On this, the last full day of our vacation, we didn't really have a solid plan for the day. We had a few options, like the Japanese Botanical Gardens or the Ballard Lochs. But, we decided to start with the Woodland Park Zoo and see where the day took us.
This day, Tuesday, was the "worst" weather of the trip. Pretty chilly and off/on rain for big chunks of the morning and afternoon. Luckily, I managed to remember to pack enough warm clothes for us so we were pretty okay.
We started the day with the zoo and it was pretty impressive. Not so much for the animals, but the scenery. It was so green and wooded and the zoo felt like you were more on a nature preserve than a zoo. All the animals had really big habitats, and in 4 hours we walked almost 3 miles. Yes, the zoo was big and yes, we were there longer than my boys have ever spent anywhere.
The zoo had a few interesting animals on exhibit too. They had a small farm area with cows, pigs, sheep and a few goats. Strange, but I guess city kids don't regularly see such animals. And, even though we didn't see them, they had a small herd of elk, too. There were four white wolves, a stellar sea eagle and 2 komodo dragons which were super impressive. The zoo was also proud of a brand new baby gorilla but even though she was out on exhibit with her mother, they were not visible in the enclosure.
After our time at the zoo, it started raining (again) and we were hungry. We found a little taco joint and got our food to go. It was time to carb load and rest ourselves before the ultimate event of our vacation, the Copa America soccer game between Argentina and Bolivia.
Now, Ross should really write the next part, because soccer isn't my thing (I mean, I just don't get it. The whole thing just feels like a giant time suck and all that anticipation for nothing? Maybe that's why everyone does freak out when a goal is scored, because they get so little out of their 90 plus minutes of watching). Anyway, the jersey's were broken out, the jumping and skipping (Elliott and Wyatt) had started and that dad of ours just couldn't stop smiling.
Expectations were high because, well, it's Lionel Messi and because Messi had scored a 19 minute hat-trick the previous Saturday. Aren't you impressed with my soccer lingo? Hat-trick? Yeah! We got to the Seahawks stadium a mere 2 hours before the start of the match to see some of the festivities. Lots of crazy and drunk Argentine's chanting in the streets, and a few Bolivian fans spread out in the crowd. I'm pretty sure that it was at least 80% Argentina fans to 20% Bolivian fans, and of all those Argentina fans, at least 80% of them were wearing some kind of Argentina or Messi jersey. I wore a blue scarf.
The short version: Argentina won. Messi played the second half. He didn't score but he had some penalty/corner/whatever kicks and nutmeged the goalie (More soccer terminology for you). Everyone in the whole stadium, including my husband, got their phones out to record anything that guy might do that had the potential to be amazing. That was pretty funny to watch. My boys left happy. Wyatt drank almost 2 full 32 oz. diet cokes (The NFL does contracts with Coke, not Pepsi, hooray!) and used the bathroom about every 12 minutes. We got some great souvenirs. The boys were excellent, even Quinn who struggles to be excellent. But, watching soccer laying on my lap was about the same as watching TV at home laying on my lap, and he had a box of skittles so he was at peace with the world.
That night, after finding an open late gelato shop near our apartment, we all went to bed around midnight. Exhausted. But, ready to go home the next morning.
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
We slept in on Monday morning. So tired and busy. First thing was to head to the University of Washington bookstore for a souvenir. Then, to take me downtown by the stadiums so I could go to a super cool store and buy some super cool fabric. I met the owner, chatted a bit, and had a marvelous time.
Then, it was time for the Space Needle. We got our tickets and assigned time and headed to the Dale Chiluly gardens and museum which was right next store. The glass art is so cool. The boys were super impressed and each took about 50 pictures with their ipods.
The space needle, was really high up and it was windy and I could feel it swaying and it freaked me out and I was totally happy to get back on the ground.
After the space needle we rode the monorail back to the mall to get our car. We drove under a bridge to see the "Fremont Troll" an art installation under in the neighborhood we were staying in and we headed to Gas Works park. There wasn't much to do, but it was pretty (and windy). We saw floating houses, water planes take off and land, and charge to the top of a hill and interrupted the end of a commitment ceremony between two very happy, newly committed to each other women (one in a fancy party dress, the other in a suit).
We ended the night with a walk to a burger joint by our apartment. It was good. Not as good as zippy's and the barbecue sauce on my burger made me pretty sick by the time we walked home. Too much paprika.
1) everyone in Seattle drinks too much coffee (obviously, Starbucks) and smokes too much weed.
2) heavy metal is playing everywhere. It was super annoying.
3) minimum wage is $15 in Seattle, so therefore, there are no buss boys - you bus your own table, everywhere.
4) Everywhere you go there are three trash cans : Trash, compost, recyclables.
Another full day (this day is Monday, by the way), and we were all ready for bed.
Monday, June 20, 2016
As a last minute (literally, like three days before) addition to our trip agenda, we decided to go whale watching. Just a couple of hours by car north of Seattle, there are dozens of boat captains who will take you out to look for humpback, minke, and orca whales. In the ocean.
The ocean is big.
And cold and a little bit scary.
Oh, and wet!
We drove about 2 hours to Anacortes, which was oh my gosh the cutest little town and I wanted to move there today! I even texted my mom while we were there that we needed to pack up and move to the north west. You cannot beat the climate or the scenery. Beautiful flowers and yards and boat docks full of sailboats. Deer in all the front yards. Gorgeous scenery. Authentic teriyaki restaurants and a McDonald's for a diet coke.
