Kinderfest Fourth in Leavenworth

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It’s becoming a tradition to spend the Fourth of July with Will and Erica. Two years ago it was just the girls and I in Sand Point and last year Cory joined us in Coeur d’ Lane. This year we opted to meet in the middle and give Erica and Will their first taste of the Bavarian mountain town that we love so much. From the looks of our old time photos, I think we may have bitten off more than we can chew!
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Here’s our favorite. Aren’t the girls naturals?
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We rented a lovely house across the river from town a ten minute walk away. We were a tad disappointed that we couldn’t get in the river from our waterfront. We did have cool rocks and sunshine to take pictures, however.
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Since we couldn’t swim in the river we had to find other things to keep us busy. Luckily we stocked our fridge, warmed the hot tub and figured out how to start the gas fire.
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One special activity we signed up for was an afternoon of horseback riding. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever done a legit horseback ride. I may have done something small as a kid but this was an hour long shibang and I felt it for more than a few days after! If you look at my legs you can see that my stirrups weren’t adjusted correctly and it definitely wasn’t comfy! Luckily nobody else really had issues and it was quite nice. Plus our fitbit steps were off the charts for that day!
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We had a few  other animal and outdoor adventures. There was the walk around waterfront park which led us to goat bridge which I had NEVER seen before! I kind of regret not mini golfing at the putt putt area by the bridge but we’ll remember that activity for another trip.
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Once we finally made it into town, the pictures of the Willkommen signs were musts!
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In town you can’t forget the favorite stop of the hat shop (aka, the lice infestation). I even bought the hat I’m wearing in the pictures and have had no lice yet…
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There are many food and drink options also. Thankfully since when this girl has blood sugar issues, she needs to eat quickly. I also laughed when I saw this photo bomb picture of Leah. I promise she had no beers through the weekend!
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Beside for breweries and hat shops, other fun stops included the Christmas store, and the Festhale.
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The 4th of July holiday had a bunch of awesome activities for kids. The girls did a bunch of fun carnival style games for prizes, had boatloads of snow cones, cotton candy and popcorn all for free! It was a great choice for the fourth except the girls have said that we must go somewhere we can do actual fireworks next year. There may or may not have been an incident with all six of us in the bathroom throwing snap-its at the glass shower wall to see a “spark” for our actual firework that night. But I don’t have any pictures to prove either way so I’ll let you use your imagination.
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The other pictures I do have are from our trip home. We stopped at my coworkers farm where she had a new baby piglet we met. I absolutely love Leah’s expression while she was making googly eyes at him.
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Her farm also had an abundance of blueberries ripe and ready to inhale.
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All in all, it was a successful road trip to the mountains with my cousin and I’m already looking forward to another 4th of July. But before that, we get to spend Labor Day with them this year as well!
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Family trips are the best!
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May ~ June ~ July ~ Flew By!

Oh my… where do I even begin? I’m obviously behind on blogging. Ever since the beginning of May I was either prepping for Ireland or writing about it. In the meantime, we’ve been having many adventures, made numerous memories and had a lot of fun. Since we’re smack in the middle of summer, I have another very limited month of blogging because I am driving to work a lot more to do the camp shuffle game. It’s always a challenge to maneuver things in the summer but we make it work- and I get less time to blog. For that reason, this blog will cover all three of the past months and I have no idea when I’ll get the next blog done. That means this will be BIG and full of pictures. Speaking of pictures, let’s kick this off with the link to the albums of the “favorite photos” from the three months: May ~ June ~ July1

Obviously we were still in school in May and sadly I don’t have very many photos from activities at school this year. I volunteered in both of their classrooms weekly and realized how much I like doing that because I really get to know the other students they’re with all day. Some things I do have photos from are in hundreds day glasses, getting awards at assemblies, and just hanging out on the playground when the teacher snaps a picture. I also have a few from the super special marketplace selling day where Leah sold rainbow loom bracelets and Cassie made goodie bags.

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Leah’s teacher also sent me a bunch of pictures from the final day school assembly where she won a very prestigious award. She was one of the top ten readers in the school. They kept track of the books they read and took comprehension tests and she was in the top 10 for points. She read over 300 books! Her teacher was very proud since it’s rare to have a first grader in the top ten. She even bought her a Barnes & Nobles card as a congratulations.
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Another exciting school activity that was actually photographed was crazy hair day. Here are their creations for the day (they tell me what to do and I make it happen).
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One thing I always get pictures of is the last day of school. I don’t know why I didn’t use the chalkboards like I usually do but the paper still did the job.
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When I didn’t have them holding the signs, things got a bit crazy… especially with Leah.
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Luckily they took good ones together.
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On our last day of school we celebrated by meeting Daddy at Dough Zone, exploring Crossroads Mall and seeing Angry Birds at the recently renovated movie theatre there. I recommend the movie theatre but not necessarily the movie.

