WINTER- WE MADE IT

winter, can i say we made it yet? seattle weather is so unpredictable i’m not sure if we are moving into spring or if we have to wait until july. everyone i talk to says something different. the old seattle weather would make us wait until july. i’m counting today as a victory! its sunny and i can see the sun coming out more and the weather sticking in the 50’s. thank heavens!! winter was rainy and dark and for me depressing. i didn’t think i would mind the rain but i have to say i hated it. this was one of seattle’s wettest years and everyone i talked to hated it too. i’m coming out of the funk and realizing why i love seattle all over again. for a minute there i was ready to jump ship and head back to az.

 

whats seattle winter like? dark, rainy and cold. temps in the 30’s. that bone chilling wet cold. its dark until after 8 and starts getting dark again before 4. during those few hours of light its not really light, its gray and cloudy. you just know the sun is up there somewhere. it rains for days and never stops. i guess you get used to it and just live your life. for me i couldn’t get used to it. granted i am an az girl and in my mind spring should be 75 degrees. with that being said my friends from the midwest say this is better than shoveling snow but we all agree, too much rain!  a friend referred to seattle as a bad relationship. the minute you can’t take anymore and you say you’re gonna leave the sun comes out and its glorious and you remember why you stay. then the vicious cycle starts over. a sunny day in seattle is the most beautiful of days. seattle is the most beautiful city. if you can make it through the winter the summer is pure heaven!

 

lots and lots of rain

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i swear we walked outside one morning and flowers were everywhere. finally a sign of spring. the flowers bloom like crazy in seattle. spring on a sunny day is glorious. seattle i love you again!

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FIRST WEEK OF JANUARY

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our first week of the new year has been a pretty great one. i’m liking 2016 already! jack and i spent half the day volunteering in the older kids classrooms and the other downtown on friday. i was picking up a present for a friend and thought i’d stop in barnes and noble and let jack play with the trains. i always did this when the older kids were little and they loved it. i could spend the whole day in the bookstore so this really is the perfect hangout spot for us. the downside is they don’t have a bathroom in the store. so we have to venture out to find one. jack has a habit of having to go 5 minutes after we settle in somewhere. city bathrooms are the pits!! we drove downtown and can i tell you street parking is like finding gold. $8 in a lot for 30 min or $3 on the street for 1 1/2. or theres always target parking.

 

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this city is heaven for little boys. one big construction zone. diggers, cranes, drills everywhere. i’ve never seen a city under so much construction and i’m curious how its going to feel once its done or will it ever be done? i’m also curious what seattle looked like 10 years ago. probably half as populated. i hear from friends all different stories about the old seattle and its seems as though amazon took over and brought hundreds of thousands of people with them. turning a somewhat sleepy town into a bustling city. we all wish we would have gotten in on a house years ago, we’d be millionaires. prices have gone through the roof. i’ve been thinking a lot about our move to seattle lately. its such a beautiful city and henri is doing amazing, as in you’d never know he had horrible asthma back home amazing. but i can be honest here, right?? if you know me then you know this is just me. constantly questioning if i’m making the right choices for my family. if raising kids in the city is the right choice for us. there are real problems out there. ones we see everyday. i hadn’t realized how sheltered i’d kept my kids living in our safe suburb back home. we see a lot of mental illness. a lot of drug use. a lot of drug deals. even more homeless and hungry. its hard to see day in and day out. we’ve talked a lot about all of these subject the past six months. at first the kids felt scared of certain situations. i don’t blame them, i felt nervous initially too. when someone is screaming or throwing their things around and you’re not used to seeing it, you don’t know how to react. we see people get arrested, that can be shocking for a child. there have been several shootings within a mile of our house. we live in the most desirable neighborhood in seattle, full of hardworking families. but our proximity to downtown makes us close to crime. just last night on the news a man was shot at a lookout so close to our house. he was wielding a knife and an officer shot him. this is a lookout we go to often to see our beautiful city. swarms of tourists are always there. it feels too close to home to have this stuff happen. i hope i’m not coming off as complaining because i’m not. i feel so lucky to live in this amazing city. it is the most beautiful city in my opinion. we have the best of the city with a beautiful landscape of the mountains and nature all right here. we feel so lucky to have so much culture and diversity. as a mom i just worry is this where i should raise my kids? on the other hand we have amazing schools. with more opportunity for my kids than i could’ve ever imagined. they are so lucky to have involved parents that come into their classrooms and share theirs skills. they get the best field trips and learning experiences. they see all walks of life. like i’ve said before the kids in our neighborhood and school are some of the best!! i mean it too, these are the most kind, inclusive, bright, fun group of children we’ve ever been around. is that because they’re growing up in the city? are city kids different? or did we just luck out? i don’t know. this topic weighs heavily on my mind. but i’m guessing raising children weighs heavily on every parents mind. i know we can’t venture too far out into the suburbs, as far as henri’s asthma goes, city is better. or hawaii, theres always hawaii. thats been on my mind too. warm hawaii with a laid back lifestyle. spend the days at the beach in the warm water. we are headed there in 10 days, i can’t wait!!

