Saturday, July 29, 2017

Flying solo ... with two kiddos

Earlier this month, the kids & I got to travel to California to visit my family. I'd booked the trip this Spring after Alaska Airlines started running a direct flight from Seattle to San Luis Obispo, thinking that surely I could manage the kids on my own for one 2 1/2 hour flight. I did it, but it was definitely 2 1/2 hours of terror each way as I wondered if/when they would completely rebel against me. Luckily, we didn't have any major incidents and we were able to enjoy a fantastic week in California!!

Mt. Rainer looking glorious in the distance for our 6 am arrival to Seattle's airport. We'd left Leavenworth at 3:30 am. A fun start to the day :)

On the airplane & ready to FLY. 

First things first upon arrival at my parents -- time to get some energy out! Onto bikes and into swim wear for the wading pool. 

My Mom hosted an AMAZING tri-tip dinner that same evening, inviting the rest of the local family over also. 

Everyone had ice cream cones for dessert. YUM. And so fun to have nearly all the cousins together - only Talon was missing this time around.

We were super excited to connect with the Botts family ... Sarah & her husband Randy befriended Jason & I when we were engaged and living in Atascadero temporarily. We have been thankful for their friendship as we do life together from a distance :) Luke & Mabel had a GREAT time at thei\ park with their 3 kiddos.

Tuesday morning Luke got his very first haircut by a professional! It was much needed and nice to see the finished product when I wasn't the one doing the cutting :) 

Mom & I then headed to Avila Beach for a glorious beach day meet up with Ashley and the kids' sweet cousin Emma --

After our beach time, Bonnie & I loaded the kids into her minivan and headed up to our Aunt Lori's lake cabin at Lake Nacimiento for an overnight.

On Thursday, Luke got a tractor ride with Papa (who even let him DRIVE!) while Mabel "helped" Nana with the watering.

Friday we headed to Cayucos for another beach day -- it wasn't super warm, but was awesome to just BE there with my sis and nephews. Luke even tried boogie boarding for the first time.

When Saturday arrived, it was really hard to believe that the week was nearly done :( We had a great family day, starting with the Templeton farmer's market, then delicious donuts together at Bonnie's house and off to the beach one last time.

Just before leaving for our flight, my Dad got out their go-kart to take Luke for a spin! So much fun!

And that was that .... time to leave. It's always hard to leave California when I don't know when I'll get to return, but we were all looking forward to seeing Jason.

Some last moments with Nana & Papa --

And some final favorite shots from a coastal drive my dad & I got to do together on evening (without kids!).

Time to fly again! A beautiful day coming into Seattle. Mt St Helens & Mt Adams just behind the wing and Mt Ranier just in front. Pretty cool!

Monday, July 24, 2017

What I've been waiting for!

THIS is the kind of weather I dreamed about during our 6-month long, dreary Idaho winter ... LOVE it!
10-day forecast without even a cloud in the sky!! Woo-hoo!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Trying to live our Leavenworth life to the fullest

Wow! I'm having a hard time believing we are already past the halfway mark for July. This awesome summer is going SO fast! The kids and I just returned from a week long visit in California (which was awesome! More on that later) but for now, here's what we've been up to lately.

In and around town --

Lots and lots of outdoor fun! I've been feeling this strange pressure to see and do all that there is to do here before we go. Certainly not a realistic idea, but it is just such an amazing place and we are here such a short time -- I don't want to miss anything :)

8 Mile Lake Hike (we did not make it the 8 miles to the lake!)

Another afternoon at Lake Wenatchee -- still very windy, but much warmer than our last visit!

At the Old Pipeline Bed Trail -- LOVING the abundant Mock Orange scenting the air deliciously!

And then ... our first visit from Moscow friends! Hope & I met through our Moscow MOPS group. Her husband has family nearby and we were fortunate enough to get our families together for a hike. Something she & I have been wanting to do for a long time.

Hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail out of Stevens Pass --

We had our first house guest -- a co-worker of Jason's from his school in Guatemala. We haven't seen Emily since returning from Guatemala so it was fun to catch up. Her visit was just in time for our local u-pick blueberry patch opening week! Woo-hoo!

A quick walk along the river together before she headed to her next destination.

And of course .... 4th of July!!!
Started the day with red, white & blue waffles (strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream) and face painting :)

Leavenworth hosted a FREE KinderFest which was great fun for the kids and so nice to have something within walking distance to do in celebration of our nation's birthday!

The kids got to sit in the cab of a backhoe and also had their first cotton candy and sno-cones! Wow!

And, one dandelion kiss :)

(this is actually a plant called salsify but looks like a giant dandelion)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Calm between the chaos -- a week on Washington's Olympic Peninsula

Immediately after Jason finished the craziness of his finals week of tests, projects & working, we headed west to Washington's Olympic Peninsula for a week of celebration and recuperation. Not only were we celebrating his completion of school, but also our 10 year anniversary - hurray! Jason's parents had generously gifted us with a week-long stay at one of their time share locations which made the whole thing even a possibility for us. Amazing!

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Northwest or haven't already visited the Olympic Peninsula ... here's a map that gives a little perspective on how HUGE it is! I have to say, it is such a cool place that we would have love, love, loved to explore more. From awesome beaches, to beautiful snow-capped mountains and rain forests - it has an incredibly diverse landscape which we enjoyed very much.

View from our Condo and the small beach a short walk down the hill. Very happy to be this close to salt water!!

The kids had a great time uncovering crabs underneath all the rocks at the beach.

Mother's Day was the day after we arrived ... I still think it's pretty crazy that I'm a Mom!
After the first few rainy/drizzly days, we decided to enjoy a break in the weather and venture out, heading to Sequim & Dungeness for a little exploring (and I'll admit, a bakery run!). These pictures are all from the Dungeness Spit ... which we had completely to ourselves. It looks almost looks tropical ... if we weren't so bundled up :)

We spent one awesome day exploring Olympic National Park -- would have needed at least a week to really see it, but thankful for what we did get to see.

Beautiful Crescent Lake --

With these crazy trees --

We got to go for a great hike near the lake (albeit rather s-l-o-w with our doddler until she took her nap in the carrier)

We ended our day at the coast along the Puget Sound near Salt Creek. Gorgeous beach with super soft sand and tide pools with some of the most vibrant anemones I'd ever seen.

With the weather continuing to improve we spent the next day exploring Fort Warden State Park in Port Townsend which was a very cool military base turned campground/conference center.

The other thing that made Fort Warden awesome was (of course!) the unexpectedly amazing beach -- a long peninsula of really nice soft sand. Woohoo!

Our Anniversary Day -- hurray for 10 years! SO thankful to be married to this incredible man!!

Toward the end of the week we headed to the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim. Jason had great memories of this place from when he was a child ... but I wasn't entirely convinced it was going to be fun. I'd heard of wild animal parks where you pay a bunch of money to spend hours driving around and may or may not get to see anything. And I just couldn't envision what he was talking about exactly. Well, I was totally wrong. This it was entirely worth it and FUN!

The Olympic Mountains on our way there were having a gorgeous day!

At the park -- they actually sell whole wheat bread loaves at the gate for you to feed to the animals from your car!

The park started with a deer, yaks and other animals to feed from the car :) The Kodiak bears had their own enclosure, but have been trained to wave as people drive by throwing bread to them.

There was also a predator display where the animals were under tighter security and then it was on to the bison and elk area which was quite thrilling, especially since we were in our subaru and the bison seemed SO SO much larger!

While the rest of us rolled UP our windows, Jason drove, fed bison and generally entertained/terrified us all :)

One final trip to the Fort Warden beach --