Saturday, December 20, 2014

Fall Update!

Well, we've all had a pretty busy Fall!  In September, the four of us flew to Florida to spend some time (and Claire's third birthday) with Nana and Papa.  We all had a great time and wished we could have stayed for much longer.  Halloween was a blast - Claire and Nora were both Ariel, the Little Mermaid.  Nora was the mermaid and Claire was the princess (and Claire made sure everyone knew, if they asked what she was going to be for Halloween).  Claire trick-or-treated around the neighborhood and really enjoyed herself!  In November we had a nice Thanksgiving dinner with Bonnie, Gary, and Frona.

We've also been in the process of buying a new house and moving - we nearly bought one house in October but the deal ended up falling through.  We purchased another house on November 26 and are expecting to move in on December 22nd!  More on that in another blog post!

Nora has been a busy girl these days, what with eating lots of different foods, crawling and starting to pull up on furniture. She's even taken a few steps while holding onto the couch, so we might be getting closer to having a walking baby on our hands...look out!!

Also, on December 2nd Claire started preschool at Montessori Garden School - so far she seems to really like it! It's a small school with about 10 kids (all around 3-4 years old), and the teacher has 30+ years of experience in both Montessori teaching & also Montessori teacher instructing. Claire is definitely absorbing a lot and getting to know her fellow classmates - she's excited to go back to school after the Christmas break, so that's a good sign!

We're heading up to Vancouver for Christmas this year, and in addition to the usual suspects, my Aunts Cathy & Barb & my cousin Allison are all making the trek from Manitoba! It should be a great visit, and we'll post about it...soon...!

We hope everyone has a Merry Christmas - see you in 2015!

Fall 2014 Update Pictures!
Claire's Third Birthday Pictures!
Claire and Nora Visit Florida Pictures!
Nora Doesn't Want the Chair Video
The Vickerys at Bono's Video
Claire at the Beach Video
Claire at the Beach Part 2 Video
Claire and Zach at Rebounderz Video
Thank You Very Very Much Video
Southern League Champs Video
On the Swings at Palencia Park Video
Claire Decides to Jump Video
Nora in the Pool Video
Claire at Eagle Creek Pool Video
Birthday Presents for Claire Video
Claire and Nora Ride the Carousel Video
Claire on the Roller Slide Video
Queen of the Trampoline Video
Swinging at Peppermint Park Video
JumpTime Enthusiast Video
Nora Crawling Video
Nora Tries the Scooter Video
Leaf Monster Video
Nora Gets the Green Stick Video
Sisters in the Leaves Video
Vickery Family Walk Video
Nora Tapping Blocks Video
I'm a Famous Preschooler Video
Claire in the Box Video
Nora on the Scooter Video
Nora Dinnertime Video
Nora at Little Gym Video

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Playing Catch-up, Part Deux

Yep, that's right, folks - 2 blog posts in a week!! We can't believe it either...please don't get used to it!

So, when last we blogged, we were heading into Summer & looking forward to lots of nice weather. This summer has been a great one, both weather-wise & otherwise, so let's discuss, shall we? Great.

We kicked off the summer at the beginning of July by driving up to Vancouver to spend the July long weekend with my family. We headed out of Boise on the Thursday night (July 3rd) and drove through the night, arriving in Vancouver around breakfast time. The girls did really well on the overnight trip - Nora slept through a lot of it, and Claire slept off & on, but at least when she was awake, she would just talk quietly to herself & look out the window. No complaints from us!

The visit in Vancouver was great - the weather was gorgeous (and hot!), so we spent lots of time with Auntie Megan, Emily & Matthew at pools and playgrounds, which Claire loved of course! We also headed out to Cultus Lake to visit Uncle Dave & celebrate my birthday. Dave has a truly beautiful place to call home - the lake is practically at his doorstep, and is absolutely stunning! The water was amazing & even Claire splashed around in it after some serious coaching & coaxing from various family members. We were able to coordinate this visit with a cross-country visit from my Auntie Cathy who lives in Manitoba, so it was wonderful to see her & introduce her (and the whole family) to Nora!

Zach drove back to Boise & Claire, Nora & I spent another 10 days hanging out with everyone. It was so nice to just hang out at the wading pools & parks while the cousins played together. The girls & I were sad to leave, but had to head back to Boise so Zach wouldn't forget what we looked like! We flew to Portland & then to Boise, and both girls did very well. I was quite worried, flying with both of them by myself, but luckily the flights weren't long (1hr 15mins each leg), and Nora slept for a lot of the 2nd flight so I was able to keep Claire busy.

