Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Sunday Night Stroll at Nisqually

One of our first nights in Washington, Leslie took us to Nisqually Wildlife Reserve just to get out of the house and enjoy some nature. Going on this stroll was the first time being back in the States that I felt relaxed and over culture shock. It was amazing to be outside and in nature, something we do not get to do much of in all of our city living. Washington is gorgeous and we wanted to do more outdoor activities this trip because that is one thing we missed out on last trip. The trail, if you could call it one, was a boardwalk and perfect for the kiddos. We saw a lot of wildlife! A giant snail, nutrias, a frog, bats, birds, ducks, and ducklings! Heart eyes for days seeing the ducklings. They are so cute. It was so cold in Washington. After Singapore everywhere is cold. I have been cold in Tennessee, and that is saying something because it is hot and humid here in the summer.  Nisqually was a breathe of fresh air, literally. I don't know what it was, but it was a really nice outing and highlight of our trip. I really enjoyed myself. Whenever I am out in nature it makes me appreciate God's creation so much more. And it is a testimony to me of how much he loves us because he created this beautiful world for us to enjoy. And this picture of the kids hugging their Aunt Leslie is one of my favorites. They are so cute!

Looking for nutrias, which are otter like creatures. We saw two! The second animal highlight next to see the ducklings. 
She has some of the best silly faces when it comes to getting a picture taken. I love it. She is such a fun girl. Really sassy, but as my Momma says, "it's good for a girl to have a little sass". She is no pushover. 
I spy with my little eye.....
Me and my lovelies. I was freezing towards the end. I only packed one pair of jeans for the trip because I knew that I was not going to need really warm clothes because it's summer here. Washington had a different weather plans though. It was unusually cold for that time of year apparently. And I held that apple the whole time. Henry said he wanted to eat it, but then decided not to. So Mom is the natural trash can. 
These two get along so well! It amazes me. They are best buddies. I hope they stay that way forever. I did not always get a long with my siblings growing up, but we are all friends now as adults. My parents would always say growing up that friends come and go but family is forever. No truer words have been said. When I come home that is who I spend my time with. Spending all this time with Leslie was so great. She helped me get through this rough spot and the kids getting over jetlag and the list goes on and on. 
The stunning Leslie. I love her so much. 

The kids were being so funny. They were playing a game they made up called the kissy monster. They were chasing each other and then hugging and kissing. They were giggling like crazy. I am so grateful that they love each other. 

Sisters, sisters, never were there such devoted sisters. And Raphael's little brown head. 
No filter. It was stunning. 
There were bats flying around and these barns. We even saw them hanging upside down off the sides. It made our inner animal loving selves so happy. 
Piggy back ride for Henry.
The long walk back to the car. It was not really that long. It just felt long because all the kids wanted to do was to collect rocks aka gravel. I wonder when they will out grow the obsessive compulsive desire to play in the gravel? Sundays are probably my least favorite day of the week, I know I'm horrible. It is just really hard and long with kids. Church is a struggle then you are starving when you get home no matter what time you have church, and then it's the end of the week so I always feel like a zombie. Getting out and walking around was relaxing and helped me appreciate this Sabbath day a little bit more. Grateful for Leslie for knowing all the great and easy places to take the kids. 

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Washington Favorites

Washington has become one of my favorite places to visit. Last year when we went as a family we had such an incredible time. And this time with Leslie was even better! It's because we spent longer and had more time to explore and visit some of our favorites. The highlight for me this time was going to Bainbridge Island. We took a ferry there and it has a bridge that connects it back to the mainland so we could leave whenever we wanted to and not have to be bound by the ferry schedule. We found a fantastic antique shop. Everything in there was really nice and made me want a house to decorate. I have been watching a lot of Fixer Upper lately too which might also be another reason why I want to decorate a house. Thank you Leslie for getting me hooked on it.  

It had a children's museum so there was another plus to going to this island. 

This little buddy had as much fun as the older two. He is getting so big.

