Wednesday, June 24, 2009

First Family Vacation!

We just returned from our first *real* family vacation (i.e. not a trip to Utah to see family). It was also our first roadtrip. We spent 4 nights in Cannon Beach, Oregon and stayed in a rental house 2 blocks up from the beach with a spectacular view of Haystack rock from their huge deck. It was absolute bliss, between the views, the sound of the ocean, and the fun we had at the beach with Isabelle.

We were worried about how the 5 hour drive would go, as sure enough Isabelle did not nap for one second on either the drive down or back. But we brought tons of snacks, new books and toys, and the absolute savior- a portable DVD player for the car where Isabelle watched Elmo and Curious George. All in all, we were relieved that the drives went so well- but it did mean Isabelle was pretty sleep deprived both days.

We weren't sure how she would do at the beach as she'd never been before, but were pleased to see how much she loved it, instantly loving to splash in the (50 degree?) cold water until she was soaked and crying whenever we took her away from the water. Here are some pictures of the day we arrived at the beach (Isabelle's first experience at the beach):

She kept calling it "swimming" since she has come to love water so much since her swimming classes. She was a little more nervous about walking in the deep sand, holding our hands most of the time. But she loved playing in the sand, getting her legs buried by Daddy, and acting like her hands didn't work since they were covered with sand. :) Here are some pictures of her playing in the sand:

Although the weather was constantly changing, from sun to heavy rain and back to sun, we seemed to time it well as we had outings at the beach every day during nicer weather. We also made it down to Haystack Rock for low tide early in the morning to see the puffins nesting and the tidal pools. Isabelle was much more into just running into the water and on the sand than anything else. Here are some shots of the beautiful early morning light at the tidal pools:

It was lucky for us that the house had room for Isabelle to run around in and was stocked wtih some children's toys/books, and the rental agency provided us with a high chair and pack and play. She adjusted immediately to her new sleeping situation, but woke up super early every day (5ish). Having a kitchen helped us eat some meals at the house and stock up on snacks for lunch, while we ate out for dinner each night. The views from our balcony were unbelievably gorgeous. Here's a stormy sunset shot from the deck:

Paul enjoyed surfing 3 times- twice at the beach out front of our house and once at another beach he hiked to. We agreed this was the best place to celebrate Father's Day and we hope to make a tradition out of it! Here are some pictures of the beautiful weather we had on Father's Day:

It's impossible to share all of the amazing pictures from the trip, but here are some of the favorites.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Becca & Scott visit

We enjoyed having my good friend Becca and her new husband Scott visit from Utah last week. We always seem to only catch Becca for an hour here or there when she travels through or when we're in Utah juggling family, and it was wonderful to get to spend some quality time with her and to get to know Scott better. Isabelle instantly took to Becca (asking for her by name right when she'd wake up) and enjoyed drawing and reading with Scott, who she dubbed "socks" (close enough, eh?). Unfortunately, Becca has had a really rough pregnancy and just learned the day before visiting that she had been restricted to modified bedrest, due to not gaining sufficient weight for her or baby. So we tried our best to help her to take it easy while still enjoying their visit.

We visited Snoqualmie Falls together, where Scott did a super fast hike down to the falls and back up while Bec consulted me on gardening tips for my Mom's birthday gift. Friday Paul watched Isabelle so I was able to tour Bec and Scott around Seattle where we had a fabulous time touring Pike Place Market, sampling fresh fruit, and picking out handpainted baby clothes for their little boy-to-come there. We enjoyed lunch at Ray's Boathouse on their patio literally overlooking Puget Sound on a beautiful (and thankfully cooler) sunny day. We did a quick driving tour through Fremont before heading home for some rest. Saturday, we kept our babysitter so that we could enjoy a relaxing day at Rattlesnake Lake, picnicing, kayaking, and fishing together. It was cool and spritzing a little rain at first, but was as always beautiful and fun.

Here's lunch at Ray's:

It was such a treat to have Bec and Scott visit before their lives become much busier with their baby, and we can't wait for them to experience parenthood themselves.

