Sunday, July 28, 2013

4th of July

We arrived safely in Seoul late last night. Even though we had only come from Maui, it was still a long day of travel for all of us. We had to fly through Oahu and then Japan, so we ended up with another 24 hour travel day. I guess we can't complain too much, though. I think having seven weeks of vacation more than makes up for it!

We came back to gray skies and pouring down rain in 80 degree temperatures. Who would have thought that we would miss the clear skies of Seattle? It's supposed to rain there more than any other place, isn't it? Thankfully, it wasn't too hot today, so we were able to get out and go for a walk--and it didn't even rain on us until we got in the car.

I still have hundreds of pictures to edit, but the good news is that I'm not even a month behind! These pictures of from the 3rd and 4th of July. On the 3rd, we went up to a party thrown by one of my best friends on Big Lake. Big Lake has always celebrated the 4th of July on the 3rd. It's always busy and it's complete with some pretty good fireworks.

The strange part is that I have never questioned this celebration being on the 3rd. It's just the way it's always been. But when you start explaining it to people from outside the area, suddenly you realize that it is a bit out of the ordinary.

Regardless of which day it is, it's always a good time. I had never taken the kids out there with me, though Eric went once several years ago. The kids loved it! They got to go for a boat ride and even went inner tubing. They were good little riders, hanging on for much longer than I would have thought possible!

And afterwards, they continued to be enthralled by the boat and the inner tube as they sat by the dock. I think they could have spent all afternoon out there. When they couldn't get in the water, they played in the kayaks and inner tube on dry land. Again, I wimped out and didn't bring my camera on the boat, but I can promise you they were loving every moment!

They also really enjoyed the food--especially the cake!

The good part about Big Lake's celebration being on the 3rd is that you still have all day on the 4th for round 2! So we drove back down to Eric's mom's on the morning of the 4th to spend the day with her.

Kennedy set the table and she thought that festively-wrapped silverware was necessary for our table, so she and Cade finally learned how to tie a bow. As a result, they got their first-ever shoes with laces for school this year. We'll see how that goes!

After dinner, we took the kids to pick out some of their own fireworks to light off. Since they'd watched a big show the night before, they were up for something different.

We played baseball in the park while we waited for it to get dark enough to light off our fireworks. We had sparklers and Pop-Its, parachutes and Chinese lanterns. Kennedy lit off nearly every one with the punk and Cade went chasing after everything that flew up into the sky. We had a great holiday!

And now, it is time for me to go to bed because I did not get nearly as much as sleep as the rest of my family did while we were traveling-no surprise. Tomorrow is our first attempt at driving to Costco, so I'm going to need to be well-rested!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Point Defiance

After Great Wolf, our schedule slowed down a bit. It turned out that was a really good thing because we had just learned that the house that we still own in Stanwood had major water damage to it.

So, we had a couple of days to deal with phone calls and emails between our property manager and the insurance company.

None of it was good news, but since there really wasn't much we could do, we figured we might as well continue enjoying our summer.

So we took the kids up to Point Defiance park, and we had lunch on the beach.

Then we went and explored Fort Steilacoom.

We were spoiled by more beautiful weather, and we were determined to enjoy it, in spite of the heavy weight of our house hanging on our shoulders.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

In the South End

Now that we have just a few more days left of our vacation, I'm starting to feel the pinch of having so many pictures to edit and post! I know that once we get back to Korea, it will be time to start working, and I can't really complain after not doing any work all summer!

After our week at the cabin, we headed down to Great Wolf Lodge with Eric's mom. The kids were so excited for their next vacation! They loved walking around with their wands to see what magic would happen, as well as the evening shows.

We had a beautiful room--by far the most comfortable bed of the eight we've slept in this summer! And the kids enjoyed every moment in the water park. They were exhausted by bedtime!

Unfortunately, I was scared to bring my camera into the water park, so I didn't get any pictures of the glee on their faces, but I can tell you they had a lot of fun! Cade couldn't go on any of the inner tube slides, but he enjoyed the big body slides. Kennedy loved the tube rides that she could go down with us, and they both loved the wave pool.

