Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Halloween 2014

I'm playing a little catch up here, but I didn't want you to miss our cute kids in their Halloween costumes!

A few months ago, we showed Walter the movie "Toy Story" for the first time.
He loved it. In fact, we ended up watching all 3 movies in one week! Pretty much ever since, he's been playing Toy Story every where we go. I was so excited that he finally had a love that wasn't skeletons, I started talking him into being Woody for Halloween. (Don't worry, he's still completely obsessed with skeletons...) Once I showed him the hat I was going to get him, he was sold on the idea. :)

Of course, Woody doesn't go anywhere without the lovely Bo Peep by his side. (Walt wanted her to be Jesse, but A - I couldn't really figure out how to do it and B - I was just really excited to do something frilly and girly for Zuzu this year)

At the last minute, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head decided to jump in on the fun. The Mr. packed his angry eyes - just in case, and we actually won a costume contest this year, something I never envisioned happening to us. :)
Walt was SO excited for trick-or-treating. And the general spirit of the holiday kept him excited all month long. Every time we went to the grocery store, he would say "to visit the skeletons?!" and jump in the car.

The older I get, the more fun this holiday has become to me. I don't love dressing up, or the creepy stuff associated with Halloween, or scary movies...but this is Walt's absolute favorite time of year, and his enthusiasm is contagious. And I do love snitching the Milky Ways from his trick-or-treat loot.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bucket List #4 | Morsel

So, I created our bucket list before we moved to Seattle, and I added some restaurants to the list just based on what I found online. Over time, some of these have become places I really want to go, and others have become something I was sort of dreading. Being in grad school and all, we don't get to eat out very often, and I realized that I didn't want to waste money or a date night going somewhere that I'm not thrilled about. So, I'm making a few changes to our list, since now we're locals and can figure out the best places to eat! It's my list, I can do whatever I want. :)


Since having Isannah, one of things that has been killing us is that a babysitter is pretty much out of reach for us now. Babysitters are already crazy expensive in Seattle, and when you have two kids it just makes it worse. Plus, Zuzu is still so little that it's hard to leave her for very long. When Walt started preschool, I realized that I had a 2.5 hour window of time when I just had the baby, at least. So I asked Landon if he wanted to buy me breakfast. :)
We had a blast on our "sneak away" date. One of the BEST things about grad school is that Landon essentially sets his own schedule. Sure, he has one or two classes and occasional meetings, but other than that he can work when he wants to. And even though we had to bring the baby with us, it was refreshing to sit and talk to each other without constant interruptions about which Star Wars guy is the coolest. (Although we like those interruptions sometimes. :)) We've decided to make this a once-a-month kinda thing.
Morsel was a Yelp find, and I'm sold on the place. It's only open for breakfast and in the early afternoons. A short walk from campus, Morsel makes a-maz-ing breakfast sandwiches on homemade biscuits (Landon had buttermilk, I got cheddar chive) with eggs cooked to order. I highly recommend the "Spanish Fly." Also, the hot cocoa was pretty super. Did I mention that it's cheap? This place has it all. I actually can't wait to take people there when they come to visit!
We're giving Morsel:
If you're looking for breakfast in the U District, you can't beat it. Be aware that there is not much seating inside (it is pretty divey, so you have to like that kind of thing). We went in the late morning (10:30ish) on a weekday, and were able to snag a table, but I imagine earlier or on a Saturday it'd be tough. Still totally worth it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Preschool 2014-2015

Ok, for real this time:
Our feisty yet reserved, inquisitive yet defiant, loving and silly boy started preschool last week! We were again invited to take park in a co-op, this time with 5 other kids. We are following an actual curriculum and it's 2 days a week. He's having a blast. I might die, but I think
that's only because I taught first. :)
Walt, Tayt, Christian, Charlee, Brinley, & Zizi
These kids are actually so cute and fun. We came up with a super great group. The kids get along fine, and I think their moms might be some of my new best friends. The extra 5 hours/week of just me and baby time won't hurt, either. It's good when we're allowed to miss each other.
We did a "spotlight" to introduce the kids to each other on the first day, and here's what Walt's said:

Child's Full Name: Walter Jack Burgener
Favorite Color: Yellow
Favorite Meal, Snack & Dessert: Breakfast for Dinner, Frozen Gogurts, & Dum-Dums
Favorite Movie: Toy Story 2 & Frozen
Favorite Toy or Game: Skeletons!
What I Like to Do Best: Play with friends
Number of Brothers and Sisters: 1 Sister (Zuzu, 4 months old)
Birthday: June 1st

I can't believe he's growing up so fast! I love being part of all his growing-up.
Walter - Preschool - 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bucket List #11 | Mount Rainier National Park

