Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Colorful Adventure

Yesterday, I went on an adventure with my dear friend, Kristina, up to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival held annually in the quaint town of La Conner. Although I have left Lia waaaay too many times for an entire day to work, I have never left her for an entire day to play. So, this was a rare treat for me. Thank you, Ron, for watching baby and making this possible! Anyways, the Skagit Valley is this unbelievably picturesque valley that hasn't been touched by modern day. Everywhere you turn, it looks like a picture on a postcard with red barns, cows out to graze, and fields that go for miles and miles. And, each April, these fields literally come to life with the most amazing palate of colors! The tulips and daffodils literally come out in full force! So, after a delicious salmon lunch in La Conner, AKW and I went on a drive through the valley and stopped at several of the fields for some frolicking.

Kristina, me, and the tulips. I know, the height difference is a bit ridiculous, but our friendship manages somehow. :-)

This is my favorite picture that I took all day long. It truly captures the bright contrast between the yellow, red, and orange tulips in the first field we visited.

The second tulip field we visited had five different hues of pinks/purples. So pretty!

Posing amidst the tulips.

I love this picture because it shows all the different shades of purples and pinks in the second field we visited.

Two different barns on the edge of the daffodil field and pink tulip field we visited.

Two more shots taken yesterday. The one on the right was a serious zoom-in job on this lone yellow tulip growing in a multi-acreage field of other colors. Isn't that amazing?! I think Kristina spotted it way off in the distance. Lyrics from the Sesame Street song, "One of These Things is Not Like the Others" immediately came to mind. Poor little, yellow tulip.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

14th Month Report....

Well, I can't believe it, but my beebop is 14 months old today! How did that happen? It seems like she was nothing but a little worm in my arms the other day. *sigh* Seeing as though I am always so resistant to change, I honestly think that I am going to fight this my entire life. Anywho, like I did last month, I am going to list the highlights and the lowlights of the last month of her life in no particular order. So, here goes..........

1. Lia has developed a relationship with her crib this past month. She absolutely loves it! Now, the second I put her in it and pop the paci in her month, she immediately falls down in some laying position and just stares up at me. She lays there calmly while I put the blanket on her and give her the stuffed bunny. This is quite the change from the Lia of yesteryear who would immediately stand up whenever placed in her crib and start "rattling the cages" for the next several minutes. She is just so happy in there. And, whenever she wakes up from her nap, she can busy herself forever in there. I have no idea what she does, but she can be heard over the monitor making all of her noises and moving around.
2. Lia is employing three successful modes of transportation right now: crawling, "knee walking," and walking. She can go through all three in one minute! It is such the funny sight. She mainly crawls if she wants to get to something fast and mainly walks when mommy and daddy are encouraging her and the knee walking just fills the time in between. People keep on commenting how they have never seen a baby travel on her knees like that!
3. She has perfected the art of "power crawling." When she wants something and she wants it now, she gets on all fours and just TAKES OFF! It's amazing how fast she travels.
4. One of her lowlights: She is starting to be a bit clingy and, at times, is preferring mom over dad. Neither one of us like this one. This is especially the case in the morning.
5. Her personality is becoming quite playful and she has begun to really enjoy playing games with us. Some include playing "peek-a-boo" with the shower curtain while in the bath, playing chase with her parents all over the house and under tables, and tilting her head side-to-side while we do the same.
6. Another lowlight: Once a great eater, she has started to develop an aversion to a few foods such as some meats and vegetables. We have determined that it is a texture thing. For example, she might refuse to eat cut up green beans, but will scarf down an entire container of green beans baby food. Argh! So, I still haven't been able to rid my pantry of those little bottles! She also has found that throwing a total fit (crocodile tears included) when refusing a certain type of food can be most powerful. We are not thrilled with her flair for the theatrics that she is currently developing.
7. She popped teeth #6 and #7 without making a fuss. Hallelujah again! Can't wait to see what fun the molars bring!
8. She is starting to figure some things out that I have never really pointed out to her such as taking her comb or brush and moving it around her hair or bringing the phone up to her ear (never mind the fact that the speaker/buttons side is facing away from her ear....we'll get this eventually). Such a smart little girl.
9. She is still going strong with her one and only word, "Uh oh." She says it all the time.
10. She has truly found her lungs this past month. Once or twice a day, she will get excited over something and just scream for several seconds at the top of her lungs while scrunching up her face and making it all red. It is hilarious. She has especially found this to be effective in a room with a lot of people and noise. Want some attention? Why then, just scream!
11. Her new favorite toy is her belly button. She can be found several times a day rediscovering it and digging around in it.
12. We have begun handing Lia the spoon and letting her feed herself. She is doing a pretty decent job with it as only a minimal amount of food is landing on her bib or the tray. However, it slows the entire meal time waaaaaaaaay down. I just sit there and deal with it, but Ron refuses to pass the time in such a boring manner. He has solved the problem by including David Letterman and his nightly Top 10 in the whole meal process (via his laptop, of course. Contrary to what you might be thinking, Mr. Letterman is not joining us in our kitchen on a daily basis).

