Saturday, November 22, 2014

Get ready for a lot of photos from our trip to Seattle! Bogdan and I both have a lot of family in the area, but this time we wanted to see my sister Julia's apartment and spend time with her and her husband, especially since sometimes we are in town and they are not, so we don't always get to see them. They were kind enough to let our crazy clan stay at their place, so we spent most of our time in Seattle with them. I'm such a city girl, I was completely in my element and loved every second of our trip. It's not easy with kids, and Julia and Yuriy were probably a bit shell-shocked from all the noise and chaos and the amount of time it takes to get out of the house. But hey, we gave them a dose of reality and now they know what to expect when they start their own family. ;)

We started out by exploring the neighborhood. We took a walk to Volunteer Park and let the kids play on the playground. We also toured the conservatory there, and I took a million photos of all the unique plants and the kids too, but I have no idea where they went. They are gone from my camera so the only thing I can think of is maybe Naomi erased them? There were a bunch of the kids from the playground too, and they're all gone. The one below is from my phone, and it's the only one I have. We got to see bug-eating plants shaped like cones and the venus fly trap, too, among lots of other fun plants. This earth and everything in it is so amazing!

Yuriy took us sailing one evening, which was a highlight of our trip. We brought delicious sandwiches along with us and enjoyed the scenery while Yuriy did all the work. Ben got to help steer the boat which of course he loved. The weather was cold and really windy, and there were rain clouds nearby but we figured they wouldn't come our way. All of a sudden the boat started rocking and the wind whipping our hair around and it got a little intense. Mila was scared of being on the boat anyway, and kept looking back to shore longingly, so I had to make sure not to say anything that would make her even more afraid. We were on a little boat kind of far from shore and it was raining and I definitely didn't want to be hit by lightning, so we turned back to shore as fast as we could and got out of that storm. We actually saw dolphins jumping right next to the boat on our little adventure, which was of course pretty great!

I of course forgot the name of this place now, but the decor and lighting were spot on! I want that chandelier in my dining room.

We got to see some goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, and geese one day, and of course Bogdan had to try one out.

Enjoying the view from Julia and Yuriy's rooftop. It was too cold and dark to have our dinner up there like we planned, but my cousin came over and joined us in the apartment, and a couple Instagram friends as well, so it was a good night. I like stealing all your friends, Julia.

Washington is the definition of green. Plants everywhere.

Their apartment is decorated to a T. I wanted to move right in!

Naomi refused to sit still while eating out on our last day and it got pretty embarrassing, so we escaped outside while they boxed my food to go and the rest of the fam ate inside. She wandered around draped with her blanket like a boss. And refused to take pictures with me.


Apple picking

Friday, November 21, 2014

I split my other weekend pictures up from these ones in the apple orchard because there would have just been so many for one post. I did a little research online and found a nearby orchard that doesn't use pesticides on its apples and is basically organic without getting the certification. The apples were all covered in clay, which keeps the bugs away (though not the worms, because there were so many wormy apples!), which actually made me feel so much better about biting into an apple. When you get your produce from the store and feel that gunky wax covering your fruit--it just makes me nervous. The clay washes right off when you're ready to eat, and clay is actually good for you.

Our outing was perfect for getting some after-nap energy out for Naomi, and of course she loved being able to run around and explore. The big kids had a blast too. Ben actually asked to stay home cause to him it sounded like we just wanted to bring him somewhere and make him work. Ha ha! He thought buying them at the store sounded a lot easier, but he was proven wrong, because he probably had the most fun of the big kids and thanked us for taking him.

They had about five varieties of apples at this orchard, but my favorite was the jonagold. I learned that it's actually a golden delicious and jonathan hybrid, so it's sweet but tart and basically my kind of apple. The owner led us around and showed us which apples were where, told us we could sample as much as we wanted, and off we went. From the second Naomi saw us picking apples and putting them in our baskets, she was on the job! We had to be careful to watch the baskets so she wouldn't fill them up with wormy, rotting apples she found on the ground.

They had turkeys there as well, so we went over and had a look. I wish I could have captured Naomi looking at the turkeys and goats. She looked curious and bashful and a little unsure all at once, and it was cute to watch.

Every time Ben whistled, the turkeys all started gobbling in unison right after. It was the funniest thing!

Ben was being a good big brother and letting Naomi get up close to the turkeys, but making sure she doesn't stick her fingers in the holes.

