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Archive for the ‘vacation’ Category

Hazel woke up around 6:30 Saturday morning (totally normal wake-up time, by the way) and Ken got up with her so Haley and I could snooze until 7. Did I mention that all four of us had to sleep in the same room? We haven’t done that since they were a month old. Surprisingly, I slept better than I thought I would and the girls did fairly well too.

We played, ate breakfast, and got all dolled up to go check out the local farmer’s market.

16Stylish girl put the sunglasses on all by herself.

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17We parked by the marina and walked down to the farmer’s market.

18The H’s love boats and say “toot toot” whenever they see them.

The farmer’s market was really cute and, of course, Ken and I were running around chasing two crazy toddlers. We did get them a couple of darling shirts from a quilt booth. And we had to try out the Girl’d Cheese booth. 🙂 Ken got a roast beef and cheddar sandwich and I had the the apple and gouda sandwich. SO yummy!

19And the girls were more than willing to help Auntie Chris finish her scone. To be fair, it was the size of my face (I’m only exaggerating a little. It was ginormous.) so it’s not like they were stealing all her food, but the H’s do love to mooch food off of people.

21We did swing by the marina again so that ken the girls could check out all the boats. And play some giant chess.

22On the way home, Auntie Chris made sure to take us by the house we’re going to buy when we move to the islands. You know, when we win the lottery.

23We did not make it to the house with everyone awake. Hazey zonked out in the car within two minutes and, apparently, 10 minutes of sleep was all she needed. So she got some four-on-one time while Haley slept, which she just eats up. She loves her solo time. Once Haley woke up and we fed them and watched some Little Einsteins, we headed out again. And… Hazel fell asleep again! And I was able to transfer her into the ergo when we got to Deception Pass, so she probably got about 30-40 minutes. Score!

24Deception Pass is a camp ground/beach/state park type place on Fidalgo Island. We had beautiful weather!

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28Aren’t they the sweetest?

We went out to eat after and they were so well behaved and cute and obsessed with the little baby sitting near us. And the fish. There was a lot of fish themed stuff in the restaurant and we suffered through quite a bit of “FIS! FIS!” We even went for a walk afterwards and we were having so much fun that I didn’t realize what time it was until I looked at my phone and it was 7pm! Bed time!

Going home the next day wasn’t quite as peaceful as getting there had been. The girls slept until we got to Seattle, and we had already planned to stop in Vancouver to visit the in-laws and let the girls out, but from Seattle to Vancouver is still a good three hours. We were really happy to get to Auntie Mandy and Tio Miguel’s place and get out to play! And then, of course, it was pretty much screamfest for the remainder hour and a half to get home from there. But we made it! And the girls were really REALLY happy to get into their own beds.

 

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How’s that for a baby milestone?

We took a three day weekend and drove up to the San Juan Islands to visit Ken’s aunt and uncle. It’s a 6 hour-ish drive. Ugh. With two toddlers who don’t approve of being retrained for prolonged periods of time. We decided to leave at 4am (!!!!) Friday morning in the hopes that the girls would go back to sleep for a couple of hours and cut down on fussy baby time. Ha! My children don’t go back to sleep after being transferred. I know this, but I like to be delusional. It was actually fine. They were awake chatting and listening to music and eating breakfast and then slept for a little while, maybe 30 minutes. We got to a rest stop, changed diapers, got them dressed, let them run around for a couple of minutes. Then we got back in the car and broke out the big guns: Little Einstein on the iPad. 1We had planned to pull into Seattle for about an hour to give the girls a break.  This was Hazel just a little bit before she threw up all over herself. I think it was a combination of too much juice and too many Little Einsteins, poor baby. She was happy as a clam once we got her cleaned up though.

2We ran around the the waterfront park and I got this awesome shot. And this was taken on my iphone! Winning!

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4We stopped and got breakfast number 2 at Starbucks, which the girls can now say, by the way! They say Starbucks! I’m so proud!

Then we piled back into the car for the last 1.5 hours of the trip and the girls slept for an hour of it!