Our next adventure came in mid-August - camping with an almost-3 year old & a 6 month old! Such fun! No really, we had a great time. We headed out to Lewis and Clark Trail State Park, in Washington State, to meet up with our friends Joey & Sam and their daughters (Cecelia, 5 & Mallory, 2), and Tracy & Dan. We spent 2 nights at the campground, which was just lovely - the sites weren't big, but they were nice & right close to a small river. The girls played really well together & kept each other entertained for long stretches, which allowed the adults time to visit. Both Claire & Nora did very well sleeping in the tent with us - Claire was so worn out by bedtime on both nights that she'd just pass out cold & not even bat an eyelash if Nora woke up & cried! Yay for tired kids!

So, those were the two big trips of our summer, and now that we're heading into Fall, we're very excited to be flying down to Florida this Tuesday to spend a week with Jan & Ron! More about that trip in our next blog post...until then, here are the pictures from the rest of our summer...Enjoy!

Katie, Zach, Claire & Nora

Late Summer Update Pictures!
Nora Tries the Jumperoo Video
Nora Getting Used to the Jumperoo Video
Nora in the Jumperoo Video
Splashing Claire Video
Nora Splashes Video
Grass Fed Baby Video
Nora Eats Rice Cereal Video
Pool Slide Video
Nora Jumping Video
Nora Tips Over Video
Nora Reaching Video
Carousel Ride at the Fair Video
Jeep Ride at the Fair Video
Boat Ride at the Fair Video
Train Ride at the Fair Video
Camel Ride at the Fair Video
Nora in the Yard Video
Claire Pushes Nora Video
Labor Day Dinner Video

Monday, September 1, 2014

Blog? What blog?!

Let's just pretend that it hasn't actually been 6 months since we last updated this blog, OK? Great, thanks...moving on...

We've had a busy time in the past little while, getting adjusted to being a household of 4. When Nora was born, my Mom was able to be here both before & after her arrival, which was great for everyone, but especially for Claire, since she had some awesome one-on-one time with Grandma Shepherd during a very transitional time. It was also wonderful to have Grandma here for the first days of dealing with both a newborn & a 2 year old!

After that, our next visitors were some of my family members on their Spring Break in March. My sister Megan, brother Dave & my niece & nephew, Emily & Matthew, drove down to meet Nora & hang out with us for a week. It was so nice to have them here, since Claire is pretty much obsessed with her cousins, and Nora had her dreams come true by being held by someone basically 24/7! We also got to celebrate Emily's 10th birthday with her (WHAT?! When did that happen??).

Our final visitors were Zach's mom, Jan & her friend Susan, who came at Easter to meet Nora & celebrate Easter with us. Again, Claire had a wonderful time showing Jan & Susan around & going swimming in their hotel pool. We hosted Easter Brunch with Jan, Susan, Gary & Bonnie and Claire absolutely loved colouring & hunting for Easter eggs with everyone!

Thanks to everyone for some fantastic visits, and for coming to visit us!
And we promise we'll try not to go so long between blog posts in the future...

Zach, Katie, Claire & Nora

Mid-Summer 2014 Pictures
Pictures from Nana and Susan's Visit

Claire Sings Her ABCs Video
What Dis Called Video
Nora on the Floor Video
Nora Swings Video
Claire Climbing Video
Nora's First Bath Video
Off the Beam Video
Flying a Kite Video
Claire at Manitou Park Video
Nora Playing Video
Nora Talks Video
Easter Basket Video
Baby Nora Swings Video
Baby Nora Close-up Video
Claire Swings Video
Claire at Jabbers Video
Claire Dyes a Lavender Egg Video
Claire Rocks the Turtle Video
Nora on the Play Mat Video
Claire Plays B-Ball Video
Claire's Tutu Video
JumpTime Video
Claire at Little Gym Video
Nora Gets Some Help Video
Nora on the Mat Video
Kleiner Splash Park Video
Claire Loves the Fountain Video
On the Trike Video
Nora Rollin Video
Sliding Into the Pool Video
Nora on a Swing Video
Claire Makes a Pizza Video

Monday, February 10, 2014

Welcome to the World, Baby Sister!

Yes, that's right folks, we are officially a family of four, as of Friday, February 7, 2014!

Nora Jane Vickery was born at 5:08pm, weighing in at 8lbs 6oz, and measuring 20 3/4" long. She is a very sweet little girl with a solid set of lungs, and Claire is totally in love with her (so far - we'll see how long this lasts!)

Because of the fact that Nora was already 1 week overdue, my doctor scheduled me to be medically induced on Friday morning. After a lovely overnight snowstorm, Zach & I went to the hospital at 7:30am and Claire stayed at our house with my Mom, who has been here since last Tuesday, Jan 28th. Claire has been over the moon about having Grandma here, so was more than thrilled to spend a couple of days with Grandma!
Once we got to the hospital, I was admitted & they got everything organized for the induction. I was induced at 9:05am, my water was broken at around 3pm & after some great coaching from Zach and our awesome Labor & Delivery Nurse, Aubrey, Nora made her entrance into the world!

