Monday, September 15, 2014

Here's a look into our magical vacation! 

It was fun, exciting, tiring, a lot of work (with two little ones, traveling to four different places) and of course, once we got on the boat, it was absolutely magical! Here's a run down of our itinerary. 

Day 1-4
Lake Stevens with Uncle Glenn
He lives approximately 45 minutes north of Seattle, depending on traffic. 

Day 5 
Hop on a train to Vancouver 
(the night before stayed in a hotel close to the airport so we could return our car at 6am!!) 

Day 6
Leave Vancouver and get on "Mickey's Boat"!

Day 6-10
One plane, one car, one train, one home, two hotels, and finally we made it to 

So, as you can tell we were all over. It was quite the headache to figure out the cheapest/easiest way to get to our destinations. The car rental was the biggest pain. It was literally double the price to return the car in Vancouver because you'd have to drive it over the border. So, it was cheaper to stay in a hotel, close to the car rental location, take it back super early in the morning, and then take a taxi to a train station in the city. It was kind of hectic, and very tiring with all of our luggage, a car seat, and two little boys, but we managed and were even more grateful to just get on the boat and relax! ha! 

Now for the fun stuff...ENJOY the pictures! 

On the plane! Here we go! I was worried Hunter would be scared, but he did awesome! Him and Daddy acted like they were trying to fly the plane, and that eased him into the ride. 

Seattle Aquarium
We had to go here first because this was the place that Hunter was most excited for. Of course, it was fun. We got through it pretty quick. Being that it was our first day of vacation, we were all pretty excited to be somewhere new and wanted to go exploring. 

One place that Hunter was looking forward to was the aquarium.
He has an obsession with Ocean animals. He had a blast! 

The aquarium was kind of small, but Hunter didn't care. He ran and walked around like he owned the place. He gets SO excited at places like this! 

Running around by Pike's Place Market. Not going to lie, there was a lot of homeless people out because of how nice the weather was haha 

I've always loved cities that are right on the water!
And look at that huge gondola/ferris wheel! Let's just say it wasn't worth the $40 to ride, and I'm glad Hunter wanted to ride the $2 carousel instead! 

I purchased all of us a city pass before we left. This is what it entailed. 

About a month before our trip I started hanging up pictures of places we were going to go. When I put up the space needle, Hunter wanted NOTHING to do with it. Every time I told him that we were going to go the top, he said he was too scared! I was worried about how he was going to react once we got there. He is definitely my strong willed child, and once he makes up his mind about something, he stays pretty solid. So, once we got there and we were driving to the city from the airport, and the skyline of all the skyscrapers, stadiums, and space needle unfolded, he got SO excited to go see the space needle! Now, he won't stop talking about it!! haha In the picture below, he's "acting" like the space needle.

On top of the needle, they had this app that you could use where you hold your camera over a certain spot, and a picture pops up. We had a lot of fun with that. 

Hunter, acting like a space needle, can you tell? 

These spiders were the HIT of the trip! Hunter had to point them out to EVERYONE standing on the observation deck. It was funny, but a little embarrassing, because he was a little intense about it. haha They were really neat to see. The look 3D. Even after we got to the bottom, he wanted to look at the pictures on my phone to show everyone! 

On to the EMP (Experience Music Project) museum. 
This was a lot of fun! Of course I loved it! A lot of interesting exhibits and fun hands on activities.  

 The famous gum wall at Pike Place! 

We all put on our own piece. And in case you were wondering where Cade has been, he's been hanging out! I carried him like this, almost the whole time. It was easier than having a stroller, but after hours, 
my back was a little sore. 

This was a GREAT museum for kids! There was so much for Hunter to do! There was even a section for Cade's age. 
We loved it! 

LOVING this little crabs! 

We were taking so many pictures, Cade caught on to saying "Cheeeeese". This is his "cheese" face. haha 

The butterfly room

Inside of a giant guitar

Hunter got a kick out of the giant bug section. 

Hey, there's Cade! 

Almost everywhere I travel, I take a picture like this. It was fun to see my little guys feet in the picture. He's at such a fun age right now. He made the trip 100 times more exciting! 

View from the Space Needle
Seattle is the land of airplanes (Boeing, to be specific) there were flight museums everywhere, and then of course the HUGE Boeing factory. 

We ended up going out to one of the museums near my Uncle's home and on the way we passed a sign that said "Lighthouse Festival". Whenever I travel, I try to do something that the locals would do, and what better than a local city event. As you can see, it is absolutely beautiful there! 

At one of the many flight museums. They had a lot of WWII planes.

