Saturday, March 29, 2008

new albums

If you didn't get enough photos from our trip to Austin or the Wildlife Safari, then don't despair! I've added some photo albums to the left from both trips. More photos than you'd ever need...but there's some cute ones! :)

wildlife safari

Gretchen invited us to tag along to the Wildlife Safari yesterday. Kenton had already made plans, so Finn & I went along. We packed the kids in tightly in the back of Gretchen's SUV & they did great. :) Finn was the only one who got whiney. :\

Finn & Griffin checking out the cheetah!

Finn was acting like a pro in the petting zoo area. He went right up to the goats & said "Hi!"

I liked their matching expressions. :P

The train wasn't running but that didn't stop our boys from having a blast! Ronan was conducting from the very front of the train.

After walking around the village, we loaded back into the car for the drive through the safari:

This is the part that Gretchen & I remembered from when we were kids. The ostrich came right up to the window & pecked the car. We were laughing, but Ronan got nervous.

Griffin & Finn weren't really sure what to think.

Yay! Giraffes!
It was raining so they were keeping covered under their shelter, which was close to the road. It was a pretty good view.

The bison were all right next to the road, or on the road.

Up close!

The kids all did really well & we had a fun adventure. It had been about 20 years probably since the last time I had been to the Wildlife Safari! It was nice to see what it's like now; maybe Finn & I can bring Kenton sometime. :) All 3 boys took a nap on the way home & then played for a little while at our house. Fun day! Thanks for inviting us Gretchen!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

new desk

One of our purchases at IKEA was a desk set with 2 chairs for Finn. He really enjoyed sitting in Charis' little chairs so we wanted to get him a set. :) As you can see, he's putting it to good use!

Once Kenton built the chairs, he used it a little more appropriately. :P

Really excited about the magna doodle!


Not quite what we had hoped for... :\

A view of the room once we rearranged a bit.
(Busy boy...)

We finally moved the baby swing out of his room & filled the bottom two shelves of the bookcase with Finn's toys. Note the nice new helmet on the 2nd shelf. We used Kris' employee discount & bought a helmet for Finn - we hope to buy a bike trailer soon so we can go on family bike rides! :)

fun until the end

On our last day in Austin, we went with Samantha & Charis (Kris had to work) to a play gym called Radijazz. We all had a lot of fun & it was great to watch Finn & Charis explore.

Sam & Charis getting ready to slide.

Finn going for it!

I love this photo. You can see Kenton's feet sticking out at the top of the slide. This was a huge play structure with tunnels & slides & slides with steps inside them so you could climb. Fun for kids of all ages! :P

Sam & Charis in the giant "volcano" pit filled with foam blocks. Kenton did a flip into it. We couldn't ever feel the bottom, so it was pretty fun for us too. But it was a workout trying to move through it!

Katrina & Charis. She called me Katie (like my nephews & niece) cause Katrina was a little tricky to say. :) But she could say Kenton & Finn pretty perfectly! She kept called Finn a she, but what can you do? ;)

The view from the top of the volcano. There was a "river" in between the play structure & the volcano with boats & bridges. Plus there were bouncy balls everywhere, so Finn was having a great time. We all did. It was such a unique experience for the kids & entertaining enough for the adults that it made for a great activity.

We left Austin very early on Tuesday morning. It was really hard to say goodbye & I keep getting choked up thinking about how much we're going to miss them. It's hard to not get sad about missing out on big chunks of their lives, especially since Charis & Finn can change so much in a month, let alone a year. We wish we weren't so far apart, but are looking forward to the next visit...whenever that may be. :) Not too far away, we hope. Thanks for a great trip Kris & Sam. You're great hosts. The best.

The flight home:

Explaining the safety card. :)

We were so lucky on this flight. Maybe the only people who had a free seat next to us; the flight was packed. That's pretty much the only reason Finn was able to fall asleep. He was very cozy sprawled across the middle seat & slept for a large chunk of the flight from Austin to Denver.

The flight to Portland wasn't quite as easy. Finn did as well as can be expected for a busy 16 month old, especially considering it was his second 2 1/2 hour flight that day. We made it on time & were greeted by Kenton's parents. Then we made a "quick" trip to IKEA & headed back home. We got to our house by 5:30 & unpacked right away! Woohoo! (I never unpack quickly, so I'm pretty excited about that!)

We slept really well last night. Finn woke up at 5:45 am (7:45 Austin time) but eventually fell back asleep. I think we've recovered from our traveling & are thankful that we still have a few days left of our Spring Break! Yay!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

happy easter

I found these bags (plus their contents) in the dollar bin at Target. They were perfect for our trip because they collapsed flat in my suitcase. :) And they're cute!

Enjoying the bubbles that came in their Easter "Baskets"

The egg hunt. They both did pretty great. We filled 12 plastic eggs with little toys from a local store. Finn just wanted to open each egg & play. He wasn't really motivated to find them all but was excited whenever he came across one. :)

So sweet.
She was excited to find the colorful eggs.

Distracted by an airplane!

Group shot.
Finn, Kenton, Katrina, Charis, Samantha, & Kris

dedication day

Kris & Samantha have been waiting for a time when we were in Austin to have Charis dedicated (since we are her Godparents). So Saturday, Charis was dedicated to God at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, where Samantha works.

Kris' little sister, Katie led us in a few songs.

Kris' dad did the dedication. It was really neat. Everyone gathered in a circle around Charis to pray. She did very well (especially with the help of some crackers) with the event & was excited for the lunch that followed. :)

After lunch, we toured the gardens. Samantha took us to beds that she manages (the Butterfly Garden) & even showed us the butterflies/cocoons that she's raising.

3 butterflies had come out of their cocoons, so she brought them out & released them. It was pretty cool & drew a big crowd. :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

children's museum + boats

We rode bikes to the children's museum after breakfast. The Austin Children's Museum building was super cute on the outside; bright green & right up my alley. :) The exhibit was called Play It By Ear - all things that made noises or had to do with hearing & such. Very hands on, of course, & pretty exciting for Charis & Finn!

Charis & Kris with the big drum

So much noisy fun!

Blurry, but still cute. There were a bunch of headphones that had tubes & funnels attached in different arrangements to alter hearing.

Samantha & Charis playing with the big tinker toys that had lots of noise makers attached.

Looking through the fish tank.

Splashing in the water tables!

Cool textured floor in the toddler play area.

After "nap-time" (both kids fell asleep in the bike trailer on the way home from the museum & woke up when we got home - neither one went back to sleep, but they took a little rest), we went & rented canoes to go on Ladybird Johnson Town Lake (aka the Colorado River). Pretty long name for their specific section of the river. :P

Finn in his new swim suit, going on another adventure.

Charis in her swim suit, strapped in & ready to go. She kept asking "Finn, are you ready? Yes or No?" He made happy noises, but didn't really answer her questions. :)

Checking out all of the boats!

Wearing their life jackets, looking so cute!

Finn was pretty cautious in the first. Didn't take too long for him to start reaching down to feel the water. He did pretty well for his first time on a boat.

Throwing rocks!

Throwing rocks is just so fun!