Sunday, July 7, 2013


April started for us with Spring Break, and then, if possible, got even busier.  First, we knew Steve was going to take a business trip and be gone for a few days, so we planned to jam as much fun in with the girls as possible with Daddy before he was gone for a little while.  One of the things we did was take them swimming at my work, which was Mckayla's first time in the pool.

Steve then left for a fun trip to San Antonia, Texas for the National Science Teachers Conference.  He got to see animals at the conference, sit in class for hours, see lizards everywhere, visit the Alamo, and get lost on a long bus ride to see the Spurs kill the Kings.

It also got warm enough here we could enjoy the yard and sunshine.

 We learned that given the choice Ellie will often choose salads at restaurants - and then I get to try new delicious salads...

And we went whole hog into cloth diapering, finding a brand we absolutely LOVE called Bottombumpers which are much trimmer than a lot of the puffy cloth diapers.

Other than those random occurrences, April was a month of fun science and projects at our house.  First for the science - which Steve has Ellie totally hooked on right now, which is great.  Daddy brought home some left over dry ice after finishing an experiment at school and Ellie played with it and loved it.  
I love watching Steve teach her - he is both an amazing teacher and an amazing father, and watching him combine the two things he's so wonderful at is fun to watch.

Daddy also taught Ellie about "rollie pollie's" or pill bugs.  Ellie was so excited every time she saw one of these for quite a while after.
 Just read my comment above.  He's amazing.  And you know you're jealous.

Ellie also had fun wearing hats and her apron while being a "helper" while I was in the cooking mood one day.  Here she was helping make pudding for dessert.

Ellie also made some fun art creations and I took pictures of this one because I loved how painted she got while making Daddy a picture.

Other random pictures - the family having fun with balloons and fans in the play room.  Mckayla was especially funny with the fan blowing on her.  Any time you blow in her face she thinks you are being hilarious, which makes this not a great disruptive tactic when she gets upset like it was for Ellie.

We also took pictures of the girls for a Mother's Day gift for Kerry when I headed to Spokane with the girls while Steve was in Texas.  I will share just these pictures because they are PRICELESS in showing how Ellie fell apart during pictures and then was her goofy self later on a second photo shoot attempt.  Later we found out our girl was quite sick (feel like a jerk much mom? Yeah, an ER trip after 105.9 F fever, a broken fever with popsicles and watching Iron Chef waiting for Daddy to arrive from the airport late Saturday night while a church friend watched Mckayla, and another mystery fever illness that we have no idea what happened.  FUN!)  ANYWAY...  the awesome photos I was telling you about:
First Take
 Second Take - I know, she's a gem.

 The other big news of April was that by the end of the month Mckayla was an accomplished sitter and could already reach forward, grab things, and sit back upright.  At the time I thought she was growing so fast, but now looking at this picture I can't believe how much bigger she's gotten since!  Miss Mckayla also cut her first bottom tooth around April 27th, followed by the second about a week or two later - technically in May.

And hopefully that takes care of most of April without forgetting anything too important...  Oh, except one fun story... Steve was reading Ellie one of her wombat books one night and the line in the book was "I sometimes come first, but I sometimes come last."  Steve changed it to "I sometimes come first, but I sometimes come Oakland Raiders."  Such additions and changes in books are not unusual for him...  Anyway, Ellie without missing a beat pipes up "Oakland Raiders come last!  Yeah!"  Yup.  Daddy was proud.  You may call it brainwashing, but in this household we call it vital character formation to look down on the Raiders.

Random Interjection

Since I forgot to put it in earlier...  Did you know that Steve and I had one big Christmas/Birthday present this last year?  And it was a concert?  To see George Strait?!  This was supposed to be his final tour and the closest he was coming to us was Boise.  So of course, we asked Aunt Julie to babysit , grabbed a hotel, made a VERY quick turn-around trip, and got the freak to Boise!

Oh, and as if it can't get better than watching George Strait sing, Martina McBride opened for him!  Like getting two concerts in one!  It was amazing.  And we loved it.

Random, but one of my favorite parts of the concert - listening to George sing "Give It Away" and forgetting the words at the chorus at one point.  I can't explain it, but somehow I liked him even better for it.  Oh, and he signed autographs only for two little kids up front who he was very sweet to.  Just good people that George Strait.

Us on our Christmas/Birthday/Birthday date.  It was a fun one!  Even if it included late night chicken nuggets at Jack in the Box while we waited to be able to leave the stadium and a LOT of driving with not much rest.  Thanks for a great memory babe!

Spring Break Part 3: OMSI and Waterfalls

I know, I know...  But working 40 hours a week and then trying to spend the rest of the time as family time leaves little free time for blogging...  But, I am going to try and catch up a little more tonight.