 

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jack wore his backpack to help me volunteer. he keeps telling me he’s a big boy. not big enough to leave my side. he’s still always right there, but big enough to wear a backpack.

 

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oh and it snowed last week!! jack couldn’t believe his eyes. i couldn’t either! we spent our sunday sick with colds, resting on the couch. watching the snow fall with a warm fire going. it was actually really nice aside from the head cold. the kids ran out for a second to catch some snow flakes on their tongues. it was pretty sunny this past week which was really nice for this az girl. the weather seems to be warming up. we might even get to 50 this week.

 

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CHEERS TO 2016

we spent new years eve skiing. it was the first time for me and the kids. living in arizona i had just never really cared to try it. the closest slope is 3 hours away. it only has snow sometimes and seemed like more of a pain than fun. we’ve got a great skiing location just 45 min away here. we decided why not give it a try. so many people love skiing up here. we all got the hang of it pretty fast. we stayed in the area with the magic carpet. next time i think we’ll venture off to the bunny slope. ava really enjoyed herself, after a few tumbles she seemed to figure it out. henri got the hang of it right away. for as mellow as he is he really is a thrill seeker. elle did great too. every time she would fall i’d have to try and get her back up but with us wearing skis it was pretty difficult. it amazes me how quickly kids can pick up a new skill. they catch on so easily.

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poor little jack was frozen. he and ivan played in the snow the whole time.

 

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we went to our good friends house for a nye party. we ate yummy food. played super fun games and ate candy. we had so much fun! the kids had a great time playing with their kids. we are so lucky to have such amazing friends here in seattle. we’ve made some of the greatest friendships and have met so many people that we love and cherish. at 11:45 we decided to head down to the space needle and catch the fireworks. we made it just in time! happy new year! its going to be a great one, i can tell!!

 

 

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CHRISTMAS IN SEATTLE

christmas in the city is absolutely beautiful. i love all the decorations around the city. there’s a never ending supply of christmas things to do too. i sort of wish we could keep the christmas decorations up all year.

 

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trains at the macys window. the boys loved this. all the macys windows have a different christmas theme. of course trains won them over. i loved the baking one. they were all really cool!

 

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we ice skated a few times. elle found a friend out on the ice and the two stuck together. they were so cute out there. elle was so brave and wanted to be out on her own without a walker. she did great. we ran into a few of avas school friends too and they were so sweet with elle, holding her hand around the rink and teaching her how to skate. i swear seattle is filled with the sweetest most helpful children. i feel so lucky to be raising my kids in such a great environment.

 

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we made blankets for the childrens hospital again this year. this is another tradition we all really enjoy. ava was able to help me sew them this year. i love watching her learn a new skill and she enjoys sewing so much!

 

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we stood in line for a good 2 hours to see the nordstroms santa. its a beautiful set up and santa was so sweet. but they told me the wait would be a half hour. the unlimited supply of free cookies and hot cider is so not worth it. i’ve heard that line can get up to a 7 hour wait. my kids were exhausted. we were exhausted and it was a school night. we ran over to pacific place to grab some chowder for dinner. heres a fun seattle tip for you -the famous pike place chowder down in pike place that has an hour long wait also has a location in the top of pacific place with no wait. of course its not in the market so if ambiance is your thing then maybe the wait is worth it. but if you’re just looking for a great bowl of chowder pacific place is where its at.

 

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the pacific place santa doesn’t have a line at all and comes down when the snow starts falling and the music turns on. he takes pictures with all the kids. next year i know where we will be. this was a much more enjoyable experience. seeing santa should be fun not excruciating.

 

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we went downtown for the figgy pudding christmas caroling. we had so much fun and got to sing along to all of our favorite christmas songs.