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Afterwards we got cupcakes and played on the rock. I really like that area- I feel like they have something for everyone in the mall.

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I guess we really liked the rock in front a lot.
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The next day Cory took off to hang with the girls because we had a few days to cover. They had a late lunch at the McMenamins Hotel where they figured out the service really was as slow as we’ve heard others complain. They were hoping to play pool and shuffleboard but they were only allowed to play pinball. Another reason we won’t be returning there any time soon.
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I have such a variety of other random pictures I don’t have much explanation for- except the double Monkey one… I’ll go into that in a bit more detail.
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One night we could not find Cassie’s precious Monkey. We knew it was in the house but it simply was not findable. The night just kept going more and more downhill and I searched out an old back up Monkey to try to pass. She figured out quite easily it wasn’t her special Monkey and was so mad at me. I was then mad back at her and there was a decent amount of yelling until she finally went to bed… The next morning I left a “Missing” sign out which she misread and thought I was trying to sell Monkey. Apparently my attempt to make up to her wasn’t understood very well. At least I tried…
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Now back to the other random pictures I have to share. I found a ton from the Orthodontist office. We love those photo booth things when we find them. I even found some leftovers from Spring Break when we went to Greenflash Brewing.

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The June theme was advertising the patient appreciation movie day where they took us to see Finding Dory. There were raffle prizes, t-shirts and free refreshments. We had a great time and really cleaned up at the raffle!
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We’ve been enjoying lots of movies lately. After reading the audio book of The BFG, we had to see the movie. I was also really surprised how much we liked Secret Life of Pets too.
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The Jungle Book was another movie we liked but even better was when we saw the play version that our friend Eva starred in. We have had great fun hanging out with Eva and Phaedra- two daughters of my coworkers. I am happy to hang out with their moms while the kids play away and its easy for us all because we all get along so well!

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One place they have loved to play away at more than anywhere else is at another coworkers house. Our CMO at Moz has another amazing talent beyond work; She’s an extraordinary baker. She created a special “baking annex” in her house where she has every baking supply known to exist. One huge drawer is even dedicated to sprinkles!!!

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The first day we went she taught the girls how to make lavender macarons and homemade whoopie pies. They also made cupcakes with brown butter icing but I don’t have pictures of those. I do have pictures of the pork stuffed cornbread biscuits I made after seeing the recipe at her house and borrowing the pan. They were quite tasty!

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The next time they went over was with the goal of making ice cream. They made roasted strawberry and cherry goat cheese which were both to die for. Of course they also made huge macaron shells to sandwich the ice cream between.
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After the other flavors were made they all dug in and used the soft serve ice cream maker which spit out ice cream and mix in’s if they wanted. This all happened while us three moms lounged in the sun.
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After all of those sweets, we need to keep ourselves exercising! We’ve been doing gymnastics this year and are considering basketball after Cassie rocked the hoop during the end of year school carnival. Other activities include fun park meetups with old friends and saving our yummy indulgencies for special camping trips. It took me a few times to figure out, but #3 on Cassie’s list is potatoes. It is one of our favorite camping foods!

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Another thing I’ve been loving about this summer is the fact that the girls passed their swim test. The amount of freedom that comes with kids swimming in the deep end alone is amazing. We rarely take real showers or baths and simply head down to the pool for a quick evening dip.
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We also have Sunday morning swimming lessons there when we’re in town. I love the quiet mornings when we have the place to ourselves.
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Other places we’ve had to ourselves are the rafts at our friend’s lakehouse. It’s the place to be on a hot summer day!
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Todd hosted the beer party again this year. It was the year of IPA’s and ciders for sure!
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Another lake we’ve played on with friends is the biggest lake around: Lake Union.
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Many meals have been shared with friends before and after these activities and we’ll even eat at the pool. Nothing is better than a bucket of fruit for dinner!
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In Summer, we love to frequent farmers markets and are happy to come home to a fire Daddy has burning for us in the backyard.
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Nothing really says summer like impromptu s’mores.
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Well, maybe National Ice Cream Day is a close second. We cheated and got gelato instead of ice cream but it looked the same on the cone.
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Other special days we participated in were 7-11 free Slurpee’s and National Cow Appreciation Day at Chick Fil’ A. How have I never heard of this before? We had so much fun making our cow costumes and masks so we could have our free entrée. We will definitely go again next year!
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When going through three months of pictures you find a variety of randomness such as bedtime fun, brace face and work pictures of my propped up toe from my random hiking “injury”.
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It’s not rare for me to find pictures of bacon on my phone though… or cute hairdo’s that are done by someone else since I still don’t know how to french braid. I really need to learn because Cassie is growing out her hair and it desperately needs to be pulled back!
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Since we’re on the subject of Cassie, I have to share about the time that she took frogs from a friend’s house with the determination to keep them. After we got home (and I found out about the friends that were taken home with her), I explained they eat bugs and would need a lot more preparation to actually raise. She finally agreed to set them free so off we were at bedtime to find the nearest pond and bid them goodbye. This was not the only water “instance” with Cassie this past month as she had a miserable time kayaking with us one day which we finally deemed was a blood sugar issue because as soon as she got food in her belly (at the pool), she was a whole new kid.
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A few weeks ago we tried to help build a whole new playground at Adventure Playground on Mercer Island. It didn’t take too long to conclude that this was a better Daddy Daughter place than a Mommy activity and we soon left to get cupcakes.
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Other activities this past month have included the iSpot summer family barbecue, Kidtown Camp at church, lots of reading for the summer programs we’ve participated in, enjoying treats on the town and movie nights at home.
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One afternoon they insisted on a mini golf outing so we promptly found a nearby course.
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And that concludes the very random, much assorted, un-themed variety of pictures from the past three months. Now I’m going to take a dip in the pool because we have the place to ourselves- feel free to invite yourself over if you’d like to join us!

