Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How to have a fun, cheap family vacation...

First, you go somewhere within reasonable driving distance.
We chose Seattle. I love the smell of Western Washington. I love how green it is. We lived there for almost three years.

Second, you use as many of your husbands hotel points as possible.
Even if it means staying in a different hotel almost every night you are gone.

Third, you buy City Passes through Costco, which allows you to do lots of fun stuff for really cheap.
Space Needle
The Space Needle is actually really cool. The price is insane so we definitely would have skipped it if it weren't included with the pass. The kids were done about five minutes after we reached the top.
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We went to the aquarium three years ago and it was under construction, so this year we were expecting some pretty cool stuff. Unfortunately I can't tell what they renovated but the kids still liked it. They really wanted to see real sharks, big ones. But they had to settle for...
... jellyfish...
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...sea horses...
and sea lions...

I had to include this picture of my silly kids...we are suckers for "insert head here" shots.
Pacific Science Center
We LOVED this place. It was amazing and we spent most of the day here.

Look closely at that butterfly. It landed on a picture of itself!
This mirror sparked the conversation about how we don't use the word "midget" to describe a little person...and how we definitely shouldn't say that word in a loud voice when there are lots of people around.
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EMP (Experience Music Project)

You know I had to get a picture of it.

All Eden wanted to do was play the guitar....she got her wish.

Science Fiction Museum
There was a Jim Hensen exhibit that was so AWESOME! I took that kermit picture for Melissa.

Camden was a little freaked out by the yellow bird. Kind of like Brian Fellows...
And yes...that is a Fragle Rock display.

Fourth, you get the family package for the Mariners game so your tickets are cheap and the food is free.

We love Ichiro, in fact his name was one of Maya's first words.

The view from our seats.

This is Ken Griffey Jr. making the hit that won the game. I took it mainly for my brother Jason who used to love him.

Fifth, you go to Ikea for cheap food, air conditioning.
I only spent $57 but I left with a wish list a mile long. Aric promised me a return trip without the kiddos. Just the two of us and an empty van to hold all of our treasures.

And last but not least, you get grandma and grandpa to feed you and entertain you for a day.
Here is Grandpa Bob with his talking parrot. The girls thought he was pretty cool.
This is the wildlife that keep my grandparents company.
This is me with my Grandma Marion. She is amazing and I love her and she deserves her own post.

Don't forget these essential travel items...
~Dramamine~Eden puts the "DRAMA" in Dramamine. At least a dozen times a day we would hear "I'm sooooooo hot. I feel sick. I think I'm gonna puke...for reals."
~A good selection of DVD's, don't forget the church ones for Sunday.
~Mini fans for the girls. The best two dollars ever spent at Claires.
~MP3 players for the girls.
~Extra batteries for headphones and MP3 players.
~Lots of snacks that don't melt or get messy. Our favorites: goldfish crackers, popcorn, jerky, jolly ranchers, red vines.
~Two cases of water bottles. You will use them all.
~Ipod and car adapter for mom's songs/sanity.
~Dishwashing soap to clean bottles everyday.

A couple things we were surprised about were:
There was a Andrew Wyeth exhibit going on at the SAM but we didn't have the time or money to go see it. So instead I took pictures for Liz.
We didn't loose anything the whole trip...not a kid, not a toy, not one article of clothing. Actually we did loose one of Camden's paci's but then found it and boiled it. So that doesn't really count.
Oh and who knew how hard bird poop would be to clean off your windshield after it was baked in the 106 degree sun.
Another fun surprise is how hard it is to find a decent Chinese Restaurant south of Seattle. I had been craving some good asian food the whole trip. On day five Aric got a recommendation from the front desk clerk at our hotel. Let's just say this guy was NOT credible. My poor girls ate it with out complaining. They saw the old people that ran the place and they didn't want to hurt their feelings...yes I have the sweetest girls ever!
We had a great vacation. We loved every record-breaking-hot minute of it. We were reminded of how much we detest Seattle traffic...we were there the week the Blue Angels were in town, which meant the main interstate was closed twice a day...SO annoying! But since we had no real agenda, the hours spent in the barely moving traffic didn't affect our plans too much. What we did learn was that we have great kids, Aric and I are a great team and we really loved spending time together as a family.