Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter 2008

Here's our cute girls in their Easter outfits. We had a lovely Easter morning. The Easter Bunny brought Anna a doll stroller, a couple of puzzles, and a new train for her train set. Yes, Bun was very generous this year. Mariah donated her gifts to children elsewhere in the world, seeing as she isn't old enough to appreciate or understand yet. But don't worry--next year, Bun will find her way to Mariah's basket, too. We had Uncle Jakob, Josh, Melissa, and Kayleigh over for dinner tonight, and it was nice to spend the holiday with both friends and family, since that happens for us rather infrequently. We even played an Easter-related game: Killer Bunnies.


This Week's Top Story: Who's Who?

We have a picture of Mariah from this week, and a picture of Anna at this age. Take a guess! The winner of this week's quiz will receive a personal email containing the text, "Props to You!"

We've had lots of fun this weekend. Yesterday we spent the morning at the Seattle Aquarium. Anna was a little leary of the tide pool hands-on exhibit, but she loved the under-tank rooms where the fish were swimming all around. She liked the sea otters, who were playing and rolling around like crazy. She also loved a couple of crazy puffins who were swimming and paddling around like they were putting a show on just for her. They even kept coming up to the window then swimming back, as if they were greeting us.

We had some time before our parking meter ran out (yippee for parking downtown!), so we went to the game center on the pier and Anna had her first carousel ride. She was a little uncertain during the ride, but afterward she decided she'd had a pretty good time. They even named some of the horses around them.

It was a pretty fun day, even though we came home exhausted (thanks to a realtor who kept us away from our house for many hours AFTER the fun was over). We love going down to the wharf, and we only make it there once or twice a year. Maybe next time we'll take a fancy cruise or something. Or not. :)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

More Fun with Balloons

Another short video of Anna and Mariah:

Fun With Balloons

What better way is there to spend a Sunday evening than playing with balloons?  Anna and Mariah both got shinny, star shaped,  Mylar balloons from their friend's, Kayliegh's, birthday party on Friday evening.  Anna has had a great time playing with them, she always does, but it looks like Mariah is starting to get the hang of playing with balloons too.

IMG_2473  IMG_2471 IMG_2474

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bike Season Begins

Today I completed my first to and from work bike ride, so bike the biking season has officially begun, at least for me.  Before Sarah and I even moved to Washington I thought it would be really nice if I could bike to work.  I'm not a gym membership kind of guy so I needed to do something that would help me to keep up my fine figure.  Since I was about 12 I have really enjoyed biking and rollerblading.  Rollerblading isn't the most practical means of transportation, so I bike.  Shortly after we moved up here I bought a nice mountain bike.  I figured that I should get a mountain bike since I might take it off road someday.  At first biking was pretty easy.  We lived 3 miles from work, 2 of which were up one of the steep hills in Redmond.  It would take me anywhere from 18 - 30 minutes to get to work and 12 to get home.  Going home it was all down hill.  Then we decided that we needed to move into our very own condo, yes the same condo that we are now trying to sell.  Well, that added about 12 1/2 miles each way to my commute.  Going from 3 miles each way to 15 1/2 miles each way takes a bit of getting used to.  It took me the rest of 2006, and then all of the season in 2007 to get used to that distance.  But, now, it is March 6th and I have already biked home several times and today I biked both ways.  (I ride in a vanpool to work.  The van has a bike rack, so I can bring my bike in the morning and ride home at night.)

I pretty excited about biking this year.  I guess that's really no different from any other year, but this year I think I am going to start really training to be good at biking.  For the most part biking is just a hobby.  I bike to work.  I bike home, but that's about it.  This year though i would like to to the STP (Seattle-to-Portland).  I'm not sure if I will be able to do it this year, I but I am going to try to work up to and hopefully I will feel confident enough, as well as be in shape enough to ride 200 miles in one day.  It takes place on a Saturday and Sunday, but I don't want to ride on Sunday, so I'm going to try to do it all in one day.

The STP will certainly be the hardest bike ride I've ever done.  When I was 15 I went with the 2 other members of scout group on a 50 mile bike ride.  Our leader drove a support van which was nice because then we didn't have to carry supplies.  That was a long ride.  4 hours.  That's 12 1/2 mph.  It would take a long time to get to Portland at that rate.  I think I can go a bit faster now, but I not for that many miles. 

So, today I rode 36 miles.  It took me just over 2 hours, but I had 8 hours in between 16 mile rides.  I'm going to try a 25 miler on Saturday to see how that goes, and then hopefully every Saturday after that I can increase the distance a bit.  The problem in all this comes from time constraints.  I think I will have to start getting up pretty early in the morning so that I don't blow my whole Saturday on a bike ride.

But that's my biking in a nutshell.  I bike from and sometimes to work.  It's a 16 mile ride with a huge uphill at the end of going to work and a huge downhill at the beginning of going home.  I ride a mountain bike, so I can only average about 16 mph right now.  Through the summer that should go up.  Since I bought my bike in 2005 I've ridden about 3000 miles.  Not much for diehard bike commuters, but not too bad.  And I really enjoy biking.

I'll probably take some pictures of my bike at another time so you can all see what I ride, and maybe where I ride.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Cute Stories from the Week:

Last Friday, the girls and I were playing in Anna's room. I was playing Peekaboo with Mariah, and I'd gotten her giggling really well. Anna thought that looked interesting, so she raised Lovey (her blanket) in front of her face and said, "Peekaboo, Mommy!" and giggled like a maniac. That got old quickly, so she turned to Mariah and said, "Peekaboo, Riah!" I've never seen Mariah with such a big grin. Anna did it a few more times, and on the last one, she gave a giggle that was practically a belly laugh. It was so fun to see them playing together for really the first time, and it was adorable to watch Anna realize that she had the power to make Mariah happy. Hopefully she'll use that power regularly.

Yesterday, I pulled out Anna's old activity saucer for Mariah to play in. She's getting so strong that I just couldn't keep the gigantic thing in storage for much longer without feeling guilty. Well, Mariah liked it okay (sometimes 20 minutes in it at a time--that's big), but as you can see from the picture, the bigger surprise was how much Anna liked it. She spent a nearly 4 hours in it yesterday. That makes me sound like a bad parent, but really, she was so happy in it that she didn't even want to get out and eat dinner. She was engaged and interested, and I got to finish my book during Mariah's nap, so I'd say this toy is welcome in my house forever. If only it would STAY that interesting forever. *sigh*

On Saturday we went down to visit our friends, the Olsons, in Sammamish. They have two darling boys who are about a year on either side of Anna, and it's the first time I've seen Anna really play with another kid. She and Dallin were racing across the room and back, and even though she didn't really understand what they were doing, she was a part of what was happening. She was giggling and laughing with him, and she wanted to keep playing. I am hoping that willingness to play continues now that she's getting older.

One more note from the week--we worked our tails off all week trying to get our house ready to list, and now that it's finally listed, I wanted you all to see that for once in my life, I actually have a clean kitchen. Be proud.