We're hanging out in Seattle this week while Eric attends the AAN (American Academy of Neurology) conference. We rented a great place right on Lake Union with an incredible view of the Space Needle (Unfortunately, I forgot the USB cable, so pictures will have to wait. Sorry.) Before making the drive to the beloved Emerald City, I purchased a rather large bag of Pirate's Booty--a snack item Avery has both tried, and rejected, in the past. But in my efforts to supplement her current dietary staples of ranch dressing and, well...ranch dressing, I decided to reintroduce it. As it turns out, the Pirate's Booty was quite a success. In fact, when I asked her what she wanted for breakfast the next morning (just to humor myself), she excitedly boomed, "Booty, Mama!! I want some booty!"
Ah...booty for breakfast. That's a first.
Our agenda for the week primarily consists of finding some great running spots, and touring all of the microbreweries in the area (yes, you can actually spend an entire week doing such a thing in the Pac NW). The kids and I may decide to hit the aquarium and the Space Needle; although, it's a feat I'm not quite sure I'm eager to conquer on my own. Quite honestly, I'm exhausted with just the thought of it. So, I suppose it just depends on how stir-crazy we get. Right now, Wyatt and Avery seem to be doing a fine job on the in-house entertainment front, so hopefully, that will be enough to sustain me for the few hours each day that Eric is in lecture.
Spring and tulips. The two just seem to go hand in hand. Each year, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm hosts a spring festival with the entire family in mind. With over 40-acres of tulip fields (arranged in various color patterns), the spectacular photo opportunities are endless. And the kids could seriously play for hours in the kid zone with Dad while Mom checks out the gift shop and the various tulip bundles for sale. It's a wonderful morning or afternoon activity, especially on a beautifully sunny day like yesterday.
Our first visit to the farms was in 2006 when Wyatt was only 6 months old. I just remember thinking how handsome he looked in his Easter outfit.
And now look at him!
Still handsome as ever. I just can't believe he's the same little boy! Time really does fly when you're having fun!
It was Avery's first time amidst the sea of tulips, and she had a grand time walking up and down the rows--trying to inconspicuously snag a few colorful blooms along the way.
Tugging with all of her might, "Eh, they'll never miss this one."
Let's be glad it wasn't The Venus Flytrap.
The Bungee Trampoline
In the kid zone, Wyatt had his eye on a huge bungee contraption that appeared as though it was designed more for older kids (or even adults)...not a 3-year-old! But Wyatt, in all of his fearlessness, insisted. We hesitantly forked over the five bucks thinking he'd get in the harness and immediately chicken out, thus resulting in one of the embarrassingly stellar "performances" we've grown quite accustomed to witnessing over the past few years. But he surprised Eric and I both as he ran without hesitation, hopped on the trampoline and into the harness.
CHECK THIS KID OUT! What a little nut case.
Since Wyatt seemed to do well with the bungee trampoline, we thought we'd push our luck (eh, why not?) and attempt the rock-climbing wall. He actually got the hang of it fairly quickly, which excited his rock climbing daddy, who--I'm sure--is now planning their first trip together to the local rock climbing gym! Ha!
Believe it or not, the rock-climbing did not end in--what I had anticipated to be--a violent stomp across the field. Rather, he just threw up his arms in disappointment that he failed to actually make it to the top. Insatiable, I tell you.
If you live in the area and haven't had the opportunity to go, you have until May 3rd to check it out before they close the gates for the season. You won't be disappointed. But go on a weekday. It's less crowded and half the price for admission.
Wine Selection: Black Slate Riesling Personal Rating: ****Good**** Comments: This would be perfect for sipping on a warm, summer day. It's a German, off-dry riesling, so it's not really sweet compared to other rieslings you may have tried.
Generally, Wyatt is the more photogenic of our two kids. His mood is almost always reflected on his face, making it seem rather effortless to capture raw emotion on camera. Avery, on the other hand, is much more serious and cautious. Needless to say, the camera has grown quite accustomed to snapping shots of Avery's wide-eyed, emotionless stare.
During our layover in Parkdale (Spring Blossom Excursion) over the weekend, the kids and I were waiting for Eric outside the brew pub when Avery discovered a small, secluded little spot where she could climb some steps. Over. And over. Again.
Although the building was a little bit dingy, I began to appreciate its small town rustic appearance. And then it happened. I morphed into Psycho Mom, snapping picture upon picture of her little girl playing on some dirty steps. It turned out to be a great backdrop, rendering some pretty decent pictures, despite her lack of emotion (and the giant purple paci covering nearly half of her face).
Mount Hood Railroad hosted their annual Spring Blossom event this past weekend. It was one of the few activities we have wanted to check off our list of things to do in Oregon, and the weather could not have been more perfect. We departed the train depot bound for the tiny (and I mean tiny) little town of Parkdale, taking in the amazing views of the fruit orchards and snow-capped volcanoes along the way.
We only had an hour to explore Parkdale (leaving only enough time to sample some microbrews and Oregon's finest Tillamook ice cream) before we had to board again, but it was such a quaint little town. We would have loved to spend an entire afternoon there. Wyatt and Avery enjoyed themselves (especially the ice cream), although the 90-minute train ride to and fro was a little bit exhausting for them.
