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Tag Archives: vacation

Going All Over the Place

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The three of us recently got home from a great vacation in the Midwest and New York. We were in Iowa to see family and to attend a beautiful wedding in Wisconsin. I was excited to show them around as it was Mason’s first trip to Decorah and Elaine’s first time in the Summer. We were able to go to most of the hot spots- Dunning Springs, Mabe’s, the Fish Hatchery, Phelp’s Park, and Doug Road. Elaine also got very excited to see lightning bugs for the first time.

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The Midwest leg of the trip ended with a perfect weekend in Dodgeville, WI for Timm and Jane’s wedding. It was great to see family, play in the hotel pool, and attend the most personalized wedding I’ve ever seen- bride and groom brewed beer, decorations, homemade glasses made from wine bottles.. the list could go on.

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Coming from a small town in Wisconsin, arriving in New York was an immediate culture shock.  We got into the airport terminal and people were to the left, right, up, and down… they were everywhere. We adjusted quickly and thus began our adventure of seeing great friends, big buildings, learning letters of the alphabet in subway cars, good food, sticky humidity, and great memories!

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All in all our trip included six states, three time zones, and tons of great memories! We are all very happy to be home, but the vacation was perfect in so many ways

We took so many photos on this trip and I’ll try to look through more and get some more on the blog before too long. Enjoy!

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Grand (trip to the) Canyon

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Last weekend we had a fabulous trip to the Grand Canyon . The trip was a surprise  get-away to celebrate Father’s Day for Elaine’s dad. The canyon was a perfect place to celebrate and a lot of fun to vacation with the Arkin’s, Martinez’s, and Gutierrez’s.

We left after work on Thursday evening and drove to Laughlin, NV. Elaine and I had pre-booked a $25 hotel room at the Golden Nugget Casino. We got in really late but had a fun time splashing in the pool the following morning. Believe it or not it was over 90 degrees at 10am when we were in the pool…It gets really hot in the middle of no-where.

From Laughlin we drove a couple hours and met the entire family in the cool (definitely not temperature) town of Williams, AZ, which falls on the old Route 66 Highway. We didn’t spend a lot of time in the town, but spent a couple hours looking in shops and eating a giant piece of pie.

The following day we embarked on our journey to the Canyon on a two hour train ride. The train ride was a great part of the trip and a fun way to travel to the canyon. When we arrived we took a bus tour of the South Rim of the canyon and stared off into the depths of the almost surreal landscape. It truly is a beautiful and breathtaking place. We took a million pictures and these are some that are on my phone…IMG_5873 IMG_5778 IMG_5845 IMG_5773

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We left for Santa Barbara the following day. We knew it was going to be a long trip back and decided to have a two hour layover in Kingsman, AZ. For most people it is a drive through town, but we spent a majority of our time in a Route 66 Museum. It was pretty cool but most importantly it met our break criteria 1) air conditioning 2) space for Mason to run around.

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The next stop in our driving tour of towns that I never want to live in was Barstow, CA. We stopped there to get gas, pizza, and to watch a beautiful sunset. The sky was pinkish-red for a long period and it made the 104 degree Mojave desert glow.

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As you can see from the photos the trip was a huge success! Fun vacation, great company, and beautiful scenary!

Hawaii!

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Today is day one of our Hawaii vacation, which means a 6 hour flight from LAX to Hawaii. It used to be 6 hours to read, watch an average movie, listen to music, and day dream. Now it is six hours of a squiggly baby. I’ll compare it to giving Ruby a 6 hour bath. Lots of motion, squealing, some defeat but lots of squirming. Thankfully Mason is a good and patient traveler.

Funny thing about this flight is that American Airlines messed up on Mason’s name. He is now Manson as his boarding pass reads. Minor oops on their part but it is interesting how one extra letter in his name gives him a brand new personality.

For the first 90 mins of the flight Manson, I mean Mason, was bouncing up and down, making flirting laughs at strangers until they looked at him, and shuffling and stacking all of the magazines and safety cards on his tray table. Thankful we have the whole row to ourselves so Mason can play and more importantly nap.

