And finally, part 5 … Sunday evening and then a bit from Monday, before Matt and I headed home…

        After dinner and a bit of fireworks, we settled back into game-mode.  This time it was a table full of adults + Gage for some Dalmuti.

        With the background sounds of firecrackers going off on the beach.  🙂  

        The game went on, but I took a leave to hang out on the beach with the boys and capture their play for a little while.  

        My oh my how Kaden adored my cousin, Noah.  I don’t know that there are many 16-year-olds that would give such devoted attention and love to a goup of kiddos like Noah did.  What a gift he has … a lasting gift he gave to my boys with the time he spent with them.   

        The game pressed on … it looks pretty serious, but it is really a fun game!

        And then, the neighbor’s fireworks show started.  It was only the 3rd of July, so I figured Matt and I would miss it since we’d be leaving on the 4th, but lucky us!  They put it on a day early and we were able to enjoy an amazing display!

        It was awesome.

        The next morning, Monday morning, the actual 4th of July, Matt and I started packing up our stuff and moving the boys’ stuff over to my mom’s camper pretty early so we could hit the road.  The boys were going to stay with my mom at the beach and then head to my parents’ house for the rest of the week as per tradition.  

        Also as per tradition, I had to take one last walk on the beach with the boys before leaving.

        He ran back to get a shovel … he wanted to dig for clams for real for once.  😉  

        But, when he rejoined us, I told him he’d better just stick to digging for clams in front of our property, so back we all went.  

        And he had some success.  🙂

        The good-byes at the end of this trip never get easier, including the one I silently say to the Beach House, knowing it’ll be another year till I see it again.  But there is comfort in knowing that it’ll still be there next year, like it has been for about 9 decades.  And you can bet we’ll be back there again, ready to add more memories to the lifetime’s collection we already hold so dearly!

        Thank you for coming along to revisit this trip.  ♥  Have a fabulous weekend!  

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        Part 4!  First of all, I have to say how good it feels to be blogging regularly again!  I got out of the groove over the past few months and I didn’t really realize until now how much I really missed the regularity of it.  ♥  It helps to have lots of photos to post, though, too.  😉

        Back to part 4 … Sunday of our trip.  As much as I love the picnic tradition and the fullness it gives to the day it is held, I really love the days surrounding it too, for the calmness and ‘what ever goes’ attitude they hold.  Sunday started with breakfast burritos, then a lot of hang-out time and then a trip on Michael and Kjersten’s boat over to Port Townsend.  

        I never remember how big my sunglasses are until I see them in photos.  Wowza.  

        The things I do for photos’ sake!  I crept up the side of the boat to sit in the front with the kiddos and it was wild.  Then I was too nervous to creep back down the edge of the boat so got to experience a bit of a wild ride.  Eventually my need for a calmer ride over-took my nerves and I scooted on to the back!

        In all the trips we’ve made to this sweet ol’town, I’ve never arrived by boat, so that was a fabulous experience! 

        We met a carload of our family there and strolled the streets together in search of a place to eat lunch.  If you ever happen to be in Port Townsend, The Little Yellow House is a fantastic option for lunch!  

        We mostly came for the boat ride, lunch, a little bit of store browsing and a nostalgic glance at this town we love …

        If I’d had my wits about me, I would have documented the town and adventure better, but something about navigating the sidewalks and planning all the comings and goings of a party of 21 people sort of made me forget my camera existed.

        Later, back at the Beach House we settled into Game Mode.  We.Love.Card.Games.

        We started with a bit of 5 Crowns… 

        Then took a break for the kiddos to play crazy and to prep dinner.  

        And then a quick bit of firework exploding … and styrofoam box-sitting for my nephew, Gido.  

        Sort of a random place to end today (right in the middle of the evening), but for the sake of page-loading, I’ll pause here.  😉

        And then will be finishing up tomorrow!

        Thank you for reading!  ♥ Have a fabulous Thursday!

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        • Mom - It was such a fun day! Glad Tado and I survived the boat ride! 🙂 Cute photo of Noah and his “shadows”!
          XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

        Here we are, still on day 2 of our time at the Beach House trip; Saturday.  After the big picnic with over 80 people, most headed out except for those of us camping and staying for the weekend.

        Beach walks, crabbing, shell thowing/batting, and game playing resumed…

        My mom, sharing a quilt she made out of handtowels my great-grandmother had embroidered … 

        My mom (aka Grammie) with my oldest brother, Boe … 

        And it wouldn’t be a 4th of July celebration without some fireworks… 

        Dinner after the huge picnic lunch is always hotdogs on the campfire … 

        And, in recent years thanks to Michael, crab, too!  

