Tuesday, May 16, 2017

San Diego

In February we spent a week in San Diego visiting family. With a combination of cousins, climbing gyms and aircraft carriers the kids were blissed out to be there. Happy to be on the ocean we visited beach after beach and even rented a sailboat for a day to take everyone out on the ocean. I will let the photos speak for themselves this time. Thanks family for such a fun visit!

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Bitter Cold Banff

In January Jason and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. How so much time has flown by so quickly, I have no idea. We have talked for years about taking the kids up to Banff so we could show them where we honeymooned but sticker-shock at the price of our honeymoon castle hotel always scared us away. Our twentieth year seemed the perfect year to suck it up and book almost a week at discount, non-refundable prices.

Shortly after the turn of the year I packed up our skis and the car and we headed north through sub-freezing, arctic temperatures to our non-cancellable vacation in a winter wonderland. When we arrived it was -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Brrrrrrr. Our first night there, the temperature sunk to a bone-chilling -35 degrees. We decided we better wait for it to "warm" up before going skiing so we spent a day exploring the hot springs section of Banff National Park. With the temperature hanging around at -15 we didn't last long outside. Luckily we could retreat indoors to see an amazingly colorful and gorgeous underground hot spring.

The following day we braved the weather and headed up to Lake Louise ski area where the temperature hung anywhere between 0 and 5 degrees. Though the views of the mountains were absolutely stupendous, I'm just going to say it now that this was, hands down, the worst day of skiing we have ever experienced. The combination of sub-arctic temperatures, icy cat tracks and lack of snow for anything but icy cat tracks to be open, was heinous. We kept asking ourselves, why did we leave our beautiful little ski town for this? Oh yeah, because the trip was non-refundable.

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Frankie's Pizza

After arriving back in Seattle we went through the normal motions of cleaning the boat and getting her ready for our departure while Jason went to the office. We hit our favorite spots in the city with the added twist and addition of Pokémon Go to our lives. The boys were fascinated by finding poké-stops and Pokémon as we walked through the city.

When we were in Seattle at the start of the trip we had learned that our all-time favorite family-run pizza place in Redmond was scheduled to close in October. A developer bought the block and is leveling it to put in apartments. Frankie's Pizza is the quintessential family-run restaurant. We have been regulars there since 1998 and many of the employees from that time still work there. They are a tight-knit group of people who have become family through the years. We frequented there when the boys were just a glimmer in our eyes. The employees there watched, as first Isaac, and then Aaron grew in my belly. They watched as my sweet tiny babies grew into toddlers. At this point we moved to Montana but we had frequent trips back so they all continued to watch as my toddlers grew into bubbling boys and now finally young bearded men. Every time we come back to Seattle we go there for a visit and every time they welcome us back as old friends. Even the new employees have heard stories about the family who moved to Montana but still comes back to visit.

We are so sad they are closing so, of course, we had to go for one last pizza and visit. We made sure to go in on a day that Frankie would be working so we could say good-bye. When the boys were tiny he would bring them balls of dough to play with so the boys made a request for one last ball of dough. Much giggling ensued as they sculpted faces and tossed mini pizzas into the air.

After savoring our last Frankie's pizza washed down with a glass of wine, we took a round of photos with Frankie before saying our farewells. As we walked away it felt like a major chapter of our history had closed. Sigh. Thank you to everyone at Frankie's for so many happy memories, delicious pizza and making us feel like family.

Monday, April 17, 2017

A Week With Grandpa

If you dig deep down in your memory, you may remember that back in May I mentioned that Grandpa was supposed to join us for the beginning of our trip but he threw out his back and had to cancel last minute. Luckily the stars aligned and he was able to fly into Sidney to join us for the last week our trip instead.

Our first day was spent crossing Haro Strait and returning to the U.S. after three months away. After a quick check-in at the border station in Roche Harbor we weaved our way through the nooks and crannies of San Juan Island to anchor in what is one of our favorite anchorages of all time, Garrison Bay. I never get tired of picturesque English Camp perched in this little protected bay along with the always-fun hike up Young Hill. We arrived in time to squeeze in a quick sunset hike. I can't tell you how glorious this hike felt. After months of cool, rainy, wet weather this mid-July evening was the very first time it had felt like summer. We spent the next day hiking and basking in the warm summer sunshine. After the hike, the boys and I headed back to the boat while Jason and Grandpa sought out the off-the-beaten-path and hard-to-find oyster shop tucked away close by. They came back with rave reviews.

We arrived at Watmough Bay on Lopez Island with enough time to hike out to Colville Point. Our final morning on anchor greeted us with blissful sun-soaked fog magic. Fingers of God-light stretched through the fog and occasionally danced across our dewy decks. Eventually we pulled up anchor and headed back out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca for the the trip to Port Townsend where we spent a lovely afternoon and evening.

The following day we enjoyed a sweet sail back down to Seattle. It was the perfect way to end the trip. At one point a large container ship crossed in front of us so isaac ran forward to ride the bow over the huge waves. The monstrous waves swallowed the front of the boat and isaac emerged soaked up to his waist. I'm happy to say I have it on video. We sailed all the way to Seattle to find ourselves in the middle of a weeknight sailboat race which made dropping the sail very interesting to say the least. As we motored into the marina, Isaac triumphantly assumed his grumpy sea captain pose as we passed by the beloved sea serpent and skeleton pirate sculptures on the breakwater. With a mixture of relief and sadness we tied up in our slip before breaking open a cold beer to celebrate our second circumnavigation of Vancouver Island.

Click here for photos and video.