Wednesday, July 23, 2014

22 months: Living the Good Summer Life

Photo courtesy of Abeille Photography from Awesome kids Day!

This month Micah has:

  • been a frequent flier. Right after his 21st birthday, he flew from the bay area to Denver and then of course back to Seattle. 
  • almost gotten lost. Mom and Dad had their first momentary panic as Micah escaped all four of us (yes, Nana and Papa too) as we were about to board the plane to Denver!
  • got to stay at his Aunt Beth and Uncle Ben's house where he played with balls and chalk in their backyard, fed Uncle's fish and watched the crab and "Blastamousa" (i don't really know what it is either…some kind of coral or something, but Uncle Ben taught Micah the word and he loved repeating it over and over).
  • Got to learn more about Trains at the Colorado Train Museum and on the Leadville Colorado Train ride. 
  • Had so much fun in Vail swimming in the pool, playing in the splash parks, playing on the playgrounds (one was a pirate ship!), spending time with family, and running up and down ramps and all around the grass. He watched birds and chipmunks, and got to ride a horse, "wrangle steer", get wrangled by Daddy, and roast marshmallows. 
  • Had his first ice cream cone all to himself! Chocolate from Bonny Bray in Denver and he couldn't get enough! It was so funny since he was so tired and was just totally zoned out. Then of course the next hour he ran like a mad man all over Wash Park non stop! At least he had fun!
  • learned so many new words and phrases. Said things like quickie (with laughter), gondola, blastamousa, oh god…oh god…, crap! (yes…this has happened more than once! oops!), over here, over there, get in here, hold you (a signal to pick him up), Mommy do it, Daddy do it, open-meal (oatmeal), green and yellow (his responses always when asked what color, one-two-three (he can count to three and sometimes says other numbers randomly like eight nine!), and just started saying five word sentences.
  • went poop in the potty almost every single day of our vacation and some days after we got home! 
  • got scrapes and scratches from climbing every thing in sight!
  • started almost interacting with other kids at the playground. Once he was at Lincoln Park playing with rocks and another little 2 1/2 year old boy joined him. Micah looked at the kid and said "rocks!" and then they played together for about 20 minutes saying a few more words to each other and running around! So super cute! Another time, at the zoo, he was walking down the path and a 4 1/2 year old boy came up to try to look at his Cars t-shirt and then Micah held out his hand to the boy, the boy took it, and they proceeded to walk holding hands down the path for like two minutes. The other boys parents and Phil and I were cracking up…it was so adorable! 
  • blew bubbles, did watercolors, went to look in a pet store, went to the zoo again, spent a few days at Lake Washington at Coulon Park, hung out in the wading pools at Hiawatha and Lincoln Park, had a few picnic dinners at Lincoln Park and Alki, went to the spray park in Burien a few times, hung out with a lot of older kids (like some of Mommy's old students at The Cove, and some new friends thanks to our Pathways Connect group), went to the kidsquest museum (to mostly play on the big train table) and had a ton of fun!
  • spent his second 4th of July "walking" in the Burien parade (after we checked out the after party of the West Seattle kids parade in the Admiral district) and hung out with lots of fun families at a good ol' fashioned BBQ. 
  • tried weeding the yard like Daddy and Gramma
  • had lots of mini temper tantrums…I told you he's already like a 2 year old! 
  • Responded well to Love and Logic!!!! We are amazed that we are already seeing results. Seriously…pick up this book: 
  • had fun at Awesome Kids Day in Burien where he got his first face paint (a doggie on his hand) and went in the jump house (not really into it) and one of those blow up obstacle courses (really liked part of it!), and did some good people watching.
  • Hammed it up with new adults. My girlfriends came over for happy hour one night and I've never seen Micah be so silly and smiley and cute before.
  • had his first chiropractic adjustment. It wasn't anything major, but his scanned showed a little spot that was a bit out of alignment and since Dr. Collins is so awesome and since we believe in preventative medicine and not reactionary medicine, we decided to do it. He seemed to think the whole thing was a pretty cool experience.
  • Spent more time with his Nana when she came to visit for a few days (he even had a night alone with her and Gramma so that we could get a parents night out!) 
  • Loved having his gramma back in town after she was gone for about a week in Idaho
  • Hung out with his buddy Isaac at a BBQ at our house. They both were digging in the backyard and took a bath together. So cute. 
  • Got to visit Anna and Ryan and the babies again and got to meet baby Mason (our friend Crickets cute new arrival)! 
  • started taking showers instead of baths!
  • started to get very brave with his balancing and climbing. Also started to really like to play with balls and kick and throw them. We had a funny night where he actually caught the ball a few times by pure luck!
Hanging out at Lincoln Park

Two out of three times he has completely enjoyed the bike trailer! One time...not so much!