Since we weren't too far from Mt. St. Helen's, we headed down there before we headed north again.

It was a beautiful day with very little cloud cover, so we hiked down the path a ways before the kids decided they were done. It was a nice trip, especially since Eric and I hadn't been there since we were young.

On our way home, the kids fell asleep. We knew we needed to stop and eat, so that we could wake them up.

We ended up finding Patty's Place. A beautiful little farmhouse turned restaurant right along the highway. The weather was perfect for sitting outside, and we had one of the most amazing views I have ever had from a restaurant.

Afterwards, we let the kids run around and explore for awhile before heading back to Lindy's.

It was the perfect ending to another amazing little vacation!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

At the Cabin

We spent the next week at the cabin on Whidbey Island with my dad. I always take a lot of pictures while we're down there. It's just so pretty!

We had almost an entire week of just relaxing on the beach, by the pool, wherever we wanted.

We ate lots of good food. This is my dad's curried, cheesy cauliflower. Yum!

We had campfires and enjoyed sunsets. The weather was incredible for the middle of June in Washington!

We walked along the beach and went paddle boarding.

We went clam digging and harvested mussels.

We played many games of blongo ball out on the lawn. My brother won most of them.

We went on canoe rides and had friends over for dinner. The last few days my dad and Gretchen kept the kids so that Eric and I could go out with friends and by ourselves. 

So after spending the morning harvesting the clams and mussels, we missed out on the seafood feast.

Too soon, of course, it was time to head back. My brother left to go back to Alaska after his short visit with us, and we were off to our next vacation.

And now, we are again preparing for our next trip. In just a few days, we'll be headed to Hawaii. And while it was hard to say goodbye to family tonight, Hawaii might just ease the pain of leaving friends and family here on the mainland. Maybe.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A week with Grandma

After just a couple of days with my family, we went down to see Eric's mom.

She has to work during the day, so we entertained ourselves by taking the kids down to the capitol in Olympia, as well as doing a lot of shopping. We were grateful for a day or two with nice weather, so we were even able to picnic outside.

Still enthralled with the blue skies!

This kid was cracking me up at the capitol building! At one point, after Eric had been talking to one of the security guys for WAY too long, Cade pulled me away. He told me, "I know Dad thinks this place is really interesting, but I'm ready to go." I tried so hard not to laugh, but I felt the same way!

At least I had my camera to keep me entertained. He was lucky enough to pick up a Junior Trooper sticker from one of the State Patrolmen walking by to entertain him!

In the evenings, we went to the park when the weather was nice. I worked on experimenting with back lighting and silhouettes.

The kids were so excited to see their grandma and spend a week playing at her house!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Back in the Country

Our first couple of days back in the States we spent at my aunt and uncle's house. Nothing like dropping right back into the country. The kids love it there!

I was sure that the kids would sleep in on our first morning. after sleeping for only about six hours in our 24 hours of travel. I was wrong, though. They heard about their cousins' softball game the next morning, and they were determined to be up in time to make it! They had a great time watching the game and rooting for their cousins!

I have been enthralled by the sky ever since our arrival. Blue skies that are clearly separate from white clouds, rather than just a haze, is still amazing to me. It's amazing how far you can see here. I swear, you have to look straight up to see the sky in Seoul. I can't believe how long I took this sky for granted!

My aunt and uncle had a new baby cow just a day or two before we arrived, so the kids were excited to go check out the cows, too.

They got to roast hot dogs, make s'mores, and run in the grass within hours of our arrival, and it felt so good to see their smiling faces!

The kids love driving the little Jeeps and exploring through the barns. We love seeing them play outside and not having to worry about the heat, the air, cars, or people.

We've been here more than three weeks now, and we are still loving every moment spent outside in this clean, fresh air--though it has been much hotter air than Western WA is used to!
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