 

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the downtown sheraton puts up gingerbread houses every year. this year was star wars themed. they are really impressive. that is all candy! the detail is amazing.

 

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we opened our christmas eve jammies and the kids each exchanged their presents to each other. this year they drew names. this is the first time we let them open their gifts to each other christmas eve night and i think its a new tradition we’ll keep. it was fun for them to have something to play with the night before and it got the excitement going a day earlier.

 

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some friends invited us to light lanterns and let them go over the sound. the lanterns flying in the sky were so beautiful and the kids had so much fun holding them and getting them ready to fly.

 

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the market all lit up at christmas time. the fruit and vegetable christmas lights are my favorite.

 

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THE NUTCRACKER

the girls are both talking ballet classes this year. ava’s taken classes in the past and decided to switch over to sports. by the time we got up to seattle and settled in, the sports teams were full so she decided to try out ballet again. this is elles first year of a traditional ballet class. they both really enjoy it and i love watching them learn all the techniques. i thought the nutcracker would be a great opportunity for us to share a girls night along with something they are interested in. the performance was so beautifully put together. the ballerinas were amazing. the props blew my mind. i can’t wait to go again next year. i think we might bring the boys along too if jack seems content enough to sit through it.

 

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the pnb is a prestigious ballet school here in seattle. when we first got here i thought about signing the girls up there not knowing much about it other than that it was close to the house and they taught ballet all the way up through a professional level. well they said ava would have to audition, ha! i don’t think thats happening. she could barely remember 1st and 2nd position. i told the girls if they really love ballet and work hard they can try out next year. we found a class even closer to the house thats been great.

 

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again i realize my iPhone doesn’t take great pics. but this tree was so beautiful and massive. i had to snap a shot.

 

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we got a few photos in front of some of the props they had out. there were so many beautiful ones. they girls kept running up to the next one checking them out and wanting me to take a picture. my favorite was this one of them peaking out from under her dress.

 

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you’re not supposed to take pics while the show is going so i snapped this quick one of us in our seats before the show started. my girls! i had such a great night with them. we went to the 7pm showing and elle fell asleep at the very end. maybe a 5pm would be better next year. if you haven’t been i highly recommend going. we had the best time.

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WEST SEATTLE

 

 

 

 

 

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we spent the day in west seattle. i haven’t spent too much time over there but the time we have has been really fun. we had lunch at husky’s deli. its a cute little convenience store/ sandwich/ ice cream shop. we grabbed sandwiches and wandered the store. that candy case is impressive. a lot of people seemed to be coming in just for the ice cream but the line was long by the time we were done eating so we thought we’d save it for another day.

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one of the most beautiful parks in the seattle area is lincoln park. its easily one of our favorite place to explore outdoors. the trees are enormous and beautiful. the colors are striking. the kids could spend all day there. henri in his socks and birks! he’s just trying to fit right in. ha! i give up trying with these kids.

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the first time we came to licoln park was on vacation in the fall and let me tell you these tree’s were the most beautiful shades of yellow. its worth spending a day in this park.

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SUMMER IN THE CITY

we made our way through every park in the city this summer. we’ve got a list of favorites now that i keep handy when we need a day out. summer in seattle is the greatest! i say this now as i sit here in a down jacket freezing in my house. gosh i’m a wimp! i give everyone a good laugh with my 3 jackets, wool socks, beanie, scarf and anything else i can get on. its that arizona blood. its been in the low 40’s and sunny this past week. so yes i know it’s not really cold. just cold for me. i sit and dream of summer. i can’t wait for more days spent in short sleeves at the park.

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we spent lots of time at the movie theater this summer. that popcorn is as big as elle! ha! waiting for the bus is always an interesting time.

 

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lots of bus rides. jack thinks its the greatest time ever. he just sprawls out on those seats like he owns the place. i’m asked daily if i’m the nanny? if all those kids are mine? if they’re biologically mine? how old am i cause i look way too young? i laugh everytime one of elle’s friends ask me if i’m her nanny. i just clarified to a group of moms at school that i am indeed the mom and not the nanny. they didn’t believe me. we really are a sight to see wandering the city. i feel like i’m herding cats. they’re starting to get the hang of it though. they now know we don’t just dart into traffic. theres no running around in the road. back home our street was quiet and you could ride your scooter around. its fun to see them all race up to the edge of the sidewalk, stop and turn around to wait for me to catch up. they are actually listening and learning something! now if i can just get them to put their dishes in the sink without me asking. i think we are getting this place down.