He's quite the funny guy now too. This is his "hockey helmut" pose

stickers save us on dinners out

I couldn't help but be impressed when he totally took to the scooter!

the imaginative play phase is starting and I love it! He totally lined the chairs up like this all on his own on our stop in a bookstore in downtown Puyallup

Micah's gotten several opportunities this summer to check out fire trucks and police cars, like this one on the 4th of July!

Just one of the kids playing with bubbles at a fun 4th of July BBQ

Fun playing with big kid friends at Coulon Park on Lake Washington

Some weeks he eats everything we put in front of him, other weeks hardly anything at all

This day was so cute! Abby and Micah were born just days apart and Abby's mom and I worked together when we were pregnant, so it is extra special to see these two start to interact!

Not the best photo, but this is the day to day stuff..."the burrito" after a shower look

How many kids are this lucky to get time with both Grandmothers together!?

Boys and their digging! Here's Micah and his friend Isaac who is 9 months older, but it is fun to see the development gap start to narrow a bit!

Micah's become quiet the little climber! This is climbing the big rocks at Camp Long!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Live it In a Day: Spokane & Coeur d'Alene

This is technically a live it in two days post. When I tried to separate Spokane and Coeur d'Alene areas, it just didn't make sense, so here is what I came up with! Hope it helps. 

Spokane is a cute little town with a lot to offer in a day. The best times to travel to Spokane are for Hoopfest or Bloomsday the most popular three on three basketball tournament and 12k race. At both you get to see the locals and be right in downtown area walking around, shopping, and tasting local foods as well as hanging out in riverfront park (with the option of taking a gondola ride over the falls). At Bloomsday though you really get to run through some cute neighborhoods too. 
The hubster after running Bloomsday a few years ago

Spokane Falls

If you are in Spokane at any other time, I'd recommend doing the following:
Check out the Davenport Hotel. There are cool photos everywhere of the olden days and you feel like you've stepped back in time. 
Take a walk around Gonzaga University's campus and waterfront area and get a slice of pizza at Davids Pizza (which I just found out closed a few years ago and I'm working on figuring out where the new location is. So sorry!).
Near Gonzaga University in Spokane

Check out Anemone Handmade Paper flowers on Second Ave.
Go to The Elk for a meal (I usually get anything with the roasted corn pasta salad, but everything is amazing!). Then go to the northwest arts and culture museum. It's small but they do a really nice job.
If it is fall time, a drive to Greenbluff area is a must. It's this cool area with a coop of farmers.
The beauty of Greenbluff near Spokane

At any time, head to the South Hill to see cute older houses and to check out Manito Park. They have a really pretty and free Japanese tea garden. 

If you happen to be heading to 
Couer d'alene for your next live it in a day experience, you MUST stop for dinner at Hay J's in Liberty Lake. It is seriously so yummy and has a great ambiance even though you'd never guess it as it is in a gas stations strip mall!

When in Coeur d'Alene, the best thing to do is to walk, walk, and walk more. Walk around their super cute downtown area to window shop. Walk around by the lake or the river. Hike Tubs Hill, which is right near the famed Coeur D'Alene resort (which is way over priced, but definitely a good location). Get on a boat and out in the water if it is summer. Coeur d'Alene nightlife is fun with The Beacon, The Moose Lounge, Mic N Mac's, and a few other local places. If you want a true view of Idaho life, head to the Iron Horse, but beware of the smoke. 
Ahhh Coeur d'Alene Lake

While in Idaho, you must eat out for breakfast. A few favorites are Blue Plate ( a little drive to Hayden, ID), Old European, and The Breakfast Nook.
My favorite breakfast spot: Blue Plate Cafe

Love those Idaho breakfasts!