So, from induction to delivery, I was in labor for about 8 hours. Thanks to the wonderful nursing staff & doctors at the hospital, St Luke's Meridian, everything went as smoothly as possible, and we truly have nothing but good things to say about the nurses and doctors we worked with!

Claire & Grandma came to see us & meet Nora that night, but we're not sure if Claire was more excited to see Nora (and us) or hang out in a hospital room with lots of awesome new stuff to mess around with! She is definitely a big fan of her little sister so far, though, which is very cute to see. She tells us all the time, "I LOVE the new baby!!" and always wants to hold her or give her a kiss. Our fingers are crossed that the feelings continue!

We were released from the hospital around noon on Sunday and spent the rest of day adjusting to our new lives as a family of four!  Bonnie and Gary also stopped by for a bit to meet Nora and while they were here we had a nice Skype call with Nana Vickery too!

All in all, it was a very exciting weekend, and we are so thrilled to finally meet Nora & get to know her! Welcome to the family, Baby Nora! We love you!

Nora Jane Vickery Pictures!
Claire and Grandma Meet Nora Video
In the Recovery Room Video
Claire Gets Legos From Nora Video

Monday, January 27, 2014

Minivan Ownership

Since we learned we were going to be parents of two last summer, we've been thinking we will need a bigger vehicle for hauling around double strollers, portable potties, and making the occasional trips elsewhere.  Katie and I agreed that a minivan was more practical for us than a three row SUV.  For several months we've been spending parts of our weekends looking at minivans, which surprisingly, is not the most fun thing to do.  Especially when there is a toddler involved who wants us to buy every one she sees!

Pretty early in the search the Honda Odyssey EX-L emerged as the nicest possible choice. The only problem being that it was the 2014 "refreshed" version that had everything we (OK, moreso me) wanted.  Meaning that the ideal option for us was not available used.  Just before New Years the search was resumed and it was time to make a decision - no more wasted weekends at car lots for a long time!  Instead of compromising on a less appealing vehicle, with the end of year incentives we decided to take the plunge and buy a new 2014 Honda Odyssey EX-L!

The new vehicle is definitely newer and nicer than what we were initially thinking of buying.  But so far we've been super impressed with the vehicle!  My personal favorite feature is the keyless entry and push button start.  Shockingly to myself, I am now of the belief that taking car keys out of one's pocket is an old-fashioned 20th century act of drudgery.  All of the other bells and whistles - Bluetooth, satellite radio, trip computers - are pretty nice too!  It is also nice to have so much room, even with two car seats installed.  Oh, and Claire loves to nap in it too, which can either be a good or bad thing.

The coda of this tale is that our trusty 2001 Ford Escape is no longer a member of the family.  It was a great car and will be missed - especially if/when the next hiking trip comes about!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Playing Catch-up (Part 2)

When we last left you, our loyal readers, we had just finished up a great visit from Nana & Papa Vickery, back in October. Since then, there have been a few notable happenings, including Claire's first time Trick or Treating on Halloween, as well as (American) Thanksgiving & Christmas.

Claire was a dinosaur for Halloween (a blue & green one - there's a picture or two of the Claire-osaurus Rex in the Picture link at the end of this post). She loved shaking her butt to wag the tail of the costume, which was pretty entertaining! We decided she was old enough to sort of understand the idea of Halloween, so while Zach gave out candy at our house, Claire & I went to about 10 houses in our neighbourhood to Trick or Treat. Every time we walked up to a house, I asked her "What do we say when they open the door?" and she was very good at saying "Twick or Tweat!"...but as soon as the door opened, she was mute! She did manage to say "Thank you" after she got candy, but it was a little overwhelming, I think! That being said, she did tell us that it was the "Best Halloween...EVAHHHH!" multiple times that night (and since then!), so she clearly had a good time! She also got to give out candy with Zach when we got home, and loved saying "Happy Halloween!" to the Trick or Treaters!

For American Thanksgiving this year, we were lucky enough to be invited to dinner at Gary & Bonnie's, where we had a delicious turkey dinner with all the fixings. Not only did Claire get to hear Uncle Gary play the guitar, but she was also entertained by Bonnie & Gary's two Dachshunds, Maggie & Cudjo - they were a little worried about her, since they aren't used to a crazy toddler running around, and she was fascinated by their barking - they'd bark at her & she'd laugh in their faces! Poor dogs! Thanks again for a delicious dinner, Bonnie & Gary!

