Thursday, July 26, 2012

Family Day at the Zoo

Wednesday Ray took a vacation day so that we could spend the day as a family. The few days we get to spend together we try to make the best of! It turned out to be a beautiful day so we truly lucked out! We started at the penguins and Elli loved them and the tiny fountain next to them. Then we let Elli lead the way! We didn't see a ton of animals out since it was so warm but we did see quite a few! It was super busy with a lot of campers and families - going in the summer is crazy! 

We got a great look at the bears since they were doing lots of swimming but they were a very popular stop! Most of the animals outside like the moose, mountain goats and tigers were hiding in the shade somewhere. We saw a glimpse of the tiger and the sloth bear. The gorillas were enjoying nap time when we came by and one of them was sleeping with their mouth open and tongue hanging out - pretty funny! Last time we went to the zoo Elli was scared of all the statues so it was fun to get cute photos of her this time around! She was being a goof with the gorillas and giving me funny poses! 

 Trying to reach the penguins
 Silly pose!

We packed a lunch and sat out in the field with tons of other families. So much better and cheaper than eating there! I tried to snap a few photos (I couldn't fit Madi in) of our little family on our blanket enjoying our lunch together in the sun! It was so precious, Elli even grabbed my hand at one point just to hold it - that's when I felt the need to get a photo! 

This photo was taken right before Elli fell and hit her side on the metal of the stroller and already has a huge bruise on her side!

Elli jumped when the hippo talked - it was so loud!

Woodland Park Zoo now lets visitors feed the elephants and giraffes. We talked about feeding the giraffes last time we were there but figured Elli was too little to really appreciate it. This time we chose to do it. We made sure we got in line at 2pm (feeding started at 2:30pm) to be sure we got in. We were probably the 4th group in line too! Elli did a great job waiting! About a group of 10 people go up at a time and are handed leaves to hold out for the giraffe to grab with their tongues. Feeding them was amazing! The Zookeeper stood there and talked to us all about them - I learned that giraffes are like cows and have 4 stomachs and they eat 12-15 hours a day!! They have dark colored tongues to keep from getting sunburned since they eat so much, their tongues are always out of their mouths! The smaller giraffe is Olivia and she was really shy but finally came over to our group. Apparently only about 1 in 300 people actually get to feed her because she is so shy! Such an amazing experience! If you live in the Seattle area I highly recommend paying to participate in this - it was truly unbelievable!

Isn't she just beautiful??

Using her foot to help hold her bottle.
Do these stripes make my butt look big?
Madi started getting hungry after the giraffes so we stopped in the little African village so I could sit and feed her and Elli checked out the village. She really loved playing the drum!

It was such a wonderful day as a family and so very much needed! We are already looking forward to our next zoo trip together! We even ended the day with some delish BurgerMaster on the way home! :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


What do you see when you look at this photo? I see hope that our community will grow, I see an idea finally being put into reality! I see value and community. I see myself taking my girl to a new movie every week. (This will be a theater.)

When we bought this little condo 4 years ago we were told of all the building plans and growth of this area. Then the economy crashed....we have been waiting and waiting for new stores. We have been told of 4 different grocery stores that were supposed to be up here yet never got the financing to start. It has been so frustrating to see all the empty land surrounding us, as it hasn't been pretty to look at, simply looks like land waiting to be developed! The movie theater, hotel and grocery store/gas station have now all been approved to start building from the city of Issaquah! I will enjoy watching this land become buildings and I will enjoy watching Elli get excited to watch the 'big truck' move around. 

I am excited to be able to walk to a store to get that last minute item we forgot earlier, to go across the street to watch a movie with my girl. To go get gas without having to go on a special trip to do so since there isn't one on our way home. But mostly I am excited for how this development will make my home value increase!

We are in the same predicament most newer home owners are....we owe way more on our home than it is currently worth. We have already seen a small increase in the value since the hospital opened, I'm anxious to see what everything else will bring. Having the convenience of everything right here will give us such a great increase in the value - something that we planned on when buying this place and has been delayed 4 years! I look forward to updating some items in this home, selling it to get a profit (that may be wishing still) and buying a home that will fit the four of us and everything that goes with the girls!

So although the people on the other side of the building probably hate hearing this noise all day and while some people are frustrated with any driving delays, I am not. Every time I drive by this lot I smile and know that the future looks bright!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

No More Baby!

Our little girl is no longer a baby! She turned 3 on the 15th! I had been planning her party for weeks and getting so many fun princess ideas from Pinterest. I had the great plan to make these sandwiches. I realized a few days before the party, after buying the bread, that this was a little too much than I could handle for this party and for the amount of people that were planning to be there. I also practiced making a cake with fondant to see how hard it was. This is my practice cake with me playing with the frosting tips. 
 I was hoping I could make a cake like this, but realized that too was me dreaming. I then saw this cake pan and thought it would be much easier...I was wrong!

