Sunday, June 25, 2006

Stopping by SU!

I knew on the way out we had passed Stampin' Up!'s original headquarters, so this time on the way back through, when we drove by it, I decided to stop and take a picture, just so I have one. *smiles* Such a cute little place out in the middle of nowhere.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Portland, OR - Oregon Zoo

Today I went to the zoo with Rob Johnston, a friend from SUU. It was super tiring and kind of warm, but pretty fun. We had lunch there, and J ate fries and made a total mess of himself and then fell asleep in the stroller, fries in hand. E and J seemed to like the zoo. E made me laugh sometimes because she seemed too grown up for the zoo and bored. She is such a little princess. I really enjoyed the Lorikeets -- they were so gorgeous. I was impressed. I think it was funny to see Rob interact with my kids and "have kids" because he is so not used to them at all. He would get all freaked out if they were messy and such, stuff that I gave up on long ago. Very amusing.
I think our favorite parts were the Elephants, and the little elephant museum, where we wasted a quarter on watching this hysterical elephant dance thing . . . way too weird. The elephants were out and about and walking around and the kids could really get a good look at them. Also, they actually knew what that animal was so it was fun and interesting for them.

For sure made me smile though. All in all a good day, and the kids were mostly well behaved. After the zoo, we dropped Rob back off at his house and headed on down the road to see how far we could get before we got tired. I got to see the most gorgeous Oregon Sunset.

Portland, OR - Seaside Beach

Today I planned to hang out with Dorinda, and she suggested going to Seaside Beach. So, E, J and I picked her up, and her two sweet girls (Maddie and Rebecca), and we headed to the beach. Although our time there was limited, we managed to stop and get salt water taffy, go on a carousel, shop in some stores, and walk along the beach for a bit. Dorinda got keychains that said Seaside on them for E, J and I to remember our time. On the beach Maddie caught some sand crabs and showed them to the kids. It was really neat.

Oh, and on the way back, I got to try an elephant ear that Dorinda got. It was yummy! All in all we had a great day! Dorinda is such a great listener and pseudo mom to me. The drive to and from the beach were probably one of my favorite parts of our time hanging out together. I am so thankful for Splitcoaststampers and the friendships that I have made through the site. Dorinda is just an example of one the amazing friends I have made. We had such a fun time together.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

To Seattle, Washington

We stayed the night in Tacoma. I know, past Seattle you say, but I had looked at hotels the night before and this one looked reasonably nice and was priced decently. The only flaw with the area we stayed in was that there was road construction, which I did not realize when we left to go to Target to get some treats for the kids and milk for goodnight bottles. We drove down the road, but it took nearly an hour to get back to our hotel afterwards because exits were closed and ramps were closed. It was nuts! I was so tired when we got back. When we woke up the next morning, we went to visit the space needle and see some of Seattle, and take some pictures and get a post card to send to daddy. Then we drove to go visit Jennie (elliesmom). She was super awesome and it was fun to hang out for a bit. Our kids played well together and her son cried when we had to leave. It was so cute and I felt so bad for stealing his new playmates.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

To Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

When we were driving to Vancouver, I had big plans of going to Vancouver Island, and staying 2 nights and such, but after one night there, my plans had changed. We drove and reached the city, and M helped us to find a room. The kids were glad to be in a room and went to bed at about 10:30 pm because I could not get them to settle down because the people in the room next to us were watching TV really loudly. I woke up the next morning at 5 am to the TV in the next room blaring loud, and this guy going off on his wife, swearing, and complaining about how loud we were the night before. I was actually scared. Our room had a lock, but no deadbolt. I was also scared they were going to do something like key my new van. The wife sounded like she was normal, but the husband was just obnoxious. I complained at check out, but the hotel manager told me that there was nothing they could do because it was a customer problem, not a room problem. Needless to say, I would NEVER stay at that hotel again.