Towards the end of the flight we hit some turbulence. A lot of the passengers gasped at the sudden drops and shakes, but Mason started laughing and smiling. After a few more shakes he let out more giggles and giant smiles. Our little daredevil likes twists and turns.

Here is to day one of our vacation! You will more than likely get updates and photos along the way but so far so great- we have a napping baby, an uninteresting movie, and the our toes are almost in the sand.
Aloha!

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It Does Rain in Seattle

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Seattle. It rains in Seattle. To be honest it didn’t captivate me the way that Portland or Bend drew me in but Seattle did grow on me… it just took a couple of days.
One reason it started off on a sour note was that our hotel, the Maqueen, was a little odd and uncomfortable. It is hard to capture, but after booking the hotel a couple months ago I learned that it was allegedly haunted. Learning this turned my stomach a little but when i talked it over with Elaine we didn’t think it would bother us significantly. Well we were wrong…

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It is hard to describe, but our odd feelings about the hotel left an impression that neither of us wanted to be alone in the room or walk down the long empty hallways at night. Creepy is the best word to describe the feeling. I could write a lot more about the hotel and our gut feelings about the hotel, but the short end of the story is that we checked out two nights early and left as soon as we woke up the next morning. All was better the next day as soon as we got a new hotel in the University District.

Once we could breathe a little easier went into Seattle burrows and found some good vegan food, great views of the city, and explored the famous Pike Market.

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We also took a ferry to a nearby island and visited the small town of Vashon.

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Now it didn’t rain every minute of every day but we always prepared with our thrift store umbrellas and jackets. Much like in Portland, the rain didn’t inhibit any of our plans but our shoes did get wet and spirits sometimes dampened. On one long walk through the rain we walked all around the Fremont District, an artsy community with good food. We were able to find the center of the universe, a huge troll under the bridge, a quick geocache, and found some beautiful leaves. This was a fun part of town to get lost in and see some cool neighborhoods, houses, and shops.

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To celebrate our last night in Seattle and of our vacation we went to a highly rated, yet affordable, restaurant for an early dinner. We had gotten recommendations to go to the Tilth Restaurant from friends and our hope was to enjoy our Market Tasting course and get in and out of without making much disturbance. All was going well in the three course meal until Mason started grunting his little face trying to get some stuff moving. To be a little more blunt, he was pooping in the middle of a national Top 50 rated restaurant… a top 50 establishment that of course had no changing table in the bathroom because who would bring a baby to it?

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As the main course was served we realized that this was not your normal poop. It was a doozie and one for the record book. (Sorry if that is too much information) I later changed his diaper in the front seat of our rental car with my nose plugged and of course a light rain on my back. Fun

We flew home the next day and it was one of the easiest flights ever. Mason fell asleep on his own just as we were taxing to the runway, awoke mid flight, and made a lot of friends on the airplane.

Overall the trip was amazing. We saw so much, learned a lot about the area and ourselves, saw good friends, and ate some great food. It was also so much fun to spend so much time together and watch Mason grow before our eyes. During the trip alone he became a much more experiences walker, got a lot better with his dada and mamamama, is now a restaurant seasoned child, and now points with his finger at items instead of his whole hand. Crazy how quick it happens… Here are a few more shots from the trip to close out our vacation. Enjoy!

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The Rose City

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Portland was very good to us. People were unbelievable friendly and we had some great food. Vegan this, vegetarian that.. Elaine probably took a thousand photos of her food and wished she had a bigger stomach. One of our food adventures was to Voodoo Donuts. We were blessed with almost no line and a craving for some funky donuts.

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The weather was cooperative- our first day was blue skies and the next couple were rainy, gray, or misty. I got a chance to talk with a hotel maintenance man for a few minutes as Mason and I started bundling up for a walk in the rain and he had some great, but casual words of advice

Rain or shine, you’ve got to enjoy your day.

My shoes got soaked on our walk, but looking back that walk was one of my favorite parts of this trip so far.

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It would take a long time to recap everything that we did but highlights were walking the city, getting an endless supply of good food, walking through Washington Park, driving the Eastside during Mason’s naps, and hanging out with Elaine’s cousin Rich, his wife Courtney, and daughter Sophia.