Here is (sadly very late) the conclusion of our amazing spring break trip.  Friday the 5th of April (I know!  Give it up ok!)  we packed up, cleaned up the rental house a little bit, and headed north up the coast.  Our first stop was OMSI - the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland.

This is how Ellie chose to ride to Portland... Hat and scarf are always appropriate and fashionable when you're two and a half.

Ok, so if you're like me you hear Museum of Science and Industry and think BORING.  But, Steve first convinced me to give it a try when we'd been married for only about a year, and even then we looked forward to someday bringing our kids there.  OMSI is awesome!  We only had  a few hours to spend there before we needed to keep travelling home, but we had a lot of fun in those hours.  I will first say that Grandpa isn't in any of these pictures because he got to tour the submarine they have there (awesome I know!) which Steve and I really enjoyed on our first trip years ago.

While he did that, Ellie, Grandma, (and eventually Steve and Mckayla) and I looked around at some of the fun contraptions and play spaces they have.  Here Daddy and Ellie were using robots to play connect 4.

Ellie also really liked the ball room where they had different vents set up to shoot air and balls all over.

However, if there is one thing we have learned about Ellie, it's that she enjoys playing in the water.  We spent A LOT of time at these boat tables as a result.  You were supposed to create sail and paddle boats in them, but Ellie just enjoyed playing in the water with the boat parts and pretending they were actual boats.  Who needs to build something when you have an imagination?  This first photo is my favorite.  The wind to push the boats catching Ellie's hair and it being obvious how into the pretending she was.
 Yeah, she had fun.

 Next we stopped at an area with cranes and cars that were definitely a little too advanced for Ellie although she loved being around the other kids which usually meant she was in someone's way.  And then we stopped at the table with different nano technologies.  You could use magnets to collect and pull apart the particles in the viles and it looked pretty darn cool.
We spent some decent time here because Mckayla was seriously captivated.  I wish I had a picture that truly showed how intensely focused on it all she was.

 Then we headed to play with gears.  Ellie is smiling and Grandma Bennett here who was her main playmate throughout the day and yet I didn't get any good pictures of where I was focused on trying to get Ellie's face all the time.
 Steve and Ellie enjoyed watching people crank this Vandergraff generator and make people's hair stand up and lose little pie tins they were holding.  Ellie liked trying to crank it enough to get a spark to jump between the two metal balls.

 Next we had to grab some pictures in front of the famous Mythbusters shark.  They had another exhibit from Mythbusters too, but Ellie was excited about the shark (sometimes called "teeth" for obvious reasons) as she really likes sea life right now and has been on a marine kick for a while now.

 I almost wish we hadn't enjoyed so much of the rest of the museum because frankly a lot of it was too old for Ellie but she found things to like anyway.  The reason I say that is because with only an hour or so left to play, we learned they had added a toddler area to the museum since our last visit almost 5 years ago.  It was awesome.  Ellie played a few musical instruments before heading to check out the bugs and magnifying glass.  This girl is into bugs and spiders (except for the rare occasion where she's afraid of them) and she certainly gets that from Daddy, not Mommy.
 They had an awesome water play area with magnetic walls to create water paths, little fountains to splash in, and this water cyclone that took down and then spat out plastic play balls was a HUGE hit with all the kids.
 Well, Ellie enjoyed the toddler area, even if Mckayla gave up after obviously spitting up (reflux baby!) and zonking out.
 One of Ellie's favorite things in this part of the museum was a giant sand box for the kids to dig, bury, and just have fun in.
 She also loved the market place and kitchen they had set up.  She made all sorts of food for Grandma.
 After a rushed tour of the tots area, it was time for us to hit the road again.  We decided on the way home to take the scenic highway around Multinomah Falls and boy do I recommend taking this route!  We saw SO MANY waterfalls and each was beautiful!  I wish now Steve and I had known about this area before we had kids because I would love to have hiked every one of them.  Instead, we had rainy weather and two passed out girls in the car, so all we dared do was stop the car quick for a few photos if there was a good place to pull over.  One of my favorite memories of this trip is actually taking photos of these waterfalls.  I didn't have shoes easily available and didn't know that there would be so many to get out and look at, so at the first gorgeous waterfall I charged out in the rain in my socks to grab some photos.  By the end of this short route my socks were destroyed and I was hopping around barefoot to grab quick pictures instead.  But, it was fun, and we got some pictures out of the deal....  Here are just a few of my favorites of just a few of the waterfalls.

Like I said - big fat recommendation if you're driving that way.  It was seriously gorgeous.  On a totally different note, that wrapped up our fun and adventures over spring break.  We drove the rest of the way home and soon after Grandma and Grandpa headed back home as well.  I have to say though, probably one of my favorite trips and spring breaks EVER.  Thanks so much for hanging with us Lori, Curtis, Bridget, Grandma, and Grandpa.  WE LOVED IT!