After we checked out, we drove to Stanley Park. I had read up online after I was so rudely awoken, and decided it would be a fun thing for us to do for part of the day. We drove through the park making frequent stops to look at things and ended up at the Vancouver Aquarium (which I had planned to go do). The kids loved the aquarium. J really liked the jellyfish, and E loved watching the dolphin show and being able to walk around and not be in a stroller. I thought it would be good for her to walk and get energy out.

J loved the belugas. We went to the underwater viewing area and he was just so solemn and serious and just stared at them. He thought they were the neatest thing ever. E liked them too. It was hard to get her to leave that area. You can see the mark on J's face that he got the night before this one. He got a mosquito bite on his face that reacted and made a scabby scar. I was so worried about him for just a mosquito bite, I am such a nerd.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

To Calgary, Alberta, Canada

We arrived in Calgary after a long day of travel. I had intended to stay at a city about two hours away from Calgary for the night, but because of not prebooking a hotel room, when we got there, we found out that there was some event going on in town and there were like no rooms available. I made the decision at like 8 pm that we should just keep driving on down the road to Calgary. Karen2 (momof2stampers) had said I could stay at her house, but since I was arriving so late I opted to stay at a hotel. The next morning, I woke up and went shopping at the big mall that we were staying by. I got to eat at Edo Japan. Yum! Love that place and they don't have it in the states. Then I called Karen and got directions to her house and went to visit her. We ended up staying the night and playing the next morning. Jen (cobrielle) came over to play and stamp too. We left in the afternoon and got on the road headed toward Vancouver. It was a lot of fun to meet old new friends from SCS (you know, the kind you talk to everyday but never have met - thanks Tracy). Karen's kids and Jenn's kids were totally adorable and fun and I think my kids had a lot of fun playing with them. I know they appreciated being out of the car for at least 24 hours too. E was so dirty when we got to our hotel in Vancouver that night from all her play in Karen's big backyard. She and J fell asleep right away. It was really cute.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Driving across Canada . . .

I decided to group the pictures from my drive across Canada into one post. It was a gorgeous drive. I never realized how large Ontario was until I drove across it. And what a gorgeous province too. WOW! I stopped so many times and just snapped random pictures of scenery, which if you know me, is a huge deal because in general I think the most fun vacation pictures are the ones with people in them, not just what you saw. In this case, I think I had to make an exception. I felt like I was some amazing photographer when I looked at the results of the pictures I snapped really fast with my digital camera, but it was truly just the amazingly gorgeous places we were passing. I wish I could have stopped and taken more pictures. It was all truly breathtaking.

While we were driving down the road we came across this giant "loonie" and I immediately had to pull off the road and stop. I had wanted to go see the giant nickel in Sudbury, but apparently they moved that into a museum and it costs like $30 to get in, so I decided against that one, but this was just as cool to see. The kids were excited to get out of the car and take a break and loved the pretty purple flowers.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

To Bowmanville,ON

Aw the joys of coming home. LOL! I went to visit a friend in the town I grew up in. It seems that not much has changed there. We got there a bit early so I took E and J over to memorial park and we played on the slides and playground stuff there. Then we still had lots of time, so we went to Pickering and went to the mall there and walked around. It used to be my favorite mall growing up, but being there was not as exciting as it used to be. I like my malls here lots better now. *smiles* Then I went back to Bowmanville to go see Angela Luke. I had not seen her for a couple of years. She is now living with her boyfriend in a house. She looked great! It was good to sit and visit with her for a little bit, while my terrors (aka E and J) tore apart her house. After that I debated going to visit some relatives in the area and another old friend Corrin, and the Babcock family, but I decided that the kids had killed my nerves enough and I needed to get on the road again and get them sleeping. We drove to Sudbury and spent the night there.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

E, J and I drove to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada - the capitol. I had never been there and since it was only a couple of hours I thought it might be fun to go do. I wanted to play tourist while we were in Canada, and my mom and my sister were working, or busy with other obligations. We got to see the Parliament Buildings -- but it was raining so I did not get a real close up look. I would love to go back there again. The area is really rich with history and just neat. We did go to the mall and do a little shopping there and went to Ikea because I cannot pass one without going in, at least for a minute. It was raining really hard on the way home, but we made it home safe.

