Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mount Saint Helens!

We made a family day trip up to Mt. St. Helens. I'd never been, and Jeff hadn't been since he was Hayden's age, so it was like new for all of us. We did a lot of research online to help us whittle down which places to stop and which places to pass since we only had the day.

Though the mileage on the drive can seem daunting for a day trip, it's actually perfect. The turn off for the mountain is only 45 minutes out of downtown Portland. Once you make the turn at Castle Rock, there are places to stop every ten miles or so, ending with the Johnston Ridge Observatory 45 minutes in.

We opted not to pull off at any of the look out spots since we knew we'd get a great view at Johnston Ridge. This saved a ton of time, since there are about a dozen of them!

We began at the Mt Hood Visitors Center about ten minutes off the freeway. Admission was $3 and there was a short movie about the history of the eruption. The kids sat through the movie, and liked going through the volcano underground walk through...but that was about it. They weren't interested in the exhibits since most were reading and not exploratory. Grace liked screaming in the volcano walk through...not sure if the other people packed down there enjoyed it as much as she did. (For reference, it's roughly the same asthe underground animals step down at the Forestry Center).

From there we went all the way to Johnston Ridge, about a half hour. It is $8 for adults at the Observatory, but it was worth it. They had a video - similar to the one at the Visitors Center - huge viewing windows of the mountain, a model that lit up showing how mudslides affected the area, a seismograph where the kids could make their own earthquake, an explanation of how scientists have used the Mt. St. Helen's eruption to explain other volcanic mysteries (like the hills around Mt. Shasta), and lots of other things.

Afterward, we took a great hike that was very well designed. each resting point along the trail gave you a different view of the mountain and the lava dome. What looked like a cloud from one angle, actually turned out to be steam coming off the lava dome! I think Bayley & Jeff would have taken the hike all the way down to the lake if not for Hayden and my gimp foot holding them back! Maybe next time...

A snack was required after our hike, and then we headed down to the Forest Learning Center - another great place for the kids. Outside there was a great playground and a short hiking loop showing lots of different ways the forest has fought back against the devestation of the eruption.

Throughout the day we saw lots of animals - a friendly squirell that reminded me of our time at U of O, a herd of elk, butterflies, hawks...and an unidentified fuzzy thing. It was far away and though Bayley thought bear and Hayden thought skunk...Jeff & I were pretty sure it was a lone elk.

We had a great time and will definitely hit Johnstons Ridge and the Forest Learning Center on our next trip up...probably when Grace is old enough to remember it!

Friday, July 30, 2010

The County Fair

Parking -- $5

Carnival Games -- $5

Ice cream cones -- $8

Bungee Jumps -- $10

Lunch -- $22

Ride Tickets -- $10

Seeing your kids have a great time -- PRICELESS

My friend Tina & I decided that we are in fact VERY brave and headed out to the county fair with SIX kids! And a budget of $60! This isn't like my usual budgeting attempts - this was a hard limit since everything is cash only...and all my cash came from Hayden's savings. It felt very strange to pay for everything in $1 bills...

Immediately the kids spied a bungee jumping tower. They were both excited to try it. In fact, once they went once, they wanted to go again! But, after we ran the non-strollered portion of our brood through, we moved deeper into the fair...

The animal barns were great - we got there early so they weren't as ripe as expected. The kids were hilarious trying to decide if they were brave enough to touch a cow, feeling the difference between a sheered sheep and a shaggy one, petting bunnies and a horse, and seeing all the different kinds of chickens...including one with an afro!

The boys really liked the free stuff -- the juggling show, 4H exhibits (next year Bayley wants to do Legos, Hayden wants to do baking), and Demo Garden where they did a scavenger hunt and got to pick a carrot. We wanted to take them to the reptile tent and see the play Rumplestilskin (all free)...but they were focused on food and the rides.

Because of the budget, they didn't get to do as many rides as they'd wanted to...we were limited to one ride (Paratrooper) and one carnival game (Lucky Duck).
But, they were treated to fair food -- elephant ears, ice cream, curly fries, hand dipped corn dogs... Isn't that what it's all about?

