Category Archives: Travel

Why Troy Rocks

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Before we left for Washington, we planned a mini-reunion with friends from our days in the Seattle Institute Chorale. Troy was going to volunteer up his home and lake access and water toys so that we could all spend the day together catching up. What a guy!

But our kids began to get sick and we had to bail out on that fun plan. Being a responsible parent can seem like a real bummer when jet skis are involved!

But Troy, and Eileen, Luke, Lily, and Arya were so accommodating to meet up with us at Tami and Joe’s instead. Make that Tami and Joe were so accommodating to allow us to come to their home!

Our choir days were so much fun. Chorale was a big part of our college experience. It’s where Colin and I met. I love that we still keep in touch with so many of these great friends who were with us for life-changing events and during the time of our biggest spiritual growth.

Editor’s note: once we get the OK to post pictures of Maddie I promise that the obnoxious question mark will be removed! It is kinda funny, though!

Dinner Out with Old Friends

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Some jobs you work to gain valuable experience– to build your resume and advance your career. And then there are the other kind. The sort that you just hope you survive. The kind you wake up every morning dreading to face again. That was my first real salary position after college. A dysfunctional office of crazies. Let’s just say “Welcome to the Monkeyhouse” was a motto we lived by. I have stories to tell, if only my lawyer would permit.

But out of that madness came two of the greatest friends I’ve known. One still lives in the Seattle area with her fantastic hubby and brilliant kids. We met up with Shari, Laurence, Cal and Nat for a little supper al fresco at the U Village.

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Dining out with four children under the age of 7 requires a sense of adventure, make no mistake, but we had a blast catching up with these dear, wonderful friends.

A little side note: interestingly enough, we saw the blessings of the blogging revolution in action. As we were eating our meal, I heard a voice call out, “Jeannie??” It turned out to be some friends we hadn’t seen face-to-face in 6 years who had recognized Warren from our blog. And when I looked around to see who had called my name I knew them immediately from theirs! What a wonderful surprise. See what Blogger has done for friendships around the world?

Good times, as always!

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We miss playing Trivial Pursuit with you guys. Of course you know that a rematch is just another vacation away!

P.S. We missed you, Jen, Jon, and Grace!

Echo Lake in July

Record breaking temperatures in Seattle (over 101 degrees!) had us fleeing for refuge by the water. Colin’s Aunt Linda and Uncle John live in a lovely home at the lake front. They invited us over to play.

We spent the entire afternoon sipping lemonade and soaking in the water. We found that taking the beach chairs and letting them sink just enough to get your butt wet really cooled you off.

The kids (many cousins and Warren) had a blast jumping off the dock and catching little fish in small nets only to let them go right away. Except Warren wanted to make one his pet and actually held it in his bare hand under water for several minutes while he continued to swim around. I thought the little fish enclosed in his fist that long would be a goner for sure. But it actually swam away when he finally decided to release it in order to guzzle down a can of root beer. Maddie spent most of the time splashing her feet in the water as Aunt Jamie held her and avoiding her nap.

Such a fun, relaxing day being with extended family we don’t often see.

Not One Person Said Hello

The Sunday after Shay’s wedding in the Tri-Cities, we were able to have a sort of mini family reunion at Grandpa Larry’s and Grandma Lu’s home. With the time frame we were working with, we were unable to attend church with Dave and Christy. So we decided to go to church at a completely random ward that met at a time convenient for us.

We walked in just as the opening hymn was starting, so yes, we were a little late. Not much opportunity for chit-chat. But even after Sacrament Meeting was over and everyone was just milling around before Sunday School started, not one person came up to us. Not one person really smiled at us, or even looked our way.

In fact, the only effort that was made to acknowledge our existence as visitors to the ward was by a woman sitting in front of us who kept turning around with a stone face. No smile. Was Warren being that obnoxious wiggling on our pew? Was Maddie’s pterodactyl screeching preventing her from hearing the talk on missionary work? Surely we must be offending her somehow if she continued to stare at us without even a hint of friendliness.

What if we’d been a family investigating the church for the first time? What if we had just moved in and were new to the ward? What if our testimonies weren’t as strong and we’d been doubting the Gospel?

The take-away message I learned that day: don’t turn around without a smile on your face and always try to say hello to visitors.

Shay and Dan’s Wedding

Jenna Cole Photography
Jenna Cole Photography

One of the main reasons we headed up to Washington was to see the temple sealing of Shay and Dan. What a joyful, but hot (100+ degrees), day! Being in the temple with family was wonderful and the reception later that evening was just lovely.

It’s amazing to think that Shay was just a kid at our wedding (why am I voluntarily dating myself so?) and now she’s a beautiful bride– just as her sister, Jenna, became last fall which we were sad to miss.

The wedding took place at the Columbia River Temple. The very temple where Warren was sealed to us almost 4 years ago exactly. We were so happy to bring him back there to show him where he became eternally ours. We can’t wait for the opportunity to do that with Maddie.

Happy marriage, Shay and Dan!

And thanks again to Christy for watching our unruly children while we attended the sealing!

Wasp Extermination, Canasta, and the Like…

By Friday, we’d made it to Pasco, Washington. The good, old Tri-Cities. Colin’s cousin Shay was to be married that Saturday, so we used that opportunity to stay with Dave, Christy, and Anika. (When we get the legal clearance, I’m posting the ADORABLE picture of Anika and Madeline wearing matching dresses!)

