Friday, August 30, 2013

Washington (4): Mt. Rainier

There were A LOT of really special things about our 10 days in Washington (and to think you've only seen days 1-3 so far!) but one of the big highlights for Lou & the girls was their day trip to Mt. Rainier.

"Please take our picture or my wife will never forgive me."
Many of you are lucky enough to know Lou personally, and when his daughters read this one day when they are older, I want them to know this about him. Lou's up for just about anything in the name of experiencing something new.

  • Spend a summer in Costa Rica? 
  • Move in with people he barely knew above a Bagel Shop & end up marrying one of them? 
  • Convince his wife to take up scuba diving in preparation for a two-week trip to the Kingdom of Tonga? 
  • Take the aforementioned wife snorkeling with humpback whales? Cage-diving with sharks? Why not?
  • (Don't get me started on all of our Phish show adventures over the years.)
  • Spend weeks of classes and hours of practice learning "Hypnobirthing" to help the aforementioned wife through two pretty insane natural childbirths? Of course!
  • Take two kids under 6 hiking up a mountain, flying totally solo? You bet'cha!

So, while there were no text updates or instagrammed moments of this epic journey, there were lots of happy memories accumulated.  And, I was THRILLED that a certain someone took my advice and wrapped the camera around his neck, even though that meant carrying a camera AND a two-year old up a mountain.  But, alas, he survived. And alas, we get to glimpse into that special day.

"Pose on the mountain"

"We hiked all the way to SNOW!"

Next time, Mt. Rainier. Next time. Can't wait to meet you.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Washington (3): Day with Daddy

On Monday, it was work time for "Smart Mommy."  I reported for duty at the global Getting Smart headquarters with the best colleagues a gal could ask for, while Josephine & Beatrice did some exploring with the best dad two gals could ask for.

Funny thing actually, the following things happened on Monday while I was at work:

  • Lou took the girls to the Point Defiance Zoo
  • Josie realized her dream of zip-lining! And tackled a ropes course.
  • Josie & Bea rode a camel.
Guess how many photos there are of this big day? Guess how many text updates I got about all the fun that they were having?


#epicdadfail (only to be excused due to the fact that, ya know, Lou took the girls to the zoo to zip line and ride camels while I was at work)

But, don't worry. There are still a couple "Day Three" photos worthy of sharing, although there are no camels involved.

Vacation Treats

Vacation Sunsets

I think the whole 'purple mountain's majesty' thing is about this.

Washington (2): Pine Lake

On Sunday we got to spend a few hours with one of our favorite families on the planet. It took about 2 seconds to determine how we'd spend the afternoon - at Pine Lake - this absolutely blissful park and crystal clear lake among GIANT pine trees that just do not exist in the Midwest. It's such a peaceful place that feels absolutely timeless.The kids had such a fun time in the lake!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Washington (1): Arrival

Hmmm, guess it's time to get some of the Washington trip pics up on the ole' blog.

The Best of Day One

Time zones to traverse. Generous hosts to welcome us. Low tides to explore. Salty waters to discover. New dogs to befriend. Green grass to play. Setting suns to behold. 

Where's Bea?

Big gratitude. Big, big gratitude.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

6 circles. 4 celebrations.

Turning six is a big deal.  

Celebrate, we will!

August 11th - her actual birthday, trip to Kings Island to celebrate
August 18th - her birthday party, a small Tie-Dye "Drop Off Party" at our house
August 21st - her montessori "birthday walk" celebration at school
August 31st - our whole family's August birthday bash (coming soon!)

There's just a wee bit of blogging that needs to happen to cover all this celebrating.

First, Kings Island. 

The girls we're SOOOO excited. 

At *exactly* 48 inches, Josie is big enough for the big rides. 
(Physically big enough does not mean mentally ready, so The Beast will wait at least a year.)

At *exactly* 36 inches, Bea is big enough for all of the kiddie rides. 

It was the PERFECT day. We covered an insane amount of ground - knocking out the rides & the water park all in one day.  It was really just one of those perfect family days together. There's always a little bit of magic nostalgia sprinkled over every moment at KI, as Lou & I swap stories of our own childhood moments at the park. 

I decided not to take my big camera so I could enjoy the fun. Here are some of the top moments. 

This was Josie's big "and now I am six" fear-conquering moment. She went for the roller coaster where your feet dangle. Something about the dangly feet and the full over-the-shoulder harness meant this was the real deal.

A little concerned in the line


That's some BIG KID STUFF.
 Like I said, the perfect day.

Bea feeling a little nervous on the sky helicopters

Josie + Mama = No one even stands a chance!

Bea's little bare feet.

Time to get scrambled! It's insane how much little Bea loves the big scrambler!

Bea & I rode The Carousel four times in a row, while Josie & Lou conquered "The Monster."

Then, we tackled the Soak City waterpark (because we don't mess around). That place is MASSIVE and you could easily spend a whole day there.

We lasted a couple hours, then we waved the white flag. Because we were whooped. Mega-whooped.

And there were still presents to unwrap! And birthday wishes to come true!

Two years of waiting & this American Girl doll wish finally came true

Poor Bea didn't even last long enough to blow the candles. We had late night birthday cake and then were all off to bed.

Fast forward a week and a pass through the first week of school and you arrive at Sunday - the date of Josie's 6th birthday party.  For the last five birthdays, we've had big "come one, come all" parties with 50 or so people, young and old. This year, Josie asked for a "Drop Off Party." Ouch. We didn't see that coming so soon, but birthdays are about getting what you want. So, she got to choose 10 friends to invite to a party at the house.  She chose tie-dyeing as her theme and it was SO much fun.

We all got decked out in our tie-dye creations and each of the kids made a pillow-case and a piece of clothing.

Grandma & DD arrived with some new outfits for Josie's "Julie" Doll (thank goodness, since the poor thing confessed to me that a doll with no clothes isn't much fun).  They also gifted her a really touching photo & special note from Grandma and a really cool tie-dye peace watch from DD that hasn't left her wrist since the day she got it!

And...DD brought balloons!

Both girls got to release a balloon into the sky to make a special wish, which Bea thought was pretty amazing.

Grandma & DD took the girls out to lunch while we took care of final party preparations. Then, it was TIME!

Bea was eager to help and joined right in, even if her legs ended up more tie-dyed than her clothes!

Ha, I promise everyone had fun, even if they got a little bored waiting for the big cake to make its appearance.

It was worth the wait. Totally worth the wait.

It was really sweet how the gifts from Josie's friends were so perfect for her. She's so lucky to be surrounded by such a great group of friends!

A group hug was definitely in order.

Then, it was PINATA TIME.  The night before the party, Josie told me she couldn't sleep because, and I quote, "I can't wait another minute to bust that pinata. I've been waiting six whole years for this party!" The pinata was great fun.
Yep, that's a golf club. 

Yep, that's a Swiffer handle.
Not pictured: The Tongan War Club that we carried home from the South Pacific.
It was too heavy for the kids. Total bummer.

 After the party, things got a little wild with the hose. It was awesome. Super awesome.

And, that brings us to day. Josie's annual journey around the sun - played out with a globe and a centerpiece in her new 6-9 montessori classroom. It's such a special tradition, and we are feeling so blessed about the wonderful energy of her new classroom, new teachers and new school friends!

I read from her birthday milestone book...

While she journeyed six times around the sun to represent her six years on earth.

So, happy birthday Josephine Marie! These six circles around the sun have been the happiest six circles of our lives.  This year you conquered fears, gained new skills, grew in confidence and continued to open your heart to all the possibilities of the universe. We are so happy to be on this journey with you!