Monday, April 30, 2012

Easter Morning

We're not sure who was up first...but Grace decided it was time for Mom & Dad to wake up bright and early. Since she's such a cuddle bug, we coaxed her into bed with us. The boys followed, probably because they were wondering what took her so long.

Our queen-sized bed was filled to capacity, making for a cozy morning. As much as I loved it, everyone was so crowded we had to make our way downstairs to see what that crazy rabbit had left behind.

Easter Eggs

Miss Tina always makes sure my kiddos aren't denied the childhood ritual of dying Easter eggs. Nothing fancy, just eggs in the cups colored by the tablets and some vinegar if we remember it.

nailed it
I saw a tip on Pinterest this year to use a whisk to help the kids get the eggs in teh dye without coloring their fingers. Bayley figurd it out since the mama's were a little confused by this new contraption.

Next year, we may just do it with the little girls. The boys...are just so boyish. They wanted to mix the colors, leading to that lovely puce shade...and Hayden even decided to sample the dying liquid. Mmm...tasty. Not.

We boiled lots of eggs so there would be no fighting...but I think we went overboard because they wanted to play long before all the eggs had their color bath.

The whole process made Grace and Ava hungry. They decided they needed to eat thhe eggs before the dye was even dry!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

No Nos

G - Don't say no to me. No is a bad word.
H - No it isn't
G - Stop saying that
H - No is not a bad word
G - You are a butthead
H - Now that is a bad word

B - Grace, you are being a hyppocrite
G - No I am not

H - You said no!
G - Aaaah!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Zip Lines!

When we arrived at the Treesort Jeff booked in zip lining for him and the boys. I did consider trying to pawn Grace off on one of the other families for a few hours... but instead I took pictures. We'll go back when she's more up for adventure.

They start things out slowly - in fact on the same line that hadt he swing seat we'd played on the day before. Once everyone was up to speed the passes grew in height, length, and speed.

Hayden went first, then Bayley, and Jeff followed. Which mean the boys were on the ground, egging Dad on and critiquing his every move!

And doesn't every mother want to see their kid suspended atop giant trees? It's scarier on the ground!

There is even one platform where you zip from one treehouse base to another! Of course this made the boys decide that when we return, we'll stay in one of those treehouses.

After the first round of lines, there was an advanced course. Since they were all pumped up they had to do that one too.

And then...the Tarzan Swing!

can you even see my baby up that tree?
Still in their harness, they were hooked onto the swing and held onto a rope that was hoisted by a golf cart until they were up a tree! And then...when they let go,  they swing out!

The guides said it was a longer drop than most bungee jumps. Egad.


We were so looking forward to Out n about Treesort I worried we'd be let down, but it was even better than we expected -- and that was with mud and drizzle. It would be amazing in the dry summer!

Since there are so many of us, we had to have one of the bigger rooms. And with Grace we figured having our own bathroom would be a good idea as well. So we had a large room attached to the main lodge and the most comfortable beds of the entire trip. Our room had a treehouse with a loft. The boys wanted to sleep out there, but it rained all night...and I mentioned the comfy beds, right?

There was plenty to explore. Bridges connect many of the treehouses and the kids loved it. Not just our kids, all the kids staying there. The place was like summer camp, but with beds, bathrooms, and someone to make breakfast in the morning.

We got to spy some of the other digs that didn't have people in them yet. Each one was so different. Some were very rustic, others more like a bunk house, and some rather dolled up. Something for everyone.

We loved hiking around and playing on the zipline swing, spiderweb, and of course another treehouse.

The boys tried the Tarzan swing and had a great time with it. Little did we know how it works when you'er hooke dup to a zipline harness!

Of course Grace was drawn to the horses. I want to go back when she's old enough to ride. She would love it.

Great Cats World Park

Cave Junction has an animal park devoted to wild cats - including a white tiger (or 6). Since Bayley loves white tigers, we added it to our agenda. All the exhibits are behind cages, which doesn't make for the best pictures, but the kids liked seeing them and learning about the animals.

Hayden had to ask about the bite force of every animal, while Bayley was more interested in the size. Grace was into it for a while, but it seemed after she'd seen the lions she didn't see much point in the smaller cats.

