Sunday, December 28, 2014

Winter is Here!

 We have had a super busy week, but as usual we've been too busy living to take too many photos.

Sora had a lot of fun being a camper at Winter Camp. She's a master photo evader though so of all 40 kids there, she was photographed the least. Here she is starting to build an ice castle.
After the kids left, the staff stayed for a reunion and Sora had a lot of fun soaking up all the grown up attention at the Seahawks party. After the staff left, we celebrated Solstice (a day late). We spent it up at camp. We decorated a tree for the birds:

 Since there wasn't any snow up at camp, we drove 10 minutes up to the pass to see a little snow.

We also stopped at the waterfall on the way home and went on a short hike. Of course, Kyle was wearing flip flops so the hike was pretty short.
 Afterwards, we enjoyed our presents. We try to focus on homemade presents and buy a couple for Sora as well. I love 5 year olds - she was happy with everything! She loved the dresses, scarf, doll, and tent that we made her. She also loved the science kit and chess game and we played with them all afternoon. Sora is an incredible secret keeper. She and Kyle made 2 presents for me, and we made some presents for Kyle and she never once let on any hints.

 After lunch, we made our traditional solstice cupcakes. We didn't have milk or eggs so we baked vegan cupcakes that were actually pretty delicious.

We shared some cupcakes with the care keeper and his family and played some games with them as well.

The next day Sora and I headed home to get ready for Christmas. Sora was lucky to have 2 sets of grandparents to enjoy the holiday with. We also got to see the third set of grandparents as well as cousins later in the week. Sora is now spending a few days with two of her grandparents while Kyle is working and I am trying to clean up from all our holiday madness.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Another thing on our list this winter was to go see the luminaries and lights at the arboretum. I think we were spoiled by the light display at the Green Bay Botanical Garden and may have to go to a bigger city next year that can compete, but for a free event, the local arboretum was close, relatively warm (especially compared with WI) and free.

I had a hard time taking pictures, but here were a few of the best:

We went with our neighbors, which was great. Sora loves their girls and it is always nice having adult conversation without constant interruption. We also ran into several people we knew, which is surprising since we still don't know many people here!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ice skating

This year in making our Solstice countdown, it was hard deciding which traditions from WI we could keep and which ones we needed to rethink. Now that Sora's at school and I'm at work 6.5 hours a day, it has been hard managing our small amount of free time! Anyway, I decided that ice skating was definitely a tradition to keep. It is a LOT harder and more inconvenient in WA though. We can't just go on any nice-ish winter day and walk 100 yards to our frozen lake.

As an homage to WI skating, I found this photo on my iPod. This wasn't our local pond, but it was a decent free outdoor rink in a nearby town. Sora could skate pretty well on this terribly bumpy ice but the walkers were intriguing since she didn't usually get to use them.
 Fast forward to this year: we actually had to drive 10 minutes to the rink and PAY ($6 each!). We had to go during open skate (only twice a week, so we really had to plan ahead). We did pick up some very nice skates at the thrift store though so at least we didn't pay for rentals.
The ice was much nicer and smoother than we are used to, and Sora had a hard time with how slippery it was. She was okay at skating, but she was very nervous. She used a walker type thing for a while but fell twice on her head and it really hurt. After she stopped using it, it was much better. We also ran into a camp staff member while we were there. What a small town!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Big City Weekend

My mom has always loved the city during the holidays. We had been planning this trip for a while and Kyle surprised us with the weekend off (we thought he would be at camp without us) so we all went over to Bellevue and Seattle for a fun holiday filled weekend.

We started Saturday morning off right at Pike's Place. Sora loved all the artists amazing creations.
Of course the food (and samples) were big too.
We had lunch at Pike's Place Chowder thanks to Maleah's cousin. We got to avoid the HUGE line and eat delicious chowder. Sora ate this entire bowl of clam chowder herself! I had salmon and both were amazing.

Afterwards, the girls headed to the Nutcracker to see the last year of this version while the boys found their own entertainment.
 The seats were crazy close and Sora got a booster cushion to help her see better.

Sora was pretty squirrelly during the first act, but because our seats were so close, it was actually hard to see. She was much better during the second act.

At night, we headed to Bellevue to Snowflake Lane. The hotel we stayed at was within walking distance which is great because I probably would have chosen not to go if we had to deal with traffic.
It really is just a bunch of characters posing with kiddos and some dancing - nothing that amazing, but Sora LOVED it. It took her a while to work up enough courage to pose with anyone, but once she finally made the leap it was hard to stop her!

 Once the "show" started, Sora was very busy dancing and keeping up with the other kiddos.

 They also blow bubbles/snow which Sora had fun chasing around.

 On the way out she tried to pose with Rudolf, but they told her it was too late and come back tomorrow. She was okay and not at all upset but on our way out, this snow queen came rushing up to Sora with her arms outstretched saying, "Where have you been all night? I've been looking for you!" It was the sweetest thing and it definitely made me cry (I'm sappy like that). She talked to Sora and twirled her before leaving.
 In the morning, Sora finally took advantage of the hotel pool.
We ran a few errands before coming home with plenty of time for to watch the Seahawks play the Eagles.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Roller Skating

 As a kid, I always loved roller skating. I've been wanting to take Sora for a while now but we've never had a chance. With my parents in town and Kyle up at camp working this weekend, I decided this would be the perfect opportunity.
Sora fell a lot. Especially at the beginning. Not because she couldn't skate, but because she was being crazy.

 Every time a song came on that she liked, she tried to dance skate which was both hilarious and also not very effective.
 There were several games. This one involved standing on a number less than 50. Both my mom and I won which means that I got 2 free tickets to the skating rink (and that we'll be back sometime before January 31) and we got a free soft drink and Italian Soda.
 Sora really wanted nachos but I didn't have enough money. Luckily my mom sweet talked the lady into trading in our Italian Soda ticket for the nachos.
 My dad even went around the rink a few times.
 About half way through we found the beginners rink. It's pretty adorable and tiny so your kiddo won't crash into anyone else. Sora had fun and made a friend.

Over all Sora loved it. She had much more tenacity than I thought she would and after falling over and over, she still wanted to skate and be silly. I hope Kyle has as much fun with us when we drag him next time!

Friday, November 28, 2014


 This was the first year in a while that we've been able to have family over for Thanksgiving. Sora was so excited to have 4 of her grandparents and 2 of her cousins there! Somehow a set of grandparents avoided all of my photo ops...
Kyle's meal was delicious. He focused on locally sourced foods. We bought the turkey from a farm in Ellensburg and finally had the heritage turkey that Kyle has always dreamed of. He made two types of stuffing - one with brussels sprouts and one with cranberries. He also made a cranberry sauce, bacon wrapped green beans, and mashed potatoes with hazelnuts.

 Sora had so much fun with her sweet cousins. They were very kind to her, as always, and were polite, clean, great kids (as always).
 The weather was gorgeous - the kids played at the playground and outside much of the day.
 Sora also found people to play games with her. Papa and grandma D spent the weekend with us, so they spent a lot of time playing games and reading books.