Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mmmm...Cupcakes! (and cookies, oh my!)

Another Saturday, another outing. Even when the weather isn't great, as long as it's not pouring down rain, we like to get outside and do something. After ballet yesterday we headed to Seattle for cupcakes and a day at the park. Trophy Cupcakes in Wallingford has the yummiest confections imaginable. Everyday they have different flavors including triple coconut, hummingbird and snickerdoodle. Delicious!
After our sojourn to our little taste of heaven our next stop was Gas Works Park, which used to be the site of the Seattle Gas Light Company's gasification plant. I know, an odd place to take your child for a day of fun and even the Seattle Times says, "Gas Works Park is easily the strangest park in Seattle, and may rank among the strangest in the world." However, it's really fun, especially on a windy day when there are lots of people flying kites on the kite hill. The park is right next to Lake Union so there are also great views of Seattle. In case you're wondering, some of the local events that happen at Gas Works Park include peace concerts, fireworks shows and it also happens to be the starting point for the World Naked Bike Ride. So, if you're going to visit, come for the cupcakes, stay for the naked cycling. Gotta love Seattle! By the way, I could have put a link to the naked bike ride, but it's not too pretty.

We had carrot-walnut, lemon and red-velvet cupcakes.
I think she likes it!
On a sunny day, this scene is really beautiful.
There's the gas plant!
At the top of kite hill.
We were also busy little bakers this weekend. I've been promising Isabelle that we could make sugar cookies for ages so today was the day.

These cookies are off to work with Jason, as Isabelle made them for all of "Daddy's boyfriends." I hope his boyfriends like bunnies, butterflies, hearts and flowers. :)

**A special message from Isabelle: vvvvvvvvvvmlbbbmmgmmgkgk
Translation: "Thank you for reading our blog. I love everyone. That's it."
P.S. You are enjoying the vocal stylings of ABBA because "Mamma Mia" is Isabelle's new favorite song. Apparently they sing and dance to this song all day at daycare. Don't worry, I have a post coming about that soon.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Weekend Visit

This weekend my dear friend Rachel and her darling little boy Liam visited from Minnesota. We sure do wish they lived closer but we had a great weekend visiting and catching up. Isabelle was delighted to have a friend to play with and they looked so cute chasing each other around and getting to know each other. Even though we had a wonderful time Liam and Rachel had to put up with my severe case of laryngitis and double ear infection. By the end of the weekend I had also developed some sort of stomach virus (probably from the ear infection medication) that had me up all night on Sunday being sick (I know, TMI). I hope they'll want to come back! I'm usually a much better host.

Off for a walk at the Woodland Park Zoo. Isabelle relished being the "big girl" this weekend and helping with Liam.
The zoo in Seattle has a great historic carousel that has been restored. We always have to take a ride when we're there.

After a day at the zoo these two had the luxury of taking a nice nap in the car on the way home. No such luck for the Mommies, who took a drive around the lake so Isabelle and Liam could sleep longer.
Isabelle and Liam played house
and watched Sesame Street.
How much does Isabelle love Rachel?
Nap time story for two.
Isabelle and Liam - friends forever!

Playing peek-a-boo at the zoo.

