Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Summer 2018: Family Reunion in Walla Walla

Oscar's mom's family holds a Flinders Family reunion every couple of years. She is the oldest of 9, so her youngest siblings are close to our age and our kids have plenty of 1st cousins once removed to play with. We've only gone to it once when it was in Utah while we were there on vacation, but this year we decided to make the trip since it was held at Uncle Ben's house in Walla Walla, Washington. It's the complete opposite end of the state, but that's still much closer than Utah, California, or anywhere else they might hold it where the other siblings live. Uncle Ben's house was full of guests, but Oscar's parents offered to put us up in the Best Western hotel with them and Grandma and Grandpa Flinders.



Oscar had a big conference in Bellevue he couldn't miss that day, but he was able to leave around 1pm once he'd done his part. The kids and I went to the Bothell YMCA and then to get lunch for them at a middle school in Bothell before picking Oscar up.The entree was beef teriyaki dippers, which neither of my kids would eat, but they were kind enough to dig into their extra stores and pulled out these peanut butter and jelly cookies out of the fridge along with poptarts and string cheese. I tried a bite of the peanut butter and jelly cookies and they were tasty! I'll have to figure out where to get them. They look like ice cream sandwiches but with PBJ instead.

From there we picked up Oscar and headed on out. We let them play their devices so they would stay awake long enough to stop at Snoqualmie and Franklin Falls.

This was Oscar and the kids' first time out at Franklin Falls. Since it's so high in elevation on Snoqualmie pass, it doesn't dry up as much and still looks really good in the summer.

After Snoqualmie falls we stopped at a Safeway to get Oscar and I lunch and get the kids a treat. They picked donuts, which were very sticky of course. Oscar picked the kids up and helped them wash their hands in the river without needing to venture out into it themselves.


The kids had just as much fun throwing rocks in the rivers as they did seeing the waterfall. You can view the video of them doing it here. It doesn't want to upload.

It was a little difficult to hike in flip flops. We took a shortcut so it wasn't very long, but it would have been worth putting on my tennis shoes.




The kids were completely worn out and slept pretty much the rest of the way to Richland where we hung out with Cambria and family. It's always tons of fun with them. I've said it before that I couldn't design a better stop. We spent nearly 3 hours there. They made us dinner and thoroughly entertained us even though it was their anniversary and they'd forgotten we were coming.

We might have stayed a little too long, though, because we had to make the rest of the drive at twilight and ended up hitting a deer with a death wish on the highway. We're glad it didn't roll onto our windshield, but it damaged the car enough that we had to leave it in Walla Walla and bring a rental car home. It was late, so we pulled into our hotel and didn't take the car to the repair shop until the next morning.

Marcus and Martha had brought up Dillan, Justin, and Mary, who were all in the pool when we arrived. It was late and we were exhausted, but the kids really wanted to swim, so we grabbed their swimsuits and lifejackets out of the car. Tyler couldn't wait for his. He jumped in the pool fully clothed. He didn't have his vest yet either, but at least he can keep himself safe staying along the edge.


The next morning we went to the YMCA while we waited to hear if there would be a rental car available for us that day. We let the kids play on the air hockey table in the Kid's Zone when we finally got word that we wouldn't be able to get a car until the next day. We drove to the repair shop and Marcus came back from the reunion to pick us up and take us out to Uncle Ben's. Ben's house is about 8 miles away from the downtown area where we were staying in.


We had lunch with the family, told our story, then jumped on the trampoline for awhile. It was all in good fun until a daughter head butts her daddy in the mouth.

Marcus had already taken the cousins back to the hotel to go swimming, so we didn't have a ride back when Allie needed a nap. Fortunately her older cousin Ashlynn still sleeps in a toddler bed and has a blanket similar to the one Allie's attached to, so she was able to settle down to sleep without a problem. She woke up after about 90 minutes but was still pretty tired and kept sleeping in daddy's arms. Tyler played fetch with the dog while she was napping.

That evening Oscar played with all of the kids on the trampoline. They had to try to bounce the other kids to the ground. Since Allison was by far the smallest, he told the kids to drop if she just touched them. It was adorable!

That evening Allison needed some granny loves at dinner but then perked up when it was time to play with the pinata. Uncle Tim had brought it for his wife Sarah's birthday.

