Sunday, January 13, 2008

The best family day EVER!

Yesterday we wrapped up my 30th birthday extravaganza with a day in Portland. It was exactly what I asked for - a day with my family doing something fun. We were literally exhausted when we got home, but in the best way you could imagine.

The day got off to a rough start. Skippy woke up with a pretty bad migraine. The puking kind. Ew. We had initially wanted to be out the door early, but that put the brakes on our plans while we waited to see what his neurons would do. And anyway, when I woke up at 7:15 and realized that my house was silent and all three of my children were still asleep, you can bet your sweet buns I did the mental happy dance and snuggled back down into the sheets for a rare bit of sleeping in on a Saturday.

So once the kids were up around 8:30 (yes, that is sleeping in when you have kids) I herded them out to the car and we took a ride to Safeway, raided the donut case, grabbed a six pack of OJ, got mommy a Starbucks, then grabbed a table and had breakfast together. The idea was to let Skippy get some sleep in a quiet house and hope for the best. To kill some extra time we walked down to PetCo for some kitty litter and picked out some new fish for the girls' aquarium then played with the puppies there for adoption and generally caused havoc all over the store.

When we got home we played the game "how quiet can we be for one hour?" This is not a fun game when you are five or four years old. But somehow we managed and eventually Skippy's head no longer felt like it was stuck in a searing hot vice and we were able to get on with our day.

So we got the hell outta dodge for the afternoon and hit the road for Ptown. It's about an hour's drive to Portland but we were busy the entire way counting waterfalls and rainbows along the gorge. Talk about beautiful. We've had a lot of rain and a lot of snowmelt so the water just runs wherever it can find space - aside from the "regular" waterfalls we always see, I think we saw at least a dozen others - probably close to twenty in all. Add in the three separate rainbows and the girls were in heaven.

Closer to the city we made our first stop at (insert musical fanfare) TARGET! *happy dance* I needed a new stroller. Well *I* didn't need a new stroller, but the Chunk did, and I've had my eye on one there for awhile. It's kind of a souped up umbrella stroller but with trays and a reclining position and a canopy and best of all, a basket on the bottom. Plus, it folds down into a third of the space that my old travel system does in the trunk. This "kingdom for a minivan" thing is no joke people. We squeeze three kids into the backseat of a pontiac grand prix on a regular basis and we need every inch of trunk space we can get for all the other crap that comes along with three kids. Otherwise we'd be strapping Banana to the roof of the car and although I bet all that fresh air would be great, I doubt the bugs in her teeth would do much for personal hygiene. So yay, I got a new stroller. It's awesome.

Our next stop was the highlight of our day (as if Target wasn't enough!): OMSI - the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Talk about a kickass place. I can't believe we haven't been there before. We had sooooooo much fun. It is one of the most hands-on educational museums I have ever seen. Upstairs they have a "Science Playground" for little kids and we played there for at least an hour with sand, computers, water, blocks, you name it - they even had a little area for the Chunk with a floor-level fish tank, ball pit, and all sorts of baby stuff. Then we explored the Earth Science hall where the girls put their hands through a tornado, played with the infrared screen (Skippy liked that too), and had a blast on the orbit tables seeing how things fly through space....come to think of it Skippy liked THAT too! But we saved the best hall for last - the turbine hall. In there they were able to make windmills, water rockets, and sailboats, and they loved taking dixie cups and cutting them into different shapes to see how they would "fly" over the huge turbines. We played in the earthquake house, experimented with little nerf balls and all the different ways to use air to shoot them all over the place, and finally had to pull Skippy away from the table where you had to see if you could build an 18 inch lego tower that would support a playground ball "water tower" in an earthquake. We did so much more but I can't even begin to cover it all. Suffice it to say that we were worn OUT when we left. But thankfully, we can go back anytime we want - after doing the math when we first arrived, we realized we only have to go to OMSI three times this year to pay for a full family membership and since my wonderful godmother sent us some extra Christmas money for just such an adventure, we decided to go for it and now we have unlimited OMSI visits for a year - we already can't wait to go back when they bring the dinosaur exhibit and it's something that all of our out-of-town-company will love.

Here's some OMSI highlights, Banana preparing to blast off, Chunk playing with blocks, and Kbear with her beautiful butterfly computer painting...

So after we finally closed the place down at 5:30 we all piled back into the car and headed out of the city and over to Gresham for dinner. Our next-door-neighbors gave us a Red Lobster gift certificate for Christmas and we decided that my birthday weekend was as good a time as any to use it. As much as I like living in the middle of nowhere, I do regularly mourn the fact that we have no good chain restaurants in this town. I like supporting the Mom and Pop places as much as the next guy, but every so often you just want to go somewhere and open up the same old regular menu that thousands of other customers in hundreds of other locations have opened before you. It's a nostalgic thing, in a "where everybody knows your name" kind of way. So we stuffed ourselves silly. Seriously. It was soooooo good. We were talking about our day at the museum and when I asked my girls if they had fun, Banana exclaimed that it was the BEST DAY OF HER LIFE. Now THAT, is high praise my friends. High praise indeed.

After we rolled ourselves out the restaurant door, we made two more quick stops - Kohl's (drool), and then back to Target (double drool) and finally at long last we hit the road for home at ten. Our backseat promptly turned into a worn out pile of snoring monkeys and Skippy and I had a nice chat the whole way home.

It really WAS the best day ever.


Marcy said...

Now that you have mastered that little trip, load up all the family again and come over here to visit. We can go into Spokane for the day and have a blast with the kids. We have bedrooms waiting for you. We have Hockey in the evening, and an indoor water/wave pool waiting for the kids. Sound good???? Just do it....
Uncle Mike and Marcy

Claudia said...

SOunds like you had a spectacular day! I am jealous of your museum, it reminds me of the one in PA I went to as a kid. I wish we had a science museum out here.