Friday, July 25, 2014

Molly's 8th Birthday Party!

Since July has been full of travel and celebrations, we had to schedule Molly's birthday party a little later this year.  She really wanted to celebrate at Chuck E. Cheese's, and after finding out the one in Beaverton is actually clean and decent, I agreed.  I was also happy not to host it at home considering we had just returned from our trip to Canada.  Almost all her friends were able to come and she was really happy to see them considering they haven't hung out much during the summer!

After spending some time playing the games, the kids sat down for pizza, cake and singing.  Being the center of attention can be hard for Molly.  But other than being embarrassed by a giant mouse... she did fine.

After eating she went into the "Ticket Blaster" which is pretty much the only reason she wanted a party at Chuck E. Cheese's.  Ironically she was too scared to do it by herself, so she had her friend Ava do it with her.

Then they moved on to opening presents!  That's always a highlight for any birthday child!

She was so blessed to be surrounded by so many loving people to celebrate her eighth birthday!

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Trip to Canada

This summer I decided we were due for a trek up to Canada to visit my family.  Unfortunately Steve used up all his vacation when we went to Hawaii, so this little adventure I was doing solo.  I packed up the van and off I went.  The drive up the Olympic Peninsula went perfectly and Molly was a huge help with the twins grabbing snacks and changing movies out while I drove.  We took the ferry out of Port Angeles and people actually commented on how well behaved my children were.  I was so proud of them!

When we reached Victoria, we stayed with my sister Michelle as Tricia's family was staying with my parents.  This ended up working perfectly, as Michelle is so laid back and didn't seem to mind the fact that my clan was over-taking her home.  And between the Wii and her cat, Esso, the kids were well entertained (for what little time we were actually home).  Little did the kids know, but their Auntie Shelly was sending the Wii home with us since they never used it anymore.  Needless to say the kids were just a little excited about that!

The next day we headed to the lake and met up with my mom, Trish and Maya.  The kids were little fish and spent their entire time in the water.

That night we had dinner at my mom and dad's house.  The kids by that point were pretty worn out.

The next day, we went downtown in Victoria to do some of the usual touristy things like shopping and taking a water taxi to get fish and chips at Fisherman's Wharf.  It was SUCH a beautiful day and the weather couldn't have been better.  It was such a great reminder of what a beautiful city Victoria is!

The following day I met much of my extended family at a restaurant to celebrate my grandfather's 101st birthday.  I paid Maya to babysit my kiddos and enjoyed a nice little break from them.  I was so happy to be there because I missed Grandpa's 100th birthday.  I REALLY wanted an updated photo of the two of them and did a little furniture rearranging in the restaurant so I could facilitate a 3-minute photo shoot without having them to walk any distance.  I'm so glad I did it and LOVE the resultant photo.

The next day we went back into Victoria and spent the day at the Royal B.C. Museum. The museum was hosting a special exhibit and IMAX movie on Vikings and I learned so much about an ancient culture that I knew very little about.  The kids loved the natural history exhibits and First Nations rooms!

One highlight for me was being able to have a coffee with an old friend from BCIT!  I haven't seen Andrew in MANY years, but it's nice to know that we both haven't aged.

The following day we visited a Raptor Refuge just outside of Duncan.  My parents had received rave reviews on this place from some of their neighbors and they were right... it was such a cool place.  They had a ton of raptors on exhibit and the kids were able to get close and personal with some HUGE birds.

But the highlight of this refuge was the show.  The trainers were working to help rehabilitate several raptors by teaching them hunting skills.  It was amazing to see them snatch chunks of meat out of mid-air and learn about each species.

On our last day there, Shell and I took the munchkins to Beacon Hill Park to the petting zoo.  They have all kinds of farm animals there, but the highlight is always the peacocks who love to strut their stuff for the cameras.

The kids spent at least 45 minutes in the goat pen, oooh'ing and aaaah'ing over all the baby goats.  They were so cute and friendly!

Finally we finished up our adventures by a trip to the beach and spent a good chunk of time exploring and poking around in tide pools.  We found starfish, anemones, crabs and a variety of shellfish and the kids kept a variety of treasures for their shell and rock collections back home.  Poking around tide pools defined much of my childhood, and it was really special to be able to share those kinds of experiences with my own children.  I love their passion and interest in the natural world!

