Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Great Staycation of 2014

I'm currently enjoying the exact midpoint of a week-long "vacation." This has been my first week-long vacation, probably since my maternity leave in 2012. But geez, it's been anything but slow-paced. We originally had planned a four day get-away down along the Oregon coast but had to scrap those plans when we realized that, although Jacob doesn't start school this week, he had several back-to-school activities on the calendar.

Plan B was quickly formed. Plan B turned out to be a staycation in Seattle. We live an hour-long ferry boat ride from Seattle but we rarely venture into the city. It's always such a long trip with the ferry rides. There must usually be a very compelling reason to get us to head to the big city. As it turns out, a two night staycation is the perfect reason!

Ferry ride

My husband was sick the first night so I headed out to the city alone with the kids. Just my 32 week pregnant self, a meticulously packed double stroller, and two kids. I thought it was going to be a disaster but the kids were very well-behaved. My guess is that this had something to do with all the new sights, activities, and adventures.

Miner's Landing

We spared no splurges. So of COURSE we rode the carrousel. I don't remember carrousels going so fast, or maybe it's the fact that there is another human protruding from my front, but I almost lost my balance several times.

Walking Pike Place Market for the first time that day. I LOVE this stroller. We have a double Mountain Buggy. This thing is intense. I've taken it hiking on steep, rocky terrain. I've run with it on every kind of trail/path you can imagine. But it has also proven to be an amazing everyday, city stroller as well. It turns so easily and feels light, even when it is carrying 70+ pounds of children. This is my absolute favorite possession on earth.

It was really awesome to see the city through the kids' eyes. Everything was new and interesting. Even the boring old things I had passed a million times during my Seattle commute days. The mundane became enthralling. The simplest things captivated their attentions and inspired their admiration. Kids are simply the best. And so are staycations! I've decided that staycations are awesome for at least three reasons: (1) you already know all the best places/attractions to visit, (2) you already know how to get everywhere and the best modes of transportation for doing so, and (3) the money you save on mileage/airfare can be spent on fun little splurges.

The city became Jacob's playground.

And I couldn't resist a picture with my celebrity boyfriend. Hey, he ran into MY lips.

The "Gum Wall" in Post Alley. The walls are COVERED in chewed gum. Some people were very creative and wrote their name in long strings of chewed up gum. The kids thought this was AWESOME. I'm pretty sure they loved this more than any of the expensive attractions. Go figure.

Jacob made his contribution to the Gum Wall.

My favorite story from the first day stars Ryan's special blanket. Ryan has a special fleece blanket that I sewed for him (see photos of the stroller above for a picture of blankie). One side has Elmo and the other side has monkeys on it. He sleeps with it every night. It goes wherever we go. It is the fifth member of our family. On our long walk to the hotel, it must have somehow slipped out of the stroller, un-noticed, while Ryan was napping.

We got to the hotel room, dropped off our stuff, went out to eat, then did a little shopping. We still hadn't noticed it was missing. After dinner we walked back downtown to the big Ferris wheel (my 32 week pregnant self did a HECK of a lot of walking and stroller pushing, I deserve some kind of award!).

As we were walking along to the waterfront, I spied a familiar object sitting in a basket attached to a bicycle that was parked on the street. The bike looked like it belonged to a "residentially challenged" person. The bike basket had a tambourine, a box of leftover food, and a pair of pants. Sitting on the very top looked like a blanket similar to Ryan's. "That's a coincidence", I thought and kept walking, "someone has a blanket like Ryan's." It took me a full second to realize that no one could have the same blanket as Ryan because I MADE his blanket!

I stared at the blanket in disbelief. "OMG, that's Ryan's blanket!" I checked all the nooks and crannies of the stroller to confirm that our blanket was indeed not there. I was in shock. I hadn't even noticed it was missing! And it had been about four hours since we must have dropped it. How insane that it would happen to appear right in front of us! This left me in an awkward position. The owner of the bike was nowhere to be seen. I thought I would find him/her and convince him/her to trade the blanket for a couple dollars. I wondered if I would have to plead and beg. Ryan saw his blanket and immediately started asking me for it in a sad puppy-dog voice.

I stood and stood. I looked around. And around. And around. I couldn't find anyone who might be the owner of the bike. A couple people were staring at me like I was a madwoman. And that's exactly how I felt. But I didn't know what else to do. That blankie is Ryan's prized possession. So...I did what I believe any mother would do. I reached in the homeless person's bike basket, sheepishly retrieved the blankie, and continued walking away as quickly as I could. I'm sure I looked strange. But all I could feel was relief at knowing that a disaster had been averted and Ryan's blankie was safe (although dirty and probably covered in germs). I also felt bad that the homeless person was minus a blanket...but not THAT bad.

I was still recovering from the whole ordeal as we made our second trip to Pike Place Market and down to the Great Wheel.

The famous Pike Place Pig. Ryan was perched precariously on his back and I was sure he would tumble down any moment. That didn't stop me from taking advantage of the photo-op.

We found this cool little park near our hotel. It's amazing how much a city changes when you don't visit it for nearly a year!

The kids were sad our hotel didn't have a pool (I don't know if any of the downtown hotels have one). So we improvised.
Ryan passed out quickly. It's hard work being pushed in a stroller all day!
Our first day was so much fun. That night was a different story, however. After dinner, I got sick myself. Runny nose, horrendous sore throat, fever, and chills. I somehow managed to tuck the kids into bed in a sickly stupor and then I simultaneously shivered and burned to death in my bed. I was so miserable. I don't remember being that sick in a long time. I was still wide awake at 2am. I felt like my head was going to explode from being so hot while my body shivered incessantly. I finally snuck out of the hotel room and found a vending machine in the lobby that dispensed Tylenol. I felt better after that but it was still a rough night.

The next morning the kids and I had breakfast at Starbucks. It was so fun to be out and about in the city with them.

Then we headed out to the Seattle Center to walk in the shadow of the Space Needle and hang out at the Science Center. To get there, we took to Monorail from Westlake Center. Aside from the Gum Wall, this may have been the highlight of their trip.

The shadow of the Needle.
I hadn't been to the Science Center since I was...probably 6. I remember my mom taking me to a brand new dinosaur exhibit featuring moving dinosaur displays. I was so happy to discover that the same exhibit was still a permanent feature! It was just as I remembered, except much, much smaller and much less scary.

There was a very cool bug exhibit which even had an 85 degree butterfly house. I almost died in the humidity of the butterfly house. But the kids loved getting up close and personal with the butterflies.

Then we saw a 3-D Imax movie about lemurs. Ryan refused to wear the 3D glasses after I snapped this picture. But that didn't stop him from enjoying watching blurry "monkeys" jump around the screen. He passed out in my arms halfway through and I nearly lost a limb from lack of blood circulation.

Later that day we met up with dad (thank goodness for reinforcements!). And took obligatory Space Needle photos.

I love this little man and his grin. For him, I'd stick my arms in a homeless man's bicycle basket any day!

My loves :)

Overall, it was an exhausting but fantastic trip! I loved sharing the city with them. Maybe we will return in a couple years when we are a family of five.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a great time and adorable pictures per usual :)