Saturday, April 26, 2014

A little catching up

I have been busily posting about all of the events of our month, but I thought you might like to see some of the things we have done in between.  Eloise would like to inform you that she is about to do something silly.  Please watch her do her silly thing.  
 We are in the midst of de-mossing the front lawn.  The ratio of moss to grass is about 7:3.  By the time the moss is out, there isn't much grass left.  Jared and Shadow sure enjoy the moss pile, though.
 In between rain storms (Seattle is getting record rainfall this year), we play outside, walk the dog (that happens during rain storms, too), and go to the park.
I brought a bone to the park so that Shadow would be occupied, and so that she wouldn't bark at us while we weren't playing with her.  She barked anyway, so Jared decided to play with her.
 B figured out how to go up the steps to get down the slide.
 Eloise was the conductor/pilot/engineer on a plane-train.  Why choose just one mode of transportation?  We had a very brief trip to New York and Atlanta.  For some reason the weather was the same when we got there, and then we had to walk home.
On Friday, Jared told everyone who would listen that he was celebrating a holiday that Google invented, called "Take Your Child to Work Day."  Jared LOVED it.  He wants to be just like Daddy.
 Jared also wants to be an astronaut.  A few weeks ago his life was consumed with submarines.  This week, we are learning all kinds of things about planets, orbits, moons, space, atmosphere, seasons, stars, rockets, and universe expansion.

Eloise built two bridges, planted some lettuce, peas, and pumpkin seeds, and spent a lot of time looking at books while Jared was at work with Daddy.  B took an incredibly long nap.

 Jared has been wearing his cleats and soccer socks everywhere all week, and today was finally his first day of soccer practice. His coach, Irving, has a heavy Spanish accent.  Jared said it sounds like he doesn't speak very much English.  Watching three and four year olds play soccer is hilarious.  Jordanne is here visiting, and the two of us spent a lot of the practice laughing at the kids running every which way while coaches and parents tried to round them up.
 The kids practiced for a while, and then had a little skirmish with another team that was sharing the field.  At one point, Jared decided that he was tired, so he sat down. . . on the ball.  The referee lifted him off of the ball, but he hung onto it with his feet.  I guess he wanted everyone to take a little break.  He was tired, but he didn't want the game going on without him.
When the game was over, and the kids went to get snacks, this is where I found Jared.  He had had enough soccer, and was ready to meet all of the dogs in the park.
We are really going to enjoy soccer season.  

And finally, welcome to the world, James Ryan Jensen! Baby James was born on April 23.  We are all very excited about a new cousin.  
Congratulations, Anni, Ryan, and Maren!  He is a beautiful baby.  

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival 2014

Two years ago we went to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.  Last year Jared begged to go back, but it didn't work out.  After our experience at the Macon cherry blossom festival in March, though, Jared announced that tulip festival attendance was mandatory this year.  April 22 was Earth Day, so I thought it would be a fitting day to drive the hour and a half north to the tulips.
The tulip festival is more like a driving tour of tulip fields, but we like to get out and look around.  I'm not sure that there are really enough attractions to justify the cost of admission, but Jared and Eloise believe that the mud puddles alone are worth it.
 B was very clingy due to a stomach bug/new tooth breaking through combination, but he did get off my back once or twice.
 The sky was clear, but there was a bitter wind blowing.  When Eloise insisted on bringing her heavy winter coat, I thought she was over preparing, but it turned out to be just right.
 Look! They are both smiling!
 Is it just my kids, or kids in general who love rocks, and believe that gravel is a magical treasure?
 We got out of the wind in an enclosed picnic tent for lunch.
 B was filthy.  His brief moments on the ground put him in close proximity to his beloved mud.  As a matter of fact, B's face is at least this dirty right now, thanks to some outside time this morning.
 Topiary fascinated these children.  "It looks like it's fuzzy, but it's still prickly!"
 We walked by this drinking fountain attached to a hose about four times.  Jared thought it was the greatest thing.
When we got too cold and tired of flowers and mud, we set off in search of an ice cream cone the size of Jared's head, which we found at the roadside Snow Goose Produce stand.  I didn't get any pictures of that because my phone died before we left the tulip festival.   B fell asleep in the car on the way to get ice cream, so I divided the ice cream into two portions and doled it out to be eaten in the car.  What I wasn't counting on was the kids being so tired that they both fell asleep before they had finished their ice cream.  Jared almost never sleeps in the car.  His ice cream melt was contained in his cup holder.  Eloise tilted her ice cream bowl all over her lap and car seat.  Oh well.  
Memories were made, fun was had, and it was a successful outing.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Happy Birthday Girlie!

