Our Summer 2013 Bucket List: The Seattle Great Wheel

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I am happy to say that we knocked off our first big item on our family summer bucket list!  We made a trip to Seattle and took a ride on The Seattle Great Wheel ( http://seattlegreatwheel.com ).  Our son was a little unsure about being up so high and said he was afraid but once we were standing in line he was excited that we were going to be riding the ferris wheel!  I went ahead and bought our tickets online, had them printed, and once we arrived all we needed was our free pass for the baby.  Everything worked perfectly, we didn’t have to wait in line at the ticket booth and our wait to get in a gondola was also short.  It was a very fun experience and I am glad that my son enjoyed being up so high.  We had a beautiful view of the water front and Puget Sound even though it was overcast – as usual!

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I took the first picture while waiting in line.  Then I had to start dancing to keep our baby girl happy since I had her in the Ergo and she was fussy.  Thankfully, there was music playing through speakers while we waited to board a gondola!  Below was our view of the harbor – beautiful!

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After the ride we had lunch and decided to visit the Fremont Troll under the bridge in Fremont ( http://fremont.com ).  Even though this is not on our bucket list, we figured we would take advantage since we were already close to Fremont.  It took a few minutes for our son to warm up to the giant Troll under the bridge but once he did he was ready to climb!  This is a fun spot to stop with kids!

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Our Summer 2013 Bucket List

Our Summer 2013 Bucket List

This is our family bucket list – we have joined the happy family movement challenge thanks to a friend of mine! After seeing her bucket list and checking out the site I realized that we always say we want to do things and go places as a family but almost never get to everything we absolutely want to do! So, after careful planning, we created our own family bucket list for the summer. I am looking forward to the fun we will be having and the memories we will be creating as a family. Join the movement, take the challenge! More info: http://thehappyfamilymovement.com

GO RUCK CHALLENGE: Class 516 Seattle, WA

SO – I said I would post about the Go Ruck Challenge ( https://www.goruck.com ) once I completed it and I haven’t … until now.

They say that anyone can complete the Challenge, as long as you are willing to stick it out and get over any kind of “tiny heart syndrome” you might have.  They say that it is a team event and that “teamwork is the key.”  Well, what they say is true.  After having only really, REALLY exercised maybe twice since my daughter was born (7 months old when the challenge rolled around), I hopped into our car with my husband at about 11:00pm and made the trip to our start point at the Space Needle in Seattle.  I wasn’t sure what to expect even though I had been searching and reading as many blog posts as I could about a Challenge before the event.  All I knew was that for the next 8 to 10 to maybe more hours, we would be rucking around Seattle carrying bricks and whatever else our cadre deemed necessary.

At the start point, we had a beautiful view of the Space Needle up close with all its lights on.  We got to stand around for a little while and check out our teammates.  Some we had met on mini-training get togethers, most were still complete strangers that we would have to work with to survive whatever lay ahead.Image

Once our cadre arrived the fun got started.  All cadre have a background in Special Ops and they love, almost seem to live on, making us do fun things like stay in the front leaning rest (push up position) and do flutter kicks (on your back, legs extended) while we get to learn about why they are a cadre and what Go Ruck means to them.  We also did fun activities to learn each other’s names – like staying in the front leaning rest until we could go through and name every single person in our group of 25 strangers … without making a mistake.  After our team hashed that out, we got started on our trek.

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The night was filled with fun.  We learned a lot about our cadre – Cadre Bert.  We mostly learned that he’s a fair guy.  Meet your time hash to get wherever you need to go and he’ll be fair … miss your time hash by 03 seconds and he’ll still be fair.  That’s where our bear crawls, crab walks, and relay race happened to us.  With rucks on.  What is in the ruck, you say?  4 to 6 bricks (depending on your weight), water, and whatever else you thought you were going to need but ended up realizing was just extra weight you had to carry around all night.

Throughout the event we had great views of the city at night and into the wee hours of the morning.  The team picked up a log to carry along the way in addition to our team weight (combined 25 lbs of Ernesto the wooden fish and Rainier beer cans), American flag, and the cadre’s keg.  It was a night of good livin’.