Squirtpark Fun

We have been loving the continued warm and hot streak of weather here in the NW as we've had a month of no rain (not counting one day of spritzing) and 3 days in a row in the 90s! So we finally took Isabelle to the Squirtpark at Crossroads where she became an instant fan. It's a super-padded free water park mostly catered towards toddlers and younger kids where whales and other formations randomly squirt or spray water at kids. Maybe her swim classes have helped her to enjoy water even more, but we were amazed that she didn't have a moment's hesitation about getting squirted right in the face. She relished it! So one week we went twice- and the second day (really hot in the 90s) was super crowded, but we were happy to run into our friends Amy & Lyla by accident. Since going to the squirtpark, Isabelle's enjoyed spraying herself in the face with a water spray bottle at home. :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ahh.... Summer weather!

We've been sooo busy enjoying the beautiful stretch of warm (now it's even hot) sunny weather Seattle's been getting the past few weeks, we haven't had much time for anything else. I hadn't even noticed that Isabelle had turned 19 months old the day she and I went to the little Cougar Mt. Zoo. She had a great time getting sprayed by the fountain, pointing out all the statues of animals (she actually yelled "turtle turtle!!" when she saw the turtle statue), but got scared when the deer nipped at her hand and again when the tiger roared (I was scared too). She laughed outloud when a parrot kept saying "ha-choo" like he was sneezing.

We had a great Memorial Day weekend consisting of two days of babysitting so we golfed one day and then took the kayak up to Rattlesnake Lake for the first time this season. We brought a picnic and our fishing poles and had a great time. Our good friend Helen joined us at the last minute which was a total bonus to get to hang out with her too. Isabelle sat in the kayak in the garage and seemed to think even that was fun. One of these days we'll have to take her up to the lake to splash in the water, enjoy the views, and have a picnic. It will be a few years before she would be safe enough to sit still in a kayak. When has she ever sat still?? I can't remember!

We've also been enjoying Isabelle's swim class, trading off turns taking her. Each time she seems to enjoy splashing her hands and kicking her feet in the water even more. Yesterday I took her and it was the day they first had us dunk them totally under the water. I was nervous about how Isabelle would react, but she had even tried to stick her face in the water out of curiosity when she watched me go under water. She did AMAZING! No crying, just a look of shock and gasping for breath, but she didn't swallow water or fuss at all. She just went back to playing as she had been. Afterwards, she liked playing in the showers in the locker room so much I had to drag her out of there.

We recently got a sand/water table for the yard for Isabelle and her friends to play in- and it has been a huge hit. Read between the lines tho'- sand + water = mud. :) She gets drenched and super dirty every time, but is happy as a clam and we just spray her off and change her clothes each time. Her friends Ella and Charlotte came over last night to all play together. It has been wonderful to have so many little friends of hers right on our street- she plays with someone nearly every day. Just this week something seemed to change in how she viewed her friends- like she now sees them as people who can play *with* her and be funny. Ella and Isabelle began holding hands and saying "na na na" to each other, which always causes Isabelle to burst into giggles and follow Ella around asking for "more." Now every time they see each other they hold hands periodically.

I'm excited that we also bought a small outdoor climber/slide toy for Isabelle used at a consignment shop. As much as she loves being outdoors, it's great to have some fun things for her to do at home. After pressure-washing it, Isabelle and Ella put it to immediate use. They were actually trying to climb up onto it while Paul assembled it together- they could not wait! Ella kept narrating outloud "Ella is having so much fun." Isabelle would say "ba bell" when she thought it was her turn to go (that's how she says Isabelle lately).

We are getting ready to have Becca and Scott visit us for 4 days this weekend and are so excited to get to spend some more relaxed time with them, after their beautiful wedding in Utah in April. I'm hoping Paul gives me some time to do some fun stuff with them on my own too.

After that, we are off to Cannon Beach for Father's Day where we'll take our first "road trip" with Isabelle. We booked a lovely beach house with a full kitchen, and huge deck overlooking the beach. Hopefully we will all survive a 5+ hour drive in the car as so far, Isabelle starts screaming/ crying after about 30 minutes and has not napped in the car in months. Advice anyone??? We are planning on bringing new stuff for her to play with, lots of snacks, and are considering buying a portable DVD player as a special treat- since she very rarely watches any TV at home.

Here are some cute pictures from our trips to the park. Isabelle made a new friend with a 4 year old boy who tickled her and got some giggles: