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Friday, June 20, 2014

Vacation Roadtrip 2014 Days 6

On the 6th day of our vacation we headed into Downtown Houston to check out the Aquarium. Growing up going to the Vancouver Aquarium and having many friends and family members that frequented the Seattle Aquarium my expectations were high. Several people warned us that it wasn't that great, but since it was part of our City Pass we went and checked it out.
Biggest tank at the Aquarium
Everyone was right it was a bit disappointing. We were able to walk slowly through the main aquarium in less than an hour. Most of the fish were your average aquarium fish. The highlights of the main part for my kids were the boa constrictor and the white bangled tiger. 

Elli and the Boa
Our City Pass didn't include entrance to the carnival rides outside the aquarium or the train that drove through a tunnel on the shark exhibit. So that was  another disappointment for the kids.

The Tiger
We did however get into the sting ray exhibit and I had just enough cash to buy the food to feed the rays. To feed them you have to hold a little minnow fish between your knuckles, put your had under the water and wait for them to come up and suck the fish out of your hand. It was equally cool and disgusting at the same time.

The Sting Ray Cove definitely redeemed the day!

After we finished at the Aquarium we drove over to the Museum District and checked out the Children's Museum. It was pretty good, for a children's museum.  Lots of stuff for kids to climb and play on. Lots of scientific stuff for the kids to learn from. It was Elli's favorite part of the trip, but the boys were less impressed with it.

Building Rockets
Our favorite part of this museum was the hands on area in the basement. They had little stations set up where you could make paper airplanes, rockets and parachutes. Then you could test out your creation in their launch cage or wind tunnels. My mechanically minded kids (and husband) could have spent all day there. They also had a Lego vehicle building station and a couple test tracks to race the vehicles on.

All in all, it was a fun day. Next post... NASA!!!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Vacation Roadtrip 2014 Days 4 &5

Day 4 of our vacation was rather uneventful and I didn't take a single picture. We had Egg & I for breakfast and went to Walmart and bought Zaccheaus new swim shorts, since he packed his old ones from last summer. Then we went to visit Josh's mom at her apartment and made plans for taking her out with us the next day. 

Waiting for Breakfast

We had breakfast at Kelley's Country Cooking, a local chain restaurant. The portions were gigantic and no one could eat all their food. We left with 3 boxes of left overs. After breakfast we headed over to the Museum District of Houston and checked out the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences. 

Mock up a refinery made out of neon lights

There was a whole area dedicated to the local mega industry of oil refining. The kids really enjoyed this because it helped them further understand what happens at Josh's work. 

Learning about the oil industry
 Next we checked out the fossils on display at the museum. This was by far the biggest display of dinosaur bones and fossils I had ever seen. They had several different dinosaurs, mammoths, giant turtles and other creatures. There was even a skeleton of a giant sloth, that I am not entirely sure was real.

They're having fun, really they are
The kids liked seeing the real skeletons of creatures from all the different movies they've seen. I kept hearing that one's from Ice Age, that's the T-Rex from Land Before time. Joshua carefully documented the whole area with pictures on his DS.

Tree samplings of petrified wood
The gallery of petrified wood slices was so cool. The slices of trees would make the most beautiful artwork to hang up at home. Too bad it would cost a fortune to get some. Several of the samples were from Washington State!

Seeing how much each metal weighs
In the basement of the museum was a science lab with a big interactive periodic table (I wish LeapFrog or some other company would make something like that) and lots of interactive exhibits for kids to learn about matter, the solar system, the weather and elements.

In the weather lab
 After the basement we went up to the second floor, where they had exhibits on sea shells/ sea life and a huge exhibit on rocks and gems. The older two have always been interested in Geology so this exhibit was really neat for them. Unfortunately this exhibit was so dark I didn't get a single good picture.

Elli wanted her picture taken by the Zebra, but she refused to pose. LOL
Across the hall from the rock and gem exhibit was the African Animal exhibit. We didn't spend a whole lot of time here as it was just stuffed African animals. The kids have all been to zoos with live versions that were more entertaining than the stuffed version. ;-)
Checking out the Egyptian artifacts
On the third floor there was an Egyptian exhibit full of many different artifacts from different time periods. There was several mummy's on display and when we came up on one Elli would say "Great another dead guy". She was a little creeped out by them.

 Also on the third floor was a exhibit of the Americas that included displays on the Inca, Mayan, Native American and Inuit cultures. After seeing all the mummy's Elli thought the Eskimo mannequin was another "dead guy" and got really freaked out for a second because that one was standing up.

If you ever come to Houston the HMNS is a must see. We learned later in the week that Thursdays from 2-5 was free, but we didn't mind since our tickets were part of our City Pass that Josh bought through his work. You can walk through it fast in about 3 hours or slow down and spend all day there. Either way it is fun. I had my pedometer on and we walked 5 miles that day!

More post coming soon!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Vacation Roadtrip 2014 Days 1,2 & 3

 I finally feel recovered enough from our drive that I can share about it. Man that was a long drive!

The route we took
 We left at 4am on Friday and began our trek to Josh's dad's house near Houston. As soon as we were into Eastern Washington Elli began asking if we were in Texas yet. She was not happy when we explained she had a day and a half to go.

Eastern Washington
We seemed to be traveling ahead of some storm system. Just as we were leaving each region we would get a weather warning on our phones for that area. We experienced nearly every type of weather possible. Rain, hail, lightning, thunder, sunshine, SNOW, fog and high winds were some we drove through.

