Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cramming in a last bit of fun

Cambell was really excited to help Todd with some home improvement projects while he was here, so Rebecca and I took the kids out of the way on Friday and let them fix and paint to their hearts' content.  We did this by taking the kids to the zoo.
 The porcupines were fed while we were watching them, so we learned that they are named Oscar and Molly.  Learning the names of the animals always makes them more interesting to Jared.
 Is your paw as big as a bear's?
 The otters were really playful and friendly with the kids, diving underwater to slap the glass near their hands.  This is Jared's new favorite zoo exhibit.
 We stopped for a snack after we saw the elephants.
 This is how a three year old and an almost three year old say "cheese."
 The kids were getting tired, but we had to stop and see the hippos.
 And ride a hippo, of course.
 Eloise was much too tired to participate in hippo climbing.
 Max gave Rebecca a kiss right before this picture was taken.  I would have gotten a picture of the cute little kiss, but the fountain to the left of the kids turned on just as the shutter clicked.
Here is what the boys got done while we were away:
Before:
 After:
 Before:
 After:
The kids took nice long naps.  I wish Grant and Max would come back and show Jared and Eloise how to nap again.
Then they played together for a little while as Cambell and Rebecca packed their car.
The Christensens were off to Portland to visit Cambell's sister that evening, but first we had to take them to one more park.
Thanks for coming Christensens!  I can't believe how much fun we packed into your short visit. We hope you can come again soon!

Knight-Christensen Campout 2012

We were really looking forward to camping out with the Christensens this year because we had such a good time last year. We drove to Ensign Ranch, a campground/recreation area owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, on Wednesday afternoon. The boys got busily to work throwing rocks in the stream, starting the fire, and catching a caterpillar, while Eloise sat on the picnic table and ate her way through half a bag of cheetos.  
 If you have noticed that I don't have a lot of pictures of Grant posted, it's because most of them turned out like this:
 Grant is always on the go.  He and Jared were very helpful with putting up the Christensen tent.
This is the last smile we got out of Eloise for about 10 hours. Remember how last year the Knights slept and the Christensens didn't? This year the tides turned.  This little lady decided to keep us all awake for the great majority of the night.  Maybe we let her eat too many cheetos.  
Todd doesn't look tired at all, though.  Ok, yes he does.  I was completely wiped out the next morning and had to sleep for an hour after breakfast before we could strike our tent.  
 Maybe we all wake up a little bit slowly.
 Jared slept pretty well, considering the opposition.  He did stay up waaaay too late, and was up at the crack of dawn, but we were camping.
 Don't trust that cute innocent little face.  This little doll face hides a nighttime monster.
 Cambell made us pancakes for breakfast on his camp stove, and then he brought out his parachute for the boys to enjoy.

 There is a big gap in my knowledge of what happened for the rest of the morning, as I went back to bed, and Todd woke me up when we were ready to take down the tent and head home.  I think that everyone else went exploring the campground, but they would have to tell you.  Sleepy Eloise slept for most of the hour and a half drive home.  Maybe next year is the year when everyone's kids will sleep at night.

As we were unpacking the cars, one of our neighbors came over to say hello and let us know that another neighbor had been arrested for causing a fatal accident while she was driving under the influence.  I am thankful that we are all safe, but really sad for the family of the woman who died, and for our neighbor's children.

We spent the rest of the afternoon doing laundry, washing filthy children, and lazing around the house.  My hour nap in the morning had not been quite enough to get me through anything ambitious for the rest of the day.

Toddler party!