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Here are a few more photo collages of food trucks, park walks, and of course Powell’s City of Books…

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Portland, the City of Roses, Stumptown… call it what you will but we had a great time and thank you for a great few days.

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Leg Warmers, Hotel Living, & Molars

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Hi! I thought I’d say hello and give you another update while Elaine is out for the evening in Portland and I’m in the hotel monitoring the baby.
I hinted to it the other night, but we’ve developed a nice routine of spending the first night of each town together and then each taking a night out to explore the town individually. It’s worked well so we can see more of the city and not be stuck in the hotel all night. I don’t know how other families vacation, but it is hard to sleep all in one bedroom when Mason goes to bed so early and you have to be mindful of every light thats turned on and noise.
Right now we basically put our pac’n play in the corner of the room and build a huge fort of pillows, suite cases and blankets so he can’t see us and try to keep some light out. Guess it works but I always wonder what the hotel maid thinks while our room is getting cleaned

Sometimes we have to do desperate things to have a semi-normal evening in the hotel. Elaine told me that on her night in the hotel in Corvallis she curled up in the bathtub with a book and a pillow just so she could read and not strain her eyes in the dim light. I am not that much better- right now it is 8pm, Mason just fell asleep, I have a nature sound noise on through my phone, and I’m typing away on a tiny screen for this post.

If I won the lottery we would stay in giant hotel room suites or connected rooms on every vacation. And I’d get an iPad for these blog posts!

In other news I thought I’d share that we bought Mason some leg warmers in Corvallis and they’ve done a great job of keeping him warm and helping him adjust to a colder climate.

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Until this trip I didn’t notice how much of a Southern California baby he was until I realized that A) he didn’t have shoes and is usually bare foot every where we go & B) he has a lot of cloth pants and its never bothered me when his pants turned into capris.

We quickly learned how valuable leg warmth is and that layers are his key to cold weather survival. I now also see the value of shoes too. If you look back at our photos, you’ll probably never see one of Mason while he is wearing shoes, yet alone socks. That has changed on this trip and now he is in full body gear. He will probably go back to his hippy So Cal ways once we get back to Santa Barbara but he at least fits in with his baby peers in Oregon.

Teeth. Molars are hard. About a week or so before our trip Mason’s molars started coming in and everyone’s sleep has decreased. They must hurt really something bad because he has been upset (to say the least) in the night and more fussy during parts of the day. It’s crazy how strong he is when he is upset and flails his weight around. It isn’t every night, but almost every other one is a l o n g night. His teeth are moving and coming in but I don’t think any of us will complain when this stage is over.

We’ve had a great time in the Rose City and we’ll have some photos up in a couple days. But here is one of a banana slug we found on our walk yesterday near the Japanese Gardens… yes this is a random photo for this post but banana slugs seem pretty cool.

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Beaver Nation

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Corvallis welcomed us to town with a beautiful rainbow and treated us well the past three days. We had a small hotel room near downtown and the river and did a lot of walking. In all, I think we walked most of the city and the downtown area daily. The weather cooperated for the most part but it did rain everyday and we bought umbrellas at a local thrift shop.

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Corvallis also taught us that Mason is still allergic to eggs. Bummer. We were having breakfast on Wednesday and low and behold Elaine’s veggie fritter had a surprise egg ingredient. Luckily Mason started refusing his food and we noticed that he was breaking out around his eyes and cheek. We were able to get him some medication and he napped longer but otherwise got better quickly.

On a positive note we had a great meal at Gathering Together Farms (thanks for the recommendation Carly!) Located a little outside of Corvallis, it is a small restaurant located on a farm that grows most of the ingredients for their dishes. Mason had fun flirting with our waitress and scored a free squash and lots of smiles. With these photos you can see parts of the restaurant and Mason having his first sips of peppermint tea.

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We had fun in Corvallis, walking downtown, the river park, farmers market, the campus of Oregon State, and even found time to find two geocashes. We each had a solo night out- Elaine went to a coffee shop and later went salsa dancing and I went to a movie. Elaine had a blast and I was wishing The Master had more pizazz

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We left town this morning and made our way to Portland. Yeah Portland! We are taking lots of photos here too and I’ll get them posted in a couple days. Before that though, here are two more photos from Corvallis… Enjoy!

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