Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Art in the Tub

We found ourselves with a lot of hours before Daddy got home today, and it was far too hot to be outside.  Time to whip up some bathtub paints.  Equalish parts of shampoo and cornstarch, and a few drops of food coloring.  The kids had a lot of fun.  Had to fill the tub up once to clean off the paint, and again to clean off the kids, but since the paint is made of soap, it comes right off.  We have a clean tub and clean kids again, with some seriously pruny fingers!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

:: right now ::

I am...

:: typing oh so quietly, listening to four (4!!) still-sleeping children

:: hoping our friend (and owner of children #3 and 4) makes a quick recovery

:: enjoying our newly-arranged house and new-to-me computer

:: so looking forward to the wedding festivities for my sister this weekend

:: realizing HOW MANY loved ones I will get to see at said wedding- wow!

:: feeling drawn to sew and knit baby clothes- thinking there is some efficiency to knowing if we are having a baby girl or baby boy, but still not willing to find out

:: awed at how humid it can be at 6:45 am

:: debating the merits of being inside the ac, or outside in the sprinkler

:: craving pancakes with some of that fresh cherry jam from our tree

:: savoring that last few minutes of silence for the day...ahhhh

Friday, July 15, 2011

Seattle- Part 2

July 6th, 2011-

The kids slept til 7 this morning- hallelujah!  We decided to do a little tour of the Capitol Hill neighborhood  in the morning.  We began at the Bagel Deli, and enjoyed bagels, juice and of course- more coffee!  Then we walked around a bit and landed in Izilla Toy Store.  What a fabulous place!  It is a big space, with lots of room for the kids to play.  It had a doll house that Violet took a liking to, as well as a train table, spaceship you could go in, and a marble run that Matias and Matt both enjoyed.  There was not a huge selection of toys, but what was there was awesome.  As Matt put it, more of a curated collection than anything...and run by a very nice man.  We spent a lot of time there!  Then we put in a quick appearance at the Elliot Bay Book Company and their reading castle.

We then headed back to Volunteer Park to meet up with the Germans.  We played on their playground and then enjoyed a picnic lunch of egg salad sandwiches (compliments of the Germans' chickens!) and peanut butter (not to be confused with Eloise's baby wipes or butt cream which travel in identical containers).  The kids took another dip in the wading pool while we soaked up some perfect weather.  Sean and Matt headed to the park cafe to procure some of THE BEST cookies ever, and arrived just in time for wading-pool chlorinating time.  We enjoyed the cookies and by the time they were consumed, the kids were able to head back into the pool.  We have yet to see a drop of rain and have been greedily soaking up the 70s and sun!

July 7, 2011-
This morning we saw a touch of rain while we took the bus downtown and then hopped onto the monorail.  What a fun way to travel- we even got to sit right up front!

After a stop for coffee (this is an at-least twice daily occurrence.  When in Seattle...), we went to the Children's Museum of Seattle.  It was a neat museum- not as big or fancy as Chicago's museum, but well-enjoyed by the kids.  Violet's favorite was by FAR the time she spent in their open art room- painting, coloring, gluing sand, doing clay.  She could "art" all day long. 

We came home for a long family nap, and when we woke up it was dinner time!  At Emily's fine suggestion, we hit Pagliacci's Pizza, which was really tasty.  Violet loved eating her pizza whole- "I did it myself!"  Then we strollered over to the public library for a while and did some puzzles and read some books.  After the kids were in bed, the Germans came over and we chatted and watched the movie "Fantastic Mr Fox."  

July 8, 2011-
This morning we gathered around Matt's laptop to watch the last NASA shuttle launch.  Matias was fascinated by the fuel tanks and how they fell off when they were used up.  It then seemed only appropriate to go to the Museum of Flight (but not before another stop for coffee and donuts, of course).  

The museum was fantastic.  We walked over to their airfield, where we were able to climb into real airplanes- including the Concorde, and the Air Force One plane from the Kennedy era.

