Sunday, May 27, 2012

Birthday Adventures Take 2

Today's adventures kept us a little closer to home. Today was Mountain's annual Memorial Day parade. We went last year so I had a better idea of how pumped to get before the parade today. It was basically 10 minutes of various fire trucks and businesses throwing candy at kids. Most of the local schools have graduation this weekend, so no school groups or marching bands were involved. There were no girl scouts or boy scouts or 4H kids. No real parade staples that I'm used to. No Steppers. Nothing like a good old fashioned Lynden parade (or a Seattle parade either - luckily we got to go to several of those living in the city!). Sora loved it though and that's what really matters. I convinced her to give most of her candy to her friend who was in the parade, so it worked out well for all involved. After the parade, we hit the bouncy house circuit for a while. Once Sora was throughly exhausted, we headed home and I convinced her that she should take a long nap for my birthday. It worked (although she's now up at 8:30 making crazy noises rather than sleeping).
After nap time, we headed to my favorite ice cream stand for dinner and ice cream. I took some sweet pictures, but forgot to bring a photo card. I also left my camera at the stand, but came back later and someone had turned it in. Thank you kind stranger! Sora had a "spike" which is a teeny tiny cone for little kids. She ordered vanilla which was very surprising, but then dropped it on the ground. Luckily it was only $.65, so she could get another.

We rounded out the day at the county park playing with all the kids who are camping there for the weekend. It's typically the quietest park, so it's nice on a big weekend when there are a lot of campers to share the playground with.

And here are some pictures of Sora enjoying the rope bridge and water area at camp. This water is about 1' deep and Sora loves to splash and play here.
(Oh, and thanks to Lori for the tip! It's a great replacement for picnik, maybe better, and I am already addicted.)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Green Bay Adventure

So, as the world's best wife (or so my coffee mug tells me), I let Kyle go off on an epic canoe/camping trip for my birthday weekend. Today, Sora and I went off by ourselves for day one of our two day celebration.

We started off by sharing a "chocolatey chocolatey" doughnut. 
 Then, I dropped Sora off at the Y kid's corner for a little alone time (workout / hot tubbing).

Afterwards, we headed to Bay Beach Amusement Park. We only went once last year, and while Sora liked it then, she LOVED it this year. There are 8 rides for $.25 (and 8 for $.50). Sora could go on 7 of them all by herself which she was very proud of.

6 of the 7 are almost identical, focusing on the going-around-in-a-circle-in-some-kind-of-vehicle theme. The 7th is the chairplane, which she was too short for last year. Yeah for being 3' tall!
We also went on the giant slide together (which was really tall - we were both a little scared) and the carousel. Last summer in Spokane, I tried to ride on a horse next to Sora rather than stand by her and it did not end well, but this year Sora was very excited to have me ride "Cinderella" while she, of course, rode "Sora". Her pretend friend Lola came with us, and she rode a horse named "Lola" as well.

After our riding adventures, we had a delicious and healthy picnic lunch in the park before going on a mommy shopping spree to Michaels, Target, and my favorite thrift store (thanks to both of my favorite mother-in-laws)! Sora slept on the way home until we pulled into camp when she was woken up by her ferocious coughing and also a very loud song on her iPod. So, she's still a little sick, but it was a great day overall. Looking forward to part 2 of our adventures tomorrow!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mother's Day

We have had a busy month getting ready for our summer vacation, with not a lot of super exciting blog-worthy events. This past weekend, the black plague seems to have taken over Sora and Kyle (luckily sparing me), so we stayed close to home for the most part with a lot of naps and bodily fluids.

Last weekend though, was Maleah weekend. Since Kyle will be gone next weekend for my birthday, he let me open my birthday present early (new sewing machine! Thanks again mom and Kyle). On Saturday, we went to an Amish auction. It was fascinating and we all loved it but decided not to take pictures out of respect for the Amish. The furniture they were selling was amazing and it's a good thing we weren't there during that part of the auction because I would have wanted to spend every last penny I own on their amazing bedroom sets and dining sets. We also hiked at the nature center.

On Sunday, we headed to a zoo we hadn't been to before. It was an experience! It was a very dusty zoo, and Kyle was very disturbed by the liberal feeding of twizzlers to the animals, but we got to watch several animals during feeding time and Sora and I even got to feed lettuce to the baby hippo.

 Sora loved feeding the farm animals and wanted to pet all the dogs she saw and even petted a baby wolf!

 We got to pet a very tiny baby primate.

Sora loved watching the toddler chimp. She decided he was just like a real toddler. He mostly played with the men and older boys, and was a little rough.
And of course, the popsicle at the end was a big hit too!