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i really miss the neighborhood farmers market. i think they re-open in april and we will be there! after henri’s soccer practice we’d walk over to have dinner on the lawn with the rest of the neighborhood. the kids would run around with all their friends from school. i love the sense of community in our neighborhood. we live in what feels like a small town in this big city.

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Z FAMILY VISITS

my sister came for a visit way back in august, i think. gosh i’m so far behind. we’ve been having too much fun in seattle and i’ve been slacking on documenting it. i don’t know how long we are here, it could be forever it could be a few years. i’m going to make a better effort at documenting our life here. if for nothing other than being able to look back at these years in this city with these babes and of course for you mom and kellie! my sister lives in orange county and was the first of our visitors. we were so excited to have them come up. my kids look at her kids like their own sibling and have so much fun with them. we took them around the city and did all the touristy things. of course we had only been here a month at that time so i really feel like they need to come back up and i can give them an even better tour of the city!

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the gum wall! because you can’t come to seattle and not see the gum wall. they just cleaned it all off a month or so ago. it needed a cleaning it was pretty gross.

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theses girls!! i can’t take it, they are so cute together and i think they look like sister. we wandered volunteer park. the kids climbed the trees for hours. such a beautiful park.

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we made a trip down to portland. ate tacos at porque no because why not?! wandered the city for a while and then headed back. portland is great but really seattle is better!! i say that with love. lots of it.

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a trip to golden gardens for a fire in the pit and dinner at sunset. i can’t believe the kids get in that icy water and really this beach is nothing compared to where my sister lives but hey its close by and watching the sailboats is pretty great. you can also see an orca every so often.

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the mother load of all fountains! the international fountain at the seattle center is so much fun. initially jack was a little nervous but he eventually warmed up and was in heaven. the water shoots something like 120 feet in the air. its pretty crazy and a great place to spend a warm afternoon.

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just look at that face! so happy!! andrea come back and visit! i promise i’ll show you even more of this great city. or just move here i’d love that even more. i know california’s weather can’t be beat but seattle summers are where its at.

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DINER EN BLANC

a few months back we were lucky enough to be invited to diner en blanc in seattle by a friend. i had never heard of the diner but quickly looked it up after she extended the invite. i thought it sounded really fun and said yes right away. diner en blanc is an invite only pop up dinner. you wear all white and bring everything you would need for a dinner, from a white table and white chairs to drinks and food. we were all given a portion of the meal to prepare. we were in charge of the dessert, my favorite to eat and prepare! we made creme brûlée, i made julia child’s recipe and let me tell you it was the best! easier than i thought too. we brought a torch with us and let everyone torch their own, that was a fun addition to the night! between each course you wave your napkin in the air and everyone shouts out. the whole thing is pretty great!

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all the people dressed in white, eating fantastic food with great friends. oh and the best part is you don’t find out your location until last minute, like 20 minutes before. each year they switch up where it will be hosted. this year it ended up being at volunteer park. we drove in and followed the sea of white, carrying our chairs and dessert. this was one of our first outings in seattle and felt like a great way to experience the city. the night was topped off with sparklers. thanks steph for a great night! so glad we were part of it and got to meet some of what are now our dearest friends in seattle. i really do love this city!

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MUSEUM OF FLIGHT

a few friends invited us to meet up with them at the museum of flight in seattle. they offer free admission the first thursday of the month from 5-9pm. we had never been so we thought it sounded like a fun idea. the kids loved it! i thought it was pretty great too. the museum was packed i’m guessing since the admission was free. those crowds are so not ivan’s thing but he made it out alive. he’s the type that would rather pay triple to avoid the swarms of people. i’m pretty proud of how well he dealt with it.

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this picture is so dead on. we took one where we were all facing the camera, but this one is so perfectly my life that i had to share. it makes me laugh! everyone in a different direction.

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the drive down was at rush hour. can you call it rush hour when the traffic is always bad? it does seem to be exceptionally bad around 4-7pm. i know i’ve said this already but its worth repeating, it took us 1hr 45min to get 12.8 miles!! that was rough.

the museum is definitely worth visiting, especially if you have little ones that are plane fanatics like my jack is.

IMG_9412apparently this is a Lockheed sr-71 blackbird. its speed is classified and i might have been more excited to see it than the kids. pretty cool stuff.

 

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