We had just about finished a very uneventful Spring Break when the kids and I got an ichin’ to get out and do something as a family. We thought it would take some convincing to get my husband onboard, but lo and behold, he was thinking the same thing!
We didn’t want to go far – just far enough for a change of scenery and a chance to explore. We booked a room at the Residence Inn in Salem for 2 nights and gladly used the Friends and Family rate still available to me after working for Marriott for two years (it’s good to leave employers on good terms!!).
We left on Friday and decided that since it was not raining and admission was free on weekdays, we’d stop at the well-known Tulip Festival in Woodburn, Oregon. All this time in Oregon, and we’d never been there! 40 acres of amazing tulips, plus lots of fun things for the kids to do. We had a pretty good time!
We arrived at the hotel and were pleased to see how nice the accomodations were. We didn’t spend a dime eating out during the weekend, because our room had a full kitchen, complete with oven and stovetop, full frig and freezer, microwave, and even a dishwasher. We fixed all our meals in the room and enjoyed the increased amount of time together.
Our kids also really enjoyed the pool at the hotel! This place was very nice because they provided “noodles” for swimming, plus other assorted toys to make pooltime more fun.
On Saturday we watched the morning session of General Conference (“What’s General Conference?) on cable in our room, then set out for a small adventure during the two hour break before the afternoon session began. We love the show Amazing Race, so we decided to do our own version of it and created different “clues” and destinations within Salem for our family to explore.
We went to the Capitol building, rode the carousel at Salem’s Waterfront Park, zoomed around a nearby park (and went down all 7 slides!), then walked the amazingly beautiful campus of Willamette University. There was much running and laughing, and we had a great time.
(By the way: the Carousel at Waterfront Park is gorgeous. All the horses are named, and ours kids rode: Morning Glory, Bondo, Bucky, and Jazz. The gift shop sells .50 cent postcards of each of the horses, so we picked one up for each of the kids as a souvenir.)
We finished the afternoon session of General Conference and then the kids and I headed down to the hotel’s “hearth room” while my husband rested. The staff at this hotel was so nice…they let us use the TV and DVD in the common area for the kids to watch a movie, then we played one of their games they had at the desk and sat and drank hot cocoa and just had a very pleasant time.
After dinner was, of course, more swimming, followed by some quiet time in the room before bed.
What I mean by the title “What We Do Best,” is that our family seems to have an easy time with being spontaneous. No plans, throw some clothes in a bag, take alternate routes, just go with the flow. And make EVEYRTHING an adventure. I’m so grateful that my kids are so flexible and that my husband is always so willing to humor us and take the lead with these trips.
Sometimes I think that the greatest show of our faith in the future is that we take the time to create these kinds of memories right now. It’s as if we know there will be time and opportunity for us to laugh about these times, reflect, remember, and appreciate. It’s wonderful what just a couple of days can do for a family!!