Wednesday, May 28, 2014

March Mayhem & Madness

March was busy.  It was go-go-go all month but sometimes that is good when the going is good.  We started out the month by taking our annual trip to go tubing in the mountains with the kids.  We tried somewhere new and drove out to Snoqualmie Pass.  I had read an article online that they had a towrope for tubing and that the area was family friendly for all ages so we loaded up to check it out on the second. 
We had parked on the wrong end of the resort but were able to catch a bus to the area we ended in no time.  The snow was falling hard & the wind was strong so if you or I go in the future I would recommend ski goggles.  We got two adult passes & two rider passes, next time I would get Issac is own pass/tube.  My final remarks would be to use the tow rope, because walking up the hill was a killer, we tried it once, lol.  The snack shack is a tight fit but offers a warm food collection & our favorite- hot chocolate! 

The next weekend we drove to Marysville and Grandma Laura & Grandpa mark watched the kids overnight while we celebrated a friend’s Dirty Thirty with a Mad Men themed party.  We always have such a fun time with the Wagesters.  We enjoyed drinks, poker and so much laughter that my gut hurt the next day!!! 

On the 10th  the kids & I meet up with Cousin Erin & Cousin Jackson at Kent bowl to burn of some rainy day energy.  The kids did pretty good at keeping their attention on the bowling until about the eighth frame, but managed to finish anyway. 

Issac’s preschool had pictures done on the 18th so I previously bought a Picture People Groupon for Josie.  The pictures all turned out great.  Josie had fun having her own private photo-shot and Issac got his first class photo. 

We took a hike of Cougar Mountain with the Wagester Family on the 22nd.  The kids always enjoy running around together while us adults get in some exercise and chit-chat.  It is always nice to go on a hike.  The kids are tired and happy the rest of the day and I feel so refreshed. 

We wrapped up March with a trip to Camas to visit Uncle Jayson & Aunt Andalyn.  Jayson is in an intensive Chiropractor program, so we planned our trip to visit them while he was on Spring Break.  We headed down Friday evening so that we could get the most out of the weekend.  Saturday we hiked Beacon Rock which overlooks the Washington side of the Columbia River.  Although it was a beautiful hike,  I would not recommend it with children.  My kids were freaking me out walking close to the edges and bouncing around at the top!  

After the hike we headed back so that Tyler’s Grandma Sherrie & her husband could come for dinner.  Sunday we hiked around Lake Camus and had lunch before heading across town.  My Grandpa, his wife Barb, my Uncle & two younger cousins all live in Vancouver.  Damn me for not getting pictures!!! However, we enjoyed a nice dinner with my family and meet my uncle’s new wife before heading home Sunday evening. 

PHEW! March was madness. 
 Fabulous, fun filled memories.

A Fun Filled February

February seems so long ago but yet when I think about the month of February I can still remember the fabulous memories we created and the adventures we shared.  Here are our top three memories.

On the 9th we had planned a trip to Mt Rainer to play in the snow.  However, with Mother Nature on our side we woke up to a beautiful white layer of fresh snow outside our own door.  No need to pack up and drive for two hours!  Tyler & I realized the snow was going to be decent before we went to bed the night before so as the kids drifted off to sleep we sat in the living room blowing up our inner tubes.  Honestly, Tyler did most the blowing.  
 In the morning the kids woke up around seven and we told them they had to eat breakfast before they could play outside.  They chowed down their eggs & sausage and were fully bundled and out the door by eight.  We took advantage of a hill outback and enjoyed a good hour of fun before any other children began to appear.  The kids enjoyed making a snow man, having snowball fights and riding the tubes for almost four hours before we headed inside for a movie and hot chocolate.  
Josie was showing us how she was gonna ride down the hill.
 The kids love the snow, stopping to take pictures; not so much!

 Valentine’s Day can be overwhelming for many.  I included.  Flowers, chocolates and jewelry.  Lovie dovie gushy stuff, blah!  Tyler & I usually stay home and enjoy a special meal to avoid the overestimation of being in public as some young military boy gets down on one knee in the middle of Olive Garden.  Now that we have children, Valentine’s Day is fun filled crafts and children’s books.  This is my type of celebrating.
 Issac’s preschool class had a lil Valentine’s Day party, potluck and card exchange.  It was so much fun to prepare for and participate in. Issac enjoyed picking a candy free idea off Pinterest and assisting me with gluing on the erasers.  After I had cut out a dozen hearts I had asked Issac to sign his name on them.  At first I was like “WHAT ARE YOU WRITING AFTER YOUR NAME!?!?”  But then I realized my sweet boy was signing each Valentine from Issac & Josie.  I honestly got teary eyed, my sweet boy.  

About a week before we were at the store and in front of us was a Valentine’s display of chocolates and the like; Issac stopped and threw both arms at his side, I knew something was up. Issac had just had an “ah-ha” moment.  “Mom, I haven’t gotten a valentine for Teacher Colleen!”  I asked him what he thought she would like and he selected a nice heart shaped box of chocolates.  He was very excited to give the gift to his Teacher. 

The morning of the 22nd my Mom drove down from Ferndale to babysit the kids for us.  Then, Tyler & I drove down to Portland so he could receive an award from his employer.  We arrived early and were able to enjoy some Mexican food & drinks with his brother Jayson & his wife Andalyn before checking in to our swanky hotel room at Hotel Lucia.  The hotel was very modern, fresh, & cleans with a lil swanky funk vibe.  The staff was friendly and our room was crunched for space but gorgeous. 
The awards event was at the Governor’s Hotel only a brisk walking distance away.  We were welcomed with a nice cocktail hour before being sat in the banquet room for a Murder Mystery show & dinner.  I have ALWAYS wanted to do a Murder Mystery dinner but this wasn’t one that really counts.  Honestly, I felt bad for the paid actors because there was so much cross conversations going on it was hard to hear the performers, even with microphones, so people weren’t paying a ton of attention to their performance.  (I still think Victoria killed that guy)…  The food was good.  Okay the salad was gross; it was three leafs from the heart of romaine with grilled lemon & shaved parmesan cheese.  The rolls were hard.  However, the steak and salmon were so delicious that made up for anything that was previously distasteful. 

