Tuesday, September 13, 2016

First day of first grade...

We had an awesome last day of summer.  Followed by a fever for Scott that hit over night that resulted in him throwing up in the morning and missing his first day of school.  Such a bummer!

He made it to school the second day though.  He probably could have used one more rest day but he was up and ready to go when I got home from working out and we decided that the whole late to the party would be more harmful than going to school a little tired.
Can't believe we have an official first grader in the house.

And the next day we were back at it at soccer practice.  Scott's team has one practice a week right now.  Owen's doesn't but he goes with Brian and they do their own practice.  So grown up these two.

Last week of summer

Its hard to believe that summer has come and gone and we are already a few weeks into the school year.  Before I share our first week of school I will reminisce about our last week of summer.  After  we returned from our northwest trip we just over a week until Scott started first grade and we tried to make the most of it.

Mimi and I took all four kids to the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum one day.  The kids had all been but it was my first trip - what an awesome place.

We started in the butterfly garden.  They loved trying to find all the species from the cards they were given when we entered.  It was beautiful, I wish I had taken a picture of the whole enclosure.


I found this sign out by the water play area.  Perfect on so many levels.  I wish this was posted everywhere.

Owen playing in the water area with a little wooden boat.  Childhood at its finest. 

We spent a solid amount of time arranging and rearranging these bamboo poles into teepees.  They were so into this I'm highly considering duplicating in our back yard.  

We made sure to visit the snake house.  The boys loved it and had LOTS of questions for the naturalist. 

Just picnicking with cousins, summer's best.

We visited the T-Rex, it has a name, maybe Sue? Its been too long for me to remember now.  Super neat exhibit though, complete with a real paleontologist to answer all of our questions.

One of our last stops of the day was the planetarium.  Probably the best kids planetarium experience I've ever had.  It was geared completely to kids and it wasn't just a prerecorded show.  The guy took questions and then directed the sky to show us all the answers to our questions.  It was amazing and the boys had a great time (once they stopped fighting over who sat where)

Picked some snacks back at Mimi's.  I'm going to need a fig tree of my own someday!

Cousins...

And before we headed home we had some serious tree climbing.


We finally made it to a beach day with our school, never mind that it was the last beach day of summer, but at least we can say we went.  And we got to capture (and release) some sea critters to boot.


Stopped for roadside coconuts on our way home!

We hosted a play date for friends the friday before school started...appropriate for our typical fight club friday.

The day before school we headed to our favorite lunch and ice cream spot with friends for burgers (with gf buns!) fries and ice cream.




It was the best way to say farewell to summer.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Seattle, Portland and Wedding adventures....

Get comfy for a long post about our amazing trip to the pacific northwest.  
We had the most incredibly vacation week and I'm going to overshare pictures and stories because I want to be able to read back and relive this time again and again.

We headed out on a late flight Friday night from LAX, the boys did great on the plane, watched a movie and we were there.  Unfortunately no one slept on the plane and landing at 10:30 at night is rough on a 4 year old.  The moment we landed Owen fell apart (understatement) and we still had to get our rental car and drive to hours to the island where the wedding was going to take place the next day.  Normally Owen can bounce back if he gets a snack or something, not this time, when I offered him a snack he just kept crying "I just want to go to bed." And then he cried so hard he threw up.  It was awesome.

We made it to Samish Island around midnight and thankfully got to sleep in and wake up in much better moods the next day!

Saturday was the day of cousin Christina's wedding.  We got to relax and hang out with family all day until it was time to get ready and go!

Since we were getting all dressed up I did insist on some pictures before we headed over!


I think we clean up pretty nicely.





Owen's smile just kill me, in the best way!






At the ceremony we also got some good pictures with Grandma and Gpa.




Its pretty hard to get everyone looking at the same time...haha




Our boys have also been interested in photography lately and took many of these pictures.  Not a bad job I say.

Photo cred: Scott

Owen:





The boys made it until about 10 pm, which was a pretty big  miracle after being up so late the night before...we had a great time and it was a perfectly beautiful day!

Sunday morning we played on the beach a little big longer before heading down to Seattle for vacation week.




The boys, Owen especially, love collecting rocks.  And this beach was basically rock collectors paradise.  I wish we could have spent more time on this amazing little beach.



