Thursday, June 23, 2011

OMSI & the Airport!

What a long, long day yesterday was!  To get to my flight I had to get up at 3am!  Yep, up, showered, and out of the house as the sun rose in Alaska for another day...another interesting tidbit from our favorite weatherman...the sun sets in Alaska right now at 12am and rises again at 3am!  My morning coffee was a cup of liquid gold from the Starbucks booth in the terminal.  I did get there 2 hours early, and if I had been going to Seattle, could have left on the 5am flight, it was nearly empty!  But, for my coffee...I ordered myself a Cafe Latte with Sugar Free Caramel flavoring and asked for them to make it with Heavy Cream rather than milk.  They use the heavy cream to make the whipped topping at you can request this, yeah!  Where the "corporate store" charged me $0.60 for it a few days ago, this time they did not, woot, even better!  However, I think the quantity of cream caused a few issues in my digestive system, I couldn't make it through my Venti cup without feeling ill.  I think from now on, when I get that treat (I have a better flavor selection at home), I will stick to a smaller cup size!  It was a long few hours to wait, but it flew by while I chatted with a gal traveling back to North Carolina (who should have landed about the same time we did on the way home last night)...she was freezing in a thick sweater and sweat pants, I was warm in a light shirt and shorts!

Once on the airplane, I was pleased to see my seat partner was a nice looking man in business attire.  I have taken trips in the past where my seat buddy was some stinking teenager who was panicky and half in my seat the whole time!  Unfortunately, this business man's traveling companions were wearing some sort of perfume...and I do believe whichever one it was emptied half the bottle onto herself!  I couldn't breathe and it cause a mild allergic reaction, swelling around my eyes, runny was not fun!  Interestingly enough, these were investment bankers that happened to have dealings with the insurance company my other half works for!  Which I gently pointed out when they were discussing the all the "inside details" of the various insurances they were working with, I'm pretty sure they said things that shouldn't be shared with anyone having anything to do with those companies, but at 6am (or slightly before), it was too early for me to remember what they said, lol.  Due to the breathing issue caused by the perfume and the air novel not moving (and therefore blasting into the corner of my eye the whole trip), it was the world's longest 1 hour plane ride!

After wandering around and finally finding my way out of the airport (I managed to find my way to departures instead of arrivals after I walked to the wrong end of the terminal right  off the plane), my Mother and I went and had a nice breakfast at Denny's!  They have a "Build Your Own Grand Slam", which was awesome!  I got 2 eggs, 2 regular Bacon, 2 Turkey Bacon, and 2 Sausage links for $5.99!  My Mother got the same deal, but her breakfast consisted of an English Muffin, 2 Whole Wheat pancakes (that were gigantic), and 4 slices of Bacon.  I was barely able to finish my meat-fest, while my Mother only ate the Bacon, English muffin, and a few bites of pancake.  After breakfast, we went and got the kids up (who were still sleeping at the hotel) and ready for a day of play!  On a side note, for the price at Denny's, it's even a better deal than what we were getting at Perkins...and no hassle from the Manager/wait staff about not getting the darned carbs (we had issues last time and haven't been back since...)!

We arrived at OMSI just as they opened at 9:30 for a fun day of play!  The Narnia exhibit was pretty cool, it's lots of the props from the movies, including both the wardrobe and the huge wooden frame that is the Narnian side to the wardrobe!  They didn't allow any photography though, so I obeyed and left the cell phone in my pocket, lol.  It was really interesting, for the adults in the group, but it left a lot for the kids I think...the only thing even remotely interactive in this exhibit was an ice wall to make hand prints on.  I think it was Liquid was super cold to the touch!  After putting palm to wall, if you stepped back and watched, your hand print went from totally invisible to shining right out at you!

With trying to watch all three boys and make sure they didn't get injured by the hordes of teenagers in there (it appeared to be 2-3 school groups), I didn't get too many photos, and most of what I did get was blurry!  We did find our way into the "6 and under" play room though!  For the next few weeks, all three still fit that!  The youngest two had the most fun in there I think the oldest got bored quickly, but there was plenty to do in there, including dressing up as a Chipmunk and finding giant rubber acorns to hide in the tree cave for winter, dashing into the bear cave to search for all the animals that live in the dark, and the youngest two's favorite, the big wooden truck site, complete with enough different shaped wooden blocks to build a whole city with!
oldests attention the longest in this room.

The "toy" that got all three boys going was the volunteer sitting on the floor with a tub of dish soap bubbles!  They do not share well at all though...we had to decide quickly that it was time to go when they started fighting over the bubbles!

We eventually made it to the Turbine room!  An entire wing of the museum with things like water & air pressurized bottle rockets, steam engines, Tesla coils, and all sorts of other fun stuff to play with and experience!  Everyone (under 4 feet tall) tried out the Space Shuttle recovery cone, that's a hard way to sit!  There was a lot of space and Astronaut stuff to look at this trip!  I guess they are getting all the displays out now since the last US space shuttle is launching on July 8th this year and then there will be no more US space more NASA as we know it.