On a side note, I usually do not miss work - even if I'm sick. This illness however has had me down for the count! I woke up last Thursday with no voice but intrepidly ventured to school, thinking that surely it would come back when facing 23 kindergartners. That was not the case and I spent the day whispering and sounding awfully funny. Luckily, my class was very well behaved and did their best to listen quietly. When I woke up Friday and my voice still hadn't returned I knew I better stay home. There is a reason teachers hate to miss work. Inevitably something unexpected or worrisome happens on the one day you're not there. Friday, it was a fire drill. I had a lengthy note from the guest teacher describing how my students ran screaming to the door with their hands over their ears in a panic (FYI #1 - that is not what we practiced; FYI #2 - that wouldn't have happened had I been there). When I was still sick Monday and Tuesday I thought there was no way that anything else could go wrong. Yeah, right. At 9:18 this morning my phone rang, waking me from my groggy stupor. It was our friendly secretary calling with an inquiry. Keep in mind that at 9:18 in the morning the students have been in the classroom for approximately four minutes. Here's how the conversation went:
Secretary: "Hi Aubrey, this is Cindy. Kert (that's the principal) just went down to your classroom to check on your sub. He said the kids were running around screaming (AGAIN?!!) about a wild animal being in the room. It's not in a cage or anything but we've got it. Do you know which of your students might have brought a large hamster to school today in their backpack?"
Me: "Are you serious?! Actually Cindy, there are about 10 kids in my class who I could see bringing a hamster to school. I'd start the interrogations."
I love my students but this is a group you really have to keep a lid on or they can be out of control in two seconds flat. The moral of the story? Teachers must not get sick!
I will be dragging myself to work tomorrow whether I can hear, speak or keep food down. Hopefully order will be restored. :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mid-Winter Break

So, one of the great joys of being a teacher are the little breaks you get from work. I love my job but after a day of sugared-up kids on Valentine's day it was time for a vacation!
Isabelle and I have been taking full advantage of our five days off together, attending a birthday party, taking in the sights of Seattle and then promptly getting sick. That's just the way it goes.
Here are some pictures from our adventures.

This one is totally out of order - sometimes I think blogger is out to get me. Anyway, this was taken at the Pacific Science Center. See below for more info. Ugghh!
Valentine's Day, and off to a birthday party at the Children's Museum.
Isabelle flying a Boeing 747.
In the reading room at the museum. We really like this spot because you get to look down at all the fun sights.
Another one of Isabelle's favorite places - the animal clinic. Here she is caring for a poor injured frog.

Writing up a prescription and making a quick phone call to the veterinary assistant.
Taking her passengers for a ride on the metro bus.
In the glow room.
At the fire station.
On the roof of the museum is a giant playground and fossil dig site. Isabelle loves climbing the rock wall.
Way up high on the big twisty slide.

The Pacific Science Center has been hosting the exhibit "Lucy's Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia" for the past couple months and we finally had time to see it. Click here for more information. "Lucy" is a 3.18-million-year-old hominid fossil that was discovered in the mid 1970's in the Afar region of Ethiopia. It was an amazing exhibit with so much wonderful information on Ethiopia and its people, in addition to a great lesson in paleoanthropology. Isabelle's favorite parts were punching in the numbers on the listening device for the guided tour and reassembling the skeleton bones in the hands-on part of the exhibit. We of course couldn't take pictures but oh, how I would have loved you to see the expression on Isabelle's face when we finally made it to "Lucy." Her mouth was literally hanging open as I tried in vain to explain the process of evolution, while she was staring at this hairy being in front of her. Priceless. Of course, when leaving you exit into a gift shop stocked with all things Ethiopia, from necklaces and flags to bags and blankets. I resisted the urge to spend $200.00 on a string of beads (yeah, you heard right), opting instead to hold out for something less expensive in actual Ethiopia.

Before the "Lucy" tour we checked out the rest of the science center. Isabelle's been many times before but it's always exciting. We even got to see a brand new Imax show, "Under the Sea: 3D" on the first day it opened!

Experimenting with water.
We see the Space Needle all the time, but it's still really cool!
The other half of the guitar picture - can you tell someone is being silly? The science center also has a beautiful butterfly pavilion. They're very hard to see but there are a couple butterflies in the background of this picture.
Hanging out with a caterpillar. Fortunately I have spared all of you from pictures of hissing cockroaches and giant millipedes, but rest assured, they were a huge hit with Isabelle.
The one thing I did buy at the "Lucy" exhibit was this book of Ethiopian recipes. I've been looking for one and this book also lists all the Ethiopian markets in Seattle so it's a great resource. It also has interesting facts and history about Ethiopia. And, I got it for the much more reasonable price of $3.25, including tax!
And now, for the sick part of the vacation. I do have good news though. After almost ten years of going without a food processor we finally had to invest in one so I could make Roasted Potato and Leek Soup for my soup club last week. If you haven't heard of this wondrous machine, you MUST get one. It does fantastic things like thinly slice 20 shallots in under 10 seconds. I've already used it several times, including today to make soup for my sick family. I don't know how I got along without it!
"You travel on until you return home; you live on until you return to earth."
~Ethiopian Proverb