WHO did I go WITH to Ireland?

This is it. The final Ireland post. If you haven’t already figured out who came with me on my Irish adventures, you didn’t pay very much attention. This blog is mostly a “thank you” to them for enjoying this experience with me. It actually started last year with my Mom when I told her I was offered a free ticket to a conference that may be in Ireland (the other possible location was Amsterdam). She immediately said if it was in Ireland she would happily share a bed with me. Later last year over Christmas we were talking about the possibility and my sister heard. She also showed interest in joining. Two months later after much cajoling and convincing, we finally bought our tickets together. I’d never heard of Aer Lingus before this trip but I now know that Ireland has their own Southwest Airlines. Maybe they weren’t that bad but we weren’t first class by any means!
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It’s a different kind of trip traveling with your Mom and sister. I feel like there were many more conversations and texts about what we’re packing, the purchases we made for the trip, suitcases we’re bringing and then finally the airport adventures such as when I spilled my Thai Coffee Latte all over myself and my stuff in the airport.
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One of the funniest memories is the evening my sister and I went for a walk around the golf course and attempted to take a timed jumping picture but simply could NOT get in sync with each other or the camera! I had 51 pictures to go through! We didn’t jump 51 times- more likely around 20 but I had the camera on burst to get multiple pictures and we still couldn’t catch one right. There were many where we were still on he ground…
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Or sort of in jumping mode but in a weird position…
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The one we finally chose is below. You can’t really see my face but it was the best we had. After posting on Instagram a friend commented that it looked like I had ran into a wall and I simply cannot un-see that!!!
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I actually like these even better if you enjoy super close ups of my tongue and forehead wrinkles. My sister makes me laugh though.

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Other things that make me laugh are the random pictures from all of our cameras we shared. I copied from everyone’s phone and camera on the flight back from Ireland and when I went through them there were many selfies (ok, mostly mine) and even a picture someone took of a toilet. I still haven’t asked if it was my Mom or sister because I like being unsure and not knowing why it was taken.

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There were lots of pictures I went through from the adventures they had on the two days I was in the conference. One day they went on the Wild Wicklow tour. Since I didn’t go with them, I really don’t know where all they went but I really liked this red heart rock and this lake must have been impressive because they took a lot of pictures of it- especially panoramic ones.
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They must have also gone into the town of Wicklow because of the bagpipes picture above.
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I didn’t realize they visited such a cool “ruins place” and I felt kind of bad for making them go out of the way to visit Clonmacnoise on our way back to Dublin but they were good sports about it and didn’t seem to mind much. I don’t know which ruins these are but they saw them obviously 🙂
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Beyond the lake, there was also a river and a waterfall they said photographed much more impressively than it was in person. I was pretty impressed with the pictures!
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Teralynn was helping Mom master the selfie.
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They took the opportunity to take many photographs of the waterfall since it did look cool behind the camera.
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The next pictures gave me a good smile. One day they checked out the Powerscourt Gardens to see if it was cool enough for me to go to before we left. It actually was so Teralynn and I went the next morning but these are the pictures from their afternoon walk. The reason they make me smile is because it’s like they were taking Senior portraits of each other. They are cute pictures but they definitely worked the lens at the great Powerscourt Gardens. Here they are at the tower.
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This set was at the Japanese Gardens.
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And one last group just out and about.
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My one regret is bidding adieu to them in the Boston airport so I could go into the city and have Italian on the South End and get a few souvenirs for my two waiting for me at home. Instead I wish I would have hung out with them more in those last few hours at the airport before they departed to their planes.

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At least we have memories of walks through places like this in the lovely land of Ireland. Thanks to BOS for giving me the opportunity to go on such a once-in-a-lifetime trip and to Moz for supporting it. The women in my family will remember it forever.

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For now I say “Slan” which is goodbye in Irish. Thanks for reliving the memories with me.