The whole family enjoyed the Earthquake simulator, but the boys liked it the most!  I couldn't walk a straight line for several minutes after the fact!  But, I did "ride" it for about 10 minutes with nephew #3, who is three and a half, lol.  #3 is in the Bright Hawaiian shirt and orange shorts...  They have two "modes" on this thing now, a 5.6 magnitude earthquake and one that simulates a 6.1 magnitude earthquake!  Guess which one the boys preferred, lol!  I remember when this exhibit was first introduced, besides the line to get on it, there was an OMSI volunteer that ran the control and the "walls" were decorated with all sorts of knick-knacks that one might find in an actual home.  Now, all that is left is the steel framing and a bench!  Also, the controls are a plaque with three buttons on it, 5.6, 6.1, and STOP.  It also doesn't shake as much anymore!  Even just a few years ago, this thing would shake you right off the bench if you weren't careful!  It used to also provide info on what to do in the event of an actual earthquake...get in door frames, under solid items like counters, etc...  But, the little bit of shaking and listening to the oldie about the earth moving under your feet was fun enough for the boys if not totally educational anymore.

We spent nearly 4 hours exploring OMSI this trip!  And, we ended our fun day there with a visit to the photo booth!  At $5 for two strips of photos, it was the cheapest souvenir I could find there and I looked!  This is probably the last year I can cram into a photo booth with the three boys!  Besides the fact that there will be more kid(s) come this fall, it was an extremely tight fit to get in there, the two younger boys were sitting on me to be able to fit in, lol.  Now to find a "photo booth picture frame"!  It is on my to-do list...  I can't decide which one of the photos is my favorite!

Waiting for me to rejoin him!
After a quick trip back to the hotel for nap time (and time to take nephew #1 with us to find a Wal-Mart where I could grab a box of Atkins bars, I was starving!), we took the boys to the playground up on Mt. Tabor (an active volcano in Portland), where they played on a good old-fashioned teeter totter, Merri-go-round (that has been there since my Mother was a kid), and some more modern play pieces. 
Trepidations on the swing still.
All three boys had a great time and the two youngest have started getting over their fears of swings!  Nephew #2 opted for the kid's seat that had a "buckle" on it (a piece of chain with a clasp) and did his own "pumping" so he didn't go very high at all, while #1 had my Mother push him (but not too high).  Meanwhile, Nephew #3 sat on my lap and did the "swing thing" with me!  I wish I had had someone take a photo!  We were going as high as Nephew #1 and #3 thought it was the greatest thing on earth!  He was completely terrified of it when we started!  He even said to me mid-swinging "Aunt M, You are the best!"  I can't disagree, lol!  I sat him on the swing we were on so I could take pictures, he wasn't all that thrilled with that but was okay to sit there until the other boys quit swinging after several near misses with him walking under them and his attempt to push me on the swing (he stepped forward after a push and I butt-bumped him off his feet)!

After a visit with my Aunt and Grandmother (and a cousin) over dinner (Wendy's because i was on the way back to the airport and we could get it to go if we had to), it was off to the airport the requisite 2 hours case we ran into issues with Nephew #1, not that we planned on any!  Our flight back to Spokane was delayed, first by a little and then by a lot (when you are traveling with a 6 year old)!  The plane we were supposed to be getting on arrived late from wherever it came from (most likely Spokane) so that made the first delay.  Then, there was a mechanical issue (which, of course they told us was just housekeeping taking their sweet time) that delayed us even farther.  Our flight was supposed to board at 8:25pm and leave at 8:55pm, we started boarding a little after 9pm and didn't leave until somewhere between 9:30 and 9:45pm!  We also had to trek around the airport after getting through the boarding doors all the way down to "plane slot" O!  If anyone isn't familiar with the "puddle jumper" side of PDX, you go through the boarding gate, out onto the tarmac and board the little planes (we were on a Q400).  The parking spots for these little planes are lettered, starting with A being the plane right by the doors...O is out and around the is the very last parking spot and is so far out, that you go through the gate at the end that says "Don't go past here" to get to it!  While the little park gates for all the other spots have a spot that says where the plane is headed, this one doesn''s probably the spot they use to park the planes that are grounded for the crew to rest over night, lol.  Needless to say, t was already several hours past Nephew #1's normal bedtime when we finally boarded the plane and he was not thrilled with my wanting to take another picture!  Post landing in Spokane though was another story!  We had to wait for his luggage at the ala cart station by the plane, so it gave me the opportunity to snap a few more quick photos!  Because we had to change planes prior to take-off, I was very glad that we opted for the carry-on way of travel...checked baggage was being added to a later flight!
Awaiting luggage plane-side!

My "today's" are off on this post!  I started this on Tuesday, but with having a child to entertain (and share my computer with), I didn't get a chance to finish this until now!  So, this is what we did on Monday, June 20th, lol.

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