Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Our Trip to Brookings

The kids knew something was up when I dug out the suitcases and started packing on Friday. After our recent trip to Disneyland, they know those suitcases mean we are going somewhere! I just told them we were going on a surprise trip.


We left  at 6:45am, and the kids were so excited! We had a special stop planned for on our way to Brookings, but we didn't tell them about it until we were about 10 minutes away, otherwise they would have whined the entire 3 hours it took to get there! No thank you.

Our first surprise was a stop at Prehistoric Gardens. This was a special stop for me, because I grew up going there as a kid. My great-grandparents lived right across the road from it, so I have lots of memories of this place. As we got closer to it, we finally told the kids we were going to see some dinosaurs! They were both sooooo excited! Actually, Rylee was excited, but she was also a little nervous and kept saying she wanted to stay in the car to see the dinosaurs. She wanted to see them, but she wanted to also keep a safe distance. lol! Once we arrived, she realized she would be okay though.

Life size dinosaurs!

Rylee may have been nervous before we got there, but once she realized the dinosaurs weren't going to eat her, she wanted to pet them all!

The Brachiosaurus stands at 3 stories tall!

When we finished there, we continued our drive to Brookings, which was another hour away. Once we arrived in Brookings, we drove around checking out the neighborhoods and some of the houses we had seen online that were up for sale. What we quickly came to realize was that everyone had done a phenomenal job of taking pictures, because the curb appeal wasn't quite what we had hoped they would be. The lots were extremely close together and most had very little yard space. We met with a realtor that afternoon so we could officially become a client and he will keep us notified as houses become available. There are nicer neighborhoods (what we would consider more normal), but we are going to need to be willing to spend more money than what we had originally hoped. We also need to be okay with buying more of a fixer-upper, and then turning around and selling it in a few years to get into a house that we REALLY want. We kind of expected that going in, but now we KNOW we sort of have to. The cost of housing is just so much higher there versus here in the valley.

After we finished with the realtor, we got checked into the hotel and Tony took the kids swimming. I was extremely thankful when Tony volunteered to take them swimming himself, and said I could stay in the room and just relax!  Woo hoo for not having to put my swimsuit on!

The pool was heated, but they all froze to death when they got out! Another reason I was so happy not having to get in the water!

View from our hotel room

We went to Pizza Planet for dinner and discovered that Brookings at least has a good pizza place. That wasn't really the name of the restaurant, but the kids had been watching Toy Story in the car, so they wanted to go to Pizza Planet. haha! Ayden had reached his limit for the day and was extremely cranky, so it wasn't the most relaxing meal we'd ever eaten. He also peed his pants while we were there. Something that hadn't happened in months!


Sunday was a family day. Our plan was to play on the beach, but that didn't work out very well for us. The kids were not fans of getting sand on their feet, and both were afraid of the water. Ayden got a little too close trying to throw a rock into the water, and a wave came up jussssst far enough to get him a little wet. He was not a happy camper. I didn't really blame him. It was chilly outside and the Pacific Ocean is most definitely not warm!

We decided to pack it in and go find a park instead. We found a very nice park with a wooden playground and spent a few hours there. We chatted with a very nice older lady that had retired to Brookings four years ago with her husband. She absolutely loves the area, loves the weather and how safe the community is.

Taking a snack break.

After letting the kids play, we walked around and explored the park paths. There's a Frisbee golf course (which excites Tony), a small amphitheater, and a nice flower garden.

After that, we drove around exploring more neighborhoods and trying to find more parks. There's a really nice playground at the elementary school, but it is fenced in and locked so we weren't able to play there. We googled playgrounds for the area, and decided to head to Harris Beach. We didn't end up staying there very long because it was super windy and cold. Rylee was not happy that the wind kept blowing her hood off! lol. There's supposed to be a playground there, but we didn't stay long enough to find it.

Tony and Rylee went back to the car right after the above picture was taken. Ayden had found a few rocks that he wanted to throw into the water, so we walked down the path to the beach so he could throw them in. We stayed far, far away from the water and didn't actually step foot on the sand. The rocks didn't quite make the water, but he was happy.

From there, we found another small playground for the kids to play at. It was a nice, completely fenced in park. I loved that both parks weren't a muddy mess, despite all the rain they had recently. Very unlike the parks in Veneta. There were a few other families there when we arrived, but we stayed long enough that we ended up having the park to ourselves for awhile.

We went to Subway for lunch, but ended up ordering to go when I discovered that Ayden had peed his pants again. Ugh! We took our lunch back to the hotel, where I could clean him up and change his clothes. After we finished eating, we all took a nice nap.

