Monday, August 03, 2009

Our first visit to Bend in 2009!

I feel so fortunate that we are able to take our family vacations in Bend. For FREE. Since my parents added onto their house (almost doubling it), redoing their yard/patios and adding air conditioning, there really isn't a place I'd rather take the kids for vacation. Well, I guess that isn't entirely true. We are really looking forward to taking the kids to Disneyland in 2-3 years, as well as Sea World & Legoland. But, those all take money! So for now, I'll stick to the most fun, relaxing, and cheapest vacation available! I just wish we could visit more often.

This was definitely the best trip to Bend that we've had since having the kids. Both kids are finally getting to the age where we don't have to entertain them 24/7 and Sienna actually slept fairly well all 5 nights, which has never happened before! Chris and I also went out with friends the first 2 nights we were in town! The first night we went to a birthday party at a Bend Elks baseball game and the second night we met friends for dinner, drinks and billiards! Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures from either night.

I'm not sure if it was good thing or a bad thing, but our vacation coincided with the week of 100+ degree weather in Portland. Even though it was much cooler in Bend (95+ degrees with a much drier heat), it was still too hot for the kids to play in the sun in the afternoons, so we either searched for shade to play in, or we stayed inside. To make matters worse, Bend had been infiltrated by mosquitoes and the only time of day that we were "safe" from being attacked was during the hottest part of the day. Chris and I ended up with the most bites (20 -30 each), while the kids made it through unscathed! My theory is that the kids were always on the go and the mosquitoes couldn't catch them! ha! Even with the hot weather and mosquitoes, we still had a ton of fun with Grandma & Grandpa Macnab!

Last summer the kids fought over Brayden's Diego fishing pole, so this year they bought Sienna one of her own. Of course she loved it because it was pink! Grandpa showed her how to "catch" fish in the fountain...
Sienna was so cute...after the fish landed in the fountain, she had to go check it out!

Brayden had a bit of fun fishing in the fountain, too!
This year Grandma & Grandpa got the wading pool out and both kids actually preferred to fish in the pool. I didn't get a good picture, but when Sienna wasn't in the way, Brayden would sit about 8+ feet away from the pool and cast his fish into the wading pool! We were all impressed with his fishing skills...looks like Grandpa will be able to take him fishing in the river next year!
Grandma & Grandpa bought the kids their very own tennis racquets this year. Right after breakfast (before it got too hot), we headed to the tennis courts. Sienna gave up quickly and sat on our laps, but she must have had fun because for the rest of our time in Bend, she kept asking to play tennis. Brayden, on the other hand, played for quite awhile! I was surprised that he was so coordinated...maybe he'll play tennis in school like his mom, uncle & grandpa!

At one point Brayden didn't want anyone helping him pick up the tennis balls. After hitting all 3 balls, he'd run all over the court to pick them up. WHERE DOES HE GET HIS ENERGY!?!? At least it gave Grandpa a bit of a break!
I have no idea what Brayden was doing in this picture, but I thought it was too funny...he looks like he's about to serve a ball! Of course, he isn't that far into his tennis "lessons" so he must have been doing a silly dance!
Snack Time!
In addition to our other fun activities, my mom and I had a playdate with my friend and her mom. Oh, yeah, and all 4 of our kids. ;) Taylor is 13 months older than Brayden and Layla is about 4 months younger than Sienna. I've been friends with their mom, Barb, since the 7th grade!!! Even though they moved to Delaware when we were 14 or 15, I've pretty much seen Barb almost every summer since!
My parents always have deer walking through their yard (and eating their pretty flowers). This time, we got to see this cute little fawn several kept coming into their yard to drink from their bird bath. Of course, the mommy and daddy deer were around somewhere. One morning when the kids were playing outside, they came running through the yard...Brayden was the closest and I was just praying he didn't get trampled!
The Playground!
Did I mention that I couldn't ask for anything more from a vacation spot? My parents have the best playground across the street from their house. This year, with the exception of the swings, the kids could play by themselves. Chris and I were able to sit on the bench and relax while they played together. It was sooooo wonderful.
Brayden loved the ladder...
and the rock wall!
Luckily Sienna knows her limits and stuck to the stairs!
Have I mentioned how cute I think the kids are when they hang out together?
Sparks Lake!
My parents have a new inflatable kayak! My mom hates water (she doesn't know how to swim), so I was SHOCKED when they told us they bought a kayak. If they hadn't sent pictures of it, I never would have believed it! We were lucky enough to check it out while we were in Bend. After the kids woke up from their naps, we headed to beautiful Sparks Lake. It was the hottest day we were there, but we were hoping it wouldn't be too hot at the lake. Unfortunately, if you were standing on the shore, it only felt comfortable when the sun went behind a cloud because there was no other shade. On the other hand, it felt wonderful while you were in the kayak!
Chris and the kids checking the water temperature!
Brayden and Sienna hanging out on the boat ramp!
Since we only had 2 life jackets, and none for the kids, we took turns in the kayak. Chris and my dad took their turn first...
Brayden really wanted to go, too, so next time we'll have to figure out how to squish him into the kayak with us (with a life jacket, of course!).
My mom and I had fun playing in the dirt with the kids. Kind of. Although Sparks Lake was beautiful, I was really disappointed that there weren't any trails or shaded areas for the kids to play.
Brayden and Sienna spent most of their time playing with sticks in the water...
Chris and dad finally made it back!
I was so excited for my turn in the kayak!
It was so much fun that I can't wait to go again!!!
Right before we left, we saw this cute little snake in the water by the boat ramp. I thought Brayden would be excited to see a snake in the water, but he didn't seem overly impressed.
Grandma & Grandpa Macnab had no idea that the cheap rocket "shooters" they bought for $3 were going to be such a huge hit. The kids were constantly asking to go outside to shoot the rockets (Sienna called them airplanes). They would shoot the rockets, head into the yard to find them and then bring them back to us to reload. It was perfect because we enjoyed relaxing on the patio while the kids had fun wearing themselves out!

You can see the green rocket flying through the air in this picture:
As you can see, it can be a little tricky finding the rockets in the yard. The rockets were constantly ending up in trees and in the midddle of the bitter even ended up on the roof!
On our way back home, we stopped in Detroit at a little market so Brayden could use the potty. While I was inside, I noticed they had a little restaurant so Brayden and I headed back to the car to get Chris and Sienna. We planned on getting a couple of burgers to go, but on our way out, we noticed they had a deck overlooking the lake. So, we grabbed a table and ate our burgers while the kids shared some tater tots. I only had my cell phone so the pictures aren't great, but I thought they were worth sharing. What a great little find...I can't wait to go back for a yummy burger and a great view! Hopefully next time it won't be so H-O-T outside!