Monday, August 25, 2008

Evergreen State Fair - 8/23/2008

We went to the Evergreen State fair and had a lot of fun as a family. We also discovered how sneaky fairs are at weaseling money out of you. First the admission, then the overpriced food, then the rides require tickets, go buy the tickets, etc...argh.

Anyway, Ethan had a great time on his first roller coaster rides. Several of the rides required an adult, so Jeff and I, eager to relive our childhood, went with him.


His expression says it all.





Yea for the tractors! This ride was free!

One of the fun things about fairs is seeing the all farm animals: cows, goats, sheep, enormous pigs, zebra, reindeer, geese, turkeys (they really do say "gobble, gobble"). We witnessed a piglet race, as well as a cow milking contest. Having logged 2 1/2 years as a nursing mother I can empathize with those cows.

Sienna's First Birthday!

First birthdays aren't so much for the child as they are for the parents.   Hooray for surviving the first year! Anyway, Sienna had fun tearing apart a cupcake.



Mmmmm....sticky fingers.


Time for a bath!

Seafair 8/2/2008

We went to a park on Mercer Island to watch the Blue Angles. The Blue Angels are absolutely incredible. The skills, abilities and discipline those pilots have are inspiring. When watching the Blue Angels you can't help but feel patriotic: gratitude for the men and women who volunteer to serve and protect our country as well as amazement at the ingenuity in the design of such aircraft.

Ethan enjoyed playing at the park and discovered some statues of children playing.


Riding the dog statue.


He thought the statue of the little girl was pretty cute. Ethan's not intimidated by taller women.

Becoming Friends

Ethan is finally beginning to warm up to the idea of having a little sister. We're sure to give him generous praise whenever he is nice to her. It's sweet to see him share something with her. Here he is sharing his sandwich with her.


The other day I made brownies. I was in the middle cutting them when I had to leave the room for a minute. When I came back, I large amount of the brownies was gone. Searching for the culprit, I found two little partners in crime! Ethan and Sienna were hovering over the missing brownies secretly munching. I thought it was actually really cute that Ethan decided to share (or he realized he could reduce the amount of punishment he faced by including an innocent little baby in the crime).


She loves her Jump n' Go (thus, I love it too).

Ward Camp Out 7/25/2008

We ran up to Cascade Park with our ward for on evening of visiting with our friends and a dessert pot-luck. Ethan and Sienna loved playing in the tent. Ethan especially loved the barrel swing and throwing rocks in the river. Given our sleepless vacation in Canada, I took Sienna home that night while Ethan got his first taste of camping with Dad. Sienna and I got a delightful night's sleep back at home, while Jeff and Ethan...well...

Hi folks -- Jeff here...This is my cue to write, as I lived this portion of the camping trip first hand:

As awesome as Ethan thought the tent was during the day, that enthusiasm was short lived by the time we had to crawl inside to sleep. We each began with a sleeping bag, and several quilts beneath us for comfort. However, Ethan could not get comfortable, and so he woke up every 10 minutes or so crying. This went on until about 2am, at which point, he finally blurted out (in his near sleep), "I can't sleep on ROCKS!!"

I interpreted this to mean he wasn't a big fan of the hard ground, but I was proud knowing that I was preparing him to be a man...ok, I know he's only 3. So, I decided to man up, and I re-arranged our tent. This entailed stacking both sleeping bags on top of one another with all the blankets underneath...all but one that is. Ethan slept nicely after this as I took his old spot on the ground with the one remaining blanket. As I laid down, I found that big rock he was complaining about. However, due to lack of sleep, I was able to adapt nicely and ignore the lump.

The next day Ethan and I went down the river in rafts with a couple dozen other church members. This was a calm and lazy river ride. The raft that Ethan (yes, he wore his lifejacket) and I were in was a massive survival raft -- about the size of a trampoline. Not kidding. When we came to rocks poking up out of the water, this thing just rolled right over them with very little in the way of bumps. There were about 8 or 9 other people on it. The biggest issue though was that it had a few small holes that continued to leak throughout the trip. Someone solved this by bring along a large hand pump. I'm really glad I had Ethan to hold onto, because the guy holding the pump got a workout. It turned out to be a very fun experience with no troubles...aside from having to constantly inflate the thing.

OK, that's my version...back to Julie....



Ethan's Soccer Class

If you've read a few of my posts by now, you probably noticed that my main goal every day is to find an outlet for Ethan's energy. A good way to describe him would be in engineering terms - all thrust and no vector. That sums it up quite nicely. Every day we either go to a park, play group, class - anything. If I don't, I find myself in trouble.

The parent involved class is in Edmonds in a park right next to the beach. It was so much fun for Ethan, Sienna and myself!




