August 31, 2016

First Grade!

Last night it hit me that first grade is kind of big time now. Kindergarten was full-day at the same school, but they still get the hand-holding. We went to the BBQ at the school last night to meet the teachers and drop off supplies. The reality of the twins being in different classes for the first time ever started sinking in. I know it will be great for them to have their own little world in their classrooms independent of each other, but it still makes me sad. The girls have been waiting for school to start again and were very excited this morning to go to school. Another hour to go and I get to go pick them up and hear all about the first day! 

August 29, 2016

Oregon Road Trip (Part 2)

This is the second part of our road trip posts so starting out with Day 3.

Day 3: We had the day to explore the beach and Florence area. When we lived in Portland, we frequented the northern part of the Oregon coast countless times, but had never ventured south of Newport before this trip. Florence is known for its miles of expansive sand dunes that cover its coastline. We signed up for an hour tour of the sand dunes in a giant sand buggy so we did that in the morning. It was very windy and the kids started complaining towards the end, but us adults thought it was amazing and so glad we did it.

Later we had another picnic lunch (this time inside our van because it was SO windy outside) and braved the beach to play. The wind made it feel cold and the sand was blowing sideways, but the kids didn't seem to care much.

For dinner we walked around the cute little downtown Florence area and ate dinner at Mo's. Its not the greatest food, but we seem to always end up there with the kids. We tried to avoid the fried food overload and enjoyed the clam chowder instead. 

Day 4: We woke up and packed up to head north to Newport and Lincoln City. On the way, we stopped at the Heceta Head Lighthouse and did the 1 mile hike from the beach to the lighthouse. The first picture is the lighthouse keeper's house where they lived when not on duty. It was really fascinating and picturesque. 

In Newport we spent time at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Its not a huge place, but we enjoyed it. Our kids are pretty thrilled with anything animal related. We loved seeing the sea otter feeding and the underwater walkways with all the sharks. 

After the aquarium, we headed down to the old Newport and watched the sea lions on the docks, grabbed some candy at the old-fashioned candy shop and then drove north to Lincoln City to check into our beach house. 

In Lincoln City we met up with friends for the weekend and all stayed together in a beach house in the Olivia Beach neighborhood. It was a great end to our trip with lots of relaxing, soaking in the hot tub and playing on the beach. The last night we had a bonfire on the beach and made smores. 

Then it was time to head home. We stopped in Portland on the way for some shopping and dinner with friends. It was a great trip and the kids really surprised us with how well they handled all the car travel, sleeping in different places and changes of scenery. Now we are starting to dream about our next road trip! 

August 27, 2016

Oregon Road Trip (Part 1)

Earlier in August, we did an Oregon road trip. Even though we lived in Oregon for 12 years and explored many parts of it, there were (are?) still so many places we had not visited. Our itinerary for this trip looked like this:

Day 1: Drive from Yakima to Portland (lunch), drive to Enchanted Village (just south of Salem) and play there for the afternoon, drive to Eugene (dinner/hotel).

Day 2: Breakfast in Eugene, drive to Wildlife Safari in Winston and spend the day there, drive to Florence (dinner/hotel)

Day 3: Play at beach in Florence, sand dunes buggy tour

Day 4: Drive north to Newport and go to aquarium, drive to Lincoln City beach house to meet up with friends for the weekend.

Day 5: Hang out at the beach and beach house

Day 6: Pack up and drive back to Portland for shopping and dinner with friends, drive home to Yakima.

Ok, I'm going to split this into a few posts so here we go.

Day 1: We went to Enchanted Village last year for the twins' 5th birthday and had a blast. It is very retro and small and nothing big or fancy, but still a great time for a few hours. The big girls loved reading all of the fairy tale scenes and Ariana thought she was in heaven getting to go on the kiddie rides. She just barely met the 36" requirement.

After this we headed to Eugene and ate at Killer Burger (our fave!) Then we headed to our hotel to relax and gear up for the next day. The Olympics were happening during this trip so we spent a lot of time in the evenings in our hotels watching the coverage on TV.

Day 2: After a quick breakfast, we ventured further south to Winston to the Wildlife Safari. This is a really fun and unique place where the majority of the animals are out roaming the huge wildlife area and the cars drive thru. There was a sign that said, "Remember you are captive and they are free." They allow you to be unbuckled and hang out the window and all, just ask you not to pet the animals and don't stop near the rhino because he likes to poke tires.

They have a village area that is more like a traditional zoo area with a petting zoo,  bird habitat, a train, a few shops and cafe and playground. We drove thru the safari in the morning (took us about an hour), then went to the village for a couple hours to have our picnic lunch, play on the playground, ride the train and visit the other animals. Then we did the safari again since your admission is good for the whole day. We were glad we drove thru again because a lot of the animals had moved around so we got to see different animals. For example, the first time we drove thru, the hippos were submerged up to their eyeballs in water and the second time they were standing right next to the road. For our animal-crazed kids, this was a highlight of the trip.

After the safari, we drove to the coast to stay in Florence for the next couple of days.