We made it to Seattle mid afternoon on Sunday and headed straight for the market (just a few blocks from our hotel)




We had few hours to kill til we were able to meet grandma and gpa so we wandered around the market and the waterfront and finally decided on a ferris wheel ride.  Owen was ecstatic.  Last summer at the ventura county fair he was just a little too short to ride the ferris wheel so he kept exclaiming, "THIS IS MY FIRST FERRIS GO ROUND".  


Happy to be in Seattle.

We met up with Grandma and Gpa around dinner time and had a delicious dinner at Elliot's Oyster house.


All Scott wanted was crab, so Gpa, Scott and I shared a giant platter of crab, oysters and shrimp - everyone was happy!

Here's where I go out of order just a bit, for some reasons my pictures uploaded backwards and I just really don't want to reupload.  So on Tuesday we headed to the Pacific Science Center for the day.

What an incredible museum, the boys (and grown ups) enjoyed all the hands on exhibits, especially all the outdoor physics stuff.

Scott's particular favorite was this water wheel, he came back to it several times through the day!



A special treat was the "Art of the Brick" exhibit which was all art made out of legos.

These little lego lovers were in heaven, and I have to say I was pretty impressed myself.


All made out of legos....

Pretty amazing stuff.






Maybe picture overload here, but it was just so impressive.



Another fun thing at the science center was this balance bike.  Brian and I both took a turn.  Scott was pretty bummed he couldn't try it, you had to be at least 100lbs.


The day before we scheduled an underground tour.  I hardly took any pictures but it was super neat and I learned so much about Seattle's history.  The boys ended up saying this was one of their favorite things of the whole trip.

After our tour we played in pioneer square for a while.  Outdoor foosball, giant jenga, connect four etc.

Boom.  So fun.

For our final day in Seattle we headed over to the Ballard locks and botanical gardens.  Unfortunately there were divers in the water so we didn't get to watch any boats go through.  But we still had fun exploring and learned a lot about what goes on there.

And of course we took a bunch of seriously cute pictures of the kids.







We found this giant tree in the botanical garden with a bench where Brian and I could sit and watch.  The boys must have played here for over an hour, it couldn't have been more perfect.



We headed to Fremont for lunch and walked around that part of town.
A must see for us was the Fremont troll under the bridge, and as luck would have it we ran into some of our California cousins there doing the same thing.

As we were heading back to our car we could smell chocolate which reminded me that this part of town was home to the Theo chocolate factory.  I had meant to look into a visit and then it slipped my mind.   We decided to stop in and check it out anyways and what do you know...they were starting their kids factory tour in 10 mins.  Sign us up!

It was so much fun.  So much interesting info about chocolate production and geared perfectly for kids.  With TONS of samples!!!! 

Hair nets and all!




That night we were pretty pooped and we ended up just grabbing a bunch of sandwich meat and snacks at trader joes and picnicking up in our hotel room.  We caught up on the olympics (which had been doing some evenings the whole week, so much fun sharing the excitement of the olympics with the boys this year) and then Owen and I headed out on one more walk in search of our traditional Christmas tree ornament we get on all of our trips.  It was a pretty special time for just the two of us.

So long Seattle....




The next morning we headed for Portland via Mt. St. Helens.  The boys were pretty excited, Scott especially.  We made good time to the visitors center and from there it should have taken us another hour or so.  Unfortunately the ranger informed us of major construction happening on the road up that would delay our trip an hour or more, both ways.  We made the call not to spend the next 5 plus hours driving and up and back and just wandered around the visitors center and enjoyed the views from there.
It was a great place to stop for lunch and stretch our legs anyways.

We made it to Portland by early afternoon and headed straight for the waterfront.

Where we rented a family sized bike and cruised around for an hour or so.  It was the perfect way to see the area.  This was a definite highlight for the boys, and really for me too! People watching, the river, the boats, all my favorite people cruising around together outdoors!!!

We didn't have major plans for Portland, just wanted to see it and wander around a little.  So friday we decided to head to Washington Park and the zoo.  It was a great way to spend the morning, we zipped back to the hotel for lunch at a ridiculously delicious little mexican restaurant and then we found a gluten free, vegan bakery where we stopped for a treat.  By the way they also serve cocktails so basically my kind of place!
I'm telling you...amazing.  I wish we could have gone back 3 more times.

By Friday night we were all exhausted and excited to get home.  It was a truly amazing week and I'm sure we will enjoy reminiscing about this family vacation for years to come!

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