Oregon Coast {Vacay 2012}

I've never done much exploring of the PNW. I was clueless about how beautiful it is up here. Especially the Oregon coast. Honestly, I thought there wasn't much in Oregon before this trip and I could never understand why my uncle wants to move up here so bad. Now I get it. It is beautiful and there are coffee shops everywhere!

And given that there was less sightseeing to be had and more down time, it worked well for the kids. They had time to run free in a park. There was a skate park next to the kids play area and Connor was very intrigued by it. He wanted to sit in the middle of it, which obviously I didn't let him. And he kept pointing at people's skates and saying he wanted to put them on.

Isla had a 6th tooth break through while we are gone. That is probably the culprit to her cranky night times...which of course are awesome for me!

We spent some time in the most adorable town, Astoria. They have this amazing little trolly. It is only $1 to ride and is an hour loop. There is a guide on it who tells the town's history while you are riding. More than worth the $1 it cost! They tried to let Connor ring the trolly bell, but he got stage fright, so Ian rang it for him.

In Astoria, we stopped at one of the many independent coffee shops we have visited on this trip. It was there we discovered that we have another coffee lover on our hands! Ok, so she really just had the foam. But Connor loves our coffee and we don't put sugar in it. So, it will be interesting to see where Isla lands on the whole coffee thing.

We travelled down the coast today to Tillamook before heading inland to Portland. There were beautiful views to be had...which made up for the less than stellar road.

Tillamook, you say? Yep. We drove out of our way to hit up the cheese factory. Because, we are cool like that! It really wasn't anything to write home about, but they did have an amazingly large cheese sample bar. And their ice cream was so freaking good.

Now we are in Portland and ready to take on a little more adventure before heading back south to California.

Seattle - Day 2 {Vacay 2012}

Another good day in Seattle. We started out at the first Starbucks store, hoping to beat the rush. No such luck. So we waited in line. The coffee tasted the same as every other Starbucks out there...and I was suckered into my first tourist purchase of the trip, a mug. At least it's useful. 

We then took the monorail to the Seattle Center. I am pretty sure the monorail was the highlight of Connor's day! Our friends Richi & Naseem went up into the space needle, while Ian and I took the kids to the children's museum. It was a good way for the kids to burn off some energy, but compared to the children's museum in Las Vegas, it was pretty lame. 

Next we went on a duck ride. Connor almost had a serious meltdown on it. He thought we were going to make him get in the water. Every time we would get him cam down, the tour guy, trying to help, would say "we are going to go in water!" to Connor and he would freak out again. Oddly enough, once we actually went into the water was when Connor settled down and began to enjoy himself. As for our tour guide/driver, he was so lame, it was insanely funny and entertaining. And thankfully, no one except for Connor had those annoying duck whistles on the tour and Connor didn't really take interest in his. 

We ended our day by heading to Capitol Hill for some sushi and coffee. Connor ate some wasabi. After calming down, he learned a new word "spicy". It was cute, sad and funny all at the same time. 

Tomorrow we head to the Oregon coast where more adventure, and hopefully a little less walking, awaits us. 

Seattle {Vacay 2012}

With sunsets like this, I am pretty sure I could fall in love with Seattle. Fast. Actually, I don't think it would take any convincing. Ian and I used to talk about moving to Seattle. Back in the day. Instead we chose the oh-so-picturesque Modesto. But back to Seattle. We just happened upon this sunset tonight. Isn't it amazing?

We also enjoyed some of the other finer things to be found in Seattle. Like the Giant Shoe Museum...

Never mind the fact that Connor was more entertained by putting the money in the machine than actually seeing the world's largest collection of giant shoes!

And we did not forget the public market. Ever since I saw the episode of Stephen Fry in America where he eats fresh little doughnuts from there, I have wanted to go.

Who knew a market could be so busy?! Seriously. It was out of control. Then trying to push a stroller through the madness. Not so easy. Oh, and add on to that the occupants of the stroller - one kicking random people and the other one screaming at the top of her lungs. But, we did manage to get ourselves some of those little doughnuts. And they were good. The kids liked them too.