Tyler was awarded the company’s first ever “Presidential Safety Award” for his work as the Chair on the company safety committee and for organization & implementing Safety Awareness Month.  All night people spoke highly of his hard work, ethic and dedication to safety.  

Sunday we woke up before the city.  I guess Portland is a lil bit of a lazy town because at 8am the only thing open was Starbucks!!!  We had some coffee and adventured to Powell’s Books.  We limited ourselves to an hour and wondered down to the children’s section to pick out two books for each of the kids before finding some books for ourselves.  After Powell’s we found some breakfast sandwiches from a hole in the wall place called The Brunch Box.  We took our breakfast and our hungover bodies back to the hotel to enjoy some lounging before heading home.  We loaded up, picked up a dozen Voo-Doo Doughnuts and headed home.  In and out of Portland in less than 24 hours.  

Friday, May 2, 2014

Great Wof Lodge

For Christmas our family received an amazing gift from Auntie Nicole & Uncle Warren- a trip to the Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park located in Grand Mond Washington.  The kids are too young to understand exactly how cool or how large of a gift the trip was but Tyler & I continue to be grateful for the weekend of memories. The week before our trip I showed the kids the Great Wolf Lodge website and videos so they understood what was going to be there.  The videos opened the door for the conversations we had about safety and following directions. Both kids got excited knowing they were going to a water park. 

When we arrived our room was not ready and the place was swamped.  The kids wanted to jump right in to the water but the adults had to get situated.  On future trips I am going to have us wear our swimsuits under our clothes for the drive and have on our water friendly shoes.  That would have saved us a lil hustle & bustle and the need for two lockers.  Either way, we got on our swim gear and jumped right in!

 Above- the kids waiting as the guys went to get our bags.
Above & Bellow- the wave pool and water park

The water park has more to offer than I thought before we arrived.  But it quickly becomes over crowded between noon-3pm. There are plenty of lifeguards on duty and life jackets in all sizes available for your use at the entrance.  My only complaint would be that some of the older children are straight up RUNNING around, unsupervised and not paying attention to their surroundings; knocking down little children or pushing through groups.  Our group enjoyed spending the majority of our time in the wave pool and tree house.  The tree house has two smaller water slides that our children could ride alone and that really made them feel like big kids! I was concerned at first but they both had on life jackets and there were plenty of lifegaurds at both the top and bottom of the slides.

For dinner we ate at the buffet located downstairs.  Our server was fantastic and put up with the two kids and Warren with a smile. The food was all fresh and yummy for being what it is- buffet food at a family resort.  Our entire group filled up on salad, fruit, and a nummy entree selection that included everything from cheeseburgers and chicken strips to salmon and prime rib. 

After dinner we headed to the Magic Quest store.  Our children are 3 & 4.5 so we didn't purchase or need the full Magic Quest package or do I fully understand the entire thing.  However,  throughout the resort you will see children and adults alike running around with their wands trying to complete their mission.  For our kids we just got the basic wands and activated them for some play.  When we got home I made sure to put the Wands away for our next visit to the Great Wolf Lodge.  They are an item you only have to purchase once and next time we will just need to pay a reactivation fee.

I taught our children to say "ABRACADABRA" each time they used their wand.  They enjoyed wondering the resort and using the wands to make the birds chirp and the pictures talk.
After our Magic Quest Mission we had Ice Cream at the Ice Cream parlor upstairs.  The staff was nice and they had speedy service but there is a need for a increase in the amount of seating.  Either way; it is Ice Cream and you can't go wrong!

At "bedtime" they offer a bedtime story and songs at the Clock Tower near the main entrance.  THIS IS A WASTE OF YOUR TIME!  Although the idea is very cute; to have the children downstairs in their pajamas for a nice story time featuring the Great Wolf Creatures.....  We couldn't hear a dang thing so my children quickly lost interest and began to get frustrated.  We couldn't hear because in addition to over talkative children and teenagers you have parents and other adults talking on their phones; the sound system doesn't include a speaker from behind you only from the Clock Tower.  I was glad I had packed a few of our own books to read back at the room because Issac does NOT go to bed without a book, lol. 

Our room was very comfortable.  Lots of space and everyone slept great.  A little chilly throughout the resort so remember a hoddie for when your wandering around.

Sunday Morning we had coffee before heading downstairs to complete our magic quest and meet the Characters.  We had hot sandwiches for lunch at their lil "bar n Grill" before enjoying the water park for the day. 

Overall the trip was a lot of fun.  It is go-go-go the entire time your there so it was a great idea that Tyler took Monday off to recuperate. After our trip I understand why some people love it and some people hate it.  First off there is so many children running around unattended both inside the water park and throughout the hotel.  Second, everything is an add-on expense. The booking fee just covers your room and the use of the water park.    If we were to go again I would surely pack all our food and even prepare a dinner in the crockpot and plug it in upon arrival. 

There really are no words big enough to say THANK YOU to Nicole & Warren.  They really treated us to a worry free weekend and a great time.  The kids are still talking the trip and every time we load the car for a day or over night trip since Josie asks "we go to the Great Wolf Lodge?"