I of course planned her party at a park because what are the odds that it rain 2 years in a row in the middle of July? Apparently....100%. It had been so nice the last few weeks and then we wake up Sunday to a chance of storms! I'm glad I had a back-up plan of going to my work and using the cabana, it ended up being perfect there! 

I told Ray I wanted to start a tradition and go to breakfast at the 12th Ave Cafe every year for her birthday. That was what we ate in the early morning the day Elli was born so I think it is only fitting to make it her special place every year. We got up and made it to breakfast around 8:15. I had the western omelet with avocado instead of green peppers and pancakes....yummmmm. Ray got the Montana - their house potatoes with all sorts of yummy add ins like ham, onion, peppers, cheese, tomatoes and topped with sour cream and green onion. Elli had an egg and a pancake. She was so polite and well behaved (maybe because we let her play the iPad while waiting). Madi was happy to be in her seat and stare at the fan. 

We had a few things to get at Costco so we drove over there after breakfast but saw they didn't open until 10. We decided to drive around a bit before coming back. Well apparently everyone else waits in the parking lot for it to open as when we came back a few minutes after 10 it was already packed! We told Elli the 4 things we needed in the car and told her she needed to remember. I was very impressed with her while going through Costco that she rembered everything. When we got to the sandwiches she even picked the ones she wanted to get, and we didn't complain. :) 

Our plan was to go home and let her open her little gifts from us but time ran away from me! The cake took way longer to decorate than I thought and I still had to make the cabbage salad! I was then not leaving the house until 1:15 and the party started at 2 and I still had balloons to pick up. I was running! Thank goodness Ray was keeping the girls and driving the separately. 

When I got to the complex I unloaded the car and started doing everything I could as fas as I could....except people started showing up. The two mishaps were that the glass bowl I had started the cabbage salad in shattered when I was holding was the weirdest thing ever! Then the nice glass drink dispenser ($14 from Ross so how nice really?) had a huge crack in it that I hadn't seen so juice started leaking everywhere. I'm so glad Rhonda and Shawna found a solution and didn't tell me until after so I didn't have to think. My family that was there early on time we're a huge help! Aunt Tammie cleaned up all the cabbage and broken glass with a broom and then vacuumed. Everyone else helped move chairs round and Karlin helped me hang the banner. I love how willing everyone was to help! I'm not sure how many people pitched in but I think I saw all of Ray's family helping put the special labels on the water bottles at one point. I ordered these from this Etsy shop and got them printed at FedEx to help make her day a little more special.

The food table looked empty without the cabbage salad but Olga stopped and got more cabbage for me but most people were done eating by then. The cake looked better than it tasted but now I know how much work those are! I will just stick to cheesecake from now on. I think everyone enjoyed everything but there were so many sandwiches left! I have been snacking on one while typing this. :) 
The cake that was more difficult than I imagined. 

Elli had been talking all week on how she was getting 5 presents for her birthday - I guarantee she had way more than 5! Our girl sure is loved! I know she is loving everything! We bought her a bike this year and so Rhonda got her a helmet and I had her open that first to see what she would say about a helmet with no bike. When Ray rolled the bike in she almost didn't see it! When she did, she was so excited! She had a huge smile and was ready to climb on and get her helmet on. She then rode it in circles around the cabana! My goal for the day was to get photos of Elli with everyone there - I didn't do that last year and have regretted it! It was so wonderful to have so many friends and family there! :) 

 Kristina is from Russia and my parents were her host family I think 4 or 5 summers ago and was here with another family this summer but is able to spend a little time with my parents. :) 

 Uncle Ryan and Uncle David
 This will be framed!

We sure love our girl!
 Rich girl!

 Grandma Rhonda (or we are trying to have her call her Maka)

 They all adore each other! I love how much love auntie and uncle have for our girls!
Joan and Grandpa 

After all the clean up and finally getting home Ray and I were exhausted - but not the birthday girl! She was still ready to open more presents! :) We had a few more little things for her and enjoyed having a little family time together. I can't believe that our baby is 3! Pretty soon we will be sending her off to Kindergarten! She is such a happy, thoughtful, intelligent, beautiful, loving girl and we are so blessed to call her ours!

Last present of the night all the way from MT and the Lebel family! Very fitting for Auntie Jess to get her hair tools!

Here is a photo of our Belle when she was a newbie!

And a video of her playing her new guitar from uncle Randy and auntie Shawna!