Monday, November 3, 2014

Summer Stay-cation

Trying to get Shad to take any time off work is like pulling teeth. He is just so busy and stressed with all that he needs to accomplish at work that he doesn't want to take time off unless it is really necessary. He had saved up so much vacation this year, because he hardly took a day off last year. Luckily he is getting better! We finally planned out a BIG family vacation for the holidays (Florida for Thanksgiving! Whoop!) AND I got him to take a few days off this summer. Just to have a stay-cation together as a family. Just to finish up any home/yard projects and enjoy the summer weather together, and to just have a breather from work. I'm not sure how he doesn't get so burned out, with his long days. But, as always, we are very thankful for his wonderful job and really have nothing to complain about. We are very blessed. 

First things first. We had to get the crew looking' good. It had been YEARS since I had haircut. And I hardly ever go out and spend money on such things. But I decided since he was going to be home I would take advantage of some me time. I went to a local salon and paid way to much for a little pampering and a fantastic haircut. :) 

Me and my boys after haircuts all around! 

After the morning of pampering, Owen was really into the idea of bowling. So we decided that we would take the family bowling. It was a hit! The kids all loved it. Even Kaisa! Owen is such a funny boy sometimes. He really doesn't do well with loud noises, so he plugged his ears the ENTIRE time, even though we were the only ones in the whole place, so it wasn't loud. And he seemed a little stressed out, but he said he loved it and wanted to go again. So its a win, I guess! 

Look at those smiles! 

The end results... not my best game. But Owen didn't do too bad! 

We also took the boys out for ice cream together. As you can tell, they enjoyed it. :) 

This boy loves him some chocolate ice cream! 

A favorite summer pastime for all my kiddos, running through sprinklers!! A must do on our Stay-cation. 

Oh man, it doesn't get much cuter than Kaisa in a swimsuit! Seriously, adorable. 

One morning we also had some old friends from our time in Spokane move into town and invited them over for a morning of catching up. We both had 3 kids since we've last lived in the same area, so we let the kids play for awhile. I love getting together with old friends. Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures of our first reunion together.  

Owen absolutely LOVES Seattle. He loves going downtown and seeing all the fun spots and skyscrapers. He also LOVES the sounder. So we decided to do one day in Seattle with the kids, walk around, pack a lunch, and let Daddy and the boys ride the sounder home. It was such a fun day, and Owen and Nathan loved every minute of it! 

Our first stop was Daddy's Seattle office at the Columbia Tower. Just the boys got off with Daddy to ride to the top and take in the view of the city. (I didn't want to pay to park on a weekday!) 

They love their city! 

This picture melts my heart. SO CUTE. 

Afterwards we drove over to the Seattle Center and walked around the space needle, which of course the boys love. And then we walked down to the Sculpture Park. We had never been, and I really wanted to go. I wish we had more time! It is such a fun park to walk around and you get a pretty spectacular view of the Olympic Mountains and The Sound. 

View of the city from the park. 

View of Olympics. 

Pushing these strollers up and down the hills of Seattle was no joke! Ha. 

We then rode the monorail, another favorite of the kids, to walk down to Pike's Place. Owen loves walking around looking at the fish and the water. And for some reason he is super obsessed with the Gum Wall. Funny kid. 

The monorail. 

My personal contribution! 

Love this boy. 

Water Fountains are so much fun. 

The kids love this International Fountain. Kaisa was super bummed about having to leave it. 

After more walking around, and eating our lunch/dinner, we knew it was time to take the monorail back to our car and head over to the main event: The Sounder! I dropped the boys off and they were eager to get aboard the train! 

On the Sounder. 

I met them at the station, and they were beaming. A real train. And if you know Owen and Nathan, trains are nothing short of awesome. 

The next day, just happened to be my birthday. So I was able to plan out my day. Shad and I had heard there was a root beer store up in Lynnwood, with free tastings on the first Saturday of each month. So we packed up the kids and grandparents and drove an hour to the Root Beer store! It was hilarious. Like wine tasting for Mormons. We tasted all kinds of Root Beer. Who knew there were so many!?! Some were very, very not good. The guy who worked there took his job very seriously and was very into all the different kinds and tastes off all the root beers. Like I said, hilarious. There was even some on tap, for premium root beer floats! We bought a bunch of different kinds of root beers. Yum. 

Here the kids are tasting their root beers! 

And since we just happened to be in Lynnwood, I thought we'd stop at Cafe Rio for my birthday lunch! So Yummy!!! 

I came home to treats on my doorstep and more treats brought over by good friends. I'm a lucky girl. Turning 29 certainly tasted delicious. 

Sweet Owen even made me this sign. Lucky mom. He's really into writing block letters these days. 

My parents took the kids for the night, and Shad and I went out shopping at south center and walked around for an evening kid free. Overall a successful birthday.