And of course, because we were seeing animals with the Burke Brothers, they were sure to catch the wild beasts doing something funny. Like peeing!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ocean World

Right by our hotel was a great little aquarium where the kids (even the big one) got to pet a tiger shark. Ocean World is much smaller than the Oregon Coast Aquarium, but we loved it. You have a tour guide who leads you through the exhibits, teaching about the different fish and animals, including stories about where each animal was found.

After so much time spent reading informational posts, the boys were more than happy to let someone else handle the learning bits.

One of the highlights for them was getting to touch a leopard shark. For me, it was later when they told the waitress at dinner how shark skin was once used for sandpaper, and that in one direction sharks feel like felt but in the other direction like sandpaper.

The other peak of the excursion was the sea lion. She did all kinds of things -- catching rings, doing sommersalts, going down a slide, jumping...the boys were mesmerised. I think they would have watched the entire show again if Grace would have stood for it.


The weather was not about to stop us from showing the kids the Redwoods. We decided coats and hoodies would protect us from a little rain and headed off to Trees of Mystery. Paul Bunyon and Babe are in the parking lot, Bigfoot is in the gift shop. Add in hiking and the promise of  a tram ride and the boys were happy as can be. What rain?

The path up to the tram is very educational, sharing the types of trees in the forest as well as some of the amazing phenomena like cathedral trees and trees that root themselves to the branches of others.

The boys loved climbing on and under the trees. It gave them something to do while I read the informational signs to them.

Then it was time for the tram to life us over the tops of the giant Redwoods. Since the rest of the world thought rain and forest exploring weren't a good match, we managed to score extra rides over the tree tops.

 For the hike back down you walk through giant wood carved sculptures that tell the story of Paul Bunyon and the history of the forest. Hayden's fave? The Pooped Logger. By that time on the trail, he was pretty pooped!

Harris Beach

We tried to take the kids to Harris Beach. Jeff had great memories of the tide pools there. But the wind had other ideas.

Bayley wants to go back, they have wonderful rocks for climbing. Hayden tried...and decided he needed Dad to get him back down!

Prehistoric Gardens

Grace knows her dinosaurs better than most elementary school kids. She's always loved them. Last year her birthday party theme was horses and dinos. This year it's rainbows and dinos. Most of her bath toys are, you guessed it, dinosaurs. So we found the perfect place to take a future paleontologist - The Prehistoric Gardens.

Artists have crafted full scale replicas of some of the most recognizable dinosaurs and woven them into the landscape of the central Oregon Coast. It was drizzling while we went back in time, but the kids were having too much fun to notice.

The boys read the plaques aloud, sharing details about each dino. Grace piped in with whatever trivia she had.

The highlight for her was spotting the Teranadon, her favorite.

West Coast Game Park Safari

In my pre-vacation online search for things to do, the West Coast Game Park Safari kept coming up. Because we go to the zoo all the time I wasn't really looking for animal adventures, but they had me as soon as I learned the kids could pet the baby animals. Plus they have a white tiger, Bayley's favorite animal.

This place was much better than were were anticipating. The kids really enjoyed all the interaction. There are deer and goats and peacocks and llamas and a few other things wandering about so you can feed them. The handlers bring out small animals for the kids to play with (Grace really liked the skunk). And then there are the babies.

During our visit there was a baby leopard and lion the kids could pet. With the lion, you could even get up close and play with him. The lines for these were long, but most everyone is there to give their kid the experience so it's not too bad.

The minute before we got our turn with the lion cub, Grace tripped and decided she was done. But this trip we were really working on teaching her that she is part of a family unit, not the star of the Grace show. So, she stayed outside the enclosure with her tantrum while the boys got to meet the lion.

We had some other great moments - like spotting a joey inside the pouch of a wallaby, seeing the tigers, Hayden making friends with a goat...and enemies with a llama. Yep, that is the llama spitting in Hayden's face! He totally deserved it.

SandLand Adventures

Florence has this great place where the kids can play mini-golf and do bumper boats and all that long as the weather cooperates. Which for us, it didn't. But they also do dune buggy rides and the reason we came was to explore the dunes. On our way out of town the weather cleared and we drove right over.

