Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Oregon Camping Trip - Day 3

Saturday, August 25th was our last day in McMinnville. We had to pack up the trailer in order to drive to the coast. 

Waking up with my baby girl. The sleeping situation in the trailer is in flux most trips. For the most part the 3 boys sleep in their queen bed and then Michael, Ella and I sleep in the other queen bed. Sometimes Zeke will end up sleep on the fold down dining table bed and sometimes Ella will. It just depends. 

Our adventure for this day was to go to the Evergreen Air & Space Museums prior to driving to the coast. We were just going to buy tickets for the day, but it ended up being cheaper to buy a family membership for the year. My mom and I are both on the cards so we can take the kids or Ga-Ga & Pa could take them. The membership included SO many other air museums including the Museum of Flight and the Pacific Science Center. 

The main star of the museum is the Spruce Goose an H-4 Hercules. This was a prototype airlift flying boat that was made by Howard Hughes in 1947. The boat is made of mainly wood due to the restrictions on the use of aluminum and the concerns about the weight. Even though it's nickname is Spruce Goose it's made almost entirely of birch. The Hercules is the largest flying boat ever built, and it has the largest wingspan of any aircraft that has ever flown. It's massive and it fits inside the museum!!!

This is the picture on the inside. It's so huge!

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 The crazy part to me was the fact that these HUGE wings that were designed to be supported by water (see the picture above I got it online), but in the museum they weren't supported by anything. They were connected to the plane of course, but the weight of those wings just pulled downward seemed mind boggling. I would have expected there to be cables or something. 

We found this cute Rosie Riveter photo op!

Nothings stopping Ella! 

Addison's got this! 

Anna is ready for action! 

They had a bunch of these old airplane seats around the museum. Some were used as seating to watch little video clips and some were just there so you could rest. 

One thing Michael and I both noticed was how amazingly comfortable they were. Plus roomy! Those bulky armrest are where the tray tables were stored. We are so getting ripped off now with those cramped uncomfortable airline seats. 

The kids actually had a great time looking around at the airplanes. I was sure they were going to be bored. 

Jack wanted a picture with his favorite plane. 

With our admission we also got to go see one movie. Around noon we headed over to the theater and saw a movie that was narrated by Harrison Ford. It was all about the history of flight and how it's changed the world so much. It was amazing and of course at the end it made Christina and I cry. It talked about how amazing it is to visit these other areas of the world, but the best thing is always coming home. Then it showed pictures of people waiting at airports for their loved ones and their reunions...the smiles, the laughs and the tears. Oh my goodness....all the feels for sure! 

Just outside the Space Museum is this super fun playground that is designed to look like different modes of flight. Love this Bi-Wing Plane. In the back on the left you can see the top of the Space Shuttle. 

Ella's the pilot! 

Where should we go girls? 

Zeke was taking Ga-Ga on a helicopter ride. 

These two boys have so much fun together! 

After playing for a bit it was off to see the Space Museum. I love anything to do with space so this was what I was looking forward to. They had a timeline that you read through right when you walked in. It was so interesting reading about the race for space. Unfortunately the kiddos weren't as excited about this portion or they were just getting tired, but they held it together long enough for us to get to view most of the museum. 

Lunar Module

 I believe this is the type of jet that was used in Top Gun. 

I this is in F-22 or something like that. I'm horrible with knowing the difference, but any rate these are amazing pieces of machinery! 

On the walk over from the Air Museum to the Space Museum they have USA seal right on the walkway. 

They also have the planets. This is Zeke being an Earthling...

a Martian...

and burning on the surface of the sun! 

Once we were all done it was off to our next destination Garibaldi Oregon just north of Tillamook. 

We stayed at the Harborview Inn & RV Park. It was great because my parents' hotel room was just a 100 ft or so from our campsite. 

We got two sites right next to each other and there was this nice climbing tree and rock area that the kids could play in. It was definitely more urban camping though. We were in the heart of the small town right next to the parking area for the trucks and trailers and the boat launch was across the street. 

He's to cool for school! 

I knew that after having to pack up camp in McMinnville, visiting the museums, driving and then setting up camp that we would not be super interested in cooking dinner. I checked online and found this restaurant called Pirates Cove. It has amazing reviews and just a few miles from the campsite When we got there the parking lot was SO full. When we walked in it was quite confusing as to where we should check in...there were two desk areas, but neither of them was manned. Finally I saw a lady cleaning off a table and then taking back some folks. She was the only employee I saw. When we did get a chance to talk to her she said it would take 35 minutes for us to get seated and since there was 13 of us we would be seated at 3 different booths and most likely not together. Nuts! 

