Tag Archives: travel

This should make up for the next 10 days or so…

I have so much to write about, I guess I’ll try and start from a beginning of sorts… my jam packed Labor Day weekend.

Friday afternoon Stephen got off work early and we packed up the van to head to Bakersfield. We barely made it in time for our hair cut appointments with our favorite hair guy.

Then we headed over to the Bakersfield Museum of Art for my best friend’s wedding rehearsal followed by dinner at the Bakersfield favorite, La Costa. We definitely got to sit at the cool table that night and met some really interesting people that were also in the wedding party. After that we went to Target for some random stuff like another sippy cup for Bean because I forgot to bring any with us. Then we finally got to Stephen’s parent’s house to crash for the night.

The next morning we hung out for a little while then went to the mall to get my friend a wedding gift. I am the queen of last minute things lately. Then back to the house so my sister could do my hair before I headed over to the museum. During this time Stephen’s mom was playing with Bean and threw out her back trying to be silly with her. Stephen dropped me off at the museum where I got ready with the bride and did the picture thing.

Oh and pretty crazy was the fact that my best friend had chosen the same dress I did for her wedding day that I had worn almost to the day six years ago (our anniversary was the next day). It was very surreal for me seeing her in the dress, especially on my anniversary.

Stephen came back dressed up with Jillian and the wedding started. The ceremony was beautiful and fun. We did more pictures then had some yummy food. Pretty much everyone in the room has some connection to the news industry and a couple of our newsie friends made an awesome “news story” video about the couple. Then they shared their first dance.

And just minutes after this photo was taken…

Bean went into total meltdown mode because it was about 2.5 hours past her bedtime. So we had to cut out of the wedding a little early.

The next day we got up bright and early to head to Sequoia National Forest to do a little “hiking” (the path was paved and very flat) on our anniversary.

The last time I visited Sequoia was about 15 years ago, but Stephen had never been. The place has completely changed since I was last there so it was very unfamiliar and a little disorienting to me because I can still visualize the old parking lot and visitor center which have all been ripped out to make things better for the environment. There were mobs of people in the park that day. We couldn’t even get a parking space over by the General Sherman Tree hike so we just headed out of the park.

We drove to Fresno to hang out with our good friends Paul and Brooke (both were in our wedding and it was Brooke’s birthday). They made us dinner and as usual our time with them flew by with great conversations about church, politics, life, careers, parenting and all kinds of other stuff. I so wish they lived closer again because that used to be a weekly to monthly occurance with them and I miss it so much! We drove back to Bakersfield late that night.

Monday we went out meet up with our renter and see our house before heading back home. We got everything unpacked, started laundry and then headed over to my sister-in-law’s house to work out details of what will be occupying the next 10 days…

Since my MIL threw her back out, she won’t be able to watch Bean’s cousins while their parents are in Norway. So we volunteered to take up that task. I’m actually kind of excited about it. Ruth is quite the extraordinary planner and as such watching her girls will be busy, but organized and full of fun. 🙂

Anyway, I doubt I’ll be posting much (or maybe I will, who knows) and wanted to explain my absence before dropping off the the radar.

Oh and a couple more things…

I am still slowly working on the boy blanket for my sister’s friend. I’ve got all the knitting done, just sewing the panels together now and then on to the backing and border…

I totally love it and might be tempted to keep it for our baby boy. 🙂

Also, Bean will be 50 weeks old tomorrow…

Her appetite is still ridiculous and as such she has decided that the snack trap is her new BFF. She is very posessive of the snack trap, so even when I take it away to refill it, this is what happens:

Dropping the morning feeding has made things so much better around here. I’m still dealing with biting, but not nearly as much. So I’m debating whether to drop another feeding this week or just keep working on the biting issue with the ones that remain.

She’s also getting a little braver with walking. Last night she took a few steps without even being coaxed to do so! She also seems to prefer it, at least while holding on to stuff for now, over crawling the last couple days. So I know she’s right on the cusp of being a full time walker.

Anyway, that about sums things up.

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I love cloth diapering, part 6: On the road again…

Stephen and I take a lot of short weekend trips to see family and friends. We also like to take at least one longer vacation each year to get away, relax and see new sites. We did this prior to having Bean and we both agreed that the addition of her to our family would not change that.

But even if you don’t travel much, you’ll still need to factor in the logistics of using cloth when you are out running errands, at playdates, etc. unless you want to use disposables for those times. That was our plan originally, but the rashes Bean got from disposable diapers changed things for us. Plus, I realized that it really wasn’t that hard to do cloth on the road.

