I had hoped to get this up last month but we had so much going on that it was impossible! I honestly wasn’t sure if this vacation was actually going to happen but I am happy to report that we were able to get away and spend a whole week in Oregon! Unfortunately, as you may (or may not) have seen on the news, there were terrible, heartbreaking fires and the smoke was pretty bad, but we still managed to get out and enjoy what we could!
Here’s the recap!
Where: Seaside, Oregon
When: Tuesday, September 8th – 12th
(we spent a couple days in Canby, Oregon first to visit some friends. We were so busy hanging out and having fun that I didn’t end up documenting that part of the trip – although I’m sad because we took Gryffin to the Oregon zoo for the first time but somehow didn’t mange to get a single picture.)
After being in Canby for 3 days, we made our way to the beach!
Day 1: Playground, The Ocean, and The Beach House!
We made it in to Seaside around 3:30 in the afternoon. Check-in wasn’t until 4:00, so we headed to the park that was directly across the street from the house. We went with some friends who also have small boys and they had a blast playing together and getting their energy out.
After they were done with the park we walked down to the beach. It was smoky but there was relief by the water! The weather was in the 80’s and perfect!
After running around in the waves and watching Gryffin make “snow angles” in the sand, we headed back to the beach house to check in.
The house was small for 6 adults and 3 little boys and a baby but not overcrowded. It was just a couple blocks from the beach access and the perfect distance away from downtown – close enough to walk, but far enough not to have crowds.
The layout was a little weird, but I definitely would stay here again!
Day 2: Downtown Seaside and More Beach
After making breakfast (cinnamon rolls, sausage, and orange juice) and getting ready for the day we walked to downtown for some fun and shopping.
First stop was the Carousel Mall. All the boys got to ride and it was pretty fun hearing Gryffin yell “ye-hawww!”, haha.
We went back for naps and then a little more beach time.
Day 3: Cannon Beach
I honestly can’t believe it’s been 8 years, going on 9 since we left (For those who don’t know, Mikey and I lived in Cannon Beach for 7 years. It’s where we met, dated, and lived during our early married years)! It was crazy to see how much had changed and how much the little town had grown.
We walked around a bit and I got to see one of my favorite people I used to work with. It was so nice to catch up! After visiting for a while, we did a little bit of shopping before stopping at Fultano’s Pizza for lunch and then headed back to our beach house where we got in the hot tub since it was freezing outside (I realized I also forgot to get a picture of the hot tub outside)! It was wonderful!
Day 4: Aquarium, Beach, and Buried Treasure
We spent the last day much like the second, except it was so cold that we drove to downtown Seaside instead of walked. We walked around a bit and then ended up at the aquarium where Gryffin got to feed the seals! Yet another memory missed with my camera, but we had been soaking in the moment!
After the aquarium we walked to the beach where the boys dug for buried treasure. This was an amazing idea our friends came up with! We had spent the previous few days finding and purchasing little trinkets to put in the boxes. Our friend, David, left to bury the treasure and then the boys came over to dig it up. They had a blast and were so excited! We will definitely be carrying on that tradition for every beach trip we take.
Once they dug up their treasure we headed back to the beach house and rested before soaking in more time on the beach again.
Day 5: Going Home
Before we knew it our time at the beach had come to an end. It was sad to go but we were ready to be home at the same time. I missed our dog and being in our own space. The drive felt long and the smoke made it really difficult! I felt so bad for everyone who had to evacuate their home and for those who lost so much! There was definitely a heaviness throughout the week as we knew of the devastation that was happening around us. Praying for all who were affected by the fires everywhere.
We recently took a stayacation vacation and it was soooo good! It was a perfect mix of relaxation, home projects, and fun.
We had previously talked about a road trip to the beach, but when you have a little boy who gets extremely car sick (he will puke on a 10-15 minute drive!) all we could imagine was a nightmare. So stay home we did. We made sure to do a little bit everything though to make the most of it.
Gryffin had come down with a stomach bug the week before, so the first weekend we did mostly normal things – cleaning and laundry and such (not so much fun). Sunday I had a coffee date with one of my best friends and then a birthday party in the afternoon for one of Gryffin’s daycare friends. Once Monday came along though things finally started feeling a little more relaxed – I consider that day 1 of our vacation.
Since we had to pay for it anyway, we did take Gryffin to daycare for part of the week, but we still kept him home a couple days to do some fun things with him too!
Day 1 – Gryffin’s Room Makeover!
Since we had moved into our house 2 years ago, poor Gryffin had a plain and super boring bedroom. We had some fun Sesame street bedding for him, but that was about it. His room has been on our list of things to do and having the week off gave us the perfect time to work on it! As you can see, we went with an outer space theme.
