A life update and our trip to the PNW

posted on: Saturday, August 19, 2017

When you haven't blogged in four months where do you even start to possibly bring everyone up to speed? I'm not sure I can even do that but here's a quick summary: Josh got laid off (effffff), I continued to work my regular job, started picking up tons of extra freelance work and kept up the bow hustle. (Hence the no time for blogging). Josh started picking up freelance work. The kids went on summer break. I got offered a new job. Josh got offered a new job. We went on a last minute vacation to Washington state. We both started our new jobs ON THE SAME DAY as soon as we got back. (That week was super low key as you can imagine). I went to L.A. for work, Josh went to Virginia for work. We have all been adjusting to new schedules, new routines, new commutes and just as we're starting to feel like we can kind sorta breathe again...school starts back up this Thursday. Oh, and tomorrow Weston turns 9. As you can imagine (without me having to go into much more detail) this summer has been nuts. (And let's not forget the absolute shit show that is the current administration and allllll that entails). My head has not stopped spinning for months. So here's my attempt to ease back into some blogging when the time will allow. 

What better way to jump back in than a post on our spontaneous trip to the PNW? There hasn't been much from the summer I've wanted to record for posterity but this trip and that week with just our little family spending quality time together in such a beautiful place is definitely worth remembering.

When Josh and I both got offered new jobs within just a few days of each other we realized we could coordinate our start dates to allow a week of fun-employment with the kids while they were still on summer break. It was totally unexpected and such serendipitous timing as we had pretty much written off any chance of a summer vacation this year. When it all fell so perfectly into place we knew we had to take advantage of this week off together. It was a much needed (and oh so appreciated) respite from the last few manic months where we could let go of the stress for just for a little while before jumping into new jobs. 

So, with only a week of planning, away we went

We stayed in the Seattle area dividing our week between the city, Olympic National Park and Mount Rainier.  

Wes said this was the best restaurant he'd even been to because they had a self serve berry bar with a mountainous bowl of whipped cream you could help yourself to AND blankets on all the chairs outside. Apparently a common and awesomely cozy perk of al fresco dining in Seattle

We hit up all the Seattle landmarks; the Fremont troll, Pike Place Market (where we did get to see some fish flinging!), the gum wall and of course, the space needle. We also ate our way around the city and drank all the coffee we could get our hands on. (When in Seattle, right?) Oh, and we did see the very first Starbucks which had a ridiculously long line to get in that we just didn't bother with. 

Can you spy the boys?

just, ew.

I had no idea Wes would be so enthusiastic over crumpets, but that honey covered one was something special.

General Porpoise doughnuts and the coolest splash pad I've even seen

We watched as boats traversed the locks and got to see Seattle's famous fish ladder!

And of course, Kurt's house, in the dreamy Leschi neighborhood of Seattle. The house is privately owned but there is a little park next door where two benches at the base of the lone towering tree serve as a makeshift memorial. It's bare bones simple and thus, kind of perfect.

The city was fun to explore but I have to admit I was itching for some nature. I mean, that's the whole point of coming to the pacific north west, right? So we were all excited the morning we went whale watching off of Anacortes island. We saw a pod of orcas feeding on a porpoise (whose uneaten and inflated lungs then drifted over to the boat). We also saw harbor seals, bald eagles roosting in the trees and even a puffin! (I mean, it was no Ingólfshöfði but...what is? ;)

those would be the porpoise lungs.

I love this little guy!

The next morning we woke up at 4am, piled sleeping kids into the car and headed west to make it to Second Beach on the far side of the Olympic peninsula in time for low tide. We knew the kids would love tide pooling and there was no way we were missing out on the chance to take them even if it did mean waking up at an ungodly hour.

Seattle sure is pretty at sunrise - but it's got nothing on this beach. After crossing the peninsula you park your car and hike a trail down through the woods to an opening in the trees. There you are faced with a precarious pile of driftwood you have to scramble over to reach the entrance of the beach. It may sound like a hassle but you are more than rewarded for your efforts when you look up and see the dreamlike coastline before you.

Haystacks draped in haze loom just off the coast and starfish, urchin and all manner of sea life cling to rocks in the tide pools that are dotted up and down the beach.

The kids all said it was their favorite part of the trip. Wes especially was devastated when it was time to leave. They loved picking through the rocks to uncover crabs or starfish and catch fish in their containers. 

The Olympic peninsula has so much to offer, we barely scratched the surface during our stay. Between the mountains, beaches, rocky river beds, herds of elk and rainforests we saw in just our short time there it seems like a place you could never tire of exploring.

The Hoh Rainforest

The last place on the peninsula we absolutely had to visit was Cape Flattery. It's the most northwesterly point of the contiguous United States. It sits on the Makah Reservation where the strait of Juan de Fuca meets the Pacific Ocean. You access the cape by hiking a trail to a winding boardwalk through the forest maintained by the Makah tribe. 

On our last full day in Washington we loaded up the kids one more time and headed south for Mount Rainier. We couldn't have picked a more picturesque day. The weather was perfect, the meadows were bursting with wildflowers, and the mountain was probably one of the prettiest things I've ever seen.

Thanks for such a stunning send off, Washington. Hope to see you again soon.

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