Friday, August 12, 2016

Cannon Beach 2016

I know I said I was "done blogging", but we had such a wonderful time in Cannon Beach earlier this month and I just have to share about it!

There has been a theme in my life the past year or so of really paying attention to when the Lord reveals that He truly cares about the details of the lives. This is a hard concept for me to understand; on the one hand he has numbered the hairs on heads (Matthew 10:30), yet on the other hand our lives are but a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes (James 4:14). Holding these two concepts in perfect tension is quite possibly not something we were meant to understand on this side of heaven. Nonetheless, I've really been looking for the moments when the Lord seems to say "here I am, I see you, I hear your prayers, I know your heart, and I'm right here." This year's trip to Cannon Beach was definitely one of those times!

We've had quite the dicey year so far, with Mary getting sick back in April, finding out we were surprise-pregnant (without the use of fertility drugs!) shortly after Mary got better, me dealing with first trimester sickness with a 2 year old and an infant, and then my crazy ordeal with gallstones and having my gallbladder out at the beginning of July.

Side note: the short version of the gallbladder story is that high levels of progesterone in pregnancy can cause the liver to create more bile than the stomach needs to digest food. The gallbladder is used to store excess bile so that when you eat something there is some bile stored up to help digest the food. When excess bile is made and not used, it can form into stones. You can have gallstones with no issues, but if a gallstone gets stuck in the neck of the gallbladder then you have issues. Gallbladder attacks feel exactly like your upper stomach is trying to explode out your front and back. It's the weirdest, most painful feeling I've ever experienced. Once you know you have gallstones, it's best just to get the gallbladder out. Gallstones can't quickly be dissolved, and the attacks are so, so painful. Gallbladder surgery in the second trimester is safe, whereas a gallbladder attack in the third trimester is not safe (think baby being delivered early, emergency gallbladder surgery, etc). So we opted to have my gallbladder out once I got into the second trimester. And glory, glory, hallelujah everything went great and I'm so glad I did it! The long term effect of having no gallbladder is that my liver now makes bile on demand. Fat needs the most bile, so if I eat something high in fat I will get a stomach ache and suffer other digestive consequences. "High in fat" varies depending on the type of fat, how much I eat, how fast I eat it, etc. I'm still figuring out what works, but I love that I'm not living in fear of another gallbladder attack!

I was mostly recovered from surgery by the time the Cannon Beach trip was upon us. This is an annual trip that Kyle's family (and extended family and friends) make every year; not everyone goes every year but this year we had a very large group! We had to miss last year because I had just had baby Mary, so we were so excited to be able to go this year!

A little background on the Cannon Beach Conference Center: this place hosts Christian conferences year round for families, couples, singles, ladies, men, etc. During the summer is when they host all of their family camps. Families show up for a week at a time and stay in various lodges throughout the campus, enjoy a full chapel service in the morning and evening, meals provided in the dining hall, epic amounts of childcare for our littles, many family friendly activities through the week, and lots of time for fellowship with friends and family. It's so fun and relaxing to be surrounded by people who share your beliefs and values and just really, truly love the Lord. Everyone is so kind, giving, friendly, and happy! It truly feels like the Lord has simply blessed this place and the surrounding town of Cannon Beach to be a little haven for Christians to sabbath.

You may remember that two years ago on our first official trip to Cannon Beach, I found out I was pregnant at the beginning of the trip and then found out I was miscarrying a few days later. God walked me through the darkest moment of my life while I was sobbing in a chair in our bedroom there, and I'll never forget that. That experience forever redefined my relationship with the Lord as I truly realized that God is trustworthy and good, even in the hardest of circumstances. I distinctly remember being in chapel service and singing Blessed Be Your Name, and the lyrics "you give and take away, you give and take away, my heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be your name" were cutting me to my core. I was weeping while singing. You can imagine how raw it was for me to sing that song this year in Cannon Beach, being 20 weeks pregnant with a baby the Lord surprised us with. I was crying again, but this time out of joy and not out of pain. We only sang that song one time the whole week, and I absolutely felt the Lord was saying "hey, here I am. I remembered. I was there when you were weeping, and I'm here now while you're rejoicing."

