Sunday, June 10, 2007

Vacation recap (long with pictures)

O.K. The bags are unpacked, the laundry's done, the bills are paid, the pictures are downloaded, the husband's in flight on his next business trip, and the kids are in bed. Time to post about our vacation!

Overall, we really did have a great time. There were a few meltdowns that required vacating the premises, but that's to be expected with a 4 year old and 2 year old, even when you are not vacationing, right? Right. And we were even complemented on our parenting skills by another person staying at the hotel because of the way we handled Emma during her daily breakfast fit. That felt pretty good.

Like I said before we left, I tried really hard not to have a set itinerary. We had a list of activities and just kind of let the weather and the kids moods determine what we did each day. And since Emma and Jake still both take naps, we had to be back in the hotel room by 1:00 or 1:30 everyday. So mornings were for excursions and after naps were for relaxing in the room and swimming in the hotel pool. I think if we had stayed in the pool the whole time, Jake would have been very happy. He was learning to doggie paddle and keep his head above water and just having a grand ol' time. And we got a new inflatable floaty thing for Emma so she could join in the fun. We never got a picture of her in the water, but she enjoyed it even in the room.

On our first day there, the kids didn't nap so we ended up going to a children's garden. It only took us about an hour to go through, but the kids really liked it. Jake was especially found of the large model train system that was set up. He kept running around trying to find the trains after they disappeared around a turn or in a tunnel. Emma just ran around the entire place and I had a tough time keeping her from jumping in the frog pond. The girl loves water. And has no fear. Great combination!

The next day we went to a FREE kids festival that was held downtown on the riverfront. We got there about an hour before the festival started, which gave us plenty of time to play on the two huge playgrounds they had there. It was really strange playing on a playground that was situated under a huge bridge crossing the river. I kept looking up and Dave kept laughing at me. I'm not a big fan of bridges when I'm on them, let alone being under one. They also had a beach volleyball area there, but since it was too early for the nets to be up, the place was filled with kids beach toys (buckets, shovels, sieves, etc) for anyone to go play with. So we did that for a while and then walked through the festival which was HUGE and FREE. They even had some free food being passed out by a local grocery store so we ate lunch for next to nothing! Pretty awesome place.

Monday was spent at a place called Parky's Barn. It was a huge farm that had an indoor play structure inside the barn, open grounds for picnics, a playground, animals to pet (Dave even milked a goat), pony rides and wagon rides. We didn't do the pony rides or wagon rides because we ran out of time and I'm not even sure the kids knew they were there. They had so much fun in the barn and looking at all the animals. And they both got a kick out of trying the water pump and then watching the water go down the chute. It was a good reminder that it really is the simple things that keep them entertained.

On Tuesday we went to the Museum of Natural History and Science. It's in this great old train station that houses about 5 museums. The inside and outside of the building are pretty cool. This is the only picture I have of that day because I didn't have an opportunity to take any more. Emma would not. stop. moving. She was everywhere. I remember there was a cave, and a glacier thing, and some stuffed animals (not the cute cuddly kind), and there were people talking and trying to teach Jake things. But besides Emma and being bored out of my gourd, there wasn't much to be said about that day. Everyone else liked it, but that's not really my thing. Except the awesome ice cream creation I had at their ice cream parlor. Vanilla ice cream, caramel, Butterfinger pieces. Yeah. Good.

Wednesday was the day I would like to forget. We went to the zoo but it did not last long. Jake was in a hitting and kicking frenzy so we just left. And after naptime, it continued when we went to Chuck E. Cheese. I eventually had to carry him out kicking and screaming. Not a good day. I took this picture at 8am that day. I maybe should have taken it as a sign that maybe we just needed to have a down day. My bad.

On our last day there, we went to the Newport Aquarium. This was by far my favorite place. I loved it, but again did not get to see much of it because the kids didn't want to look at any of the animals or fish for more than .5 seconds before they were moving on to the rooms with no animals or fish. You know, the rooms with the TV screens and buttons that try to teach you things about the animals and fish you just ran past? The longest place we lingered was the penguin exhibit, but even though the kids had stopped moving, the penguins did not so this is the best picture I have of them.

So for our first trip as a family of four, I think we did O.K. We learned a lot. And we (mostly)had fun, which is what vacation is all about right? And now I have to go start planning for the next family vacation. It's only 2 years away! ACK!

2 reviews:

Christine said...

Yay! SO glad you're back! It was great to see you in passing this morning, though I wasn't at my sparkly best!

Love to you and your family, Thea!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful looking vacation!

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