One of our few family pictures from the trip. As you can tell, I'm usually the one holding the camera haha 
Before we left Seattle, we had to do a few things. Take pictures with family, and throw away some items that were weighing down our luggage (and in a sense, our lives! haha) 

My Oma was staying with my Uncle at the time, so it was great to see her! She loved seeing the boys. Hunter enjoyed playing with Glenn's son Coby, and it was the perfect place to stay before we headed up to Vancouver. It was a gorgeous town, close to everything, and it made me want to move there! My Uncle works for Boeing, so it was interesting to hear about the ins and outs of the factory. Also, while we were there, my Oma took such good care of us! Did our laundry, cleaned up for us, and the best part, fed us. Her food reminds me of my childhood. It was so great to be there. 

Lastly, Michael was in the midst of his three final classes to finish his degree in Criminal Justice. Holy wasn't fun to try and keep the boys busy all by myself, while he worked on homework, but what a relief it was, when he was finally DONE! When he told me that we could throw away his books  before we left, I was overjoyed! I can't believe he's done! I'm so incredibly proud of him! 

Goodbye Seattle, hello Vancouver! 

It was SO tiring to get to Vancouver, packing up, staying in a hotel, taking our rental car back at 6am, taking a taxi and then catching a train at 7:20am. And then, we got to Vancouver, we had to go through customs, and it took FOREVER! The line was long, we were hauling our luggage, and the boys were restless. We were pretty happy once it was over! 

The train ride was pretty nice. It was a great view, and at least we didn't have to drive! 

The view from our window on the train

Hunter RARELY takes naps (maybe once every 6 months, and that's because we are driving), but being that we had already done a few days of traveling, and had an extra early morning, when we got to Vancouver and had lunch, he literally laid down on his Daddy's lap and fell asleep! 

Of course, being that we were in another city right on the water, what better than sushi! 

Vancouver was pretty. We walked around the city a little bit, but we wanted to get some rest so were ready for Mickey's Boat! (which is what Hunter called it) We relaxed in the hotel most of the time, and we were barely there for 24 hours. It would be fun to go back and explore a little more, but that will have to wait until another trip. A lot of the Disney cruises disembark from Vancouver, so I'm sure we will be back. 

Hopping from place to place, and exploring is a lot of fun! We were happy to visit with family, and also tour around. It was the best of both worlds. I also enjoyed visiting the suburbs. I LOVE cities, but there's something about smaller towns that are exciting. The people there were all so nice, it everything was so clean and green! Like I said before, Hunter made everything so exciting. Watching a child go on an adventure is one of the best things in life! We had a great start to our trip, and we were even more excited for the second half! 

I have TONS of pictures from the boat, and I have SO much to say about it, so it's going to have to wait until another day! be continued!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Hunter's First Year of Preschool

What a difference a school year makes!

This little guy has grown by leaps and bounds! Before he started school, I struggled to make a list of approximately 50 words (if that) that he would say on his own without being prompted to repeat. He could barely put two words together, didn't verbalize anything, (he sang a lot), wouldn't answer your questions, wouldn't tell you if he liked or wanted something, and worst of all, you couldn't really carry on any type of conversation. It was tough...I wondered why he wouldn't talk, and there's not really an answer, except that he wanted to do it on his own time. It's not that he's not intellectual, or slow, he just didn't feel like doing it, and how do you force a kid to talk? It's like leading a horse to water, but you can't force him to drink.

He's had about 7 months of speech therapy, 
and it has helped him SO much! 

They started out with him just making the right sounds, "S" "F" etc. and then made words from their and he just took off. At first it was hard to see the progress, and sometimes we were discouraged when we couldn't understand him, but looking back, we just had to be patient.

I hoped that the peer interaction, great teachers, plus two sessions of speech therapy a week would help, and it has! Not only has it helped, but he LOVED going to school, and by the end of the school year, he was asking for Mrs. Julie (his speech therapist) and every time he passed by a school he asked if she was there.

He's pretty much the exact opposite of how he was when he first started. He is still sometimes difficult to understand, and he doesn't speak very clear, BUT, HE'S TALKING! I love that he can talk with someone on the phone now, or when he's with family, he'll be a little chatterbox and tell them about all kinds of stuff. It's not in perfect sentences, and he mainly uses words that he knows, but it is night and day. I love that I can now talk to my little boy, that he asks me questions like, "What's that?" "What are you doing?" "What happened" "Are you all right" etc. and that he'll tell me what he likes and wants. I'm SO grateful for this school year!

Check out the little questionnaire activity they did for the end of the year...I'm not sure where he got eating chicken, because he doesn't ever eat it (I would say hamburgers, pizza, sushi and salad are his favorites) but I just loved that he answered the questions! Do you see that his favorite subject is being with his teacher? haha He's so sweet.

He cried for all of the other songs, but he LOVED the Speckled Frog Song so he got up and joined the class.

His little pal Chloe! Mrs. Caroline's daughter

It's now time for Summer! 

We don't have too much planned, because we've got Cade's (and Hunter's) first birthday party, Janelle's wedding, and then our big vacation at the beginning of September, but I plan on taking weekly trips to the library, going to the park, spending time with family, just having fun and enjoying our schedule! (I'm looking forward to not having to run him around everywhere!) Here's to a fun Summer!