Sunday, September 14, 2008

To the Ocean and Back

Last weekend at this time we were enjoying the warm sun and beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean on the Olympic Peninsula. It had been quite some time since we had been able to spend time with my Grandma and Grandpa. The kids' memories of their Great Grandparents were starting to fade so we decided it was time to make a quick trip to visit them. Knowing that we are a loud and large group we made our trip short but just the perfect amount of time for us all to reconnect.

Friday night we hopped on the Seattle ferry and enjoyed seeing the Seattle skyline lights. Cooper had been very scared to ride the ferry boat but he decided that it wasn't a scary experience at all. In fact, all this week Coop has been asking when we can ride the ferry boat again.

Saturday morning we woke up to the foggy gorgeous ocean. The kids, Birch, and my Grandma headed off for a morning scavenger hunt on the beach.
My grandma and the kids
My grandparents live right on the water but it isn't the easiest access for taking a walk so the walk started off on the little country roads.Isn't my grandparents' home just BEAUTIFUL!! This is the view from the water inlet below their house.

Tyler's first yummy find of the day!
A cute picture of the kids looking up at my Grandparent's home.
I've got such a wonderful Grandma. She is still so interactive with all the kids. Cooper and Grandma hit it off right from the start. Before we arrived at my Grandparent's home my Grandma had requested a list of one favorite food of each of the kids. My Grandma cooked her first frozen pizza, chicken nuggets, and french fries. Being such a wonderful cook it must have been hard for her to resort to processed foods, but the kids enjoyed each meal and I just thought it was so sweet of her.Alysee sorting through her treasures.
Nate showing off his crab leg and seashell.
Coop loved finding driftwood and rocks.
Best buds--Alex and Tyler
On the way home from the walk to the beach, Cooper found a new favorite--blackberries. He came home with blackberry stains dripping down his chin.
My Grandpa hasn't been able to get around as much as he would like the past couple of years. This is one reasons we haven't seen my grandparents too much since traveling has become increasingly difficult for even an able bodied person. While growing up, a ride on the "Gator" was always one us grand kids' favorite things to do. It meant a lot to me that Grandpa would share the joy of a Gator ride with my kids. And boy did they LOVE the wild fast ride!!
My Grandpa is well-known for his ingenious inventions. This is Nate trying out his skill on the Gator horn.
A rite of passage growing up would be Grandpa deciding that you were old enough to learn to drive the Gator. Alex sure felt grown-up when Grandpa took him out for his first instructions in driving.
My Grandma has the most beautiful flower and plant gardens. She has even been featured on various home gardening shows. Coop shares a bit of her love while hauling stuff around in this miniature wheel barrow.
In the gully by their home is an ancient rope swing. Apparently it is still strong (Birch tested it) and the kids ALL loved taking it for a ride.
My Grandma was so cute with Chloe. Chloe just ate up all the interaction.
This is the view of Chloe's face from the front side.
Near my Grandparents' home a creative and extreme man built "Bandy's Place." For a couple of miles their are crazy homes built like castles and surrounded by goblin fence posts.
We're missing my mom in this four generation shot.
You couldn't have ordered better weather for our ferry ride back to Seattle. It was so sunny and warm--I kept telling my kids how lucky they were to have enjoyed such terrific weather all weekend.
When we arrived back at Seattle we drove to Seattle Center and had a yummy picnic lunch, played in the International Water Fountain, and then headed to my Aunt and Uncle's house. We hadn't been able to see my aunt and uncle for several years so it was an extra special treat to spend the night with them and introduce them to Coop and Chloe.
Monday morning we took Alex to Seattle Children's Hospital to meet two different doctors. Several of the kids were able to play in a supervised "Sibling Playroom" -- a true blessing to us all. Our first appointment was with the head of the craniofacial team, Dr. Michael Cunningham. It had been four years since we last met with him so it was nice to catch up and show off Alex's newly-created ear. Our real purpose in meeting with him was to request him to write a letter to our medical insurance company to appeal their lack of treatment in orthodontics when the underlying problem is medically-related. Dr. Cunningham fully agreed with us that Alex's hemifacial microsomia has impacted his jaw size and unique dental/palate issues. We are working on collecting letters from our pediatric orthodontist specialist, local orthodontist, and a medical doctor all stating these issues in hopes that our insurance company will end up covering Alex's ortho needs.
Our second appointment was with Dr. Kathy Sie. A year and a half ago, she performed Alex's internal ear surgery which created an ear canal and inner ear parts for Alex. Alex continually has trouble with his ear canal becoming blocked by wax and dead skin cells. Our local ENT has expressed concern that Alex's ear canal is just too small and possibly needs to be widened. After meeting with Dr. Sie she noticed that Alex has some scarring on both sides of his ear canal which in turn creates the problem of keeping his ear canal clean. Through examining Alex with a microscope she thinks that this scarring is very isolated and has suggested that Alex have a small surgery in the next few months injecting this scarring with a steroid which in turn will hopefully shrink the scarring. After the injection she would place a small wick filled with steroid that hopefully will 1) keep the ear canal open during its healing; and 2) continually feed the scarring the steroid for an extended period of time. Though Alex is totally NOT excited about another surgery, we (his parents and doctor) feel like this would be worth a try. Our hope is that through keeping his ear canal clean his hearing will continue to improve.
Then off to Woodland Park Zoo. It was a gorgeous day in Seattle (I know I keep saying this but it really was such an unpredictable treat.) and the animals were all out and quite entertaining. Our legs were all aching by the end of our five hour tour of the zoo. The kids demanded that we see everything. Our personal favorite was the gorilla exhibit. There was this new baby gorilla that was so cute and even nursed from her momma's big nipples. Somehow that was much cuter than watching Chloe nurse on me.

Before heading home we stopped at IKEA and snarfed up our free birthday kids meals and window shopped a bit. We were all too tired to really enjoy the shopping so we headed home remembering that the kids all had school the next morning.

It was a great weekend and especially wonderful to have spent so much time with our extended family!


Jessica said...

Sounds like such a fun weekend, Dittos! I love that your grandma asked/made a favorite food of each of the sweet & thoughtful! I can't believe how old Alex is looking! Wow!!! Can't wait to see you all next month!

Sweet Peas Doula said...

You guys really pack it in. Your trip made me tired just reading about it.

Your grandma's home is just beautiful! Glad you got to visit her, and best of luck with the insurance rigamarole.


emily a. said...

I loved this post. It was such a treat to see gma and gpa in addition to your cute kiddos and their house. I miss our visits!

kg said...

What a weekend! What a beautiful home, I was finding myself wanting to be on that foggy, windy beach!

kg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heidi said...

What a wonderful weekend. How great that you've still got grandparents. Those pictures are darling.
I hope Alex's surgery goes well.

Rachel said...

WOW! So great! I love Seattle!!
Love your updates, and that sweet baby girl seems to be fitting right in!

Annie Ditto said...

What a fun weekend!! Too bad we couldn't have seen you...we enjoyed the beautiful weather too!! Thanks so much for the peaches! I will paypal you today!

Matt's Blog said...

What a great trip....nice work. It makes me sad that we don't live closer when I see pictures like that. Grandma and Grandpa look great!

Courtney said...

Next time you make that trip stop by our place for lunch! We're on the Kitsap Penninsula, a few miles from the bridge to get over to the Olympic Penninsula, about 10 miles from the ferry. You're family is so beautiful Sarah!


Meta said...

WOW! You are a full family! Love the pic of log with all the kiddos.