So we went back toward the campsite to this place that we had passed on the way and decided to check it out. It had this sign on the outside of the building that said "Best Fish & Chips" which I'm sure tons of restaurants claim that, but we thought we should see for ourselves. The nice thing was they had one round table on the opposite side of the restaurant from everyone else that all us adults were able to sit at and then the kids got to sit next to us at the bar. Quite a few of us got the Fish & Chips and it was really good! Michael got Calamari that was yummy too. Pa got Clam Chowder which he thoroughly enjoyed. As for the kids....they were hit and miss. Children! And the reason that Michael, Owen and Jack are not in the picture above is because they decided that wrestling in the restaurant was an appropriate way to handle things and Michael decided that they needed to walk back to the campsite so he could have a 'Man to Man' or 'Man to Boy' talk....who knows it might have been a 'Come to Jesus' talk. 

The kids thought the skeleton on the roof surfing was funny! 

After dinner we sat under our covered area outside for a bit and then headed to bed. I tried to go sleep without my earplugs that night, but I kept hearing this guy saying the same thing over and over and I couldn't understand him. I figured it was a drunk guy a few campsites over. I finally decided to put my earplugs in and then I was fine. The next morning my mom asked me if I heard the auction going on the night before....then it made total sense! Yes....yes I did hear the auction last night! :) :) :) 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Oregon Camping Trip - Day 1 & 2

Earlier this year after we got our trailer, Christina and I started chatting about taking a vacation together this summer. My first choice was going up to Mount St. Helen's...we have been trying to get there for years, but it just never seems to work out. Well it didn't work out this time either because all the good places were booked and everything else is dry camping...which we all know how we are never doing that EVER AGAIN! So we just sort of put plans on hold...until one day my Dad sent us an email about going down to McMinnville, Oregon to see the Spruce Goose. Now I can't remember if Dad was the one to first mention the water park or if I was the one to bring it up. I do remember seeing the water park a couple years ago on FB and thought it would be fun. After chatting some more we decided to not only go to McMinnville, but to travel over to the Oregon coast as well. 

On Thursday, August 23rd we hopped in the van and took off with the trailer. Thankfully the workers had showed up that morning to finish clearing the driveway so we could get the trailer out of the garage. We stayed at Olde Stone Village RV park which is right next door to the Museum and the water park. On the map it did show there was a walking path, but it was quite a long walk so in the end we just drove over there. The park is really a 55+ mobile home park that has an RV park in the middle. It is very nicely taken care of. There are a TON of rules though! 

Like no splashing, no jumping, no spitting, no water toys...rules, rules...RULES. There are also tons of rules for outside the pool as well. No fire pits, no running at the playground, no clotheslines, no riding bikes on the tennis court....RULES!!! :) The nice thing is the kids only got talked to once and that was because they were playing by the fountain and "It's not a toy!" But really overall it was great and on the plus side of those rules....no hooligans! No people staying up until 1am sitting around drinking and being noisy...so that was great!  

This was the first time the Kuch Klan had seen the inside our of trailer and the first we had seen theirs as well. 

The kids enjoyed playing games in the trailer, swimming in the pool and playing at the park. 

The next day was the day we'd all been waiting for. The Wings & Waves Water park! And yes that is  a real Boeing 747 on the roof and the water slides come out from the fuselage. 

We got there just a few minutes before they opened so we didn't have to wait too long. It was chilly outside so I was thankful for that. Earlier in the summer I wanted to show my friend Rachael the pictures of the water park and I just happened to see a Groupon while I was online. We ended up saving $41 on our tickets by buying them that way. 

This is a picture from right in the middle of the building. Those stairs all 108 of them lead you up to the plane where you get on the water slides. On the other side of the space shuttle is a play area with little slides, a climbing area and one of those buckets that dump water on you. It looked so much fun, but the water was FREEZING over there. Everywhere else the water was perfect though! 

This the other side of the building. The wave pool was lots of fun, but one thing I didn't like was they let people bring tubes in the wave pool. I honestly think that's not okay since it really obstructs your view. This was the only area I didn't feel comfortable letting Zeke go by himself. 

Suits on and ready to go! 

These girls were great....they just ran around and had the best time together. 

Ga-Ga & Pa did not swim, but the nice thing is they have a dry pass you can purchase which was much cheaper. It was nice having them in a central location so the kids would check in with them and then run off to play some more. And by kids I'm including myself in that group. I turn into a giant child when I'm at a water park. 

