Destination: Seattle/Portland

It’s been awhile since we flew with the kids.  The last time we did an extended vacation with them was a little over two years ago when Jaren was 3 months (!!!), and Noelle was 28 months to Cancun, Mexico.  This time around, it was Jaren who was 28 months (purely coincidental), and Noelle was nearly 4.5 years.  We weren’t worried at all about Noelle, but were pretty nervous about how Jaren would do, especially since he is so ACTIVE and LOUD.  Sitting still is not his forte.  Thankfully, 2.5-3 hours was right before his breaking point.  Any longer and we definitely would’ve had a meltdown on our hands.

We started and ended our trip in Seattle (or as Noelle called it – “Scattle”), with Portland sandwiched in-between.

Day 1 Seattle – Friday 6.5.15

This was mostly a traveling day, so we took it easy.  We got to SNA two hours early, so had a lot of time to kill.  Luckily, the kids each packed their Skip Hop backpacks filled with little toys, and I had bought new coloring books and markers just for the trip.  We parked ourselves in a corner, watched/counted planes, bought them lunch, and before we knew it, it was time to board.


At the airport (top); N reading to J while waiting for take off (bottom).

Ideally, the kids would’ve napped on the plane… but of course they didn’t.  Luckily it was only a 2.5 hour flight, so we made it without any hiccups.  The kids were occupied with their toys and iPad.  Jaren doesn’t last long with the iPad at his age, but loves playing pretend with his toys, so thank goodness we brought those toys!


Napping (left); Plane entertainment (right)

We landed in Seattle around 3:30 pm, and as we were strolling the kids through the airport they completely knocked out.  Now that the excitement of the plane ride was over, I guess it hit them how tired they really were!  This worked out because the kids got a good 40 minute nap in during the car rental process, which was enough to rejuvenate them.

Once we got settled into our hotel, we headed out to dinner nearby.  After dinner, we let the kids play at The Seattle Center (walking distance from our hotel) before calling it a night.


Day 2 Seattle – Saturday 6.6.15

We arranged a playdate with some Seattle friends, and met up with them at Seattle Center that morning.  The playground was a little overwhelming for the little ones, so we quickly took it indoors to the Children’s Museum (also at the Seattle Center).  The kids had so much fun there, and time really flew.  Before we knew it, it was lunchtime.  We ate at Mod Pizza, and said our goodbyes.


Right after lunch, we headed over to Dave’s place.  He was going to show us his hood and the surrounding suburbs of Seattle (thank you so much, Dave!).  Our main purpose for visiting Seattle was to see if we could see ourselves living there.  We hung out at Dave’s for a bit, and Noelle fell hard for Dave’s dog, Chewie – they had an instant connection.

Seattle is so lush and green and beautiful.  There are trees and foliage everywhere.

Dave drove us through Mill Creek, Bothell, Woodinville, and we ended up in Kirkland, where we had dinner near the waterfront.  It was interesting taking in a city through different eyes.  The whole time we wondered, “could we see ourselves living here”, “could we make this our home”?


Washington Lake in Kirkland, WA

In the end we decided, no.  At least, not right now.  Seattle is a great place to visit, but our hearts are elsewhere.

Day 3 Portland – Sunday 6.7.15

We must’ve tired out the kids a lot on this trip (and the thick, hotel blackout curtains must’ve had something to do with it too) because we slept in practically every day!  Anyway, we woke up and got ourselves packed and ready to go for our drive into Portland.  We had lunch plans with The Chu’s, so wanted to make it there by noon!

Day 3_01

These drives to and from Portland were what I was most nervous about on the trip because not only are they 3 hours long, but history has shown that Jaren gets super restless after an hour in the car.  I braced myself.  45 minutes into the drive, Jaren was frustrated about something, so we decided to make a pitstop for gas and to stretch our legs.  Turns out, Jaren had simply dropped a toy.  We continued on, and while the drive wasn’t horrible… the iPad definitely came to our rescue in that last hour!

I should call this our day with the Chu’s because we spent the entire day with them!!  It was so good to see old and new friends on this trip.