For lunch my vote is for MoonTime (especially if you didn't go to the Elk in Spokane). I could eat at Moon Time every day for weeks. And the prices are just my style too.

If you are in the area for more than a day, definitely take the 30 minute drive to Sandpoint. Sandpoint has a really cute downtown with good restaurants, nice people, some nice art galleries and of course the seriously good (and pretty cheap) Pend Oreille Winery. Sandpoint also has a nice public beach on the lake (which is so deep the Navy tests out submarines in it!). Also in the area, are the Bottle Bay trail, with a spectacular view of the lake and downtown Sandpoint. 
The Beach in Sandpoint, Idaho

Bottle Bay hiking with my In Laws

I should also say that I've heard that Priest Lake is one of the most pristine lakes that should not be missed, but unfortunately I do not have first hand knowledge of it. Husband fail #1, I'd say! ;-)

If you are in the area during winter time and like to partake in snow sports, I would personally recommend skipping the whole scene at Schweitzer Mountain Resort (unless you really like spending top dollar and getting a Vail or Tahoe experience and unless you just can't miss the views of the lake). I've been to Schweitzer several times and although the views are spectacular, it is often super windy, overcrowded, and overpriced. Instead, go to Silver Mountain Resort or to my favorite, Lookout Pass. Silver is still a large mountain with an amazing gondola ride to start your day. When there we've seen moose and had great snow and amazing rides. I am more particular to smaller, cheaper, and less crowded mountains, so Lookout is my favorite. It is right on the Montana and Idaho border and gives you the opportunity to relax and have so much fun. 
Snowboarding Lookout Pass

So basically the area is great for golfers, swimmers, sun bathers, people just interested in window shopping and eating good food, skiers, snowboarders, and everyone in between. The area is not too excited about liberal California types, but I managed to survive life there for a few years, so don't be too worried! ;-)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

And we Have a Toddler Room!

How do you get a growing toddler to sleep in his own bed in his own room?? Get off your lazy bum and decorate the place to make it toddler fun! At least that's what we did a couple weeks ago and now Micah's finally been sleeping longer chunks of time in his own bed.

The whole bedroom evolution started with a trip to Sleep Country to get Micah psyched about his own big boy bed (we went for the twin as to skip the financial extra step of an actual toddler bed). He got a certificate for his first bed, which helped motivate him even more to sleep longer stints in the bed! Ha! We had picked up a nice bed frame folsom our neighbors and just cut the legs down a bit with the saws all. We also had gone to Target the same day as the mattress adventure and found the perfect construction truck themed bedspread. 

Next I rearranged the furniture a bit in order to have some easy access shelves that currently serve as his clothing dresser and then I flipped another one (the shelves are ikea expedit series) vertically in order to provide a couple out of reach shelves. We finally put up a few ikea spice racks as even more book shelves, but we shall see how those go since Micah already ripped one off the wall. We rehung some art and added some of the cutest fabric transportation decals to the walls. 

My mom is currently working on some cute transportation themed wall hangings  and she's also working on a growth chart. So, all in all it is shaping up to be a pretty fun space to be in. 

We still have fought bedtime a lot, but now I can use some early love and logic with my darling toddler and give him the choice of sleeping in his big boy bed (the twin) or sleeping on his little bed (the crib mattress that we pull out from under his bed) and that seems to be working well so far. 

But as they say: the one constant you can count on with kids is change! So, we shall see!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Who Had More Fun? Denver &Vail: Family Vacation Edition

Who had more fun? Micah or his parents? The answer…neither! It was definitely Nana and Papa, but not by much. ;-)

When beginning to think of a great family vacation location, we of course thought Hawaii. When that proved too expensive, we thought Florida or the Carolinas. When those proved too travel-time intensive, we were left pondering other ideas. Phil and I really wanted somewhere with either a pool or a beach in easy walking distance and of course we all wanted something cheap. Although we almost settled on Tahoe (I know…shameful…I used settled and Tahoe in the same sentence!), we went a less beachy route and decided to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Denver and then use my aunt and uncle's condo in Vail since there was a pool and since Micah had never been to Colorado.

