Sunday, June 22, 2014

Our Vacation

Well, it's been a couple of crazy rearranging, unpacking, laundry days, but I finally have a little time to share my vacation with all of you. :)  As I shared in my last post, we had a wonderful trip and enjoyed spending several days with family and friends.

We left Thursday morning, but had to start by dropping off Hubby's borrowed car at the shop (it was part of a recall for a faulty passenger-side airbag).  It took a while to get the car checked in, so the girls, the dolls, and I waited in the truck. :)

Jenna and Rachel, ready to go!!

Because of our late start, we decided to stop for lunch in town before heading on our way. :)

At our first potty stop, the girls asked me to take some pictures of their dolls.  Here are Middle Gal's dolls, Andrea and Anna.

Little Gal's Cinderella and Elsa.

Oldest Gal's Kailey (her Christmas doll given to me by a doll club member). :) 

We took another potty break in Willow Creek by the Bigfoot museum.  This miner statue is made entirely of metal. 

Next to the museum is a nice little park area.  We took a little break and stretched our legs.  Oldest Gal ran laps around the field,  Middle Gal helped me with photography, and Little Gal played Frisbee with Hubby.

Kailey tries climbing another tree.

Jenna and Rachel, glad to be out of the car for a bit!

I love how the lighting turned out in this one (which was a total accident, by the way). ;)

Kailey again.

Middle Gal really got into posing and setting up pictures this year.  It was fun to see what she came up with. :)

Back on the road!  After Willow Creek, we wouldn't have to wait too long before we reached our destination.

The road construction wasn't too bad (it's supposed to be worse later in the summer).  We only had to stop a few times for around five minutes each.  I took the opportunity to get some pictures of the beautiful scenery. :)

On Thursday afternoon, we finally arrived at the S's house (the same place we stay every year).  Here are Rachel and Jenna, checking out the view from our room's window.  This was the first year that Hubby and I got a room to ourselves and the girls had their own room.  It was really nice for all of us. :)

That first afternoon, we took it easy and hung out at the house.

The next morning started with the girls' favorite vacation tradition: getting bowls of cold cereal for themselves before "real breakfast", when we have eggs, pancakes, and other yummy goodies.  Apparently Andrea and Anna liked this tradition too. ;)

  Later that day, we visited the Bayshore Mall.  Since the girls really wanted to take their dolls, I focused on photographing them rather than my own. ;)

Here's Elsa in one of the kiddie strollers you can rent there.


...and Andrea and Anna wanted to try them out too. ;) 

One of the new things at the mall this year was this giant chess set in the food court.  The King and Queen pieces were almost as tall as Little Gal.  As you can imagine, the girls had great fun playing here. :)

All three of the girls have really been wanting haircuts, but we never managed to get them done before our trip.  As a special surprise, we decided to have them get haircuts at the mall.  Here's the before shot: 
Look at all of that long, luxurious hair!

And here's the after shot: 
Their haircuts turned out really cute.  Middle Gal and Little Gal had great stylists who did an excellent job.  Oldest Gal's stylist was a bit frustrating.  She did not understand what Oldest Gal wanted (even when I tried to step in and help), and when she finally got it, she explained that the cut wouldn't work because it would be too short for Oldest Gal's hairline.  When I realized that Oldest Gal would only get her hair the length she wanted if the gal used a razor underneath in the back, I gave up.  We made the best of it.  Oldest Gal was really disappointed until the gal added some layers in the front.  They've since driven her crazy, but at the time, it was the only thing that put a smile on her face.  

I was very disappointed and am not fully pleased with the quality haircut, but I'm also not confrontational (and ended up tipping the lady the same as the others since they had me pay when Oldest Gal's hair was still in progress).  Oh well.  Lesson learned.  From now on, we get our haircuts in our own town with stylists we know. :}

On Saturday, we all went to the beach.  This was one I had never visited before, called South Jetty.  The beach is great because it's not usually visited as much as the other beaches.  So even though we were there on a Saturday in the middle of summer, we had the beach to ourselves for almost the entire afternoon. :)

When we first arrived, it was overcast and foggy, but within a half an hour or so, the sun broke through the clouds and remained for the rest of the afternoon. :)

My brother with his oldest daughter and Hubby with our three girls, enjoying the waves. :)

Middle Gal's doll photo set up. :)

There were so many fun logs and pieces of driftwood that made perfect places for the dolls to sit and pose.

