Friday, October 29, 2010

Charlotte 21 months & Jocelyn 4 months

I'll interrupt my Seattle posts to do an update on the girls' growth and development. I promise I will get our last few days of Seattle posted with picture eventually.

Fall is officially underway and the weather is getting cooler. The girls continue to amaze me with their milestones, and developing personalities.

Jocelyn is getting stronger and stronger. She is rolling over from back to stomach, starting to grasp toys, and enjoys sitting up (with support) and watching the world go by, or watch her sister play. She is no longer content to sit in the swing for any length of time unless she is sleeping. The Jumperoo is one of her favorite things. She doesn't "play" with the items on it yet, but loves to jump and move around in it. She is much more vocal than I remember Charlotte being at this age; blows raspberries, squeals, coos, and giggles. Charlotte loves to imitate, which isn't nearly as cute because she does it three times as loud as Jocelyn--it has made dinner time quite noisy these days.

Jocelyn had her four month well check on Monday and checked in with these stats:
Weight: 14lbs and 2oz (75th percentile)
Height: 25 inches (75th percentile)
Head Circumference: 16 1/2 (75th percentile)

Charlotte has continued to be a great big sister. I have officially lost track of all her expressive vocabulary. She talks non stop. I can't understand all of it yet, but quite often we get it figured out. She labels things everywhere we go: lights, cookies, cracker, car, tree, etc. She is putting multiple words together up to two or three words. Walking through Target today we passed the Johnson and Johnson Baby Wash and she said, "Soap hair". She is so observant!

She loves pretending. Her babies are her favorite things. She carries them around with "urp rags" and puts them in all of Jocelyn's gear (bouncy seat, bumbo, jumperoo, swing, etc). The other day she got into the pantry and got out cereal after putting her baby in her booster seat at the table. It keeps her entertained longer than any other single task.

Another love of hers is music. She is always requesting "isik, isik" (while signing the sign). She loves it and love putting actions with it. Her independence and personality is shining through with each passing day. She loves helping herself to snacks and requesting drinks by going to the kitchen saying, "Gulk juice" (milk juice) rather than saying "drink please"...we're still working on that...or at least only requesting one drink rather than two. :)

We have been blessed in the fact that Charlotte has still been taking two naps a day, which most children her age do not. This week we are transitioning to only one longer nap in the afternoon. Partly for my sake, but also for Charlotte. We have done one nap here and there over the last few months, and most days it has worked well, but she tended to be happier with two, and admittedly, I enjoyed the quiet time. So far the transition is going smoothly.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Seattle: Day 4

On Thursday morning of our trip we decided to spend some time at the hotel and have a slower paced day. We started the morning swimming. Every time we walked by the pool Charlotte would get excited and say "bath bath!". She has been swimming many times before, but she had no fear. She tried to get in without George or I in the pool - she is so independent! This was Jocelyn's first time swimming...she seemed to like it, but despite the warmth of the pool, she got cold fast.
Pardon the messy hair and the bad picture...Charlotte was not interested in the camera...she just wanted to get in.
Splashing Daddy

After swimming we headed to Snoqualmie Falls. But first stopped for some lunch. Although we aren't Twin Peaks fans, there was a restaurant near where were going that was featured in the show, Mar-T Cafe, now known as Twede's Cafe. We decided to check it out. The food was nothing to speak of, but we took a picture for a few friends that are fans (you know who you are!)

Next we headed to Snoqualmie Falls, just a few miles down the road...
Charlotte was such a trooper the whole trip.

The Falls were beautiful...the construction however, was definitely not. We were going to attempt the steep mile hike to the bottom. Since it was steep we knew we would have to take it slow, putting Jocelyn in the sling and holding Charlotte's hand. We decided to check out the trail once we arrived to see if it was going to be doable...unfortunately the trail was closed due to the construction. It won't reopen until mid 2011. We were disappointed, but enjoyed what we did get to see.

After the Falls we decided we were worn out. We had had several busy days and rough nights, so we headed back to the hotel for some nap time. I hate to say we wasted time in Seattle with naps, but we were all in need of them and it made the rest of the trip more enjoyable.