They had a kid area as well with a helicopter, small plane, hot air balloon and a hang-gliding simulator for the kids to ride in.  Violet especially loved the airplane.

Another neat part of the museum was the air traffic control tower.  It actually overlooks a runway (of Boeing's test flights and other private aircraft), and had real radar screens showing where all the planes in the US were.  There were binoculars to look through and you could see the planes taxiing and taking off right there.  Definitely the closest to real operating planes that you can get these days!

photo by Matias

We finished off the evening by being absolutely creamed at Spades by Sean and Emily.  Good thing their baby is so cute! 
July 9, 2011-
Today we got up and headed over to Mercer Island for their Summer Festival and Parade.  Yes, another parade...of course enjoyed with coffee!  They had lots of dogs and local groups in the parade- though only about 3 members from the Lion's Club.  Then we explored the fair area and craft booths.  We bought a little piece of art that caught our eye.  There was a Renaissance theme, and there were Knights jousting on horseback.  

After the festival, we headed over to Kirkland to (finally) meet up with a friend that I met online back when I was expecting Matias in 2007.  Sarah has two boys- John is exactly Matias' age, and Zach is a newborn.  We met them at Marina Park and let the kids play in the water while we visited.  It was fun to connect with them!


The kids napped in the car on the way home and then we headed over to Sean and Emily's chicken coop (a few blocks from their house) for a chicken coop open house and BBQ with their friends Jake and Emma.  The kids had fun playing in the chicken coop (the poor traumatized birds may or may not ever lay again?!), and we enjoyed great food.  Sadly, the elevation changes and concrete steps did not agree with tired and newly taller Violet.  She fell (3, maybe 4 separate times) and skinned herself up quite well...nose, cheek, chin, knees, elbows.  It was not her day...but overall we had a lot of fun.

July 10, 2011-

note the skinned up face!
How quickly we have come to the end of our Seattle vacation!  This morning we played donut and coffee delivery service and stopped at Top Pot to get breakfast for us, Sean, Emily and Emily's Mom, Kathy.  Yum!  I must also record that we had an epic hour long show-down with Mr Matias, who refused to put his shoes on, or let us help.  Ah, three.

Then we went to the Fremont Sunday Market, a huge farmer's market and craft fair.  Lots of things to look at, and yummy raspberries to eat!  Eloise made the big purchase of the day- a stuffed toy that may or may not be a hedgehog?!

After much-needed naps, we met up with the Germans at a park on Capitol Hill, which had another wading pool.  We enjoyed a taco dinner at the park, before making the most important stop of the day- Molly Moon's Ice Cream Shop.  Matias has a sweatshirt from Molly Moon's, so it was fun to see the actual place.  They boast flavors like Theo Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Basalmic Strawberry and Brown Sugar Buttermilk.  YUM.  We decided we could probably fit most of Eloise into one of their waffle cones.

After ice cream, everyone came back to the apartment, and the adults played Carcassone while the kiddos went to bed.  We got in our last few Eloise snuggles...at least until we see them again, hopefully around Thanksgiving.

What a trip!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Seattle- Part 1

July 3rd, 2011-

We made it to Seattle (with a minute to spare)!  We went to Sean and Emily's lovely house up on the hill and got to meet sweet little Eloise Beatrice.  She is as beautiful as her name.  We visited with Sean and Emily, and Emily's mother for a while and enjoyed some lunch (fresh from their garden!).  The kids took a little nap and then we went down to the waterfront in Leschi to see the boats and have a bit of coffee and muffins.  Then we headed over to our apartment to check in.  We met Anna, our "landlord" and were thrilled with the place- a master bedroom, kitchen and living room with futons for the kids.  She even seemed pleased to have little ones staying in her place- phew!

After checking in, we went back to the German's house and put the kids down to bed so we could spend the evening together.

