Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ellie's first trip to Mt. Rainier and a Mariner's Game!

This past week, we took the kids on a grand tour vacation of the PNW, and though it was exhausting, we had a lot of fun!

First stop was Nonna's house. The kids got to visit with their grandma and great-grandparents and play with all of Nonna's fun toys (saved from my childhood). That night we took James out to see the new Disney Planes movie, which was so fun for him! His eyes were glued to the screen the whole time. He did get tire at the end and asked if we could go to Nonna's house and go to sleep, but we stuck it out till the end.

The next day we headed up to Paradise at Mt. Rainier. It was a long drive and the kids didn't sleep (and Ellie wailed most of the way), so by the time we had checked in and were having a picnic dinner with Auntie Diane, the kids had had enough. To make matters worse, James tripped and fell and hit his nose which started bleeding all over the place. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful location (minus the mosquitoes) and we got through it and put the kids to bed in our room at the Paradise Inn (where James liked to play with the sink for hours, go figure).

The next day was much better. We all took a hike up to Myrtle Falls and enjoyed the flowers along the way. The mountain played peek-a-boo (I forgot to get a good pic of it) and the kids mostly rode in carriers to keep them contained and happy. We were (legitimately) concerned about James falling off a cliff, of which there are many, so he stayed in the Ergo a lot. He did love looking at the water drops on the lupines and seeing a cricket.

We visited the visitor's center, had a picnic lunch with a view of the mountain, and put the kids down for a much-needed 3hr nap. We took another beautiful hike in the afternoon around the other side of paradise on the Nisqually Vista trail where my favorite rock with a hole in it is found. We took some pics and then headed to dinner in the picnic area, where we saw a deer and her two fawns. James loved pushing the button on Diane's car door (though we told him not to) and helped us by bringing things to and from the car. He just had a ball running around outside.

That evening I got to do what I rarely do... have a conversation with my dear Aunt Diane without kids running around! We sat by the fire down in the lobby and had a great time catching up.

The next day we packed up again and headed up to Seattle to meet Papa. The kids did NOT like being in the car, and it was a tough drive. But we made it! We had a surprisingly pleasant dinner at Red Lobster and put the kids to bed nice and early, which was needed for all of us.

The following morning was Mariner's Game day, so after a morning swim for James and Eliot, we packed up yet again and drove to Safeco Field where it was Kid's Day. Ellie got her First Visit certificate and I shopped for a few things for the kids in the store. James loved watching the numbers on the score board, specifically how many balls, strikes, and outs and the MPH for the pitcher since those ones changed the most. He also loved the little Mariner's car I got him. After some hot dogs and pizza, Eliot took Ellie in the Ergo for a 2hr stroll so she could nap, and James watched the game with me and Papa, and had a big smile when he recognized the song from the 7th inning stretch.

After the game (we lost, sadly), we got in a Disneyland-worthy line that wound it's way up to the upper deck so the kids could run the bases on the field! It was AWESOME! Papa ran with James and Eliot ran with Ellie. I watched and will get to go next time. It was pretty neat just being down on the dirt!

We drove the tired kiddos back to Papa's house (James slept but Ellie wailed for 2hrs, which woke him up and made him start singing "Jesus Loves Me" at the top of his lungs to comfort her) and went to bed.

The next day (I know, you're thinking, there's MORE? Yep, we really packed it in!), we went to the Oregon State Fair with Papa, Nathan, Lindy, and cousins Levi and Asher. The kids had a blast playing with a bunch of toys in Toytopia, and we looked at some animals and ate some ice cream. Ellie took another nap in the Ergo while we walked around looking at the exhibits. It was a great time, and afterwards we finally drove HOME, which was nice to see after being gone so long.

Traveling with little children is anything but restful, but it's good for them to get out and see the world, and I love seeing the world through their eyes. I'm so glad we took this trip and that Ellie got to see Mt. Rainier for the first time. Just being there together was enough. :-)

Here are all my favorite pics from the trip, in this album:
Mt. Rainier and Mariners 2013 Favorites

Ellie is 11 months old!!

Ellie is 11 months old today. I know I keep saying time is flying by, but it really is! I still think of her as a little baby who rolls around on the floor, and suddenly she is getting close to toddlerhood. I'm not ready!

Since we will be visiting Disneyland in a matter of days, I thought it appropriate to dress Ellie in the Minnie Mouse peasant dress I made her for her 11 month photo shoot. :-)

Things that are new with Ellie:

She says "Mama" when she is upset and wants me.
She is super clingy and gets really mad when I walk away from her for any reason.
She cruises the furniture and can squat down to pick something up and then return to standing.
She looooooves to get into her brother's toys (especially his cars, which makes him really upset).
She has almost mastered light switches and already effectively operates doors and buttons.
She adores her Daddy and watches him when he walks around the room.
She is REALLY FAST and can get into anything in an instant!
She has no teeth yet (really!).
She eats chunky solid food of all varieties. She's not too fond of mixed veggies, but other than that she will hoover whatever you give her down in seconds. Ellie also is learning how to use a spoon, but she has absolutely mastered all sippy cups (even James's) without much training at all.
She is almost always sleeping through the night now.
She loves to clap when you say clap, wave when you say wave, and knows what to do when you say "turn the page" and "the end." She loves to clap when you say "Yay Ellie!"
She HATES her car seat and will WAIL if in it for more than a few minutes. I'm hoping she outgrows this.
She is an absolute joy to be around, and I love her so much!

And while we are at it, here's what James is up to:
He still LOVES his cars and sleeps with at least one (if not 10) every night. He even stole a few from Papa's house. He doesn't have a specific favorite, they are on a rotating basis I think.
He is 97% potty trained (YAY!)
He gets jealous of his sister a lot and hates to share. He tries to steal any toy Ellie has and will even push her down to keep her away from his stuff (we are working on this).
BUT, he is super sweet with his sister. He gives her hugs and kisses and says, "I love Ewwie" all the time without our prompting.
He loves to sing Jesus Loves Me allllll the time, specifically in the car to "help Ewwie feel better" or at night as he is in his bed going to sleep (we hear it through the monitor). He also sings a number song.
He loves to count. He's pretty much got 1-20 down, and we are working on the others!
His current favorite movie is "The one with the clocks," which is Pinocchio.
His speech has exploded and he will say back any word to throw at him.
He loves to help me cook and gets upset when I cook without him.

That's all I can think of right now... they are busy little beavers!