6The girls settled in with Uncle Ernie and Auntie Chris almost right away.

7It was so sweet to see how fast they warmed up to them. I just adore Ken’s aunt and uncle and it made me so happy to see the girls so comfortable with them so quickly.

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13Their new favorite game. I ask now ask them if they want to play bartender. MOTY!

Chris and Ernie were super sweet and moved almost all the breakables out of their living room so the girls could run around and be crazy without being told no all the time.

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15Also, the neighborhood they live in is beautiful. Almost every single house looks like a dolls house.

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9See? Can I live here? Please?

 

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We went to the beach the weekend after the fourth. The same vacation we did at this time last year.  And thank god, this trip was less exhausting than last years. Though we did get off to a rocky start. Bedtime the first night was not great and the girls ended up only getting 8 (Hazel) to 10 (Haley) hours of sleep that night instead of their usual 11.5 – 12. So Saturday morning they were an emotional mess and I was seriously considering just going back home. But after a morning nap they seemed to rebound a little bit and after playing at the beach they were tired enough for a nice second nap. Huzzah! After that, I had fun.

2bThe weather was so much nicer this year. It was sunny and mostly warm. It was really windy on the beach, which made it pretty cold, but the beauty of being a small child is that pesky things like water temperature don’t reduce you to a whimpering mess like it does to your parents. And we braved the icy water multiple times because Haley couldn’t get enough of playing in the waves. Which makes my heart so happy to watch.  Which means I will gladly risk a limb falling off from exposure to play with her in the water.

7bSweet, little Hazey wanted pretty much nothing to do with the ocean. It’s cold, it’s loud, she wasn’t having anything to do with it. But sitting in the sand with Gramma, Grandpa, and Charlie was totally her speed. And destroying Aunt Kathleen’s sand castles is always a good time.

9bHaley got buried in the sand. When I was little, my mom use to pack sand around our legs and shape it into a mermaid fin. The girls weren’t so into the sitting still thing, but maybe next year we can make them into mermaids. You know like I did here and here.

12bThis picture is for anyone who says Haley looks like my side of the family. I see so much of Ken in her every day and this photo is perfect. She may be an emotional hot mess, like her mamma, 80% of the time, but she has a lot of her daddy’s focus, determination, and curiosity.

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My mom bought cake cones and ice cream so the girls could have their first ice cream cones. I think they are hooked.

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Not that I blame them. Ice cream is pretty awesome.

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I guess this means I should bust out my ice cream machine and start making some homemade ice cream? Though I should probably keep this a Gramma isolated treat for now. If they start thinking they can get ice cream at home, they might be asking for it all day.

15bAnd yes, I did monstrously over-eat (again) because my mom makes good food and I like to eat good food. It’s a dangerous combination.

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MMiSL. Park It.

I have no idea what day we did this. It might have been the afternoon after our photo shoot. Actually, I think it was the day of the photo shoot. This park was really close to April’s dad’s house. Again, it was awesome. There’s got to be stuff just as cool in Portland or Salem. C’mon, Oregonians! Help a momma out!

1017471_569681633066_1460472514_n1014346_569681418496_718029823_nThe ladies just taking everything in. Side note, I have to say how much I love their swimsuits. I have been contemplating how I can keep them after this summer. I don’t want to cut them up for any sewing stuff, but I don’t want them just sitting in a closet either. And then Better Homes and Gardens had the answer.  And I can’t find a picture of it anywhere online, but they basically framed swimsuits their daughters had grown out of and put them in an upstairs hallway. And by they, I mean the people whose beautiful beach house was featured in the July issue of BGH.

1011383_569681458416_1834677939_nShe’s not a fan of getting splashed, but a little trickle of water at her feet is right up her alley.

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And Hazel barely wanted anything to do with the water. I think she was a little offended that I dare suggest she get wet at all.

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Holla! We finally have internet! I missed you all so much!!! I hope you have missed me too and have been on pins and needles waiting with anticipation to hear about the rest of our St. Louis trip. If you haven’t well then… what the hell are you doing reading my blog? Just kidding. The summer weather makes me giddy and my sense of humor gets a little weird.

