My parents came to visit the first weekend of October because my mom had a doctor's appointment at UW. And...we roped them into helping us clean the preschool. (Everyone has to sign up for one weekend cleaning a year.) Basically they're the best.
We've been to the really great Snohomish Aquatic Center a couple times, but we just discovered the indoor pool in Lynwood and we're in love. It has the same fun splash area, lazy river, and water slides with the addition of a separate warm water pool that's perfect for babies. And it's down the street from Cafe Rio! We've already been twice this fall.
Claire and Maggie went horseback riding at our town farm park. It's such a great program! I'm actually really, really allergic to horses so Adam always laughs when I sign them up for another session. But they love it and I want them to be comfortable around animals. Because of the aforementioned allergies, which extend to most furry creatures, pets are probably not in our future.
My friend, Marie, and I went to the Happier live podcast taping. We're both avid fans of the podcast, so we had the best time experiencing it in person. Gretchen said she liked my iPhone case! The next evening, Adam and I went on a date. We saw Sully, which was fantastic, and had a delicious dinner at Purple. The following afternoon, I got a pedicure and a hair cut. I felt suuuuuuper relaxed after going out sans-children three days in a row.
Uncle Jeff (Adam's oldest brother and their cousin Estelle's dad) was in Seattle on a business trip, so we got to have him over for dinner twice. Claire and Maggie were thrilled to have him take over bedtime story duty.
We made one last trip to this location of the children's museum. They're moving to a bigger space in the new year, which of course is not at all a bad thing, but this location was the perfect equidistant spot to meet some of our favorite friends. I will definitely miss the fact that you could walk to Nordstrom Rack and Panera (bagels!) from the museum. Speaking of museums, with Adam we went to the Burke Museum of Natural History on the UW campus. It was pretty lame, honestly, especially compared to the Houston Museum of Natural Science we grew up visiting. We'll probably just stick to the Pacific Science Center from now on.
Adam and I each found low-key volunteer positions at church that have been fitting into our family life really well. Adam's been working with the children's choir, which performs at four masses a year. He's wanted to do something music-related but the adult choir is too big of a time commitment for this stage of our life. Some good friends started an American Heritage Girls troop at our parish and I've been helping out as the troop shepherd. Basically, I plan a short liturgical activity for one meeting a month. In October, we made missionary rosaries using this tutorial from Catholic Icing. In November, I had everyone draw a patron saint for the new church year out of a hat. This year, I was able to stick to North and South American female saints. In December, I'll just bring an advent wreath to use during opening prayer. So...we've pretty much already started volunteering for activities we'll have Claire join when she's in kindergarten next year.
We're in a "married group" with four other families from church. We all have two or three little kids under age five and we meet for dinner one Saturday a month. This month, we signed up to bring a meal to the homeless shelter together. We each made eight servings of the meal, which was enough for our dinner too, and then we divvied up the dinner sides, breakfast, and lunch. After our dinner, the moms headed home to put the kids to bed while the dads served our meal at the shelter. It went so well that we've signed up for two more dates this winter.
Preschool is really doing a number on our immune systems, guys. We've already had two colds and two stomach bugs go through the house this fall. But besides the constant sickness, preschool has been a great experience. This week, we went on a field trip to the theater and had their Thanksgiving feast. Everyone had to bring a dish of their choice (Claire picked fresh bread with honey butter) and contribute their favorite fruit to a "friendship fruit salad." So cute!
This week was also Maggie's back-to-back feast and baptism days. Saint Margaret's day is when we traditionally indulge in our favorite winter dessert, hot chocolate and Walker's shortbread, for the first time of the season. Our baptism day tradition is to serve the honored daughter's favorite meal (Maggie's request was chicken nuggets with sweet potato fries) and then stick their baptism candle in a cupcake while we sing "happy baptism day to you."
To add to the craziness of this past week, Claire and Maggie also started their dance and gymnastic class again. The studio has four quarters a year, but we skipped the first one to wait for Maggie to turn three and move up to Claire's class. We'll be probably skip the last session too just to save money. They're enjoying it, learning a little of both disciplines, and looking super cute, of course!