Friday, September 28, 2018

Back To School Bash 2018!

Per tradition we had our Back to School Bash at Red Robin. We decided to go out for dinner early in hopes of beat the crowds plus I wanted to get home in time to have Bible Time and get the kids to bed at a decent hour. What I didn't think about was the fact that since it's not the rush time they don't have nearly as many servers working. 

These kids long any time they get with Daddy! 

We did miss Ga-Ga & Pa being there since they were in Wyoming.  

We let each of the kids order from the kids menu. We had never realized that the kids sides were never-ending so Jack was pretty pumped to be able to order as many mandarin oranges as he wanted to. 

Right before we were seated Jack and I had just gotten back from going to Target. We had walked from Red Robin because he needed a white undershirt for school the next day. Oh my....going to the store the day before school starts is not a good idea. That place was a disaster! Thankfully they had a bag of white undershirts so it didn't take us long, but everything else was pretty slim pickings. 

My handsome middle schooler! 

Owen was not looking forward to middle school at all. He was staying at Woodmont, but he was concerned that a certain student from last year was also staying at Woodmont. I tried to get him to talk to the Vice Principal prior to school starting, but he didn't want to. 

My baby girl! 

Ever since Ella and I went on our Girls Trip to Spokane we have had the best time together. Ella and I can kind of feed off each other and get feisty, but I really feel like our relationship has moved to another level. I'm going to truly soak up this phase because I know how I was as a teenager and I need to start praying that Ella will not follow in my hormonal footsteps! 

Sweet Zeke boy! 

I feel like Zeke has grown a bit this summer. Not in height that's for sure, but just in his reasoning ability. Also he's getting a bit more sure of himself. I haven't actually seen him bite on his shirt collar or sleeves in months so hopefully his nervousness isn't so bad anymore either. 

Owen was the only kid that was NOT looking forward to school at all! 

But the rest of us were sure happy! 

Here's to a terrific school year! 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Great Wolf Lodge!

The reason I was happy to get home at a decent hour from our camping trip on Monday, August 26th...was because we were basically turning right back around and going on another vacation the following day. 

There was a Water Worker Conference being held at Great Wolf Lodge from Tuesday, August 27th - Thursday, August 29th. Michael's commissioners really want him to attend conferences so he signed himself up. He talked to the head commissioner and asked if we could come along. The reason being is the hotel automatically comes with 4 water park passes. So all we had to do was pay for 2 more water park passes and we were good to go. Of course Michael did have to attend some classes so I was solo with the kids a bunch, but that didn't bother me one bit. 

Michael had to head down early on Tuesday morning to register so he took his company car. The day you check in you can't go into the water park until 1pm and sometimes your room won't be ready until 4pm so I was in no rush. Plus I still needed to finish laundry and repack for this trip.  

The kids and I still ended up getting there right around noon. Thankfully Michael was able to get a room that was already available. Our room was on the 4th floor and was super close to the elevators and stairs which if you know anything about Great Wolf Lodge and the Magi Quest game then you know this was a great location. 

We got all our stuff unpacked and headed down to pay for the Magi Quest game. The kids were all excited to play.

My friend Melinda lets us borrow her wand which is so nice!!! 

We did a few quests and then Michael was almost done for the day so we headed back to the room to meet up with him. 

Like with everything, we had a budget for our camping trip and the Great Wolf Lodge trip. We ended up not spending as much as I had planned on the camping trip so we just rolled that money over to our Great Wolf Lodge trip. Since we did that I thought it would be fun to let each kiddo choose one other special activity that they could do. We were already doing the Magi Quest together, but I wanted them to be able to choose their next adventure. There choices were Howl at the Moon Glow Golf, Creation Station (think Build-A-Bear), Oliver's Mining Co or Howlers Peak Rope Course. 

Ella and Zeke chose to do Oliver's Mining Co. First they got to choose their bag of sand. 

Then they got to dump it in the sleuths.

Down in the water they went. 

Shake them back and forth. 

And back and forth. 

Those white charts on the bottom of the above picture were gem charts. The kids also got bags to put there gems in. 

Once some of the smaller sand started to wash away they were able to start picking out their gems. 

It was fun watching them get so excited to find something. 

Sometimes the gems would still have bits of sand stuck to them. 

So Ella would dip them in the water to rinse them off. 

Once they picked out all their gems they bagged them up. 

As you can see she's not the least bit excited about her gems! ;) 

After mining for their gems we got to go into this mirror maze. It actually would have been better to do the maze before mining for the gems since the story goes in that order, but the kids were too excited about their gems.

They still enjoyed the maze though. 

The older boys chose to do Howlers Peak Rope Course. The first time we came to Great Wolf Lodge we saw this outside the water park, but it was February and pouring down rain so it was closed. 

I wish I had done this with them. I would have loved it! 

There were 3 different levels with bridges to cross and zip lines. I guess 2 of the zip lines weren't working, but it was still fun. The best part about their special adventure was they could go as many times as they wanted for our whole stay. They ended up going a total of 3 times. 

We also ended up doing really well with our budget! So much so we had enough money left over that we rolled that into our family entertainment and took the kids to the Puyallup Fair and got them all Dizzy Passes so they could ride as many rides as they wanted. 

It's so fun having older kids....the big boys would take out the younger two to go on Quests and we didn't worry at all. Occasionally they would be gone for a bit longer than we liked, but we'd just go check in the stairway and find them. 

