Summer Bucket List 2017: In Review

Summer has come and gone and we're finally out of the triple digit temperatures here in Las Vegas! Kids have been in school for a month and our days are packed and busy again.  Anyone else out there ready for a break already?!? 

I thought I'd go back and relive a little bit of our summer fun! As you all know, we've been putting together a summer bucket list for years now, but I think this year's was a little too ambitious and it's no surprise we didn't get to do everything on the list.  Some things we didn't do together as a family, such as the grandparents taking the kiddos to Dave & Buster's while we were away in Napa and Jason taking the kiddos to the drive in movies while I had book club.  Diego got to go to Wet N Wild water park with some friends and I took Elysse to Gravady Trampoline Park last weekend with her friend. Sure we didn't get a chance to try rolled ice cream, but we did enjoy plenty of ice cream this summer, including the famous Salt n Straw in Portland! YUMmmm! Although we didn't get to visit Zion National Park, we did visit  Sand Hollow Sate Park in Utah.

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We'll have to try to get to doing some ice skating this winter, try to get a camping trip in this spring, even if it's close to home in Mount Charleston, and Spring Mountain Ranch Super Summer Theater will be back on the list for summer 2018! 

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Hope your summer was fun and that you got to spend time together as a family and make some messy memories together!! XO 

Surprise Trip to Southern California | Summer Bucket List

The kiddos are on their 3rd week back to school and although it's been nice getting into a regular routine and being able to work without interruptions, sometimes the school grind has me missing the lazy days of summer.  The heat in Las Vegas has not let up, so carpooling and driving back and forth in 105+ degrees is the worse!! So, it make me so happy that we were able to squeeze in one more super quick trip before school started earlier this month.  

Ever since Diego started school we've taken a beach trip to Southern California in August as our end of summer/back to school trip. We had such a  busy summer this year that we just didn't think the trip would happen.  We told the kids and they were totally fine with it  But, It's been our tradition for years and I still wanted to make the trip happen! I decided to redeem some of our Hilton Honors Rewards points for the hotel and drive out to SoCal on Friday morning and head back Sunday!

Since the kids didn't think it was happening, we thought it would be fun to surprise them! For the past few years we've added a "mystery activity" to our yearly Summer Bucket List and they've been simple things like mini golf with friends and driving out to get ice cream.  Well, we totally surprised them Friday morning when we woke them up to our favorite California song! You can listen to it HERE ;)  Elysse got it pretty quickly and started jumping up and down and ran into Diego's room yelling, "We're going to California! It's our mystery surprise!" It was a pretty funny moment!  We had packed the car beforehand, so we had them get in the car in PJs and change when we got there. It was epic. 

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And just like that, 4 hours later, we were sitting on the beach under our umbrella in Crystal Cove State Park in Newport Beach, CA! The kids had a great time boogie boarding, building sandcastles, and just playing in the water.  Once everyone started getting tired, we packed up and headed to our hotel to shower and grab some dinner.  We were all beat after our long day on Saturday, so we slept in Sunday morning and took our time checking out.  We decided to hit the beach again, this time making our way towards L.A. and hanging out in Venice Beach for a bit. Jason and Diego skateboarded along the boardwalk and Elysse and I hung out at the beach.  The boys joined us after a bit and we stayed a little longer but we didn't stay too long since we were driving back to Vegas.  

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It was definitely a whirlwind trip but it was still a good time and we made some fun memories together, which is always the best.  The kids were so appreciative of their surprise trip and kept thanking us.  I'm so glad we made it work and didn't break one of our family traditions.  Now, I hope the kids don't expect us to top this "mystery activity" next year! LOL

What traditions do you have with your family? Have you ever had to break a tradition? How do you keep them going year after year?  

Summer Family Vacation Part I: Seattle, WA

As I mentioned in my last post, I got to run the Rock N Roll Seattle Half Marathon last month. And, having never been to the Pacific Northwest, we decided to make it a family vacation, adding Portland and the Oregon coast to our trip.  Today, I'll be sharing all about our weekend in Seattle first and Part II will go into our 4 days Oregon.

Since our trip ended in Portland, that's where we flew into.  Whenever we have trips where we are visiting a few cities or doing a road trip once we land, I prefer to fly into the city we'll be visiting last.  The main reasons I prefer to do this are 1: Renting a car one-way is a lot more expensive than returning it at the same airport.  2: It's less stressful to be near your airport at departure than having to calculate for a few hours drive.  I'd hate to miss our flight due to unforeseen traffic or getting lost. 

The drive to Seattle from Portland took longer than anticipated due to traffic, but we had plenty of time to pick up my race packet at the expo and then make our way to Pioneer Square for our walking tour by Beneath the Streets.  We'd heard about these tours from some friends and when I saw they were giving 1 complimentary tour to Rock N Roll runners, I figured we'd give it a try.  We don't normally do group tours on vacation because I prefer a more authentic vibe, plus with little ones, you just never know if they'll find them interesting.  Well, to my surprise the kids, who aren't so little anymore, did enjoy the tour.  They found it interesting and even asked some really good questions to our tour guide.  Afterwards, we stayed in the area and enjoyed some of the fun games they had in the square.  

Our next stop was Pike Place Market.  The market was closing when we arrived but it was still super crowded.  I know this is an icon Seattle tourist spot, but I wasn't really impressed.  I think there were just way too many people walking around aimlessly and being, well, tourists.  We originally planned to walk around the market, watch the famous fish throwing, and eat from a few of the popular food places.  With the market closing, we didn't get to see much and we only made it to one place Beecher's Handmade Cheese for some mac n cheese.  It was cool to see the cheese making process through the window, but it wasn't really amazing mac n cheese.  The best part was seeing all the beautiful flower stands.

Afterwards, we checked into our hotel room for the night and we were all so tired & a bit cranky from waking up early for our flight and walking around all day, that we just ordered a pizza and salad and had it in our room.  

It was another early morning for me on Sunday to get up and run the half marathon.  It was a great course and I really enjoyed it and the VIP lounge area.  You can read the race recap on my previous post HERE.  After the race, we made our way to Seattle Center for a closer look at the Space Needle and to grab some lunch before making our way to Portland! I wish we would/could have spent more time in this area.  I would like to go back and check out some of the museums, but we still enjoyed our time walking around the pretty gardens and the kids had a blast at the playground there.  Our last stop was to go see the Fremont Troll under the Aurora Bridge.  Such a quirky spot and I'm so glad we got to see it! 

Although it was a bit of a whirlwind, our weekend in Seattle was a ton of fun.  Coming from Vegas, we welcomed the gloomy and rainy weather.  It never really rained but we did have a few drizzles.  Ideally, I think 3 days in Seattle would have been perfect and would have allowed us to visit a museum or two and not crammed so much into 2 days.  

Have you been to Seattle? Besides the museums, what else would you recommend we do or see on our next trip to Seattle? What side trips would be worth a visit from Seattle? Thanks for stopping by and be sure to come back for the rest of our PNW trip!