So first we’ll start with out for the day type trips and then move on to more serious travel.

This is my current diaper bag:

I was hoping the new bag I ordered from Etsy would get here in time for this post, but it did not. Anyway, my diaper bag is pretty much always super stuffed to the brim like that because the cloth diapers are much more bulky than disposables. I think my overstuffing it is what has caused so much wear and tear and my less than perfect seams to split under pressure, which is why I ordered a new bag.

So if we delve into the bag a bit and take away all the items that are non-essential to diapering, this is what is needed for a typical day of errands:

From left to right: wet bag, changing mat, two cloth diapers and eight washcloths. Something I realized that is missing from this picture and my diaper bag at this moment, is my spray bottle filled with wipes solution.

My mother-in-law got me a bottle of this BumGenius bottom cleaner at my baby shower. I have since used it all up, but I just refill it with my homemade solution when I run out. So when I am out and about, instead of dunking my washcloths in the wipes solution I spray Bean’s bum and and wipe with a dry washcloth. If she has a particularly messy diaper I will wet the washcloths in a sink if I can because I don’t find the dry wipes method to be as effective as wet ones. 

The wetbag I made can hold up to two dirty diapers. So if Bean requires a diaper change while I am out running errands I just put the dirty diaper in there. The changing pad protects her from the various surfaces I’ve had to change her diaper on (everything from the floor, public restroom counter, an actual changing station and the trunk of my car) as well as protects those various surfaces from anything gross that comes from her (my sister-in-law’s playroom floor has benefitted from this on more than on occasion!). Both are lined with some vinyl I picked up from Beverly’s with coordinating fabric on the outside.

I usually “budget” four wash cloths per diaper change when I am out and about. I don’t always need this many, but if she poops I definitley do. Bean is kind of an interesting kid in that she only poops every few days and her “poop days” are an all day affair. It is kind of nice in that I don’t have to deal with poop every single day, but sometimes those poop days can be quite brutal.

So that about covers what I need for a day of errands. If I am truly going to be out the ENTIRE day I might pack a couple more diapers, some more wipes and a plastic zipper bag too, but those days are rare.

Now, lets move on to out-of-town travel. This duffel bag has become Bean’s travel “diaper” bag:

We used to use it for just the two of us when we went on a quick overnight or weekend trip, but not so anymore. It holds about half my stash in the center section and then I stuff one of the end pockets with wash cloths and the other with wet bags and plastic zipper bags.

Something that did get here in time for this post is my new large wet bag that I ordered from monkeyfootdesigns on Etsy. One thing that I do not like about using clear plastic zipper bags as wetbags is that they get all steamy and you can see it because they are clear. This grosses me out. It just does. So, I want to get or make about 1-2 more of these for use out of town and put an end to my consumption of plastic zipper bags for diapering purposes.

If we are going out of town just for the weekend, we don’t plan for washing. I just make sure I am all caught up on diaper laundry before we go. We take half the stash with us and I wash it all when we get back.

I tend to overplan on the number of diapers I’ll need for a trip because unlike most moms, I can’t just run up to the convenience/grocery store and buy a pack of disposables if we run out of clean diapers. Well, I could, but I don’t and I don’t want to.

If we are going for a longer period of time we try to figure out a way that we will be able to wash diapers while we are on vacation. Most recently for my sister’s wedding this was done by renting a condo that had a washer and dryer in the unit instead of staying in a hotel. We priced it out and it actually wound up being the same as far as cost. If we are staying with family we make sure they don’t mind us doing some laundry while we are there. This hasn’t come up yet, but if we were to have some other vacation situation we’d probably research laundromats in the area prior to our trip and plan for a day of laundry if we had to. And if it really came down to it I’d probably bite the bullet and get a pack of disposables and plan for the ensuing diaper rash. I would definitely try to exhaust all other options first though because that’s just me.

So, I think that about covers everything you need to know about going cloth. I hope you have enjoyed this little series, learned a lot and maybe even considered the switch. If you think I’ve missed anything or if you still have questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to answer it as best I can or point you to a site with the information you are looking for.

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Visiting the Pacific Northwest Part 3: Pike Place Market

So we just got back from Pike Place Market and that was a really great experience.

On the way there I was able to snap a picture of the famous Space Needle from the freeway (sometimes a little traffic can be a good thing).

Jenn directed us to a parking garage and after some serious maneuvering by Stephen into a compact spot we were on our way.