Jenna and Rachel enjoying Jenna's first trip to the beach! 

Oldest Gal was very excited to bring her Kailey doll with her since she had so many fun props.  Of course, once Oldest Gal started playing in the waves, photo ops with Kailey were completely forgotten.  That's okay, though.  I'm sure Kailey had a lot of fun resting in the sand and watching the waves. ;) 

Jenna and Rachel with "Fi", Mimi's Josefina doll, and Ashley, Mom's #24.

Lol, Rachel looks like she's a little tipsy. ;)

Oldest Gal's Kailey, Middle Gal's Felicity, and Little Gal's Jane (an Alexander Girlz doll) enjoying the sun. 

The waves were absolutely gorgeous. :) 

I brought Buttershy and Mermalade (who have unofficially become my traveling Zelfs) along with me as well, but I basically only got pictures of them on this beach. :}

Mermalade likes this nice shady spot.

Best buds. :)

Even Robby, Belle, and their three girls got to come along and have their first vacation as a family of five:

It was a lot of fun working with them again.

Belle and Robby

Kendra, Isabelle, and Emilie playing in the sand with Emilie's tub of toy animals.

They even had a bonfire and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. 

When it got a little warmer, the girls played in the shade.

Later, Belle serenaded everyone with her guitar.  Isabelle and Emilie sang along (Belle's still not all that comfortable with singing). ;)

And Robby's still in love with Belle as much as ever. ;)

I loved this family shot. :) 

Oldest Gal pretty much spent all of her time with Daddy playing in the waves (she's our water girl), and Little Gal went back and forth between waves and playing in the sand.  But once Middle Gal saw me with my camera, she asked if she could do some "set ups" for photos with her dolls.  Here's the photo progression she came up with all by herself:

I had to share this picture, too.  After each set up, she would show me where she wanted me to stand and hold up the camera where she wanted me to hold it.  I think we have a future doll photographer in the making! ;) 

When Little Gal saw what Middle Gal was up to, she decided to do some "set ups" too.  She took the same basic idea (which is pretty common at this stage) but added her own unique spin:

(Cinderella is trying to keep Elsa from falling here). 

At the end of the shoot, she decided to make it look like the dolls had jumped down from the top of the driftwood log (since that was what she had been doing for most of the day). ;)

And then, of course, Robby and Belle had to meet their new friends. 

Middle Gal loved using this part of the log as a little campsite for her dolls.

And yet another picture of Anna and Andrea enjoying their day at the beach.

The girls also requested a group shot. :)

And, of course, I had to get another shot of Robby and Belle.  Not sure what Belle's looking at here... ;)

We left the beach tired but happy.  That night was my brother and sister-in-law's last night, so the other grownups watched the kiddos (five girls between us) and let Hubby and I head out on a double date with them.  We shopped around Target and then got Frostys from Wendy's. :)  

Sunday morning, we attended the S's church, and in the afternoon, we hit a few of our favorite places in Downtown Eureka.

Booklegger is one of our favorite used book shops.

We especially love the children's section.  We've found some fun books for good prices there. :)

Anna and Andrea enjoying the reading table.

One of the prettiest spots in Downtown Eureka is the big gazebo with a fountain around it.  The girls love to watch the water.  From left to right:  Middle Gal, Anna, Andrea, Little Gal, Oldest Gal, and Kailey. :)

The view from the top of the gazebo.

I love the beautiful flowers that hang there. :)

Monday was another beach day.  After grabbing a quick lunch, we headed over to the Trinidad area (which always makes me excited, because several scenes in my first book take place there). :)

Our first stop was at WindanSea, a little shell and souvenir shop that has been in Trinidad since I was a little girl (although the shop has changed names a couple of times).  My daughters always love picking out a few special shells to take home. :)

After WindanSea, we headed to Moonstone Beach, one of our very favorite beaches.  It was a beautiful day, although the wind was pretty intense (we had sand EVERYWHERE by the time we got back). ;)

Rachel and Jenna, watching the waves.

There are some really pretty wildflowers that grow along the rocky cliffs overlooking the beach.

The whole gang on the rocks...

...and enjoying the sand. 

Jenna and Rachel sunbathing.

And here is one of my story locations (the only one I ended up visiting this time around).

Well, more specifically, THIS is the story location.  What mystery surrounds these caves?  You'll just have to wait to find out! ;)

And sadly, it'll be a pretty long wait, because this location is for either my second or third book (still deciding). ;)

The girls loved playing in the waves.  The water wasn't nearly as cold as it usually is, and this section of the beach was nice and flat.