Here is the view from the second floor where the restaurant is. The food was great and of course not cheap. 

Waiting to get their grub on! 

Bill and Caleb! 

Christina, Anna & Addison! 

Bill and Christina did swim as well. It was funny because I was just running around having and great time and Christina saw me and said, "You are totally not here for your kids...you are here for YOU!" That was so true. I'm happy they were having fun, but I was also have just as much fun as they were. 

Ga-Ga with her boy! 

I believe Michael played in the water from 10ish - 1pm, but I was going strong the whole time until it was time to head out at 5pm. I did pay for it later that night because I was EXHAUSTED!!! 

Here's some pros and cons.... 

Water park temperature isn't so hot that you feel completely drained just by being in the building. 
Price was reasonable. 
Slides were super fun! 
There was a Vortex which is a whirlpool and I'd never seen that at a water park before. 
Food was good. 
Life jackets provided.
Lifeguards were attentive. 

Tubes allowed in the wave pool. 
Music is playing all the time + lots of noise in general = headache. 
Have to bring your own towels. 
108 steps up to the slides. 
Smaller kid area was FREEZING. 

Overall we had so much fun and if we ever get the chance to again we most certainly will! 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Hard Decision!

After getting back from the Family Reunion in Oregon I felt off. I had just taken my 4 vacation days that I get for the whole year and I felt depressed. I decided to talk to Michael about it on the night of Monday, July 16th. I just poured out my heart. 

See the thing is I kept waiting to fine my normal. To find the groove between the words "working mom". To feel totally comfortable in my job at the church all the while feeling like I was totally taking care of my job as homemaker as well. 

I love my job....I'm great at my job. I enjoy working with the guys. I feel home when I'm at church. I don't want to disappoint anyone. 

But....I feel like I'm missing out. I feel like I'm the "no" mom. I'm too busy or too tired to say yes to anything. I barely feel like I'm keep my head above water in regards to keeping a clean house let alone an organized one. We don't need the money! But again I don't want to disappoint anyone. 

That was when Michael in his finest "I'm a man and I'm gonna solve this problem" skills said to me..."I think you should put in your notice" and then he promptly rolled over to go to bed.

 Dude....there is so much more to it than just saying that. There is emotion involved here!!! Then he basically said whatever decision I came to he would support me. 

That night I prayed and thought it through and when I woke up I knew what I needed to do...I needed to quit my job! 

The more I thought about it I remembered how I felt as a kid. My mom worked because she needed to so my brother and I could go to Christian school. I remember begging her to stay at home. I told her I would go to public school...I just wanted her home. Michael makes great money and we never needed more money and now that he's gotten a promotion we really don't need the money. How would I feel if 10 years from now my kids looked at me and said "I wish you could have been a stay at home mom". To think that I could and I chose not to was just too much. I need to be with me kids! 

That Monday & Tuesday my parents were watching the kids for me at our house. They got here early so we were able to chat before I had to run off. That's when I told my mom I was putting in my notice and that's when she started crying. I was taken aback..."why are you crying"? That's when mom told me that she had been praying and God had been telling her that I was supposed to be with my babies. She said we prayed for years for those babies and other people were having to watch them all summer and it wasn't right. Of course that's when I was saying..."why didn't you tell me"? If God gives you a message for someone else then you should pass that along. 

I went to work that day planning to tell Pastor Andy, but then the day got a bit crazy. Wednesday is Pastor's work from home day so the next opportunity was Thursday, July 19th . The timing of it all was such a God thing. Of course my stomach was in knots with the thought of disappointing him. That's when I got a message from a friend asking if she could come in and talk for a minute. I said yes and then I knew that couldn't talk with Pastor Andy until after she came in because I didn't want us to get interrupted. When she got there we chatted and then she let me know the reason she needed to talk. She was dealing with the same sort of situation of having to step back from her role at the church due to family. Right then I told her my news and we prayed together. Once she left my office Pastor Andy was at the reception desk working and he started chatting and she told him her news and this was his response..."Well...family's family"! I knew that this was the perfect time to talk. After she left I just walked into his office and told him I had some news..."I'm putting in my notice". Of course he asked why and that's when I started to cry and told him my reasons. At the end of it all he told me how much he appreciated me and all the work I'd put in and that he understood and then he said, "Family's family"! 

Oh my word it makes me tear up just typing this. So much grace! 

The next week we told the guys and they were sad to hear it, but they totally understood as well. 

