Monday, September 1, 2014

End of Summer Fun

With the start of school approaching (tomorrow), it's time to catch up on the latter part of Ava's summer adventures.

Ava turned 7 just a few weeks ago and celebrated with presents and dinner at Lazy Dog Cafe. 
The celebrations continued that weekend with Ava's grandparents and friends for a pool party at the Woollett Aquatic Center.  The kids enjoyed going down the water slide and "Frozen" themed treats.
Heading to Simi Valley, Ava got a taste of history at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.  Not only did she "learn" about things that were way over her head, but she got to step aboard Air Force One and Marine One.  
Outside the museum we got to see a piece of the Berlin Wall.
The library was also hosting a special baseball exhibition featuring uniforms, bats, and memorabilia from legends such as Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, and Jackie Robinson.  
Of course plenty of live baseball was on tap this summer including inviting a friend to Angel Stadium cheer on Mike Trout,   

A chance to cheer on Abby's hometown Oakland A's when they came to town,
And a trip to Lancaster to see the single-A Lancaster Jethawks. 
Prior to the game, Ava and Chris played catch on the field,
And Ava got autographs from some of the Jethawks players as well as their mascot Kaboom! 
Grammy, Poppy, Chris, and Ava enjoyed great seats and food
And Ava even got to run through the outfield during the game and around the bases after the game.  (Don't worry.  Ava's not slow.  The kid in orange had a 90 foot head start.) 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Breaking Records and Busting Myths

Ava has continued to enjoy her summer and spent several nights with Grammy and Poppy where she did woodworking and searched for shells at the beach.
Ava has been involved in several camps including tennis camp and even a performing arts camp that culminated in Ava's performance as Olaf in "Frozen." 
Ava will tell you that Irvine is "famous" because lots of homes have ivy (huh?), the city is home to UC Irvine (Zot!), and because it is a hotbed for swimming.  This past week, Irvine hosted the USA Swimming National Championships.  Before the meet, Ava and her friends got to meet Olympic gold medalists Josh Davis, Conor Dwyer, and Tyler Clary. 
During the meet, Ava cheered on some of the best swimmers in the world including Missy Franklin, Michael Phelps, and Matt Grevers. 
The highlight of the night was watching teen phenom Katie Ledecky set a new world record in the 400 meter freestyle.  It was an amazing race and the crowd was going nuts. 
As we walked back to our car we bumped into none other than Katie Ledecky! 
The next day, we picked up a couple of Ava's friends to check out the Mythbusters exhibit at the DiscoveryCube.  They learned about how the Mythbusters test out myths and got to test out and bust some myths themselves. 
Ava's favorite activity was building houses out of different materials and then putting them in front of an air cannon in order to determine whether the Big Bad Wolf could blow down a house made of bricks.
The permanent exhibits at the museum were a lot of fun too with a rock wall,  
Interactive hockey exhibits, 
Learning about eating locally, nutrition, and recycling, 
And creating musical chaos! 
Ava's summer of fun continues with Girl Scout Camp and then a trip up to Camp Oakland. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Seattle

We saved some of the biggest Seattle highlights for our final day in town and were a bit worried when we woke up to thick fog.  Fortunately, the cloud cover burned off and we were able to spend our last day in a very sunny Seattle.

The first tourist attraction on our list was a walk to Seattle Center to see the Chihuly Garden & Glass.  The entrance fee alone was absurd and Chris was worried that we'd have to sell our house if Ava broke something, but Ava was on her best behavior and was enthralled by all the shapes, light, and color.

For lunch we rotated 360 degrees at 500 feet above Seattle in the Space Needle where we had unobstructed views of the entire city.  Kids can write notes and leave them on the outer ledge for other people to respond.  Ava could read and respond to questions - about her name, where she was from, whether she would go out with them, and whether god was alive - from these unseen friends.
Crossing the city, we took a tour of CenturyLink Field, the home of Derrick Coleman and the Seattle Seahawks.  After decades as the AFC West's doormat, the Seahawks have turned things around with a gorgeous stadium and are in the NFC and Super Bowl champs.  
Highlights of the tour included the visitor's locker room 
And a visit onto the field. 
After some rest back at the hotel, we rode the LINK to Safeco Field to see Robinson Cano and the surprisingly good Seattle Mariners.  Ava has now seen games in 10 different major league stadiums (stadia?).
Prior to the game, Ava ran around the playground. 
We took a break during the Mariners' 2-0 shutout of the hapless Twins to take pictures,  
Visit the Dave Niehaus statue,  
And visit the Moose Den to get a photo and autograph of Mariner Moose.
Despite a few minor hiccups (getting drenched in Vancouver, some bumps and bruises, and some long lines), Ava had a solid, 5-star vacation and looks forward to a future trip back to the great northwest. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Seattle from Above and Below

One visit to Pike Place Market wasn't enough for Ava, so we made a couple more trips there today.  This morning we visited the very first Starbucks location so Ava could drink her long-promised hot chocolate.
In the main arcade, Abby and Ava enjoyed the scents of locally grown lavender. 
Back outside, Ava added a chewed up piece of gum to the Gum Wall. 
Heading to the sky, we rode on the Great Wheel.  While not quite the same as the London Eye, it still offered wonderful views of the bay and the city. 
For lunch, we stopped at Ivar's Fish Bar for some tasty fried goodness overlooking the harbor.
We then headed to Pioneer Square to visit the oldest parts of Seattle. 
The highlight for us was taking the Underground Seattle Tour (free for kids 6 and under!) where we explored Seattle below street level and were able to see an original Crapper toilet. 
Nearby was the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park where we stopped in to learn about the difficulties of travelling through Seattle to Alaska at the turn of the century in an attempt to strike it rich. 
On our way back to the hotel, we walked by the Seattle Public Library, which was exactly as depicted in Goodnight Seattle
For dinner we met up with Ava's old playgroup friend Audrey and her little brothers Lucas and Owen at Etta's.  It just happened to be wear a stripey dress day. 
After dinner we strolled around the market again and the kids climbed aboard Rachel the Pig. 
For dessert, the kids each savored their strawberry gelato from Botega Italiana
Our last stop of the night was Victor Steinbrueck Park where the kids had the chance to run around on the grass and visiting the totem pole while avoiding the homeless people.   
Ava has long enjoyed the Larry Gets Lost series and has read Larry Gets Lost in Seattle many, many times.  Today, we found a Larry that can join us during story time and that Ava can take home with her.