Sunday, November 5, 2017

Family Day with the Sounders

While Fred and Judy were in town, we all went to the Sounders game! It was Bennett's first game, June's second - and of course Judy and Fred's first one. We also went to the big March to the Match leading up to the game before it started.

The kids did great. I was worried they wouldn't make it through the whole match but they did! (It helped that we had a break to walk around to get snacks.) The Sounders won, which is always a great time, and we just loved the whole feel of the game and the stadium and the crowd.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Farm at Swan's Trail Pumpkin Patch

We just barely squeezed in a pumpkin patch this year. These weeks just fly by, right? It was mid-October and I was texting with my friend Amy about our plans. She mentioned going to a pumpkin patch the next day and I just kind of thought, "Oh yeah, that!" We weren't going to be able to go the following weekend, so I was suddenly looking at our last chance to go. So I soooooorta crashed Amy and Erik's pumpkin patch plans!

Well - the kids and I did, I should say. Michael couldn't make it because he was working that afternoon. :(

We drove a bit out of the city to get to a really great farm - The Farm at Swan's Trail. They had so many fun activities and we didn't even get around to a lot of it! (I'm really glad that our whole group - Amy, Erik, Duncan and Kiera ... and Ryan, Jessica and Riley - were all on the same page. I am SO DONE with corn mazes and we were all good with skipping it this year! Phew!)

The kids were great. I always get a little anxious having both kids out in a crowded space when Michael's not there to help with man-on-man defense. But they were great, and I was there with such awesome people who helped watch the kids.

One of the things my kids loved the most were these giant inflated balloon-things that the kids jumped on. There was one for big kids and one for little ones, which is nice so the little ones don't get trampled.

Let's get a close-up on that hand-holding, shall we?

The kids all wanted to ride on this barrel tractor ride. June loves baby Kiera and loves taking care of her. She was so excited and proud to be asked to sit with Kiera in a barrel. Bennett also felt very grown-up to be able to sit by himself!

We had already bought a few pumpkins, so we just picked up one for the family. Poor Bennett was really upset in these pictures because a bee kept bothering him. He was eating strawberries and I think the bees were really attracted to the sweetness. But for some reason I find him even more adorable? And I just keep remembering his despair and how sweet and cute he was when the bee would not stop landing on him! Poor guy.

Ryan had been pushing the little kids around in the wheelbarrow and gave June and Bennett a ride afterward, which really cheered him up. But poor Ryan was exhausted afterward because not only do my kids weigh a lot more than the little ones, but they also were egging him on to go faster and faster for quite some time - ha!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Girl Scouts Again!

We're in Girl Scouts again!

We loved the Girl Scouts in Sacramento. My dear friend was the troop leader and June's best friends were in that troop. That was truly one of the things I was most sad about leaving - this group of girls that we had pictured would grow up together.

When we came to Seattle we looked for troops but none were open and accepting new members. We lucked into getting into this troop when it was forming and another girl dropped out. It's an interesting setup - half of the girls are kindergarteners, the other half are first graders. So they're together for part of the time, then break off into their grade levels for the other part. June has a bunch of friends in this troop, too, and is really happy to be there with her friends.

One thing I'm really interested in is that this troop is led by a dad who is interested in making sure the girls get some outdoorsy experience too. Most Daisy Scouts focus more on building character and don't focus as much on outdoorsy things. The Boy Scouts do, and this dad figured that if they can, we can too. So I'm looking forward to seeing how that progresses!

Our first big activity together was a backyard campout. In true Seattle style, it was cold and rainy and we ended up spending a little time in the garage playing games because of the weather.

We all slept in tents in the yard of one of the scouts. I'll be honest - it was....hard. Cold, wet, and on hard ground (even with mattress pads). June was overexcited to be doing something new, and especially to be sharing a tent with a friend, and was testing her limits, so her behavior wasn't the best.

But the campfire was nice, and the marshmallows.  :) I was happy to spend time with some of the parents of the girls I hear so much about. And I'm glad June got this experience. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Team Ethiopia - Seattle Soccer!

We got June signed up for soccer this year and, as usual, got the email from the league begging more parents to sign up to be coaches. I told them I couldn't be a head coach but that I'd be an assistant. Well a week before the season started I found out that my head coach had moved out of town and I was suddenly the coach of team Ethiopia! Thankfully I had a parent step up as assistant coach to help out!

We had 8 girls on the team. It was a great group of mostly well-behaved kiddos. There was definitely pairs that got giggly and wrestle-y if they were given the chance! We had one practice a week and games on Saturday mornings. We really lucked out with the weather and have had a pretty mild Fall so far. Only one practice in the pouring rain, and a couple of games where it was drizzling. When the girls asked if I was canceling practice because of the rain, I had a thing or two to say about being tough, powerful women and how it was a Seattle rite of passage to play in the rain!

At the risk of bragging, I have to say that I was really proud of June. Each year she really improves with her skills and her confidence. She's such a strong dribbler and I loved watching her power through when she was challenged for the ball.

Last weekend we had our final World Cup tournament, which is really short round-robin games against the other 'countries.' So we played 12-minute games against Chile, Peru and Greece. :)

And we got to open the day with a parade of countries! One of the team moms really helped out by getting little flags for us to wave. 

June had a great time but she did tell me she wasn't a big fan of playing on the turf. She fell and said it hurt a lot more to fall on turf than grass. It really reminded me of my own years playing soccer on turf and all those turf burns.

After the World Cup, we had a team party where the girls got trophies (also courtesy of the team mom), cupcakes and we played a kids-vs-parents soccer game. It was really cute and fun and a lot of the kids/parents got really into it. I was just glad no over-zealous dad accidentally pegged a girl in the head!