Everyone was very excited to race over mountains of sand, even Grace. Until we put a helmet on her. She might have tolerated that eventually. But add on goggles and she was DONE. We knew once we were moving her tantrum would end, but she was kicked off before the engine started. And so, Mom took one for team Burke and stayed behind with the girl.

The boys had a great time racing up and down the dunes. I hope it helped give them perspective on the geography of the coast. At least it gave them a thrill.

Go Fly A Kite

During a break in the rain the boys wanted to fly kites. Bayley was eager to try out a Star Wars kite I had picked up at the Pass It On sale. Ahem. Thanks so much for a kite without all the parts. May the karma be with you.

Even though the weather wasn't great, the boys still wanted to be on the beach. And Grace wanted to be wherever her brothers were. I think Jeff wanted to go home :)

Umpquah Discovery Center

We had grand plans to explore the sand dunes on our second day, but the weather had other ideas. Instead, Jeff took the boys bowling while Grace and I chilled at the hotel. Then it was off to the Umpquah Discovery Center.

The only down side to the place is that they don't allow photography. How am I supposed to blog something without pictures?

It's a great museum and gift shop that reminded me a lot of the cultural exhibits that rotate through OMSI -- and with good reason. OMSI installed them! There was so much to learn on the forest and weather path, but Grace was more interested in how fast she could get us through it. The boys understood mom was going to make them stop and read. That darned learning.

I think the kids enjoyed the 'bear slide' the best. It's just a simple slide built into the exhibit, but they had to do it until I'd read them all the nearby information. I think they would have kept going!

We expected it to be a small, short visit. But you could easily spend an entire rainy afternoon here, and love every minute.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Hayden's Spring Break Journal

Day 1
  • At lunch we had to have lunch with our aunt. And saw two seals! And twelve baby ducks. Also we saw Sea Lion Caves with like one hundred sea lions. We also learned about different kinds of sea lions. After that we came to our hotel and checked out our room and other stuff. And for dinner I had fish and chips.
Day 2
  • We went to a bowling place. Dad's hand bled. Bayley was a jerk. I got two bronze medals. I liked it because I found candy.
  • I went to the Umpquah Discovery Center. I got to see crystals and some weird diamonds. We learned about some interesting animals. My favorite part was going down the bear slide.
Day 3
  • For breakfast we went to the Little Brown Hen. Bayley ate two huge chocolate chip pancakes. I ate a rectangle hashbrown. My mom had an omelet. I liked it because it filled me up.
  • I went to the sand dunes. Bayley yelled "sand monkey" at a guy passing by. A fact is that it was fun and exciting. There was a forest fire too. I liked it because we got to go up a lot of hills and got sand in my mouth.
  • We went to a safari petting zoo. A llama spit in my face! I got to pet a lion cub and a black leopard. I liked it because the llama spit in my face.
  • I went to the Prehistoric Garden with my family. We leaned about different dinosaurs. It was cool because we learned interesting facts about some dinosaurs. And for some dinos how they lived. Also liked it because they had my favorite dinosaur.
  • We went to Harris Beach. The wind was very intense. My brother took the hard way up the rocks. My dad helped me get up some of the rocks. I liked it because my dad helped me.
Day 4
  • We went to the Trees of Mystery. We went on a hike. The hike was really fun because we saw a pooped logger. My brother got tired when we just started. I really liked the transport thingy.
  • My family did Ocean World. I got to pet a leopard shark on his back. I also got to see a cool sea lion jump ten feet high. I learned the sting ray shuffle. My favorite part was the sting ray shuffle.
Day 5
  • We went to the beach. I saw a big and colossal light house. Me and my brother climbed a huge rock. We got to see the light house up close. I liked climbing the colossal rocks.
  • We got to see a lynx and a rare white tiger and a very lazy lion. I liked it because it had my favorite animal.
  • I went to the Treesort. I went ziplining in a tree, it was scary. I got to do the Tarzan Swing. I liked sleeping with Grace. I liked the Tarzan Swing because it went fifty feet high.