Note: Seattle is a Pepsi town. yuck!
The drive was great. I spent about 15 minutes talking to the nicest lady who came outside while I was taking pictures of her yard. She drives a bus and does custodial work for the school district and is a master gardener, splicing her own plants and growing everything in a green house in her back yard. And, her 35 year old daughter and 12 year old autistic grandson are living with her right now and a week from when we talked, she was going in for back surgery. It made my day to learn about her flowers and hopefully she appreciated the complements on her handy work.
After lunch, we headed to our boat. Skipper and Gilligan were really nice. The boat was a catamaran style, aluminum, and went about 40 miles per hour on the water. That's fast. And bumpy. And, I thought we were going to die. I used the head twice, it was the size of an upright coffin. The pee was just bounced right out of me. Wyatt used it about 6 times. He and Quinn also fell asleep as we bounced all over the ocean looking for those elusive whales.
I love the ocean. I am also terrified of the ocean. Especially when bouncing around in a tiny little boat with 40 people crammed onto it and it being so cold and wet you could hardly move. We did however, finally find some whales and that was awesome. The maritime law in the area is that you have to stay about 200 yards away so we couldn't get that close, but we say 3 very different and distinct whales and Gilligan was super informative. One day, I'd like to go back to try and see Orca's, that would be awesome. But, we learned that the 3 pods of killer whales in the area follow the salmon and the salmon don't start spawning until August, so that's the time to go.
Our four hour tour really was pretty cool and even though there were a couple times I was terrified and thought we might die, it was great. Ross loved it. The boys loved it. I like to seem all my boys happy.
We learned that humpback whales have a very specific breathing pattern. They stay under water, most of them, for 5-6 minutes and take 4 breaths (breech) before they head under and on that last breech, they flip their fin out of the water. It was so curious, but absolutely like clock-work for each of the whales we watched. Pretty fascinating.
Saturday, June 18, 2016
When Ross told me that our rental car while on our trip to Seattle was going to be a suburban, I wasn't thrilled. Mostly because it didn't feel like such a large vehicle was appropriate for such a small city with no place to park. But, I have to admit, now that we're home and we aren't driving the brand new (only 7 miles when we picked it up), Quinn and I miss it. Quinn asked on Thursday morning where the black shark car was. It was a winner and possible my future.
Anyway, we'd been planning a trip to Seattle for several months. The Copa America soccer tournament was taking place this June in cities all over the United States and Ross wanted to cross seeing Lionel Messi play soccer for Argentina, in person, off his bucket list. Who am I to argue with bucket lists (Remember our trip to the Redwoods last year? Yeah, bucket list.)
We arrived in Seattle on Friday evening, around dinner time, piled into our pimped out ride and headed towards our vacation. The excitement of the boys was pretty palpable and we were starving.
Note: Flew to and from on brand new planes with tv's in the headrests. Quinn watched Jurassic World both going and coming.
Our first stop was dinner on the westernish side of Seattle in a hip neighborhood. Zippy's for burgers, fries and tots. Delicious. It was a super small joint with only 4 tables and greasy, hipster, beatnik types working and heavy metal blasting on the radio - and no AC so we were sweating and swimming in burger grease.
But, it was delicious. The tots were diving and my burger was a perfect heart attack with thick bacon, and barbeque sauce.
After dinner, we drove to meet Autumn, the manager of our VRBO. There was a mix-up and our first night the five of us were crammed into a one bedroom, maybe 400 sq. ft. apartment. We survived and moved to a bigger, two bedroom place the next day. It's pretty hard to get your kids to go to sleep when they are all in the same room, and Elliott and Quinn are sharing a sofa bed. Wyatt chose to sleep on couch cushions on the floor.
We got up in the morning, Saturday, and got ready to play tourist. On the agenda for the day: Pike's Place Market and doughnuts. Aquarium. Harbor Cruise on Elliott Bay. Seattle Mariners baseball game.
The kids were pretty impressed with Pikes Market and the doughnuts we got there on the recommendation of a friend of mine. We found the gum alley under the market and then headed to the aquarium. I had a great Cesar salad and french fries at Elliott's Oyster Bar on the bay. The aquarium was tiny but interesting and the Harbor Cruise was very information. Did you know that "Fraser" in all it's seasons on TV only filmed one episode in Seattle and that the Jetsons were set in 2062, and that the Space Needle was inspiration for the cartoon.
Oh, and I couldn't resist grabbing myself a bouquet of peonies before we left the market. The flower vendors were fabulous of course, but oh the peonies. So many colors and they were all as big or bigger than my fist. Just breathtakingly stunning. Really, they were just too pretty to pass up and I got to stare at them the rest of our vacation.
Wyatt and Quinn spent most of the day starving because they don't eat real food but luckily, there was pizza at the baseball game. Saved their bacon I tell you what. Actually, I think they starved most of our trip but that's their problem and a story for another day.
We finished out the night with tacos from a food truck and a brisk walk to the baseball game, seranaded by a radical religious guy yelling into a megaphone about Jesus, the devil, and how we are all going to hell! Pretty appropriate for baseball? The weather was perfect, the game was boring (I mean, baseball right?) and everyone willingly crashed out when we got back to our apartment for the night.
A pretty good day one (and a half) of vacation.