We also managed to walk around a ghetto part of town, watch a commercial being filmed, see the aftermath of a fire under one of the piers - total chaos, yet so calm, stop at Barnes & Noble for some playing time for Connor (I LOVE that all B&Ns seem to have a train table) and hit up an independent coffee shop for Ian.

More adventure in Seattle awaits us tomorrow...

P.S. We ended up biting the bullet and buying another camera this morning. Given that we aren't souvenir people and really just take pictures to remember our adventures, we decided to just buy one. I'm happy we did...even if it means we can't eat for the next couple months!

Vancouver & More {Vacay 2012}

Okay, so picking up where I left off...

Mile 856 - A much needed long stop for playing, eating and of course, coffee

Mile 872 - Our first raindrops!

Mile 905 - Pulled into arco to get gas and Connor said "I need icee" Due to his adorableness, I decided to get him one. The icee machine was broken.

Mile 930 - Crossed into Canada

Mile 953 - Arrive at Burnaby Cariboo RV Park

At this point, we ditched our car and took public transportation...

Vancouver day 1:
All in all, we walked 12 miles around the city!

Met up with Richi & Naseem

Got coffee...shocker!

Ate a Japadog - a hotdog with seaweed on top

Walked over a not-pedestrian friendly bridge

Camera broke :(

Public market - where I bought some incredible tasting feta stuffed olives

Met up with Ian's old co-worker from Edinburgh, Grant and his family

Took the Aquabus

Bough lemonade from a kid's lemonade stand

Vancouver day 2:

Drove to pick up R & N and on to Stanley Park

Road the miniature train in the park and drove around the park

Mile 1009 - Crossed back into the USA...with a little drama, but we made it!

Mile 1032 - Stopped at Walmart

Mile 1040 - Spent the night at Larrabee State Park in Washington - This was a random stop, but ended up being a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Just look at the view on the beach. So beautiful!

Now we are camped just outside of Seattle...the adventure continues!

Devastation {Vacay 2012}

I was happily snapping away pictures in Vancouver today when my camera made a weird noise then stopped working. When I looked at it, error 99 greeted my eyes...@&!$ you error 99!!!

NOOO, is what I wanted to scream out loud. Instead I tried to keep it together, while wanting to cry and at the same time beg Ian to buy me a new camera.

After a little research, it appears the shutter went out. Under normal circumstances this would bum me out. On day three of my epic vacation, it makes me want to cry. My iphone won't cut it to take all my vacation pictures, yet I realize it just isn't feasible to go buy a new camera (any camera fairies out there want to help me out?)...or maybe should I say, to buy the camera I want? And my camera will have to be sent away to be fixed.

This picture-taking obsessed girl is bummed.

iMonster Feeding Set {Nuby Product Review}

The day I got the iMonster line in the mail, Ian picked up the snack keeper and said he had seen it online and thought it was cool. I didn't even know Ian looked at baby stuff online! So this line is definitely dad approved. 

When it comes to things like plates, bowls and flatware, I am generally the mom that reaches for the cheapest thing at the store. I can't justify spending three times the price on a name brand product that looks the same as a generic product. Enter the iMonster set. A fun product that is reasonably priced! And, the kicker? It's a line meant for moms of boys!!! Finally! As a mom of a boy, you quickly discover that practically everything out there is geared toward girls. And this stuff is sturdy. It is made of heavy duty, BPA free plastic that is both microwave and dishwasher safe.

What I loved is that I could use the products as a little teacher as well. I have Connor count the eyes on the various products. I also make him tell me the colors of the various monsters. That makes it fun for me...and hopefully him. And I like that both the bowl and snack catcher have "feet" on them, which makes them very sturdy.