That evening we splurged and went to a nice seafood dinner. After getting suggestions from the hotel we headed to one particular restaraunt suggested to us. We walked in and immediately saw a sign that said "Must be 21 to enter" The particular location we went to was in a hotel and very much had a "bar feel" to it. I am sure the food would have been spectacular, but we looked at our girls...clearly under 21, and walked out. We ended up at the Crab Pot. We decided it was a more family friendly and comfortable restaurant anyway. We feasted on seafood and we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Seattle: Day 3

Wednesday in Seattle we headed back downtown to see more things that we didn't get to see the day before. We started out in the market again and strolled around a few different areas of the market. We had found out about the "gum wall" from our tour guide the day before. We just happened to stumble upon it...ICK!

That is right...behind us...a wall COVERED in layers and layers of chewed gum. You're only seeing about half the wall!
Some had taken the time to form letters and words with their gum before sticking it to the wall. Others had made it looks stringy as if it was dripping off.
Some had made alternative additions to the wall...such as pennies, trash, or as you see in this picture...a bullet!

I thought this was a clever sign in the market.
Random muscian. They are everywhere in Seattle! I just thought this guy was kinda cute.

After strolling around a bit, we stopped into Piroshky Piroshky, a Russian bakery. It was good, but different. We again headed down to the waterfront to hop on the ferry to take the 35 minute ride over to Bainbridge Island. We kept telling Charlotte about the boat, but I don't think she every understood that she was on a boat, because she just kept pointing to all the other boats.
A beautiful view of Mt. Ranier. Typically this time of year you can't see if from Seattle. But we were able to see several glimpses on our trip.
View of Seattle from the ferry.
The only family picture from the whole trip.

Once we got to Bainbridge Island it was lunch time. We headed down to a waterfront restaraunt. I ordered oysters and ended up not being a big fan of them. I've had them before, but these just weren't quite the same. After lunch we stepped next door to Pegasus Coffee. George said we drank so much coffee on our trip we may not need an airplane to fly home. We strolled around downtown Bainbridge stopping before we left at Mora for some wonderful ice cream. Seriously, probably some of the best ice cream I've ever had. It was so rich and creamy. George and I both had to throw some away because we just couldn't eat any more. We then waddled around downtown for a bit more and headed back to catch the ferry.

Once we were back downtown we walked up to Pioneer Square and tried to go to the Klondike Gold Rush Museum. They were about ready to close, so we had to walk through quickly, and didn't get to enjoy it as much as we would have liked. We got back to the car and headed back to the hotel. We were pretty exhausted so we decided to order in dinner from a local italian place and call it a night.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Seattle: Day 1 and Day 2

There are some benefits of having a husband that has to travel occassionally for business. FREE REWARDS! With a fairly active hurricane and storm season the last few years, George has had to travel a fair amount. He had earned several rewards through his recent travels including hotel points, TWO free flights, and two days of a rental car. Next month one of his free flights was scheduled to expire, which we weren't about to let happen. So it was time for a vacation!!

My sophomore year in college I was given an opportunity to travel with an aunt to Seattle for a long weekend. I have always wanted to go back. Two summers ago, George and I talked about making the trip, but ended up buying a house instead. So we decided to use our free flights to head to the northwest while both girls were "lap" children.

This was Charlotte's second time to fly (the first being to Austin when she was 9 months old) and Jocelyn's first flight. Our flight left shortly after 5pm on Monday evening. Although Charlotte has been timid regarding loud and unfamiliar things lately, she LOVED flying. She was entertained by opening and closing the window shade, kicking the seats in front of us (sorry poor woman who had the misfortune of choosing that seat), eating crackers, playing with the seatbelt, and playing with mommy's iPod Touch. The flight went very well, partly thanks to an open seat next to us. Toward the end of the flight, Charlotte took a short nap, but we woke her as we started the decent to avoid ear pain. At one point you could tell her ears were really bothering her...but fruit snacks seems to keep her swallowing often enough to relieve the pressure. Jocelyn also managed the flight like a trooper! OH the blessings of breastfeeding!! We didn't have to worry about bottles, clean water, formula, etc. Jocelyn was content to sleep, nurse, and coo throughout the flight.

