Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

Reptile Man!

We had the Reptile Man come to Ellena's party and he was awesome!!!!! He brought a bunch of lizards, snakes, a tortoise the kids could ride on and a baby alligator.

Ellena did NOT want to give Lucy, the baby alligator, a hug.

Here she is holding Sweet Pea, the blue tongue skink. And her buddy Jade from school is with her.

Evan had the opportunity to hold Lucy!

This was Ellena's favorite - the tiny rubber snake. And here's proof that Pops touched the snake. He did not enjoy the experience, but he did it anyway! Anything for his girl!

My best shot of a group picture of the kids holding the yellow python. Reptile Man said he was about 50 lbs, but he felt like much more!

Birthday Party

On Sunday we had 18 children running around our backyard to celebrate Ellena's birthday... and we survived! Here are our buddies, Riley (in Evan's K class) and Tyler (will be entering K when Ellena does, crossing our fingers they are in the same class!)

Evan and Kyle (he was also in Evan's K class). Kyle and Riley also got to be friendly with Ellena at pick-up time, so Ellena asked that they come to her party.

Lining up for the lizard pinata. At times Ellena got a little overwhelmed at her party and needed to take little breaks. Here she is with her mopey lip.

Ellena's best friends from her preschool class, Adhvay and Kushagra. And our buddy, Addy.

Getting ready to sing Happy Birthday. The plate next to Ellena's Iron Man cake has some chicken that she was nibbling on, cause she got hungry!

Ellena's 4th Birthday

Ellena turned 4 on Thursday. She had the hardest time falling asleep the night before - she told Pops, "I'm too excited to fall asleep!!!!!!" She got a card in the mail from Aunty Nani the day before and we told her she couldn't open it until her birthday. What does she do? Sleep with it under her pillow. The next morning, she woke up super early and opened her card right away! She then got to open one of her presents - the saxophone that Evan got for her. Here is the Pajama Gang putting on a little impromptu concert before getting ready for the day.

After a couple errands (we needed candles for the cake!!) and getting Evan from summer school, we ate a quick lunch and started our afternoon adventure. First stop - feed the ducks at the neighborhood pond.

We then went to a trampoline place in Kirkland. I didn't tell them where we were going and that drove Evan (Mr. Planner) absolutely nuts!!!! Poor guy! But they had a ton of fun jumping into the foam pit. Ellena chose where we ate for dinner (our favorite Thai place - second year in a row for her!) and we came back to the house for birthday pumpkin cake and presents. We love you, Ellena!

Getting Ready for the Big Birthday!

It's great that the kids can help out with the birthday prep! (And they were really excited to help out!) We stuffed Easter eggs with little lizards for the guests to find and take home. We also filled the goodie boxes and Pops ordered a lizard pinata off eBay - what a lucky girl!!!

Our birthday tradition is for me to make the birthday child their special request cake on their birthday. In the past, I've made chocolate cake with strawberry jam in the middle and frosted with buttercream icing - since Ellena didn't really have much of an opinion on what kind of cake she liked when she was younger. Her main concern was what color the frosting was going to be. This year, she specifically asked for pumpkin cake with purple frosting, M&Ms and sprinkles. Okaaaaaaayyy... did some research and found a recipe for pumpkin cake and it came out really good! And I got the cake done a day early, so we could spend the entire day celebrating the special girl!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Piko Brown

On Monday, we had to say good bye to our first "baby" Piko. It was very sad to let go of him, but it was the right thing to do. He wasn't eating, drinking or enjoying life anymore. He had end-stage kidney disease and fought the good fight. At the beginning of the year, his bloodwork indicated that his disease was so progressed, he would probably not be eating and instead, throwing up. Not my Piko! He was one tough dude! We were given an optimistic 4 month time frame, and he stretched it to 7.5 months! What a guy! Almost til the very end, he was his normal self - spunky, affectionate, and a little crazy in the head. We tried to make the most of his final days, feeding him cold cut chicken that he used to get busted for trying to sneak off Evan's lunch plate and letting him hang out in the sunshine outside. He lived the best life and we couldn't have asked for a better kitty!

Thinking back on his zany life, I can't help but feel fortunate - they say cats have 9 lives... well, this one got 20! I still remember going to the Humane Society and meeting him for the fist time. He was a tiny kitten and Tommy instantly fell in love with the little brown tabby snuggled on his lap. I was a little hesitant, but we did the paperwork and arranged to pick him up the next day. Tommy couldn't come, so our friend Hoku took me back to the animal shelter. I was just telling him how we found this really calm kitten that slept on Tommy's lap.  I walked into the room where Piko was being held and he was so excited to see me that he climbed the bars of his cage. Scaled it like Spiderman! We got such a giggle since I had just told Hoku that we were getting a "calm" cat. We even wondered if it was the same cat from yesterday!

