Sunday, August 30, 2009

Maratime Fest

Every year we head down to enjoy our local Maratime Fest event and it is always a lot of fun, this year was no exception! I enjoy how each year the organizers do things just a bit different so it doesn't feel like a complete repeat of last years festivities.

The weather started our gray and drizzly, which kept us debating if we should even head out or not. Finally, I said... what better weather to enjoy a 'Maratime' activity then in a heavy drizzly gray morning. I think the weather added to the event and the captured moments of pirates crossing our path. It kept the morning particularly interesting and dreary - a great northwest morning!

We enjoyed the docks and boat tours, watching and cheering on the Dragon Boat races, building in the sand next to a real sand sculpture artist and many other sites and sounds. Afterwards we headed over to Freighthouse Square for a nice family lunch together - a fun place because we all tend to choose a variety of foods and share... a nice way to dine!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lego Fun

Holly received Lego's on her birthday, 'big kid' Lego's she calls them. Whenever she can get a chance to involve Daddy or Mommy in Lego building she will! She has become quiet skilled already for the small time frame she has been using Lego's. They are such fun toys that offer so much imaginative play and creative process.... a favorite in our house for sure! I see more Lego's in our future!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Staircase Camping... Annual camping trip

Each summer for the past several summers we have headed out on a five day camping trip with friends and family! The group sometimes changes but the fun stays the same. This year we headed up to a family favorite, Staircase in the Olympic National Park. I grew up camping here and have several fond memories from this park. It rarely changes... however this past winter Staircase took a pretty big blow from storm damage and there are definitely changes. The river campsites are gone, washed away. The few swim holes throughout the park are gone, either filled with sediment and debris or to changed due to massive boulders and trees being shifted. Pretty major changes... but that being said, this is still a beautiful area and it really offers a great camping time!

This year we had several kiddos with us, five kiddos between the ages of three and six. They had the most amazing time together -- playing from morning till the week hours of darkness. For the most part they were covered in dirt from head to toe the entire time but full of smiles, grand ideas and more nature time than most kids get in an entire year.
The week was also filled with great cooking. I remember a day when our camping weekends were filled with deli sandwiches and hot dogs. However, now that the men have discovered the joys of dutch oven cooking - we are pretty gourmet for the most part. We all seemed to share in the meals as you just had to try out what the others were having. My favorite by far was the chicken and cream cheese rolls created by our friends... we will be having those for dinner again one night this week!
There were some basic hikes taken, massive hard hike taken by the guys, water play galore and games to be enjoyed - we have all mastered the old time game of Canasta. Overall it was a wonderful weekend and I am really looking forward to next years adventure!
Thanks for the memories everyone....

Maratime Museum

We met some friends over at the local Maritime Museum call Discovery Wharf. The kids all had such a great time. They were outfitted in life vests and we hit the docks to see the tall ships that had just pulled into port the evening before - great luck! They ships were beautiful and quiet a sight to see. Our guides helped the kids (and moms) learn the terminology of boats and their workings. And soon we headed indoors for some more maritime fun.

The kids learned about sinking and floating with a great hands on experiment and they guide related it to how boats are designed to float. The practiced more terminology of a boat and then played on a gill netter boat inside. The kids also learned about a port system and played a long time with wooden boats, rail cars, containers and more... a fun time. After some more indoor fun they finished the tour off with creating their own wooden boat to bring home and then we all headed out to climb on board the tall ships and see them from the inside - a great ending to a great outing!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ballet Fun

This week Holly wrapped up her current Ballet/Creative Dance class - and she had a great time! This teacher was wonderful with the kids, she kept is fun and age appropriate yet had expectations on behaviour and managed it well. I was impressed! Holly is excited to get signed up again soon -now we are just waiting on the class registration time frame and we'll do round two.
In the meantime here a couple photos - most turned out blurry from her constant movement, oh well. I actually video taped the whole thing, that was my main plan - the camera was a last minute grab. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Little Explorers Day Camp

Holly enjoyed her second day camp this summer, the Little Explorers Day Camp. This camp was very nature based and outdoorsy - which if you know Holly at all... is right up her alley!

