Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Break 2010

It’s been a long time since we’ve gotten very excited over Spring Break. We know it’s not the time of the year that we want to make a long week-end trip someplace due to the crowds, and it’s been a while since we had kids that were on spring break… so it’s been just like any other week in March. Not this year though…

We have known since January that Whitney planned to come home for spring break. After everything that she has been thru in the past several months, she needed a break. And we needed her to come home for a while.

Heather has a brother that has been living in the Pacific Northwest for about a year now, not too terribly far from us. He was in need of his furnishings and Heather was asked to drive a U-Haul truck from Houston, TX to Olympia, WA. She and the kids started out on Saturday for a 2500 mile 4 day adventure arriving on Tuesday evening.

So for Spring Break 2010 we had a house full of “chiln” and we enjoyed it all. It’s been a while since we’ve had that much activity around our house. We tend to forget how active a 9 year old boy and 11 year old girl can be, and how hungry they are!

Whitney was able to rest and relax the first several days that she was home, which she needed considering that she broke her ankle a few weeks ago and had a “sweet” boot (as she called it) to carry around with her everywhere she went. Her and Bill were able to make it to “The Mountain” on Monday to go shooting. Nothing bonds a daddy and daughter better than a day of sharing gunpowder, guns and target practice!

Once Heather and the kids arrived we got a few day trips in; Vashon Island Ferry ride, Paradise Valley of Mt. Rainier and a Whale Watching Tour! (Unfortunately Whitney had to fly back to Utah before the whale tour).

Vashon Island and the Washington State Ferry
For our visitors that have never been here before (Hunter & Sierra) we always try to get in a ferry trip. Since we were late getting away that day we opted for Vashon Island. We had not been there either, so it was new to us too. It was a great little island, and we got in 2 ferry rides, they were fun, but really short… while on The Island we came upon the Point Robinson Lighthouse.

Since the Point is commonly shrouded in fog, Point Robinson began as a fog signal station in 1885 and the light was added in 1887. The current lighthouse was built in 1915, with a 38-foot tower and fifth-order Fresnel lens, which allows it to be seen for 12 miles. The light was automated in 1978, using the original fifth-order Fresnel lens

Paradise Valley of Mt. Rainier
Thursday we woke up to one of us not feeling up to par, so Bill stayed home with G’ma E and missed out on our adventure to Paradise. Paradise is the name of an area at approximately 5,400 feet on the south slope of Mount Rainier. Virinda Longmire named Paradise in the summer of 1885 while she viewed the wildflowers in the alpine meadows there. The National Park Service says that "Paradise is the snowiest place on Earth” where snowfall is measured regularly. 93.5 ft of snow fell during the winter of 1971/72, setting a world record for that year.

We all had a great time! The kids got to see a real volcano, sled down the slopes at Paradise and see a pretty awesome waterfall! We also had the rare treat to be able to see a naturally occurring phenomenon a snow doughnut!

They only form under a perfect storm of occurrences. It's formed by a mass of snow falling off of a cliff or a tree into the snow pack. And if the snow and temperature are just right, as gravity takes over, it pulls the snow down, and it rolls back on itself. Usually the center collapses but when the hole stays open, it creates a shape that resembles a gigantic powered sugar coated doughnut!

The kids had so much fun sledding down the slopes, even though we had a couple of crashes it will be a time in their life they will never forget.

Gray Whale Watching Tour

Saturday morning we were on a timeline! Whitney had to be at the airport for her flight back to Utah, and we had to be in Everett by 10:30 for Gray Whale Watching tour, again this required 2 vehicles.

Whitney was dropped off at the airport and made it safe and sound back home. Bill met up with the rest of the clan at the Everett Marina for the boat trip.

We had an awesome time. G’ma E loves riding in boats and we had a beautiful day for a boat trip. Before leaving the marina we were treated to a little show by one of the local resident Harbor Seals swimming around the pier popping it’s head up at one place and then another. On the way out of the marina, we saw three California Sea Lions resting on a buoy. While we were on the water we also saw Bald Eagles, Blue Heron and various other birds.

The real show was the Gray Whales. We cruised northward, and eventually found a gray whale near Hat Island. The naturalist on board introduced the Gray to us as Number 531. 531 showed us his tail flukes on numerous occasions. Eventually Capt. Carl had him lined up perfectly with Mount Baker in the background.

After returning to land we were all ready for a bite of lunch so we had a Whale Tail-gate Party. We partook in “dolphin safe” chicken salad sandwiches and various other items. We had fun, the weather was beautiful and the kids were able to run off some excess energy.

Sadly this was the beginning of the end of our Spring Break 2010. Heather and the kids had a hotel room near the airport since they had an early flight. We were more than willing to get up on Sunday morning to get them there in time, but she felt as if she was putting us out (it’s also hard for grandparents to compete with an indoor swimming pool…haha).

Sunday morning was strange,, so quiet, no activity, not much cooking of breakfast. Now life begins to get back to normal for a week. We have a lot of leftovers to eat (everyone that knows Tonya know how she always “over prepares” for house guests), beds to change and laundry to do. We enjoyed everyone so much… hopefully we can do it again sometime.

1 comment:

Pure Mommy Extract said...

How fun to have so many visitors.

Your blue scarf is very beautiful on you as well Tonya (photo on whale watching tour). It's a great color for you =).