This year's Christmas was different from past years, since we didn't travel anywhere. We stayed home (I couldn't fly & wasn't comfortable driving 11+ hours each way to/from Vancouver in potentially nasty weather, especially at 8 months pregnant!) We went to a Christmas Eve church service at Southminster Presbyterian - they had a good mix of traditional carols & hymns, a candlelight portion at the end of the service, and some more contemporary aspects like a puppet show (Claire loved them - they sang "Bethlehemian Rhapsody" - a nativity song to the tune of, you guessed, Bohemian Rhapsody!). The minister's sermon also included this Youtube video of Extreme Sheepherding!

On Christmas morning, we opened our stockings & Claire opened her present from us - the dollhouse that my Grandpa made for Megan & I when we were kids (which Claire's cousin Emily also played with). We did some renovating, repainting & re-wallpapering/carpeting, since the 30+ year old flooring & wallpaper was starting to peel & show it's age. I also found some cute dollhouse furniture & a family of four...Claire seems to really like the dollhouse!

Bonnie & Gary came over for Christmas morning brunch, which included eggs, home made cinnamon buns, fruit, some different cheeses & bacon. We loved having Bonnie & Gary over, it was great to sit & chat. After Gary & Bonnie headed home, we opened presents (it was a wrapping paper explosion in our living room!) - Claire loved this part, it's amazing what a difference a year makes when it comes to Christmas present unwrapping! She was excited about all her gifts & I promise Thank You cards are coming shortly! We loved our gifts, too - it was a great year & we were all spoiled!

Our New Years was also quiet - no partying for us! Now that 2014 is here, we're in the throes of getting things ready for Baby #2, as well as painting our guest room (which will become Claire's new room in a few months). Everything's going well on the baby front - only 2ish weeks to go until my due date of January 31st,! My mom will be flying down a few days before my due date, which will be MUCH appreciated! Then Jan will be coming out to visit & meet the new tyke once she's fully recovered from her knee surgery (which was December 18th) - she's doing great on her recovery!

So, I think we're all caught up now! As always, sorry for the lengthy novel...there was a lot to talk about! Here are a whole bunch of pictures & videos for your viewing pleasure. Next time we'll try not to wait so long, and we'll be sure to post a quick update when the new baby arrives!

Claire New Years Update Pictures
Climbing at Gordon Harris Park Video
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Video
Uncle Gary Plays the Guitar Video
Claire in the Snow Video
Snowstorm Video
JumpTime Video
I Want a Hug Video
On the Rings Video
Claire Dancing Video
Christmas Morning Video
Claire Opens Lego From Grandma Video
Claire Opens an Ornament From Nana and Papa Video
Claire Opens Her Doctor Kit From the Aprims Video
Claire at Chickalay Video
Claire Plays With Markers Video

Friday, January 3, 2014

Nana and Papa Visit Boise

In October (yes, we are behind!!) Nana and Papa Vickery came to Boise for a visit.  They arrived on the 10th and got to spend a week with the three of us - it was a great visit! Claire was very excited about having Nana & Papa around for so long (not long enough!).  Highlights included going to the park, showing Nana & Papa around Boise, lots of book reading, and going to Linder Farms. The Linder Farms Pumpkin Patch was a big hit with Claire, especially the Corn Box (which is exactly what it sounds like...a box..filled with dried corn!) and the petting zoo. All in all, we had a wonderful time with Jan & Ron!

Nana and Papa did a much better job than us taking pictures and videos so here they are for your enjoyment!

Nana and Papa's Pictures

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Claire's 2nd Birthday and a Trip to Vancouver!

It's hard to believe, but Claire just celebrated her 2nd birthday on Sept. 14th! It definitely doesn't feel like it was 2 years ago that she came into our lives - what an awesome ride it's been so far for all of us! She's such a little ham, and makes us laugh every day. This is a really fun age, and it's been especially exciting to see how she's becoming her own person & learning new things all the time!

Claire and I headed up to Vancouver on September 4th to get some extra visiting time in, and then Zach drove up on Friday, Sept 13th. The plane trip from Boise to Seattle, and then finally to Bellingham where my Mom picked us up, was pretty uneventful. Claire even got her own seat on the flight from Seattle to Bellingham, which she was pretty excited about! Mainly she was just happy eating a bunch of snacks, reading books and playing with stickers...which is pretty much the perfect day in Claire's world!

We spent the majority of our time in Vancouver hanging out with family, which was perfect. Both my sister Megan, and my brother Dave recently moved, and we were able to get the grand tours of their new places. Megan, Ben & my niece & nephew, Emily & Matthew now live about 10 minutes from my Mom, and have a fantastic back yard for the kids to run around in! Dave moved to a cabin at Cultus Lake, about 1 1/2 hours from Vancouver - he's in a beautiful spot that's a very short walk to the water's edge - so peaceful!