I decided to give 5 weeks notice. I know that sounds like an extraordinarily long time, but I knew I wanted to give as much time as I could so they would be able to find someone to replace me. Also I had a babysitter lined up for the kids and I wanted to keep my word with her so she could gain experience and earn some money. I decided that my last day would be Wednesday, August 22nd. I picked that day because the next day was when we were leaving for our vacation in Oregon so it just made sense. 

My last day of work ended up being on the same day that Ron & Brian were taking the youth kids to Wild Waves. Also since it was a Wednesday Pastor Andy would be working from home so I was going to be all by myself. I was fine with that, but then when I got into work Pastor was there. He didn't want me to be alone for my last day. So nice! He even helped me out to my van with all my boxes of personal stuff and I didn't even cry. 

This is what I posted on FB. 

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First day / Last day! Both equally happy days! I loved my job, but my babies come first!!

That statement really is true. I was so happy to start working and I am so happy to be done working. Do I feel like I wasted a year by working...NO WAY! I feel like I grew and learned so much. Plus I just love serving others and when you work at a church that's what you do...serve others. :) 

 I did actually return to work for the first week in September to help train the person that took over for me, but now I'm just volunteering every Monday. 

I'm so very grateful for everything that happened this last year. I have so many wonderful memories and honestly I don't have any regrets. I feel like this was just another chapter in my story.

To celebrate my last day the kids and I stopped at 7-11 and got Slurpees on the way home. The kids they are SO happy that Mommy is a stay at home Mommy again. I'm so blessed to be able to stay at home and I will do my best to never take it for granted! 

Friday, September 21, 2018

Freedom For Charlie!

When we got back from the family reunion in July, Michael had about had it with Charlie. He's such a spiteful cat. When we're gone we don't want him to be outside the whole time so we keep him in, but then he acts out by peeing everywhere. We were going on another vacation in August so we thought we would try to make it better for him by installing a cat door. 

I had wanted a cat door for a long time, but honestly there was just no where for it to go. We thought about putting one into the garage and then out from the garage, but Charlie hates the garage. He's scared to death of it. We knew he would never use it. Then Michael decided it could go one place....right where his cat food and water is in the dining room. So I found one on Amazon that had good reviews and ordered it. 

Here it is out of the box. Now I know that some people are all worried about creatures coming in, but we are not in the least. Charlie is such a territorial animal and frankly a killer. That cat has killed so many things if anything came in our house it would be a death sentence for it. I know that people also worry about their pet bringing in animals that aren't quite dead yet. That hasn't been an issue because Charlie is a creature of habit. He always leaves his kills on the front porch or in the front yard. The cat door is around on the backside of the house so we aren't worried about that either. 

Time to cut into the wall. 

Remove some insulation. 

Pop the inside portion of the door into it's spot to make sure it fits. 

Once Michael knew it fit he made some holes from the inside so he could measure and cut from the outside. 

Cutting the hold on the outside. Now you might be wondering where in the world is the cat going to go once he goes out the door. Cats don't fly. We'll get to that later! :) 

Watching Daddy work is exciting....right Jack?

Right! :) 

Ta Da! One cat door! I posted pictures on FB and someone was concerned about the fact that the door is so close to an outlet. First off the cat door is mounted between the studs so the wires are on the other side of a 2x4...plus the cat door comes with walls as you can see. As for where Charlie is going to go.....

Daddy made him his own little kitty deck that is connected to the people deck. It is only temporary until the workers are finished with the siding and then he'll build him something a bit nicer, but for now it works. 

I was worried it might be a little too small, but Charlie can navigate it just fine. 

Michael thought he would go out, walk to the right get on the deck and then go down the stairs, but Charlie doesn't waste time. He just jumps out and goes right to the stairs instead. 

First time out the cat door. For the first little while we didn't have any flaps on it. Then we taped a Ziploc bag on one side where it was only hanging down an inch or so. Every few days I would lower the bag until it was completely covering the hole. Then I put another bag on the other side and did the same thing. We finally put one of the actual flaps on one side and he wasn't too happy about it. We ended up taking it off so he wouldn't revert to his bad ways while we were on vacation. Now we have a flap on one side and he's finally gotten used to it. Just in time for the weather to cool down. 

We moved his cat condo outside since it was where the cat door was and we needed the space to move his food and water over. He hasn't used the thing in ages. We are eventually going to toss it since the top landing area broke off, but for right now the deck is where it is. This is just another bit of proof that cats are jerks. The ornery thing chooses to sit outside instead of coming in and being with us.