        More fireworks… and more getting away from the fireworks!

        This is what complete and utter bliss looks like for Charlie… it used to be that I was so grateful to anyone and everyone who would willingly hold or keep an eye out for my babies and toddlers while here at the Beach House.  Now, I’m so grateful to those who willingly put up with Charlie’s constant need to be touched…

        This is Bailey, my aunt’s dog, who also happens to be Charlie’s niece…

        Each year, it is such a blessing that the neighbor allows us to use his front lawn since he is not there.  This space is in constant use for all the energy the kiddos need to expend!  

        Gage had some serious fun entertaining everyone with his drone.  😉

        Matt and my brothers.  

        His shirt says it all… 

        This boy must have shattered a hundred shells or more with this beach-wood paddle … 

        And between all of these guys and their rock throwing and skipping, it is a wonder there are still rocks on the beach.  

        The source of hours of entertainment for my boys and the means for catching pounds of delicious crab; Michael’s boat.  🙂 

        Matt and my Uncle Lenny 

        Silly Lilly with her injured foot, not slowing her down one bit.

        A little rock-skipping lesson for my nephew, Hank … 

        My cousin, Kjersten, telling a very good story by the looks of it!

        Rest time for this one … 

        My Auntie Hope and her sweet son, Noah.  They came down from Anchorage and what a gift it was to be with them for this weekend.  Auntie Hope is at the tail end of breast cancer treatments and despite the pain and toll it was taking on her, she remains the exact same amazing, spirit-filled, encouraging woman I’ve always known.  Her courage, her kind words, her humor, her love for the Lord, so SO evident.  And her smile.  I’ve always loved her smile and how it fills her entire lovely face.  ♥

        Grammie Timi (Michael’s mom) and Ginger … 

        All the kiddos learning Dalmuti … 

        Then onto some s’mores …

        Nobody tended to Charlie’s need for hand-holding better than my cousin, Leah.  🙂  

        This evening ended with a few more fireworks after dark, before calling it a day and adding one more ‘Swanson Family 4th of July Picnics’ to the history books!

        Thank you for visiting!  More tomorrow!  

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        • Mom - ….a smile on my face and tears in my eyes….
          XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

        • Megan - I just love seeing your pictures of your beach trip! I live in Georgia, and we take a yearly trip to the Gulf of Mexico for our beach trip. We always go the week with Labor day and my oldest daughter’s birthday always falls that week too. It’s a fun tradition to have and my kids look forward to it every year!
          What gets me is how different the west coast beaches look. I’ve been out to La Jolla once to the beach and liked how different it was. I don’t know how that would compare to where y’all go. Probably even more different. Anyway, all that rambling to say, I can’t believe it’s July and I saw so many people in your pictures with sweat shirts! Is that normal for this time of year? It’s been in the 90s here for over a month! Do your boys swim when y’all visit the beach? Or is it too cold? I’m just fascinated by the differences and would love to travel out that way.
          Maybe one day we can! I homeschool as well, and we recently purchased an older camper. I’d love to pull it out west!ReplyCancel

          • Lacey - Hi Megan! You beach trip sounds dreamy! Those are white sandy beaches, right? The beach we are on in these is similar to those along the Washington and Oregon coasts, but this one is a little different because it is on the Puget Sound inlet. So, pretty rocky! Down the California coast and on the southern Oregon beaches (those that are actually along the Pacific Ocean) are sandier and lack the rockiness of the northern and inlet beaches. And yes! We were wearing sweathshirts, which is totally typical. Summer weather in Washington doesn’t start until around the 4th, but along the water it is anyone’s guess of what the weather will be! They have swam in the water there at the Beach House, but it is more like a daring thing to do since it is so cold! Hehe … mostly they just kayak and last year did some paddle boarding. 🙂

            Down here in Oregon (at our house) our weather fluctuates SO much! It is gorgeous today, but the past 4 days or so felt like fall! So weird, but definitely nice in that the heat never really gets overwhelming. 🙂 You guys should definitely take a trip out this way with your camper! There is so much to see and enjoy in this part of the country. <3ReplyCancel

        • Tara Adams - Mmms, smores! I’ve just come back from some time in CA and OR, and brought a smores kit back to Australia with me. Had them last week. They were good. A real treat.ReplyCancel

          • Lacey - A s’mores kit! I love it, Tara! I just discovered something else wonderful to try with s’mores, too, if you love lemon! Use lemon curd instead of chocolate and it tastes just like lemon meringue pie! YUM! <3ReplyCancel