None of these pictures were taken today on her actual 14-month birthday, but they are some of my favorites from the past week or so.

Lia and I have discovered that she loves to ride her little toddler car. We get in position and go wheeling all over the house. Although it kills my back, Lia is a big fan!

Much to my chagrin, Lia has discovered our shoes lately and loves to play and chew on them. I'm not quite sure how I feel about these dog-like tendencies that she is developing (i.e. following me everywhere, carrying socks in her mouth while she crawls, chewing on shoes) .

I know that I posted a similar shot of her in a the high chair with the pigtails earlier, but I just loved this one and decided to include it anyways. Look at that mouth full (well, not really) of teeth!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Man and his Machine...

Spring time has finally arrived in Washington and that means one thing...the lawn must be mowed. When duty calls, Ron is there. His motto: "No blade left unmowed." Obviously, we have man on a mission. Below are two quick pics I took of Ron in our backyard during the inaugural mow of '09.

This picture really speaks for itself. Ron and his headphones. So funny! This is due to the fact that his ipod bit the dust last year and our current budget doesn't allow for the replacement of such a luxury. So, his only option is to use the oversized headphones (a hand-me-down from one of his co-workers) that receive a frequency from the music being played on his laptop. Oh, if the Ron-of-ten-years-ago could have seen himself now...what would he have thought?!

This picture shows off the exact diagnol lines that Ron typically mows on our grass. Doesn't it add a nice, personalized touch to the backyard? :-)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

An Early Easter

We ended up doing the Easter thing a week early this year because my mom invited us over yesterday for a little Easter egg hunt in her yard and a turkey dinner afterwards (due to the fact that it was the last night that my bro and his fam would be in town). And, you know me...if someone else offers to organize and host a holiday festivity, I'm all over that! Actually, it was just one more excuse to see my Montana family before they flew the Northwest coop. We had a really nice evening, especially because after days of crazy, tempermental weather, we had a beautiful, sunny afternoon that lent itself to a nice Easter egg hunt and walk afterwards.

Here is Miss Lia on her grandparents' lawn after the hunt trying to figure out what to do with the chocolate eggs wrapped in foil. She only succeeded in eating the foil. However, after a little peeling help, she actually munched on her first chocolate. She liked it so much that I actually heard her lips smacking for the first time. Oh dear, what have I created?

Refusing to look at the camera due to her new found fascination with Easter candy.

I just love this picture! After the hunt, Lia's big cousin, Kelsey, came over to blow some bubbles (part of the Easter egg hunt loot) at her. Here Lia sits right in the wake of the bubble spray. Kelsey and Lia really had the chance to bond this past week during the many legs of our family reunion. Her older cousin was a big help to us this week watching Lia on many differnt occasions while we ate, packed, talked, etc! Thank you, Kelsey!

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Family Reunion of Sorts

Since my brother and his family were already planning on being in Washington for Brynn and Garrett's baptism and their spring break, my family decided a few months ago to make a mini family reunion out of the week with two little get-aways.

First stop: Fort Worden
One of my sis-in-laws reserved an officer's house at Fort Worden in Port Townsend for Monday through Wednesday, March 30-April 1st. Now a state park, Fort Worden was originally built as one of three military bases in the late 1890s to guard the entrance of Puget Sound. It is located right on the water and has all the relics one would associate with an old military base: barracks, officers' housing, bunkers, and gun batteries. It's a child's ultimate playground! And, as always, my mother's "weather prayers" were answered as it drizzled on and off Monday (the afternoon we checked in) and rained/snowed on Wednesday (the morning we checked out), but was a beautiful, crisp spring day all day Tuesday after a rainy beginning. So, we were really able to enjoy the outdoors on our one full day there.