Here is a little slideshow of our afternoon chugging through the Hood River Valley.
Wine Selection: Tre Nova Sangiovese Bonatello 2006 Personal Rating: ****Excellent**** Comments: This is the wine the sent Eric into a frenzy trying to learn everything about sangiovese, his new favorite wine. The Tre Nova continues to be his number one choice, and I must admit, it's a pretty darn good wine that goes perfectly with italian marinara dishes. It's also a great wine to drink by itself.
Spring is certainly in the air this weekend in Portland! To celebrate, I thought I'd post something bright and colorful. I wish I could tell you the name of this flower, but Eric just labeled it "p" in his files. So, I'm guessing that he doesn't know either. Ha! But they are stunning nonetheless.
Right now the only Edgar child interested in hitting balls off the tee, or playing catch with Daddy, is--the very unsuspecting--Avery.
Wyatt's baseball class? Oh, right. Baseball class. Hmm. Well, it appears as though he has a bit of a patience issue...and a teamwork issue. And when he doesn't perform as well as he would like, he crosses his arms, stomps away, and scowls at anyone who even thinks about making eye contact or conversation with him. Yes, our Wyatt. Hard to believe, I know. But stranger things have happened...like a two-year-old Little Miss Priss ready and willing to trade in her dress up clothes for a pair of Size 6 baseball cleats (well, as long as they have pink shoelaces).
What is it with kids and their obsession with candy? I've never seen anything quite like it. The keenness of the eye which enables them to spot a Hershey's Kiss a mile away. The ability to remove even the most stubborn of wrappers in 3-seconds flat. And the quickness in which a forbidden treat can be transmitted from hand to mouth to belly before Mommy can even spit out the words, "Do not even think about eating another piece of that candy!"
Wyatt has come to perfect the art of rapid candy consumption. Of the 15 eggs he collected in his basket Easter morning, the contents of nearly half of them were devoured before we even made it back inside the house. Moments later, once we were settled (candy out of reach), my keen sense of motherly hearing picked up on the familiar sound of foil being torn off of a mini-cadbury chocolate egg. Knowing what he was up to, I hopped to my feet and ventured into the kitchen, only to be met with the deer in headlights look, as if he had just been struck with an acute case of amnesia--no recollection whatsoever of how that yummy goodness made it into his mouth. Silly boy.
He must take after the silly Easter Bunny who, rather then loading his basket with tons of sugar this year, opted for healthier--more practical--forms of entertainment.
Hey...it was only a dollar and fit perfectly with the Spiderman motif. :-)
Fortunately, Avery's tooth isn't nearly as sweet, for a single bite is all she needs to satisfy it (a trait she obviously inherited from her daddy). In fact, the little bag of M&M's left for her by the Easter Bunny may just last through next Easter. That is, if we can keep big brother from sniffing them out.
I was so thrilled to finally have the opportunity to put together a girly easter basket this year! Avery seemed to appreciate it, but appeared much more interested in Wyatt's Spidey basket (must have been the whoopee cushion that caught her eye). Naturally.
Our backyard egg hunt was short and sweet, for we were unsurprisingly in a race against the rain. Wyatt became temporarily distracted with trying to retrieve an egg hidden just beyond his reach (that sneaky Easter Bunny), which bought Avery a little more time to find her fair share of eggs.
Eric: "Keep workin' at it buddy, you'll get it."
Me: "Hey Avery, what's this? Come look over here."
"Wyatt, are you ready to dye some Easter eggs?" (concerned) "Mommy, I don't wanna die!"
Dye, paint, and eggs. Three items I typically avoid like the plague when engaging my children in arts and craft projects. However, I do have one exception in which I'm willing to risk a few big spills, and sacrifice a few articles of clothing. EASTER!
It was Avery's first attempt at dyeing eggs, and the experience only solidified our most recent suspicion that a new personality trait has emerged within our sweet little monkey. She does it her way all the way, or no way at all.
She became quite the pro at "plopping" the eggs in the dye--amused by the colorful splash it would create. Then she would stir. And stir. And stir. Before finally insisting that she retrieve the vibrantly colored egg. By herself.
Here is the result of one such effort.
The Avery Egg...in all of its brokenness. (Hey, it adds character)
Wyatt, on the other hand, played by the rules and ended up with a final product with which he fell madly in love. Out of all of the eggs he decorated, he developed quite an intense liking for a rather boring, although perfectly in-tact, blue egg.
Eric and I were a little envious of all of the fun Wyatt and Avery were having that we later conducted our own date night "egg"stravaganza, complete with wine and thought-provoking conversation. One of the funnest dates I've ever had.
Top row: Catrina's eggs Bottom row: Eric's eggs
Wine Selection: Black Slate Pinot Noir Personal Rating: **Fair** Comments: I'm not a huge pinot fan. I've tried (and will continue to try) to appreciate Oregon's premier grape, but I just don't know if it's in the cards for me.