Beautiful waves.

Jenna and Rachel decided they wanted to play in the waves, too.

I always love getting shots of the dolls with their feet in the water.  Sometimes, though, it can be a little risky.

This is the shot where I swooped Jenna up just in time before she fell face-first into the waves. :{  Definitely not recommended for keeping your doll in nice shape!

For this picture, the camera couldn't decide where to focus.  It ended up accidentally looking kind of cool, though. ;)

I love how you can see the sand "in between" Jenna's toes in this one.

This one was definitely my favorite.

Per Oldest Gal's request, I drew a mermaid in the sand.  

The girls helped me find kelp, seaweed, shells, and other items (such as the yellow bottle cap for her necklace) to help decorate her.

It was really hard to get a good picture of her. 

Another look at our mermaid.

I just had to share this picture.  I know I usually try to stay consistent with my Tess and Maggie story lines, but this is the reality of how the dolls rode home from Moonstone Beach. :}  Poor Kailey doesn't look all that comfortable. ;)

Originally, we were going to leave first thing Tuesday morning, but Hubby and I decided to stay an extra day.  I'm so glad we did.  A beach day is always pretty exhausting, so it was nice to have a more leisurely day for our last full day.

So Tuesday, we did some shopping around some of the stores, especially our favorite, the Toy Box toy store.  The store features a great mix of high-end toys and less expensive ones.  The former are always fun to look at, and the latter make nice inexpensive souvenirs. ;)

We hit another few stores but didn't take any other pictures for the rest of the day.

On Wednesday, we got up, packed our bags, and headed out.  After a quick lunch at McDonald's and a gas stop at Costco, we headed on to our next yearly tradition: the used car lot with the free carousel. ;)

I can't remember when we started riding the carousel here, but it's been a fun tradition that the girls always look forward to.  The carousel is bright and cheerful and the rides are free and extra long. :)

The dolls sat on one of the benches for the first couple of rides...

...but on our last ride, Jenna and Rachel rode next to Little Gal's horse. ;)

We had a wonderful time on our trip, as always, but it was nice to get back home to our own beds and normal routines.  Still, I'm already looking forward to next year's trip! ;)

So as I shared before, I ended up coming home with a few fun goodies:

I think I'm most excited about my two Beauty and the Beast shirts.  I found these at Hot Topic.  They were on clearance for $16.99 each, but there was a "Buy One, Get One for $1" promotion, so I got both shirts for $18. :)

The material is pretty thin, so I have to wear a sport's top or camisole underneath, but they both fit nicely without being too tight. :)

I also found this great necklace at Hot Topic for $10.50.  Do you recognize the pattern?

It's the enchanted rose from Beauty and the Beast. :)

The back is shiny and silver (not real silver). ;)

The store was also doing a "Buy One, Get One 50% Off" promotion that worked for any items in the store, so I got this sweet bottle of Belle perfume for $3 after the sales clerk pointed it out to me.  The scent is called "Fallen Petal".  I'm not a huge perfume fan, but I love the artwork on the box and the bottle and have it on display in my Beauty and the Beast curio. :)

The Belle artwork on the side of the box.

Back of the box.

Other side.

It's even pretty on the bottom of the box! :)

At Claire's, I got these beautiful cream-colored rose earrings for $3...

...a pretty yellow rose bracelet for $6...

...and a rose hair clip for $2.50.

I got a set of My Little Pony mini gel pens for $1 when we went on our double date to Target.

This turtle necklace was my souvenir from WindanSea.  

It's on an adjustable black cord.

I think it's just plastic, but it looked cool. ;)

The view from the underside.

I love having items and objects around me that give me inspiration for my stories, so some of the things I bought will be used for that. ;)

Whew, I guess that's about it!  Hope you enjoyed hearing a little bit about my trip. :)  Stay tuned for some fun reviews coming soon!! 


Anonymous said...

Your beaches really look different from our Alabama ones !! Our sand is white as sugar and the waves are not as wild usually !!!

C said...

Awesome vacation! I think I might have to bring one of my dolls on vacation with me! I'm thinking of bringing my mini Saige and using her like a flat Stanley :) quick question- what doll club are you a member of and did you end up getting any mini Isabelles (from McDonald's)

Anonymous said...

