Saturday, July 31, 2010
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
Carnival Games -- $5
Ice cream cones -- $8
Bungee Jumps -- $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).
Yeah...maybe we'll go back with Daddy. I think his pockets are deeper than Hayden's.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
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 constructive...like 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
Sunday, July 25, 2010
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 inside....so 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
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
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
Sunday, July 18, 2010
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
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!
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.