Saturday, September 26, 2009

A post of epic proportions.

Our third stop was in Washington state. We stayed with our very dear friends for just over a week. We just love this family. We really *need* to live closer to each other. I do not know how we will make it happen but I'm working on it. Each of our children are the same ages, have similar personalities and are all very close friends. We really need to live next door to each other. My friend is an inspiration. She is an awesome home school teacher, the sweetest and most loving mom, and such a caring and wonderful friend. I miss them already...

Such Sweetness.

We had such a good time at their house. My friend often does things for her children they do not expect. Special treats or surprises. This time, she bought whip cream and pie plates and let the children have a "Pie Fight" in her back yard. We did a lot of fun things while there but I think this was the kids favorite. They had such a blast. She makes me want to be a more fun and relaxed mom. I just love her. LinkWe went to the Pacific Science Center and had a blast. There were many floors to explore and a lot of hands on activities for the kids.

There was a beautiful butterfly garden.

This honey bee hive was located inside but the bees had an outside access. It was so neat! You could hear them buzzing and vibrating while they worked.

We were able to visit a few touch tanks that had sea stars, starfish, anemones and crabs.

Lexy's "souvenir" from the Science Center was a sucker that had a scorpion inside.
She actually ate the scorpion. She is a lot more adventurous than I. Or just crazy. Yeah, I'll go with crazy.

We visited the zoo and had a great time. The kiddos favorite part was going in the Budgie Buddies exhibit. They were able to feed the birds and had many land on them.

We also went to the beach near my friend's mothers house. The kids loved exploring and playing. Cody had fun playing with the bucket and shovel until he broke both. Add those to the list of things I have to replace because of his...Ummmmm... curiosity.

We had such a great time. We will really miss our dear friends and can not wait until we can see them again.

Friday, September 25, 2009

4 Stone-Faced Men and Claustrophobia.

Our next stop was South Dakota, where I traumatized a waitress and made her cry. But we won't talk about that. Except to say that there is no good way to say that that the salad is rotten, the lemonade was unpalatable, an eight dollar steak and cheese sandwich should be served warm and on bread bigger than a small hot dog bun (and without gnats flying around it), and a five dollar kids meal should include more than 1/2 a grilled cheese sandwich and a tablespoon of applesauce served in a dressing cup. I told the young lady that she was very sweet and did not do anything wrong but the food was unacceptable. I guess there is no good way to say that to a young teenage girl without her taking it personally and hiding in the back to cry.


We went to the Washington Memorial on our way to Alaska 5 years ago but the kids did not really remember so we went again. The last time we went, parking was easy, there were no crowds and I escaped with my sanity. None of those things happened this time. They put in a multi-level parking garage and charge $10.00 per car BUT does not accept debit or credit cards.......That would have been nice to know. Also, the lanes were confusing and I ended up in the tour bus lane on the top level at a pedestrian crossing with one million people crossing and not letting me through. I think this was the first time I was grumpy before I even got out of the car.

After we got away from the crowd we enjoyed exploring and talking about the monument, the presidents, and the process used to make the sculptures.

Mom, please take the picture already, the sun is burning a hole our eyeballs.

We also visited the Beautiful Rushmore Cave brought about several episodes of claustrophobia. The last time I was in a cave it was the Carlsbad Caverns which are pretty large and airy. The Beautiful Rushmore Cave was not large and airy but it was really neat, you know, when I was not imagining getting stuck.

This hole replicates the opening of one of the entrances. No, we did not take this tour. If we did, I am certain that I would not be alive. I would have died of a panic attack.

This is one of the entrances that we did go through. You had to turn sideways and duck your head. Yikes!
Once inside we had a wonderful time. There were so many neat formations and minerals that had the most beautiful colors.

Kind of looks like fried eggs.

Another hole to squeeze through.

Stalactites are formations that hang down from the ceiling.
Stalagmites are formations that build up from the ground. When both are connected, they form a column.

This was the original opening. When they first discovered the cave, they had to put a tree down the hole and climb down the tree. Later, they used a ladder then eventually blew a hole in the side of the mountain to gain easier access.

Our guide's name was Fred. He is the coolest tour guide I have ever had. He told jokes and was very entertaining. He made my kids laugh. Anyone that makes them laugh is pretty cool in my book.
Look at those big brown eyes. He just makes me melt.
We had such a good time.