As long as things don't get too crazy next year, I think I might sign up to coach again. What can I say, I'm getting used to it now!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Disneyland 2017

We were so happy and lucky to spend 4 days at Disneyland and California Adventure (the first and last days were half-days) this year. When I was in the depths of my very consuming project for work, all I could think about was how I wanted to take the kids to Disneyland once it was all over. I couldn't wait to see it through their eyes, to witness Bennett's first real visit. We invited the family to join us, and Judy and my brother's family were able to join!

I've never seen Disneyland all decorated for Halloween so it was so fun to see all the pumpkins and fall decor! The weather hadn't gotten the fall memo, however, and it was very warm in the parks on the days we were there!

Bennett got his wish and was able to ride the carousel for his first ride! Not only that, but he rode on the bench of the carousel! He is so funny - he just loves the bench/sleigh!

I loved these pictures from the Autopia ride, where Bennett could hardly see over the steering wheel!

This was the Buzz Lightyear ride where you shoot lasers at targets and bad guys. This is the one that June got scared in when she first came to Disney, so I was a little hesitant. She ran off to ride with Kai and had a blast. I had warned Bennett about the ride and showed him a video of it on YouTube, and he did great too. He shot his laser gun and shouted and laughed and was so fun in it!

We rode the Jungle Cruise a couple times - it's just so pleasant and fun!

I loved getting to see the whole park through the eyes of the kids. They LOVED having their cousin Kai there. These two would argue over who got to sit next to Kai on just about every ride.

Kai was so sweet with Bennett, too. He kept picking him up and holding him, and I was impressed because Bennett is a full half of Kai's weight!

We ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant outside under some twinkle lights. It was so pleasant and beautiful, and I was just so happy to be there with the family!

One day the kids wore their Star Wars costumes and Michael and I wore our Start Wars shirts. Kai happened to wear his Star Wars shirt that day too!

That was the day we went to California Adventure.

We managed to sneak Bennett onto the Cars Land ride! He hadn't passed the 40" marker for a different ride, but he wanted to go on this ride so bad! So we might have added some *supplements* to his sneakers to get him that extra boost and he passed his way onto the ride! :)

One of my favorite rides was Grizzly River Run, which was like a white water rapids type ride. Bennett was too little to go on it, so he went with Michael and Alison while the rest of us took to the rapids. We all agreed that it might be nice to get a little wet on that hot day, but Judy said she just didn't want her pants to be fully wet. Well we got on our little boat and on the first big dip and poor Judy just got soaked. And then again, and then again. And - I couldn't help it - I was almost in tears laughing at just the terrible luck of poor Judy, and how JP and I just kept yelling "NO GRAMMY NO" each time she got soaked. But I got my comeuppance from laughing so hard because my hat flew off my head at the last big drop and it was lost to the rapids! So long, wide brimmed hat! I hope you enjoy your freedom in the rapids.

We split up for a little bit after that. JP's family went on some bigger rides while we took our little kids to the Disney Jr. dance party. We wanted to get out of the sun for a bit. June was decidedly NOT happy to be leaving Kai and didn't want to go to the show, but even she couldn't resist the beats of the dance party. We picked up some ice cream and hung out in the Animation Studio to watch the videos about animation on all the big screens.

June's first ever roller coaster was Big Thunder Mountain. Poor Bennett didn't make it past the height requirement, so Grammy took him on the Mark Twain river boat. June was so excited, but nervous in the moment we stepped on the ride. I love this picture of her giving the thumbs up because we didn't prompt her to do it, and the expression on her face is like the opposite of a thumbs up.

But as soon as we got off the ride, she asked if we could ride it again. JP, Kai and Alison walked up right as it happened, so we all rode it again! While we were on it, June was shouting "I LOVE THIS RIDE" and she ultimately said it was her favorite of the trip.

 We got Dole Whips! My first one ever!

The other ride we were able to get Bennett onto even though he might not have passed the height requirement under natural circumstances was Splash Mountain. It was so fun because, with two people sitting together in the back, the seven of us on the ride were able to fit on one log plume together!

As you can see, June was very excited! But as we got closer to the big drop, she got pretty nervous. She asked me to hold her, but it was a little hard since I was already holding onto Bennett. So this picture shows all three of us back there. June looks terrified but I assure you that she enjoyed it, laughed with us about getting sprayed and said she'd ride it again. JP is a downright professional at posing for this pictures. 

 JP and Bennett in line for Pirates of the Caribbean, which we rode a couple of times.

On the last day we only had a few hours in the park, so we were really chill about getting in a few last rides. JP, Alison and Kai broke off to ride the Haunted Mansion (too spooky for the kids) so we went back over to California Adventure so June could ride the swings, which she had her heart set on.

I was really proud of June. She rode on everything (except for some that I didn't think she should - a la Haunted Mansion). Last time we went she had gotten scared on some rides, but this time she conquered all her fears. I heard her whisper to Bennett - but maybe more to herself - on Pirates that, "They aren't real. They're just statues that have batteries."

There were definitely challenging moments! The first two days were pretty crowded, and definitely warmer that I would have preferred. We didn't take Bennett back to the hotel for naps (he wouldn't have gone without June) so the evenings tended to get a little testy. It was mostly dinner time where he would get really squirrely and be set off at the slightest provocation. He was so tired by the end of the trip that he fell asleep on the plane - I couldn't believe it.

But we got some real treasured memories. I'm so glad we could go on this trip with JP's family and Judy. My mouth is watering thinking of all those churros, ice creams, beignets, Dole Whips and other treats we had. I loved this trip and love this family of mine!