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Seattle

The hardest thing for me about leaving St. Louis and moving to Seattle was knowing that I wouldn’t get to see my amazing friends anymore. Our friends had become like family and the idea of leaving them behind to start out on this new adventure was so incredibly difficult. Thanks to email, text messaging and Facebook they are never really that far away, but I do really miss seeing them regularly and being apart of each others daily lives.

Last winter we moved into our new house in what promised to be a great neighborhood for a family with young children. We heard great things about this neighborhood and were promised plenty of fellow young families surrounded us. During the winter months the rain and colder temperatures kept most people inside, including us, and we didn’t really get a good sense of what the neighborhood was going to be like. We had met a few people here and there, but that was it. Then spring hit and brought with it more sunshine and warmer temperatures and kids, everywhere!

Over the last few months people have begun to spend more and more time outside, enjoying the warmth and the sun. Maya has met several kids around her age that she loves to play with. And, we’ve met more and more of our neighbors. We’ve even started becoming pretty good friends with a few of them.

Pretty much every evening, as people come home from work and kids get home from school, our street fills with kids. Grown ups chat away as bikes get ridden up and down the street (thank goodness for low traffic streets). Bubbles are blown to the delightful squeals of little ones. Balls get tossed around. And the ever enjoyable sound of kids laughing and playing fills the air. Our girls protest the end of the day every night always wanting a few more minutes to play. It has been a great way to end our days now that the weather is nice.

I still so miss my friends in St. Louis daily. It took along time to build those friendships and I cherish them. Our friends there will always be special and important people in our lives. Too bad I can’t convince some of them to move out here with us ;) That being said, it sure is comforting to know we have found a little place here in the greater Seattle area filled with families just like ours, with people we can build new friendships with and kids for our kids to play with. This summer will be so fun. I’m looking forward to the neighborhood BBQs, spending time at the neighborhood pool, spending hours outside while my kids run around and play, and continuing to grow these friendships that have begun.

Part of our Memorial Day long weekend adventures took us over the mountains to the quaint little town of Leavenworth, WA.

Leavenworth is a couple of hour drive from us. A drive that takes us into the Cascade Mountains. Leavenworth is nestled in the mountains, on the other side. This quaint little town used to be a logging community and when the logging business in the area started to die, so did the town. In the 60s town officials came up with the brilliant idea to transform the town into a Bavarian village in the hopes of attracting tourists and bringing the economy of the town back to life. It worked. Leavenworth now finds itself teeming with visitors much of the year. People are drawn in by the beautiful back drop of the mountains, the quaint little shops and restaurants, the old school architecture and the old German feel of the town.

We had a great time in Leavenworth. We strolled around town checking out the little shops. We enjoyed a German meal at one of the many little restaurants and played on the grass while we people watched. We are looking forward to heading back again some time. I especially want to head over in December when the whole town turns into a Christmas village.

Last weekend we made our first trip to the Woodland Park Zoo. It was a chilly, kind of drizzly day, but we figured the zoo would be fun anyway.

The zoo was a frequent weekday and weekend jaunt for us when we lived in St. Louis. We love the St. Louis Zoo and as a result had pretty high expectation for the Woodland Park Zoo. Though it was no St. Louis Zoo, the Woodland Park Zoo was fun and we all had a great time. Especially Anna who adores all animals right now.

Due to the fairly chilly weather many of the animals were not out on display and those that were tended to be huddled together snoozing but we got to see several of Anna’s favorites and we are looking forward to heading back on a warmer day to see those we missed. The girls had fun playing on the many animal statues around the zoo grounds. Those are often Maya’s favorites these days anyway. I mean who needs to see a really gorilla when you can climb on a fake one ;)

A big hit was, of course, the carousel. I’m glad they had one since that was always Maya’s favorite thing to do at the St. Louis Zoo and she probably would have been highly disappointed with a trip to a zoo that did not include a spin on the carousel.

Overall we really enjoyed the zoo and decided to purchase memberships so we can head back for several more visits. Though it was certainly no St. Louis Zoo it certainly was a nice zoo.