All in all, it was a really fabulous trip.  I was a little scared about making the adventure without Steve, but was pleasantly surprised about how good the kids were.  And of course I am extremely thankful for Michelle's help wrangling them! 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Visit from the Cousins

This week we had a visit from the California cousins!  It was a short but fabulous trip and they arrived on Molly's birthday!  Christie had us all over for dinner that night and we had a great visit, including ice cream mud pie for dessert (at Molly's request).  The next day we went to the zoo, and unfortunately I didn't bring my camera with me.  But the day after that I got a few photos from the little hike that we took.  It was sure nice to spend some time with their family and we sure wish they lived closer!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Fourth of July

What a fabulous Fourth of July we had!  It was a busy day full of friends and family and is quickly becoming one of my favorite holidays.  We started in the morning at the Hillsboro parade.  Our friends the Washams go to a special breakfast hosted by a City Council member for the firemen every year.  She lives right on the parade route and they invited us along.  She had a complete brunch spread and had the area roped off for the firemen and their families.  It was so wonderful that we were able to tag along and be with our friends!

Afterwards we had lunch and then headed over the Scott and Christie's house for dinner.  The kids enjoyed playing soccer and hanging out in the backyard.  And we all enjoyed an unreal BBQ put on by the Savages.  That girl Christie knows how to COOK!

Then of course it was time for sparklers and fireworks.  Between the three families we had a LOT of combustibles.  That kids LOVED all the explosions!

And of course one of the highlights was the sparklers.  It's always so much fun for the kids (and the mommy who like to use the opportunity to play with her camera and get long exposure light painting photos). 

We missed being with the Faddis family for 4th of July, but are so thankful to be here and start some new family traditions!  What a wonderful day!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Trip to Seattle

One of the hard parts of Steve's new job is that he has to occasionally do some traveling.  Of course we always miss him when he's gone.  But when the kids are on vacation from school, we use the opportunity to tag along on his adventures and utilize the free hotel room!  So when a short trip to Seattle came onto the radar... we were there!  The first day we all drove up together and Steve dropped us off at the aquarium before heading to his meetings.  My kids LOVE aquariums, and although this particular one is pretty small, it was really fun!  The kids spent at least an hour at the touch pools, and when the docent heard I was a biologist she spent a ton of one-on-one time with the kids telling them everything she knew!  It was so fabulous!

Afterwards we walked around the waterfront and took in some of the sights.  It was cool to see how Seattle is trying to develop that area to be something similar to the Piers in San Francisco.  There was a ton of stuff to do!

After all that walking and sight seeing the kids were EXHAUSTED and HOT and I still had some time to kill before Steve was done with his meetings. So I took the kids into a fancy hotel to use their rest room.  The hotel had a huge foyer and around one corner there was a little seating area with a TV where a couple of kids were watching cartoons.  So I parked them on the couch in the hotel lobby and let them rest and watch TV while we waited for Daddy to be done.  That hotel lobby was like a oasis sent from God!  After Daddy was done, he picked us up and we went to meet up with some old friends, Kevin and Linda, that had recently moved to Seattle!  They invited us over for dinner and we had a wonderful meal and visit with them!

The next day Daddy was able to join us as we went to the museum district of Seattle.  I was blown away with how much this area has grown since the last time I hung out around the space needle (which was probably 25 years ago).  So many fabulous museums are there now, all within walking distance of one another.

We chose to spend the day at the Science Museum, figuring that it would be the biggest hit with the kiddos.  We were right.  It was quite an expensive museum, and when we were buying our admission I asked if there was any discount for people who are members of other Science Museums.  Apparently because we're OMSI members we can get in for FREE!  Best deal ever!  The kids favorite section was the entomology wing and butterfly garden.

They also loved the dinosaur exhibit and the hands on area outside in the courtyard.

We also got to see a great little movie on lemurs in the IMAX theater in 3D.  It was the kids first time in an IMAX theater... and their first experience with a 3D film.  Very fun!

Afterewards, we piled everyone back into the van and headed for home.  It was a very short trip and we will definitely have to make another trek to Seattle to spend some time there.  It's such a fabulous city with so much to do!