Saturday, November 21, 2015

First snow of the season!

This guy...

There is something so special and unique about my Grayson. He loves to help and just brings so much joy to our family! Today we got home and he was in helper mode. We have been talking about the big snow storm coming and he grabbed the windex and told me "I am going to clean all the windows so we can see the snow!"

Driving home he said the most profound thing to me, he told me "mom, there is love in your eyes!" I got a little verklempt! I later found out that it is part of a song they are learning at school - but it was just the sweetest thing ever! And, as I wrestle with missing work, was just what I needed that day!

Seattle Trip

What a marvelous trip. I got to sneak away while Josh was in Mexico for a 5 day excursion to my city - Seattle. I flew in early on a Thursday morning and got my rental car. I remember driving north on I5 which I had done hundreds of times. I got a HUGE smile on my face as I drove over the hill and saw down town Seattle. Ferries driving through the sound, a little overcast, the ferris wheel all lit up (the ferris wheel is new since I've lived there.) I couldn't stop smiling and remember consciously thinking "man, why did I ever move?"

I headed North taking in all the sites, the fresh air, the thick trees and dense housing everywhere you looked. Met Brian Gourley at a little place in Mill Creek. On my way to the restaurant, I drove by the first place Josh and I lived together in everett. Really surreal to be back here 12 years later! 

I hadn't spoken to Brian in years. We were good friends in high school, going on a few dates, but eventually just being great friends! We had a bit of a falling out when we went on a joint bachelor/bachelorette trip to Vegas and really hadn't spoken since. But it was time to make amends, and I'm so happy we did! Got caught up on his job at Boeing, travels to India, his dog Lily, and their plans to start a family. Really good conversation that lasted most of the afternoon. We went on a walk through his neighborhood and I headed to Fremont.

I swung by gasworks on my way to dinner, just to take a few pictures and relive my glory days near the UDistrict. It hadn't changed much in 10 years, but the view had! Even denser than I remembered, but equally as beautiful!

I also made a brief stop at our old place in Shoreline. The trees had gotten much bigger, but it did bring on a little nostalgia! Our first "home" together. And a serious lack of a yard!!

My Seattle "high" started to wane a bit as I made it to Fremont. THANK GOODNESS I had a GPS because I forgot how difficult it is to navigate Seattle! Windy roads this way and that, and Fremont is the worst! 2 way roads with cars jammed into parking on either side. It took me an hour just to navigate the roads and park - eventually making it to a Thai restaurant. Oh, how I missed Seattle food!!!

After dinner I picked up my college roommate Corinne Teeter from her job in downtown Seattle. She has a PhD in neuroscience and does research at the prestigious Allen Institute. It was so nice seeing her again after our whirlwind of a week during Ragbrai! We discovered the glorious concoction of grapefruit juice and champagne and drank that pretty much my whole stay :)

The next day was a "roommate breakfast." We all met at Katie's house in Shoreline. Coincidentally it is literally a mile down 175th from our old house! We would have been neighbors! Her husband Scott is a landscape company owner, and their backyard was something out of a magazine! We ate a lovely brunch and I got to catch up with Hun, Amanda, Duyen, Jake, and Katie. From there we went to the Ravenna neighborhood where Hun and Duyen were renting a really nice house! They had both brought their kids, so it made sense to have a little space! We continued the conversation and I left around noon to head down to Pike Place market.

There I was so happy to have a non-rainy few hours to snap some pictures. I love love love the waterfront and all the sea smells/sights. Walking through Pike Place really brought me right back to my college days. 

The big discussion points in Seattle right now are the gentrification of the area as well as the viaduct. Because of structural issues, the city is planning to demolish Aurora/the Alaska Way viaduct that currently runs all along the waterfront. The plan is to replace it with a tunnel, but they are currently $2 billion over budget and I am glad I don't have to worry about paying for that!

The other huge issue right now is how much it costs to live in Seattle! The house I stayed in with Corinne and her roomates was $550,000. It is 100 years old and really could use about $100,000 worth of updates. But it was charming and very quaint. The problem is how much people must spend just in housing there. Interesting problem!