To Kingston, Ontario, CA

From the 6th to the 13th we spent our time in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. We hung out mostly with my mom and V, but also took some time to play with C, B and A.

We had a chance to go see Barney Live at the Cataraqui Town Center for FREE! That was awesome. It sucked that we had to wait so long in order to get a seat. J was really tired and very grumpy, but I fed him M&M's and somehow we got through until the show. After all of our waiting for our spot and waiting for the show to begin, the people in front of us, who came in after us, were really rude and stood up, but the happiness on J's M&M stained face was enough to tell me it was all worth the time and the effort. My mom, E, J and I went to that and had fun.

We also had the chance to go to the I've Got Rhythm School of Dance Recital. B and A danced and we got to see some of the dances that V had choreographed. She did great! It was fun seeing V in an adult role and being a teacher and being responsible.
E and J enjoyed the show and enjoyed playing with their cousins. After the recital we all went to Chuck E Cheese. The kids love it there. It was a lot of fun for them. One of my favorite moments was when E, J and V were all riding the little kid bus ride. Impressive that they all fit in there. You can only see J and V in the picture, but E was right behind J on a little bench playing and pushing buttons.

We also got a chance to take the ferry across to Wolfe Island. That was really something new for the kids. We just went to the bakery on the island and got huge cookies, but it was super fun for them going across and back. We saw a boat, and they just loved being on a boat.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

To Hershey, PA

Hershey's Chocolate . . . Hershey's chocolate, its a Hershey's chocolate world . . . . Wherever you go, no matter how far, you're always near, a Hershey bar . . . Hershey's chocolate, real milk chocolate, Hershey's, the great American chocolate bar.

Oh, sorry. That is the song you hear on the factory tour ride at the end. Today we stopped in Hershey, PA. We went to church with Grandma (which was a nightmare because me handling two kids during church when all they want to do is escape is not a good game plan -- ever), and started to drive toward Canada, stopping only in Hershey because it is FUN! I love it there. Whenever my mom, sister and I would drive to Virginia to visit my grandma, we would stop there. It's like a tradition. We went on the tour ride (which at first scared the dickens out of E), bought some chocolate to take home to Canada for my sweet sister to gobble, did their new factory worker simulation and then kept on driving down the road. E and J had a lot of fun. They both loved pretending to be a factory worker. It was funny. They got cute hats. The were excited about those.

J really thought the chocolate was yummy as you can see by his face when I put him back into his car seat. It was not that he was overjoyed to be back in there as we have already been on the road for days at this point. We arrived in Kingston, Ontario, Canada really late, like 11:30 pm EST, and basically came in and went to sleep. We were all really tired.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

To Springfield, VA

Today we made it to my grandma's house -- and perfect timing too. They were coming home from a trip to South Dakota, and got home less than an hour before we arrived. We went to dinner at Old Country Buffet. The kids liked it there and really enjoyed the endless chocolate milk. We stayed overnight and visited with Grandma and Grandpa (E and J's great grandma and grandpa.) It was hard to be at their house because there were lots of trinkets and I was scared the kids would break something.

I had planned to visit some other friends in Manassas area, but Stephanie went out of town suddenly because of a death, and my upline Marsha, had been on the go and I did not hear from her in time. The picture was really hard to get because I basically had to throw both kids on her lap and step back really fast and snap. The kids were really really squirmy! I am so glad that I did though. I think it is great that I have a picture of them with their Great Grandma.

Friday, June 02, 2006

To St.Clairsville, OH

Today was such a fun day! After leaving scary ghetto gross Indianapolis, IN, we drove 3 hours to Columbus, OH. Some girls on the splitcoast board recommended going to C.O.S.I. so we went there. My kids had the time of their lives. It was well worth the $20 we paid in admission for the whole afternoon of entertainment. The kid area there not only is fairly secure, but also SO amazingly fun and stimulating! My kids could have moved in and stayed there forever.