Summer Family Road Trip

Part 2 of our busy family July was a road trip up to Seattle for a long weekend. We were there mainly to see some family (mine this time), but also took the opportunity to play tourist with the babies.

I only realized after we’d gotten back home that we neglected to take grandparent photos. I’ll have to make sure we do that next time we get up there. I don’t know when that will be–maybe before the end of the year/early next year? We did get a few family photos while we were out and about though.

Packing up: I love our CR-V. It would be super awesome if there were like an extra foot of trunk space, though. I guess packing will be easier when the babies need less baby stuff.

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We stayed at my dad’s house, which has this gorgeous view:

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And this silly dog who loves to play fetch:

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And somehow these babies sit up on the counter now! When we were here in January, they were little bitty babies in their boppies.

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On that January trip, I basically sat around one house or the other, mostly trapped with the babies. It was boring and long and boring. So this time, we made sure to explore a bit. Thankfully the babies were willing to play along.

First up, we hit downtown Seattle! I haven’t been there in awhile, so it was fun for me to see the sights too. We did a very quick look around Pioneer Square (mostly the awesome toy shop), but there was some noisy construction going on and we didn’t want to upset the babies (lately they’ve been noticing and not liking loud and/or sudden noises).

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So we moved over to the Pike Place area! We strolled through the market but didn’t stop, because argh, the crowds.

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Phew.

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We did go find some ice cream for “lunch”. It was super delicious.

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And then the babies had lunch in the car. IMG_0636-6

On the second day, we went east to Snoqualmie Falls:

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It was another gorgeous day! The mist from the falls was drifting all the way up the cliff, and it was quite refreshing.

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Since we were so close to North Bend, of course we had to have lunch at Scott’s Dairy Freeze! It’s one of those local burgers/fries/shakes joints that is always tasty and refreshing.         IMG_0683-3

That day we also stopped by one of my favorite places in the whole Northwest–Boehm’s Candies. I always say that if heaven doesn’t smell like that shop, I don’t want to go. If you’re ever near Issaquah, you should go!

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Day three was a big adventure–Whidbey Island. The babies’ first boat ride!

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I think it’s safe to say they were confused and/or fascinated by the views. IMG_0717-5

We got to my aunt Molly’s house and they took a nap together in their pack n play.

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When they were awake, they were passed around and they were totally into it–lots of new faces all looking at them!

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The whole gang!

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We had planned to leave before their dinner, but there was a huge wait for the ferry. So we ended up feeding them at my aunt’s house and then later, driving around Deception Pass. They slept the whole way, thank goodness. It was a three hour drive to get back to my dad’s house, but it would have taken that long to wait for the ferry and drive anyway. So it was a loooong day.

Altogether it was a good trip. I was really happy and relieved that they did so well being not only away from home, but carted around to so many new places, not to mention having their naps interrupted by outings. By the last day, they fussed a little being put into the car seats, but that was the extent of their protests. What amazing babies!!

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Summer Family Time

This July has been a busy, fun time that included a lot of special family time for the babies.

First up, Andy’s parents and sister came out to visit for a long weekend. His parents were here for a week when the babies were six weeks old, so E&M have changed just a bit since then! 🙂 The grandparents were so, so happy to hang out with and snuggle the babies. And this was the first time Auntie E met the twins–they loved her and she loved them!

It was only a precious few days that we all had together. I know that they would love to see the babies all the time, so in the meantime we share lots of photos and we FaceTime regularly.

Not pictured: one of the evenings, we got a babysitter and all of us went out for a lovely, grown-up dinner at Salty’s on the Columbia. Another evening, Andy and his sister had a delicious sushi dinner. Good family time.

And now for lots of great family+baby photos!

We had some time to hang out at home:

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We got out and about a bit too: for some burgers, to the Rose Garden, and berry-picking.

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We can’t wait to see you all again!

Summer Bucket List #3: the Yard!

Well, more specifically, the kiddie pool!

This was a simple one, but even so, I’m really excited I finally did it! I have a tendency to procrastinate (umm…see this post a few weeks late…)

I went to Fred Meyer one weekend and their small plastic pools were only ten bucks. I also picked up two plastic adirondack chairs and some small plastic tables.

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Our little patio now looks super cute and homey! We already spent a lovely hour reading there in the warm night air after babies’ bedtime.

Since our front yard doesn’t have any shade of its own, so we’d talked about getting a cheap standing umbrella at IKEA. Of course when we did get to IKEA a few days later, they were out of them. But then we saw a better and more expensive umbrella (the Baggon). It wasn’t that much more and it seemed like it would actually work better for us, so we got it.

The next day we set it all up and the day after that I finally got one of the babies in the pool! I just dragged it so that it matched up with the shade that the umbrella gave at that time.

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Malcolm hung out for a couple minutes before he figured out he could splash. Splash splash splash! I also lay him down (the water was only a couple inches deep) and let him kick splash kick splash kick splash. Super cute!

Splashy!

The next day, while our nanny was here, we got both babies in the pool (during Emmett’s helmet break time). Emmett also took a few minutes to get acclimated and figure out splashing. And then, splashy splashy!

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At one point, Malcolm put his arm around Emmett.

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A few moments later, Emmett pushed him away. Heh.IMG_0335

 

Summer Bucket List #2: Mt Hood!

Please make sure to visit my photography page for non-family, beautiful-scenery-only photos!

Last week we finally went to Mt Hood! I’ve been so excited to go there for months. This is one of the two outings I’ve been most looking forward to this summer, and I’m so happy we finally went! We decided to go for the Fourth of July, because we don’t care about fireworks stuff and the weather had been so gorgeous the past week or two. It was actually cloudy when we left our house, and I was really bummed about not having great weather at the mountain. But as we got closer and closer, the sky got clearer and bluer!