Gryffin’s thoughts on it? He loves it!! I wish I would have recorded his reaction. Seeing the big smile on his face was completely priceless! Every single day since he asks to go down and see his room. Before he would only go in there to sleep, now he loves to play in it too.
We’re not all the way done, so I plan on doing a more in depth post on his room decor when it’s all finished.
Day 2 – Movie and Shopping Date
This day felt super, super lazy. We pretty much lounged around the house and took our time getting ready. I had been wanting to see the movie Aladdin so we went to the 11:40 a.m. showing.
Going into it, I knew I would like it, but I didn’t know just how much. I ended up loving it! When watching the previews I wasn’t sure how I felt about the cast they chose, but after seeing the movie I honestly can’t picture anyone else! Before the movie I was skeptical of Will Smith as the Genie. There’s no replacing Robert Williams, but Will Smith did a fantastic job and truly made it his own. We plan on buying the movie when it comes out, and the sound track.
After the movie we took advantage of the time we had before getting Gryffin from daycare and went to the mall and Barnes & Noble since we were right there. We shared a pretzel and cheese and walked around. It was just nice to spend time together just the two of us.
Day 3 – Family Day!
We had made plans with friends of ours and their two little boys and went Jump and Bounce, an indoor trampoline park. I say trampoline park, but really it was a bunch of giant bounce houses and a huge blow-up slide.
Gryffin is a pretty timid child so he was pretty skeptical of everything at first. I took him on the giant bouncy with a basket ball hoop and threw some balls around for a while, then he went in the small child play area for a while, and then “drove” in a pink car.
I couldn’t get him to go down the giant slide until the very I end. I decided I would suck it up and carry him all the way to the top (I myself am afraid of heights, but I didn’t want him to miss out on something I knew he would have fun with!). I carried him up the first time and went down with him. He was still a little nervous, but willing to go up again – he finally smiled that time! Next thing I know he was happy to climb up the “stairs” all by himself with me behind him. Finally by the end he was going up and down all by himself and having the time of his life!
We went to get some McDonald’s and headed back to our house to hang out for a bit longer. Our friends had to leave mid-afternoon, so after nap time I called up my brother to see if he and the boys (boys being my nephews) wanted to go to the park with us. Yes! So, we went and got Subway on the way and ate at the park. It was a great way to end the day!
This was, by far, the funnest day of the week! It was our first time there and I only wish that we had gone sooner! We had a blast! Unfortunately we didn’t get a single picture, but that just means we were truly in the moment and soaking up our time there together.
**Just a note: since Mikey and I didn’t take a single picture, all photos are from Silverwood and their website.
After walking around a while and trying to figure out what was where (I totally regret not picking up a park map), we rented a locker to put our stuff in and headed straight for the lazy river.
I mean, what better way to start off, right?! After two rounds we figured it was time to hit up something bigger/better.
This was a fun one! Since you can fit 4 people in the tube we were actually able to cut in line since there was another couple ahead of us that needed two more people. The more the merrier right?! I liked this one!
Next we decided to explore a little more and went to the other side of the park for the more traditional rides. Next up…
Roaring Creek Log Flume
Obviously with only a 40 foot drop, this was a milder ride, but it was fun! You better believe I screamed my head off going down that little drop right there. Honestly, you would have thought I was on the corkscrew ride…
Lunch – Subs & Spuds
This was the most disappointing part of the day. We were only the 4th/5th people in line and we waited about 30 minutes for a practically pre-made sandwich. The people in front of us were being difficult and changing their mind on what they wanted and, to top it off, the poor kid working the stand was clearly new – not that it was his fault at all, I actually felt bad for him, it just didn’t help.
Next we went and got back into the lazy river. Clearly this was our favorite part. It was so relaxing just floating by. *happy sigh*
Next we headed to another tube ride. This was a bit more intense than I was expecting. First, it was a really long line (felt like a 45 minute wait, give or take) and I quickly regretted not getting in line earlier that morning right after Avalanche Mountain, but it was fine, lines are inevitable.
When it was my and Mikey’s turn, we climbed in and they pushed us off (just the two of us this time). Unfortunately the tube immediately turned so my back was facing down the slide, so I had absolutely no idea what was coming up. The first was a very small corner but I made sure to scream at the top of my lungs. I wish I could have taken a picture of the girls faces who were next, because their mouths dropped open and had a slight look of doom. Ha!