We found a Mexican restaurant for dinner. The food was good, but the kids thought the fountains at the entrance were the best part. After dinner, we took a drive across the state boarder to Crescent City, CA. It was pouring down rain, so it wasn't a pleasant drive, but we wanted to check it out and see if there would be anything there that would up the value to us moving. It's another pretty small coastal town. My grandparents and my mom, and her siblings actually lived there for several years when they were growing up. From what I understand, it's kind of a crappy area with a fairly high crime rate. We didn't see any magical beaches that we would want to go to, but they do have an aquarium that might be worth visiting every once or twice a year. We wouldn't be doing any shopping there, since they have sales tax, but Oregon doesn't.

We got back to the hotel at 7:45 and we all got ready for bed. Getting Ayden and Rylee to go to sleep in a hotel room, in the same bed, is a bit of a nightmare. They play, and play, and play. And talk, and giggle, and scream. It makes me go insane. But they finally fell asleep around 9:30pm.


Ayden woke up at 6:00am, which didn't bode well after staying up so late the night before. Tony went down to eat breakfast while I got the kids dressed for the day. Then we met him in the breakfast room. The hotel offered a very nice continental breakfast, which made things so much easier for us! The kids sat at the table with Tony while I dished up their plates. Then he went back to the room to shower and get ready for work. We had to drive him to work, since we only had one car with us.

After dropping Tony off at work, the kids and I drove around for a little bit. I planned to take the kids to check out the local library later, so we found where that was, which happened to be very close to Tony's office. Then we went back to the hotel to kill time before it opened. I really wanted to take them to the park or do something more adventurous with them, but it was still raining. We watched some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on tv. Thank you hotel for having the Disney Jr. channel! Then we made a trip back to the breakfast room to have a little snack while it was still open, before heading to the library.

The library opened at 10:00 and we arrived shortly after. I learned that they do story time on Wednesdays, so we wouldn't be able to do that on this trip, but I was happy to hear that they have children's activities. They also do a music class once a month. We hung out in the children's section of the library and the kids played with two other toddlers while we were there. I talked with the moms and learned more about the area. I learned about a program called Redwoods Nature School, that meets twice per month in different places around the county, letting kids explore and learn about nature. This is something I would LOVE to do with Ayden and Rylee!!! I also learned that one of the local gyms offers a tumbling class for toddlers once/week.

I took the kids to Dairy Queen for lunch, and let them have an ice cream treat when they finished eating. Then we went back to the hotel for naps. I put them in separate beds in the hopes that they would fall asleep easier. Ayden went to sleep fairly quick, but Rylee took so long to fall asleep that I didn't think she was going to. She ended up getting a short nap in, but then I had to wake her up. It had stopped raining and was actually nice outside, so I wanted to get them back to the park so they could play.

We went back to the small, fenced in park. There were a lot of parents and kids there when we arrived, but they slowly dwindled away as it got closer to dinner time. There was one mom left with an incredibly sweet 11 year old girl that played with Ayden and Rylee. I visited quite a bit with the mom. They had just moved to Brookings in December from Hawaii. They had yet to find a place to live and had been staying at a motel the whole time! They moved to the area because after doing research, they learned it was such a great place to raise a family and was basically the safest place to raise kids.

Tony sent me a text at 5:40 to let me know he was done with work. I loaded the kids up in the car and we went to pick him up. We went back to the hotel so Tony could change out of his work clothes, then we went to the restaurant across the street from the hotel. It was a pretty nice restaurant, although we didn't actually get to sit down for very long at a time. It didn't take long for Ayden to suck down his water. And boy, did we pay for that. I am not kidding when I say that between Tony and I, we took that kid to the bathroom a good 10 times. Throw in a few more times with Rylee, and we barely sat down at the table. It was exhausting and not an enjoyable dinner experience. And my clam chowder wasn't very good either. Boo!

Once we were done with dinner, Tony went back to the office. His plan was to count all the patient files so he could get a more accurate idea of what the income potential would be. While he did that, I took the kids back to the beach by our hotel. It was a really pleasant evening and the kids enjoyed it. This time we all kept our shoes on. Ayden had a lot of fun finding sticks and making a "castle," and Rylee enjoyed poking sticks into the sand, making holes for rocks. We also had fun throwing rocks toward the water, but weren't at all close enough to actually get them into the water. I was more than okay with them wanting to stay dry!

Ayden's castle.

We went back to our room around 8:00 and I got them ready and into bed. Did I mention how much I hate trying to get them to go to sleep in a hotel room? It wouldn't be so bad if they played and whispered quietly, but they are so loud! Ayden actually rolled over and went to sleep when I told him to, but Rylee didn't go to sleep. She was still awake when Tony got back to the room at 9:30pm. I was so frustrated. She finally fell asleep around 10:00pm.

Tony wasn't able to gather the information he wanted to in the files. Nobody had updated the files in years. He talked to his boss while at the office, and the company is going to run some numbers to find exactly the info Tony is looking for, which is the office potential.


