This was only three weeks ago. Take a wager on how long ago it actually feels (more like three months ago). Somehow it’s already July. This whole time thing is weird.
In keeping with tradition—and being a creature of habit—Silverwood made the list again to visit in early June. Tickets went on sale back in November for Black Friday and we snagged six; Maive is still free. Silverwood didn’t have their operating calendar updated back then but we’ve gone a few times now that I was able to rely on memory as to when we could mark our calendar for the trip. I picked the second week in June, Thursday through Saturday, and then I booked a hotel. It worked perfectly between all the end of school year activities for the kiddos and before everything summer.
June crept up quickly after the longest winter ever. (There’s a contradiction, haha. Time is weird.) It was almost Silverwood time. As an obsessive planner, I was disappointed when the kiddos’ part-time public school changed their field day from the Tuesday before we left to the Friday we were at Silverwood. I had scheduled our trip so we wouldn’t miss anything. We were bummed to miss out but it was too late to switch up our calendar. Noted for next year!
The kiddos ended everything school year the Wednesday before our trip—it was officially summer for us. Thursday we left for Silverwood, kicking off our summer. Silverwood is located about 20 minutes north of Coeur d’Alene, and Coeur d’Alene is about a 4.5 hour drive from home. Where we stay. It’s really nice there. Except it feels really white and republican. Trucks and American flags galore. We manage for the few days we’re in town. And then it feels SO good to be back in Washington. Like passing the cannabis shop just across the state border. You can see the progression. And now with the fucking Supreme Court. Ugh. It’s never felt so good to be born and raised, and living, on the Left Coast (the best coast!). Okay, enough politics in a theme park post. It’s just hard not to get incredibly frustrated watching this country moving backwards.
We left around 11:45am on Thursday and made it to Coeur d’Alene around 4pm. Just in time for the hotel check in. The kiddos did great on the drive. As usual. No stops and no complaints. Maive decided she wanted to start potty training that morning and stayed dry until we made it to the hotel, where she used the bathroom like a big girl. We never push potty training; we let them decide when they’re ready. And with the older four, they all decided to ditch diapers a little after turning three. Maive will be three at the end of October. But she’s only 50/50 with potty training these days. I imagine she’ll be out of diapers by the fall. That feels so weird to think about—we’ve been changing diapers for almost 12 years straight!
Hotel check in, check. It was dinnertime. We really like the area we randomly picked to stay in back when we first went to Silverwood. The area is near the Spokane River and there are a few hotels, restaurants, and a movie theatre right there. I’m sure the area has a cheesy name but I have no idea what it’s called. We walked to Red Robin from the hotel, which is one parking lot over. Maybe a five minute walk with five kids. There was ample seating and we snagged a table right away. That’s not super common, when you are a party of seven. There is usually table moving or having to wait for the largest booth. Everyone ate and we were out within an hour. Not too shabby for eating with five kiddos.
Back at the hotel, it was time to swim. The hotel has an indoor pool and an outdoor spa. And nobody was in either. We all hit the spa first and then the kiddos moved into the pool. Brian went with them so I had the spa all to myself. It was quite nice. Even though I think public spas are kind of gross. Thankfully I could smell the chlorine. Apparently the pool was heated but still kind of cold. It didn’t stop the kiddos from swimming though. About an hour went by before we called it a day.
Back in our hotel room, the younger three gals readied for bed. Brian made plans to take Blaise and Laine next door to the movie theater to see Top Gun: Maverick. With the younger gals passed out in bed and Brian gone with the big kids, I enjoyed the quiet hotel room. Everyone was back together just after 11pm, when we all called it a night. Silverwood was on tap for the next day.
Friday morning it was pouring rain. I was slightly concerned we’d have a wet day at Silverwood. The weather app kept changing the hourly rain schedule, which looked promising. It was supposed to rain until 4pm. And then until 3pm, 2pm, 1pm, 12pm… Silverwood opened at 11am that day. And it was still raining on our drive there. We parked and unloaded, readying the stroller and kiddos while it still was misty. As we made our way to the entrance, the rain stopped. Score! We managed to have what was supposed to be a rainy day, rain-free while we Silverwood’ed.
The calm before the storm!
In keeping with tradition, we hit the carousel first thing. And then on to the young kiddo section, before hitting the roller coasters. I really love the size of Silverwood. It’s large enough to have ride options but small enough to hit everything in one day. And since we go before the local schools are on summer break, it’s not very busy. Anything I can do to avoid crowds!
First ride of the day tradition.