We only have 12 days left before our epic 9 week road trip, so we'll most likely be very busy with packing and getting ready. There are a few fun things we're hoping to take pictures of before we leave, so we'll try to update a few times before the summer excitement begins!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Still Smelling the Roses

 This spring with Sora has been so much more magical than last year. While we enjoyed the turtles and flowers before, Sora has a new attention span and interest in nature that makes it possible for us both to stop and smell the roses. It's hard for me to do sometimes - just to relax and not have an agenda - but it's something I'm working on. I'm also still (always) working on saying yes more and no less.
 The dolls eating strawberries (which disappeared very quickly). A perfect example of my inner struggle to say yes. It usually pays off when I do, but at times my negative voice ("there will be a mess" "someone might get hurt") is actually right. It's nice though when that's not the case.

This picture is pretty hard to see, but if you look closely, you can see two or three of the tiny tadpoles we caught and a few of the egg sacks they came from. We returned them to the marsh today, but I'm not sure they were all still swimming by the time we got there...
 We leave our porch light on all night as Sora's night light. It works for us and keeps the house mostly dark, which I prefer. We now have a huge colony of moths that live on our front porch though.
 We were on a walk the other day with some camp friends and one noticed this Robin's nest. We've been checking on it since then. It's rare the bird leaves the nest, but the eggs are the most beautiful color.

That's what we've been up to this week. It didn't hurt that the weather has finally been nice this week and we've got to spend a lot of time outside catching things with a net, watching turtles, discovering scat (animal poop), drawing in the dirt with sticks, "performing" on the amphitheater stage, watering every plant near our house with Sora's new hippo watering can, picking every dandelion possible, exploring camp trails (barefoot of course) and just generally enjoying all the amazing perks of life at camp. Sora's finally talking to strangers now and is slowly starting to talk to the camp kids. She loves eating in the dining hall (which is both good and bad), watching the kids after dinner and playing with all of the camp staff. I think she prefers a few of them to me!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Screen Free Week

Our first annual screen free week was a raving success! We took the time to smell the roses, but not much time to take pictures of us doing it, which was a nice break too. Here are some highlights of the week and ways we stayed busy without screens:

We spent an evening at Slippery Rock.

This worked out perfectly - I ran there in 30 min. and Kyle drove there with Sora. We were so smart and remembered extra clothes and a towel this time. However, it was Kyle, not Sora, who accidentally fell in, bringing our activities to a close.

We went to Green Bay for our weekly swim lesson and t-ball class. While there, we also went out to lunch at our favorite coffee shop (a big treat), and did a lot of shopping.

We played at home with some special toys. Sora got a new ukelele, which I gave to her during Walker's nap time. This is typically when I have relied on TV time for Sora the most, so it helped that we only watched him once this week, and that Sora got a new toy (and special food treat) to keep her occupied so that her interruptions were at a minimum.
Here she is discovering static electricity. There was a lot of thunder storms this week, so I tried explaining lightning to a 3 year old. Currently her favorite question is "Why is it raining?". Kyle and I try to give conscience scientific answers, but not sure how accurate they are, or how understandable they are to a 3 year old.

We spent a day rummaging (garage sailing for you Washingtonians). There is a big annual sale with over 140 places involved in one town! We went last year, and this year Sora got her own money ($3) and we chose what to by together. I spent $3 on this plastic kitchen to keep outside for making mud pies and grass stew (along with a lot of 4T clothes).

I was very proud of Sora - I offered to buy her another dress up costume and she told me that then we would need a garage sale to get rid of all of our junk and that she had enough. A semi-non-consumer after my own heart! She was very stingy with her $3 and still had over $1 left over for ice cream when we were finished.

We also spent an epic weekend in Green Bay and were very busy with Healthy Kids day, dinner and an evening with friends, and swimming at the Y. There was a Teddy Bear Hunt that we were super excited about, but there was also an epic rainstorm so we opted to make cookies at home instead.

Overall, Sora didn't miss screens too much. She only gets 30 min. per day, so it wasn't much time to fill. I was surprised to find that I didn't miss screens much either. I rarely watch TV, but I do spend too much time online. I had been getting to a point where I felt almost anxious about having to check certain websites and my email multiple times a day incase I missed something. It was nice to realize that there was really nothing to miss and my life was not negatively impacted by not knowing a sale or being involved in some forum discussion. I feel liberated! So, tomorrow, Sora gets to go back to her "normal", but I have some new goals for myself. They are pretty lofty (1-2 hrs of screen time/day, none while Sora is awake), but it was nice this week to spend so much time knitting, learning to play the guitar, and making crafts for our summer vacation. Imagine how much more I can do when I stop caring about what people are saying on Facebook or what characters in "my shows" are up to and start allocating that time instead to other more productive things!