Claire also got to spend lots of time playing with (and harassing) my Mom's dogs, Cassie & Sydney, and loved taking them for walks & playing on the playground by my Mom's house. She had a wonderful time playing with her cousins, Emily & Matt - Emily was an excellent big cousin/babysitter, and Matt & Claire had a great time horsing around!

Claire's birthday party was on Saturday, Sept. 14th, and we had a great party at my Mom's, complete with lots of family including my Auntie Cathy, who made the drive all the way from Miami, Manitoba to deliver the family heirloom cradle to us & a wardrobe to my Mom. It was so nice to see everyone, and especially great that AC could be there!

The birthday dinner menu consisted of Claire's favourite - noodles - with meatballs, sauce and veggies. She scarfed her dinner and when cake time rolled around, she inhaled a big piece of cake, too! My Mom & I made a Mickey Mouse birthday cake, and some cupcakes. Claire loved blowing out the candles, multiple times!

When it was time to open presents, it was like Christmas all over again - for Claire, Matt & Emily! Claire was very lucky in the present department, and in addition to the awesome tricycle that she got from her Grandma & Grandpa Vickery in Florida, she got a whole bunch of amazing presents from the Vancouver side of the family, too! Thank you very much to everyone who was able to celebrate with us in Vancouver, and to the Vickery/Dow side of the family who sent presents separately - it is all very much appreciated & Claire is one lucky 2 year old!

All in all, it was a fabulous birthday weekend, and a wonderful visit with the Vancouver side of the family! We drove home on Sunday night with a car packed FULL of presents, a cradle, suitcases and three people...oh, and possibly a bunch of stuff from the Trader Joe's in Bellingham - we have to stock up when we can...I'm so excited that we'll be getting a Trader Joe's in Boise next year. It's about time!

The next big event we have to look forward to is coming up this week - Zach's Mom & Dad are flying up from Florida on Wednesday to visit for a week! We can't wait to see them! Zach's also running a marathon while they're here, so send him your Good Luck vibes for next weekend!

Oh, and everything seems to be moving right along with Baby Vickery #2 - I had an ultrasound last month & the baby's right on track, size-wise! Keep it up, Baby Vickery!

Here are some pictures & videos from the past month or so - Enjoy!!

Katie, Zach & Claire

Claire is 2 Pictures!
Claire Eats Cake Video
Claire Opens Presents Part 1 Video
Claire Opens Presents Part 2 Video
Claire Bathtime for Baby Video
Claire on the Rings Video

Sunday, September 1, 2013

9 Year Anniversary... and Claire Update

August 12th was our 9th wedding anniversary.  To celebrate, we decided to take a short trip to the nearby resort town of McCall.  Neither of us has ever spent very much time there so we were both looking forward to checking out the town.  We arrived on Sunday just as Claire was finishing her nap.  We immediately went down to the McCall waterfront, which is beautiful and full of recreational options.  You can rent boats, jet skis, kayaks, or just go swimming.  We did none of those things.  A storm was about to move through so we didn't spend too long down there.  We ended up checking out the town a little more and having a nice dinner at the Salmon River Brewery.  Their beer selection was a little limited but everything that was on tap was very good!

On our anniversary, we had a nice breakfast at the hotel (the Best Western) and I went on a nice run around town.  Later in the morning we went back to the waterfront so that Claire could enjoy the park and the water.  She didn't want to get in the water very much but she did like splashing and getting her feet wet.  Once Claire got tired of the water, it was lunch time and we went to My Father's Place which has a well-deserved reputation as a go-to spot for a quick bite.  After a yummy lunch we took Claire to the park where she could spend some quality time in the swing - one of her favorite pastimes.  Then it was naptime and we decided to start the drive home while Claire was sleeping.  We drove around beautiful Payette Lake and returned to Boise with plenty of daylight to spare.

While we didn't do too many of the standard touristy things in McCall, we had a great time and can't wait to go back when Claire is a little older and able to spend more time out in the water!

Also included in this update are some pictures and videos from August.  Enjoy and have a great Labor Day!

9th Anniversary Pictures!
Claire Up and Over Video
Claire on the Bar Video
Claire Bouncy Ball Video
Claire Jacks Video
Claire at the Playground Video
Claire with Maggie with Cudjo Video
Claire Climbing Video

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Griswold Peak / Cougar Peak Climb

Life has been so busy lately and my hiking adventures have taken a back seat.  Dan noticed this and invited me to get out for the first time this summer.  We decided upon Griswold Peak, an "11er" near the headwaters of the Lost River.  While up there, we would visit nearby Peak 10727.

