Family Vacations

April, 2010 - Disneyland and Sea World, CA
August, 2009 - Kalaloch and Mt. St. Helens, WA
July, 2007 - Kalaloch, WA
July, 2007 - Yellowstone National Park
March, 2005 - San Diego, CA
May, 2004 - Seattle, WA

April, 2010 - Disneyland and Sea World, CA
We basically drove straight down to Anaheim. We stopped at a rest area for about 3 hours on the way down. It was a very long drive. Everyone did such a great job though!

We basically drove straight down to Anaheim. We stopped at a rest area for about 3 hours on the way down. It was a very long drive. Everyone did such a great job though!

 We had a blast walking around Anaheim and Downtown Disney that day! We ended our day going to In and Out Burger.
The next day, we went to Disneyland. Everyone had a blast!

After a few days in Anaheim, we were off to San Diego to go to Sea World. As much fun as everyone had in Disneyland, we actually liked Sea World even better! We had a special close encounter with the beluga whale!
We also went home with just a few hours' stop in a rest area. It was a great vacation, but we were also very glad to make it back home!

August, 2009 - Kalaloch, and Mt. St. Helens, WA

We started off going to Kalaloch, WA, and playing on the beach. We walked the trails that go into the Olympic National Park, the girls completed the Jr. Ranger program offered there, and enjoyed the ranger talks! It was such a relaxing time together as a family!

Then we were off to Mt. St. Helens! They have so much educational things set up about the 1980 eruption, and about volcanoes and earthquakes in general, that I think we could have spent even more time there! We enjoyed the trails, and seeing the way life has returned to the region!

While we were here, Ashley watched a yellow jacket fly into a small tunnel to its nest.  She decided to stomp on it...we learned that Ashley is not allergic to bees after she got 11 bee stings from the swarm that came to protect their hive!

The park ranger came to make sure she was ok, and spray the next.  Then he dug it up.  It was a pretty big nest.  The twins were able to see the bee hive, but Ashley was still hiding in the tent, afraid that more bees would find her if she went out!

July, 2007 - Kalaloch, WA

Faux-pa teaching the girls to jump waves

"Mommy, I caught a bucket
full of ocean!"

Playing in trees at our campsite.  Anna (left), Bailey (right)

This is the first time I had been to Kalaloch. The girls and I went with Chris' aunt Carolyn and Uncle Jann. We all had a blast! The girls enjoyed playing in the ocean with Uncle Jann, whom they call faux-pa (because he is kind of like a fake  
Brianna made a sensory
project out of the beach experience!
grandpa to them).  The weather was very typical for Western Washington...rain, rain and more rain!  There was only 1 day out of the week we planned on staying there, that we could play on the beach!  We actually ended up going home 2 days early, because we couldn't get dry and warm - everything was wet!

Bison at Wild Animal Park who used
the van as a scratching post!

On our way home, we decided to stop at the Wild Animal Park in Sequim, WA.  That was definately a fun stop!

 July, 2007 - Yellowstone National Park
 We went to Yellowstone with Jann and Carolyn. We really didn't have enough time to spend there! We learned that it is really hard to go tent camping in have to bring all food, anything used for or with food, anything that might have your scent (such as clothing), etc, into your vehicle each time you leave the campsite...which means nothing can be left at the site, except the tent!

We had a great deal of adventure while we were camping.  The last night we were there, a big wind storm came through.  The power went out.  We could hear the bison snorting, and moving around (it really sounded and felt like Jurassic Park when the dinosaurs would move!).  The parks warns to stay at least 50 yards away from Bison, but they were walking between our tent and our van.  I pulled Brianna away from the side of the tent...then with the last big gust of winds, the tent poles, that we had been bracing for the last hour, snapped!  We transferred everyone and everything into the minivan...and then had to leave a day early as we no longer had any shelter!

We still had a great time! It was HOT...the A/C in the minivan, was a huge blessing! We got to see mud pots, sulfur pits, geysers, and lots of Bison!

The twins completed the Jr. Ranger program they offered, which was a great way for them to learn about all kinds of things that go on in the park!

March 2005 - Sea World, San Diego, CA

Playing on the beach in Crescent City, CA
 This was our first real vacation.  We went to Crescent City, CA for our first night.  The girls did a great job riding in the van!  We played at the beach, by a light house that evening.  The next day, we found a great playground to eat our breakfast and let the girls get some energy out before another long day in the van!
San Francisco, CA

 Then we went through the Redwood Forrest, while making our way to San Francisco!

The following day, we had a bus tour of the city.  It was a lot of fun!  At one point, we turned down a street, and saw rainbows on every building, and light post!  My sweet Anna (4 years old at the time), stood up and said in a loud voice, "Wow!  Look at all the rainbows!  They must know that God loves them and will never flood the whole earth again!"  Several people chuckled...We spent that afternoon at Alcatraz Island...a former prison for the worst of the worst criminals.  The pictures scared the twins so much that they were afraid of police officers for months after this trip!
Then it was off to San Diego!  We went to Sea World, Wild Animal Park, and San Diego Zoo.  We also had a behind the scenes tour at Sea World where we got to touch several animals, including the dolphins, and even got to play basketball with a dolphin!  We had a couple of days that we hung around the hotel and played in the pool, letting everyone rest and relax.  When traveling with small children, if they stay well rested, everything goes much more smoothly!

 May 2004 - Seattle, WA

Playing downtown Seattle

At the top of the Space Needle

The twins meet their new sister, Ashley Elizabeth

The very first paid week off that Chris had, was used the week Ashley was born.  Starting the day before my induction was scheduled with her, and going through the next full week.  The day before she was born, we went to downtown Seattle.  We went up in the Space Needle, took the monorail, walked around the Seattle Center and Center House, walked around Westlake Mall, and enjoyed the last little bit of time that we would be a family of 4!

Playing at the park

Feeding ducks at the park

First professional pics of all 3 girls. 
Twins, 3 1/2 years, Ashley 3 days

The next day, Ashley was born.  The twins were brought to the hospital by Chris' sister, BIL, and nephew to meet their new little sister.  Then went home with their grandparents to spend the night.  Ashley and I were released the next day.  We picked up the twins, and went to the annual camping spot for the extended Pence family.  We visited with them for awhile before heading home. 
We spent the next day, Monday, at a park.  Then on Tuesday, we had the girls' pictures taken.  Wednesday, we hung out at home, as I was feeling a bit tired.  Thursday it was off to gymnastics class for the twins!  Then, Friday, we went to another park. 
Saturday we went on the Spirit of Washington Dinner Train.
All in all, it was a wonderful first vacation for our little family!

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