I never realized the extent to which the weather could impact a person's mood until I moved to Portland. Seasonal Affective Disorder runs rampant in this part of the country, and while the lack of sunshine hasn't really affected me too much psychologically, I certainly couldn't see myself living here long-term. But it's quite interesting how the overall mood of city changes when the sun comes out to play.
Earlier in the week, Mother Nature gifted us with 3 consecutive and ever-so-glorious days of sunny weather, and people ventured out in droves to bask in it. I must admit, the sounds of lawnmowers humming, neighbors chatting, kids playing, and dogs barking were music to my ears. And the trails were packed with families riding their bikes, runners sporting their shorts and tanks, unicyclists flaunting their "peace not war"paraphernalia(did I mention that Portland is great for people-watching?), and birdwatchers marveling through their binoculars at the family of ospreys playing peek-a-boo from their nest. Although the gloom and doom of winter has since returned, it was so wonderful to indulge in at least a taste of what's to come.
Wyatt and Avery were thrilled to finally play outdoors for an extended period of time. We even packed up some food and spent an evening at a nearby park. It's amazing how much faster the slides are when they're dry. Hehe!
Wine Selection: Casa de Illana tradicion 2006 Personal Rating: **Fair** Comments: This Spanish wine is soft and fruity without much tannin, but it is flavorful. It was just okay for me. Didn't leave much of an impression.
We've had a couple of packages of these bite-sized snack crackers lying around the house for quite some time, so I decided to let the kids finally finish them off. While I love this product for its low-risk choke factor, I despise it for the temptation it presents my 21-month-old to find perfect bite-sized hiding places for which to store them for future enjoyment.
Contentedly enjoying her snack (Wait....what's that in her ear?!?!?!)
While I was fortunately able to retrieve the hidden treasure without too much difficulty, I can't help but shudder at the mere thought of what other pea-sized objects or salty snacks might be taking up residence in Avery's ear canal. Ewww....
Wyatt is now at an age in which the doors to the wide world of sports have opened up for him. And to be honest, I'm thrilled. It's one of the things I've looked forward to most about being a mom. The biggest dilemma in our household the past several weeks, however, has been with which one do we start. For normal families, this is not a huge make-or-break decision. They sign their kids up for soccer because it's a great introduction to sports and it allows them to run up and down the field until they're nearly begging Mom for an afternoon nap (after all, that's what we're really paying for, right?). But as I'm sure you've already determined, we're far. from. normal.
You see, Eric possesses a certain disdain for the sport of soccer stemming from his adolescent years as an avid baseball player and fan, which he has now carried over into adult and parenthood. It doesn't make much sense to me, especially considering almost all of his closest friends played soccer growing up, but he's fairly adamant about his son never playing the sport. In fact, if you ask him specifically why he dislikes it so much, you'll most likely get a response like this:
"What kind of sport disallows the use of the opposable thumb, that which makes us human?" --one of my favorite Eric-isms
I, on the other hand, happen to like soccer. I think it's fun to watch, it's fast-paced, and it's an amazing workout. But alas, Eric could not be swayed.
Today was Wyatt's first day of baseball (if you can really call it that, at 3 years old), and there was so much edge-of-your-seat excitement crammed into that one half-hour that I can hardly contain myself long enough to write about it. Not really, but here are some of the highlights. Wyatt is the boy in the blue shirt and ball cap.
The class must have been a "big hit" because Wyatt cheerfully boasted, "I won, I won!" all the way to the car. Oh, and Avery had a blast cheering on the boys (and 1 girl) as they hit the balls and scored their home runs, and I think she was proud to be the one making up the entire cheering section (aside from that rather over-the-top preschool mom who occasionally glanced up from her magazine long enough to forcefully clap and shout, "Good arm, Oscar! Good arm!").
Wine Selection: Ramsay Merlot Personal Rating: **Fair** Comments: This is a nice merlot, but certainly not outstanding. It's pretty well-balanced and easy on the tannins, so it would be a nice sipping wine. But I'm really turned off by the black currant flavor.
Whether he's throwing out webs and swinging from the chandeliers, or fighting household crime with his sibling sidekick, Wyatt is enamoured with all things superhero.
This week, it's Batman.
The resemblance is quite uncanny, don't you think?
When he's not flying off rooftops and fighting crime, Wyatt conceals his true superhero identity by disguising himself as an unassuming 3 1/2 year old little boy with a broken arm. He's a master at trickery, this one.
Wine Selection: Annabella Cabernet Sauvignon Personal Rating: ***Good*** Comments: This is a surprisingly smooth cabernet--much less tannic than you would typically expect. While most cabernet's are drunk best with hearty meals, I actually preferred this one by itself. Very nice...and different.
My Wine Personality:
For the most part I’m a chardonnay, as I consider myself to exhibit a somewhat sunny and mellow disposition
(most of the time), but because I find a tremendous amount of joy out of showering my two kids with hugs and
kisses, I also possess the subtle sweetness often found in a riesling. But don’t be fooled. I love a great
outdoor adventure and am willing to try anything once. This occasional display of boldness is thought to match
that of a cabernet, whereas my appreciation for nature suggests that I have an earthy component to my personality—very
characteristic of a merlot.
“Wine rejoices the heart of man and joy is the mother of all virtues.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1771