Our little princess is turning three today!  Here are some of her silly smiles.  
 Eloise wants everything pink for this birthday.  Maybe it has something to do with being a girl with only brothers.  So she got a pink birthday dress from Mom and Dad.
 She got a pink birthday shirt from Grandma Jill.
 She also got a package with some scissors and bath dolls from Gma and Gpa Knight.  Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!
For her birthday, Eloise requested a pink cake with strawberries, so I made this "cake" out of layers of pudding, whipped cream, strawberries, graham crackers, and chocolate.  It was pretty good.  Jared wants a pudding cake for his birthday now.
 Eloise's birthday wish was to go swimming, and have Daddy come.  Todd took the morning off of work so that we could all go to the indoor pool together.
 All of the kids had a great time.
 We are looking forward to a lot of swimming and beach time this summer. Sand and water are Eloise's favorite things.  
When we got home from the pool, she cried because I said she couldn't play in the bath right away.

Happy birthday to my favorite little girl who loves to paint, cut things with scissors, eat cookie dough, play in water, and ride her bike fast down hills.
We love our independent little girl.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The weather gets a little bit nicer, and. . .

Holy cow.  We go to the park a lot.
On Friday we had a play date with Annabelle and Makaylah, a couple of girls from church.  Their mom had surgery a few days before, and they had spring break last week, so we got to play with them for a few hours while their mom rested.  We brought a picnic.
 We played and played and played and played.  The sun came out occasionally.  
 Jared spent the entire two hours at the park in high gear.  That afternoon we saw a rare sight:
 Jared crashed in the living room with pandemonium going on around him.  He slept for 45 minutes.

On Saturday, it was chilly, but not raining, so we took the family to the park.  We hiked from our neighborhood to a park on Lake Washington, O.O. Denny park.  Jared tells us that this year it is "Ooooooooo Denny Park," as opposed to the "double O Denny" of last year.  Todd threw sticks in the water for Shadow to chase, Jared ran around and explored,
B and Eloise threw rocks into the water, 
 and then we went to the playground.  This is how Jared poses for pictures now.
 Eloise still gives a cheesy grin sometimes, unless she notices that Jared is doing something different.
 In that case, she copies him exactly.
 Eloise climbed this wall all by herself.  She is so independent.
 After we played for a while, we had a picnic.
 Eloise had a little breakdown over the picnic, so we knew it was time to head home.  Jared walked all of the way, with a few breaks.
 Eloise walked most of the way to the park, but she rode home.  Our woods are magical.
Todd pressed ahead with B and Shadow.  When he had been out of sight for a while, we came to a fork in the trail, and I was only 80% certain which way to turn.  I called out, "Todd!" to see if he was within earshot.  He wasn't.  Ever dramatic, Jared let out a little cry of anguish that we would be lost forever.  We started up the trail that I chose.  After about a minute, Shadow came bounding up to us at full speed.  She ran a circle around us, and then continued with us walking right by my side.  This was strange because she usually likes to chase smells around the woods while we walk.  A little while later, Todd came walking back down the trail toward us.  On his end, he had called Shadow to come get leashed at the end of the trail, but she had started toward him, and then pricked up her ears in alarm and plunged back down the trail.  I think she must have heard Jared's cry and come back to rescue us.  When she found that all was well with us, she decided to provide a diligent escort in case her services were needed.  
I was feeling pretty favorably toward Shadow after that, until she spoiled it this morning by biting me to try to get me to play with her while I was pushing Eloise in the swing.  

