grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Monday, June 30, 2014

21-30JUN14 - Sultan, WA

The last ten days of June were spent not doing much other than “recovering” from the kids & grandkids recent visit!  No real hi-lites just:

---returning rental mini-van
---Dan making a dump run & plastics recycling run; normally we can go over two months before needing to do this; but with five adults & two diaper wearing kids in the house, we couldn’t wait
---more gardening/landscaping by Corrie; plus she continued cleaning & restaining of the large deck
---eating all the leftovers from the kids/grandkids visit
---Dan still getting the workshop to his liking
---medical appointments

On Thursday, 26JUN, Dan volunteered once again at Habitat for Humanity, while Corrie ran errands.  Since we were out of the house most of the day, we locked Gumbo in his kennel.  Since he has escaped from the kennel twice before, we used bungee cords in addition to the kennel locks.  Once again he escaped & was waiting by the door for our return!?!?

Saturday, 28JUN, we took Rebecca’s new kid car seats used for her recent visit, into Amtrack in Everett for shipping back to her husband Raymond in Sierra Vista, AZ.  Then Raymond would drive the two car seats back to Houma, LA, after his Army training was done.  Why Amtrack?  Because it is by far the cheapest, as we were surprised to learn!!!  Originally both car seats were shipped “for free” after internet purchase to Sultan, WA.  We had saved original boxes & figured shipping to Houma, LA, would be reasonable?

Turns out UPS, Fedex, & Post Office wanted over $110 per box!  Neither UPS nor Fedex would explain how delivery for a company was little or no cost, but a customer had to pay almost the whole purchase price to ship?  Next try was Greyhound & they wanted $55 per box.  Last try was Amtrak, who would ship three packages under 50 pounds total weight, for $50 total!  The drawback is you must deliver to an Amtrack station & pick it up at an Amtrack station.  And not all Amtrack stations handle packages; which meant Raymond had to drive an hour north to the Amtrack station in Tucson, AZ, for pick-up.  Anyway, with some reluctance we handed them over to Amtrack & they made it:)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

11-20JUN14 - Sultan, WA (full house w/kids & grandkids)

Late Wednesday morning, 11JUN, it was off to SeaTac airport to pick up the “kids” - daughter Rebecca, son Joe & girlfriend Tasha, & the grandkids - Jaxson & Mason.  As we try to do every year, we used are credit card points to get discount airline tickets.  (see below BLOG for their (including Raymond) last visit in 2012).  After barely piling everyone & their luggage into the rental mini-van it was determined that everyone wanted food?  So first stop was Micky D’s, after Dan got lost somewhere in south Seattle!

First thing on arrival at the house in Sultan was a walk around property by everyone.  After returning to house Jaxson wanted to find monsters with Opa?  Seems he had been allowed to watch a Scooby Doo episode last night in Houma & now wanted to hunt monsters!  First he had to be armed with a flashlight even in broad daylight & a sword (no swords here so we improvised with an elk antler).  After killing numerous monsters, uncle Joe then gave Jaxson a ride on the lawn tractor.  After all this activity it was finally time for an al fresco dinner on the deck; followed by fire in the fire pit & smores.  At 11PM Louisiana time Jaxson was still going strong while the adults were crashing.  Having the RV definitely helps in providing beds & privacy – we keep our master bedroom; Rebecca & kids are in the spare house bedroom; & Joe & Tasha get to have the conveniences of the RV:)!
Thursday morning the ladies & grandkids took off to get a new car seat for Mason.  Turns out the brand new car seat already purchased for Mason was not suitable for infants under 30 pounds.  Meanwhile, Joe & Dan headed to the barn to install a pulley/hoist system to lift the heavy “hayloft” ladder Dan fabricated in May.  After that they then transferred all the heavy boxes from the loft they built in 2012 into the Toad & transferred them to the shop/RV garage.

After the ladies returned everyone (but Corrie), headed to Sultan to find a park for walking.  They discovered Osprey Park & hiked two miles of trails.  Jaxson’s favorite pastime was wading in the ice cold water & throwing endless rocks into the Sultan River.  Then it was back to the house for another al fresco dinner & smores around the fire pit, before we were chased into house because of rain.  The adults, except Dan, then played Rummy (after discussing the rules for an hour with Oma).
Friday the 13th Dan, Joe & Tasha headed into Seattle to EMP.  EMP was created by Paul Allen (the silent partner of MicroSoft with Bill Gates) & is based on his extensive rock & roll, sci-fi, & 60s cultural collections.  In addition EMP has many different areas where you can actually use modern electronic instruments or recording sound equipment.  Dan thinks the Sci-Fi portion was more interesting; & that the Rock & Soul Museum in Memphis was much better as far as rock & roll history goes.