There is so much to see in the market. It’s like one really huge bazaar. Also it is like a pregnant woman’s dream with all the snacks and food available along the way. They have every kind of food you could imagine: Thai, Chinese, Italian, seafood, Vietnamese, Indian, Mexican, etc.

There are also pastry shops and of course that famous Seattle coffee all over the place. There is this one cheesecake shop that sells little cheesecakes that are like 2-3 inches in diameter. There are so many flavors and it all looked so yummy. They also have these totally amazing cheesecake truffles. It is basically a ball of cheesecake dunked in really delicious chocolate. I had two New York style cheesecake truffles and Stephen had a Mexican chocolate one that had cinnamon and cayenne pepper in it. He said it was the perfect combination of spices and chocolate.

For lunch we went to Pike Place Chowder which has something like nine different kinds of chowder. We all went with traditional New England clam chowder.

We saw the very first Starbucks at 1912 Pike Place:

I didn’t get coffee there. I had a yummy chocolate mint mocha from a non-chain coffee shop called Local Color which also featured tons of art from local artists.

There were so many flower vendors. Flowers were everywhere. Tulips are in bloom right now so we saw a lot of those.

Little Kaela was able to con Jenn into buying her a $5 bouquet because “flowers are for princesses.” Jenn said she’s a sucker for that kind of stuff. I think if I had a little girl I definitely would be too. 🙂

We picked up a couple souvenirs, but nothing too annoying or unuseful. First we got a really great piece of artwork:

It was a little pricey, but it is large and we really need art for our house. We also got a cute onesie for Baby Wuertz:

Then before we left we got some really good, fresh donuts from a donut vendor (so good with my coffee) and some clams for dinner at the fish stand where they yell and throw the big fish.

Oh! We also have a story that illustrates just how laid back this place is. So this woman is driving through the market and getting frustrated at all the pedestrians. She starts honking her horn really loudly and this guy comes out taps on her window and says, “Hey! We don’t do that here.”

I love the metropolitan feel of this area yet the laid back nature of it. It just feels really comfortable. I also love how in the the area that the Halls live all of the houses, and I mean ALL of them, are exactly the style of house that is my favorite. There is so much nature and greenery all around too. I think the Pacific Northwest in general is one of my favorite places we have visited on vacation so far.

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Visiting the Pacific Northwest Part 2: The Oregon Tour

We set off on our tour of Oregon late Monday morning. Our first stop was some historical houses in Salem. We saw the Bush House built in 1877-78. It has a huge amount of property with really pretty gardens all around. Everything was in bloom. It is closed on Mondays though so we didn’t get to go inside.

Then we headed over to the Deepwood Estate which is next door and shares the large property of gardens. The Deepwood Estate was also closed that day.

We stopped off at the state capitol building for a quick picture and then we got on our way with the rest of the trip.

We headed out of town to Silver Falls State Park. We could have gone on a whole hike that would have taken us around the park to see several different waterfalls and behind them. It is a fairly easy hike that is actually paved, but I get out of breath a whole lot easier these days so we just hiked down far enough to get some good pictures of the south falls.

Even from that short amount of hiking I was totally out of breath when we got back up to the top. Dang squashed organs. We were stopping off at the bathroom before heading off to our next destination when we happened upon a small family of deer.

Then we headed towards Portland, stopping in Oregon City to see the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. We just barely missed the closing time by about 15 minutes so we didn’t get to go inside. There was some historical stuff on the grounds though so we checked it out.

Paula wanted us to look like travel weary settlers complete with bonnets. I tried to be a good sport about it, but it was not the picture I wanted so we took one of those too.

I have to say that covered wagons are a whole lot smaller than I expected. It is crazy to think that people actually traveled across the whole United States in one of those. I get uncomfortable in our very comfortable Accord after only a few hours. Yeesh.

Paula really wanted to take a picture with this buck we saw when we came into the park, but there was a sign that said “no climbing” so she settled on standing next to it.

Then we headed into Portland to get something to eat. The original plan had been to go to a lighthouse on the coast afterwards, but we ran out of time. And we were hungry so we decided on Portland.

We found a parking garage. It was really the first parking garage that we came upon. We should have tried a little harder to find one though. It was really, really old. The stairwell smelled like paint and had a rickity wooden staircase that we almost thought we got stuck in. None of the doors opened back. We finally decided to try the door that said “Emergency exit alarm will sound” and made it out onto the street. And that door didn’t open back up from the outside, but we at least figured we could go back around to the car entrance and get back in.

