Saturday, February 16, 2013

Back to Life

While we were on vacation, it snowed at least 11" at our house. It snowed 3" more this week, and Sora is back to loving the snow.
 This is her "I'm not eating old snow mom" face.

 Sora has a big job in front of her!

And here she is enjoying the mountain of snow that the plows made on our front lawn.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Our Trip: By the Numbers

Our vacation is finally over after an epic plane ride yesterday. Here is a mathematical recap of our vacation:
14 days
8 airplanes for 7 flights (1 had some mechanical problems, so we had to deplane and board another airplane)
6 airports
1 lost bag (then 1 returned bag)
4 grandparents
(over) 50 other relatives including cousins, aunts and uncles
3 rides on Dakota
2 story times at the library
2 turtles on the beach
"53" sandcastles ("Papa made the 50 and I made the three" according to Sora)
2 birthday celebrations for 1 4 year old including 4 birthday desserts
1 happy and tired 4 year old and 1 exhausted mama

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Birthday Girl

We weren't expecting to celebrate Sora's birthday in Washington until my grandmother passed away just before our Hawaiian vacation and our travel plans were rerouted. We made the best of it and Sor and I spent the day before grandma's funeral celebrating Sora's 4th birthday.
I left our presents in Wisconsin since we didn't have room in our luggage, so Sora will have more presents when we get home.
After presents (4 for her 4th birthday), we had cottage cheese pancakes with syrup and sprinkles.
Today was Play n Learn Storytime at the local library. It invovled shakers, moon dough, playdough, songs, finger play, project, math manipulatives, stamping, and of course stories. Sora loved it!

Afterwards, we went to my favorite bakery (that we went to earlier this week). Sora enjoyed a large sugar cookie and finished her half bread stick, cup of split pea soup and almost her entire cookie. We also met a friend of mine there for lunch who Sora will be playing with tomorrow during the funeral service.
I put the finishing touches on Sora's chocolate rainbow cupcakes and we got to sing happy birthday and blow out her candles at home after lunch. Sora also got to play with my cousin who is close to her age. She forgot all about party games and just played happily with her friend, which worked out well for everyone!
After the playing was all done, we went to dinner at Appleby's. Sora got a yummy dessert and didn't have to have people sing happy birthday again (which made her very happy).
And here's a picture of her dessert - she smiled nicely so many times today so that we could share the day with her daddy who unfortunately had to stay back at camp and work with the kids. Luckily we will see him in only a few more days!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Washington Vacation: Part 1

It has been a nice, relaxing vacation so far in Washington! 
My parents have more toys and books at their house than we do at our house it seems. Sora and I have been having a lot of fun overcoming the design challenges of this plastic flimsy marble run.
Sora was also super excited to ride on Dakota, papa's horse. She asked nicely several times and yesterday it was dry enough to take her out for a spin. Sora had three turns and would have kept going if it wasn't so cold. I think she'll be riding on her own this summer!
Yesterday I took her and mom to Honk, the musical about the ugly duckling. It was super long, so we only lasted through the first half, but the part we saw was great! Mom and I took Sora to a play last year for her birthday in Wisconsin, so maybe this will become a birthday tradition (although it seems like Mom and I enjoy this more than Sora does at this point).
Today, on Sora's birthday eve, we went to my favorite toy store and Sora picked out a fun xylophone-type instrument. We also went to the art museum which has a new large Family Interactive Gallery (FIG). It was larger and more fun than I expected. We ended up playing for an hour and 15 min and could have gone longer. I also made Sora go through the art section of the museum, trying to give her some impromptu art education (something we don't get many opportunities to do on outings near our house).
This museum pleasantly suprised me, and it will definately be on our list of things to do next summer!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Hawaiian Vacation: Part 2

Here are a few more pictures from our epic vacation:

More of Sora playing in the sand. She did this a lot - dad and I went running 2 mornings and mom and I went walking 1 morning, so while I was gone, she built sandcastles with the remaining grandparent. Mom and I went snorkeling one day and saw a ton of fish! Sora played on the sand with my dad and swam in the very calm water. She also climbed a nearby tree (which ended in her falling off the tree and scraping her face). There was a ton of coral right off the beach and a lot of fish to see which was awesome! I suggested dad take his camera with him, to capture the moment, but I didn't have the foresight to realize that when the wind blew (like it did) that the tiny sand would get into the camera (like it did) and cause it to stop working (like it did). See how hindsight is 20/20?  Anyway, this resulted in a lot of iPhone pictures, which didn't really capture the moment in the same way (and no snorkeling photos).

Mom and dad enjoyed a yummy looking drink at Cheeseburger in Paradise overlooking the ocean and watching the sun go down while...
Sora and I took in some live local music. This guy was amazing and did a lot of old Hawaiian songs and a few more contemporary ones too. Sora did a little dancing, but mostly just listened to the music and people watched. 
For Christmas, my parents paid for my ticket to a Luau (Sora was free). Dad surprised Sora with a real flower lei!
Sora did a great job trying all of the food, including the poi. The pork was her favorite, but she liked dessert a lot too. You can tell by her eyes that she was crazy tired and that she had been crying a lot. Just before our meal, these guys were running around with torches lighting the tikis. It FREAKED her out and she wanted to leave. I did finally get her to come back and eat dinner.

This is hard to see, but Sora is the little girl on the left (about 1/4 of the way in the photo). Sora and grandma went up on stage with a bunch of other little kids to learn to Hula. She actually followed directions pretty well and was of course super adorable (I'm not biased at all - the old people near her all thought so, and even some other strangers who saw her later commented).
Here is the show. It was a story about many Polynesian Islands.
And, my sweet father reminded Sora that men might come out with fire (which they did) before the show started which triggered another major meltdown and this is where we spent most of the show - in the back snuggling. Sora did like parts of it, but wouldn't be set down for a second! She did like the fire dancer - he came at the very end, so she had gotten used to the idea by then.
Here are Sora and papa in the pool. The pool was much colder than the ocean, so we only really got in once. My parents and I did really enjoy the hot tub though.
We also went to a tiny plantation. We took a little tram and drove around seeing how fruit in Hawaii was grown. I had no idea that pineapple grows in the ground and takes 2 years to mature! As you can see, Sora was obsessed with taking pictures. This lead to a few meltdowns as well when someone wanted to take a decent picture of something instead of a Sora version picture.
Here is our tram driver shucking a coconut for us. Since it was a small group, we all got to drink the coconut water (which Sora loved) and eat some of the coconut meat (which Sora also loved).
One rainy afternoon, we also went to the Ioa Valley State Park. It was totally different than the beaches we had been seeing and it was really pretty. We saw several waterfalls and a raging river. It rains 400" a year there, so there was a lot of water and green plants around.
And, of course, before getting back on the plane, Sora had shaved ice one last time. Our trip to Washington was very smooth and a little shorter than flying all the way back to Wisconsin. My sweet aunt and uncle picked us up at the airport in the middle of the night and drove us into Seattle the next day to take the Bolt bus up to Bellingham (which is the cheapest and fastest transportation between the two cities - it was amazing!). We are staying in Washington until next Sunday, so look for at least one more vacation post!