Saturday, June 30, 2012

Portland, Day 7

 Our morning started at Sip & Play in Vancouver.  The place was very neat and I want one here (any business partner out there want to front the money for us to open one?).  Basically it is a coffee shop with soup, salad, and sandwiches; however, on the other side of the shop there was a half wall that divided the eating area from the playing area.  Inside the "wall" was four little rooms with toys (climbing area, reading/puzzles, train table and toys, and kitchen area) that the kids could run back and forth into without a chance of escaping. 
 The parents get to drink fancy coffee and gourmet food while watching the kids play on the other side of the half wall.  There is nothing they can get hurt with and as long as the bigger kids behave, parents don't need to get "inside" the play area at all.
 Andrew took all the toys out of the toy box and climbed in!
 The shopping cart full of baby dolls was a crack up. 
He put them in there one by one and pushed it all around the play area.
 They, of course, also had toddler friendly food. 
Andrew enjoyed milk, chicken nuggets, grapes, and oranges.
Aunt Nicole stopped by for awhile between helping Uncle Jesse and going to her job.
 We stayed at Sip & Play for well over two hours until Andrew was ready for a nap. 
As he slept, we drove to Washugal Fish Hatchery (my main memories of our family vacation to Washington included stopping at every fish hatchery along the way) in honor of Dad. 

 Although the sign was there, there were no fish to see. 
 It isn't salmon season, so all that was visible was fingerlings (as in the side of your finger). 
So sad...
 We were sort of out of things to do, so we drove around.
We stopped at the Pendleton Wool Mill a few hours after their tours stopped and there was no way they were going to bend the rules for us.  Oh well, Andrew sat on the big chair!
 For dinner, we headed to Beaverton to meet with Bri and Beth.  Bri, Beth, and I hung out all the time during CBU days, but we haven't seen each other since we graduated in 2004 and 2005! 
 Back then it was just the three of us, but now there are husbands and babies! 
Bri and Phong, Beth, Adam, and Steven (cute kiddo), and Dave, Andrew and I. 

Portland, Day 6

 Day 6 was our only real day in Portland.  We started at Powell's Books.  The place is huge and could have been a great way to spend a few hours if I was alone.  Instead, we went to the kids sections and Andrew quickly picked/pointed to a dog book.  We read some books and looked around, it was pretty nifty.
 Stop two was Voodoo Doughnuts!
 We only had to wait in line for about 5 minutes (which I've been told is fantastic).
 The donuts at this shop are nothing like a normal shop!  You can get a bubble gum donut, orangecile, Oreo and cream, fruit loop, maple bacon bar, etc.
 We thought we all needed two donuts, so we got the Voodoo Dozen
(they pick which of the creations we get).
 Melissa started with the Butterfinger donut. 
Andrew tasted it...
 Dave started with the safe maple bar.
 I had the Voodoo cream donut which was to die for, even Andrew agreed!  He loved the cream.
We all quickly realized that we could only eat one so we had a lot of creative left overs...
 After walking around in downtown Portland and eating a a small bagel bakery, we headed over to Washington Park.  Andrew and I met the April Bumpies at the Portland Children's Museum.
 We started in the Infant area and the tiny river was Andrew's favorite.  It was cool enough to get him completely 100% soaked (shirt, pants, socks, diaper).
 Andrew and Jack (in the green)
 we went into the water room next
Andrew was already soaking wet, so I let him go for it. 
Andrew + Water = the best thing ever!
 Next up--the construction room--all the kids played together pretty well.  Jack, Edmond (red/blue stripe), and Andrew made music with some PVC pipe and shims.
A quick clothing change and we were off to play in the grocery store, deli, veterinarian clinic, volcano, camp ground, tree house, and stairs.  Our five one year olds were busy, but it was great to meet four mommies that I've "known" via the Internet for almost two full years. 
These kiddos are all within three weeks of each other! 
Andrew, Jack, Jack, Josephine, Edmond
 Andrew and Mommy!
While we were at the Children's Museum, Melissa and Dave went to the Portland Zoo.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Portland, Day 5

Sunday we were all a bit exhausted (us from Seattle and Nicole and Jesse for a two day trip to Long Beach), so we moved slow in the morning.  We headed to the Vancouver Farmers Marker in the late afternoon and enjoyed some great fruit.  I totally forgot to take a picture,  but Andrew enjoyed juicy red strawberries (to the point that he was covered in the juice).  I tried many cherries and purchased some rainier cherries (to die for!).  We ate lunch from the food vendors there and walked around for awhile.  Jesse had to go back to work, so Nicole took us over to Fort Vancouver.
 Andrew fell asleep on the five minute drive, so we transferred him to the stroller (bottoms up!).