July 4th, 2011-

This morning came EARLY, thanks to a 2 hour time change.  We snuggled in bed for as long as we could before heading out to Pike Place Market.  Thank goodness that drinking coffee is a big part of visiting Seattle!  We arrived at Pike Place before most stalls were open, but the old fashioned donut maker (think Homer Price) was already up and running, so our breakfast consisted of fabulous, freshly made donuts.  We followed this by a walk along the waterfront and piers, and our childrens' first glimpses of mountains, across the sound.

After a quick stop at the local food coop for some staples and lunch, we took a little tour of Volunteer Park and the resevoir there.  The trees are just so grand and tall here.

Later in the afternoon, we joined Sean, Emily and Eloise at the Volunteer Park Wading Pool.  It was a BIG hit with Matias and Violet, who poured cup after cup of water on themselves, each other and our feet.  Even Eloise seemed to enjoy the outing.
We came home to a dinner of delicious burritos and put the kids down in the basement so that we could visit and play a game of Settlers of Catan.  Though we didn't officially go to the fireworks, we enjoyed ample fireworks in the neighborhood well into the night!

July 5th, 2011-

Morning came a bit later this morning- closer to 5:30am than yesterday's 4.  We got up and hopped the bus to downtown (okay, we are traveling with children- there were about 15 intermediary steps in there, but that is the gist of our morning).  We had heard rumors that the Lions Club, who is holding their International Convention here this week, was going to have an International Parade along 5th Avenue, but we had no clue what an event it would be!  We enjoyed some donuts and, yes, more coffee at Top Pot Donuts before finding a place along the parade route, underneath the monorail tracks.  The parade was led by the Ohio State School for the Blind marching band...yes, a BLIND marching band....impressive in so many ways!  Then came wave after wave of international Lions Club delegates from all over the globe.  Who knew this was such a huge organization?  The kids were quite a hit and collected quite a bit of swag- flags, fans and pins galore from all over the globe.  The Asian delegates seemed especially taken with them, and I believe that Matias and Violet will be showing up as "cute American children" in hundreds of people's pictures around the world!

After about an hour, we began to walk towards the beginning of the parade route, towards the Space Needle, and never ran out of parade!  We decided that rather than pay just to visit the observation deck, we would pay a bit more to enjoy lunch in their rotating restaurant.  It was a great choice- the view was wonderful, as was the food.  Matt had a vegetable gateau and I had Dungeness crab macaroni and cheese.  The kids shared some chicken strips and fries.  The view of the city, the sound, the mountains...and the continuing Lion's Club parade were impressive.  After an hour or so, we came down from the top to see the very end of the 3.5 hour long parade.  We made out way back to our apartment for naptime.

In the afternoon, we met Sean, Emily and the baby at the Chittendon Locks.  Emily and I sat in the shade while she fed Eloise, and the kids went with Matt and Sean to explore the locks and the fish ladder.  The salmon were returning to their breeding grounds, and you can see them jumping up the little water falls, heading upstream.  Matias and Violet were quite taken by the viewing windows.  We also got to see a train bridge go up and down, and a few very short freight trains go by.  Matt and Sean walked to a local restaurant and brought back fish n' chips and clam chowder for dinner and we all enjoyed that in the shade.  Then we all headed home for early bedtimes after a very full day!
photo by Matias

Friday, July 1, 2011

Post 100!

100 Blog posts.  Most of them seem to revolve around the fun things we've been doing together, so I thought I'd devote yet another post to what we've been up to lately!

Talking about oceans and beaches

Celebrating lots of special days- most with donuts!

Hitting some Chicago museums

Cheering for Uncle Hans and his drum corps (go Cavaliers!)

Camping- for real and pretend

Cooking on the rare occasion that I feel up to it

Tangrams, games, puzzles, books, playdough, coloring...


Live music

Hitting the park

Betting on the ponies (without the betting part)
And generally soaking up the sunshine!

Hope you are all enjoying your summer as much as we are!
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