Monday, March 30, 2009

Yakima... The Palm Springs of Washington

I've seen a sign in Yakima that claims Yakima is the palm springs of Washington, but I am not sure what Palm Springs is like so I haven't decided what to think of that claim. This past weekend my fam and I went to Yakima to celebrate my great grandpa Northcott and Aunt Carrie's birthday. The first thing I did while there was check out this really awesome place called "Track 29." It's a mall with a wooden boardwalk facing the train station so theoretically you can watch trains go by (none came while we were there) as you walk and shop. The stores are unique in that they are made from old train cars. There is a restaurant where you get to sit and eat in a passenger car, but we had plans to go to the best Mexican restaurant EVER so we didn't visit the restaurant this time.

Here we are in front of the caboose which was made into a jewelry store. It was pretty windy so that is why I'm holding my hat.

I loved playing on the caboose!

Here you can see the backside of one of the stores. I thought it was pretty neat they were all made out of train cars. What a great idea!

The train station.

We also found an indoor mall with a fish tank I had fun looking at.

Then we headed to lunch at El Porton where the best Mexican food in town can be found. After that, we went to Grandpa and Grandma's new place. I was able to play with Jill, their dog, and had fun showing Mike, Carrie, and the grandparents all my favorite trains and some new cars I happened to bring along.

Uncle Mike and I just hanging out.

Taking a rest and enjoying a juice box with Aunt Carrie.

Being silly with Grandma.

With Grandpa and Grandma. The car I'm holding spins when you blow on the end of it, so that is what I'm doing in the photo.

I got pretty sleepy towards the end of the trip and fell asleep not long into the ride home.

On the way home Mom got a couple shots of the new windmills out near Goldendale and Biggs in the Kittitas Valley. They are really big up close!

Overall, it was a really fun trip and I'm glad we were able to be together to celebrate Aunt Carrie and Grandpa Northcott's birthday. Hope we get to go back again soon!

Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm going to have a baby sister!

Mom and Dad took me to the big ultrasound today and found out we are adding a girl to the family. It was fun getting to see her move on the screen and hear that she is doing great in Mom's tummy. The ultrasound technician kept saying, "Now that is a cute baby," but I had trouble seeing what she was seeing. She later added, "Now you'll have two cute babies," so I guess she knows what she's talking about. I'm kinda glad we are having a girl because I was getting real tired of hearing Mom and Dad discussing boy names (they never did agree on one, but Dad tried to make a few deals with Mom so he'd get a shot at naming the kid Atticus). My sister's name will be Esther Jane. Jane is my Nana's name and we thought Esther went well with Jonah. How am I taking all this? Well, Mom and Dad both seem pretty happy about the news so I guess I am too. :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

East Portland Community Center Pool

Our local community center recently opened a pool and I have gone swimming there a few times in recent weeks. It is awesome! The temperature is just right and there are plenty of places for me to check out while there. There is a large shallow area, a river area with a current and a whirlpool, a shark slide just my size and a big red slide. Today was the first time the big red slide has been open while we were there and I loved it! My only complaint was that I wasn't allowed to go all by myself. The lifeguard kindly explained to me I could go when I was a bit bigger, but it was a let down nonetheless.

Here are a few photos Mom took of me and my friends who were able to join us.

Sara and Kate laughing at my cheesy smile.

Sara and Kate being cute.

Bodhi and Marisa - This was Bodhi's first time swimming and he loved it!

Bodhi being silly. :)

The shark slide - I can go on this one all by myself!

The big red slide - what fun!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today I met up with some friends for a St. Patrick's day parade in the Houck neighborhood of Vancouver. Kate and Sara and Nancy and George all met us there. For those of you who don't know Nancy and George, Nancy and Mom met about 4 years ago in a knitting class. I'm glad they keep in touch because Nancy often informs us of fun activities going on in the area.

I loved waving at all the cars and children in the parade. My favorite part of the parade, of course, were the the train cars and there were two. The Burgerville train was super cute, but I really liked the big one that came by as well. It had a loud whistle!

The Burgerville Train

I also got some candy (score!), a clover necklace, a couple balloons, and even a free book. It was kinda wet out, but Mom dressed me in rain boots and I had an umbrella too, just in case. Luckily, it didn't rain while we were outside watching, just on the car ride there and back. Must be the luck of the Irish!

Hope you all have a happy St. Patrick's Day too!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Water Resouce Center

I recently visited a new (and free!) play area at the Water Resource Center in Vancouver, WA. I went there with my friends, Dane and Caden. I had fun playing with all the fun toys and then got to check out some other fun exhibits they had there. I think I liked looking at the big fish tank best. Mom forgot her memory card for the SLR, but had her little camera to snap a few photos for you to see.
Here I am playing with the magnetic bug board.

Another fun toy.

I loved looking at the butterflies in this exhibit. You can make their wings flap!

I got to watch this lady working on the fish tank. I'm not sure what she was doing, but I was mesmerized.

Here we all are checking out the fish in the fish tank. Sorry, but I don't think you can see any fish in the photo.

All the boys again.

Afterward, we went to lunch at a bagel shop that has a play area. I love bagels. Don't you?

Monday, March 09, 2009

My Amazing Friend

I want to take this opportunity to share with all my friends and family the amazing story of my dear friend, Jenny. I know Jenny as the mother of my friends, Cassie and Gabby, but she is also a good friend of Nana and Papa's and has been a great support to Mom as well.
Jenny found out she had cancer just after I was born. The cancer was first found in her breast, but then was later found in her liver and bone. She was told by her first doctor that she had a 2% chance of recovery. Jenny has always been determined not to give up hope and so she found another doctor and has continued to receive chemo for the past 2 1/2 years. That is a long time to feel sick! With her new insurance and doctors, she has had to travel to Chicago every three weeks for chemo and thus meant she had to be away from her family (that includes one husband and four children now ages 3 to 18) for days at a time with each visit east. Still, she kept on and never gave up hope. As if she wasn't amazing enough just keeping up with the daily going-ons of her own family, she still manages to take time to care for others. For example, she never minds getting a phone call from Mom with any kind of parenting question. Having four children makes her an expert for sure!

A photo Mom took two years ago of Jenny and Frank's four beautiful children.

Six months ago Jenny's doctor gave her the news that her cancer had dramatically shrunk in size and he thought what looked like small traces of cancer may actually just be scar tissue. So, she kept doing chemo for a couple more months, was tested again and then received the news that it was GONE!!!! Time to celebrate!!! Jenny was able to quit chemo and began feeling better. Yipee! However, when she was tested again a couple weeks ago, what they thought was scar tissue before looked more like small traces of cancer again so unfortunately she is back on chemo for the time being. But, being the amazing person that she is, she feels it is just "a bump in the road" to full recovery. So, we had a party last night to celebrate her amazing progress and also to encourage her as she continues the fight. In case you can't tell, we had a Wonder Woman themed party. We had a full house and everyone had wonderful words of encouragement to share with our guest of honor. Mom says she remembers meeting Jenny for the first time around the age of 8 and thinking she was the most beautiful woman she'd ever seen. Anyone who meets her would agree it is still true. Of course, when Mom was sharing this memory at the party she got teary, but she says, "It's the baby's fault." I've been around long enough to know that may not be the truth. :)
We have no idea how many people across the country have been praying for Jenny, but we know it's a ton. She has inspired so many people with her determination and faith that she can and will beat this cancer. To those who pray, feel free to add Jenny and her family to your list of people to pray for. She will greatly appreciate it!

Yay for cake!