Memory Monday

Better late than never thanks to the power outage.

Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m on some kind of punk show called Brains Behaving Badly.  It’s worse than pregnancy brain…at least I think so, I can’t really remember.  😉  I’m used to being sharp and on point, not having to write everything down and describe the meaning of a word I’m trying to recall while telling a story.  I jumble my words up, put things away in wrong places, forget names of people I’ve known for years, forget where I left things, forget words I’m sure are on the tip of my brain. 

Mostly I’m just forgetting things…mostly insignificant things. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t lost a kid or anything, but it’s still pretty frustrating trying to navigate this brain-fog.  So I’ve decided that since I’ve started this blog, I’ll spend Mondays delving into my childhood as well as the not so distant past; a calisthenics regimen of sorts for my brain.  Hmmm, maybe I’ll start a new craze and make a million bucks…Mental Zumba! 😉  Anyway, I hope you enjoy my “workout” down memory lane…

Favorite Clay Family Vacations
I’ll admit that I looked through our shot glass collection to “jog” (get it?) my memory of some of these.

10. Great Wolf Lodge with Ike and 5 Kids
This was a fun trip, but I’m glad we had a discount through Ike’s work.  We only stayed one night, but that allowed us to play in the waterpark for 2 days and that seemed like plenty of splashy-goodness.  Corbin did NOT like the giant bucket of water that dumped out every 5 minutes and the waves in the wave pool scared him.  He did try the kiddie slides in the Tadpole Pond once, but decided he didn’t like that either because they were too close to the bucket.  The big kids and I had fun on the scarier slides, but I would suggest that you ask to be facing forward on your first time down the Howlin’ Tornado…especially if you’re the heaviest on the raft, lol!  🙂

9. Portland with Ike
Ike and I took a romantic, and kidless, trip together for the mash-up that is my birthday/Valentine’s Day.  We scored a great room at the Hilton through Hotwire…you know the site that only tells you the number of stars the hotel has until you book the deal you choose.  Our romantic candlelit dinner for 2 included raw oysters and after much hemming and hawing, I agreed to gag one down.  I spent most of the next day alternating hanging my head over the hotel toilet and sleeping while Ike (who ate them too, but was gratefully unaffected) played Gamecube and watched movies.  But once I felt better, we walked around downtown Portland and then took a drive down to Cannon Beach where Isaac captured one of my favorite pictures of myself.  While this may not seem like it should make the list, it was one of our first trips on our own after we had Emmi and with 3 kids, 4 and under, we needed some time away to remember that we weren’t just diaper-changing zombies.

8. Camping at Kopachuck with Ike & 5 Kids
I LOVE to camp.  There is something about sleeping in a tent, watching the campfire flicker, and spending time in the woods that is so relaxing to me.  We spent this last-weekend-before-school trip hiking trails that we hadn’t ever explored on our numerous day trips.  We also paddled around in the bay on our blow-up raft.  We all were hoping we could go explore Deadman’s Island, but there were just too many big boats and too much wind to make it there without an engine.  The kids beat us at Apples to Apples and we giggled through another round of Telestrations.  I also realized I’m getting better and better at judging how much food to pack.  We came home with an almost-empty cooler and just a few non-perishables in a bag.  Plus, Giant Baby learned how to upload pictures to Facebook from my phone.  🙂

7. Astoria with Ike & 3 Kids
When I was about 6mos pregnant with Corbin, we took the kids to Astoria.  We visited all the famous landmarks from Kindergarten Cop and the Goonies movies. We rode the trolley through town, visiting many kid-friendly museums, shops, and nearly sinking docks full of sea lions.  The kids and Ike tromped up 164 stairs of the Astoria Column while I happily stayed below to catch their balsa wood gliders.  Despite my presence, a teenage girl snatched Emmi’s wooden plane and ran off with it (insert angry pregnant mom eyeballs here).  We took them to Cannon Beach to play in the sand and get their first glimpse of Haystack Rock…one of my favorite places in the world.  We played at all the amusement stops on the Promenade at Seaside. And we ended with another side trip to Long Beach where the kids drove go karts (Emmi with her Daddy).  We all laughed as Braedan waved and promptly passed the flagger telling him his turn was done.

