Thursday, January 26, 2012


At last year's auction I was the high bidder on a "family fun package" full of gift certificates and event tickets etc. Among the fun was a stay in Astoria and tickets to the maritime museum there. So off we went!

We had a FABULOUS room, here is the view from the living room:

And from our master bedroom:

We arrived on a Friday evening and got settled before we went out for a nice seafood dinner then a night of swimming in the hotel pool. The next morning we stuffed ourselves at the complimentary breakfast (they lost money on us!)

It was fun seeing big ships pass under the bridge:

The maritime museum was great. There was much more interesting history about the area than I would've guessed. It was all detailed enough for adults, but also everything was hands-on for kids too, without being a cheesy kids' play area. This exhibit was neat because it told the story of various shipwrecks in the area:

Many of the exhibits were of a large scale:

The kids really enjoyed this replica of a ship's control room. It looked out to the river, but the windows were sketched with what it would look like if it was a real boat going down the Columbia:

My favorite parts were the World War II ships (I though of grandpa H. who entered the navy early after lying about his age...his job was to work the signal flags I believe) and I also liked learning about the special guides that board foreign boats to help them navigate this very difficult and dangerous bar/river.

Outside the museum was a Coast Guard boat that we could tour:

Not as big as the William Boyer in Toledo, but still fun.

The kids really wanted to go across the big big bridge so on our way out we took a trip to Washington:

Such a fun trip! Just the right length, no complications, kids had a blast!

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Daddy-daughter date night

Every so often Marcus will take the older girls out for a Daddy Daughter Date Night. Bunny always wants to do the same things: first a trip to the Dini Factory:

Big girl Mariposa really enjoyed this evening.

They end the evening with a grip to Target for a little gift. Bunny chose a My Little Pony like she always has, and so did Mariposa.

Finally a stop at Barnes & Noble for some story time. This visit they bought a book for each kid, even the two that didn't go out on this evening. Remember the "Little Miss" and "Mister" books? Bunny got "Little Miss Chatterbox," James got "Mister Daydream," Mariposa got "Little Miss Sunshine," and Gemma got "Little Miss Curious.". Marcus could've chosen some other appropriate ones for Gemma but he wanted to keep it positive. :o)

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Updates a'coming

Ok, now that the weekend is here maybe I can do some blog updates. Whew, the weekdays are just full of school and activities! Here is the first set of updates below. I will wait a few days to let everyone see these posts, then I'll post some more chronicling other January adventures. I'm worried that if I post them all at once, some will fall off into "older posts" I will wait. Here a few, though!

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Happy Birthday Ding Dong!

On Wednesday we celebrated Gemma's 2nd birthday! First we had a small "party" for Gemma and James when James' friends came over to play for their weekly playdate:

I made black-bottom cupcakes (chocolate cake with a chocolate-chip cheesecake top/center), yummy. Eliot was over, too, like every Wednesday (we have a playdate with her and take her to RE) and Emmett joined in the celebration.

After dance classes we invited Aidan and Lukie over for dinner and cupcakes before I would take them all to RE. (having the new van is so much fun!)

Big two-year-old!

Gift from grandma and grandpa:

She loves her new Crocs!

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Snow day!

Earlier in the week, Tuesday I think.

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Field Trip to CM2

I surprised the kids last week after Thursday Mass by taking them to the Portland Children's museum! Of course I had the library's pass which got three of us in free, then I had a BOGOF coupon (that's "Buy One Get One Free" for those of you who don't know cheapskate lingo) so we all got in for $9 instead of $45. They had a Lego exhibit that I knew the kids would love:

I was right, they loved it! We were in no hurry so I took their lead.

James wasn't interested in looking at the elaborate models or any of the other exhibits; instead he parked himself right here:

After seeing everything Mariposa joined him:

Bunny did do some Lego-building but she really loved the other features of the exhibit, too, like this horse:

Next we moved on (James reluctantly) and had more fun. I kept to one section of the museum, and let the three older ones have their fun while I made sure I had my eye on Gemma. For the most part they stayed together though, and the play-grocery-store was a favorite.

This is where Mariposa ventured off to try something new:

Another BIG hit with my kids:

After spending some time with Gemma in the toddler area, I encouraged her to join the kids at the vet center:

We had a break for lunch (which I brought of course, PBJ on homemade bread, pudding cups, bananas, and a special Kool-aid drink where I dropped fizzy tablets in their water). Finally they got to play at the water exhibit, a perennial favorite:

What a great day! They were all tired but happy. :o) I'm hoping to plan more field trips in the near future now that we decided to make Thursday our day off school. Maybe the art museum next, or OMSI, or...?

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Papa's birthday party

Pics from papa's birthday celebration earlier this month:

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Bunny's photo shoot

You can tell school has started, because all of a sudden I have no time to post blog updates!

Here are some pictures that Bunny took over break:

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Monday, January 2, 2012