They spent time on nature walks, scouting little animals, finding frogs, catching pond critters, feeding the birds and learning about their habitat and enjoying an animal visitor each day. The kids also enjoyed art activities each day centered on animals found around water, heard stories, songs and games! She had a great time and can't wait to possibly attend next summer as well!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Children's Museum & Market

Friday we met up with some friends in Olympia to visit their children's museum and the wonderful farmers market. Olympia is a nice town. I have really become more and more fond of Olympia through the years, they just seem to do everything well. This children's museum is packed full of great hands on activities for kids to enjoy. You could spend the entire day there and have a good time! And, their farmer's market... is the awesome!

We met up at the farmers market and took the kids on a bus ride down to the museum. They enjoyed that. Holly had not been on a traditional public bus before, so she thought that was pretty cool. After spending time at the children's museum we headed back down to the market for lunch. So many nice choices, a covered area to eat and entertainment that was child friendly! We picked up some produce after lunch and headed home. It was a good day.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Level Two

Holly finished up her second round of swim lessons this evening and was advanced to level two! She is so excited and proud of herself, as are we.

Holly has really enjoyed her lessons so far and has come a long way in her water confidence and abilities. She will now submerge in the water fully, open her eyes, learned some safety skills, knows how to blow the bubbles, deals with water in her eyes better, is getting good and practicing her front and back strokes with straighter arms and is super close to doing a back float alone. That is a lot to learn and become comfortable with in a couple months.

Lessons are over till November now if we stay with this program. I think in the mean time we will be doing a family swim night once a week to practice these skills with her some more and hopefully make a full breakthrough of 'letting go' for some of it... such as the back float (I know she could do it, she just needs to figure that out). The family swim nights have always been fun and we are looking forward to doing them weekly!

In the mean time, CONGRATS to Holly for moving up! :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Silhouette Tradition

Today Holly had a silhouette done of her. For me, this was special because I have a silhouette of me done at that same age and one of my mother as well. I have loved owning these and now am looking forward to putting them all out together.
This is a photo of all three of us: my mom is the bottom one, I am the far left one and Holly is the unframed one. Aren't they sweet!
These are cut by hand, not traced and then cut - simply an art!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mount St. Helens

Friday we spent the whole day exploring the Mount St. Helen's area and had a blast! We headed up with Bryan's Dad, Mom and Uncle Lee who was in town visiting. The weather couldn't have been more perfect or clear for a amazing views of the volcano.

Mount St. Helen's is simply breath taking. You can't really put into words the destruction that happened... and it is nearly 30 years later, so a lot of time for recovery to have happened. However, to see the hill sides just scattered with massive trees in all directions like small tooth picks ~ is something you can't really describe, you just have to see it.
This year we went up the more popular side to Johnston Ridge Observatory, the various viewpoints are wonderful. They have really done a beautiful job with the whole presentation and preservation of the mountain. The whole trip was very child friendly and honestly Holly could not have had a better time. She really learned a lot!
A couple years ago we checked out Windy Ridge outlook, which is a completely different experience. When we headed up I clearly remember taking the wonderful treed roads up and as you turned the corner on bend it was as if you entered a different world. The trees were demolished, scattered all about, very little in terms of growth was over a couple feet tall. And, it just went on and on like that. The views of Spirit Lake were amazing, filled with log debris that covered the surface in mass. Just mind blowing.

The day was capped with a great experience for Bryan and Hawk. They both enjoyed a helicopter tour to the mountain. The tour followed the valley up to the mountain and then followed the blown out portion of the rim where they could see everything like the new lava dome that is forming and a huge glacier inside. Bryan said it was one of the best experiences he has enjoyed!

If you have yet to visit Mount St. Helen's... plan to soon. It is amazing! And, right in your own backyard!