Friday, April 03, 2009

Our Whidbey Island vacation!

Day One:

We arrived on Whidbey Island via the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry mid-afternoon on Monday. The vacation cottage we were staying in was just a quick drive from the ferry terminal, though we were a bit confused when we arrived as the cottage was set back on a "road" that was actually just mud-filled tire tracks over a stretch of grass. I was amazed this address even existed on a map!

The cottage had a true cottage feel, which was perfect. We settled in, unpacking groceries and other items as the girls dug in to the toys that we had saved especially for this trip. Legos, a bead set and puzzles were quickly strewn everywhere. No biggie, we were on vacation!

Matt, Eloise and Heidi (our dog) headed off for the beach while I dug in to a pile of magazines provided at the cottage. After their jaunt we set to work making dinner-- tortellini, italian sausages, red peppers and garlic bread. After dinner we headed off in search of a grocery store to pick up a few things. On our way we made a little detour in to Langley before stopping at the store. We headed back to the cottage and settled in to a night of jiffy pop, jelly beans and a family viewing of Madagascar. The girls thought they would like to sleep together that night, but after about 45 minutes of messing around I took Eloise to another bedroom.

Starting out the trip with Legos.

In the living room was a cute hanging lamp and a vintage map of the islands of Puget Sound.

The kitchen of the cottage.

Iris enjoying herself!

Day Two:

Sadly, the girls woke up at their usual time despite going to bed much later than normal. Ah, well. I made the girls pancakes (well, I cheated, I brought frozen pancakes I had made previously) and covered them in whipped cream and strawberries. We all got showered and dressed and then headed out for a family beach excursion. It was surprising to see how high the tide was compared to the afternoon before! There was just a sliver of beach for us to walk on, and Heidi enjoyed romping around in the sand. The rest of us were a bit put off by the crazy wind! It was sunny but super, super windy.

After the beach we relaxed, ate, then headed off to play at a park we had found the day before on the way to Langley. Still incredibly windy, but we all raced around, kicking a soccer ball and playing with Heidi. Iris and I discovered a small pasture of sheep on the other side of the park and Iris sat at the fence and "baaaaaa-ed" at them. Slowly but surely one made it's way over by us, it was so cute!

After the park we ventured out a bit and wound our way through some adorable little areas of homes by the water. We were struck by the tsunami evacuation route signs on the roads out of these areas. I had no idea! We also picked up an island map-- very helpful.

We came home, relaxed some more (it was vacation after all!) and then I made a trip to the beach before dinner with Eloise. The tide was much, much lower by then and we found lots of cool shells and rocks to look at. Eloise kept calling the buoys "gooeys" and man, it was so cute, I stopped correcting her pretty quickly. We also found a starfish that had washed up on the shore! From our cottage and from the beach we had a great view of the ferries making their way back and forth from Mukilteo to Clinton. I especially loved that we had a great view of the mainland. At night I loved seeing the lights.

Matt cooked up some brats on the grill that night, which were sooo delicious. After dinner we made a stop at Dairy Queen, which was advertising my very-- favorite mint oreo blizzards. It was also kind of bizarre that there were few businesses around there, but they had a DQ! We went on a drive with our ice cream, heading further south down Humphrey Road, which was the main road where our cottage was just off of. The road ends at Glendale Road, about a mile or two south of where were staying. It was a lovely view and had a few houses down there on the water, as well. I found out today that yesterday there was a huge mudslide there wiping out the road and wrecking some homes. So sad. HERE is a link to the news story, some photos and some video of the area.

Home again, we ate more popcorn and watched Wall-E. We actually watched very little tv while we were there, but enjoyed family movies! After a bit more bedtime issues, that night I took both girls with me in to the king sized bed so we could all get some sleep.

The girls started the morning by digging in to the Legos.

The blue one is the cottage we stayed in.

This cottage was a neighbor to the one we were in. It appeared to be abandoned. I thought it was so cool looking!

Iris walking down to the beach.

Eloise testing the limits of the height of her boots. Needless to say, we changed her socks quite often while we were on vacation!

We were pretty sure Heidi enjoyed herself about ten times more than anyone else! Most days combined her love of being off-leash and running in the sand.

Here is the view south on the beach of the Clinton ferry terminal. This gives a good perspective of how high the tide was mid-morning.

The girls digging in the sand.

Not quite sure what Eloise was doing here. Hmmm . . .

Playing soccer at the park.

Oops, not so happy after all.

Happy again on the swing!

Heidi enjoyed some soccer playing, too!

The sheep we met.

The girls rolling Matt down the hill at the park.

Later that same day, at about 5:00, the tide was much further out. It allowed for much more interesting exploration of the beach!

Eloise exploring.

The two ferries crossing the Puget Sound-- one going west and one going east.

Eloise and Heidi on the beach.

A piece of sea glass we found.

A starfish we found washed up on the beach.

Eloise decided to send the starfish back to the sea.

