Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Spring Break Part 2

Wednesday April 3rd

On day 3 of our trip we took a drive North and went to Astoria.  We all headed to the Astoria Column and made the hike to the top for the always amazing view.

 Here is a picture Curtis took which is great because you can see the grass field that you can throw little airplanes off the tower onto, as well as the amazing bridge that makes Astoria famous - and Grandma very nervous to drive across.
 And here is proof that even Grandma - not a fan of heights - made it up there just fine too!
 And since most of the pictures from that day are Curtis's, here's one that actually shows he was there too!

After our visit to Astoria we decided it was time to head back South.  We stopped in Seaside, OR and split into two groups.  The women split from the men and us girls of course headed to look at shops around the Seaside boardwalk.  The men, on the other hand, headed for the beach.  Ellie had a blast playing on the beach wither 3 of her favorite guys in the world: Curtis, Papa, and who else but - Daddy.
 Ellie and Daddy enjoyed writing her name over and over and then sounding out the letters in Daddy.
 One of the "games" Ellie likes to play is to have you draw as many shapes as you can possibly think of while she names them.  As a result, she knows 12-15 shapes I believe, including trapezoid, and can distinguish correctly between pentagons and hexagons.  But we're not proud or anything...
 Our girl loves her some sticks...
 And oh how she loved the sand.... Especially dumping it on her head while Uncle Curtis laughed and laughed.
We also took Ellie to a store where she got to choose her souvenir for the trip.  She chose a blue plastic starfish with white polka-dots that now hangs in her room.  She is soooo into starfish since this trip and calls them "Peach" from Finding Nemo.  Mckayla got a bright fun seahorse from the same company as Ellie's starfish, and Daddy chose a shell for each of them as well.

After Seaside we headed back to the rental house for some more delicious home-cooked crock pot food.  Seriously, one of the best parts about having a rental house was the family dinners.  I can't say enough how much fun we always have whenever we have large dinner gatherings with family, and vacation was no exception.

Thursday April 4th

On day 4 of our trip we knew the forecast was for rain, so we planned to do what we thought would be inside activities - namely going to the Newport Aquarium.  If we had done more research we would have learned that the aquarium is a series of buildings and outdoor viewing areas which you have to walk around to get to.  However, we still had a really fun time at the aquarium - no one more so than our Ellie Bell.

If we'd let her, Ellie would have probably enjoyed staying at this little discovery area in the Aquarium all day. She fished.
 She looked at "Doris" and "Nemos".
 She even dug in the sand for a rock or shell of her very own.

And all the while Mckayla enjoyed the view with Daddy.

 One of Ellie's FAVORITE parts of the whole aquarium were these jellyfish.
 She was soooo excited by them, and Mckayla really liked watching them too.  Mckayla got a stuffed jellyfish as her memento from the aquarium as a result.
 Ellie also really liked this Japanese Spider Crab.  Apparently this one is "just a baby" since they'll grow to be 15 feet wide.  Gross!
 One thing we all liked however was the shark and ray tank.  I love manta rays since Steve and I went on our "late honeymoon" to San Diego a few years back.  Ellie REALLY liked them as well.  She ended up choosing a cute stuffed ray with polka-dots as her keepsake from the aquarium.  It was really difficult to get any good pictures of the sharks or rays through the curved, thick glass in the lower light of the tunnel though.
 Ellie sat on Lori's lap and just watched and watched for quite sometime, exclaiming excitedly when a ray or shark was coming near them.
 I'm afraid all the excitement got a bit much for Mckayla, and she eventually gave up on the aquarium.

Then I decided to be ridiculous and get really wet trying to get good pictures of the sea otters while they were being fed - I mostly failed.
 And then Steve and I got even wetter checking out the puffins quickly to make sure Ellie wouldn't miss seeing them.  There wasn't much to see though, and the net over the enclosure would catch the water and then the wind would pick up and we'd just have a sheet of water fall on us.  We got really wet for a whole lot of nothing basically....  After that it was time to hit the gift shop and head out.  Mckayla decided it was time to wake up and play with Daddy.
 And here is the picture that shows just how soaked I got as photographer that day.  But I don't mind rain, in fact I quite like it, and it was a lot of fun!

Later that day the girls were exhausted from going without real napping schedules all week, so we took them back to the house to crash.  While they were sleeping, everyone was nice enough to stay and watch them so Steve and I could go explore the beach, which we hadn't had the time to do yet.  It was a lot of fun being on the beach just the two of us - literally.  These were our footprints as we walked - not another trace of people on the windswept beach.
 We finally came to a little inlet stream that we decided to explore before heading back.
 Further up the stream.  I thought this little place was gorgeous.

 The only not-so-fun part was the walk back, after the wind had picked way up.  We got totally sandblasted by the pebbly sand on the beach.  We looked AWESOME by the time we got back to the house.

Later that night we all just enjoyed more good food and company as Lori, Curtis, and Bridget had to leave early the next morning so they could go watch Tyler run in a college track meet in Boise, ID.  Here Daddy and Mckayla were hanging out.
 And Ellie convinced just about everyone to come and color at least for a second with her Easter basket rock crayons.
However, nobody was so willing a participant as Uncle Curtis.  It's no wonder Ellie is always so excited to see him!

After that, it was time for laundry, dishes, and packing.  It was sad to know our trip was coming to an end, but at least we had some fun things planned for the trip back home.

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