July- we had a wedding reception in Ohio for a family friend. Tried for a quick family photo since we were all dressed up. Elliot had a blast running around, dancing.
August- Took an almost 3-week trip to LA, Portland, Seattle. The above is how we *jokingly* dealt with our antsy toddler on the flights.
Fabulous time, but everything is in slow motion with kids. Lots of hiking and visiting friends. Some times were hard with no-nap-days, meltdowns, lack of routine, etc. It was great to be able to stay with friends and family, though.
My mom overlapped with us for part of the Portland leg, and visited Seattle with us. We did a fly-by of Mt. St. Helen and it was awesome. So neat to read about the eruption and to see the crater. Elliot still talks about this volcano 6 months later...
We met up with Gina and Sophia (old Chicago friends who moved to Seattle 3 years ago, and were moving to Germany within a couple of weeks of our visit). We spent about a day and a half together.
Elliot became enthralled with the street performers, which are very abundant in the NE. We would have to pull him away. He was mesmerized.
We took a ferry over to Bainbridge Island to walk around for the afternoon.
Sophia is 4 and Elliot and her hit it off right away, sharing things from the backpack as we took breaks in parks.
Another street performer captures Elliot's attention. This is the first Starbucks. Line was enormous to get a coffee.
This was the moment the kids met- they took hands right away and bonded. So cute.
And more performers to watch...
Back in Portland- more street musicians at the farmers market.
We got tons of hiking in but Portland also has great plazas with fountains to run around in.
At the science museum. The lady was showing Elliot how Play Dough is a conductor.
Just one of many hikes. Mind you, I was 4+ months pregnant. So between Elliot and me, we really slowed Pat down! We did accomplish 3 hikes that were 5+ miles each. Not bad. Pat took one day to do a major hike on his own and got two big mountain biking treks in with Brad. We had some major tantrums/meltdowns along the way, but the best days were when we were all out in nature. He loves being outdoors.
We had asked Brad to locate a car seat and a bike for us- Elliot loves riding his bike and we thought 2 weeks in Portland would require some bike riding. Brad found one, but it was too big. We found the same bike Elliot has in Chicago at a Walmart for $40 and jumped on it. It was pink, but we were helping keep Portland weird, by some people's standards (but really not by Portland standards). Anyway, this is Elliot riding his bike through the fountain pool in the middle of the city.
Uncle Brad got out multiple remote control helicopters. Elliot was in awe.
One day we went to the coast-- it was an 80-degree heat wave in Portland. The coast ended up being 50+ degrees and rainy- and we did not pack any jackets for any of us! Not smart. We attempted a hike since we had driven out there- Elliot was wrapped in his blanket and we just dealt in our shorts and t-shirts. Made it 1.5 miles and called it quits.
Uncle Brad treated Elliot to a massive play day at the top of Mt. Hood- in the summer, there's an entire adventure park up there! We rode the ski lifts together and then took these sled-like carts down a 1 mile chute. Elliot loved it- no chance for a photo, though. Then, inside one of the structures was a giant play gym for kids- it was heaven for Elliot. I couldn't get him to leave to eat- it became almost 3pm and we had to drag him out.
Yes, go-carts for 3 year olds! He did ok, running off the track quite a few times though. It was hilarious to watch. There were also mini canoes and swings for kids, then bungee jumping, mountain biking (which Brad and Pat did), tubing down chutes... fun stuff!
Swim break during a hike.
There were so many great waterfalls. I can't track which hike was which at this point.
Ah, the beloved magical bunny (strapped in here to Elliot's seatbelt) was lost along the way. We still talk about what adventures he may be having...
LA was the start of the trip. This is Elliot joining in on the "TUUUNNNNNEEEEELLLLLLLL!!!!" that everyone yelled every time we went through a mountain. We stayed with Alejandro, Anita, and their two boys, Tom and Sam (4 & 5, I think, at the time).
Elliot and Pat trying to look presidential. This was the Reagan Library- we got to go inside the plane. Pretty neat to see.
And this is inside Alejandro's plane!! He has a small plane and let the kids sit in the cockpit. Elliot's face captures his joy. There were also rides on the golf cart. (That's Tom behind Elliot.)
Joining in the super hero cape wearing.
We had one day at the beach. It was rough- 3rd day with no nap, all outta whack, and a battle over no lunch. I ended up sitting the car for most of the beach time with Elliot. It was not pretty, but eventually we got to play in the sand.
One afternoon was spent at a farm with activities for the kids. They had a blast and that's exactly what an afternoon like that is about- pure fun for the kids. We did manage one night out for the adults- Anita and Alejandro were so sweet to organize their sitter for all the kids while we went to dinner.
The carts took rides all the way around the field- quite significant, felt kinda strange to let them go on their own like that, but we managed to wander away for a coffee.
And the pony rides were a hit.
September- Rally during CPS strike- both Pat and I were on strike. Elliot went to the picket line every single day with us, in his red attire, riding his red bike with his red helmet- he fit right in. He was always ready to scream with a fist in the air on demand and got lots of attention. (Strike lasted 7 school days.)
October- the Miners visited from OH. Elliot wanted so badly to do whatever the older boys (Nicholas, 10, Will, 6) were doing.
October- Pumpkin carving time! A big one this year- and Elliot's attention span required 2 nights to get it carved.
Elliot was convinced that his toy saw worked great on pumpkins.
Many afternoons out and about on the scooter. Thought he looked especially older in this one.
This stool has become his pretend house. I get yelled at for sitting on his roof.
Random fall sunset at the lake.
Leah in her Halloween attire! ;)
Trick or Treating on Harper Street with Lucas.
December- Playing with stickers at the Advent Festival at church.
Jam session with Lucas. I love the intensity here.