We never bothered going out to Ben's house for breakfast since there was always an excellent hot breakfast at our hotel. Allison had her choice of sweet treats each morning.

On day 2 we dressed in red for family pictures, which for some reason still haven't been sent to us.

Oscar played with all the kids on the trampoline again. It looks like they're hopping like bunnies.

We played a little badminton before heading back to finally pick up a rental car and get Allison down for a nap while Tyler went swimming with his cousins.

That evening each family got an ice cream ball for the ice cream contest.

The next day there wasn't anything on the itinerary that seemed particularly appealing for the kids, so we took them to the Walla Walla Children's Museum instead. 
It was small in square footage, but there was plenty to do. They stayed for over 2 hours and would have happily stayed longer, but we figured we should get them lunch and nap before heading out to the reunion.
They even had a decent outdoor play area. There were plenty of activities but it was a bit too hot to really enjoy it that day.


 Tyler was adorable in the fireman suit, but he was upset this kid photobombed him.
Fun on the tractor and tramp!


And to wrap up the reunion we did some Flinders Family Feud before heading out the next day. The descendents and their families were surveyed and we had to guess the top responses. One question was "what is something grandma and grandpa would not approve of?" and there were several guesses that didn't qualify as top answers, like "drinking and drugs." Grandma cracked me up when she said "we've become very liberal in our old age!"

We drove home on Sunday, stopping for church in Yakima where I randomly ran into a friend from high school who lives just across from the building. Unfortunately we hit a TON of random traffic afterwards that doubled the rest of our drive back (the 5 lane freeway went down to 1 lane due to an accident. We didn't see what the accident was since it was cleared up by the time we got up to it). The kids' devices ran out of power and Allison spent a lot of time screaming in slow crawling traffic.

Our car was done about 3 weeks after we brought it in, so we took another trip out to Walla Walla to pick it up. We couldn't pick it up until Monday the 12th since the repair shop wasn't open on weekends, but we left on Saturday to spend a bit more time with uncle Ben and family. We were able to stay with them this time now that their house wasn't full.

There was a ward family day at the temple that Saturday so Oscar did a session while Tyler visited the grounds and family history center with the rest of the primary. Drop offs were only allowed if the child was over 3 and potty trained, and I didn't feel like chasing Allison around for 3 hours (or worse, trying to make her be reverent), so I just took her to the Bellevue YMCA. The kids finished up their tour at the nearby Robinswood park. Oscar picked up lunch for all of us and we met at the park before heading out to Walla Walla.

The kids zonked out and then played their Kindles until we made it out to Richland, WA. They burned some energy at the awesome Playground of Dreams castle/splashpark.


My sweet girl playing the instruments and filling her cup with water.



They played a good long time before we finished off the drive. Oscar insisted we get there before twilight. The kids enjoyed playing with the kittens in the garage.

The next morning we took a nature walk and played before going to 2:30pm church. Ben is the bishop of their ward so we didn't see much of him that day. I ended up playing the piano in Relief Society there, which is my calling at home.
Kerrie had her hair in rollers before church. Tyler made this craft  from a paper plate and told his cousins it was their mom.

Allison did really well her first time sleeping on the catterlow bed. It only takes up the space of 5 pillow cases and then you stick pillows into it whenever you arrive. It works great for places like hotels that often have extra pillows. Martha got it for the kids last Christmas.

 After church we took the kids to see the aviary and play at Pioneer Park. I love these two great pictures I got of the kids on the playgrounds.
 Swinging at the park and back at Uncle Ben's house with cousin Ashlynn
The kids played their Kindles with their cousins for about 30 minutes before I read them some books. Allison hijacked our bed the next morning. Oscar had gone out for a run when she came into the bed with me for cuddles, but then she fell asleep and I couldn't figure out a comfortable position to sleep in without waking her up.
And the next morning I bounced on the trampoline with the kids before we headed back home. This is what Allison calls a big jump, when someone bigger than her bounces on their butt and makes her go flying up high. After using a trampoline she's now a bit disappointed by bounce houses.


Here's a snake Oscar found in the trees and me happy to be back in our Prius again. Mom and dad were coming the next morning, so we were glad to have our car back. Luckily we didn't hit any random traffic and made it back home with plenty of time to spare. Allison was sad we went home first instead of directly to the YMCA, though I did take her later around 6pm once we'd had time to get the car cleaned out.