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And you really do everything as a team.  If you take on this event go into it with a “nobody gets left behind” attitude.  One team, one fight.  One of our teammates at the beginning said something interesting – don’t LET anyone quit because they will have to wake up tomorrow and look at themselves in the mirror knowing that they gave up.

One of our teammates was badly injured just a few miles short of completing the event.  He didn’t quit, he was buddy carried to the end.  The team stayed with him and he finished with the team.  I felt tons of support as well.  There were moments where my knees were killing me, where I thought I wouldn’t make it because I’m a mom and this stuff is hard.  But our team worked together, we kept a good pace and stayed motivated throughout the event.  It also helped that Cadre Bert told us a story at the beginning that made a lot of sense.  If you think you can’t go on because you’re “gonna die” then stop where you are and just die.  It sounds ridiculous but you realize you are not in fact dying.  And you keep on going.

Anyone can get through a Challenge.  It’s an interesting experience to have to pull together as a team in such a short span of time with complete strangers.  But I wholeheartedly recommend taking on the Go Ruck Challenge.  It’s an event you won’t forget.

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Our Summer of Fun: Science Week

So, this summer I decided that I can really do all of the fun projects that I have been wanting to do with my son.  He is no longer a little kid – he’s a FOUR-YEAR-OLD.  Okay?  This means, we can do science experiments, make messes, build stuff, grow stuff, climb stuff, and who knows what else!  And really, really enjoy doing all of this together!  It is still fun to do things with your toddlers, but as your kids grow, it just becomes more exciting!  Here is what we have done so far.  Some of these ideas were borrowed from Pinterest (links included), some from his book of “101 Great Science Experiments” by Neil Ardley, and some of the ideas were mine.  All of the pictures are ours!  Enjoy!

Science Week:

For our Science Week, we learned about water tension, the reaction between baking soda and vinegar, spent a morning at the Children’s Hands on Museum in Olympia, WA ( http://www.hocm.org ), mixed various liquids, and experimented with balance using an egg, toilet paper roll, pie tin, and cup of water.  I grabbed one of my husband’s white button down shirts and a pair of goggles we happened to have and an old notebook that hadn’t been used.  This became a lab coat, protective eyewear – not that we did anything dangerous – and our lab notebook.  It’s just fun to look the part while you play!  Here we go!

Baking soda and vinegar; water, pepper, soap.

What you need:  Baking soda, vinegar, water, pepper, soap, and jars.

Above:  We started small.  First, we sprinkled pepper on water in multiple jars and then dropped a little bit of soap into the peppered water.  It may not seem like much but for a little guy it’s amazing watching the soap make the pepper “run away” to the edges of the bottle or fall to the bottom.  We did this multiple times and every time was a hit.  Since he’s a little bigger and learning to write, we brought out the “Science Notebook” and wrote down words that we used for the experiment and little descriptions.

For the baking soda and vinegar, we started with multiple small jars that had baking soda in them and added the vinegar.  Each one bubbled up – which was “awesome”!  We did the big jars a few times too.  After we had fun just making a mess of things we decided to fill more jars with baking soda and vinegar.  Only the last few times we also included descriptions in the science book about what was going on.  It “bubbled” and was “white” and also made a “fizz” sound as the baking soda and vinegar reacted.

What you need:  Nothing!  Get out of the house and have fun checking out the museum! (Above: air funnels and water pressure tubes.)

Above:  Fun at the Children’s Museum ( http://www.hocm.org ).  It’s always fun to go just to play and explore.  But THIS week we took our time and really read everything that we needed to do at various stations so that we could get the most out of our fun and learning.  It was especially fun watching the water build up pressure and then shoot the plastic balls out of the spout at the top.  We also experimented a little with the wind tunnels by first leaving the cones to see if they would float (they didn’t) and then adding slits and folding the paper back to expand the surface.  Learning can be so much fun!  Especially when you get to see it in action!

What you need:  RAW egg (I know!), toilet paper tube, pie tin, cup of water, and lots of faith.