While driving back home through the small town we were at, we found a very vintage playground that had all the old-school playground equipment I remember from my childhood. I didn't even say anything, though--the kids took one look at it from the car and started begging to pull over to play on it. They thought it was the coolest thing ever. And it was, because it's so different from today's plastic playgrounds that are made for safety but sometimes aren't very functional--slides that don't let you slide, swings that are way too short, and everything plastic, plastic, plastic. I know the tall metal slides are nonexistent now because they're dangerous, but it was so fun to get back on one. It's actually pretty scary to look down from the top because it's so tall and steep--I almost didn't go. My elementary school playground had one and I have many memories of standing in line to go down that thing. And memories of kids getting hurt on it and breaking bones and such. :)

Naomi was pretty mad that she couldn't join her brother and sisters on the jungle gym. She just thinks she is capable of doing everything anyone else is doing, silly girl.

What a great way to cap off our fun weekend of adventuring together. We didn't get to go cherry picking earlier in the summer, so this made up for it.


Dreamy weekend

Thursday, November 20, 2014

You know those days when everything goes right, everyone is happy, and you get a million things done in one day? When the day seems to stretch on forever and you look at the clock and it isn't even over yet? This was one of those days. Actually, the whole weekend was like that. We enjoyed every bit of our time together as a family with all six of us in attendance, and it was so good for our family. Bogdan works long hours on the weekdays, so I really treasure our weekends because I can loosen the reigns and we can parent together. I get backup and I feel like everything is right with the world when the kids are spending time with their dad.

Mila and I got up early for her soccer game, and came home to the kids puttering around the house and Bogdan slowly waking up. I had been craving a breakfast together and so when Bogdan mentioned it, I knew we were on the same page. We piled into a booth at the diner and ate hearty meals and talked and laughed and refilled our coffee cups lots.

There was a neighborhood garage sale going on, and as we were driving down our street to get breakfast, I spotted this molded plastic beauty on someone's driveway! I scooped her up for $30, stuck her in the trunk, and off we went. Who knew we had some midcentury-modern-loving neighbors around?! I'm sure it's a reproduction, but I don't care.

After saying to each other many times over months and months that we needed a date night and that it was going to happen that weekend, we would just need to find a babysitter--and then couldn't find that babysitter among our family members--I finally decided to find a REAL babysitter. And I can honestly tell you it has been magic. I don't feel guilty that my tired mom is watching my kids just so I can have some fun (but I know in my heart that it's not just fun and that I need some time away) and that we better hurry up and head back. This way my mind is clear and I know the kids are having fun because they LOVE their babysitter and I can take some time to remember who I am without distractions and duties clouding my mind.

Bogdan and I biked all around the city and I just enjoyed all the pretty old houses as we rode past. Instead of people-watching, I like to house-watch--I just love houses and architecture and even seeing what people do with their yards. It's all very exciting to me. :) When we got hungry we stopped for some lettuce wraps and finished the night with another stop for some crunchy, buttery chocolate almond croissants, then made our way home. Our date was adventurous, active, and relaxing--the perfect date night combination if you ask me.

We came home to sleeping kiddos and this is how I found the girls in the morning when I came in to wake them for church--hair splayed out and surrounded with lemons.

My crew looked pretty handsome so I took these shots before getting in the car to go home from church. Naomi wasn't having it, so Bogdan cured the crying and squirming by holding Naomi upside-down by her leg--and it worked because she's a crazy one and likes stuff like this. We did get one good shot, so--success!

We came home and played Sorry with Mila while Naomi napped and Ben and Olivia did something quiet. The wind picked up outside and it looked like it might rain, which is perfect weather for staying in and playing a board game. When Naomi woke up, we packed the kids back up in the car and went apple picking at a nearby orchard. It really was a dream weekend, and it was great that it was that good, because by the time we came home late that night I was so sick and feeling so crummy all I could do was put my warmest socks on and crawl into bed. Bogdan fed the kids and got them all in bed because the cold that had been on the verge of breaking through all week long finally gained strength and came to the surface in all its glory. It happens every time--I start sleeping too little for multiple days in a row, my body can't keep fighting whatever germs I've picked up, it gives up and the cold or flu comes on with so much force. Monday was the opposite of Saturday and Sunday for me, but at least I had Saturday and Sunday to hold me over. It really was the best weekend.