The drive was super easy. One hour east of us, on one road, and bam, national forest and big snowy mountain. Amazing. I was giddy. 🙂

First we came to Government Camp, which is a small strip of hotels, shops, and ski places. Timberline Lodge is only a few minutes from there.

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Something’s different about Smokey the Bear…

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(Slightly blurry) stats about Timberline:

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We got there right around the babies’ lunchtime, so we set up in the lobby to feed them on one of the couches. Of course they were very interested in looking around at all the new stuff and hearing all those new noises.

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While they were eating, a small tour group came through right behind us, led by what was easily the dumbest guide ranger I’ve ever encountered. I hope for everyone’s sake that either it was her first day on the job or she was filling in for someone else at the last minute. She was reading from some papers, peppered her sentences with “ummm…” and “sooo…” and “….yeah.” She had a couple ‘facts’ to share, but they were incomplete. She tried talking about the stone structure in the middle of the lodge and one of her audience members had to tell her the term ‘mason.’ She also was trying to explain the phenomenon of the timberline–‘if you look up the mountain, you don’t see any trees, and if you look down, you see lots of trees. So trees don’t grow past here’–without actually using the term timberline. Which, I might suppose, is probably where the name of the lodge actually came from. Just a guess. Anyway. Andy and I kept giving each other looks like, “Really?!!!”

Anyway, we didn’t have time to walk around or anything, but of course I set up a family photo:

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Huge cougar carving–out here was a balcony with a southern view of the foothills and Mt Jefferson.

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We were starving and had a quick lunch in Government Camp, at one of the hotel ‘restaurants’ (really more of an overpriced diner). The babies sat in those wooden high chairs for the first time. So cute! They were VERY interested in our water and our food too (but we only gave them sips of the water).

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Our final stop was a short hike along Little Zigzag River to a small waterfall.

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Walking through the woods and listening to the running water was so beautiful and peaceful!

The falls were small but lovely nonetheless.

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We finally headed home after that, and the babies dozed in the car. I also fed them there, in the backseat. It worked really well and I am so glad to have that option in our pocket for future outings!

Headed back to civilization:

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It was a really great day. I can’t wait to bring the babies back next summer when they’re toddling around!

Summer Bucket List #1: the Falls!

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This was a great first outing for our summer ‘bucket list’ because it was so easy! (More info on the 2013 Summer Bucket List Challenge here)

Multnomah Falls is a popular sight in the Portland area–and it’s only half an hour east on the freeway!

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The freeway (I-84) cruises between the Columbia River to the north and thickly forested foothills to the south. Then suddenly, bam, a big waterfall!

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It’s actually two levels, an upper falls and then a near-immediate lower falls, but my 50mm lens wasn’t wide enough to get it all in one shot. 🙂

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Including the distance from the parking lot, it takes maybe five minutes to get to the viewing area at the base of the falls. There’s a trail that goes uphill to that higher viewing bridge, but we were not up for that with our baby carriers.

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We looked around the gift shop and informational area and then we were basically done. It was a very quick activity (and free!!), so we decided to drive the scenic byway part of the way back. On that road, we passed by two more falls before detouring again to the freeway.

We stopped for a break at a rest stop to try to feed the babies. Of course with all the noise and new things to see, they were very distracted and not interested in eating. So we got back in the car, I sat in the back between the car seats, and helped them finish their bottles. Happily that worked pretty well. 🙂

A companion outing on our list is to go back and drive more of the Scenic Byway, visit more of the waterfalls, and visit Vista House. I think that should be an easy and fun daytrip!

We did another short activity the following weekend, to the Grotto. Wasn’t on the list, but it was a good family outing. It’s close to us, and very nature-y.

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It’s basically an outdoor Catholic sanctuary. We are not at all religious, but we thought it would be nice to stroll around the peaceful gardens.

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It’s actually in two parts; most of it is on top of this cliff here. You buy a ticket for the elevator and then you follow the path around and through trees and gardens, passing statuary and plaques along the way.

Emmett volunteered to digest the information in the brochure for us. Heh.

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I was expecting manicured gardens, and there are some, but most of the time you’re winding through tracts of forest! It’s quite beautiful.

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And what a neat surprise to find that there is a labyrinth there! (For one of my AmeriCorps NCCC projects back in 2002, my team and I built one at a park in Wallingford, Connecticut. Ever since then I’m always delighted to find them when I’m out and about. For instance, there’s a ‘secret’ one in Battery Park in NYC!)

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We didn’t spend a ton of time there, but it was really nice to walk around such a lovely, quiet place, right in the city! And the best part was that we hit up the Burgerville drive-thru on the way home for some fries and an Oregon strawberry shake. 🙂

Summer Bucket List

Francesca posted recently about the Summer Bucket List Challenge and I thought to myself, Ooh ooh! Yes, let’s!

Now, I’m kind of cheating, since I already had most of this list in my head as part of my goals for the summer/year. But it’s a good excuse to be part of a bigger community of fun-having, plus it should help keep me accountable. And of course it will make for lots of fun blog posts! 🙂

Here’s what we want to do this summer! I can’t wait.

–visit Mt Hood: check! 7/4/13

–visit the coast: check! 8/27/13

–pick fruit at one of the u-pick farms (Sauvie Island or Hood River Valley Fruit Loop): check! 7/12/13

–visit Multnomah Falls: check! 6/15/13

–visit some other falls in the area/Vista House/Scenic Byway: check! 9/7/13

–go to the beach at Sauvie Island

–explore downtown with babies

–host a party for mamas group: check! 8/18/13

–go out for brunch with the babies: check! 8/17/13

–get a kiddie pool for the front lawn, and do lots of splashing with babies: check! 6/30/13

–continue our monthly dinner dates (just the grownups): check!

–organize the linen closet