Yeah...maybe we'll go back with Daddy. I think his pockets are deeper than Hayden's.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chef Gracie

Our friend Paula crafted this for Gracie's birthday to make her kitchen complete. I haven't managed to get a picture of it until now. She gets her hat and apron and once they are one she says "I ready to cook!"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Grandma Bobbie had a free day, so she came over and we let the kids decide what they wanted to do. I was thinking a factory tour of Bob's Red Mill...they were thinking the beach!

Since we did Cannon Beach a few weeks ago, we opted for Seaside. The weather was so cool the kids decided they NEEDED sweatshirts, which we hadn't packed. $40 later, we headed to the sand. the sand in Seaside is super fine, which made my clever idea to put everything we needed in a wagon and pull it...not so clever. It worked in Cannon Beach & Newport...but never again in Seaside.

As soon as the boys saw the ocean, the sweatshirts were shucked off, and in the water they went. We tried to convince them to only go up to their knees, but within minutes both boys were soaked to the waist. Bayley stayed in until his legs went numb! Crazy kids :D

Grace was much more interested in the sand than in the water. She happily ran about, raking and scooping until Hayden decided to warm up. Once he was in on the sand action, things got more trying to bury him in the sand! Grace kept pushing him back and saying "Go to sleep!" and then kicking the sand off him and saying "Wake up!" like the sand was some kind of giant blanket.

Once Grace got sand in her eyes, the entire party was over. We dragged the wagon back up the beach and headed to the van so the kids could change into dry clothes. Then we headed over to a pizza and arcade place the boys had enjoyed before.

The pizza was great, but the arcade part was being remodeled and the bathrooms were disgusting. Next time, it's the chinese restaurant and the carousel!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Finished It!

My friend Nicole is having a Just Finish It week to encourage one and all to finish those projects cluttering up your mind. One that I've been meaning to get to is Hanging Letters for the kids' doors. Today, I got it done!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Gracie's Big Girl Room

With nothing scheduled for this weekend, and a girl who's been falling out of her crib...we decided to upgrade Grace's room.

The beige walls went pink, the bed which lowers to the ground moved in, the crib & changing table were pushed aside, and I repurposed some old furniture to look

Jeff's grandpa made us a dresser and a bookshelf years ago, and since he never got to meet Grace, I wanted to keep some of his things in the room. The bookshelf got painted white, as did the dresser.

On the dresser drawers I went a little Martha and decopaged fun fabrics to go with the happy garden theme I have going on. Someday, the room with get a Mary Englebreit quilt (from Grandma, we just need a stretch of cold, rainy weather so she'll stay maybe by next spring). For now, it's our personal version of adorable.

On a blog I can't remember, a mommy came up with this idea for storing hair pretties - lay ribbons, glass, scrapbook paper, and then the secure backing in a frame, glue the ribbons (I taped them because I don't like to wait for glue to dry) and voila, hair pretty sorter. This one is hanging right noext to Gace's changing table :D

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Drive In!

When I was a kid, we went to the drive-in every summer. a couple of times, actually. Aroudn the time my folks moved from the station wagon to a mini-van, the drive-in closed up shop. It was too bad, since I really enjoyed it.

Finding a drive-in these days isn't easy. There's one in Newberg, a half hour south of us. After camp wrapped up on Friday, we trekked down, taking our chances with getting in since Facebook claimed it can fill up by 7pm!

It was full, but we still got a place at 830...right next to our old neighbors! Maybe our cars wanted to see one another again. It was fun for me, chatting with Molly made passing the time between parking and waiting for dusk fly by.

We were sure that Grace would conk out ten minutes into Dispicable Me, but she was raring to go through the entire show! She couldn't decide if she wanted to be in her seat, or on Mom's lap, or helping Daddy not drive...

The boys loved it and want to go again. I'm game, but Jeff wasn't so keen on driving back on the twisty backroads in the dark. We'll see...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day Camp

Hayden really enjoyed day camp this year! They started every day in front of our house, and then hiked into camp...which is literally down the street!

Most mornings, I tucked Grace into the wagon and went into camp with them. After Grace raspberried her way through a flag ceremony, I decided we'd take her home once the boys were settled in for the day.