The second night we were there, we decided to go out to dinner and open our gender envelope. We had the anatomy scan right before we left, and asked them to just put the gender in an envelope. Our plan was to do our standard candle-on-the-dessert reveal, where the waiter opens the card in the back and puts a pink or blue candle on our dessert before bringing it out. I was adamant about returning to the same restaurant I had sat in two years ago the night I found out I was miscarrying. And just as I suspected, we had a fabulously fun gender reveal. The Lord showed up yet again to say "I remember, and this was all part of my plan for you. I care about the details of your life. May your grieving mother's heart grieve a little less now." This current pregnancy certainly doesn't replace the baby we lost, but it helps me to know how tenderly the Lord cares about the details of the pain I experienced with the miscarriage and that we got to redeem a place that was previously a memory of sadness for me.

Here are some pics from the gender reveal!
I'm holding the sealed envelope with pink and blue candles to give to our server.

Our server and the restaurant manager really had fun with what we asked them to do! 

Eyes closed, about to find out!

Blue candle = BOY!

I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!

Finding out the gender makes it feel SO REAL!

Really happy mom and dad!
We texted out the pics to my family (who were scattered all over the place! Edmonds, middle of Oregon, and Arizona - thank the Lord for technology!). We then headed back to the conference grounds to pick up our kids from kids ministry (we skipped chapel that night!) and gather up the extended Hansen clan to share the news. We had picked up pink and blue taffy from Bruce's Candy Kitchen and had everyone grab the color the they were guessing for gender. 

Group pic!

Such a lively bunch!
What a fun start to our time in Cannon Beach! We spent the rest of the week enjoying everything we could: the food, the rest, the company, the beach, the candy store, the worship and sermons, the quiet time, the kids...not a moment was wasted!

Here are some pictures from the rest of our week:
Family pic after lunch in Montesano on the drive down
Kyle and I got to help with collecting the offering one of the
nights - it's fun to be able to volunteer even when on vacation
Dad and Drew outside of Bruce's Candy Kitchen!
That's Kyle and Drew flying kites on the beach
Twice I snuck out while the family was napping and walked down to
Haystack Rock at back. As an introvert, this time alone on family vacation
was so energizing for me. My pregnant hips were a little sore after the long walks, though!
Dad and Mary in the dining hall. The cracked wheat hot cereal is SO GOOD!
I will forever be on the hunt to find some back home.... 
Enjoying some pre-dinner ice cream outside of Osburn's
Girls shopping trip at the Seaside Outlet mall! 
Beachside Salmon BBQ
Glorious view!
One of the days they set up a family carnival for the kids. We got Drew
10 tickets and he spent 6 of them doing this inflatable obstacle course
repeatedly! Kid loves a challenge!
PS - I find it so endearing that Drew just lets that wild girl trample over him and he doesn't get upset. 

Quick pic before chapel!
Impromptu family gathering for drinks, chatting, and laughing.
The conference center offers free babysitters so our kids were
sound asleep back in our room while we met up with everyone in town.

Classic late night middle of the deserted street pic!
There is a local city park right next to the conference center, and usually
one of the grandparents takes all the kids over after dinner so the parents
can finish their dinners in peace while the kids go play.
Cousin game night! Again - free babysitters for the kids so
ours were sleeping in our room.
We spent a lot of time at the beach! Mary loved playing with cousin Milly.
Mary also loved exploring the big open sandy beach!
Mary having fun playing with dad

There is a little shallow river that comes in from the ocean, which is where the kids
like to play. It's perfect because it's warmer and not too deep!
Something amazing about taking the kids to the beach is they all
just PLAY the entire time. With so many of the cousins there all the little kids
had big kids to help them, and all the kids just figured out things to do and it was so
fun to watch them all! Drew is finally starting to figure out "cousins" and
was asking about various family members. I love that he's really starting to understand
the concept of family!
The kids loved getting so much time with dad!
And look at me! Not a child to be seen in my
lap, in my arms, or tugging at my side! 
The big kids got in some fun playing frisbee and flying kites
Kyle and Jere really took kite flying seriously - haha!
On our final night there, one of the adults gave his life to Jesus and
wanted to get baptized. So most of the families gathered down at the
river for an impromptu baptism! Our brother-in-law Adam (pastor at a church
back home here) got to assist with the baptism. It's always so wonderful to be reminded
that the Lord is constantly at work pursuing people's hearts.
Our sweet little Mary was too tired to watch the baptism...precious girl!
On the last night of kids ministry for Drew, his classroom teacher let us know that he had memorized the week's memory verse. I didn't entirely believe her until he came over to us and recited it. We were so proud! This is a little video my sister took of him "performing" the memory verse back at home. What's awesome is he has been asking us questions about what the different parts of the memory verse mean, so we've been getting to have great conversations with him about Jesus per his questioning. Yet another blessing from Cannon Beach!