Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ramblings: Washington Whirlwind

Please excuse this post as my own attempt to journal our last trip than for your amusement. If I don't post it here, I'll never get around to recording anything about it and heaven knows my memory is already failing. What was I just talking about? See.

Ok, here goes. The first thing we did in Seattle (after completely terrorizing an entire Safeway full of shoppers--we rented a three bedroom condo and we needed some groceries and diapers) was to drive downtown to visit the Space Needle.

It's 520 feet up and it cost us almost that much for the four of our tickets (the boys were free). Well, OK, it was $48 for the four of us, which worked out to about $8/minute that the kids wanted to be up there. It was a spectacular view, but I could barely enjoy it because I was sure one of my kids would be the first ever to figure out how to defeat their safety enclosure and flail to their deaths atop some unlucky passerby below.

After that we found a grassy area where we watched a performance by some Japanese Inuit dancers. The kids were more excited by a dog that passed by on a walk than either the Space Needle or the dancers.

The highlight of the Seattle activities for the kids had to be the Children's Museum. We were there on a weekday and basically had the place to ourselves. There were tons of fun things for all their ages. Avery's fave: The river loaded with boats, rocks, and other floating toys. He refused to keep his smock on, but managed to stay pretty dry. Aidan's was the grocery store exhibit. You've never seen a kid so excited by loading up a basket with fake vegetables.

Do you think Kroger would hire minors? They're hard workers, I promise. I could use the extra cash. And I guarantee they could bag food twice as well as the folks currently working there...

They both loved this room that had a bunch of different spinning tables that you dropped ping pong balls onto and then they either spun around or rolled to the middle and down a hole. They would've stayed in there all day.

Maddie and Alex had a blast on this stage. One of them had to perform "the show" and the other worked the lights, the backdrops, and the curtain. Alex's show involved one wild, flailing cartwheel and then he decided he liked the behind the scenes work more.

The next morning we headed down to Pike Street Market.

We got there a little after nine so it wasn't crowded at all--but a bit chilly. We ate fresh donuts and fruit while Jeremy ate a pound of salmon jerky. It stunk! but he swears it was good. There are millions of vendors and stands set up with all kinds of food and fresh fish and handmade clothes, jewelry, and art.

Do not adjust your computer. The Texas Donuts were actually bigger than Maddie's head. We vetoed that choice.

Maddie's King Salmon impression. Pretty good. She needs to work on her gills a bit more.

Alex tamed a wild bronze pig.

The trees were all blooming--and I snapped this picture below right outside the t-shirt store we fled when 3 out of 4 crazies had hysterical break downs while I was trying to pick shirts for them. The freakouts weren't even t-shirt related--more like related to extreme sleep-deprivation .

The last night in Seattle we took the kids to Benihana's. Or as the kids call it, the "Ho-batchee grill."

I didn't take any pictures inside because I was on "don't let the boys fry their hands and faces off" patrol. The kids were amazed and we had a great chef that really hammed it up for them and even told Alex a few cheesy shrimp jokes. As you may suspect, we spilled more rice on the floor than there is in all of Japan.

On the four hour drive from Seattle to the Tri-Cities, we stopped off at the Snoqualmie Falls. The falls were cool, but I was a little disappointed because when we stopped off at Multnomah Falls last year in Oregon, you could hike pretty much right up next to it up this steep trail and there was a bridge that went across the middle of it--it was freaky and amazing to be that high over that much fast moving water (see last waterfall pic). At Snoqualmie, you walk this little path to an observation gazebo thing. Even though we were pretty high up, I don't think any of us enjoyed it as much because it seemed we were so far away--you couldn't even feel the mist. Let's face it--if you don't feel like you could die at any minute, it just isn't as much fun. And trust me, last year Alex let everyone on that bridge across Multnomah know that he thought he was in danger of being sucked into the waterfall at any moment.

The rest of our drive to Walla Walla was uneventful, and besides a stop at Wal-Mart to buy some wedding wrapping paper, fairly calm. Something about Wal-Mart turns my kids into crazy demons--perhaps all those brightly colored Rollback signs and smiley faces mocking them everywhere they look.

We stayed at Jeremy's parents' bed and breakfast on their huge orchard called Cameo Heights Mansion. They normally do not allow anyone under 18 to stay there, and I think with all of the grandkids thrashing the place all week and raising the noise level about a million decibels, they were confident they made the right decision with the age limit.

Grandpa drained the pool twice and filled it with 88 degree well-water so the kids could swim even though it was only about 60 degrees outside. With that and the hot-tub, they were in heaven and more importantly, out of the house where all the cooking and wedding prep was going on. Can you guess whose kid scaled that huge, jagged, precociously perched boulder/waterfall to use as a diving board? Yep. Mine. And when Grandpa came out and saw him, I thought Grandpa might poop his pants--because he is the one that hauled in and arranged all those boulders so he probably knew just how dangerous that was.

This is the room we got to enjoy and destroy. Right before the wedding reception, one of the boys threw one of those small plastic medicine measuring cups into the toilet. I left the room for a second to get something before I was going to retrieve it and throw it away, and in that short time Alex came in and peed, and for the third time in his life actually flushed. So it clogged the toilet and we tried everything to free that stupid 2 inch cup.

To make a long, horrible story short: 10 minutes before we were supposed to be dressed for wedding pictures Jeremy, his dad, and some guy were prying the toilet off (which turned out to be somehow cemented to the marble floor), carrying it down to the farm shop and blasting the hole with a high powered fire hose to free the cup that was lodged in the curvy part. After five minutes, it came flying out and the dripping toilet was carried back upstairs and reattached. So Grandpa...are we rethinking EVER allowing your grandkids back into your house?

The wedding was great--the bride and groom appropriately googly-eyed and glowing. This is a picture of Alainna with all the siblings and then with her brothers. I really, really tried hard to get Stephen to pose with the guys kissing his cheeks but he refused.

Does anyone ever get a decent pictures when there are this many kids involved? This is Alainna with most of her nieces and nephews--I think three are missing because they are infants or were too crabby to cooperate. The backdrop of all of the rolling hills and blooming apple trees was gorgeous.

I tried to get individual pictures of each of the kids to update my photo wall for the year. Alex was only willing if I let him do his own pose in between doing what I wanted him to do. I'll let you guess whose is whose.

Do you enjoy the stiff arm to the neck resulting from Aidan's attempt to take Avery's cracker? They were STARVING for dinner because um, yeah, with all the toilet/pictures/reception food prep, I forgot to feed them dinner. Yippee! Just go ahead and engrave my MOM OF THE YEAR trophy. I gave them crackers, doesn't that count for anything? Stop judging me.

As always, Maddie the Model was happy to cooperate.

And that, my friends, was our Washington Whirlwind of a vacation.


Kimball & Marianne Larsen said...

What a great trip! I am so excited to know about your parent's (in-laws) B&B. Kimball and I LOVE to go to them and it's nice to know there is such a beautiful one not that far away for an easy getaway--(without kids.)

I was meaning to get a hold of you to see if you would have a free minute while you were here, but I safely assumed you would be caught up in wedding plans. We'll have to connect the next time I am in Dallas.

The Richards said...

Your trip to Washington looks like so much fun. You are so brave to do it all with four kids, we haven't even ventured out with our one, someday. Yes Caitlyn is alwasy trying to do things before she is supposed to. Are house is starting to have the prison look with a little bit of insane assylum decor with all the pillows and foam padding on all the corners of the furniture. 14 gates, that is impressive, I've only ordered 4 so far and thinking about one more!