Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Seattle Aquarium!

I have lots of great posts about Seattle lately! On Monday I took Kirsten to the Seattle Aquarium and met a couple of other moms there. It was my first trip to the Aquarium, and obviously Kirsten's too. We both had a great time! Here's a whole bunch of baby salmon, and they were swimming above us so we could look up at them. Salmon are a popular thing to see in Seattle.
Kirsten was mesmerized by all the bright colors and the movement of the fish.
We had a great time with Beth and baby Chloe, and Olga and baby Zoya. They carpooled together, and next time I'm definitely taking someone else with me too. My parking was expensive!
One of the coolest things at the Aquarium is the Underwater Dome. We all crowded in there and watched scuba divers feed the fish and pet the eels.
Part of the Aquarium is outdoors, although most of it is indoors. As you can see, it was a gorgeous sunny day!

Kirsten was really happy the whole time we were there, even though I kept her awake for a long time between naps. With all the things to see, it was just really interesting for her!

My personal favorite thing we saw... the sea otters! Otters are so adorable, and they're so playful and fun to watch.

The Aquarium did have some really cool tropical fish tanks, and the fish were really pretty. It made me miss scuba diving.

"I'm tired now, Mom. Let's go home..."
After we were done at the Aquarium, we still had about an hour left on our parking, so I walked with Kirsten along the waterfront and got some food. It was really a gorgeous day, and I loved feeling the sea breeze against my face. Kirsten napped on the drive home, and I got lost trying to find the freeway. Driving in downtown Seattle is confusing! I love cities... I just don't like driving in them and parking in them. The signs to find the I-5 weren't clearly marked at all. So I got twisted and turned around, but we made it home eventually and had a really fun day at the Seattle Aquarium!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Kirsten's First Easter!

Easter Sunday in Seattle was rainy and a little cold, so we didn't get to take any pictures outside by pretty spring flowers. But we took Kirsten to church in her cute little Easter dress, and then just took a picture inside our house. I put together this Easter basket for Kirsten. I knew she wouldn't understand or care about it yet, but I still wanted to get some books and little stuffed animals for her.
Stephen's basket was more "manly" I guess, with a new wallet and a microphone for the Rock Band game.
I was excited to make our big Easter dinner, with a baked ham, cheesy scalloped potatoes, and glazed carrots. It turned out very yummy! Easter is one holiday that I don't get very into decorating for. I don't cover the house with bunnies or flowers or anything like that. So this was pretty much the extent of my Easter decor on our table. A bouquet of fresh flowers would have been a nice touch, but I sure love those little Dove chocolate eggs!
Kirsten could not have cared less about her Easter basket. She tossed the cute little stuffed animals aside, and all she cared about was sucking on the plastic eggs. So much for her nice basket! She only wanted the eggs!
Oh well. At least we got a cute picture of her with her Easter basket. That's all that matters at this age, really.
Herbie the cat was much more interested in the basket than Kirsten was. He climbed into the basket, curled up, and tried to chew the handle. We had to take the basket away from him and hide it!
Stephen went to the Build-A-Bear workshop and made this adorable Easter bunny for Kirsten. I'm sure she'll love it when she gets a little older. She smiles at stuffed animals, but doesn't care about playing with them yet.
We had a little egg hunt with our friends. They hid eggs for us downstairs, and we hid eggs for them upstairs. Each egg had a clue about where to go for the next one. It was fun!
Here's Oscar with the grand prizes at the end of the egg hunts... new games! Rook, Life, and a crazy new game called Killer Bunnies. Very Easter-appropriate!
Even though it was rainy, we had a really wonderful Easter Sunday!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Gorgeous Day At Alki Beach!

We had a rainy Easter Sunday here in Seattle, but Saturday would have been the perfect day for an Easter egg hunt. It was 60 degrees and so beautiful! Since Kirsten's a little young for an egg hunt, we enjoyed the nice weather and went to an early dinner down by Alki Beach instead. There was a really pretty view of Seattle and the Space Needle across the water.
I think the Puget Sound is so beautiful. I grew up in San Diego, so the ocean and beaches are definitely not new to me. What IS new is seeing the mountains rising up across the water. It's stunning every time I see it!
After taking these pictures, we went to the Bamboo Bar and Grill restaurant right across the street. Alki Beach is really nice. I'm sure it gets super crowded in the summers, but it was a good way to spend a nice Saturday in March.
In this picture, you can see the Space Needle way back in the distance.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Here Comes The Easter Bunny!

I really love dressing Kirsten up for the holidays. It's so much fun! Since I can't get away with wearing bunny ears, a bunny shirt, and bunny slippers anymore, I can put that stuff on Kirsten and she looks adorable.We went to an Easter party at our play group on Wednesday, so that's why I dressed her up. I'm sure she'll wear the same outfit on Easter again, except she'll get to wear an Easter dress to church.
I didn't play with dolls or Barbies much as a kid, I preferred stuffed animals and My Little Ponies. So I never got to dress things up. I guess I'm making up for it now!
Every week Kirsten turns more and more into a little explorer. This is what she was doing for most of the party. She kept gravitating towards the stairs and the stroller wheels.
Cute little bunny!
It was fun to see some of the other babies in their Easter outfits and bunny ears too. Here's Kirsten with Zoya.

