Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spring Break in Portland

Josh had the idea to travel somewhere as a family for the kids' Spring Break.  We tossed around the ideas of a weekend in Spokane, or a trip to Seattle, but then settled on several days in Portland!  We've driven through it on our way to the Oregon Coast several years ago, but we hadn't really been able to explore it.  Josh's cousin, BoRyan lives there with his family, and offered to let us stay in his home while they were out-of-town!  You can't say 'no' to that offer!  It was so generous of them to let us stay in their LOVELY home, and really helped us to be able to swing the trip.

We left Wednesday and spent the night just outside of Portland at a great hotel on the Hood River.

We ate some delicious fire-cooked pizza place called Solstice (great food - Josh particularly loved his Solstice pizza - hot coppa, fire roasted Jalapeno crema, pineapple chutney, mozzarella), and I was super-happy we didn't have to travel longer than five hour (we packed into the Prius)!

We liked this little detail that they had on the menus:

My breakfast in the morning was really yummy (home-made granola, topped with Greek Yogurt and drizzled with honey)!  The heated outdoor pool was the first stop after breakfast.  The kids had a great time rough-housing with Dad, and we had the whole pool to ourselves.

Day 1

We hit the road for the city, and hit several of the falls on our way (Horsetail, Latourell and Multnomah), which had wonderful little hikes that were manageable for the whole family!

It's so nice we're now past the phase of kids needing diaper changes, nursing/naps, strollers, etc.  It really expands our possibilities, and makes trips so much more enjoyable for me.  We had one little scare when a school group on a switchback ahead and above us sent several rocks cascading down in our direction!  Boo was scared out of her wits the rest of the time that she'd die by avalanche!  Notice her scared face in the photo above!
Sweet relief at the end of the trail!

Proof I actually came on this trip!  
The weather the entire time was nice and temperate.  Drizzling rain now and again, but mostly just a really pleasant trip weather-wise!  GREEN, GREEN, GREEN was the color of this trip!  So beautiful!

  We took a scenic drive towards Portland and stopped at the Vista House to take in the beautiful (yet windy) views of the Columbia River Gorge.

Diddles said, "Is this where Jesus lives?  Is He home?" She had a fun time reenacting some Disney Princess movie scenes up on the roof of the overlook there!

BoRyan's house is beautiful!  We really enjoyed staying there.

Their kitchen was a dream to cook in, and the kids were in heaven with their pet cat, Adobo.  I think the kids took more photos of the cat than any other subject!

Funny story about the cat:  It's an indoor cat, and we were left with instructions to not let her out.  The kids noticed a neighbor cat lurking around the front door, driving Adobo crazy!  The older ones shooed the strange cat away.  Later that night after the big kids had gone to bed, Diddles came into our room and said, "Mom, the cat just wanted to be with his brudder."  I bolted out of bed, only to find our worst fears confirmed:  The door wide-open, and the cat gone.  Visions of an injured or dead cat rushed through my mind.  How would we find it?  Where would we even look?  Josh ran downstairs, went down the front steps, and there she was, just sitting on the porch.  Good grief!?  We had a nice little chat about not opening the door for the cat's "brother".

It was so nice to have rooms to put the kids in, familiar meals we could cook, and space to spread out and play!  We walked down the block and had a Ben and Jerry's cone as a special treat to cap off our first day.

Tons of cyclists in Portland!  People had special baskets to carry their groceries, babies, pets, etc.  It was really amazing how many use that mode of transportation!  We went to Fred Meyer to get our groceries, and the cashier says, "Did you bring your own bags?"  It's unusual for people to not have their own bags.  We erupted into a huge guilt-ridden explanation that "we're from out-of-town!  We totally would have brought our own bags"!  They won't toss you in jail if you forget your bags, just so you know.  

She threw half of that 'Late Night Snack' cone away!  It was like a slow-motion movie "Nnnooooo!"  
What a waste!  

Day 2

The next day we deemed as Beach Day at Cannon Beach.  April it's still pretty cold and always windy!  We went in May the last time we went, and it dumped cold rain the entire time we were there!  We're used to it. Thankfully we packed winter gloves, hats, coats, etc.