Ok, I'll just say it:
You know how sometimes, you have something pictured in your head, and it's amazing, and then you get there and it's just not quite what you thought it would be? This was not one of those times. Mount Rainier National Park did not disappoint. It was definitely one of my favorite things we've done here in Seattle. It looks like every beautiful postcard you've ever seen - and then some.
This was a fairly spontaneous trip - we booked our campsite Monday and left on Thursday morning. We kept going back and forth about whether we were going to go. I was worried about the weather in September, and we weren't sure we should spend the money right now. But at the end of the day, we decided that we have never once regretted going on a trip. Besides, Landon is (hopefully - knock on wood) about halfway done with his PhD program, and we still have a lot of things we'd like to see here in the PNW! So off we went.
We were blessed with INCREDIBLE weather. They typically say that in Seattle, you get gorgeous days between the 4th of July and Labor Day. Aside from that, it's pretty much gloomy and rainy all the time. It was a risk, going the second week in September, but it was in the 70s and just beautiful the whole time. Good thing, too, because we were camping with a 3-month-old baby!
My Geologist husband was basically in heaven...
The park is divided up into 5 main areas - Paradise, Longmire, Ohanapecosh, Sunrise, and Carbon River. We managed to hit 4 of these in one trip. We drove the long way around, to the Paradise entrance - this is the "Old Faithful" of Mount Rainier - the most touristy place of the park. There's a reason for this:
It is breathtakingly beautiful. You can drive right up onto the side of the mountain and just enjoy. We ate lunch here the first day, and hiked up a ways. We could have spent our whole trip here, really, but we had more to see!

The next day we spent mostly at Longmire - you would't really need a whole day here, but we let Walt do a hike all on his own this day, and it took awhile. :)
PS, best $4 I have ever spent:
He love to look at everything through his binoculars. I have a feeling these will accompany us on many more adventures!
Our campsite was outside the park (because when you're spontaneous you don't get premium accommodations!) This was hands down Walt's favorite park about our trip. He could have done without all of the walking and the picture-taking, but the CAMPING - that he loved. In fact, the first day after our lunch and hike, Walt announced to the whole visitor's center: "Goodbye! We're going CAMPING!"
For the record, Walt thinks roasting a perfectly good marshmallow is just nuts.
Zuzu was wrapped up in a long-sleeved onesie, regular PJs, fleece PJs, a hat, and sleepsack, and two blankets at night. Paranoid mother much? She did great.

At Ohanapecosh, we hit up "The Grove of the Patriarchs," which is an easy trail that looks like this:
Just incredibly beautiful old-growth forest (some of the oldest trees in the US!)
Super fun. :)

Last but not least, we drove out the Sunrise exit, where we were treating to sweeping views of the mountain, and a piece of one of the actual glaciers!
...And there's always a chance that I might make my family haul matching outfits up the mountain so we can take a photo...
But only a crazy person would do that.
We loved Mt. Rainier! I wish I could say I know we'll be back, but truthfully, even camping takes a chunk of our budget, and we still have so many places to see - I hope that we'll get another chance, but I'm so happy we went now, just in case. :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pinterest Playdate

While Landon was off traveling in Switzerland a couple of weeks ago, I tried to keep myself and the kids busy so that we wouldn't go crazy on our own! I decided that maybe it was time to try all of those Pinterest activities that I spend half of my free time looking at and NEVER do. So we I invited some of our good friends over and we had a little "Pinterest Playdate!"
The first thing we tried was "magic" squeezable chalk. (idea from here)

This was basically food coloring, baking soda, and cornstarch mixed into condiment bottles. According to the website I found this on, you can use any squeezable bottles, but since the kids were so little, I felt like the see-through bottles really added to this activity. So that's the only thing I bought for the day. I think they were worth it.
Verdict? The boys LOVED this one. They squeezed all of the colors out all over our parking lot. They didn't actually "draw" much, but that wasn't really the point. When they were done, we let them squirt vinegar on top of their "art." They were thrilled with the bubbles that appeared. The only downside was that this activity didn't last very long - they had all of the bottles emptied out within maybe ten minutes at the most. I'd definitely do this again, but I think I'll try to collect a few more bottles so we can have more colors and it will last longer next time.

Activity number 2 was "apple boats." (idea from here)

I mostly did this one because it was incredibly easy and the little boy we invited over is obsessed with apples, so I knew he'd like it. I didn't bother with the foam, just cut squares of paper for "sails."
Verdict? The boys liked this ok...Walt played with his apple for a few minutes. I tried to get him to blow on the sail and make it move, but he wasn't really getting it. He just liked splashing in the water. As predicted, Walt's friend was just excited to have an apple, and quickly ate it up! I probably won't do this again, or at least not until Walt is a lot older. I think bath toys outside would have been just as fun for the two toddlers. This might also be better in a yard with a bigger pool.

The last thing we did was come inside and "paint" popcorn. (idea from here)

Again, super easy. (are you sensing a theme here? I picked the easy ones. :)) Just mix food coloring with milk, pop some popcorn and throw in some marshmallows. Again, all things I had on hand.

Verdict? The boys really liked it. Walt wouldn't have anything to do with the popcorn really but he enjoyed dunking the marshmallows into the colored milk and then eating them. His friend did the same with the popcorn, but wasn't into the marshmallows. So it was kind of perfect that way. It was also surprisingly not that messy! I will definitely do this again - I think it'd be a perfect transition activity for preschool. But for younger kids, I think I'll maybe skip the paintbrushes all together. And if it were just Walt, I'd get bigger marshmallows and stick with that. Or maybe try some other light colored foods that I know he likes.

I think the kids both had a lot of fun, and I felt strangely satisfied when it was over. It was nice to feel like all of those hours I spend browsing Pinterest accomplished something! I want to do another indoor Pinterest Playdate with more friends when the rain comes. It's a great way to give the kids an outlet and get to spend some bonus time with my favorite people!