We left Boise a little bit after 6am and began the long drive to Ketchum, over Trail Creek, and up the headwaters of the North Fork of the Big Lost River.  Though the drive was long, the time flew by as Dan and I caught up on everything.  Soon we were at the Hunter Creek trailhead and moving around 10am.  We didn't follow the trail very long before we headed straight uphill toward the ridge leading to Griswold Peak.  Gaining the ridge also proceeded pretty quickly and soon we were on the ridge with great views of Griswold Peak and the surrounding area.  The ridge was an easy and enjoyable class 2 climb to the top, where we found a small cairn, a register, and a horde of flying ants.  Fortunately, we were able to stay about 20' from the summit and avoid the ants for the most part.

Since the bugs were kind of annoying and the clouds were starting to build, we didn't spend too long atop Griswold before heading over to Peak 10727.  The descent from Griswold was pretty steep, probably class 3+ but it was fun downclimbing due to the generally stable rock.  Once off the rock, it was easy slopes up to the summit of the peak.  A cairn and summit register were atop the peak, placed by Rick Baugher in 2011.  He chose the name "Coog" for the peak but we decided "Cougar Peak" sounded better.  After spending some time enjoying the summit we decided to get back to the car.  The descent was a little bit challenging because I forgot my map and we had to dead-reckon our way through the forest and back to the car.  Descending the open slopes was fun, the wooded slopes were a little less fun, and it was a little bit of a slog following the bottom of the drainage back to the trailhead.  Dan did a great job navigating as always!

The biggest event of the return trip was the Escape's "check engine" light coming on (it went off mysteriously a couple of days later).  We did stop at the Burger Grill in Ketchum for some tasty burgers before finishing the drive back to Boise!

Griswold Peak / Cougar Peak Pictures!
GPS Track
Dan's Trip Report

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Vickery Summer Camping Trip 2013

Hi everyone! Now that you've recovered from the exciting news in our last blog post, let's talk about our recent camping trip! We go on an annual long weekend camping trip with our friends Joey & Sam (and their kids, Cecelia & Mallory), who live just outside of Olympia, WA, and our friends Tracy & Dan, who live in Portland, OR.
We usually try to pick a spot that's sort of halfway, but that's not exactly easy - there's not much around the halfway point between Boise & Portland/Olympia! This year, we tried a campground at the base of Mt. Rainier - La Wis Wis Campground. Since it was a 7 hour drive for us, we decided to split the trip into two days. We left Boise on Thursday night, stopped in Hermiston, OR (the apparent watermelon capital of the universe..or maybe just the Northwest). We made the rest of the drive to the campground on Friday morning/early afternoon, arriving around 2pm.

The campground was absolutely gorgeous - lots of tall pine trees & plenty of underbrush, moss-covered logs & fun areas around our sites for the kids to explore. We had a small site & a much bigger site, so we left the bigger site to the rest of the crew & set up in the small site (which was a good thing when night time rolled around..that's some foreshadowing, people!). Our site had a beautiful little creek running behind it!

We spent most of the weekend hanging out, going for walks, checking out the area & reconnecting with our friends, since we hadn't seen them for a year. Claire had a great time playing with Cecelia (who's 4) and Mallory (who's 17 months). Cecelia brought her bike (with training wheels), and Claire was OBSESSED with it. She loved honking the horn, and figured out pretty quickly how to climb onto the bike (over the back wheel & onto the seat!)..and then wanted us to push her around everywhere! We're already looking for the perfect tricycle for her birthday, of course!

Claire (and Mom & Dad!) had a tough night the first night - she went to bed just fine, but woke up a few hours later very upset, and didn't fall back asleep until 4 am. It was rough, to say the least. Luckily she was in a great mood all day after that, took a nap & then had a fantastic night's sleep the next night (exhaustion will do that to you!). Because of that first night's mayhem & screaming/crying, I was very glad we chose the small site, across the street from our friends & not near any other sites!

On Sunday morning, we all packed up & headed out to check out the park at the immediate base of Mt Rainier. Claire slept on the 30 minute drive there, and we enjoyed the gorgeous scenery...Mt Rainier is absolutely stunning! The Visitor Center area was packed with people - lots of hikers starting their climbs, and lots of tourists checking out the sights. We spent some time checking out the area, but unfortunately had to head out, since we had a 7 hour drive to make, and knew that we'd be losing an hour with the time difference.

We drove to Richland, WA and stopped at a park so that Claire could run around and burn off some energy before we made the rest of the drive. There was a pretty cool riverboat docked at the park, complete with a big paddlewheel! We had dinner at the Atomic Ale Brew Pub. Claire had a shrimp & cheese quesadilla (and insisted on dipping it in the salsa they provided, since any kind of dip is her favorite food). We split a thin crust pizza - half Bangkok Chicken (peanut sauce, bean sprouts, chicken, green onions, mozzarella, cilantro, shredded carrots & peanuts!) and half Ham & Pineapple. Zach also got to try a couple of their beers, which he enjoyed!