As for the water park it was awesome! This was the summer of the water parks for Ella and I. In one month her and I went to 3 different water parks in 3 different states. Silverwood in Idaho, Wings & Waves in Oregon & Great Wolf Lodge in Washington. 

My plan the two mornings we were there was to get in the park right when it opened and save front row seats for Michael and I. 

This was my view! The kids LOVE the wave pool and I love that at Great Wolf Lodge they don't allow the tubes in the wave pool. Zeke would put on a life jacket and away he'd go. 

After awhile he'd come back freezing and have to snuggle up in some towels.

See those cups on the left....those are awesome. You buy them and you get unlimited Icee refills the whole trip and then you can bring them back the next time you come. My friend Melinda let me borrow hers, but it had a run in with the dishwasher so it was pretty sad. Thankfully they exchanged it for free! I bought one for us that way we were able to have two kinds of Icee flavors. We always had a white flavor for Ella in the pink cup and then a different flavor...usually Coke in the blue cup.

One day I put on my wolf ears and forgot I had them on. I even wore them down the water slides! 

The next day my view was a little more over to the left. 

It seriously was the best time! The kids are at that age where were just let them go and they have so much fun. I would join them for a bit and then sit down and read. We ended up staying until around 2pm on Thursday and then we were ready to go home. 

Of course on Friday night I started feeling horrible. I slept in on Saturday until 11:15am! I haven't slept that long in ages. I mainly stayed in bed all day on Saturday and almost all day on Sunday. I finally started feeling better on Labor Day which was perfect since the kids started school the very next day. I'm sure all this water park fun had something to do with me getting sick, but it was totally worth it! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Oregon Camping Trip - Day 4

Sunday morning was the day we were traveling just a bit south to Tillamook. The Cheese Factory Visitor Center had just reopened earlier in the summer so we thought it would be a great time to check it out. We hadn't been to the Cheese Factory since 2003. 

Welcome to Tillamook! 

Giant blocks of fake cheese! 

There was a timeline area right when you walked in that us adults took the time to read. Michael gets tired of those things so he took the kids upstairs to see the action. 

Right at the top of the stairs is the cheese tasting area. It wasn't busy at all so we decided to jump in the line. We were super glad we did because later the line was atrocious! 

Don't mind if I do! 


There was this one kind of cheese that I'd never had before....Cape Meares. It was delicious. 

From the cheese tasting area you can see down to the gift shop. I tried to find the Cape Meares cheese, but they were all sold out. An employee said I could buy it online. I was able to find it, but it would cost $16 for ground shipping or $26 for air shipping. I love cheese, but I'm not that crazy! 

It was so fun walking through the factory and reading about what's going on. 

There was this fun area where you got to time yourself to see how fast you could hook up a milking machine to a cows utters. There was also this wall that had all sorts of different cows on it. When you picked up the cow it talked about the breed and their temperaments.

Getting to feed a baby cow! 

Having so much with our family!!! 

Of course you cannot go to the Cheese Factory without having ice cream. The funniest thing happened while we were waiting for our ice cream. There was a guy working in the back behind the counter and the song Hello by Adele came on and he was lip-singing it. It was so much fun! I even asked if they had a tip jar because he totally deserved a tip! 

You scream, I scream...everyone screams for ice cream! 

Once we all got our ice cream we went outside to eat since it was really crowded inside. The kids were a bit chilly so we didn't stay out there long. 

I guess Ga-Ga "owed" Ella a present for some reason so Ella picked this cute pink pig at the gift shop. 

Dad thought this sign was quite appropriate concerning Mom and him. :) 

Right after this we said goodbye to Ga-Ga & Pa. My mom's dad had recently fell and broke his kneecap so they wanted to go out to Wyoming to help in anyway they could. They were out there for 2 weeks. During that time my grandpa was moved from Cody, WY to Casper WY and he got all settled into his new care facility. Unfortunately on the night of September 15th he had a major heart attack and passed away. I'm so thankful that my mom and dad had recently gotten to see him as did my Uncle and Aunt from Minnesota. My parents will be heading out there next month to bury my grandma and grandpa next to each other in their plots in Gillette. 

We had actually eaten ice cream before we even had lunch and I knew I just had to have a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. Michael got two orders of sandwiches and soup and then a pizza for the kids. Oh my this was SO yummy. The best part was they put cheese curds in the tomato soup. Speaking of soup this was the best tomato soup ever....perfect amount of sweetness. My mouth is watering! 

After lunch we went over to this other building that had a sign on it saying 'Farm Experience'. I think this was the building they used while the visitor center was being redone. It doesn't really need to be there since it doesn't add much to the experience. After that we got in the van and headed back to the campsite. 

Bill and Christina hadn't had lunch so they wanted to roast hot dogs for their kids. This campground didn't have fire pits, but there was a specified area with a pit and they even provided the wood. Nice right! We all hung out there for a bit until it started to sprinkle.  

I wanted to play 5 Crowns, but it was just too wet outside so we hung on in the trailer playing. 

The next morning we packed up camp and headed home. Michael wanted to drive to Hwy 30 and go home that way so that's what we did. About 6 highways later we were finally at Hwy 30. It was hilarious. We saw interior parts of Oregon that I didn't know existed. We were on these bouncy, curvy roads that just seemed ridiculous. We did get home by 2pm so that was good. 

I'm so thankful that we have a trailer! It was such a blessing to have a place to go to when it got rainy and to have heat in the night to keep us warm. Plus the beds are super comfy. Plus it was SO much fun to go on vacation with the Kuch's!! I can't wait to head out and make more memories next year.