So down we went, we were up one side and down the other, I couldn’t see a blasted thing except for Mikey’s face. After a minute of literally ricocheting down Mikey yells “Oh no! Watch out!” Then I heard loud gushing water and just in time I close my eyes and held my breath. I couldn’t breath for a split second as my head was under the “waterfall”. I started feeling motion sick but quickly realized I had my eyes still closed. The second I opened them I immediately felt better but it was a challenge keeping them open because I was paranoid we were going to run into another waterfall as I couldn’t see what else was coming. A split second later we shot out of the tunnel and we were done. I was glad that was over.
I might do that ride again…but I also might not lol.
There were more rides we wanted to go on but we were also getting short on time, so we decided just to walk around and explore some more. We ended with a couple Slurpee’s and strolled back to the car.
Our car was a sauna! Our car registered the temperature at 104 degrees, what a great day to spend in the water! We happily drove home and changed before picking our little boy up from daycare.
We wanted to make sure to squeeze in at least one more fun day with Gryffin so we planned a day to go to the new aquarium that opened. In the grand scheme of aquarium’s it’s a pretty small one, however, considering its location in a mall, it’s a decent size.
Gryffin really liked looking at all the colorful fish, especially the clown and angle fishes. My personal favorite part was petting the stingray’s. They also had some lizards and a turtle you could pet. Not to mention a bird exhibit as well.
Gryffin especially liked the fun water tables they had.
He had missed his nap time otherwise I think his reacations to everything would have been a bit more animated, but I could tell he liked it!
Ending the Weekend
Saturday came and I was exhausted, so between doing laundry and napping we didn’t do much else. Sunday was pouring rain pretty much all day so we stayed in and just got ready for the week.
Overall we had a great time. Not quite your typical vacation, but definitely not bad! Can’t wait for our next one!
Finally! I meant to post this a couple weeks ago but life kinda got in the way. It has a habit of doing that ; ).
Anyway, after months and months of planning, the day of our vacation finally arrived (and went just as quickly)! So here are all the fun little details and a few pics of our trip.
The Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International
The Ship: Independence of the Seas
Length: 4 days/4 nights
Destination: Cozumel, Mexico
Room Type:Superior Ocean View with Balcony – deck 7
How We Decided on What Cruise Line, Destination, and Length of the Cruise
Since we had never cruised before we were looking for somewhere warm and 4-5 days in length. I didn’t want to take my chances going on a full 7 day cruise in case I ended up getting seasick or completely hating it for whatever reason.
We weren’t too picky on the cruise line, but we were looking for a good deal without sacrificing quality. The winner became Royal Caribbean (although, I do wish we would have looked around just a little bit more at other cruise lines, just to see how they compared).
DAY 1/Boarding the Ship
We were pretty much clueless when it came to boarding the ship. We were dropped off at the terminal where we stood looking this way and that trying to figure out where we were supposed to go. You might as well have smacked a newbie sticker right on our foreheads lol! Thankfully after about 5 minutes we finally spotted a Porter who was able to take our luggage and direct us to the correct building.
Check-in wasn’t too bad. We were there so early that there was no line, therefor no waiting. We filled out a little questionnaire, basically making sure we didn’t have Noro or any other virus. Then we got our Sea Pass card and then waited in the waiting area for about 45 minutes. Pretty painless since they had free Wi-Fi in the terminal.
The first thing we did upon entering the ship was purchase our drink packages (I will discuss my thoughts on the drink packages at the end under the “Final Thoughts” section). Once purchasing our packages we explored the ship a little and had lunch in the buffet. Then off we went to see our room.
The room was actually slightly bigger than I expected. From other reviews I’ve heard the rooms are really tiny. We found there was more than enough space and storage for the 2 of us. The beds are tall enough that you can slide your suite case under so they aren’t in your way. The bathroom reminded me of a one you would see in an RV – it was small but manageable. I’m guessing if we had a deluxe ocean view rather than the superior that the rooms would be a little smaller, but I think it still would have been fine.
*Side Note: Please excuse some of the poor quality photos. In my excitement and sometimes overwhelmed state of mind I just started snapping away without taking much time or thought, haha.
Excuse the lighting and the slightly crumpled bed ; )
The TV was actually really nice to have in the room. During our occasional downtime in the room we watched Harry Potter and other various movies. You could also order room service straight from the TV. How awesome is that?!
After getting all settled in we decided to grab a couple drinks and head to the top deck to watch the sailaway party. There was music and dancing and then the horn sounded. It was a perfect way to say hello to our vacation! Then we headed back to our rooms with our drinks in hand to enjoy watching our ship float away.
Sail-away drinks! My husband had a mojito and I got the drink of the day, which I unfortunately don’t remember what it was, but it was delicious!