 

Day three found us going over to April and Andrew’s house to hang out in the morning and go to the Disney store. April’s Disney store is so much cooler than any of the ones I’ve been to in Oregon. They have an opening ceremony with a key and stuff when the store opens, there’s a coloring station, a tunnel going through all the stuffed animals, and a mirror. A mirror that reflects the corresponding princess when you wave her crown or scepter in front of it.

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At the rate we’re going, the girls will be so Disney crazy by their third birthday (you know, the one where we’re taking them to Disneyland), that they will not be able to contain their excitement. I may be just as thrilled as they are. 🙂

Anyway, after the Disney store and some naps and some lunch, we headed over to The Magic House, St. Louis’ children’s museum. Which, again, totally kicked Portland’s children’s museum’s butt.  I mean, totally.

70First of all, this place is huge. It’s in this four story house that I think has some historical significance. 69

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49We got off to a little bit of a bumpy start since I lost my lens cap after we had been there for only five minutes and we’re not going to talk about how I almost lost Hazel.

50We spent most of our time in the toddler area and the girls had so much fun running around and exploring. We barely saw April and Andrew while we were there because the kids just went in opposite directions. Ken and I were even separated for a big chunk of time.

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52So many Hazels!

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54This was pretty cute. There was a mouse birthday party going on in this little home. It was so darling and the attention to detail was charming and wonderful. I lost count of how many times Hazel opened and closed the little door.

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Next to the toddler section they had a fake town set up. There was a bank, an electric company, a mechanic’s shop, a grocery store, a restaurant, a hospital, and a library. The girls were too young for it, but I think they enjoyed wandering around and watching the older kids do stuff.

59These were the stairs leading to the library. I don’t think I can appropriately express how much I love these stairs.

61Before we left, April dragged us up to the fourth floor to touch the electricity ball (that’s not really what it is called). This was Haley-girl and I waiting in line.

63Look how awesome her hair is!! It’s one of those electricity conductors that you touch and then your hair goes all crazy.

7259_569682092146_2011645244_nAnd Hazel with Daddy. All of the pictures of Hazel and Ken were a little blurry, but this is the one where she has a big smile, so that’s the one that wins.

The last thing we did before taking our wiped out kids back to the house for dinner, was go through the Fairy Tale exhibit they had.

65Jack and The Beanstalk Slide.

66Hazel exploring Cinderella.

I loved The Magic House. I wish we had something as cool in Portland. Sigh. I guess we’ll just have to go to St. Louis again.

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This was the day we did the photo shoot with our kids. The photo shoot that I had been planning in my mind since we bought our plane tickets. Side note: all photography credit for these goes to April. She is a professional photographer and I got to mooch off of my friend’s skills. She got some really great pictures of our kids.

25This was just a warm up picture while Ken was wrangling Haley. I love how they both look like they are ready to cut and run.

26See, April? They could totally fall in love, get married, and have big cheeked children. And then we can put this photo in their wedding slideshow.

27Bwahaha! I love this picture. Poor Caden surrounding by the mischievous H’s.

This next series of pictures I am going to have printed and save for when the girls are at each other’s necks and going on and on about how they hate their sister. I will whip these out and go off about how they don’t and about how your sister is the one person in the world who understands you the best (after yo momma) and will stand by you through thick and thin. If your sister doesn’t have your back, how can you expect anyone else to? Right, Kathleen? 🙂

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Can you even stand the cuteness? My sister has probably hyperventilated herself into a coma on the floor because she hasn’t seen the girls in about a month. Do you love how in the first two photos they have their bodies in the same position? They are so different and so their own person all the time and then there will be these flashes of twinness that I just adore.

32Isn’t Caden such a little man?

33Those eyes. She will make some poor man (or woman) swoon with those eyes.

34I love the nose wrinkles!

35This picture takes my breath away.

36Haley the protector and Hazel the caretaker.

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39This was our backdrop.