The girls pretending to be snoozing on the couch at the cottage.

Day Three:

On Wednesday we woke up to rain. We spent the morning being lazy (I probably had devoured about 15 magazines by that point!) and playing Killer Bunnies and then headed out to find a yummy lunch in Langley. It did not disappoint! We randomly found The Braeburn and holy mother of god, Matt ordered the best sandwich I might have ever eaten. It was the pot roast sandwich. I will dream about it forever. Great service, amazing food, and even a kid's menu complete with Shirley Temples! After grabbing some coffee across the street we headed northwest to South Whidbey Island State Park. The girl's school is having a group camp there this summer and we thought it would be fun to scout the area out. We were the only ones there and took a fun little hike down to the water front. Eloise, ever the no-fear adventurer, immediately went right up the water every time we were on the beach. Iris, not so much. The water terrified her, she was sure it would swallow us whole. Maybe we shouldn't have talked so much about tsunamis?

After SWISP we headed south to Double Bluff beach, as when we were at the state park there was a map indicating that it was an off-leash area for dogs. It was gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Iris refused to get out of the car when we got there, so Matt stayed in the car with her. The tide was very low so the beach was expansive. I was surprised at the kite boarders who were out despite the cold and rainy weather! Eloise and I explored and found a bunch of tiny, dead crabs. Heidi was thrilled when another playful dog showed up. I sent Eloise back to the car because she was shivering and to my surprise Iris came out and was feeling brave about the water (though it was several hundred feet out) and also about touching the (dead) crabs!

We headed back to the cottage and had a dinner of random stuff so we could get things eaten up and not have to drag them back to Seattle. After dinner there was more relaxing and Matt and Eloise ran to the store for a couple more things. Iris and I did her big puzzle while they were gone and discovered there was eight pieces missing. The hunt for the missing pieces took a while!

That night we divided the girls up yet again, Matt slept with Eloise and I slept with Iris.

Iris enjoying her Shirley Temple at The Braeburn.

On the beach at South Whidbey Island State Park.

On the beach.

On the beach.

Eloise wishing she could swim.

One of the many dead crabs we found in tide pools at Double Bluff park.

On the beach at Double Bluff Park.
Day Four:

On Thursday it was time to head back home, but we still had some plans for the day! We woke up (I got to sleep in that day. Ahhh . . . ) and slowly started packing/cleaning up for our departure. Eloise and I took one last trip to the beach and we were excited to find a bunch of beach glass that morning.

We decided to get back home by driving north through the length of the island, crossing Deception Pass to the mainland, then driving back south on the interstate. We were excited to see the whole island and the girls and I had never seen Deception Pass before. The drive wasn't as long as we thought (due to a map that I found misleading in it's dimension) and we got up to Deception Pass in time to eat some lunch and play a bit on the beach. Not long after we left it started raining again and the rest of the drive home was unremarkable and, well, kind of long.

Overall, the trip was really amazing and I swear I could have stayed there forever. I certainly have spent my fair share of time online looking for a beach house to buy and use as a rental/vacation house. Clearly we couldn't live there as Matt's commute would be like 3 hours each way-- ha ha. I had a hard time with my allergies, I think mostly due to how old and dusty the cottage was. As soon as we got in the car to leave I stopped sneezing.

We also struggled quite a bit with the girls, mostly Iris. She was sassy to the extreme for most of the trip. We had a very, very hard time with her. I am not sure why, honestly. So frustrating. I think she had a really fun time being there, though. There were a few things that we forced her to do that she didn't want to, like, oh, go to the beach, but besides that we didn't do anything that wasn't super kid-friendly. Maybe just a stage she is going through? She was using LOTS of "potty talk", calling all of us "stupid" if anything at all didn't go exactly how she wanted and of course, her favorite was saying she hated us. Lots of spitting in the car, too, which drives us crazy. Eloise is typically fine, other than occasional tantrums, but she does emulate her sister quite a bit, so she modelled alot of the same behavior, unfortunately.

Having lunch at Deception Pass State Park.

Eloise wants to throw the biggest rocks in to the water that she can lift!

Carrying it to the water . . . .

And . . . throw!

A heart rock that Eloise found.

Climbing on some barnacle-covered rocks on the beach.

Checking some things out in the pools of water in the rocks.


Iris on the logs.


  1. looks like a great time! Allan's aunt lives up there and we used to have a great time visiting her. It's a beautiful area, for sure!

  2. You forgot to mention that we got to listen to music literally the whole time, focusing on albums we discovered during the formative years of our relationship.

  3. That looks like an awesome adventure. Too bad about the mudslides and destruction, although I'm glad you all made it out safely. It's interesting how different the ocean beach is from our big lakes' beaches.


  4. Sounds like it was great (aside from the sassiness!). It looks like a beautiful place.

  5. You are some seriously beautiful people; inside and out!
    I love how little kids squeeze their eyes closed to tightly when they pretend to sleep!
    Absolutely precious.


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