21 August, 2012

Zachary Ryan

My oh-so-sweet little nephew arrived this morning at 6:25am!
8lb. 14oz
21 inches long.
And oh-so-handsome.
36 hours of labor (my sister is some kind of superhero).
Ava couldn't stop being excited to meet him.
"We're going to see my new baby!"
She loves him.
Her favorite part was holding Ryan. 
(That was my favorite part too.)
 Lucy gave him lots of kisses.

 My dad with his grandchildren. 
(Looking all at the same time is always optional. Besides, isn't it better to get the real moment?)
Lucy wanted to touch the baby. She was very gentle.

My brother Titus is missing, but otherwise my family and our kids!

And folks, with his eyes wide open, the man of the hour:
Welcome to our family, Ryan!
I love you.

15 August, 2012

Sunday Morning

Both girls have been made beautiful, special dresses by their aunts for their First Birthdays.
These aunts are very clever, and made Ava's wide, and the hem to be let out so she could wear it a while.
Lucy just got hers, and so I wondered if it would be possible to have them both wear these dresses simultaneously.

I decided to put in a little effort so this once-in-a-lifetime chance wouldn't be missed.
The Girls were able to wear their First Birthday dresses at the same time.
They even stood still and smiled at the same time for me-I was tickled pink by this occurance!

Thank you, dear Aunts, for the lovely dresses!

04 August, 2012

Washington Trip (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)

Tuesday was our busiest day. We knew there was a lot of sightseeing to pack in, and we had purchased a pass that allowed us to see several different places at a discounted price. We fully intended to see every single place. 
Our first stop was the aquarium. They had a wave pool, a tide pool, and several touch pools where you could feel the textures that lay beneath the ocean's surface.
The starfish were beautiful!
We also saw
 a shark hanging from the ceiling,
 two giant octopi,

 plants that look like enormous feather pens,
 a dome built under the sea,

 and two completely adorable sea otters. (My personal favorite.)
 This was our last visit by the water, so we took a few more minutes to explore and see some different designs on the piers.
Like this fountain, with a decked picnic area behind it:
 and this sculpture of sea life:

Next we drove out to the Boeing Flight Museum. 
The Blue Angels were in town that week, and to our complete delight, they flew RIGHT OVER OUR HEADS!!!
 Then we got to watch them land! It was pretty spectacular.
 The flight museum is really neat! If you ever have a chance, go see it.
They have all sorts of planes in the main museum,
 and all sorts of planes in the WWI and WWII exhibits.
I found my favorite plane...
 They also have the last Concorde used for commercial flights. On the way to the air field, it broke the flight record from New York to Seattle, making the trip in 3 hours 55 minutes. That's insanely fast.
 There is a previous Air Force One plane for viewing too. It was neat to walk where presidents have walked. 

We had two trips to see the Space Needle, with the intention being to go in the daylight, and after dark.
So we made the first trip in the early evening after picking Loyal up from work.

In between Space Needle visits we went to the Experience Music Project Museum.
It's an interesting place. We weren't interested in all the exhibits, but they certainly had some interesting displays on the history of music.
This sculpture is made up of 700 musical instruments. 
It's huge.
 This room had several stations where you could learn to play instruments or simply take time to play on your own. They also had rooms for jam sessions with different instruments. We spent the most time here, making music (and sometimes just making noise).

 (Awesome sign)
 There was a very small Sci-Fi exhibit.
So, for my friends who are fans, here's Superman:
 Darth Vader's light saber:
 and Captain Kirk's chair:

We then took a walk around Seattle. There's awesome people like this guy all over the city:
 This little french bakery was where we ate breakfast on Monday.
But I didn't get a picture on Monday, and this way you can actually see in the shop when it's not crammed full of people. They make amazing coffee and pastries.

We had taken the monorail in one direction (and intended to take it back), then walked so far to look for food that we ended up back at our car. However, I had really wanted to spend time walking through Seattle so I wasn't at all disappointed to miss the train back.
This is The Old Spaghetti Factory.
This is where you can get a ton of food for $12. 
The inside is amazing, and they even had an old trolley car parked inside where we sat to eat.
The waiter was kind and funny, and the food was amazing. 
If you ever have a chance, eat at one of these.

Then we walked back to the Space Needle. 
And I saw a building with a name on it that made me smile:

It's definitely worth taking two trips up the Needle.

 The view was incredible!

Wednesday found us traveling to Mt. Ranier.
We went from Interstate to back roads. Soon we were winding through forests, following a logging truck.
 There's a giant glacial river, that changes every year due to massive amounts of water melting off of Ranier.
 See the tiny people? That is how big this river bed is.
 And there's the fabulous mountain!

 We walked up about 400 feet on some trails.
(I was sure I was going to die. I did not.)
 Mountain land: flowers and snow co-existing.

 There was a baby elk/deer that wandered right by us:
 And a waterfall that made a stunning picture:

Then we drove from Mt. Ranier back into Seattle, for the Science Center.
There was a major traffic jam, so we made it there with just an hour left until closing.
If you go with children, don't try and make it through in just an hour.
But we were adults, so we enjoyed playing with things just as much as the kids did, but we didn't cry when we moved on to the next exhibit.

 The butterfly house was my favorite:

 There was a backhoe to play with.
The guys may have had way too much fun with this one.
 The Science Center has 4 buildings, built around a central pavilion. The pavilion is made of concrete walkways, with shallow pools around them. The pools have sculptures, fountains, and water powered toys to play with (i.e. water cannons).

 There was also a bike that rode along a tall, circular rail. The guys had fun on it. I kept my feet firmly on the ground. Mostly because the thing keeping you upright was the weight hanging underneath, to counterbalance the bike.

After the Science Center we realized our day was almost over, and we were about ready to come home.
Fortunately, we found one more odd thing to gawk at:
The sign reads: "Perfect Espresso and Hotdogs".
Yeah, we didn't want to eat there either. 
 Thursday we got back on an airplane and came home.
Hello, Midwest!

What a fantastic trip!
We had an amazing time.