What you get when you take a candid shot.

What you get when you say, "smile!"  Isn't this face a riot?

I love her "E's"

There was this little inlet of rather swift-moving water, that flowed like a river.
 It had chewed away the sand to make a nice little ledge that she had fun breaking apart.

Flying the big kite

The kids flew kites with Dad, and wrote in the sand and scavenged for sea treasures.  Diddles had a great time building a castle and tossing sand into this little inlet.
"Ta da!"

"Mom, it's impossible for a hole to be 'bottomless'.  It has to end SOMEWHERE!"

We left the beach in search of a warm lunch when our hands were cold and our noses were running.  Clam Chowder sounded perfect to me, but the place we picked had a pretty disappointing chowder in a stale sourdough breadbowl.  We ate our lunches and then sweetened the deal at the local candy shop - Bruce's Candy Kitchen!  Each person picked their favorite treat.  I enjoyed my bag of hand-picked Saltwater Taffies.  So many flavors!
She wanted this "moon-corn" mask for Christmas.  I thought it was creepy!

Dozens of flavors of Saltwater taffy!  The store smelled like chocolate and popcorn. :)

No, we didn't buy her candy cigarettes.

We stopped at the Children's Museum on the way home from the beach, and the kids really enjoyed exploring the space (our membership to our local Science Center allows us to visit all of these wonderful museums for free, since we're members of the ASTC Passport Program).

Diddles really enjoyed the Water Works, and the bigger kids liked fixing up the animals at the Pet Hospital.

The large crowds and unfamiliar kids were a little overwhelming for Diddles.  It's a tricky environment for her:  assertive kids, lack of parental supervision, unfamiliar structure, etc.  It took her a long time to warm up and venture out to try something.

Day 3

Our last full day in Portland we spent at the Portland Zoo.

We first made a stop at the OMSI Museum, but it was more for older kids.  Josh and I really enjoyed the exhibit of Prenatal Development, which had a display of fetuses at every stage of the nine-month development.  It was amazing!  It made me really marvel at the procreative power we are blessed with as men and women.

After our brief trip to the museum, we headed off to Washington Park.  Josh put on his running shoes and got some exercise running around the park, while we hit the zoo.  I love Zoos.  I find them so fun.  This one was positively beautiful!  The animals were really active with the cool, wet temps, and the kids didn't wilt in the hot sun.  I had two expert "map readers" who helped me navigate Diddles in her stroller.  We all had a really fun time, and I think it was the kids' favorite part of the trip!

The largest pride of lions I've ever seen in a zoo!  

Lazy Bears

An assortment of fish, native to the area

Cougar making its rounds

This leopard was so beautiful!

Most of the displays had these large glass windows (I assume they are one-sided and soundproof), which allowed you to get up super-close to the animals w/o endangering yourself!
We could see this leopard tail and see how huge it's spotted paws were!

Again with the hilarious faces.  

I'll finish this post up with this clip.  You might not be able to hear it, but Diddles asks, "Is Dad going to 'frow' me in there?"  What on earth!?  Josh was totally offended to hear it.  He's never in his life threatened to throw his children into a lion's den.  You can tell in her mind it's a legitimate worry.  :)

We spent our last day cleaning up the house, packing up the car and listening to General Conference.  We made it home around dinnertime, with only one altercation with the police for speeding.  The officer pulled TWO people over claiming Josh was going 75 in a 50!?  I'm sure we were over 50, but I doubt we were going 75.  I still think Diddles saved the day when he came up to the window, she loudly and proudly stated, "See?  I'm wearing my seatbelt!"  We were let off with a warning.  Josh has all the luck.

Fun trip to a beautiful part of the country.


Trish and Matt said...

It's so fun to read your blogs! (FYI, I finally started blogging again myself!). Looks like a fantastic trip! So glad you guys could have so much fun.

Sarah said...

So many great smiles! Looks like a great time. And, with the house offer and museum pass it sounded doable. Glad the cat was found and nothing was broken. :)