So we pretty much went to the first restaurant we saw which happened to be Jake’s Famous Crawfish. Apparently it is one of the top ten seafood restaurants in the nation and a famous Portland historical landmark.

Our food was delicious and the restaurant is really cool looking and pretty huge inside. We even had the most heavenly mini berry cobbler made with locally grown Oregon berries. It felt even better that instead of eating somewhere like The Cheesecake Factory which you can find in any major metropolitan city, that we ate at a place with history.

So then we headed back to the parking garage and it was closed! We had a total freakout moment and thought we might have to spend the night in Portland. We called the “emergency” number listed outside the parking garage and got the door code then got our car back luckily.

Yesterday we made our way to Bothell to hang out with the Halls and today Jenn is going to take us Pike Place Market. I can’t wait.

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Visiting the Pacific Northwest: Part 1

It is already Monday and we’ve been on our trip since Friday at 6pm so I figured I’d better get to writing before I forget it all.

Friday at 4:30 I had piles of outfits and toiletries everywhere and some stuff still wasn’t done. I was completely exhausted though. I called Stephen and gave him a warning. I then tried to take a short power nap, but it didn’t really help. I got up and started putting all the clothes and stuff into our suitcases. They were so full that the zippers were really hard to close. I struggled with the zipper on the larger of the two suitcases for five minutes before completely breaking down into nearly hysterical crying. It was pretty pathetic and not the way I had planned to start our trip.

I pulled myself together and managed to squish the clothes down to finally get the suitcase closed. Stephen got home and we finished the last bit of tidying up then we were on the road. The day before Stephen had purchased The Chronicles of Narnia unabridged audio book for us to listen to. So we popped in The Magician’s Nephew and became enveloped in the story.

We stopped at a Rally’s in Selma for dinner. It wasn’t very good. No wonder not many of those exist anymore.

Driving to Sacramento wasn’t that exciting. There’s not much to see in the valley and it was mostly dark anyway.

We finally arrived at the Vizcaya at 11pm. After a little confusion at the front door (they close at 10:30) we got in touch with the night clerk and were let in. The very limited parking is a bit of trek around the property so we headed back to get our stuff and then settle into our room.

The Vizcaya is really just like staying in an old house. It kind of smells like an old house. The carpet could use some updating, the doors creak, the sink drips and everything is pink. Well not everything. Stephen was just a little overwhelmed. It was cute and quaint though. I didn’t get any pictures of our room or the hotel though because it was too late. Perhaps on our return stay.

We layed down in the four poster bed and Stephen finally was able to witness the baby moving and feel it too. Then we went to sleep.

The next morning we enjoyed our complimentary breakfast of Belgian waffles, eggs and fruit in the small dining room with some of the other guests. We packed up our stuff and headed towards Oregon. Things began to get progressively greener and more mountainous.

You start to be able to see Mt. Shasta towering above everything before you even get to Redding (which is where we stopped for lunch). Having never been this far north before, I didn’t know if we would get a really good view of Shasta from the I-5. I could see that it was pretty close to the freeway, but it seemed like the mountains surrounding it would keep going and obscurring the view every so often. So when we saw a vista point turnoff south of the giant volcanic mountain we immediately took our opportunity to get a shot of it.

We soon learned though that things do flatten out and the better view actually comes after you get north of it. There wasn’t an official turnoff point though so Stephen wouldn’t stop. I got this shot as we were driving by rolling down my window:

The rest of the drive was really green and beautiful. There are a lot more mountains, trees, greenery, rivers and creeks. We saw hawks and even a family of deer. We finally arrived at my sister’s in Salem at about 7pm that night.

The next morning we got up for church. She’s working here as a youth pastor and it was her first time preaching. I’ve seen her really bomb at speaking in front of people before so it was really neat seeing her actually make it through and do a good job at it.

She was having her small group over that afternoon so we headed out with her boyfriend, Matt and decided to check out The Enchanted Forest theme park. The park is owned and created by a local Salem man. The whole thing is pretty cheesey and I think there are actually quite a few parts that most small kids would get freaked out by. There are a lot of cave structures that are very dark. After being at Disneyland last weekend this was just not up to par.

It did kill most of the time that we had to be away though. After Paula’s small group was done meeting we all went bowling. On the way there we passed this wicked looking building that used to be an insane asylum (officially Oregon State Hospital) and was actually where One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was filmed. I didn’t get any pictures though because we were in the car.

Bowling was tons of fun even if it wasn’t necessarily something touristy.

So that about does it for our first part. Today we’re actually going to go see some Oregon sites.

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