It was a successful day. The kiddos were able to ride all the rides they wanted, often more than once. No lines. I take that back—a few rides had lines, there was a field trip. But the longest wait was maybe two ride cycles on one rollercoaster. With Laine’s buddy’s family there also—whom we’ve gone to Silverwood with each time—it helps that we can split up with different kids who are at the same ride comfort level. Throughout the day we’d all cross paths, trade kids and/or adults, and continue on. The park closed at 6pm the day we went so at 5pm, we all hit the train for the last ride of the day. Silverwood has a train that circles the park and they put on a western type of show along the way. Bandits and whatnot. It’s cute and a nice way to end the day. Kind of like a workout cool down.
With only about 20 minutes left before 6pm, we let the kiddos each pick out one thing to buy from the Silverwood store. It’s surprisingly not that expensive. I mean, it’s all kitschy stuff that probably costs pennies to make but they don’t charge ridiculous amounts for anything. Laine and Saige picked out wooden swords; Blaise went with a water bottle; Baby went with a wolf hat; and I had already bought Maive a rainbow Teddy bear with Silverwood on its belly. His name is Larry. She made a rainbow wolf with Great Wolf Lodge on its paw when we went to Great Wolf Lodge back in May and named him Jerry. Larry seemed fitting. I bought a cheesy coffee mug because this has become my thing. Blaise also grabbed a Silverwood sticker because that’s his thing—he’s been collecting stickers from where we go and plastering his suitcase with them.
Leaving Silverwood there is a long tunnel from the entrance to the parking lot. Last year Baby started howling in the tunnel, setting off a crowd of people howling. Haha. She howled again this year but only a few other howls followed. Back at the car, we loaded up and hit the road back to Coeur d’Alene. There is a Cracker Barrel I wanted to check out. Not that I’ve heard wonderful things about the restaurant but it was something I wanted to check off. I had it mixed up in my head, a funny TikTok I watched about Waffle House waitresses not having all their own teeth. I thought it was Cracker Barrel. Close enough.
Cracker Barrel doesn’t take reservations but we were able to put our name in online so we’d be in the system when we made it to the restaurant. We still had to wait a good 15 minutes only to be texted that our table was ready, and for another group of 12 (we were a group of 11) to take our table. They called our last name but the other group said it was them, and they were taken to the preset table for our group. I’d like to think it was an innocent error but their last name sounded nothing like ours. Weird. The hostess realized what happened and scrambled with a manager to get another large table set up for our group. We were seated a few minutes later.
Cracker Barrel kiddos.
The service was decent and we had a fabulous waitress, but the food and atmosphere are something I’m glad I checked off my list of things to experience. But I doubt we’ll go back. To quote Laine, “The restaurant just has stuff EVERYWHERE. It’s so cluttery.” Yep. And the food was ho-hum. But the people were nice and they have a small game on each table to occupy the time while waiting for food. So there’s that. We ate and left for the hotel. It had been a long day and we had new plans for the morning. As creatures of habit, we spiced up Saturday morning.
Driving from Silverwood to Cracker Barrel, I noticed a skating rink along the way. I immediately went to their website to see their hours. Open skate Saturdays from 10am-12:45pm. Sold. This was going to happen. And it’ll likely be our new routine on our Silverwood trips in the future. If we decided to visit to red states that ban abortion. I’m still torn on this. Ugh. I get worked up thinking about… never mind. Even worse, that I’m overlooking, is that on the skating rink’s Instagram they have pictures from hosting an anti-abortion group’s fundraiser late last year. Ugh. To each their own I tell myself, so long as my rights aren’t restricted. But now that they are—and as someone with four daughters—I feel differently. Canada is looking promising if there is ever a federal ban. But skating.
Saturday morning I was up early. I really needed to hit a trail. I’ve come to need daily jaunts. Apparently I was ahead of my time now that there are Hot Girl Walks, haha. Yes, I watch waaay too much TikTok. Everyone was still asleep when I left the hotel room. There is a trail next to the hotel that continues on both ways. I went toward the Spokane River. It was nice to be out, in the quiet of the early morning. It was misty and I only passed one runner; she looked like a mom who was enjoying her daily quiet time also. It was much needed after spending every waking—and asleep—hour with the entire family. Not that I don’t enjoy being around them but I need alone time.
Pictures from my morning Idaho jaunt.
About four miles later, I was back at the hotel. Brian and the younger gals were awake when I walked back into the room. We started getting everyone up and ready, and packed, with the plan to hit the free breakfast before loading the car and checking out. The hotel we stayed at has free breakfast. This has become a requirement of mine when booking hotels. While free breakfast may be hidden in the cost of the hotel room, it’s still worthwhile for us to go with free breakfast hotels. It’s a good $70-100 for our family to eat out for breakfast. And hotels without breakfast are comparable to the cost of hotels with free breakfasts. Sure we could grab food at a grocery store to eat in the hotel room. But that’s an extra stop and we have to get stuff everyone likes, and then we have to take it with us if there are any leftovers. It can be a hassle. Free hotel breakfasts it is. And it works well. The kids are all able to get their breakfasts themselves which makes our lives easy. Well, except for Maive. But she has siblings who help here (without us even asking, she’s a lucky kiddo!). We’ve had to have a chat with Saige about only taking what you eat. She has eyes bigger than her stomach. For the most part, all the food taken gets eaten and the food has always been decent enough to not feel like a cheap buffet.