And here's one with Zoya's mommy, Olga.
Even though Kirsten has no clue what Easter is yet and doesn't get excited for Easter eggs or the Easter bunny, it's still so much more fun to celebrate holidays with a baby.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pike Place Market!

Last Saturday we took Kirsten and our friend Chance to Pike Place Market with us for the first time. Lots of people have heard of Pike Place Market, and it's a pretty major tourist destination in Seattle. I'd say the main things in Seattle people have heard of are the Space Needle and this market. And it really is pretty amazing, and reminds me more of something you'd find in Europe rather than the United States. Here's our family in front of the guys who throw fish back and forth to each other. It's pretty cool to watch, but I hate the smell!
Yummy food is very easily found at Pike Place. I'm sure we haven't even tried most of it yet, but Stephen's favorite is a little place called Piroshky Piroshky. It's a Russian place, and Stephen loves the ones with different meats, cheeses, and spinach inside them.
Another of our favorites is Beecher's Handmade Cheese. They give out samples of their cheeses and you can buy them in blocks, and their Flagship Cheese is sooooo good. I got their grilled cheese sandwich for my lunch, and it was perfect! They also have windows where you can watch some of the cheese being made, so Stephen took a picture of it.
Stephen and I have been there a few times before, but this was definitely the most crowded we've seen it. There were people absolutely everywhere, and it was difficult with the stroller to avoid running it into people. We also couldn't weave in and out of people, so it was slow going. But Kirsten did great, even though she was a bit overwhelmed by all the noise, sights, and smells. It was a lot of excitement for a baby!
Part of the market is indoors and part of it is outdoors, and there are street performers and tons of fresh produce, which adds even more to the European flavor. I thought these pepper bunches were pretty.
Here's Stephen, Kirsten, and Chance in front of the flower bouquets. It was impossible to get Kirsten to look at me or the camera, with so much to see!
The flower bouquets are really beautiful there, and if it had been closer to Easter I would have bought one for our dinner table.
Doesn't that fruit look SO delicious? It always looks gorgeous and I want to eat it all. Some of the fruit sellers slice off pieces of apples or pears and give them out as samples, and I usually buy a couple pieces of fruit from them. It's not even apple season, but I tasted an apple that was so good I had to buy one. Other booths give out samples of fresh honey, jam, pepper jelly (another of Stephen's favorites), jerky, and dipped cherries.
Here we are in the outdoor part of the market, with the city of Seattle behind us. Pike Place Market is by the water and right in the middle of downtown, so it can be a bit of a pain to get there and crowded, too. But it's fun and definitely shows the many flavors of Seattle!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Kirsten's World

Kirsten loves Sesame Street. She doesn't sit and watch it quite as long as she used to because now she's more interested in crawling around, but she still perks right up and smiles when she hears the theme song or the music from her favorite part, "Elmo's world." Stephen and I sing the song to her too, except we sing it as "Kirsten's world." And it's very true that our world now is mostly Kirsten's world.We still do things we love to do, like going out to dinner and playing games with friends. But now we mostly pick restaurants based on how fast the food comes out, how noisy the place is so people won't notice baby noises, and how many fun things there are for Kirsten to look at. And we know we can usually only play games after Kirsten goes to sleep.
I also run errands between naps, try to time dinner so we won't be eating right when she's getting tired for bed, and of course the time I wake up in the morning is when she wakes up. Our living room decor is a mixture of Pier 1, Pottery Barn, stuff I picked up from my world travels, and brightly colored Fisher Price toys. It's Kirsten's world, alright!
People who have been parents for awhile will probably laugh when they read this, because of course they know that kids take over your life and your world literally becomes theirs. I'm still getting used to it, but now that Kirsten is 10 months old it seems more normal to me. And I definitely can't imagine any other world but this one!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I know the pope had St. Patrick's Day officially changed to Saturday this year, but to me St. Patrick's Day will always be March 17'th. So I am wearing green today. On Saturday, we went out to dinner with our friends at Billy McHale's. It's a chain restaurant up here in Washington, and they have seriously yummy bacon-wrapped fillet steaks that come with twice-baked potatoes and fresh rolls. It's a heavenly meal! All the servers there were wearing fun green sparkly stuff for the holiday, and Kirsten loves that restaurant because of all the colors, bright lights, and the trains that go around the ceiling. We had no idea that in honor of St. Patrick's day they were having bagpipers go through the restaurant several times. It was a whole little band with bagpipers and drummers!
When they started playing and marching around the restaurant, they were SO loud and I thought Kirsten would be freaked out by it. We can't turn on the food processor or the blender at home, because those are so loud they make her scream. This was even louder!
To my complete surprise, she loved them! She kept smiling and smiling, and watching them every time they came around. The picture below is what her face looked like when she watched them. It was really cute to see how delighted she was by the bagpipes and drums. I never would have guessed she would love it so much!
My plan for dinner tonight was originally to make an Irish lamb stew, but after seeing that a leg of boneless lamb cost $22 at the grocery store today, I bought ground beef for $5 instead and I'll be making one of Stephen's favorites, Cheeseburger Pie. I want to make it a little more festive, so I think I'll still be making Irish Soda Bread and Lime Cake (like our favorite lemon cake, but with lime instead so it will be green). I might post some recipes and pictures later this week, if it all turned out successfully. Happy St. Patrick's Day!