I love wind turbines! These are in Eastern Oregon. Pay no attention to the crack in my windshield.  
Josh and I took turns driving and basically changed seats at each fill up. Although I think he did more night driving than I did. I don't do well at night. 

 When we crossed through the mountains (around 10pm PST) of Wyoming I was trying to sleep and for some reason I woke up really nauseous, so we ditched the plans of trying to make it to Denver and got a room for the night in Rawlins, WY. I am so thankful we did that. We got one room and all squeezed in. Everyone slept well, we got a large free breakfast and we were back on the road by 11am PST.

Elli playing the game she got in her Chick-Fil-A meal
 Anyone who really knows me knows I do not eat fast food, but on a road trip it's hard to stop and eat at a good restaurant. There are 2 fast food places I will make an exception for. At home it's Taco Time and I only get the salad. On this trip, it's been Chick-Fil-A! On day 1 we stopped for lunch there just outside Boise. Day 2 found us eating a late lunch there in Denver. Josh really loves their food and I find it doesn't make me sick like some other fast food places, so we'll be eating there a lot on this trip.
Josh crashed as soon as we got to his dad's
We pushed through on the second day/ night and got into Houston around 9am EST on the third day. Needless to say we were pretty tired and took our turns taking naps throughout the day.

The Tasty Kake Fairy Visited Josh while he slept!
While Josh was napping, Elli and I ran to the store and found some of Josh's favorite treats that we can't get in Washington. He used to get these all the time when he lived in Pennsylvania as a kid and I used to buy them for him online, but when I tried last time they didn't sell them online anymore. He was so excited to hear they had them in Texas. I think we may be taking a few boxes home with us when we leave. 

Kids in the pool
Josh's dad's house has a pool out back, so once we were rested a bit we let the kids play until it was time for dinner. The kids are loving it here! I'm having fun, but can't wait to get back to my home. I feel so out of place down here. I'm pretty sure the locals can sense that I am not from here. LOL

I'll share the rest of our adventures soon...Stay tuned....

Monday, April 21, 2014

He's a Sailor now

The Price men are notoriously dreamers and adventurers. They enjoy learning,  trying new things and living life to the fullest. Josh's latest dream has been sailing. He went sailing once on a trip with his dad in the Virgin Islands and recalls it fondly. Being that I am not a swimmer we have never done much with regards to water, as I don't want to drown and die. 

But after talking with "the guys at work" who are sailors there was no holding this dream back. Josh wants to sail! 

Elli on the small boat we looked at back in March

So for the past 2 months we've been looking at sailboats for sale. Trying to figure out what would suit us. His work friends all suggested starting small (and several tried selling him their boats, so they could buy bigger ones), but we quickly learned that when you're 6'5", have 4 kids and a wife who can't swim a small sailboat doesn't really suit you. We started looking at bigger boats and we think we found the one that will fit us well. 

Josh's work friend Jim took us sailing! 
Eagles at Blaine Harbor
We are hoping to find one soon. Josh would love to take his dad and brothers out for their annual camping trip to the San Juan Islands. We also would use it for crabbing and fishing for the family.
It's a good thing I don't believe in luck because I'd have to change the name of this boat! 

Last weekend we took a little day trip around the Puget Sound to look at some sailboats for sale. Josh had already researched boat makers and decided that a Catalina would be the boat for him. He sailed his friend's 30' and liked it, but he was too tall to stand down below. So we looked at some 36' and some 42'.
Riding the Seattle-Bremerton Ferry last weekend
FYI... there are some pretty nasty looking marinas in Bremerton!
It was a little too windy for Elli's hair this day
While the 42' was the nicest boat we looked at (it had 2 bathrooms!), we liked the 36' the best. Josh could stand up inside, it had room for everyone & then some and (the deciding factor) a berth at the back with a bunk big enough for Josh and I. Now we wait and watch the market for our future boat! 

Happy Sailing Friends!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The First Day of Spring

In past years we have alway done something fun for the first day of spring, but for some reason we stopped. I have no idea why, we just did. So this year I set out to bring back our celebrations!
First I made rainbow pancakes for breakfast.  Then, the kids and I got our deck all cleaned up (it was where we were storing our extra firewood through the winter). Followed by a fun afternoon together. We had a picnic lunch on the deck and did a scavenger hunt/ egg hunt around the yard.
The sun was shining on us all afternoon.  It was so nice being outside most of the day. A rare treat this early in the year in the PNW!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Surprise for Elli

A while (maybe 2 yrs ago?)  back I thought it would be fun for Elli to try out ballet, so I took her to a free day at DFJ. She did not listen at all, so we never went again.
Recently when we would drive by she would point out "oh! there's my ballet place! why can't I go there? Please, can I go there?" I wanted to say yes but it is so expensive and I wasn't sure how she would handle it this time around. So we waited.
A few weeks ago a friend posted pictures of her daughters ballet performance at FHS online and it looked like a great group to be a part of. I looked it up online and knew right away it was the ballet group for Elli. We used some of her Christmas money to get her dance gear and pay the initial fees and we waited until the morning of her first lesson to tell her the good news.
She was so happy to finally be going to ballet.
They did some real ballet moves....
They danced with scarves...
They also did some tumbling and jumping, but those were hard to get good photos of on my phone.
Her group is really small (only two other girls and two teachers), so it works well for keeping her interested. The free day we attended had about 15 toddlers participating, so this is much nicer. She seems to really like it and is really interested in learning this time around. Hope she keeps enjoying it!