After a 3 1/2 hour flight, we landed successfully in Seattle. It was chilly compared to KC, but wonderful! Again, an advantage of George's work is his Hertz Gold card membership. After picking up our luggage from the baggage claim we were able to go out to the parking garage where our name was posted on the board with a parking space number. We walked to that space where a car was waiting for us with the keys and carseat in it and trunk popped awaiting our stuff! I was super impressed! We headed to the hotel and got settled in for the night.

The next morning, Charlotte woke up at 4:30, which would have been her normal wake up time at home. She crawled in our bed and dozed in and out until about 6:30. We decided to get up and make our way to the city. We found a place to park and abondoned the car for the day.

We started with the famous Pike's Place Market. Hundreds of bouquets of flowers for just $5-$10 a piece. Gorgeous rows and rows of flowers. I was so tempted to buy one just to enjoy at our hotel for the week...but I resisted. There were also many talented artists, jewelry makers, fancy textiles, fruits and veggies galore, and of course...SEAFOOD! I am not a big seafood eater, but LOVE seafood in the northwest---It is so fresh!! We then headed for the the french bakery, Le Panier, which is located right outside the market, just a few steps from the original Starbucks.

Throughout our trip we would often use bakeries, cafes, and coffee shops as breaks to stop and nurse Jocelyn. It gave us a lot of opportunity to sample various places. We enjoyed our quick bite and coffee and headed out to the pier to finish feeding Jocelyn. I sat on the bench while Charlotte ran around looking at the water and "attempted" to feed the pigeons. At first when I gave her a bit of bread to feed to the pigeons she ran towards them full speed ahead, attempting to "hand feed" it to them. They of course all flew off to the other side of the pier and she repeated her actions. Eventually, after a demonstration by George, she figured out how to feed the birds, and loved it! She giggled and laughed while they would all fight over her offerings.

Next we were off to stroll through downtown. There were a few shops that I read about in Eat Shop Seattle that I wanted to check out. All of them were too expensive for our budget, but I love admiring others' talent and creativity. One of my favorites was Schmancy they had cute, funky plush toys and cute prints of birds, owl, and other eclectic drawings. We continued down town as Charlotte drifted off for a nap in the stroller. We walked along the waterfront and made a tentative plan for the day. As Charlotte woke we stopped into Anthony's for some classic fish and chips. We were able to sit on the patio and watch the activity in Puget Sound.
Next we walked back to the Seattle Aquarium. We thought this would be enjoyable to Charlotte, but unfortunately it ended up probably being the most disappointing of the trip. It was overpriced, and Charlotte was too tired to enjoy it. She was afraid to get too close to some of the exhibits and needed constant reassurance. George and I were occupied with the girls and didn't get to read/learn as much as we would have liked. Maybe once they get older it would be worth the high ticket cost.

From there we hoped on the Gray Line Tour Bus. I had scored inexpensive tickets for Gray Line from Groupon. We were able to hop on the double decker tour bus at numerous points throughout downtown to get from Point A to Point B, or to ride awhile and learn more about the city. We rode in the back of the upper deck for just over an hour getting a full scoop on the city. Our guide was a riot and we learned a lot. By the way...Did you know Seattle's Best Coffee is owned by Starbucks?

Reflection of the Space Needle
Smith Tower is straight ahead

We then got off the tour bus in Pioneer Square, grabbed some more coffee, and headed up to Smith's Tower (another Groupon deal). There we headed up to the 35th floor and were able to get a 365 degree view of the city. It was beautiful! Mt. Ranier was even making an appearance, even though it is typically hiding behind the clouds. (We are bad tourists and didn't go to the Space Needle, but did the Smith Tower instead...less money and less touristy!)
The faint cloud in the middle of the picture is actually not a cloud, it is Mt. Ranier.
On most days, it isn't visable from Seattle.

The ceiling inside the Smith Tower was carved ... and was BEAUTIFUL!!
We then headed back to the Gray Line bus stop and got a lift back to the car...we were definitely worn out and had very wearly legs. We were disappointed we had left our pedometers at home. You should see some of the hills we went up!! We stopped at Crossroads Grill for dinner (yep! another Groupon deal) and headed back to the hotel for the night...we were all exhausted, but had a great day!