Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Sea Ranch Experience

Last Monday we left with our packed to the hilt mini-van and headed towards a week long vacation at Sea Ranch. My in-laws have been going to Sea Ranch for years after being invited by close friends the Lucca's, and they rented a house for all 11 of us for the week (them, my brother & sister-in-law & their 3 kids and the 4 of us). My Superstar and I joined them the summer after McGee was born and although the beaches were beautiful and I had a blast playing tennis with my brother-in-law, swimming, playing games and reading books, our fun was tempered a bit by the colic of little McGee. In fact, it was after this week that I cut out dairy from my diet and we enjoyed our evenings (McGee included) once again.

The weather was perfect all week without need for coats (but sweatshirts were helpful in the evening winds) and our house - Abalone Point - was just perfect! Rather than the typical Sea Ranch style home with the sleeping quarters downstairs and the living quarters upstairs (not exactly ideal to have steep stairways with toddlers and soon-to-be walkers around), this home was mostly on one level and spacious with views of the ocean and a hot tub. Upon arriving at the house, we were greeted by a large herd of sheep and goats next to the house, a herd that roams throughout the whole ranch of the seaside community (get where they got the name??) thanks to temporary fences that are moved around every few days. Of course the kids got a kick out of seeing them after countless nights reading "The Big Red Barn" and "Moo, Baa, La, La, La". Kyle and I found it comical too how scared they were of us as we tried to stretch near them after a morning run. If one was spooked, the whole herd was spooked and would run a few feet away.

Before leaving we had put together our menu for the week, with each of us preparing a dinner and some nights having dinner over at our friend's the Lucca's house (their Sea Ranch house, although I'm sure they wish they lived there all year long). The town of Gualala (nearest town) does have a grocery store, but prices are a bit high so we tried to just buy milk and produce there - oh and don't forget the ice cream for root beer floats and such! The sleeping situation was unique with 5 children included and only 3 bedrooms, but Grammy and Papa and Brady slept in the "Casita" (separate, upstairs sort of "in-laws" quarters with a full bathroom and kitchenette), Matt, Alanda and baby Joshua slept in the guest room and the four of us, plus our niece Addie had the master bedroom. The master actually had a gigantic walk-in closet that had a laundry room off of it, so Addie and McGee slept there (in the closet, not the laundry room) and Miss Em was in her pack-n-play next to our bed. The house was well stocked too with games, books and a flat screen television perfect for watching movies (or the "Three Stooges" if you're a fan of that - which I am NOT). The kids had lots of fun building with the Jenga blocks and Alanda and I enjoyed a couple of "girlie" movies. We also watched "August Rush" (great movie) and "Prince Caspian" (although Daddy and I went to bed instead since they didn't start it until 11:30 pm).

Our house had a huge lot with lots of yard all around which suited kite flying, wiffle ball and general running around just perfectly. We had an ocean view and could easily walk down to a number of different beaches. Trying to keep to my running schedule, Daddy and I ran two out of 6 mornings and how refreshing it was to run in the cooler weather and with such beautiful sights! Daddy pushed me and was a good trainer, but my favorite was just running along the ocean trail and having deer spook us jumping out from behind a thicket.

Sea Ranch is just an incredibly relaxing, peaceful, quiet place to be and we are SO thankful to Grammy and Papa that we had the chance to enjoy such a fun family vacation this year! Daddy and I talked about how great it would be if we had jobs that didn't require our presence (you know, famous authors or musicians or software writing geniuses) so we could have a house in this serene oasis, but it would probably lose some of it's magic when called your home everyday so we'll just be grateful we can partake in it for vacations. A couple of years ago Grammy put together a white table runner and they all decorated it with pictures or words that represent Sea Ranch and the fun that is had. We didn't go that year, but they had an outline of Brady's hand (he was 2 that year) and I was happy we were able to add McGee and Em's hand outlines this year. I will have a few more posts detailing this trip, but for now I think I'll sit back and get lost in the scenery and memories we made.

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