The sunsets were amazing! This one was my favorite :)
The sunset was perfect. We were so relaxed on our balcony, sipping our drinks, watching the world float away. It was completely wonderful. The rest of the day we spent relaxing, then we did more exploring of the ship, and then had dinner in the main dining room. Overall a very fun day!
Our sailing days were pretty chill. This was also the day I found out that I get sea sick. After taking a Bonine pill and putting on my sea bands I started feeling better. I wasn’t going to let myself sleep all day so we decided to grab some lunch at the buffet.
The buffet had about 3 star quality food. We always headed there for lunch and I ended up getting salad most of the time. If you give me too many options I get overwhelmed so I tend to just stick to what I know I like.
Then after having lunch there was a lot of this going on…
There is nothing like sipping frozen fruity cocktails while soaking in the sun and overlooking the pool and ocean.
And a lot walking around the ship
Overlooking the Royal Promenade. This is where you would find all the shopping, and cafe’s, and pizza, etc.
And a lot of time playing in the casino. :)
I was getting a little tired at this point ; )
This was also the formal night. We ate dinner in the formal dining room most nights, which was really nice and fancy. The food was good, I would say around 3.5 – 4 stars. Their pasta was really good and I couldn’t have dinner without their pumpkin seed rolls. Of course dessert was my favorite. I loved having chocolate just about every night!
Of course we couldn’t pass up getting one of the formal photos :)
Instead of going on an excursion we decided to take the day extremely easy and started the day with room service followed by a couples massage, which was extremely relaxing. Then we went out to explore Cozumel and see what the port had to offer and grab some souvenirs. Cozumel was beautiful. I was a little disappointed with some of the prices, especially on cheap-o key chains, but we ended up getting a great deal on some Mexican blankets!
After walking around and finishing up shopping we had lunch at Senor Frog’s. I will say Sr. Frog’s definitely had a Mexico spring break feel though, there were lots of tequila shots and body grabbing going on, which was probably the biggest downside to it (for us anyway). But at least the food was good! Then back to the ship we went to grab some ice cream and hang out by the pool.
The view from Sr. Frog’s
Here we are having a great time!
Day 4: Sailing
The last full day on the ship was a lot like the first full day on the ship.
There was a lot of this going on…
We also went to see the ice skating show, which was actually really awesome. I feel like they are extra talented since they can pull off double axles while the ship is moving. I unfortunately didn’t get pictures of the actual show – I was too caught up in the moment.
We spent the last night of our trip out in the hot tub, under the starts, and sipping on just one last cocktail. It was the perfect ending.
Although this was the kids area you get the idea of just how beautiful the ship is, especially at night.
Since we weren’t to leave the ship until 9:30 that morning we packed up our stuff and headed to the Cafe Promenade for a light breakfast. We had to wait a while once we got to our designated area for debarking. I was glad to have a book with me. The line to customs took quite a while, but once we got our luggage the line started moving quickly and we were out of there before we knew it. We grabbed a shuttle and then headed off toward the airport to say goodbye to our vacation.
We both ended up getting the Royal Replenish drink package, which included unlimited sodas, non-alcoholic drinks, premium coffee and tea, fresh squeezed orange juice, and bottled water. I honestly thought I would drink a ton of bottled water and have coffee and orange juice every day, however, that was not the case. Because it was so convenient I almost always ended up getting the free orange juice, lemonade, and water that is included in the booking price. They didn’t have bottles of water just laying around everywhere and half the time I didn’t feel like tracking someone down to ask for one. Sooo yeah, it just wasn’t worth it for me. But, hey, at least I know now. :)
My husband on the other hand ended up getting his money’s worth of drinks. He had plenty of soda and none-alcoholic drinks (we also spent extra on a couple alcoholic ones as well). Next time we will upgrade him to one of the alcohol packages. Alcoholic drinks cost $12 and it adds up really fast.
Booking a Massage vs. an Excursion
As I mentioned earlier we decided to book a massage instead of an excursion. We ended up having the massage first thing in the morning, which was really nice but left us with the whole day ahead of us with not a whole lot to do aside from shopping at the pier. This was relaxing, but ended up being borderline boring for us the rest of the day. Looking back I felt like we didn’t end up doing or seeing anything which was rather disappointing. Next time we will definitely book an excursion since I think it would be a little more fun and would give us more to experience. If you really want nothing but to do but relax then you should be safe with the massage. :)
Everyone was really nice and the service was good. Overall it was a great experience and we would do it again.
For anyone who has questions about our trip or if you have questions in regards to booking a trip, feel free to ask – I’m happy to help!