Our long anticipated (and feared) family vacation came and went, and I am happy to say that we are left with many wonderful memories this time (last year's vacation was quite a disaster that I tried to suppress in my memory for months after we got home, maybe it's time to look at some pictures I took back then). Unintentionally, our 'theme' turned out to be all about visiting beaches, and it ended up being just right for everyone. Refreshing and calming for Mark and I, fun (i.e. wet) for the kids. We brought swim suits for them, but every time we went to visit a beach, we though it was too chilly to wear them. And yet, in the end, at least half of the kids would end up being completely soaked, purple lipped, shivering, yet looking forward to repeat the experience again. So we just made sure that we always had a set of towels and dry clothes for all the children, and accepted the fact that our car would be full of sand for the duration of our trip.
This was our third trip to North West, and even last year, when we encountered so much stress and trouble during our vacation, I still carried with me the lasting impression of the beauty that we witnessed in the NW. I love going back there, and hope that some day we will live close enough to that area that our traveling will only take a couple of hours instead of a couple of days. Until then, I'm going to hold tight to my memories of all the wonderful adventures we had together as a family.