It wasn't long before Ethan's soccer skills surpassed mine (which isn't really saying much).

Victoria and Vancouver, Canada Trip

A few weeks ago, Jeff and I took the kids on an exotic, international vacation. That's right, Canada. We had to practice our "eh?", "soory" and "round -a-boot" to fit in with the locals there.

The 2-hour ferry ride weaving through the San Juan Islands was, honestly, one of my favorite parts. The views of the islands and the Puget Sound are absolutely beautiful.







Okay, so at this point I'm just showing off Jeff's great photography skills, but we saw some really beautiful views!

After arriving on Vancouver Island, we stopped off at Butchart Gardens.


While visiting the Italian Gardens, I had the best gelato I have ever had. Honestly, I would go back to Butchart Gardens, pay the over-priced admission just to eat that gelato again. It was incredible. We even got Ethan his own because we didn't want to share ours. I didn't really think he could eat the whole thing, but he amazed us and he did. His stomach can't be that big. When he asked him if we could switch with him, just to taste his, he was hesitant and determined he would still get his due portion of gelato.





That night we stayed in a 4-star Westin resort just north of Victoria. I love credit cards with hotel points! It had beautiful rooms, a salt water pool with a salt water hot tub. It was fabulous. Jeff and I were in heaven - we were pretty proud about staying there and not paying anything near the full rate until...Sienna decided she didn't want to sleep that night. Jeff and I took shifts and I think we each got about 2 hours of sleep. Ah, vacations with young kids. Always full of surprises.

7/17/2008 (exhausted)

Running around downtown Victoria. We found a cool mosiac dolphin. The buildings in the background are the parliament buildings.


When you first see this statue, one would initially think that it's the Canadian version of a cowgirl. But then, you walk by and something really creepy happens. The statue moves.


Turns out, it was actually a lady dressed in really heavy clothing and a lot of make-up to look exactly like a statue (she must get pretty hot in there).


We also went to the Undersea Gardens, which is a museum,underwater. Pretty dark down there, so we didn't take any pictures, but we did see some fascinating sea life, including a giant octopus.

We also visited the parliament buildings. I loved their historical significance and architecture.


We then ferried over to the mainland and stayed at another 4 star Westin in Vancouver. That night Sienna slept a little better, but not by much.

7/19/2008 (even more exhausted)

We began the day by visiting Grainville Island, a huge market with a fabulous international flare. It was like Pike's Place Market, but 10 times the size.


Sienna snuggling (good thing she's so cute).


Chasing pigeons could keep Ethan busy for hours. I love pigeons for that reason alone.


We took a mini cruise of False Creek which goes right up into the heart of Vancouver. D80_1751

We happened to be the only people on the cruise, so we got a personal tour. The girl driving asked if Ethan wanted to drive the boat. She didn't have children and didn't know Ethan (otherwise I'm sure she would have never made such an offer) but we took her up on it (against our better judgement) and let Ethan (gulp) drive the boat. He thoroughly enjoyed himself and somehow his bath-time toys just don't measure up any more.


Our next stop was Stanley Park - breathtaking views, train-ride and a free (thank you, thank you) water park.





Jeff was playing with the shutter speed on this one and the water spray looked pretty cool.


Ethan is a really social little guy and makes friends wherever he goes. This little kid and Ethan were fast friends and ran around together (a.k.a wore each other out) while we parents happily rested on a near by bench.


Back home in the USA!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


So we've obviously gotten a little behind in our blogging. Jeff has had some time off in between jobs and I've been enjoying having him  around too much to sit down and blog - but here's what we've been up to:

4th of July Trip to Spokane:

We had a delicious family BBQ on the 4th, followed by a fireworks show in a park. The next day we spent at the Carlsen home just spending time with family.

Ethan and Grandma Carlsen working in the backyard. You can see that Ethan takes safety very seriously. He's wearing those safety goggles on his chin.    


One of the highlights of the day was cutting down a tree. Sienna and I carefully supervised the event. Sienna also loves  to crawl up me (mostly using my hair) and then hang on for dear life. I'm surprised I have any left.


Here's a photo of the little darling flashing that unforgettable toothy grin.


Later, we all jumped in the pool. Sienna wasn't to sure about how she felt in the pool, but she loved being in Daddy's arms. I think Jeff enjoyed the snuggle time with Sienna too. D80_1375


Home Project!

Being new homeowners, home projects are still really exciting to us. Since we love watching HGTV and home flipping shows, we never run out of ideas (and trouble) we can get ourselves into. The latest...painting our deck. It was originally a yucky peach-salmon color with mildew spots


and my capable, strong, handsome, creative (sorry, I'm getting side-tracked here) husband painted it a nice deep taupe color. It has a softer texture as well.D80_1440