Sunday, February 15, 2015

First day of school

Yep, I realize that it is February and I'm just now posting about the first day of school.  Almost 6 months ago.  Better than not at all :)

Brett - first day of 3rd Grade
Katharine (yep, she's going by Katharine at school now) - first day of 2nd grade
Ready for a new school year

WPWTW ' 14 - Seattle, Portland, and Herron Island

At last - the long post about our bi-annual WPWTW (wedding party without the wedding) trip. This year's (last year) trip was to the Pacific Northwest. If you've never had a chance to visit Seattle and Portland, I'd HIGHLY recommend it. It started off a little chaotic because Brett caught a nasty bug right before we left - high fever, body aches, chills, super-tired, for DAYS on end. The poor kid still had a fever of 102 on our long travel day out there, but he was a trooper. Thankfully, our friends were super-understanding and let us crash their house with their two kids and our germ-infested family. We flew into Seattle and stayed with the Parikh's at their house in Kirkland. Their oldest daughter was born just a few hours ahead of Kate. We've always joked that they are the east-coast/ west-coast twins. Aasha is a good foot taller than Kate, so they look years apart in age, but they were immediately BFFs. Kate is usually shy and quiet when she meets new people, even kids, but they immediately hit it off. It was really cute to see them interact - definitely two peas in a pod! Brett took it easy the first day, trying to rest and sleep whenever he could. They gave us the entire basement, which let our kids really sleep and quickly get on the west coast schedule. We enjoyed delicious take-out Indian food from one of the Parikh's favorite restaurants and enjoyed catching up with the adults once all of the kids went to bed. The next day we toured Seattle with their family. On our drive into the city from Kirkland, Kush was telling Brett about the planes that could land on the water... just as he was explaining it, we saw it in person. Brett thought it was awesome and couldn't stop talking about it - that's how I knew he was finally feeling better!  We had a great time touring Pike's market with our two families.  Later that day we had dinner on the water in Kirkland.  It was beautiful!    The next day we headed down to Portland to meet up with the WPWTW friends (Todd's high school friends).  Brett's fever finally broke for good, and we had a great time visiting.

After a delicious dinner and sleepover at the Parikh's, we headed into Seattle to go sight-seeing.  Aasha and Anya were great tour guides!

The original Starbucks - apparently Kush visits Starbucks as much as Todd visits Panera (i.e., EVERY day)

Pike Place - Brett was finally feeling better!  Yay!

This little foursome hit it off like they'd been best friends forever

Two girls born just hours apart - one is just an entire head taller than the other :)

Checking out Kirkland while we waited for a table at dinner - he got into the Pacific NW mentality pretty quickly!

Gorgeous sunset in Kirkland

This picture just makes me smile - sweet girls!

Portland's Japanese Garden - the boys took off with their own map, and these girls quickly became buddies and stuck together

Hanging out (literally) in the Rose Garden - I think all of our little gymnasts took turns up on the bar, with a parent close by!

After the Japanese Garden and the Rose Garden and a delicious snack, we found this awesome park.  The Ebbing adults even joined in a game of tag.  The jet lag from the trip was finally catching up to Todd and me - we were wiped!

Day 2 in Portland - hiking Multomah Falls.  The Hobbs family flew in super late the night before, but they pushed through and joined us on the hike!  Jon had taken the time to pick out a few trails that were a little challenging for the kids, but easy enough and short enough that they were pretty happy.

Holding up the cave

At last - the Oregon Brew Fest!  This was the entire reason that the boys picked this week to go on this trip.  Manuel is here marking off Rockford, Illinois on the map.

These boys have been friends for a LONG time!

On the island at last!  Herron island was absolute gorgeous.  We are so beyond thankful that Dev's mom and dad let us crash their newly remodeled gorgeous house for the week!  This kayak was not as gorgeous... we named it "marriage counseling" because each family that got in felt like they needed marriage counseling by the time they made it back to shore.  The Hobbs family looks deceptively happy here!

The afternoons at low tide were better than any science classroom.  The sea life that the kids discovered and got to hold was outstanding.

Jon showing off one his discoveries to all of the kids.  Did I mention that we had 8 adults and 9 kids in the house for the week.  Chaos.  Awesome fun chaos.

The kids all look out for each other and help each other out the whole week.  These two were each letting the other one pick up the crab.

This house had the boat house, the main house (2 stories), the "treehouse", and the casita above the garage, and it was all built into the very steep shore.  This tram is the way to go when you are moving suitcases, groceries, or KIDS!

After a week on the island, we headed into Seattle for a few days in the city.  This was our view from the ferry.

We took a ride on the giant ferris wheel.

Seattle Children's museum had a pretty awesome butterfly house.  The buttlerflies (hundreds of them) would land anywhere.

Literally anywhere!

Busted!  Every time Jon found an adult in "i-phone land" he took a picture.  We were seriously busted.

Our happy explorers!  The Hobbs family had to leave this day, so they were already at the airport.

We tried to go up in the space needle in the afternoon, but the line was ridiculous and we were all hungry and tired.  Instead, we found a nice restaurant and enjoyed dinner and went to the space needle after dinner.  This view was 110% worth the tired kiddos after bedtime!

Gorgeous view of Seattle!

Super tired after an awesome vacation, but worth every second!

Pictures are out of order - this was at the Japanese Garden in Portland.

Rose Garden in Portland

Hiking Multomah falls - poor Owen was having NOTHING to do with this picture!

Jon stayed up the night before to have pretzel necklaces ready for Oregon Brew Fest.  Strangers were coming up to our kids to ask where they got the necklaces.

Hiking at Ponytail falls

Say "Brew Fest!"

View from behind Ponytail Falls

Multomah Falls

Multomah Falls

Which beer to try next?

Playing at the base of the waterfall - amazingly no one fell in!

Stopped mid-hike for a photo op

Family picture at the base of the waterfall

Just gorgeous

Happy kids pre-hike... they were still happy post-hike!

Feeding 17 people at the same time... feed the kids, and then the adults get to eat!

More afternoon science lessons - Lucas and Kate exploring their find

Most mornings on the island looked like this... action-packed days meant sleepy kiddos!

This was by far the highlight of the island for the kids.  Jon put the adults on first and TRIED to flip them to see how easily they could flip.  He couldn't flip the adults even when he tried.  After that we felt pretty confident with the kids on the chariot.

Geoduck clams!  Google it :)

Jon got to ski some too - the boys all took turns driving the boat

Shockingly this was the only picture we got of meal prep... each family took a breakfast and dinner.  Everyone brings their A game when you only cook 1 dinner.  We ate like kings all week!

Hanging out on the boat

A little after lunch downtime

You can't pick any week in the summer without hijacking someone's birthday... this one was Jon's.  We celebrated AJ's birthday in Seattle.

I didn't say everything we ate was healthy - tater tots have their purpose too!

Playing on the chariot is fun when it's not tied to the boat too

Boys on the paddleboards

Brett getting a quick paddleboard lesson from Jon

Afternoon downtime


Todd and the kids taking a little (fast) ride

Just some boys on a boat

My little dynamic duo

The next generation of WPWTW

Margarita Mamas

Skiing with the mountains in the back

The Rockford guys

Our little fam

We did miss the Beard family - it wasn't the same without the last 4!

Hanging out and sight-seeing around Pike Market in Seattle

Crazy street performer