Ayden woke up at 5:30 in the fricken morning. I brought him over to our bed so that he wouldn't wake up Rylee. I was hoping he would go back to sleep, but he of course didn't. He did do a pretty good job of keeping quite though. Tony woke up around 6:30 in a panic because he had to be to the office earlier that day, something he never told me! Otherwise I would have woken him up, since I was awake anyway! He had forgotten his phone at the office the night before, so didn't have an alarm set. He got dressed and went down for breakfast while I got the kids dressed and ready to go.

We dropped him off at the office then went back to the hotel for breakfast. The kids did a great job of sitting at the table while I got breakfast plates dished up for them. I finally got my breakfast dished up and joined them at the table, when wouldn't you know it, but Ayden had to go potty. I had stopped in the lobby bathroom before taking them in for breakfast, in the hopes of avoiding this very scenario! I shuffled them both to the bathroom again, and hoped that nobody cleared our table before we could get back. I also hoped nobody poisoned our food while we were gone.

After breakfast, we went back to our room and I turned on the Disney channel to keep them occupied while I packed everything up. Because Tony was in such a hurry before work, I had to pack all his stuff too. I wasn't very happy about that. It didn't take long before the kids got bored. I pulled out some new little travel coloring books with stickers and crayons to keep them occupied. It worked for a few minutes....

I had to make three trips to the car to get everything loaded. Of course it was pouring down rain again. Check out was at 11:00. From there, we went to the library again. Thank goodness they enjoyed playing there! We stayed for about 1.5 hours, and then went to Subway for lunch. After that, I took them to Dairy Queen again for ice cream to kill time while Tony was at work. His last appointment was scheduled for 2:00, so he thought he'd be done around 3:00. Once we finished our ice cream, I loaded them into the car and drove around looking at more neighborhoods and trying to get more of a feel for where we would want to live. The kids fell asleep and were sleeping hard! I ended up driving to the office and just parking. Tony finished up at 3:30. We got the kids out and all went in to use the bathroom one more time before hitting the road. They were not happy campers, but settled in to watch a movie once we were a ways down the road toward home.

Two hours into our drive home, we stopped for dinner. The kids were super excited about the big fish tanks and that there was Dory and Nemo fishes! We made sure to limit their water consumption so we wouldn't be stopping a million times the rest of the trip home.

We pulled into our driveway that night at 9:30. The kids, especially Ayden, were so happy to be home and sleeping in their own beds. They fell asleep instantly.


Our trip to Brookings ended up being inconclusive. Unfortunately, we still don't have answers. Tony's boss ended up in the hospital and needing surgery while we were gone, so the numbers still haven't been ran. There are things about the area that are exciting to us, and there are things we aren't so excited about.

I love that they have a great library and the nature school sounds amazing. I love that it's a safe community to live in. I could stand to wake up and see the ocean every single day. It's beautiful. 

However, the housing market stinks and there is no rental market other than vacation homes. And the obvious down side to moving is that we would be further away from family.

If it will be a lateral career move for Tony, then it's not worth it. If the increased income gets cancelled out by a higher mortgage payment, then it's not worth it. But if it means a substantial increase in income that allows us to raise our kids the way we want to, with a solid and secure future, then it most definitely is worth it.


  1. Wow lots of things to decide here once you get all of the info you need. I love the Pizza Planet thing, Toy Story was the first thing that came to my mind too. Bowen watches those movies.

    1. I'm so glad to know someone got the Pizza Planet reference!

  2. I agree with Amie, WOW lots of things to decide yet and just hope that when the decision is made, stay or move, that everyone is content and at peace with the decision!! You had a BEAUTIFUL view! Agree, that I could get very use to seeing that every day!!! There is a beach in Crescent City past the aquarium that we kids used to walk down to and play at that is nice. Main memory is one foggy, cold day, that ocean was sooooooo warm!!!! Endert's Beach which is over where we first lived near the old hospital has a great tide pool area to go in search of starfish and other sea life!! LOVE the picture at the park having a snack with the 2 of them and the picture of you and Ayden is so cute!!! Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers for a decision to be made and soon! The indecision would make me crazy!!! Sending lots of love and hugs, Auntie

  3. Ha! Pizza Planet!
    I'm cringing how much you took them to the bathroom. Oy. But I guess that's adding in the fact that there's two of them! But seriously. Potty training twins is not for the faint of heart. I agree with you. It would have to be a substantial increase in income to make that move worth it.

  4. I'm late to commenting on this, but I'm curious if you guys have gotten any of the answers you were looking for. It certainly looks like a nice area and being next to the beach is amazing- but if the increase in income is basically cancelled out with a higher rent/mortgage payment then it's not worth it. Plus, it is nice to be around your support system of friends and family.

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