Another Christmas vacation is coming to a close. Lorne went back to work yesterday and Maya heads back to school on Monday. I’m always amazed how quickly the holiday season comes and goes. It feels like we spend so much time preparing for it and it is gone in a blink of an eye. But, at least we made the most of it. This year, since we weren’t busy with traveling for the holidays, we made it our goal was to do something fun every day of our vacation, make it a funcation. And boy did we have fun. We did so much. The days flew by in a blur of smiles, laughter, and fun.

We kicked off our funcation with a trip to the Seattle’s Children’s Museum. The girls had a ton of fun exploring all the different activity centers. Maya’s favorite seemed to be the dress up and stage area (no surprise there!) and Anna loved the under 3 area since everything was just her size (well almost). They both had fun “shopping” in the pretend grocery store.

After spending most of the day in the Children’s Museum we headed outside to check out the fountain in Seattle Center. Maya and Lorne tempted fate by standing awfully close to the water, luckily no one got wet (that time anyway). Anna and I had fun watching and laughing at them every time they almost got wet.

Day 2 was spent in the mountains sledding. The nice thing about living where we do is that we get the best of both worlds in the winter. Our temperatures of fairly mild and we don’t have to deal with the white stuff on a day to day basis, but if we get a hankering for a little fun in the snow we just have to take a short drive into the mountains and there is tons of it. Anna wasn’t too sure about the whole sledding thing at first, but after a few trips down the hill she was having a blast and asking for more. Spent a couple of hours sledding and playing in the snow. It was great fun.

 

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day offered their own fun. The girls had a great Christmas and got spoiled as always.

After spending a couple days indoors busy with Christmas stuff we decided to head out for a hike on Boxing Day. We checked out the cute little hike close to us that is perfect for kids. They have story boards set up along the trail and you read a bit of the story at each board. The story is about a little field mouse who takes a trip into the forest and what he encounters along the way. It was adorable and Maya had a lot of fun.

Thanks to an awesome joint gift from the girls’ Aunt Kathleen we spent the next day at the Seattle Aquarium (family membership!!). It was packed but we still had a great time. We can’t wait to go back.

 

Our fun the next day took us back outdoors. We did another nice little hike around a lake at a state park not to far from us. Maya wasn’t as into the hike this time and spent a good deal of it whining, but, we stopped periodically for her to create little performances that we filmed and that seemed to make it a bit more fun for her. Anna slept through most of the hike.

Germs found their way into our home the next day, it was bound to happen given all the time we spent around small children, so the rest of our funcation was pretty low key. We had a quiet little New Year’s Eve celebration complete with appetizers for dinner and sparkling cider all around. New Year’s Day we took a nice drive around the city to check out the mountain views since it was a clear, sunny day.

I’d say our mission of making this a fun filled Christmas vacation was accomplished. Everyone had a great time and we got to check out several new spots in this still new to us city of Seattle. Maya has lots of fun stories to share with her friends when she heads back to school on Monday.

Our ringing in of the New Year has been very low key (and chilly) this year as 2 out of 4 of us (Lorne and Anna) are sick and our furnace is not working, hence the chilly part. Thanks for coming in with a bang 2013 :/

Last night we spent the evening celebrating with the girls. We had a dinner of appetizers and sparkling cider. The girls had fun and after they went to bed Lorne and I managed to stay up until 10pm!! before calling it a night. We really know how to party!

We woke today to a chilly house filled with beautiful sunshine. A crystal clear blue sky is a rare sight in these parts this time of year so we felt the need to do something. Since Lorne and Anna still aren’t feeling well we decided to take a quiet drive around  to see the city and the mountains bathed in sunshine. We really are incredibly lucky to live in such a beauty rich part of the country. Everywhere you look there are incredible vistas. Mountains all around. Trees reaching high into the sky. When you light that with often hidden winter sun it really is something. Our drive was the perfect way to kick off the year. We chatted and took in the breathtaking sights from the warmth of our car while sipping hot chocolate. Can’t think of a better way to welcome 2013.

Tomorrow promises more sunshine and hopefully a warmer house once our furnace gets fixed (thank goodness for our kickass gas fireplace). Looking forward to another great year with my little family watching my girls grow and enjoy life, spending time with my love and taking in all this great city has to offer.

Happy 2013 everyone! I hope this year brings you lots of smiles and laughs, lots of time with those you love and a chance to do the things that make you happiest.