was not met to leave others out but to fill a need we all had).

The goal was to find a place that was in our budget had a bedroom for each baby and mom and fairly close to where we lived.  Coho Cabin out near Mt Rainier National Park and Ashford fit the bill perfectly and had a hot tub too!

There were four bedrooms in the cabin, two upstairs and two in the bunkhouse.  Each had a comfy full bed and room for a pack-n-play.  The bunkhouse rooms were a little tight with the pack-n-play's but there was plenty of room for storage under the bed, a jack-n-jill half bath, and heaters to make it toasty warm.  We hooked up baby monitors and were able to keep an eye on our sleeping babies from the cabin. I loved how they used maps of the area in the bathroom and pictures of the mountain in the rooms.  Upstairs the bedrooms had slopped ceilings with more room to sprawl out.

Downstairs had a nice size kitchen with all the plates, bowls and utensils that we needed!  A bonus to cooking was that the gas oven warmed the place up.  Part of the package includes coffee, waffle iron, and waffle mix for breakfast.  It was fun to whip up a batch!

We all loved the bathroom/ laundry room!  It had a wonderful cabin feel to it with a claw foot tub, wood floors, and a huge rug!  And being that we had babies the washer and dryer were used.

It poured cats and dogs all weekend long so we headed into Ashford for some coffee and treats at a local coffee shop.  Then back for naps and playing with the kids. 

Pretty sure someone was sleeping almost all the time!  We had a 10 month, two 7 months, and a 4 month old, so sleep takes up the majority of the day and we all had very different schedules! Somehow they didn't wake each other up much either.  With only one mover at the time it made "baby proofing" easy.

In the evening us girls took advantage of talking about life, what we were learning, and things we have struggled with.  Everyone has ups and downs and it is great to encourage others in areas where you are won and receive encouragement in areas you need to work on.  

I would highly recommend this cabin as they were easy to work with, clean, and comfy!  I would go back in a heartbeat! And all these babies would recommend it too. They must have thought their mom's were nuts because we were all trying to get them to smile at the same time!

Thanks to everyone for letting me use pictures of your kids!  And to Samantha for letting me use pictures 1, 2, 4, 9, 10, 11, and 12!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Baby Cold Weather Clothes

With the weather cooling down I started bundling Little Man up with different layers.  We have been out in mid 30's to high 40's and his cheeks are always rosy by the time we finish but he is nice and warm everywhere else! If it's "warmer" out we will do fleece pj's with the snow suit but on our coldest mornings he gets three layers.  

Our three layers are:

1. Long sleeve bodysuit

2. Fleece jumpsuit
Using the box as a car/train/sled.
He loves it and when it's outlived it's useful life into the recycle can and no toys taking up extra room!

3. Snow suit 

Of course he has nice warm socks on his feet.  I prefer his smartwool or wool consignment socks to keep those toes nice and toasty.  He hasn't worn shoes yet and I'm putting this off for as long as possible!  He frequently pulls the socks off in the car and chews on them.  Tasty!

My favorite layer is his "snow suit" (he has an actual snow suit for when the temperature really drops) from REI. We purchased his snow suit in a size 18 months so that way it is nice an roomy and he can grow into it and wear it for several months! He also has a matching hat with an under the chin strap.  His head doesn't quite fit the hood yet so the hat is perfect!

 Here are my favorite features:
1. Attached hood
2. Fold over mittens
3. Fold over feet

So far he has been nice and toasty warm on all of our walks!

What is your favorite cold weather piece of clothing for kids?

Monday, October 27, 2014

5 Tips to Hiking with a Summer Baby

Hiking with an infant brings different challenges for each season.  The biggest one in the summer is sunburns and overheating.  Here are the 5 most important things that I learned this summer.

1.  Hike as early in the day as possible.  I am not a morning person at all, but for hiking I'll drag myself out of bed at the crack of dawn.  "Early" this summer was between nine and ten.  He slept so much those first couple months that he would sleep on the way to the trail-head, sleep on the hike, and sleep on the way home.  It was great!

2.  Find a shady trail.  My preference is to be above treeline but this summer was time to head into the woods.  Shady trails usually equaled cooler temperatures and less chance of sunburns.

3.  Wear a cool long sleeve outfit.  Little Man had white pants and cardigan outfit that he wore almost every hike and a lot of days at the dog park.  The pants even had feet on them so there were not any gaps between socks and pants to worry about sunburns.  

4.  Use sunscreen if your pediatrician ok's it!  Our pediatrician is wonderful!  She has been in pediatrics a long time and is well respected.  Since she is the EXPERT on baby health so I listen to what she has to say.  Yes it is our choice to do what we want with our son but I normally take her advice.  She said by all means use sunscreen so we did sometimes.  Mostly on extra sunny days when it was hard to keep him completely covered.  And the time I forgot socks.

5.  Sun-shield or hat to keep sun off the face.  He did not always like to wear a hat so the sun-shield on the Ergo was a lifesaver!

Any tips for hiking with a toddler next summer?  How do you stay sunburn free?