Late on Monday, August 6, Cambell and Rebecca arrived with their sleeping boys, Grant and Max.  The next morning the fun began.  We started with a hike to Saint Edward State Park, at Jared's request.  
Nice smile, Max. 
 Cambell and Todd have been friends since they were teenagers.  Todd successfully talked Cambell into studying computer science, so they had a lot to catch up on/plan/plot/hack.
 Eloise suddenly lost her ability to say anything except "Mats" while Max was around. Could it be love?
 Four children three and under require a lot of park time, so later we headed to the Juanita Beach park.
 Cambell and Rebecca.  I wonder when Todd and I last got a picture together.
 This is how we do our portraits these days.
 The kids were all disappointed that it was a little too cool for wading, but that didn't stop them from getting covered in sand.  You can see my unnaturally large 22 weeks pregnant belly behind Max.
On Wednesday, we went to the Ballard Locks and fish ladder.  I think Todd was making this face because he was excited about the poem about salmon mating habits that was aired every time the kids pushed the irresistible buttons.  
Last time we came to the fish ladder, this button caused the loudspeakers to air information about different varieties of salmon.  I think between the two visits, this must have gotten broken.  
 There were some really big salmon in the fish ladder.
 From the fish ladder, we went to the locks to see boats. . .

. . . and then to the botanical gardens on the other side, where Rebecca taught us a new bunny poem.  Grant and Max were busy doing the actions while Jared absorbed it with awe and wonder.
Next it was home for naps before camping in the afternoon.

Summer DOES exist here!

After Jordanne left, we had one full day on our own, so we made the most of it with lots of family time.
It was our first day in Washington over 90 degrees.  Of course since this was one of about three days a year that ever get this hot, our house is built to contain heat, and we don't have a lot of water toys.  First, I created a picture scavenger hunt on post-it notes for Jared, ending at the freezer for a popsicle.  Then, we improvised some water fun with bath toys and a cooler full of water.  
It's a miracle! They are both smiling at the camera at the same time.
I asked Todd what we are going to do next year when we will have a third child trying to fit into the cooler.  He said we should get a bigger cooler.  We'll see.
 I believe Eloise was saying "Splash!" before she ever said "Mama," so you can see where her priorities are.  
And with that, summer has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest.  



Sunday, August 5, 2012

Jordanne, Part II

I woke up on Thursday sick with a terrible head cold, so we spent the day around the house catching up on/avoiding housework.  I called a handyman friend to come over and help us track down the origin of yet another plumbing leak in the afternoon.  While he was here, Jordanne came back.  She got back in time to help Todd move the first of three sections of our new couch into the house.  He picked up the first section on Thursday, and took Jordanne with him to pick up the other two sections on Friday morning.  The first order of business was building a pillow fort.  When Eloise woke up from her nap and found the couch reformatted, she was wild with excitement.  She spent twenty minutes crawling all over the cushionless couches saying, "Hi! Hi! Hi!"  
 This is the couch.  We were experiencing a seating crisis in our house, where no more than two people could sit down in any one room at a time.  This helps.
 In the afternoon we went to Juanita Beach Park to play and visit the Friday farmer's market.
 Jared was in the water as fast as he could get there.  It was a warm day.  As he was lying in the mud I asked him, "Are you a crocodile?"
He answered, "No, I'm a yuckydile!"
Then he got up and chased me with his muddy hands.
 Eloise preferred to stay on her blanket.

We have been wanting to go on a boat ride for a while, and Saturday was another hot, sunny day, so we drove to Mukilteo to take the ferry to Whidbey Island.  Eloise is a born sailor.  She never stopped smiling and pointing out the boats and the water and the birds.
 Since we were mostly taking the ferry for the boat experience, we parked at the lighthouse park next to the ferry terminal and walked onto the ferry.
 The ferry ride was only about twenty minutes each way, but it was still a great adventure for the kids.  It was also very scenic.
 Eloise was determined not to miss anything.
 We walked to a little tiny park next to the ferry terminal and discovered a big sand pile with sand toys all over it.  We played for a few minutes, until we realized that it was approaching lunch time.  Then we hopped on the next return ferry.
 At the lighthouse park, we found a playground, where we played while Todd fetched our lunch out of the car.
 Then we picnicked.
 I got these great picnic portraits.



When they were done with lunch, Jared, Jordanne, and Todd went down to the beach to wade until Eloise finished eating.  It was a perfect morning.  
Even though it was the hottest day we have experienced since we moved here, Jordanne remembered that Todd had requested that she make some fry bread while she was here, so she spent the afternoon in our sweltering kitchen sweating over chili and fry bread.  It was amazing, as usual.  Jordanne is the best friend ever.  She is going to be a wonderful missionary.  She left this morning, and we miss her already.