As a young cat, we found out from the vet that something was going on with his gums. They were raw and inflamed. Turns out, his gums were allergic to the enamel on his teeth. Say what?! How can that be? The best thing to do was to remove most of his teeth and the gums would settle down. In Piko went for a full removal of all teeth except for the 4 canines and those teeny tiny teeth in the front.

Piko was a relatively normal kitten, but somewhere along the way, he got a little neurotic. Around the same time, 2 things happened that would forever change Piko. Our friend Charlie accidentally stepped on his tail (which Piko held a very long grudge over. He did not like Charlie after that.) And we brought home a foster kitten to take care of overnight. Piko did not like that at all. He thought he was being replaced and withdrew quite a bit. He remained a loving cat to us, but from then, he hid whenever people came over.

Some of his other neurotic tendencies: He loved to rub his face in plastic bags. He liked to eat hair and string. This leads to another near death experience. We took Evan to Disneyland when he turned 2. When we returned from our trip, we found Piko looking ill and there was vomit everywhere. Cat sitter did not realize something was wrong (she was never used again, obviously). Tommy took him to the emergency room that night and they had to operate on Piko - they removed a yard of thread that he had injested. If our trip was a day longer, he would probably not have made it.

My favorite memories of Piko:

As a kitten he would perch on Tommy's shoulder and lick melted cheese out of the can. We called him Piko Parrot.

When he wanted to eat, he would do the "Shakey Tail Stomp". He would stand in front of us, stomp his back paws and his tail would quiver. It was so cute.

When the kids were babies, I hated hearing them cry in the middle of the night ("Just go to sleep!!!!") I would come back to our room and rest my head on Piko. He would purr and the sound would drown out the crying for a little bit and I'd get so much comfort out of such a simple thing.

The cats were not allowed outside ever. One time, Piko got out. He snuck out the back door and stepped onto the pavement. You could tell he immediately regretted his decision cause he started stepping very gingerly - as if the rough pavement was hurting his tender indoor-cat paws.

He loved his snackies. When Tommy was working at the cat hospital, he brought home a bag of food (Royal Canin Adult dry) and said, "They're calling this Kitty Crack because all cats love it." We tried it out, and yup, our kitties loved it too. We called them snackies and gave it sparingly. Sometimes, Poki would hide away and we could not find her. She would not come out when you called her name, so the only thing that would draw her out was to shake the bag of snackies. She would come running and we would give her a little. Piko would of course get some too. So whenever I would start looking for Poki, Piko would come along and hound me, knowing that he would be getting snackies soon.

He loved getting groomed at home. We had a special brush called the Zoom Groom. He perked up when he saw me holding it. He would lie down and purr and make biscuits with his paws - he was in heaven! It must have felt so good for him!

Piko was one special dude. His 13.5 years with us was filled with lots of love and purrs.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Space Needle & Chihuly Garden and Glass

On Friday we went back to Seattle to the Space Needle. So glad we got there early - no lines!

We then took the monorail to Westlake Center and walked through Pike Place Market (starting to get crowded!) Got to eat lunch at one of my favorite places from my working days - Pike Place Chowder - still the best chowder around!

Hopped back on the monorail and went to the new Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit. The children have been to the Museum of Glass in Tacoma and really enjoyed it, so they were looking forward to this. We were so impressed! 

Seattle Aquarium

We went to the Seattle Aquarium with Uncle Graig, Aunty Krista, Drake, Aunty Kim, Aaron, Kade, and Grandma Madeline. Check out the two-headed jellyfish!

We always seem to crave seafood after viewing the sea creatures - strange. So we went off to lunch at Crab Pot!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Back to NW Trek

We went back to Northwest Trek with Grandma, Grandpa and Aaron. It was a great day to see the animals!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Emerald Downs

Today we went to Emerald Downs for the first time! I called when they opened at 9 AM to see if we could reserve a table and was told that if we could get there by 10:30, we could go on the stable tour. So we rustled everyone up and headed down to the track!

Here is a horse that was retiring that day. Sounds like he won a bunch of races - West Seattle Boy. This is where we met to go on the tour - the worst tour ever! We got on the last tram car where one tire was weird so it was as if we were riding a horse - bumpy! The speaker didn't work, so we couldn't hear anything the guide was saying, and he didn't take us to any cool/interesting places in the stables. Just stayed on the outside and maybe we'd get a peak at a horse if we peered in the doorways. But getting to the track early did allow us free entry for the day!

So since it's our first time there, we took a look around and got to see our seating options. There was free open seating, paid seats at the 3rd level and paid seats on the 5th level. The restaurant was also on the 5th level and we learned that if a table was available, we could sit there the entire day as long as we met a $10 food and drink minimum per person - sure, no problem!

We watched a California simulcast that alternated with the live racing - so exciting! Evan's first pick was "Grumpy Smallmouth" and he won! It's amazing how many times our picks came in dead last! But man, when our horse has a chance at winning, it sure is fun and exciting!