Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Invention of Hugo Cabret


If you haven't read The Invention of Hugo Cabret yet, you're in for a real treat. I HIGHLY recommend this as a family book to read. Granted we're only about 20% of the way through. But it's wonderful. I saw an interview with Brian Selznick (the author) and that spurned me on further to get my hands on the book:

This past weekend, Borders was kind enough to send out a 40% off coupon and I used it to purchase this book. We started reading it tonight and thus far, the kids LOVE it! Despite the fact that the book contains over 500 pages, we were able to plow through about 100 of them in roughly a half hour due to the large volume of pictures. But don't be deceived. The pictures are vitally important and if you skip over them, you WILL miss parts of the story because they actually TELL part of the story without words. As the old saying goes... "a picture is worth a thousand words"... so very true in this case!

Whereas Ethan has had a love for books from the time he was an infant, Evan is only just now, at nearly age 6, showing an interest in books. He likes Dr. Suess books and has recently fallen in love with an illustrated copy of Zathura. Otherwise, he has never enjoyed bedtime stories and typically will not join Ethan and me for that little ritual. However, due to all the illustrations in The Invention of Hugo Cabret, he sat with us the entire time and really got into the story. I used the illustrations as discussion points and we all talked about the plot of the story based on the pictures. Evan participated and gave his opinions, which is a big change for him!

I'll likely come back and write more when we are done with the book. But I do recommend it as good, family reading. Just be sure everyone gets a chance to see all the pictures. I don't really recommend it for kids younger than Evan (he'll be 6 in a couple of weeks) unless they really understand some advanced concepts.

Memorial Day 2009

Since we came home from camping a day early, we were able to be home on the actual holiday. It was nice to catch up on laundry, air out the tent, clean up, and get all the camping gear put away appropriately. As a reward to all of us, we went down to Brown's Point late in the afternoon to fly a kite with the boys. Unfortunately, there was zero wind and it was somewhat crowded. But we still enjoyed ourselves! Here are some pictures from that afternoon:

The guys found a little dog that enjoyed getting in on the frisbee action:

See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil:

This is a special picture. When Ethan was just about 10 months old, Mike sat on this very log with him in the crook of his arm (just the way Evan is in this shot) and they were in this exact position. Obviously Evan wasn't born yet; it was the just Mike and Ethan. But this is EXACTLY what they looked like. I entered that photo in a contest and won a prize for it! Two years ago, we had professional shots done at this beach and captured the same image. And on this day, I caught it again. Someday I'll post all three:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day weekend fun in Leavenworth!

We finally got to feed our camping bug this past weekend. Mike got the car nearly completely packed Thursday night. We only had last-minute things and food to put in the next day. On Friday, I picked Evan up from school an hour early and we hit the road! We picked up Mike from work and took off. We took I-90 over Snoqualmie pass. Unfortunately, there was a rollover SUV accident that had traffic backed up for miles. It took us roughly 2 hours to get over the pass!! But that's okay... it's hard to be upset in traffic when you have views like this all along the way. This is why I LOVE Washington. It may be cloudy and gray for much of the year, but this is the payoff for patience!!

Check out the view from our campsite... ahhh... the Wenatchee River. It was so nice to be able to hear the water rushing by all day and night. Very lulling sound!

It was a bummer that we had to camp on gravel, but we made it work and we still had a lot of fun. Thank goodness for the air mattress!

How cute are these guys??? Go on... admit it!

ALL the guys had a great time at the river! It was so beautiful. The water was COLD... good enough for dipping feet, but not so much for swimming! Perhaps later in the summer when it warms up more. After all, it's only May!

Ethan and Evan were brave enough to get their legs wet!

Pretty in pink:

Other random images from the river's edge:

On the way back up the hill to our campsite, I couldn't help but revel in the absolute beauty of the plants growing along the hillside there:

Miss Aleigha was fascinated with the flowers:

We trekked into downtown Leavenworth to cruise the main drag and visit the local shops. They had a bunch of inflatables in the park and the kids had so much fun bouncing around! I also fell in love with a tree in the park. It provided a perfect umbrella from the sun and heat.

Later on we slit up. While the Hartmans went swimming, the Harris's took a trek down to a city park, parts of which ran along the Wenatchee River. It was beautiful down there.

As we walked along one of the park trails, we happened upon another family at the water's edge. Their son, who looked to be about 16 years old, was standing with his feet in the water as his father challenged him to jump in all the way. Keep in mind that this is the Wenatchee River... the waters in this river are straight off the snow melt from the surrounding mountains... and it's only May! This challenge is not for the faint of heart. The young teen walked back out of the water at one point because his feet were numb! His father offered him ice cream as a reward. While ice cream may not be good enough for a teenager, but it's a pretty good prize for a younger boy. Ethan chimed in that
he would do it for ice cream. So Mike said, "Okay. If you jump in all the way, I'll get you ice cream!" See for yourself...

Evan, not to be outdone by his older brother, decided that he, too would do it for ice cream!

To my knowledge, the other boy never did jump all the way in. Mike even taunted him a bit, saying, "Are you gonna let a couple of little kids show you up?" Needless to say, we stopped at the Cold Stone Creamery before heading back to camp to get some much needed relief from the heat! The boys got ice cream. I got a smoothie instead. If you want a recommendation, the pineapple/coconut/orange smoothie there is to-die-for!!

We continued along the path through the park and the boys' clothes were dry in absolutely no time. We had a lot of fun!

Here are some clips of everyone in the pool. I think Evan was able to get over some of his fears about pools on this trip and that makes me happy. He verbalized to me that he was less afraid this time. And in this first picture, that's Ethan jumping into the pool. He had a blast jumping in, over and over again!

Before leaving the area, we did stop in town and have lunch together. We ate some GOOD German food! I was really looking forward to that. Plus, I was able to get some mustard from Andreas Keller, another awesome German restaurant in the area. They make the best mustard and they sell it to the public!

We were going to stay in Leavenworth until Monday but instead opted to leave a day early. I'm SO glad we did. It gave us a chance to get home and get some laundry done, get a good night's sleep in our own beds, and then spend Monday doing other things. Mike was able to go over to his mom's house and help them out with some things. I got to sleep in because I had to work a 12-hour shift that night. I was able to plow through all of the laundry and then we were able to set up all of our camping things and get them aired out, swept, and properly put away.

On our way home, we took Hwy 2 (Steven's Pass). What an absolutely gorgeous drive that was! Mike indulged me a few times along the way by pulling over so I could snap a few pictures. Here is some of the beauty we saw on the way back. We even stopped at a rest area with a park and tossed a frisbee with the kids. FUN!

It was a fun weekend and I'm so happy we were able to get together with the Hartmans for fun in the sun! Can't wait to see you guys again soon!!