Hi Beastsbelle! I'm glad you all had a great trip. Just wondering, what kind of doll is Middle Gal's Andrea? Also, tell the gals I love their haircuts! (Especially Middle Gal's) :D

Addy and Emma said...

I hope you're having a great time!

Barb the Evil Genius said...

Is Jenna originally a Marie Grace? MG looks so appealing in photos, and I'm tempted to buy her before she sells out, but I'm not sure I want to blow that much of my doll budget on a single doll.

beastsbelle said...

Hi Anonymous. Isn't it funny how much beaches change depending on where you live? :) I love our cold, rugged, rocky beaches over here, but I'd love to see other beaches too someday. :)

C, that sounds like a great idea. :) A mini doll would be a lot easier to transport, too. By the time we added my two dolls, my mom's doll, my aunt's doll, and the girls' three dolls (not to mention their Barbie-sized dolls), it was quite an ordeal! :}

We did end up getting a few mini Isabelles from McDonald's (another post I need to do). :} I got the one in her pink hat.

Hi Anonymous. Thanks, we had a wonderful time. :)

Middle Gal's Andrea is some sort of vintage Barbie that was given to us by a friend. I haven't had a chance to identify her yet. :}

The doll club I'm a part of is the local branch of the UFDC (United Federation of Doll Clubs). You can see the UFDC's Facebook page HERE . Maybe you'll be able to find one in your area! :)

Thanks, Addy and Emma, we did. :)

Barb, Jenna was originally a Rebecca Rubin doll, so her face mold is just slightly different from Marie Grace's. I did a side-by-side shot of both dolls in my AG Face Molds post HERE, so you can see the differences.

I completely understand what you mean about being tempted by Marie Grace. I can't afford her right now, but I've seen some BEAUTIFUL Marie Grace custom dolls on AGPT and would love to have one someday. :) I will say that my mom has a Marie Grace and she is absolutely stunning. Her pictures do not do her justice. :)

Michele said...

Enjoyed seeing all your pictures, what fun! I agree that Middle Gal just might be a doll photographer too. She did a great job(so did Little Gal). I loved how she was showing you at what angle to take the photo! Thanks so much for sharing your vacation with us.

honeysucklejasmine said...

I loved reading about your vacation :-) It seemed like so much fun! I especially loved the pictures of your daughters' set-ups. So cute!
And congrats on your new goodies! I absolutely love your BatB shirts. I I hope I can snag a Little Mermaid one in my next visit. Can't wait for your next reviews!

beastsbelle said...

You're welcome, Michele. Glad you enjoyed the post. :)

Thanks, honeysucklejasmine. We had a super time.

I've seen quite a bit of Little Mermaid stuff at Hot Topic recently, so hopefully you'll find a shirt! :)

BlackKitty said...

What a great trip! It almost feels like I was with you guys :) It was a pleasant discovery that Middle Gal is taking after you. Her setups are wonderful. Now you just have to teach her the technical parts of working with a camera.

The only part of the story that had me staring in disbelief was the picture with all that beautiful hair lopped off. That is, until I remembered I wasn't very fond of long hair when I was a kid. Glad everyone was happy in the end, though. Thanks for sharing!

beastsbelle said...

Hi BlackKitty! Glad you felt like you were on the trip with us. :)

I would definitely like to get the girls cameras of their own eventually and help them learn how to use them. It would give them a great head start that I didn't have. ;)

Oh, trust me, the haircuts were harder for me than for the girls! Especially Middle Gal's hair. It was so long and thick. :( On the other hand, hair always grows back and it belongs to them. ;) And I must admit, as lovely as their hair was, it was a pain in the neck to take care of it (especially Middle Gal's, which tangles very easily!). Bath time is a lot less of a hassle now! ;)

Thanks for stopping by! :)

All AG said...

Love your vacation, I feel so bad for the hair salon though. I am with you on staying with your own stylist, because if I go to another hair stylist, they have messed up my hair quite a few times. ;{ Tell Oldest Gal her hair is pretty, what it seems like she wanted it super short. I love it in the bob though, it's super cute! :D

Also, those Beauty and the Beast tops are adorable! I have been eyeing those for quite a while but my store got ride of them. Oh well.

beastsbelle said...

Thanks, All AG. I'll let Oldest Gal know what you said. :)

I've had my eye on the Beauty and the Beast shirts for a while at my own Hot Topic, but I just couldn't see spending $32 a shirt. :} I was very excited to find these ones on sale. :) I hope you find some for yourself someday. :)