That brings me to today.  We walked/rode/biked to Saint Edward State Park since the sky was clear and beautiful, and the playground is so fun.  We started bright and early so that we could maximize our time at the park.  
 For some reason, Eloise had no desire to walk a single inch of the distance between our house and the park.  Maybe she had some exhaustion lingering from the weekend.  She is certainly fast asleep now.
 Jared got pretty tired riding his bike on the way home, but I set rest points, and provided water or a graham cracker at each stop.  This quelled the greatest portion of the whining.

Eloise and B are asleep now.  This is normal for B, but Eloise only naps occasionally.  All of this irregular napping is going to make chaos of bedtimes.  I would say that all of the outside fun we are having is completely worth it.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Naval Undersea Museum

A few weeks ago, Jared started asking questions about submarines.  He wanted to know how they could move underwater and on top of the water.  He asked if there was a submarine nearby that he could visit.  I did a little research and found the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport Washington, just an hour and a half away from us.  They didn't have a submarine that we could tour, but they did have a lot of information about submarines, and hands on exhibits to make submarines more real for Jared.  On Thursday we made the trip to Keyport.
The first highlight of the trip was the ferry ride.  Jared wanted to watch for whales during the crossing.  When he announced this loudly inside the ferry, a little girl of seven or eight years sitting nearby laughed and said, "But there aren't really whales."
Her mom and I both insisted that there actually are whales in Puget Sound.  The little girl looked at us knowingly and said, "Oh, right.  Just like there are really rainbow fish."

I tried to get a picture of all three kids, but B wouldn't let go of my leg on the not perfectly steady deck of the ferry.
 When we got to the museum, on a naval base, the kids were hungry from the long ride, so we looked at the outdoor exhibits while we had a snack.
This is the sail of a submarine.  The fins are made to turn upward to cut through ice for surfacing in the arctic.  They had a picture of a submarine surfacing at the north pole!
 This is a submersible used for ocean research.
 The first exhibit we visited was the dress up area.  Jared dressed like a sailor.  Eloise played with the stuffed animals, and B had a great time pulling things off of shelves.
 This museum was all kinds of interesting.  Did anyone else know that there is a torpedo testing range under Puget Sound?  It runs between Kitsap County and Seattle, so in the most populous area of the sound.
 Eloise's favorite display was the torpedo section.  She watched a video of a boat being broken in half and sunk by a torpedo blast about ten times.
I was learning so much from the exhibits, that it was hard for me to move through the museum at the pace of these kids who learn by touching and experiencing.  Did you know that the speed of sound underwater is affected by the salinity of the water?
Jared tried on the diving glove to see how hard it would be to do underwater tasks through gloves.
 Eloise tried on the glove to be like Jared.
 B tried to take a bite out of it.
 Jared's favorite part of the museum after the dress up area was the control room.  It had two periscopes.  This one had a video feed of ocean waves playing when you looked inside.
 Eloise loves to drive.  She was ready to pounce on anyone who came near her steering wheel.
 I can see why children aren't actually allowed on submarines.  Jared's tendency is to push the button or flip the switch, and then ask what its function is.  "It looks like you just launched the #4 torpedo."
 The second periscope was functional, and we could see outside the building, including our car in the parking lot.
Did you know that more people have been on the surface of the moon (12) than have been in the deepest part of the ocean (2)?
I knew it was time to leave when the children started to lose the ability to follow a simple directive.  We made a quick stop back at the dress up area, a run to the bathroom, and then went outside to eat a picnic lunch.
 We picked up this mermaid whirligig, a couple of postcards, and a book about boats from the museum store to support the free museum.
 Jared and B ran around in circles as they ate lunch.  Occasionally they remembered to take a bite from whatever was in their hands.
 B was too wound up to eat.  By the time we got home he was extraordinarily hungry.
 The kids were so tired that I decided to go home by way of the Tacoma Narrows instead of taking the ferry, so that they could sleep without waking up for the crossing.
It was a solid plan, but Eloise and B still woke up after only 45 minutes of driving, and remained wide awake until a very tired bedtime.  B went to sleep for the night at 6:15, and Eloise was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow at 7.
Jared's assessment of the museum was that it needed more things that were okay to touch, but it was alright since we got to ride the ferry and dress up like sailors.  Eloise liked watching "the boat get breaked in half and sink."  It was a beautiful day to learn about submarines.