As for the snack keeper, have you really ever seen anything cooler?! My kids are fighting over it. Or more, Connor gets angry when he turns his back and Isla grabs it. It is just as much a toy as it is useful. And, I must say, it is the best snack keeper I have used. Why? Because the top cannot easily be removed (it's a screw top)! By the time Connor was about a year old, he would just pull the top off of snack keepers and food would be e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e, thus rendering them useless. But not the iMonster. In fact, "he" makes eating fun. The first thing Connor did was stick his hand in the monster's mouth and say "he eating my hand." Love this snack keeper! It's just a cool, useful and smart product. The snack keeper even made the cut to go on vacation with us. We like it THAT MUCH. 

You can purchase the iMonster feeding set  and snack keeper  at www.BuyBabyDirect.com. And through 8/31, you can get 25% off your entire order at www.BuyBabyDirect.com with the code: baby25. 

And just so you know, Real Mom Reviews is hosting a giveaway for an iMonster feeding & drinking set. Hurry on over and enter. Her giveaway ends on the 30th. 

I did not receive any compensation for this post, although as part of the Nuby Mommy Blogger program I may receive items to sample or review. 

Canada or Bust {Vacay 2012}

We are well on our way to Canada. Almost there, in fact. Left on Sunday afternoon. Making a quick trip up there, picking up some friends from Scotland in Vancouver (You follow that one? Some friends of ours from Scotland are flying into Vancouver, BC to vacation with us. Yep, we are that cool.), then taking our time back to California. Here are some of our trip highlights so far:

Mile 0

Mile 73 - Ian's first cuss word of the trip - "Damn it truck!" as a truck got over on us. 

Mile 230 - Slept at Camping World outside of Redding

Mile 240 - Stopped for Starbucks

Mile 241 - Filled up with gas...trying to avoid looking at the cost or mpg! 

Mile 290 - Stopped at a railway park we saw a sign for. It was a great stop. Connor didn't want to leave. 

Mile 353 - Crossed into Oregon

Mile 377 - We killed a dragonfly while driving

Mile 413 - Coffee break in Grants Pass, OR

Mile 613 - Our first truck stop experience. They pump your gas for you in Oregon!

Mile 649 - Had dinner at the most amazing brewery - Hopworks. They have a kids play area! 

Mile 653 - Slept in a church parking lot in Portland. The kids had their first sink bath in the motorhome. And this morning, we took our first showers of the trip in the motorhome! 

Mile 656 - Stopped for coffee and Voodoo Doughnut before hitting the road

Mile 662 - Crossed into Washington

Mile 694 - Moved Connor's carseat from the couch to the chair so he can see out more windows

We aren't too far from Canada now. Through Seattle and well on our way. We will be camping in Vancouver for a couple days before heading south again. 

If you would like to follow along with our adventure in real time, follow me on instagram - @JessGrim

Lately {in photos}

1. Isla playing in a vintage rocker/jumper
2. Isla and her Papa
3. Connor cleaning up after himself when we went out for a treat
4. Connor went glasses shopping with Papa and Memaw
5. Learning to share
6. Connor washing his hands all by himself
7. Isla caught a cheerio with her toes!
8. My keys locked on the inside of my car
9. Connor going for a swim, fully clothed
10. Evening park fun
11. The new saying in my entryway
12. Connor enjoying a treat after a l-o-n-g day

The Bro-in-Law's Wedding

Family weddings are stressful. 

Weddings with your little ones around are stressful.

Family weddings with your little ones around are explosive. 

'Nuff said. 

Ok, that's really not all that is going to be said. I should start from the end though. 

I have a new sister-in-law. The wedding was beautiful. Tons of tears to be had. None by me. I'm not super emotional. The reception was even more beautiful. It was a fun evening filled with family and friends. And a great speech made by Ian...I'm proud of you babe and your ability to be so cool and collected in front of people. The newlyweds left down a sparkler filled drive. Beautiful. Now for the rest of the story...