Evening the sunset knew it was my special day. So pretty. 

Sunday, of course, we went to church and recovered from a fun staycation together. And prepped for a Monday back to reality. I think we will do a Summer Stay-cation again next year. No stress of travel and a chance to enjoy all the fun things we have here around us. There really is SO much to do around here!  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Anniversary Weekend Getaway

On July 15th, Shad and I celebrated 8 years love and marriage! In some ways it seems crazy that we've been married for that long. In other ways it seems like we've been together forever. He is indeed my best friend. We have grown together and apart more this year than any other year. Our relationship has been put through the test and some hard times these last several months. Its been a learning and growing year for our relationship, but he is my eternal companion and my love. He's the father to my beautiful babies, and the best at it. Here's to another year of us. :) 

My sweet mother volunteered to babysit a whole weekend for us so that we could sneak away together. Something that we really needed. Just time for the two of us, without worrying about the littles constantly. We decided on a little road trip together. Its amazing how much road you can cover and how much you can actually SEE in a weekend together without kids! I feel like we covered so much ground! We did the Highway 101 loop around the Washington State peninsula, and visited several stops in Olympic National Park and along the coast. It was beautiful, relaxing and wonderful! Plus we were able to fit in some things we really love: reading, taking pictures, nature, and hiking! Win! 

We started out on the road saturday afternoon and drove the beautiful drive up to Sequim, Wa. At the top of the peninsula, where we had a hotel waiting for us. The drive was gorgeous and clear. Sequim is a cute little place. We were able to find a place to have dinner after we checked in and afterwards take some beautiful sunset shots. The moon was incredible that night, it was a super moon! But I didn't have my telephoto lens to really capture it. But it was amazing. 

 The best of the moon I could get. 

 Gorgeous Sunset in Sequim. 

That night I was also able to map out the rest of our mini road trip. It was fun to have many options and kind of play it by ear with whatever we wanted to do! Kid free!!

We started out driving by Crescent Lake, at the very edge of Olympic National Park. Oh man, it was so beautiful. 

So pretty. 

One of the things that Shad and I like to do together is read books out loud. We read the whole Harry Potter series together, and a few other books. And now we are working on A Song of Ice and Fire Series (Game of Thrones). Shad has already listened to them all and somehow convinced me that I needed to read them too. I must say after being VERY resistant, I'm completely hooked! Shad has the gift to read in the car, without barfing, a gift I do not have. So I did the driving, he did the reading! Plus he is SO good at reading out loud, he does all the voices! Its great. We were able to finish book one on this trip. 

Our first stop was La Push beach. We traveled out to vampire and wolf country! Oh man, passing through Forks and La Push is hilarious! They eat up every bit of Twilight. There are tours and twilight signs EVERYWHERE. We even passed the "Treaty Line" sign on our way to La Push beach, a little ridiculous. Plus, Forks really is Podunk! 

Anyway, it really must be vampire country, because it was a spectacular, sunny, HOT day. But as soon as we would creep our way towards the beach, it was completely cloudy, windy and COLD! Five minutes out from the beach, sunny and warm. Hmmm? its crazy! 

Still beautiful and fun to walk along the beach. 

These HUGE trees and wood pieces made for such pretty scenery. 

After La Push and driving through Forks, we decided to to stop at the Hoh Rainforest. Shad has never been, and I went when I was pretty small. It was so hot and muggy! But very beautiful and oh so green! We did the quick little hike through the rainforest and saw all the sights there. Like I said, so much faster without kids! Hiking is always something we have enjoyed together. Now with kids, we certainly don't do it enough. It was fun to go together again. 

Same spot, different angle of lighting. Cool, huh!? 

 So much green! 

These trees were amazing. 

After the Rainforest we made our way along the Pacific Coast and stopped at several beaches and ocean views on the way home. The view was mostly the same: cloudy, misty, foggy, rocky, lots of trees, and beautiful. 

The clouds made the greens so vibrant and pretty. 

Even though it was cloudy and cold, the view was still so stunning. 

It was pretty entertaining watching people fish... catch... things? We were not really sure what these people were trying to catch in those nets! 

We thought about making one last stop at Lake Quinault, but decided we were too tired, and still had a couple hours 'til home. We made a quick pit stop for frozen yogurt and came home to a quiet house with the kids already in bed! (Grandma's really are the BEST!)

It was a quick little getaway! Just over 24 hours. But we covered lots of ground, saw a lot, and had so much fun just the two of us. Its so, so beautiful up there. I love living in Washington. We have so many gorgeous sights, right in our backyard! I wish we took more advantage of all the beauty here. Maybe we can make this a tradition!? :) 

On our actual anniversary, we got pretty crazy and busted out the ice cream and red box! True love, I tell ya!