Above:  Okay, so this one I found on Pinterest and HAD to try.  I’ll admit, I was a little nervous that I would end up with raw egg on the walkway but we tested it and had a lot of fun with it!  Here is the link provided by Pinterest: http://www.ordinarylifemagic.com/2010/01/newtons-first-with-raw-eggs.html

You need a raw egg, toilet paper roll, pie tin, and a cup of water.  Place the pie tin on top of the cup of water, stand the toilet paper roll in the pie tin, and then set the egg at the top of the toilet paper roll.  Check to make sure they are aligned with the cup of water and then SMACK AWAY!  Hit the pie tin to the side and the egg will fall straight down into the water!  Definitely fun, my kiddo set this up again and again!

What you need:  Water, oil, syrup, food coloring, rocks, sticks, leaves, and lots of jars!

Above:  “See How Liquids Float and Sink” and “Find Out if Liquids Mix” – both experiments out of the “101 Great Science Experiements” book by Neil Ardley.  Boy, what a lot of fun!  If you don’t have this book or one similar to it, you should!  We filled jars with water, then added oil, and added syrup.  It was fun to see where they all landed and how they worked with each other.  We filled a jar with water first and then oil, then we added drops of food coloring.  The pictures above show the food coloring staying as a little ball in the oil but then breaking into the water.  Very fun to watch!  We also added sticks and small rocks to our syrup, water, oil jars to see where everything stopped in the mix.  A very interesting lesson in water density for small people!

There you have it!  Just a first in a series of fun and learning that will be going on in this place!  Remember, it doesn’t have to be complicated!  Almost everything here can truly be found around the house and will entertain little ones – for the bigger kids, just add a notebook and it can become a mad scientist’s experiment notes!

My 2013 Events

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In 2009, while my husband was in Korea, I was in Maryland with our first baby, and I had plenty of extra time to sit around and realize I wanted to do something more.  I needed to do something more with myself, something to push myself out of my comfort zone.  Something physically challenging… even just a little bit.  So, when a group of friends invited me to participate in the Iron Girl Triathlon in 2010 as part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training (http://www.teamintraining.org) I said “YES!”.  Since then, I have done a series of 5ks and a Warrior Dash.  This year, I want to do even more!  So, here is my (growing) list of fun and challenging events for 2013:

1.  GO RUCK Challenge April 2013, https://www.goruck.com/Events/Challenge

When my husband told me he signed us up for this challenge I immediately started reading as many blogs as I possibly could about this event.  I concluded the Go Ruck Challenge is a slightly scary mystery.  What I do know is that you have to carry a ruck around the city hosting the event for 8 to 10 hours, covering about 15-20 miles, while doing all kinds of energy exerting exercises with a group of strangers who make up your team.  I hear it involves buddy carries, bear crawls, log carries, and lots and lots of water.  I am ready.  And excited.

2.  Benaroya Research Institute Seafair Triathlon 2013, http://www.seafair.com/anevent.aspx?ID=5

After competing in the Iron Girl Triathlon I was hooked.  I wanted to compete in other sprint triathlons with the goal of bumping up to the olympic distance triathlons.  Since it has been a few years, I plan to start here.  This event highlights the fight against autoimmune diseases.  Another event right up my alley.

3.  Tough Mudder Seattle October 2013, http://toughmudder.com

Well, this event just looks like fun.  And if we can get a sitter, I am looking forward to taking on mud, ice cold water, and getting shocked throughout the course with my loving husband.  The Warrior Dash gave me a hunger for fun, but oh-so-challenging events.  Tough Mudder, quench my thirst.

I am excited about these three events and I plan to add others throughout the year!  Color runs, zombie survival runs, bikes throughout Washington state.  There are so many challenges out there and I am ready to take them!

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Ernesto the Cedar Fish

Ernesto the Cedar Fish

Ernesto the Cedar Fish is our team weight for our upcoming Go Ruck Challenge (14 days away). We’ll be carrying him, along with his Seattle appropriate slab of wood, on our 15-20 mile trek. Who knows what kind of events he will be enjoying with us! The slab is still a work in progress. Look forward to posting pictures of Ernesto’s Go Ruck adventures!