Monday, August 18, 2014

Bellevue Botanical Garden

After a weekend being cooped up in the house with a cold, come Monday, it was time to explore the world! Brock and I headed to the Bellevue Botanical Garden to explore nature. This time I left the stroller in the car and I was so very glad I did!

There were little houses and big trees to explore....
Waterfalls to watch and bridges to walk across (or sit down)...
Little doors to knock on (I told him Peter Rabbit lived there)....

And big suspension bridges to run across....

Really fast so Mommy gets really worried....
Okay... now we found a sitting spot.

And what's a garden without a water feature!

I was so impressed with Brock today! He had a few moments where he asked to be carried (he knew that a hill was coming??), but for the most part he did it all by himself. He climbed rock stairs without any banister and the few times he fell, he got right back up again (except for when he fell on wet moss - he didn't like that). Exploring trails and going on nature hikes was my favorite thing to do with my Dad growing up and I hope Brock gets that same passion that I did!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Brent visits China

Brent traveled to Beijing and Shanghai, China for business and I think he had a positive experience! After a 12 hour flight to Beijing, starting Friday 2pm Pacific time and arriving Saturday 7pm Beijing time, they rested up for a group tour on Sunday.

The tour started at the Forbidden City, touring the huge square in front of the Palace. Brent explained that it was even larger than the pictures do it justice - Tiananmen Square is the fourth largest in the world.
Brent said it was hot that day. Temperatures soared in to the upper 90's. He cooled off in the car ride out to the country for the climb up the Great Wall (only to sweat all over again).
Between stops they stopped at a local eatery the guide suggested. This was a common theme - Brent said all the meals he had there were amazing.
After a 45 minute drive, they reached the Great Wall.

Guide and co-worker across the Wall
Brent is in pretty good shape and he even commented the steps were steep and difficult. They are all irregular - so one step could be 4 inches high and the next 6 inches and the next a completely different measurement. This is also the renovated section - there is a section that you are "not supposed" to walk that continues beyond where the tour stops (but this is not America so no one is stopping you).

Obviously the point of this trip was for him to work with Amazon China and get their payroll set up.... But he definitely made time for some more nice dinners.
Sesame Chicken - the real stuff. 
Peking Duck
At the end of the first week, the crew traveled to Shanghai for two days to do some business there. Brent stayed at a pretty swanky hotel - The Grand Hyatt.
This was his room on the 61st floor! All windows! And right outside the hotel he watched the cranes work on Shanghai Tower, expected to be open 2015 at a height of 2,073 feet (121 stories). Brent shared that Shanghai was a very wealthy city (definitely a city of haves and have nots) as walking the city he would constantly spot Lamborghini's, Porshe's and Ferrari's driving around.
View across the river at Shanghai's cityscape
Brent may have done a bit of shopping while he was there.....
Besides the Peking Duck, his favorite dish was the Beijing apples. He explained they are similar to candy apples, but without the red candy shell. You have to eat them within a few minutes of their arrival to the table otherwise they get too hard.

Final comments by Brent: I left on Thursday at 4pm Beijing time and arrived in Seattle on Thursday at 12:30pm PT, 5530 miles later.  It was the first time I have ever been able to complete a true act of time travel.  Next stop could be Tokyo. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Brock and Zoe

Brock & Zoe playing on a hippo at the Woodland Park Zoo
We are so happy to report Brock has made his very first friend! There could be a little coercion involved as I have made a new friend too (the Mom of said friend).... but we're going with it! :)

Zoe is about 4 months older than Brock and has 4 months more experience climbing on things, talking, and giving big bear hugs that end up with Brock on the ground. I think it's working out perfectly fine since Brock is a little bigger for his age and can handle it.... or knows how to run away. Zoe is such a sweetheart - she doesn't smile for just anyone, so when she does it to you, you know she means it.

Exploring a wolves' den
Brock and I were flying solo this past week, so we had fun planning playdates around town. We traveled up to the Woodland Park Zoo on Wednesday. Brock and Zoe both loved the giraffes and the monkeys. There's a baby giraffe who turns 1 in August!

 On Thursday, we met up at a fun splash park in Auburn (south of Renton). Unfortunately they weren't exactly feeling the splash part after a few mishaps of looking in to the pipes when the water was off, then getting sprayed in the face and head when the water suddenly was turned on!
After a snack break, it was time to head back out there.....
And play on the playground/dry part!! This park was pretty cool - multiple-person swings, in-the-ground merry-go-round, four-person see saws, a very large sand area and a faux river where you can control the pools (probably their favorite).

 On Saturday night Brock and I were invited for a dinner playdate! We had so much fun! We had some yummy food and played with some new toys, including a very awesome sandbox.

They are adorable together. They were finally, actually playing together and it was the sweetest thing. Zoe tried to grab Brock's hand and bring him to a new toy, but mostly Brock was not interested in holding hands. Besides screaming back and forth to each other at the dinner table ("talking" - for "fun"), the highlight of their playing was chasing each other all around the backyard!

When Brent returns from China, we will happily reciprocate a dinner playdate at our home!