We made the rest of the uneventful trip home, and Claire slept most of the way. We were happy to get home at 1am!

It was a wonderful camping trip, in an awesomely beautiful location! We both agreed that we'd love to go back there in the future.

Here are some pictures & video of the trip...enjoy!
Camping 2013 Pictures!
Claire on Cecilia's Bike Video

Monday, August 5, 2013

3 + 1 = Exciting times!

Well, for those of you who haven't heard yet, the big news around here is that our little family of 3 is becoming a family of 4, as of sometime around January 31, 2014!!

We're all very excited (well, Claire's pretty unsure about it all, but that's to be expected!), and are looking forward to meeting the new little guy or girl! Once again, we're choosing not to find out the baby's gender until the big day - it was such a fun surprise with Claire, we figured why not do it again?! I'm about 14 weeks along, and am happy to say that the first trimester was pretty much uneventful. Luckily, I haven't had any nausea or issues like that, and I really can't complain - it's SO much worse for many women! I'm sure it'll get tougher to chase after a 2 year old once the 3rd trimester rolls around, but for now it's all going pretty well.

We'll keep you updated periodically on how things are going. Now we get to try & potty-train Claire before her sibling gets here. Hah!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Trip to Tennessee!

We decided that this year's summer vacation would be a visit to Great Grandma's house in Tennessee.  While there, she could meet her Grand Aunt Joy and see Grandma and Grandpa!

We left Boise early on July 3rd headed to Nashville with one layover in Denver.  Claire was a great traveler and even slept a little on the second flight.  For the most part she was content to read books, magazines, and play with her toys.  We arrived in Nashville around 1:30pm and got to meet my childhood friend Doug who is now a lawyer in Nashville.  Doug got to meet Claire for the first time while we got our rental car.  The four of us proceeded on to Trader Joe's to get a Claire a few food items before we began the 90 minute drive south to Great Grandma's.

After bidding adieu to Doug, we drove down to Winchester, arriving at the house in the late afternoon.  It was great to be back at Great Grandma's house, a place where I have lots of childhood memories.  It is the only house from my childhood still in the family!  Naturally, everyone was excited to see Claire and it ended up being a little bit of a late night with all of the excitement and a pizza dinner from Rafael's.

We spent much of our time at the house, partly because of the unusually rainy weather going on during our stay.  On Saturday, we did make a partial day trip to Chattanooga to visit the Creative Discovery Museum.  It is a children's museum and while Claire was a little small for many of the exhibits, she still had a blast and was not ready to leave after two hours when it was time for lunch!  For lunch we met my Mom's college roommate Linda and her husband David at the Big River Grille.  After having a nice lunch and catching up, we headed back so Claire could get her nap.

During our stay we also let Claire play at the Winchester City Park, swam in the pool at the Tullahoma Holiday Inn Express, and even set off a few fireworks.  The fireworks had to wait until the 7th when there was finally a dry evening!  While shopping for fireworks it was abundantly clear that Tennessee sells the best fireworks!  Claire was too young to invest in the "good" stuff though!  On July 4th, we attempted to have family pictures taken but Claire was acting too much like a toddler so they didn't work out as well as hoped.  On the 8th, Doug had to make a court appearance in Manchester and afterwards came out to the house to hang out for the day.  We had a good time catching up, checking out Tims Ford State Park, and having a nice dinner at the Camino Real Mexican restaurant.

On Tuesday, we got up early and drove up to Nashville for our return flight.  Other than the airline person giving us guff for having a suitcase that was too heavy, everything went well.  On the first flight, Claire even got her own seat!  We arrived back in Boise in the mid afternoon in time for Claire's nap.  I had time to mow the yard and get back to the grind at work.  In short, it was a great trip and we wish it could have been longer!

Below are lots of pictures and videos from our trip!  Plus a few others from the past couple of weeks in Boise are thrown in as a bonus!

Claire July 2012 Pictures!
Grandma's Pictures of Claire!
Pictures of Doug and Zach
Claire With the Ducks Video
Claire Sees the Ducks Video
The Sparkler Video
Little Missy Refuses to Dance Video
Shake Your Booty Video
Claire Forward Rolls Video
Claire Jumps and Dances Video
Claire Does the Steps With Daddy Video
Claire and Family in the Pool Video
Claire Eats Spaghetti Video
Claire Does PTL Video
Claire on the Slide at the Creative Discovery Museum Video Part 1
Claire on the Slide at the Creative Discovery Museum Video Part 2
Claire Runs In the Rain Video
Go See the Blue Flowers Video
Claire on the Uneven Bars Video
Claire Splashing in the Fountain Video

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Claire Summer 2013 Update!