        All year long, the boys tell me that they can’t wait to wake up at the Beach House.  They say they just love waking up to the sea gulls, the sound of the water, and the opportunity to get right down onto the beach.  And I totally agree.  And after having an amazing night’s sleep in the Pop-Up Trailer (thanks to a memory foam that mattress is more comfy than our Tempurpedic!), waking up was even better.  G, C, and I dressed and crept out of the trailer, hitting the beach first thing…

        … and then as I observed with my eyes how beautiful the morning and experience was, I treked back down the beach and to the trailer to retrieve my camera.  Why I didn’t take it in the first place, I don’t know.  More and more often I’m leaving it behind, but 9 out of 10 of those times I’m bummed that I did.

        Anywho, onto our walk, searching for sea glass, skipping rocks, and digging for clams…






        Back from our walk we found most everyone was slowly joining in on the day…


        … and that crabbing was already going on …


        … and then Tado decided to get up around 9:30.  Hullo!  That’s tent-trailer camping for ya!


        And then we were finally able to make coffee …


        Later, Matt and I stole a bit of time away for ourselves and played some Cribbage.

        4thofJuly-153Then family started to arrive for the picnic/potluck/reunion event, and the day looked a little bit like this …


        …. after the picnic crowd dispersed and the kiddos went out on the boat for some crabbing, Matt and I stole away a little bit more alone time to walk the beach … fancy walkin’ evidently!  Thankfully, I learned my lesson that morning and remembered to bring my camera on this one.  😉


        More tomorrow!  ♥

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        • Stephanie George - SO, so glad you are taking the time to get a few photos with YOU in them. That’s the first thing to go when I’m feeling a little burned out on photography or when I’m feeling like I may be focusing more on taking pictures than on experiencing. But always, when I look back, I’m glad I photographed our time together and disappointed when I didn’t. Good for you for getting in the picture too.ReplyCancel

        • Mom - It was a wonderful day, filled with fun, family, and 5 dogs!
          XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

        Every year my mom’s side of the family gathers together at “the Beach House” in Port Ludlow, Washington for our annual 4th of July Potluck Picnic/Family Reunion.  A tradition that spans many generations back to my great-grandparents when they first built the Beach House.  More than just a picnic, though, it is also a camp-out of sorts for my parents, cousins, brother, aunts and uncles … a time for being together by the water, taking walks, eating, laughing, catching up, boating and crabbing, playing games, sitting by the campfire, compounding memories at the Beach House onto past memories at the Beach House, over and over again.

        A quick walk through my blog will show you our 4th of July trips to the Beach House over the past several years (2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010) and this week I’m adding one more trip to this collection.

        The big picnic event didn’t fall actually on the 4th this year so we drove up on Friday the 1st and hit a roadblock about a mile from our home.  A roadblock of renegade cows.  Which Matt herded back into their home.


        That looked like a quick car-ride, but really, 5 hours later we arrived and after we popped our home up, we settled in to begin our time with the family.

        My cousin Leah and her boyfriend, Eli, were down from Anchorage and right away were reminding Charlie why the Beach House is his most favorite place in the whole wide world…. he gets more attention here than anywhere else!

        My cousin’s dog, Ginger…

        … and drugged up, Charlie.  See those droopy eyes? Poor pup … it took a bit for his sedative (for the drive) to wear off!

        My cousin-in-law, Michael, making dinner…

        … and then enjoying dinner is my cousin, Kjersten, her daugher, Lilly, and my Cooper.

        This is my dad, aka Papa.

        My mom (aka Grammie) playing corn hole with Leah, Eli and Kaden…

        It did not take long for Cooper to get out on Michael and Kjersten’s boat, thankfully, because he had been looking forward to it for about 363 days!

        Every day at the Beach House is completed by the campfire …

        … and none of us would have it any other way.

        More tomorrow!  ♥

        Happy Monday!  Thanks for visiting! 

        Photographer friends:  On this trip, I only brought my 35mm and 70-200.  Most of the images were taken with the 35 for its simplicity and versatility. 🙂

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        • ryan - Miss it so much.

          Makes me really want to move up to Idaho…ReplyCancel

          • Lacey - How about Oregon? 😀ReplyCancel

            • Ryan - 🙁

              Oregon is a beautiful state. We have our eye on a town in Idaho though.ReplyCancel

        • Mom - “Thanks for the memories!” It’s so much fun looking back to all the 4th of July picnics! They are all so special. Already, like Cooper, I’m looking forward to next year!
          XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel