Wednesday, June 27, 2018

portland weekend

before we head to minneapolis, i thought i better get our portland recap on here. i've been running around like a chicken with it's head cut off for the last two weeks between the end of school, traveling to portland for two nights, and now today we are headed to minneapolis for 17 days! all fun stuff, but whew!

we hit the road to go to portland right after school got out on friday. it was a bit chaotic, but we wanted to get on the road before rush hour traffic really hit. ha! it ended up being terrible traffic anyway. it should take about 3.5 hours to get to portland, but it took over 5 hours. we stopped for a quick dinner at mod pizza, but otherwise we were driving the whole time. we stayed at thatcher's cousin jade and her husband ben's house, but to make this setup confusing - they weren't' actually there. instead thatcher's aunt georgianne and his uncle randy were there dogsitting jade and ben's labradoodle murphy while they are in spain. so we got to spend the weekend with all of them. murphy was adorable. he is rarely around kids, so he wasn't too sure what to make of them, but he was sweet and gentle and mostly just stared at them. haha. 

we hung out and chatted with them for a bit, then it was off to bed! 

saturday morning georgianne picked up delicious bagels for breakfast from a place in the neighborhood. then thatcher's other cousin's wife jammie joined all of us for the day. we drove to troutdale (a cute town just outside portland). they had a firefighter fundraiser going on with lots of fun activities. the kids enjoyed it! 

then we went to mcmenamins edgefield for lunch. it's a really cool place on the grounds of an old poor farm from 1911. they have a hotel, restaurant, and concerts there as well. we ate out on the patio and it was a beautiful spot and the food was great! 

next we drove further out of the city to a place called draper girls farm. it had stunning views of mount hood, goats, a tree swing, and a store. it was such a cool place. unfortunately ashford was melting down most of the time we were there (4 year old power struggles), so that wasn't ideal, but we all survived. 

after that, everyone except our immediate family needed to head home to let the dogs out, but thatcher and the kids and i made one more stop. we went to the town of hood river, which is about an hour outside portland. it's on the columbia river and is a huge wind surfing spot. there was a beach, a nice path, and a play ground that the kids enjoyed. 

when we got back to jade's house, we ordered thai take out for dinner and hung out with georgianne and randy the rest of the night. 

sunday morning we walked to a donut shop in the neighborhood called "coco donuts".


then the kids played at a nearby playground. we went back to the house and said our goodbyes to georgianne and randy. they took this nice pic of all of us out front: 

then we were off to see our minnesota friends who just moved to portland. 

ian, joanna, and kyla have been dreaming of moving to the pacific northwest for as long as we have been here (and maybe even longer). they recently landed jobs in portland and just made the move this month. our families get along great (their daughter is the same age as azalea) and we are so excited to have them so close to us now! we got to see the house they rented and had lunch at a place in their neighborhood (so much good food this weekend!!). 

then we got ice cream at a place called "50 licks". it was delish! 

finally it was time for us to hit the road back to seattle. the drive back "only" took about 4.5 hours. ;) the kids did really well in the car, thanks to their tablets. we save them for car/plane rides, so they stay a novelty. and i don't mean that judgey way, trust me my kids watch plenty of tv at home. 

alright - stay tuned for minneapolis updates. i have no idea if i'll a post half way through our visit or wait until the end. that could get long! 

Friday, June 22, 2018

the end of the school year

the end of the school year has been crazy busy (and fun!), so i thought i'd do a dedicated post about it. 

backing up to last week, on the 13th they held a graduation at ashford's preschool. they like to include all the kids even if they have another year of preschool before kindergarten (like ashford). i actually had to miss the mini ceremony because i was picking up my brother at the airport, but my neighbor martine sent me some cute pictures that she took. 

they differentiated the kids going to kindergarten with black gowns.

friday the 15th was azalea's school carnival. it was a lot of fun (and nearly free!) last year, so i was excited to go again. this was the day our visitors went to vancouver, so that worked out well. they had beautiful weather for it out on the playground/black top. our friends vanessa and ewan, and martine, bruce, and beatrice joined us. the kids had a blast playing all the games. they even had a petting zoo with the cutest animals - goats, bunnies, and even a kangaroo! i wanted to take him home :) 

monday the 18th there was a 1st grade gathering at webster park (about a half mile from us). it was a hot day for seattle (mid 80's), but everyone had fun. everyone brings blankets to sit on and food and this year they even had a food truck. it's been fun getting to know even more of the kids and parents this year. i'm eager to see who will be in her class next year. apparently i didn't take any pictures of this one. oops. 

yesterday there were two activities (are you tired yet? i am!). i have to say i'm especially thankful for my flexible, remote part time job that allows me to be available to attend all of these events. in the morning there was an awards assembly that all the students attended. every year each classroom gives out 2 principal awards and 2 humanitarian awards. the recipients are nominated by their peers. i got an email last week from azalea's teacher (well, the sub) letting me know azalea would be receiving an award. thatcher was able to go to the assembly at the community center with me. we did not tell azalea about the award or that we would be attending. it was so fun to surprise her. she skipped up to the front to receive her award. it was the cutest thing. we are so proud of her. it's nice to get these reminders that we are raising good humans (not that we doubt it, but it's still nice). 

the second activity for yesterday was track and field day in the afternoon. thatcher and i walked up to the school to hang out during it (as many families do). they don't really do competitions or ribbons like when i was in school, it was more choosing different activities to play. and popsicles - always popcicles :) ashford had fun playing with some of the younger siblings who were there. 

that brings us to today...the last day of schoo for both kidsl! i can't believe we are here! i thought kindergarten went fast for azalea, but this year felt 5x faster. i'm sure it will increase with every year. it's insane! at least ashford has another year before elementary school. that'll be a huge adjustment for sure. 

here is azalea on the first and last day of 1st grade:

and since we haven't had enough going on lately (wink wink)...we are leaving for portland for the weekend right after school gets out! ha! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

new jersey visitors, june birthdays, father's day

it's been a whirlwind week around here and though our guests have gone back home now, life doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. it's all fun stuff we have going on, so no complaints here besides how fast time is flying. 

last tuesday was thatcher's 36th birthday. he worked that day and then we made pizza at home at night with the kids, opened gifts, and ate the cake he made for all of us ;) the kids get very excited about birthdays!

wednesday our guests started to arrive. brandon arrived first and he and i took the kids to get a late lunch at "the boars nest" bbq (his favorite place ever). the kids had already eaten lunch, so i let them get ice cream from "parfait" next door and bring it over to the restaurant. they were not mad about that ;) the new jersey guests - my aunt, 2 cousins, and my cousin's girlfriend - arrived at our place at dinner time after checking into their airbnb (only a half mile from us). thatcher got home from work and grilled pork tacos for everyone. we had a fun, relaxing night just hanging out at our apartment. it ended up pouring a lot of the night, so we couldn't be outside at all, but it was okay.

thursday was brandon's birthday! thatcher worked and azalea went to school and the rest of the us spent the day downtown. first we went to olympic sculpture park, which has really nice views of the sound. 

then we grabbed coffee and walked along the waterfront to pike place market (i've been there so many times lately). not surprisingly, it was packed. tourist season is in full swing. they enjoyed exploring the market, including the famous gum wall. it's super gross, but very unique.

we got some lunch at a casual seafood place on the water and then walked over to pioneer square before venturing back across downtown to our car. ashford was such a good boy all day. no whining or complaining, just super happy. it was wonderful. we picked azalea up from school and then the fighting started, of course! the gang had been talking about getting ice cream, so my lucky kiddos got to do that 2 days in a row. we went to salt and straw this time and then walked around ballard and went in some shops.

that night we had dinner reservations at rays cafe, which is on the water. it was a cool night, so we were seated inside, but we had a delicious dinner to celebrate brandon.

thatcher wasn't able to join us because he had a pre-scheduled evening work meeting, but the kids came along and did pretty well. until there was a giant meltdown from azalea on the way home about not getting more dessert. womp womp.

friday the group (including my brother) decided to drive up to vancouver, bc for the day. you know i love vancouver, but we just didn't think it would be realistic to take the kids there and back in a day. the border wait time can be very unpredictable. so they went on their own (with some sight seeing recommendations from us). it worked out well to have a "normal" day at home in the middle of their visit. the kids went to school and it allowed me to do some work and catch up on stuff around the house. we also had azalea's school carnival that night (which i'll blog about later). 

saturday we all headed to the mountains for the day. we stopped in snoqualmie pass, then headed to gold creek pond. i know you've been seeing a lot of this place lately, but we can't not bring our guests there. it's just too beautiful :) they loved it. we ate donuts we picked up on the way, and walked the 1 mile loop around the lake. 

next we went to the snoqualmie tunnel on the iron horse trail. it's a 1.5 mile tunnel that's freezing cold inside and nearly pitch black when you get to the middle. we brought flash lights along. it was a fun adventure and the kids were (a little) less scared than last time thatcher took them. 

we headed back to seattle and got lunch at un bien. 

that night everyone except the kids, my cousin kelly, and me went to the mariners game.

 kelly and i took the kids to golden gardens (which was insanely busy - people were parked all over the grass). it was a beautiful evening there.

 then we had dinner at el camion, which i hadn't been to in a couple years. yum! 

sunday was father's day! it was definitely not a normal father's day, but thatcher was understanding that my family was here for a limited time. the girls drove to woodinville to go to the chateau st. michelle winery and the guys stayed home with the kids. here are some pics from their outing to the boars nest (again), and the locks.

 we had the best time at the winery - the weather was gorgeous and it's such a beautiful place. we did the wine tasting (5 different wines) 

and then bought a bottle to have outside for our picnic. we brought a blanket and food and enjoyed the grounds. 

then we headed inside for the 30 minute tour (which including a tasting of 3 more wines). 

it was my second time going there and i can't wait to go back. the kids and i spent some time with thatcher in the evening, and gave him his gift. after the kids went to bed, my brother and i met up with the fam in ballard for some food and drinks. 

monday was everyones last day in town. we dropped off the kids at school and then walked to the locks with them. we said our goodbyes because i needed to take brandon to the airport. it was so fun showing them around seattle and catching up. we set a goal to not go more than 2 years without seeing each other again. i think we can handle that! 

now we are in the last week of school for both kids. lots of "end of the year" activities going on, which you know i'll blog about next week :) 


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