Meanwhile Oma, Rebecca & the two grandkids headed into Everett & its Children’s Museum.  Later in the day everyone came back together at the house in Sultan & it was off to Ixtapa for Mexican dinner.  Back at the house Joe tried to teach everyone dominoes.  Once again Opa & Jaxson had to battle the monsters on the property.  Opa also showed Jaxson the edible salmon berries & huckle berries growing on the property.  Jaxson liked them even though he calls all berries grapes?
Saturday morning Dan & Jaxson took Joe & Tasha to a Harley dealer; so Joe can rent a Harley & go bike riding with Dan’s brother Shawn.  Shawn showed up & the Harley riders took off for Leavenworth, WA.  While there Dan set Jaxson on one of those "penny arcade" rides that was a Harley replica.  He was fine until it started & then he definitely not happy (see first pic below)!  Meanwhile Dan & Jaxson headed back to the house to pick up Oma, Rebecca & Mason.  Then it was off to Dan’s cousin Paul & Shannon Peters for a graduation function for their oldest boy Ryan.  From there they took off for Snoqualmie Falls so Jaxson could see his first “real” waterfall, he was enthralled!  Early that evening everyone got back together at the house for an al fresco pizza dinner, & another fire in the fire pit with smores.  During this time Jaxson headed over to our neighbor’s fence to talk to the cows for half hour or so.  Not sure what the subject of conversation was, but the two cows seemed very interested.

Sunday it was off to the Mukilteo ferry to go to Whidbey Island, with Joe & Tasha on the Harley following the mini-van.  We were supposed to meet up with Shawn & Cindie on their Harleys, but they cancelled.  First stop Fort Casey State Park & then Coupeville for lunch.  Then straight back to the Harley dealer via Deception Pass to return the rental bike; meeting Shawn & Cindie there.  Then everyone (including Shawn & Cindie) headed to the house in Sultan for a spaghetti dinner.

Monday, 16JUN, it was back to Deception Pass for a Jet Boat tour under the bridges & thru the narrows of the Pass.  Followed by a beach walk in the State Park & lunch at a seafood shack on the main road.  After lunch we dropped off the kids & grandkids on the State Park beach so they could hike up to the Deception Pass bridge, while we waited for them at the top.

Tuesday everyone but Oma headed to Cedar Falls Watershed Education Center next to Iron Horse State Park (an old RR right of way stretching from North Bend, east to the Columbia River) to go hiking.  It is a great area for hiking, but the most interesting thing was the Watershed Education Center.  One exhibit uses tennis balls moving thru pneumatic tubes to show how water evaporates off the ocean, forms clouds, rains on mountains, collected by streams, into rivers & back to the ocean.  The neat thing is you take the tennis ball & put it into the air tube & watch it go from the ocean into the clouds; then you go to the cloud station, get the ball, put into the rain tube & watch it go thru the air pipe & fall as rain on the mountains; & so on.  Jaxson thought this was amazing & would run from station to station to get “his” tennis ball & send it on its way to the next station.

Wednesday, 18JUN, everyone headed into Seattle for sightseeing.  As usual Dan was the tour guide & followed his standard route of – ride the monorail, Pikes Place Market, waterfront, lunch at Ivars, Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe, Pioneer Square, Occidental Square, Waterfall Park, & then back to the Seattle Center on the monorail.  Since it was good weather, we took time to play in the International Fountain before heading home.

Early that evening Dan’s nieces (ie Rebecca & Joe’s cousins) Aimee & Marissa came over along with four of their children (2 each) & Marissa’s husband Dave (see below BLOG for their last visit).  They brought all the fixin’s for some great carne asada tacos cooked by Dave on the BBQ grill.  A great visit was capped by smores prepared around the fire pit.  (Note – the last time we saw Aimee & Marissa & kids was back in August of 2012 during Joe & Rebecca’s last visit; see previous BLOG link above also)

Thursday Joe, Tasha, & Rebecca headed to Cashmere, WA, in the TOAD, for white water rafting on the Wenatchee River.  Opa & Oma needing a rest, stayed at the house to baby sit the grandkids.  Dan & Jaxson did head into Monroe for some errands & spent a couple of hours at a local park enjoying the good weather.  Oma had some quiet time with Mason since he took a nap.  The “kids” returned safely from the raft trip, even though Rebecca screamed they were gonna die at the first rapid?

Friday morning (the day of departure) we all headed to Sultan Bakery for breakfast, unfortunately they only make their world famous cinnamon rolls on Saturday/Sunday.  After breakfast Joe, Jaxson & Dan headed back to the house; & everyone else (Oma, Rebecca, Tasha & Mason) headed to Snohomish (the antique capitol of the northwest). During this time Jaxson decided to have a meltdown, which Opa ignored.  After 15 minutes of tantrum, Jaxson fell asleep on the floor; so Opa covered him with a blanket & Gumbo curled up next to him.  After everyone else returned from Snohomish, the rest of the day was spent packing for tonight’s departure & an impromptu mustache growing contest courtesy of 7/11!

All too soon it was time to make the drive to SeaTac airport for their late night departure back to Houma.  Once again it took a couple of tries to get all the luggage & two car seats into the minivan!  This year’s visit was longer than past visits, but it seems it was over in flash.  And as usual we were physically & mentally exhausted!