These friends are fantastic and always up for fun and games. Games that might even include seeking and destroying large amounts of wasp hives hanging from their eaves. Yes, when Dave and Colin get together there’s no telling what mischief they’ll conjure in the name of home owner’s maintenance. (We told them that it was a good thing they weren’t in Scout Camp together or they would have been kicked out for sure.) Armed with bug spray guaranteed to shoot up to 25 feet, they ran around the backyard with scopes and flashlights, firing away.

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photo by Christy

We also spent time at the water park down by the Colombia River. Such a great place to play when temperatures reach 100 degrees nearly every summer day.

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And it wouldn’t be a visit without a game of Canasta and Magic Cookie Bars. They had to share us too much with famly this time, but we made the most out of our game playing.

And not to displace Noggin and Ashi, but Warren remembered how much he loved Nyla. Such a sweet, patient dog.

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photo by Christy

But the best part of this particular stop: Maddie suddenly over came her aversion to other people holding her. It was like magic! As soon as we walked in the door, Christy held her and *poof* no more tears. She remained like that the whole rest of the trip.

Thanks, Dave, Christy, and Ani for letting us play with you! As always, we wish it could have been longer…

Stop Over in Dixon

Our first stop on the road trip to Washington was actually still in California. We had dinner with Kelley and Ben and finally got to meet baby Levi! (Lame-o me forgot to take any pictures of this cute little pumpkin!) Warren, of course, was more interested in reconnecting with Noggin, Ashi, and Davis, who he’s convinced are actually his own 2 dogs and cat. Maddie displayed her usual “stranger anxiety” symptoms (i.e. screaming) while Kelley tried to hold her. Little did we know that would be Maddie’s last bout, but more to come on that.

We love these guys who would let us pop in and out in under an hour and feed us lasagna after sitting in a grinding traffic jam through the Bay Area. Friends living there, I don’t know how you manage!

It was on to the Redding, CA Super 8 (um, not our first choice, but definitely our cheapest option, so says Travelocity) before arriving in Pasco, WA…

Road Trip to Washington

The mission: driving a total of 18 hours in two days with two children under the age of 5. And then back again. No DVD player. Minimal whining and no trips to the ER.

Call us crazy, but we drove with Warren and Maddie up to Washington State to visit with many family members and friends. Three major events (posts to follow) brought us back “home” for a good 2 weeks.

We took along “The BFG” by Roald Dahl, as recommended by Julianna, to read out loud. What a great story! Many snacks and some good tunes kept us from going too crazy.

All in all, a good trip. See additional posts for further details…

Santa

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While visiting with Kelley and Ben, we went to the Sacramento Zoo to see Santa and Mrs. Claus, and the animals, of course.

Warren had absolutely no fear of old Father Christmas. We were pretty surprised! We were waiting for the moment of bail out where he’d make a mad dash out the door. Or perhaps we would get a shot of him wailing in fear like we saw in this book.  I guess that candy cane was a big enough incentive to see the task to the end because he went right up to him, sat on his lap, and told him his Christmas wish.

“What did you tell him, Warren?”

“I asked him for a garbage truck with garbage bins.”

“And what did he say?”

“He said he’d put it on his list.”

Sounds like a done deal to me!

P.S. Thanks to Ben for this fantastic picture!

The Magic Kingdom

Toontown
Toontown

We took Warren to Disneyland for the first time yesterday. He didn’t know what hit him. From the parking lot tram ride to the drenching drop of Splash Mountain, Renny walked around in a sort of dazed euphoria. A three-year-old’s dream come true: Mickey, Goofy, and all the gang, talking, dancing, and cavorting just steps away. It was definitely a different experience taking my own child and watching through his eyes.

Which is probably why I started seeing those “kiddie rides” in a new light. Call me a stick-in-the-mud but I thought they were over-stimulating and more than a little frightening! Crazy lights, things jumping out, and noise, noise, noise. I know that Renny felt the same way because he covered his ears and eyes during most of them. Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin was the wildest one by far. A bunch of bad news weasels pouring toxic waste “DIP” around your car and Roger Rabbit running around in a frenzy?

“That one was scary, Mama.”

Autopia
Autopia

Indeed it was. But I guess that’s part of the fun, right?

However, Colin is the master of getting Warren to do things that he would normally shy away from. So, we were able to convince him to go on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Star Tours, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh before he caught on to us.

The hit of the day: Autopia. We went on at least 3 times! He loved being able to steer the car, even if Colin and I had to push down on the gas pedal for him. Not an easy task, I tell you!

Dumbo, the Teacups, the Rocketships, and the train around the park were also favorites. Believe it or not he loved Gadget’s Roller Coaster in Toontown so much that he asked to go on it again… and again… and again.

Luckily for us the park was pretty empty and it was an absolutely beautiful day– blue skies, and a very warm sun. Hooboy! Was it hot!

Teacups
Teacups

We ended the day with the “Parade of a Million Dreams,” which we watched from the sidelines of Main Street. Such a fun way to cap off the whole Disneyland experience.

He was a trooper. The whole day, from 10 to 8, walking around, sans stroller. As you’d expect he crashed in the car as soon as we got on the freeway. He’ll be talking about this day for awhile!