We didn't spend too much time in Denver, but boy did we make memories! Micah had his own first chocolate ice cream cone from Bonnie Bray's and thus proceeded to run around almost all of Wash Park in hilarious energetic silliness bordering on delirious. My mom and I got to do some shopping in the cute shops on Gaylord street right in Ben and Beth's neighborhood, and we ventured out to Golden, CO for the day to experience the Train Museum (and accidentally encountered D'Deli which was ah-freakin-mazing!!!). Back at Aunt Beth and Uncle Ben's house, Micah got to spend time playing in their yard tossing balls into their garden, drawing chalk on their patio, and feeding Uncle Ben's fish and learning to say things like Blastamousa (a coral or something like it. I will let my brother's brain store the details of and spare mine).

In Vail, we were pretty much spoiled silly. Which is funny since the only real expenses tourist wise were a couple horse rides along with a BBQ at the ranch and a train ride. The rest of this spoiled silly feeling actually came pretty cheap. We spent several days swimming in the pool at the condo and Micah played at the Pirate Ship park or in the splash parks on other days hours. Nap times were mostly on the go in the stroller or in the rented minivan (which was so awesome and I can't wait to get one for myself now!). While Micah was busy playing smash nose with his Papa or receiving some kind of new toy or sticker from his Nana, they allowed Phil and I multiple "date" like opportunities. We got to do a beautiful hike alone on the mountain (If you're in Vail in the summer definitely check out the Berry Picker hike, it's well worth it and not too tough). We also got to do a long horse ride up to the high meadows, which would have been so romantic had my brother not joined us (just kidding, we had a lot of fun all three of us). And of course, since my brother and Beth came to the condo too over the weekend, Micah got to do dinner with them while Phil and I got to have dinner out on our 6th year anniversary! We took full advantage of our one true date night and checked out the free cruiser bikes from the condo, enjoyed an amazing meal of Wood Grilled Bruschetta, Sweet Corn Chowder, Borden Farm Tomato Salad, and the Colorado Lamb Sirloin at Mountain Standard before riding slightly buzzed over to The Lions Hotel bar for live music and drunk texting late night reminiscing. How did six years of marriage go by so fast!?

I could go on and on about how perfect our Colorado family vacation was, but you'd really just be wanting to see the pictures anyway, so on with the show!

This may have been right before all 4 adults (Mom, Dad, Nana, & Papa) lost him in the airport and had a slight panic attack before finding him around the corner, up a ramp, and almost going down some stairs that were cordoned off with an employees only sign!)
So nice to have Nana and Papa on the flight. Mommy & Daddy got to listen to music, read books, & have a drink!
So I used to think my brother and I didn't have anything in common. Then we woke up one morning wearing almost the same shirt. I guess being in Colorado & Washington hasn't changed our love for our home state!
First ice cream cone devoured. Can you tell he liked it!?
Micah loved feeding the fish and looking at the Blastamousah, shrimp, snails, etc. in Uncle Ben's tank!

This kid loves trains!
Fun day trip for more trains!

Riding the train in Leadville

Meeting the conductor and blowing the horn

This was a tired day!

Excited Brother-in-laws

The most gorgeous meadows way up high in the mountains for our 3 hour ride
Auntie Beth's first time horseback riding!!! She did it!
Fascinated by horses
Micah even got to ride on a horse a ways while Papa and I were riding
The one hour ride in the aspens that my dad and I took
Micah liked being "wrangled" by his dad at the stables

Getting the idea he could have stayed and "worked" there forever!

Every good ranch BBQ ends with roasting marshmallows! 

The awesome Pirate Ship park in Vail

Phil and I on our date hike up Vail mountain

One of the fun spray parks and playgrounds in Lionshead that Micah got to visit often

Gondola was another of Micah's new words from this trip

Three plus days swimming in the pool was awesome!

This was another of the splash parks/wading pools that Micah had fun in
Helping his Uncle clean up. Uncle Ben's nice piles of clothes on the floor did not please Micah. ;-)
Six year anniversary drinking celebration! So crazy…where does the time go!? 

I can't stop being in love with airport silhouettes