Well, it's been awhile since we blogged about anything.  Claire has been keeping us busy and she's been having lots of fun enjoying the warm weather.  Mostly she's been going to parks, tumbling at the Little Gym, playing in the yard, enjoying her copious toy collection, and participating in Skype calls with Grandma and Grandpa.  Here are some pictures and videos of the past few months!

Claire Summer 2013 Pictures!
Claire on the Bridge Video
Claire Climbs Video
Claire Splashing Video
Claire Gets a Medal Video
Claire on the Rings Video
Claire Balance Beam Video
Claire Checking Out Rocks Video
Claire Heel to Toe Video
Claire In Capitol Park Video
Claire in a Car Video

Friday, April 19, 2013

Spring Break in Vancouver

Hi all!

In mid-March, Claire & I took a trip up to Vancouver to spend some time with my family. Megan, Ben & Dave are all teachers and schools in the area were on Spring Break while we were there so we also got to hang out a lot with Claire's cousins, Emily & Matthew, and of course my Mom & Greg!

Claire & I flew out of Boise on March 13th, had a layover in Seattle and then a short (30 minute) flight from Seattle to Bellingham. Luckily, we didn't have anyone sitting next to us on either flight, so Claire got her own seat, which was awesome! She spent the flight from Boise to Seattle reading books with me, eating lots of snacks and playing with toys, but her favourite game was watching (and pointing and laughing!) at the people sitting in the row behind us! She'd stick her face between the seats & just watch them for a minute...we were also lucky that they thought she was cute & didn't mind being stared down by a toddler! The flight to Bellingham was uneventful - Claire fell asleep just before takeoff & slept the whole way. My Mom picked us up at the airport, we did a little shopping & sat at the border for 45 minutes...which was nothing compared to poor Mom's border wait on the way down to get us - 1 hour 25 minutes! Ugh. Sorry Mom, and thanks again!!

It was a relaxing trip - I visited with my friend Kelly who has a little guy 1 1/2 months older than Claire. Lucas & Claire had a great time & I was in awe of Lucas' amazing vocabulary! Claire & I also went out for dinner a couple of times with my best friend, Linsie. Lins took us over to her sister's house for a little playdate with Linsie's niece, Delyla (who will be 2 on Mother's Day), and Claire was obsessed with her! Every morning after that playdate, Claire woke up & asked for "Lyla?!" We'll definitely have to do more playdates with "Lyla" when we visit! It was really cute to see them interact, too, since most of Claire's buddies are her age or younger, and she LOVES older toddlers & kids.

Another highlight of this trip was that we were there for both Emily's & Megan's birthdays this year! AND, Zach was able to make it in time for both! He drove all day on Saturday, March 23rd, and got to Megan & Ben's place just as we were all arriving for Emily's party - perfect timing! We had a great dinner with our family & Ben's family, and then Claire & Matthew helped Emily open her presents! The next day was Megan's birthday, and we had a big lunch at my Mom's house, complete with Szechuan food, Chinese food, Sushi and salad! It was a lovely mix, and we topped it off with Lemon Meringue Tarts, which were fantastic!

I think the best part of the trip was seeing Claire interact with all of the family members (including the dogs!) She LOVED Cassie and Sydney, and said "Woof! Woof!" when she woke up in the morning and after every nap. The dogs were very patient with her, and knew when to get out of the way - she even had fun helping my Mom feed the dogs & give them treats! She also LOVES her cousins, and Emily was absolutely awesome with Claire - they played really well together, and Claire would follow Emily around like she was a big kid - it was pretty darn cute! It's been great to see how Claire's interactions with family change as she grows older & understands more about how the world works!

All three of us left Vancouver on Monday evening, March 25th and drove through the night to get home, so Tuesday was kind of a write-off! Shortly after we got home, it was time for Easter! Zach and I dyed Easter Eggs the night before, and then "hid" them (in very obvious spots) around the living room for Claire to find. She did a great job, and then decided that she needed to send some of the eggs down her slide! Good thing they were hard-boiled!

Now that the Easter candy has finally all been eaten, we are getting into Spring mode around here. We had a bout of beautiful weather right around Easter, but in the past week or so it's been sunny but very windy. Hopefully we'll start to see some nice warm, calm days soon, and can get back to the playgrounds without getting blown away!

We hope everyone had a Happy Easter!
Here are some pictures and (embarrassing, for me!) videos for your viewing pleasure!

The Vickerys

Claire Spring Pictures!
Claire Walks In Mom's Shoes Video
Claire at the Duck Pond Video
Claire Eats Sushi Video
Claire Feeds the Dogs Part 1 Video 
Claire Feeds the Dogs Part 2 Video
Claire in the Yard Video
Claire on Her Slide Video
Claire Pitches Easter Eggs Video
Claire Finds Easter Eggs Video
Claire on the Balance Beam Video
Claire Eats Dinner Video