This is a photo of the very cool officer's house we stayed in during our two nights there. It is one of eight houses built in the early 1900s for the officers stationed at Fort Worden. These homes are actually duplexes, so we stayed in the left half of this huge, old house that had four floors and six bedrooms! (However, much to Chris' dismay and attempts to pick the locks, both the basement and top floor are permanently blocked off to guests.) Regardless, this house made for some great hide-and-seeks games with the nieces and nephews. It also has all the features that I love in old homes: a wrap-around porch, high ceilings, tall doors, huge moldings, a grand staircase in the entry, built in nooks and bookshelves everywhere, fireplaces in most of the rooms, and even decorative tin ceiling tiles in the formal living room and dining room.

A shot of the Officer's Row where we stayed. The last house on the lane (the far left) has a stunning view of the ocean. And, no, we didn't stay in that one.

Some of the silly cousins climbing in the large tree in front of our house!

Ron, my mom, and I enjoyed a walk on the beach in the wind and sunshine while Lia and my dad/babysitter were both taking their morning naps. Yes, his schedule parallels a one-year old quite nicely these days. :-) Here Ron and I are on the steps leading down to the beach.

My mom and I next to the pier.

A shot of the beautiful light house located on the point of the bay. (Please ignore the eye sore to the right. Why did they have to put that tower right there?! Rebecca, can you photoshop that one out? :-) )

The bay on the other side of the light house.

In between baby's morning and afternoon naps, we bundled her up and headed out for a second walk. Here is the fam on the porch before venturing out.

Since both of my parents and two of my nephews all have birthdays between the days of March 29th and April 15th, we decided to hold a joint birthday dinner/party while we were there. Here is Mr. B getting ready to blow out the candles on his "Spy Gear" magnifying glass birthday cake. Please note that Vivi is already in her pajamas by this point in the evening (a trend that began that day that several of my nieces followed...pjs by 4 in the afternoon...don't bother asking why because I simply have no idea).
The fam watching as Spencer gets ready to blow his candles out. How did he get to be 12 years old?! Wah!

Second Stop: Great Wolf Lodge

My family then headed off for two more fun-filled days at the Great Wolf Lodge south of Olympia for Thursday and Friday, April 2-3. This hotel is only a year old and is a child's dream and my father's nightmare (it's stimulation overload from beginning to end). :-) It is an irreverant blend of a Las Vegas strip hotel, Yellowstone's Old Faithful Inn, and Wild Waves Water Park. If you can handle a millions kids, noise, chaos, and something going on in every room, corner, and cranny, bring your family for some non-stop entertainment! Since I live less than an hour away, I opted to just come down with Lia for one of the two days (Ron couldn't come because he had to work). We headed down on Friday, April 2nd, to play at the indoor waterpark with my family for a few hours. My mother kindly took my baby for the majority of the time and kept on commanding me to "Go Play!" as long as I checked in with her every 15-30 minutes! Thanks, mom! So, I was able to go down several slides with assorted members of my family. I actually felt like a kid again.

Here is one shot of the incredible, indoor waterpark. You have to appreciate the timing of this picture as just when I went to snap it, the large bucket at the top of the structure (that fills and empties every few minutes) dumped out and over the innocent masses below. It's quite the deluge!

Another shot of the waterpark--this one is of the giant wave pool.

I included this picture because this was the look on Lia's face the whole four hours we were there! Normally a very happy, smiley, and friendly little girl, my daughter was the complete opposite the entire time. She just didn't know what to make of all the noise and grandeur of this place and was very unsure and clingy to grandma and me while we were there. Poor little lamb.

Classic cousin pose. Riley and Lia were placed side by side at the edge of the baby pool for a quick pic. When told to "smile," Lia promptly began crying and Riley covered his eyes. Makes sense. Doesn't Lia look adorable in her watermelon swimsuit?!

Mommy and daughter in the baby pool. Please note Lia's unsure look.

What I could round up of the family for a picture....the other half couldn't be found due to the siren call of the slides. Pictured are Grandma (doesn't she look great for 67?!), Lia looking the wrong way, big, bad 12-year old Spence, Sue closing her eyes, Brent with his cheesy grin, and two of the three "triplets," Vivi and Mae Mae.