Breakfast, check. We stopped back in the hotel room to grab our bags before checking out. Brian loaded the car, I turned in the hotel keys, and then we were on the road to the skating rink. We were there when they opened right at 10am. It had been years since I had been to a skating rink! I told the kiddos how when I was in elementary school, it was the thing to do, every Friday night we all went to the local skating rink. Long before texting and rampant cell phone use, we would just hope our friends showed up for Friday night skating. I’m pretty sure the last time I went to a skating rink was at that same rink I used to skate at every Friday night, but Brian and I went in our late teens I think? About 25 years ago?! Haha! It all came back though, when I put on roller skates. I did buy a pair two years ago. Laine and I have gone around the neighborhood a few times.
The roller rink gang.
This was Blaise and Maive’s first time roller skating. Laine and Saige both already knew how to skate, and Baby had experience enough to not fall. We paid the extra few bucks to get frames for Blaise and Maive to push so they wouldn’t fall. I was super proud of Blaise. He wasn’t up for using the stabilizing frame and went for it on his own. He took a few falls and gave up, taking his skates off. But about 10 minutes later he put his skates back on and hit the rink. He did an amazing job! For never being on skates, he went from being wobbly and falling, to full-on skating within an hour. It was nice to see him not give up and work hard. And I could tell he was proud of himself also. Maive went back and forth with wanting her skates on and off. Luckily it wasn’t super busy and there is a room with a rink entrance, with four tables in there. We were able to hang in this area that has a large carpet space; Maive putzed around on her skates with the stabilizer in there.
Saige immediately found a new buddy whom she palled around with the entire time. And of course we exchanged contact information before we left because Saige. The kid lives in Louisiana and was visiting his grandmother in town. He was cute, when they asked to exchange numbers I said I didn’t have a pen or paper (my way of hinting to Saige I didn’t want to deal with this), and the young kid said, “You don’t have a pen or paper, like how you make your Walmart list?” Hahaha. Baby also found a new buddy and palled around with her. Laine’s friend and her family joined us, so Laine was off with her friend skating. And Blaise skated on his own, mastering his newfound skating skills. Brian and I took turns hitting the rink, while the other stayed with Maive. Either hanging with her in the carpeted room or taking her for a spin on the rink.
Open skate ended at 12:45pm and we stayed until then. Everyone was ready to sit for the 4.5 hour drive home. But first, we needed to eat lunch. On our way back from Bowl & Pitcher in Spokane, we grabbed pizza. It was the perfect way to feed everyone for relatively cheap. McDonald’s for our family is about $50. Domino’s Pizza is a whopping $23 for three pizzas. Not that it’s the best pizza but it gets the job done. Brian and I were deciding where to stop for lunch as we were heading west from Coeur d’Alene on the 90. Maybe we’d find the same Domino’s we had back in March. As I was about to search for the Spokane Domino’s location (because we are creatures of habit), I saw a Denny’s off the 90. Perfect. Brian quickly exited and we made our way to the Denny’s that looks like a classic ’60’s diner. Complete with the silver facade and neon lights.
Denny’s is a favorite of the kiddos. I think they like the simplicity of food on the menu. And we like the prices. We were seated right away and managed to all order without anyone hesitating about what they wanted to eat. The nice thing about Denny’s is that it’s consistent. The food is decent enough for the price, and the portions are filling. Everyone ate and we were loaded back in the car for the drive home.
It was a smooth drive home. We did have to make one stop at a Rest Area just past the Colombia River bridge. Which is called the Vantage Bridge. (I just Googled and learned this.) Baby needed to hit the restroom. So of course Maive did also. I always call it the Great Restroom Tour of North America whenever a kiddo starts potty training. The stop was quick and we were back on the road not even 10 minutes later. And Maive napped! She never naps at home anymore, hasn’t for well over a year. And she rarely naps in the car. I guess roller coasters and roller skating tire a toddler out!
Back home late Saturday after an another successful Silverwood trip, we were all ready to relax. Not until we unloaded the car and unpacked. I like to get things in order right away. Drives me nuts, having things sit around where they don’t belong.
Until next June when we (probably) head to Silverwood again. And keep the new roller skating tradition. If I can accept—or rationalize the hell out of—visiting a red state with an abortion ban.