6. Chelan/Orondo with Ike & 5 Kids
This was our first trip as a family after we added Tatyana to our brood.  We won the trip at the Palate of the Plateau auction for Young Life.  We lodged for a week in a beautiful house and made good use of the included access to the country club pool.  We took Corbin on his first waterslide (and he LOVED it) and the big kids were blissfully tired after a full day of aquatic fun.  My parents joined us midweek for the Grand Coulee Dam tour.  And, yes, I think we all giggled once or twice about taking the dam tour.  😉  We rented a boat and took the kids tubing on Banks Lake and then stayed for the laser light show on the dam.  On our way back to Chelan, we witnessed the most amazing lightning storm and actually pulled over for a bit to watch the beauty on display.  Ethan told us that God put on a better light show than the we ever could have seen at the dam.  🙂

5. Long Beach, WA with Ike
“Baby moons” — one last trip as a couple before the baby arrives — are being enjoyed by more and more expectant couples. But what about a “fertile moon?”  After Eden was stillborn, it took some time before we knew that we wanted another baby.  And with 3 kids in the house at the time, we wanted some private time alone.  Ike surprised me with a guided history tour in an antique carriage through town and we spent hours sitting on the beach listening to the waves crash wildly on the shore.  The beautiful ocean – view hotel room featured a large jetted tub with shuttered windows that allowed you to see the ocean through the sliding door on the balcony.  It was very romantic, but apparently we weren’t the only ones with that idea.  Let’s just say that the floors were hardwood and not very thick and the couple in the room above us had a very enjoyable weekend too.  😉  We found out just a couple of weeks later that we were expecting Corbin!!!

4. Florence & Newport Oregon with Ike & 4 Kids
 When we arrived for check-in at our budget hotel, the last thing I could imagine was actually staying there.  It was a filthy yuck-fest of a room, circa 1974.  Corbin was just a month out from kidney surgery and newly crawling.  I just wasn’t willing to take the risk of him getting sick.  I was able to get our deposit refunded and we drove around looking for another place to stay.  We found a casino near by and booked a beautiful and hygienic room for less than the budget motel’s price!!!!  That certainly made the 6+ hour drive worth it.  Our many adventures included a speedy race across the sand dunes, exploring the Sea Lion caves, braving the Passage of the Deep shark tunnels, scaring our kids at the Wax Museum and Ripley’s 😉 , and of course, playing on the beach.   Plus, I got to tell my kids about how I had gone there with my family as a kid and we had tried to sled down the dunes on cardboard and nearly peed our pants when my Dad tried to show us how. 🙂

3. Victoria Canada with Ike
I went to Victoria with my 8th grade class…that trip doesn’t even compare.  Ike and I took the Clipper Ship and enjoyed a long weekend alone.  We toured the Craigdarroch Castle, walked the jetty to the mini lighthouse, spent time on the beach listening to the lapping waves, visited the Royal BC Museum, sipped tea in the Gold Level Lounge and relaxed in the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, explored the shops in downtown Victoria, walked through the Butterfly Gardens, and spent 5 hours strolling through the gorgeous floral masterpieces of Butchart Gardens where I took a gazillion pictures.  It was luxurious and relaxing and we both loved spending such special time together. 

 2. Disneyland Christmas Present with Ike & 5 Kids
I cried tears of happiness when my kids opened the giant box filled with balloons and tickets to Disneyland.  It was so cool to watch their confused expressions build into excitement.  Having been to Disneyland when I was 13, I thought I knew what to expect when we planned our surprise Disney trip (thanks to the generosity of some wonderful people).  But as we arrived at the happiest place on earth, my heart felt like it was bursting with sunbeams.  It was an entirely different place seen through my children’s eyes.  I loved knowing that their first time seeing Mickey was with me.  The trip culminated with the amazing fireworks display watched through the tears in my eyes and a lump of joy in my throat.

(On this trip we also enjoyed the Winchester Mansion, Queen Mary, Golden Gate Bridge, Longbeach Aquarium, Legoland, and the Hollywood Wax Museum/Ripley’s Museum.  In that order, lol!) 
1. Ocean Shores with Ike
It was one of our first vacations on our own as a couple, BC (before children).  We had so much fun riding horses in the sand, putting around town on mopeds, playing miniature golf, racing go-karts, and relaxing on the beach.  I took tons of pictures during each of our adventures with my handy-dandy 35mm camera on a brand new roll of 24 exposure film.  Or so I thought.  When the counter hit 28 I paused and thought that maybe I had actually bought a 36 exposure roll.  But when it hit 37 I knew something was wrong.  CRAP!  I hadn’t actually loaded the film into the camera!  All those photo-ops of the two of us smitten with each other; all the documentation of our amazing time together dissolved into the sea mist.  Instead of sulking about my blunder, we spent the last day racing to revisit every location where we had previously taken pictures.  We’d hop out of the car, snap cheesy photos of each other in front of the seaside establishments or their billboards, then hastily hop back in the car and zoom off toward the next stop.  We wondered what people preparing to ride off on the mopeds or gallop away on the horses thought of us, frantically snapping shots like paparazzi.  I still giggle when I think about this trip.
I wonder if this counts towards my weekly workout goal?  🙂