Connor was in the wedding. So was Ian. During the rehearsal, Connor was in an awful mood and it didn't go so well. I didn't know how the actual day would go because of that. I was miserable and moody after the rehearsal. I had my two little cling-ons, one who wasn't performing like I wanted him to. It was hot as all get out. And I was hungry. NOT a winning combination. After pissing people off, I left the rehearsal dinner deciding that neither of my kids would be at the wedding. It was just too much and I wanted to enjoy myself. 

After calming down, we decided that we would bring both kids to the family pictures before the wedding (which would require waking Isla from her nap and Connor not napping), but Isla would not attend the wedding and Connor would only attend the wedding and not the reception. Even with guilt trips about our decision, we stuck with it. And I must say, it made life so much easier. We actually got to enjoy the reception. And Connor was a handful enough during the ceremony. I couldn't have imagined handling him and Isla at the same time. I probably would have left. Connor did a fabulous job walking down the isle and looked oh-so-cute doing so. 

With many lollypops, fruit snacks and toys, we made it through the ceremony. I ended up calling my parents right after and having them come get Connor. He was already covered in sweat (it was 106 that day) and didn't want to be at the reception. He wanted to be somewhere else playing. I wanted to enjoy the reception. Thus, he got to go enjoy himself some shaved ice with my parents while I got to enjoy a wedding reception with my hubby and some family and friends. 

There was a photo booth at the reception. Fun. Unfortunately I was full of inappropriate things to do in the photo booth. I can't wait until we can see those pictures. Then again, others might not find them as funny as me. Hmmm...

After a hug from Ian and I (the most important part, right?!) the newlyweds left down a driveway of sparklers. Beautiful and a rather fantastic exit, if you ask me. Ian and I then left to collect our children. 

Isla {10 Months}

Weight: 20 lbs
Length: 28 inches

Walks "cruises" holding on to things
Tries to repeat what you are saying

About a week ago, Isla had her first temper tantrum. It was rather crazy and dramatic. Ian told her no to something she was doing in the bath and she proceeded to throw herself backward (thankfully Ian caught her) and scream and cry. DRAMA. This whole throwing herself back and screaming over things has become a bit of a trend since then. Anytime she has to do something she doesn't want to do, she does it. Most the time it is predictable - diaper changes, getting dressed - but sometimes she does it randomly like when I set her down or something and I am not prepared, so she hits her head, thus taking the situation to a whole new level. And to think I thought I still had time until the drama came! 

I was trying to think of things that are Isla's favorites, but I don't think she really has any favorites. I can tell you what she doesn't like though. She HATES things being put over her head, so getting dressed is a bit of drama. And she dislikes diaper changes as well. Oh, and she screams pretty much any time she goes in her car seat these days, but once we are driving, she is fine. But really, I lied. Isla does have favorites. She loves dogs and constantly tries grabbing them. She also loves being all up in Connor's business, which of course causes drama. She loves being able to feed herself real food (aka: not pureed) and is down with pretty much any food that she can feed herself. And she loves crawling around the house after me...and stopping to play with the door stoppers. Those door stoppers are so fascinating to youngsters these days! Connor loves them too...well, loves taking them off anyway. As for toys, she really loves whatever Connor is playing with. Also, anything she can hit together and make noise, so wooden blocks are a hit. 

Isla has been trying hard to copy what we are saying. She will copy sounds like kisses and blowing raspberries. But she also tries to copy what you say if you say it to her over and over. I am thinking she will be talking way before Connor was. 

Sleep wise, Isla has been up and down...and pretty much all around. She was only waking once a night. Then went back to waking numerous times a night. And now is back to waking once a night, which is really early in the morning, so I guess technically she is sleeping through the night. I can't wait until it is consistent though. She seems to thrive on consistency and that has been difficult with everything going on lately. And generally, with her sleep all messed up, I am the one that has to pay for it. 

That little toothy grin melts my heart every time I see it. And those eyes, people are always complimenting Isla on her eyes. And random people are constantly telling Ian to buy a shot gun. I kid you not, last Saturday we were told that by numerous strangers. Its funny. 

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