We had lunch with The Chu’s at Hopworks BikeBar, which was a brewery/restaurant that not only had great yelp reviews, but was also highly praised for being kid friendly!  They had a small kids section with toys and books for the kids to hangout in.  After lunch, we grabbed ice cream the next block over, and made our way over to OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry).  Of course, in that 5 minute drive from the ice cream shop to OMSI, the kids fell asleep in the car.  So I napped in the car with them for about 40 minutes while Sam, Nev, and Est hungout at a nearby brewery.

OMSI OMSI OMSI – We spent a good 3 hours there, and still didn’t get to everything!!  Definitely one of my favorite children’s museums now.


So many hands-on things to do at OMSI!

After OMSI, we ate dinner at this amazing (but NOT kid-friendly – unless your kid likes to sit through two hour dinners) charcuterie place.  If you’re a meat-eater, Olympic Provisions is calling your name!



I love that they have each other

Day 4 Portland – Monday 6.8.15

Our first full day to ourselves!  We had plans to eat at Salt n Straw for brunch, but the wait was 40 minutes (even on a Monday!).  Since we wanted to get to Multnomah Falls, we improvised and grabbed some coffee and toast down the street.  Portland is just full of cute little coffee shops and eateries everywhere.  It has a special character all its own.  The goatees and bearded hairy folk riding bikes everywhere didn’t escape our notice either.  We’re just glad there were no naked people sightings.

Anyway, the drive into Multnomah is byooo-tiful… and it is definitely worth a visit, especially if you’re a first time visitor to Portland!  It’s a great place to take the kids too because you can park your car, walk a bit, and see the waterfall.  If you want to hike, the hike is only about 1 mile long… so we did that with the kids.  They loved it.



The kids, once again, fell asleep on the car ride back.  We had already checked out of the hotel, so ate at Nong’s for a late lunch (our cheapest but favorite meal there!).  It was 90+ degrees that day, so instead of going with our original plan of checking out the Portland Zoo, we took the kids indoors to another children’s museum until it was time to meet The Chu’s for dinner.


We ate at the infamous Screen Door (known for their fried chicken!), and stuffed ourselves silly before we had to drive back to Seattle to catch our flight the next day.


We had decided to drive back the night before our flight so that we wouldn’t be stuck with a full day of travel (3 hour car ride + 3 hour plane ride?  No thanks!).  Driving home at night was wonderful and turned out to be a great idea on Sam’s part.  Noelle knocked out for most of it (and it still didn’t interfere with bedtime), but Jaren held strong and stayed up the whole ride.  I don’t know if it was because it was night or if he had a full belly or what, but he hardly made a fuss and just enjoyed the sights as we drove.  I gotta say, I was pretty amazed at the stamina on that kid because he made it to 10 pm with only a 40 minute nap that day!  Once we got to our hotel, it was easy to get them to sleep though.

Day 5 Seattle – Tuesday 6.9.15

Finally, it was time to go home.  We ate free breakfast at the hotel, and took the kids to a gorgeous local park to kill time before our flight that afternoon.


* * * * *

When I first made our itinerary, I wished we had one extra day because almost every single day involved either flying or driving.  I was worried the kids would be overtired with all the schlepping around, but they were troopers!  In retrospect, this was the perfect amount of time away.  We kept our itinerary pretty open-ended with the exception of meeting up with people – we didn’t even have restaurants planned or specific places we needed to go – because that’s just how it is with kids.  Just take things as they come, and adjust if we must.  Our traveling style is different now… but there was still so much we appreciated about this trip.  If anything, it made us realize how much we loved traveling with our kids, and we can’t wait to do more of it with them as they get older and older.  This is what we’ve been waiting for.


6 thoughts on “Destination: Seattle/Portland

  1. This looks like such a fun trip! We took Spencer to do Seattle/Portland and had a blast! We had a completely different trip than you… which means we should go back and follow your itinerary! (And ironically, we were there to see if we could live in Seattle… same answer.) Thanks for sharing this! It was really fun to read!

    • If you had a blast why would you change anything!?!? Next trip – SOCAL 🙂 Funny that you guys were considering Seattle too – it does have so much appeal!

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