Friday, February 13, 2009

A New Day

For those of you blog stalkers out there, (I'm one too, nothing to be ashamed of :)) who know we got a referral on Wednesday, here's the post about it.
Our new wee one is almost three months old and she is precious. I'm sure you all understand that we're being cautiously optimistic at this point but it's hard not to love this little girl already!
I spoke with our caseworker Christy late Wednesday morning and Jason and I immediately told her we would proceed with the referral. Christy over-nighted all the paperwork to us, which we received on Thursday, Thursday night we had our phone consultation with our international pediatrician who gave us two thumbs way up! and then I stayed up late getting all the paperwork done. Luckily, I started mid-winter break today so Jason and I could go to the bank to get everything notarized.
On a side note: Is anyone else out there having their notaries run and hide when they see you coming? Ours doesn't even ask for our I.D.'s anymore she just says, "Oh, I know you" and then proceeds to roll her eyes. Trust me lady, paperwork isn't really our cup of tea either.
After the bank it was straight to FedEx to overnight everything to AGCI. However, it won't get there until Tuesday morning because of the holiday. Aaagghhh!! President's Day!! How can FedEx give us "the world on time" and still take holidays?!
I did email and call Christy to tell her we are definitely moving forward with the referral so we can start waiting for court.

You all know we can't post full pictures but here is a little glimpse. Don't you just love a nice, big gummy smile?

We are still very much missing the baby we lost but having this new little face to look at is really helping. Now we just have to make it through this interminable wait and keep hoping and praying that things will turn out for us this time around.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Thank You and Keeping Busy

Thanks so much to everyone who has emailed, called or posted comments to my blog the last week. We have felt so supported and loved since hearing the sad news about our baby. We have decided to be put back on the waiting list and hopefully still adopt a baby girl from Ethiopia. Right now we are trying to keep ourselves busy and focus all our attention on Isabelle, who really has no idea what is happening and is still praying for a sister from Ethiopia every night.

Isabelle was snack girl again last week and we decided to go with a Valentine theme. We made watermelon hearts with arrow oranges going through them. We also had a ton of frozen strawberries we had picked last spring so we cut out cinnamon bread hearts and spread them with whipped strawberry cream cheese.
Isabelle picked out the napkins.

At ballet on Saturday morning Isabelle's class began learning the routine they will perform at their recital in the spring. What a patient teacher she has to teach three and four-year-olds to dance in a straight line and pirouette at the same moment! It's very cute to watch.
Isabelle says this part is called "shoo, fly!"
Fairy wings

And now, a big shout-out to Hallmark for commercializing Valentine's Day, thus making it imperative that we make homemade Valentine cards and gifts. Isabelle and I really do love to make crafty things together and this gave us the perfect excuse to splurge on new scrapbooking supplies. This project also occupied most of the weekend, which was really good for me.

I like to think I've contributed to the cause of stabilizing the economy with my own private stimulus package of chocolate, fancy paper and stickers. Ready to make Valentine's! Yes, she does have a monkey on her back.
Stuffing treat boxes for her friends at preschool and daycare. She had a nice little assembly line going!

These are the Valentine's Isabelle will be handing out. (Front)
(Back) Isabelle signed her own name on about 20 cards.
The finished product.
We made an extra special Valentine for her teacher. (Front)
Isabelle also helped me stuff treat bags for my kindergartners.
All done!
I am so lucky to have Isabelle!