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You guys all remember how much I love zoos? Specifically, how much I love taking the girls to the Oregon Zoo? Well, the St. Louis Zoo kicks the Oregon Zoo’s ass. In so many ways!

3First of all, it’s gigantic. The Oregon Zoo is 64 acres.  The St. Louis Zoo is 89 acres. We only saw a fraction of it. A fraction of a fraction of it.

4Caden is so much better at waiting than the girls. If the stroller pauses for a second they are straining against their restraints, ready to get out and run around. He sits patiently.

5Another cool thing is that the St. Louis Zoo is free to get into. They charge for special exhibits and going on the train and the children’s zoo, but the main part of the zoo is free. Because of naps, we only got to be there for about 2 hours and April and I have already started talking about us going back when the kids are 4 or 5 and no longer napping and we can spend all day at the zoo.

6Ken and I had to grab food as soon as we got there because we hadn’t had breakfast yet. And I had barely had any coffee. We met April and Andrew at their house and then followed them to the zoo. I figured it was a 30 minute drive to their house, we would pass a coffee shop on the way there. Not. A. Single. One! This is why I can’t live out of the Northwest. Living in Portland has turned me into the biggest coffee/wine/beer snob. It’s ruined me for the rest of the country. Like on our honeymoon in the Bahamas, when the only coffee I could get was instant and the only beer was Bud Lite or Busch. *shudder*. It killed the beauty of the Bahamas for me just a little bit. Where was I? Oh, so we grabbed something to eat real quick and were compelled harassed into sharing our french fries with the junior set.

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8And that, my friends, is a giant anteater. Without a doubt, that is the coolest thing I have ever seen. Isn’t nature so awesome? That something that funky looking exists?

9And his pal, the capybara, which is the largest rodent in the world. It’s a rodent the size of my mom’s labrador. This spawned an entire conversation about how people who live in other parts of the world are so much tougher than Americans because they have inordinately huge rodents, insects, flying things. Cause seriously, if you put someone from Australia in a room with a hissing cockroach, they would probably just kill the thing or shrug it off, no big deal. You put me in a room with a hissing cockroach and I will be clawing my fingernails off trying to get as far away from it as possible.

10Daddies and babies. Melts my heart.

11Okay, so the really cool thing about this tank (that I don’t have a picture of) is off in the corner, right next to the freaking glass, were 4 hippos, piled on top of each other, taking a nap. It was beyond cool. But do the H’s care about the hippos? Nope. They just want to sit and stare at the fish. It took me three tries to lure them away from the fish so we could go see the rest of the zoo. Not that I really blame them. I had lofty ambitions of being marine biologist when I was little. Until I realized that there was more to the job than playing with dolphins all day.

12Ken brought this up, but the coolest thing about this zoo is that visitor cannot see the cages. All you see is the habitat. It makes me believe the animals are actually happy in captivity. Don’t pop my bubble. Just take your pointy stick of reality and keep on walking.

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Not even bright sunlight will make them keep their sunglasses on.

The rest of these pictures were taken in the children’s zoo which had interactive center, a petting zoo, a playground, and a splash pad.

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15She was so hot and tired, but she was such a trouper. And she did have fun, I just happened to catch her in an in-between moment.

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There was a cow next to the donkeys and Hazel and I spent a very long time discussing the difference between the two. Basically, “hee haw” and “moo”.

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See the two girls standing in the back of the picture? That was the landing zone for a slide tunnel. There were two entrances, but one was blocked off and the otter exhibit was closed. April was telling me that, apparently, the blocked off slide goes through the otter exhibit. Like under the freaking water! Can you imagine? That is going on my bucket list!

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24Aaaaand then they were done.

And this happened before we had barely made it out of the parking space.

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969246_569263286436_1268881008_nI don’t know what you’re talking about. Of course, I didn’t cave and buy the girls new stuffed animals in the zoo gift shop. Not after talking about how we need to downsize and kids don’t actually need that many toys. I wouldn’t be a total hypocrite like that.

How’s that sarcasm font working for you?

 

 

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