A little history for you from the National Park website: The Hudson's Bay Company's Fort Vancouver was a surprising place: it was a headquarters and primary supply depot for fur trading operations, but employed more people at agriculture than any other activity. It was a large corporate monopoly that kept order and stability by employing many different ethnic groups. It was a British establishment, but the primary languages were Canadian French and Chinook Jargon. It represented British territorial interests, yet made American settlement in the Pacific Northwest possible. Even those who wished it gone praised the hospitality and assistance they found there.

The subsequent U.S. Army post at the site - known as Columbia Barracks, Fort Vancouver, or Vancouver Barracks depending on the era - was equally surprising. Its goal was to provide for peaceful American settlement of the Oregon Country, yet it did so, in part, by battling and dispossessing the native American Indian inhabitants. For more than 150 years it housed and supported thousands of soldiers and their families, yet it also incarcerated American Indian families and Italian prisoners of war.

 The officer's quarters
 The gun tower
 Andrew woke up and explored (sans shoes because mommy left them in the car)

 Happy Father's Day!
(at this point Dave was finally starting to feel better and the antibiotics were actually working)
 After naps for Dave and Andrew, 'Downtown Abby' for Melissa and Jennifer, and work for Nicole and Jesse, we headed to pizza!
 This pizza was intense--talk about toppings!  Melissa and Dave's pepperoni above had so much pepperoni on it, you could see the cheese.
Aunt Nicole and Uncle Jesse
My only picture of both of our hosts together and it's blurry :(

Portland, Day 4, Part II (Seattle)

 The Seattle Aquarium was Andrew's favorite part of the entire trip!  The aquarium itself is right on the water in one of the original piers with extensions that go right into the water to use the salt water as part of the exhibits. Melissa and I decided that aquariums must be our "thing" because we've been to them in all of the places we've vacationed together.
 At the enterance, there was a giant tank that was the entire wall (maybe 30 feet tall?).  Automatically Andrew began pointing.  His little pointer finger did not go away the rest of the trip.

 Ohhh, fish!  Andrew actually said "fish" several times during the trip.
 We headed over to the touch pools.  Andrew thought it was great.
 a little too great for mommy
(this was moments after he splashed everyone within ten feet of him)
 daddy tried again with similar results

 Onto less wet experiences--the giant Octopus! 
I've never seen one so cute, or with two heads!
 The real octopus was really huge... and moving... and sucking the glass. 
I think this may be the first moving octopus I've ever seen.
And, of course, Andrew loved it.

 The jellyfish were cool and the shark was huge.

 Mommy's fish decided to eat the sign instead of looking at the camera, but the felt wall was a hit.  Literally, he hit it to take the fish off.
 After walking around inside, we took a bridge across the water to see the seal lions and sea otters.  The concentrating face below on Andrew is just showing how much he loved the seal lions (promise!).  He cried when we moved on.
 He didn't realize that the sea otters were going to be better, much better!
 "Do you see it?! 
Do you see it Aunt Melissa?
Oh my gosh, Aunt Melissa, the baby sea otter is SOOOO cool, I want to touch it!!"
 We watched the sea otters for almost 20 minutes with Andrew fully engaged in their swimming and shimp eating party (there were aquarium trainers in the enclosure talking about them and their habits while feeding the adorable things over 20 pounds of shrimp and crab).

Going back inside (and under the water), we saw the salmon swimming overhead.  They had a mini salmon hatchery set up for people to walk through.  Finger pointing alert!
 After the salmon, we went into the dome fish room.  The tank is literally a dome over the room you stand and sit in.  Andrew, again, loved that it was close enough for him to touch the glass.  There were some HUGE fish that swam in this area and enough light coming in from the outside that you could actually see them pretty clearly.
 Andrew rode the orca and didn't want to leave!
 He had so much fun that he pretty much fell asleep the moment we put him into the stroller as we left.  It worked perfectly as we boarded our Harbor Cruise of the Seattle coastline.
 This was seriously the best way to tour the city.  On our one hour cruise we were given a tour of the entire coast line while the "tour guide" provided information about the buildings, history, and cool facts about certain things.  Andrew slept the first 45 minutes of the tour so we were also able to look and listen while relaxing.

 When he woke up, he enjoyed seeing the water outside!

 Dinner at Red Robin!
 Dave really wanted to see the gum wall (seriously, all that color is people's gum--gross!).
After a long day in Seattle, we walked back to our hotel and headed back to Vancouver.  Andrew was not happy about the drive despite all my attempts to entertain him.  He cried on and off for the first 2.5 hours of the drive.  He finally fell asleep within 30 minutes of "home."