This year we made the trek back to my parents house in Indiana for Christmas. While we didn’t get to enjoy sledding and playing the snow, we did enjoy easier travel with unusually warm weather.
We had a nice time playing lots of games, doing a puzzle, taking walks through the woods, hunting for golf balls on the golf course, lunch at the Studebaker brewery, buying treats at the South Bend Chocolate company, canoeing and taking a tour of the Oliver mansion with my grade school teacher.
As always, my parents deserve a huge thank you for putting up with six extra people in their house. They always make us feel welcome … and full. Yum!
I posted earlier about our trip to Maine but that was only the first half of our summer vacation. From Maine, we drove back to Boston and then flew to Midway where Dad picked us up and took us back to Indiana.We spent just over a week there and had incredible weather! We went in the pool every day (often twice a day), visited the dunes, played putt putt, rode tractors and generally filled our time with lots of smiles and good food.
One big difference on this trip was that Don joined us for the second half of our time there. It was fun to finally show him where I grew up and Elijah loved having both Grandpa’s at the house at the same time!
I put together a video for this part of the trip as well and there are a couple family photos below.
If you search this blog for posts about “Camp Ticawa”, you’ll find a lot of entries. When I lived on the east coast, I frequently had the pleasure of hanging out with the Abendroth family at their place on Long Lake near Harrison, Maine.
Since moving to Washington, the trips have become a lot less frequenty. Tyla and I made it out there in 2011 and this year, we decided it was time to go back. Luckily the Abendroth clan was cool with us inviting ourselves out to invade their family vacation!
Getting to rural Maine from Woodinville with a 6 year old in tow isn’t easy. There weren’t any great options, but I think we ended up with a good one. Don was kind enough to get us to the airport by about 4:30am for a very early flight out of Seattle all the way to Boston. There we rented a car and made the ~3.5 hour drive up to camp. After factoring in the time change, we arrived around sunset.
We were blessed with beautiful weather all three days that we were there and we spent it floating down the Saco River, tooling around the lake on the pontoon boat, and relaxing around camp. It was great to catch up with old friends and meet a couple new faces as well. I can’t say enough thank you’s to the entire Abendroth family for letting us crash their family time! You all made us feel so welcome and we will cherish those memories forever!
Apparently, Jay had been passing around the old videos I made of camp and I was immediately asked by a number of the kids to make another one. So here we go! It’s the 2019 Camp Ticawa montage video:
A couple weekends ago, Tyla, Elijah and I headed to Great Wolf Lodge for the second time. It was quite a bit different from our first trip because we were already familiar with the layout so there wasn’t a feeling of discovery and we were more careful/cheap with our time there. Instead of staying two nights, we stayed one night and made use of the water park on the day we arrived and the day we left. They’re quite generous with those policies so it worked out well. Another difference is that Don, Logan and Megan came along and I think they had a reasonably good time.
When we were at Disney, I had specifically picked a hotel with good water slides. He was afraid to try them until almost literally the last minute. He finally got the nerve to try one and LOVED it but we had to leave immediately to make some dinner reservations. That was our last chance at the pool. He was pretty sad but I think it taught him a good lesson. When we got to the pool this time he looked up and said, “Daddy, which slide is good for me?” Yes! I was very proud. We started on the yellow and red slides in the middle and he loved them. After doing those a few times, he was ready for even bigger challenges, He went down three of the bigger slides and loved them all too. The only one he didn’t do was the Howlin’ Tornado and he wasn’t tall enough for that. I was incredibly proud of him for his great attitude and willingness to try those slides!
It was neat seeing him so confident in the water too. He’s progressing quite well in his swim lessons. One I watched him get knocked off a play structure and land in the water. He immediately rolled onto his back and started floating and motoring to the side. I think he’s going to have a great time when we visit my parents this summer and spend hours in their pool.
So even though Great Wolf Lodge is a mess of screaming kids and thinly veiled attempts to vacuum money from your wallet, it was a good trip. Thanks for organizing it Tyla!
For the past few years, we have gone on a Memorial Day vacation with Tyla’s family. Don has a timeshare and is kind enough to share it with us so we have a convenient place to stay.
This year we headed to Seaside, OR in the northwest corner if the state. Our room looked right out onto the beach and the condo has a heated outdoor pool and a couple of hot tubs. Those pools got a good workout and it was fun watching Elijah motor around under his own power. He has a pretty good handle on swimming on his back.
Aside from digging in the sand and flying kites on the beach, our main activity was a trip down to Garibaldi, OR. Tyla and I were in Garibaldi with her family exactly 10 years ago camping there for the weekend while her dad did a job at the nearby Tillamook factory. This time we rode the steam train and afterwards, we attempted to visit Tillamook. It was insanely crowded and we basically walked right back out the door and headed back home.
This year we drove down on Saturday morning and came back on Tuesday. It was so much more relaxing to make those drives without the huge amount of traffic on Friday and Monday. It was still heavy but nowhere near as slow as we’ve experienced in the past.
Thanks again to Don for being so generous and letting us all share that condo with him!