The famous "gum wall" before it got cleaned up!

After I was done with my walk down memory lane, I got a call from Corinne who was ready to leave work around 5pm. I thought - hey, I'm only a few miles from her, I'll jump in the car and pick her up (normally she commutes by bus/bike.) Well, little did I remember that downtown is insane during rush hour -and even more insane than when I used to work down there, because Amazon and other companies have since joined the downtown race.

I sat at the same stoplight for 4 cycles not moving an inch. Everyone in Seattle must have been on mercer headed to the freeway at the same time I was. Corinne walked all the way to Fremont from downtown in the time it took me to drive a mile. So, I gave up and got on Aurora and drove back to her place. We got there about the same time!

The rehearsal dinner was at a little bar about 6 blocks from where Josh and I used to live (surreal) and we took the opportunity to have a beer and meet some of Katie's future family. It was short and sweet and we headed home rather early.

That night we decided to head to Toulouse Petit. This place was out of this world delicious! French hour devours, that were half price after 10pm. Between drinks and appetizers we racked up over $100 really quickly! Just kept ordering things to try! A few of Corinne's friends joined us, but wow, yummy!

The next morning was the morning of the wedding. I had been fighting a cold the whole visit, but it was at its worst on Saturday. Corinne went to yoga while I rested and waited for NJ and Tim to arrive from Portland. They arrived around the same time Corinne got back from yoga and we enjoyed catching up as well!

We quickly got ready and drove north to Mill Creek running into traffic yet again. The wedding was simple and beautiful, just like Katie. The reception was loud and we got our dance on - just like old times!

In this picture all but one of the 1204 girls! Hun, Jake, Corinne, Amanda, Katie, Cindy, Enjae, Anna, Duyen and me

There is a long story about Katie's friend Ben Greer. She spoke about him a lot but none of us had ever met him! The rumor was he was coming to the wedding, and Corinne had a triumphal moment where she found Mr. Greer.

 The rest of the night was spent catching up (the first and last time I got to see Anna on this trip!) and just enjoying each other's company! Hun sill rocked it to "pour some sugar on me" and we all danced to old kennedy brothers tunes. Corinne and Cindy both hit on Ben Greer a bit and I got to hear about the Rob and Ben's families (Katie's baby brothers are married?!?!)

I am so happy for Katie. Scott seems like a wonderful match for her, and (shhhh) she was 14 weeks pregnant at her wedding, so their little family is going to expand very soon already!

On Sunday Corinne and I headed to our alma mater University of Washington. We started with greasy breakfast at Voula's and then looked at her old office space that had a 180 degree view of lake washington - breathtaking! Then we walked the campus, reliving our days in Terry Dorm. Since we went there, they have torn down all the south end dorms and they multiplied them. The entire area is covered in student housing!

The rest of the campus remained relatively the same, it was so beautiful in the fall!

The trip ended with a brief goodbye at Hun and Duyen's house and a dinner at Yani's with Sam, Brian and Rika. We talked for hours about their business, Sam's family, and just all the things you talk about when you haven't seen eachother in years!

I am so happy that I got to get away for a long weekend! Grateful to my mom for watching the kids for me! I am also so happy that we live where we do - where we can have a large yard, safe neighborhood, and room for the kids to run! Little traffic, crime, and reasonable house costs! I miss my city, but am happy for the balance I am able to have living in the midwest!

In the height of the political debates, however, I DESPERATELY miss level headed liberals, that see things the way I do!

Warm Fall

This fall has been unseasonably warm! That meant that our garden could stay in until mid november! We gathered up the last of the carrots and tomatoes before the frost hit. Grayson is such a good helper!

Happy "Harry"ween

This year's Halloween theme was Harry Potter. The kids did a great job acting the part! The hardest part of it all was having Zachary grow out his hair as it was getting in his eyes by October :) 

We did our traditional bring tons of food to the Colin's house and close off the culdesac. This year we actually got to stay a little later and dance and drink more than we should! Kenna stayed home with the boys after they were sleeping and it was liberating to feel like grown ups!

Great time as always, love our themed family costumes!