We stopped at MORA to get some ice cream. It was the best ice cream I have ever had. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they get a cookbook out sometime so I can get in on the secret. I had their signature Mora (blackberry) ice cream with half a scoop of coconut. Cosette always gets vanilla and Henry chocolate. Leslie got lemon bar. Hers was two thumbs up. Man, I want to go back there.
Making a stop at Pike's Place Market was at the top of my list. I love this place. And Leslie does too because Ellenos Greek yogurt. We got four different flavors to share with everyone at home, and I wish we had gotten more. The great news is that they are going to start selling it at Whole Foods! And the guy kind of photo bombing out picture is an actor/news presenter in Singapore! What are the odds?! His name is Guo Liang.  
Leslie and the Coco and the Henry with the pig. 

On the ferry on our way to Bainbridge. We saw a seal! We thought it was a piece of garbage, but then it went under the water meaning that it was a seal. Wish we saw some other marine wildlife. Wildlife junkies here.
Love these kiddos of mine. They are my buddies. I have a lot of fun with them even if I am exhausted at the end of every day. It's worth every ounce of energy I spend. They are the best!

Possibly my favorite photo of all time. Henry gives the best hugs and kisses. I am hoping that he continues to give them for a long long time. Like to the point it's inappropriate long time.

Crazy hair, don't care.

Zamp, the dog. We got him some special doggie treats for his birthday. 

My peeps at Point Defiance Zoo. We had a couple of run ins with wild raccoons. One was blind in one eye and started coming toward us. We went running screaming "run away". We know what happened to Buddy the Elf, so we did not try to get friendly with it. That was just one of the encounters with raccoons that day. They were popping out of the bushes, like daisies!
Tiger next to the glass. Just plain AWESOME!

Cloud leopard kittens=a million heart eyes.

Proud Cloud Leopard daddy.

One of my favorite pics of the bunch. 
"Look at the seahorses Mommy! They are so cute!" So are you Henry.

And how we all ended up at the end of everyday. I even fell asleep one night in my clothes. But that means we were having a great time, or just really jet lagged.....
It doesn't matter what we were, Washington has a special place in our hearts. Miss you Leslie and Sam. As Cosette says, "we love you to Heaven and back". 

(Washington video here)

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Secret City Festival

A couple of weekends ago my hometown hosted the annual Secret City Festival. We went last year and had an amazing time and it was even better this year.

My hometown was part of the Manhattan Project during World War II and was a "secret city" until the war was over. The Festival pays homage to our town's history, which always makes me proud of where I am from and excited about science, haha. We are a science city.

Anyway, there are a lot of activities for kids, a craft fair, booths local businesses set up, performances, concerts the two nights of the festival, food, and a WWII reenactment. It's pretty fabulous and like I said has gotten better every year. Highlights were digging for fossils and other stuff in the dino dig, getting to sit in a real life fire engine and "driving" it, seeing The Charlie Daniels Band perform live, and of course getting to play in the sand. My kids love the sand box.

We finally got to see the reenactment. We have always wanted to go, but then things get in the way so we haven't been. But this year we made it! It was super loud and made me appreciate the sacrifice and service our armed forces provide for us. And it was also a reenactment of what happened at Normandy which was especially interesting to me since we visited those places while we were in Paris. (Post here)

Here is a little film that I put together of our festival experience.

His little boy dreams were fulfilled because he got to sit in the fire truck and drive it for a long time. The fireman told us to come by the fire station anytime and they would give us a tour. It's on our summer bucket list. 
This picture cracks me up seeing Henry trying to copy Cosette's pose. 

Coolest little robot that would take the ball and shot it out and play catch with you. 
Catch of the future?
Me and two of my sisters at The Charlie Daniel's band concert. We were too cheap to buy tickets so we sat on the hill outside with all the other free loaders and listened to the country legend play. Not as glamourous as seeing him at the Grand Ole Opry, but it was fun spending time with my Momma and sisters. 

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