Tuesday, February 5, 2013


December was a big month for my family, in more ways than the usual holiday-related stuff.  This is because my husband graduated with his Bachelors of Science degree from a big local University!  I am so proud of him!  After high school he served in the US Marine Corps for four years, then started his degree program, then paused it to stay home with our young children for two years (one of those years being my cancer year), then returned to school in fall 2011.  Isn't he just plain amazing?  I completely agree.  

I thought we should do something major to celebrate his major achievement, so we took a trip to Seattle to visit my brother.  It was a 4-day, 5-night trip, and oh man was it wonderful.  We rented a house while we were there (www.vrbo.com, it's the best!), and Eleanor still calls it our other house and asks when we are going to stay there again.  Below are a few highlights of our trip.

You should know that although we took nearly 300 pictures on the trip, they were mostly of silly faces or the floor.  That is because the kids have discovered their inner photographer and enjoy taking gobs of pictures with our digital camera.  It ended up being a great diversion while waiting on transportation (airplanes, ferries, etc.).  Needless to say Ian and I ended up feeling like we did a good job getting the camera out, but rarely did we capture the true moments of our memories.

airport silly face
airport silly face, with my brother making a cameo in the background.  He wasn't on the same flight as us, but we were flying the same day (he had come back for a visit, and we planned the trip to be travelling to Seattle in parallel with him.)

airport silly face.  Our local airport has these great kiddie tables for us to hunker down and color at. 

airport handsome face
Our rental house was only 3 blocks from the beach, so we walked there despite the rain and chill.  We midwesterners love an ocean beach regardless of the weather!
The rental house had gorgeous landscaping, including a wooden outdoor fish tank with 5 goldfish in it.  We loved to watch the fish, and indeed to count them every time we visited to ensure that none were missing.  It seemed unlikely that their 24/7 open-air tank would go unnoticed by neighborhood kitties, but indeed, the fishies were always accounted for on our watch.  Seattle truly is heaven on earth, at least for outdoor fishies!
The rental house also had an outdoor hot tub.  We got in it every day, and sometimes at night, too (as shown here).
We went to the Seattle Aquarium.  I highly recommend it.  The kids loved it, and although I haven't been to many aquaria for comparisons I thought it was very well done.  
Here's my brother and the girls behind a giant tube of circulating jellyfish.

The aquarium provided so many creative angles for fish-watching!
This is us outside of the aquarium, and it's the only picture of all of us from the whole trip. You can see that Eleanor is ready for a nap after her big morning out!
We decided not to go in the space needle, but what a beautiful day to be photographed WITH the space needle.
We also went to the science museum.  It was amazing!  We could have spent an entire day there but had to leave due to naptime pressure.  There is a large butterfly house, and the butterflies loved Ian.  He had one on his shoulder for a long time.  Can you see it in the picture?  
We spent a day riding ferries and exploring an island.  Ferry time = silly face time!

Now THAT's a silly face.

The last ferry took us back into Seattle after sunset.  It was so beautiful watching the lights of the city get closer and closer.  Impossible to get a good picture with the wind and the rain and the motion of the boat, but a glowing Ferris wheel makes any picture tolerable. 

We also rode the Ferris wheel, hosted a barbecue, hiked to a lighthouse, built sandcastles with our mittens on, got seafood and the most delicious raspberries at the Market, drank fresh-roasted coffee, baked cookies, and walked to a romantic Italian restaurant for a date.  It was such a wonderful trip.  

Thank you so much, brother, for hosting this remarkable vacation for my little family.  You are a wonderful host and operate just at our speed!  Let's do it again soon.  <3 

Congratulations, Ian, on your gigantic achievement.  I am so proud of you for everywhere you've been and I'm so excited for everywhere you're going.  <3