We enjoyed getting to see what the boy scouts keep hidden behind the gate. There is a great obstacle course, lots of covered picnic table 'camps', hiking trails, bridges, an archery range and BB gun areas...they really should rent the place out for birthday parties!

Hayden's favorite part was signing The Littlest Worm with his den on the final night of camp...I missed it since Grace was having a diva moment...and Jeff didn't tape it! He had the recorder and got two 3 second movies...of this finger! Anyway, they were adorable in practice! After singing the song, they took a big drink of rootbeer (through a straw of course) and then BURPED! Gotta love boys!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Off To Camp!

Hayden started cub scout day camp this week. He was quite excited...and now that we've seen the camp which happens to be just down the street, we really wish it was open to the public - or at least rentable for birthday parties!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Gordon's Farm's not really a farm. But it is a ten acre piece of land that may one day be a farm...but first it needs a farmhouse :D

The Gordon's have been looking for a piece of land to build on, something vast and open, yet secluded. This place came with a swimming hole and giant trees, so they're right at home...or will be when they build the house!

The boys had a great time exploring there. In fact, we might skip all the Newport hooplah next time and just have a Katie camp out.
Grace loved being able to run away, Hayden was all about the tire swing...and Bayley just hiked around, exploring the place and making suggestions :D

The Beach!

What's a trip to Newport without Nye Beach!?! We were lucky enough to go twice - sunset on Saturday and then again before lunch on Sunday. Saturday was high tide. The boys loved chasing the waves and climbing on the rocks.

Bayley developed a new hobby - sand drawing. It began with his name...and then moved on to animals and maps. From the balcony of our room we could see some great sand drawings - like Squidward!

Grace was all about the sand. She even laid down in it a couple of times! It made for an interesting bath time.

When we hiked down on Sunday, we were excited to find it was low tide. This made it easier to see the sea anenomes and for Hayden to catch horseshoe crabs.

Jeff & Bayley decided to climb across the beach along a bunch of craggy boulders. I was quite glad when they both made it down in one piece!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Butterfly Garden

While in Newport, we played tourist with the Gordon Girls. Katie had heard of a butterfly garden that had just opened up, so we decided to check it out. It didn't have the diversity of the butterfly exhibits the zoo used to have, but Hayden & Bayley really liked being able to handle the butterflies.

Hayden was a butterfly magnet! They just came to him...probably because of his red shirt, but my money is on his hands having a slight sheen of sugar.

Grace, who loves pictures of butterflies and practically bursts with excitement when there is a butterfly in the yard...wasn't sure what to make of the Painted Lady to hitchhiked onto her backpack and stayed for the whole visit!

Even Bayley got in on the action, letting a butterfly ride on his head!


We had two requirements in a hotel for our Newport trip - a view of the beach and a pool! We wound up at the Elizabeth Street Inn, which was lovely...except that the toilet leaked...and the pool and spa weren't as clean as I would have liked. Supposedly, since they are saltwater and not as heavily chlorinated, they don't get that crystal blue time we'll stay at The Whaler :D

The kids loved swimming - yes, all of them. Grace was quite the little mermaid. She and I will have to do mommy & me swim in the fall. She loved the water!

Jeff was glad to see the progress the boys had made with their last set of swimming lessons. It looks like we really will get to do Great Wolf Lodge this fall!

Oregon Coast Aquarium

While in Newport this weekend we had a great trip to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Hayden was very impressed with the shark tunnel, Bayley was more interested in the jellyfish. We thought for sure Grace would nap through it since she didn't nap on the 2 1/2 hour drive, and she didn't nap at lunch...but she made it all the way through to her favorite part -- the climbing sculptures at the end.

We went on Saturday, which I can't say I reccomend. For me, the zoo, aquarium and the like are for kids. When adults elbow them out of the way, I tend to get a bit snide in my commentary.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ice Cream!

After camp, Makena came over for ice cream cones...and granola bars...and bananas...I swear, you'd think we didn't send those kids to camp with a lunch!! While the kids ate their cones, I took pictures of Grace :D