Ah, we survived four planes, two buses, two train rides, a rental car, a hotel room, two ferry rides, and multiple visits with the family! We have returned and are happy to be home. We are also exhausted. The time change thing kicked our collective bums, both ways. Our first afternoon was spent getting out bearings (okay we drove around lost without a map of Everett and the surrounding area kicking ourselves that we did not ask for an Everett map at AAA before we arrived...) We visited my dad at "the shop" and then went for dinner and tried to go to sleep at a reasonable hour.
Day 2: The first morning after we arrived Matthew woke up at 4:20a which if you do the math is 7:20a our time - I sought solace in the fact that he would have been sleeping in had we been in B-town. We took Matthew to two parks - one had some, er, not so pleasant details HANGING off it so we left and found this amazing cove of a park. It was surrounded by trees and faced the Sound. Matthew played on the equipment, we checked out the Sound on the most amazing sun filled morning, and went for a little hike in the woods (and Matthew actually hiked!) We took a drive to Stephen's Pass later that day - it was the most beautiful breathtaking drive - with snow topped peaks, sunshine and spectacular views. Matthew slept most of the way but woke up in time to see Stephen's Pass and I asked what he saw and he said "SNOWY DAY!" We hopped out and wandered around the deserted ski resort stepping in puddle of mucky snow and making "ice balls" out of the snow that was left on the ground. We arrived back in Everett and went for dinner in Mukiteo with my dad and mom. That went well - albeit a little awkward and Matthew was up to no good as he did not nap long enough. The dinner was yummy (fresh Salmon - my fav!) with a view the Puget Sound (ferry, train tracks and all!)
Day 3: We drove into Seattle early (per the theme of our visit) to the Pike Place Market which was just waking up when we arrived. That meant excellent parking, chilly weather, and warm Seattle's Best coffee (yum!) We visited the market, took some photos, checked out the enormous cruise ship that came and generally just enjoyed the lovely weather downtown. We ate lunch at this place called The Fisherman (I think...) and I had some chowder (FRESH) and crab cakes (my other fav). Kevin and Matthew left to get the car and I wait to pay the bill. I got to see a celebrity - Bjork and her cute little girl came into eat (okay not really the most exciting person but some of you have to know who she is, right!?) I tried to take a subtle photo but I think it may be too far away to tell who she is and I did not want to see all paparazzi so I just left it at that. We visited my mom at her house in the afternoon and let Matthew play around her house a bit. She made a dinner (mmmm, more Salmon!!)
Day4: It rained this day - the only day of rain which is pretty fantastic for Seattle! We decided to take the ferry over to Whidby Island. Matthew was so excited about the ferry it was not funny - he sat there beaming looking out over the water and saying "FERRY, FERRY" We ended up Langley on the south end of the island. It is a beautiful place - if you are ever in there area go - camp, bike, enjoy the location - we will definitely go back in the future and hopefully it won't be 7:00a... We had the longest wait on earth to eat breakfast which (no pun intended) ate up most of our time in Langley. We took the ferry back over and went for a soggy BBQ at my brother's house. It was fun, the food was great (my dad is quite a chef!) and Matthew enjoyed the openness of a house (versus a hotel room.) Matthew also did not nap that day and that almost killed all of us BUT he did sleep the best that night from 7:00a-7:00p.
Day 5: We drove into Seattle again this morning - went to City Center. That is where the space needle is located along with every other thing you could imagine. I heard there was a thing called the Northwest Folk Art Festival which was closed since it was so early (see the theme!) We got coffee (another theme here - we totally over did it on the coffee but OMG it is EVERYWHERE!) and waited for something to open. There is a children's museum at city center so we decided to go that. It rocked. Kevin saw that is had received an award for best exhibits for children 5 and under and it did. Matthew thoroughly enjoyed that adventure! He went every which way and loved every moment of it! We then ventured out to the festival. I loved it and would have stayed longer but Kevin was being all weird - he later confessed he had not ever been to anything like that and was not sure what to do. We listened to this HUGE bag pipe group of young boys (like kids that were 10!) and walked around checking out the crazy sights and sounds. There were tons of children performers - it was set up so street performers were a part of the festival so there were kids 8-12 performing on violins and what not. There was even one little girl who balanced on a ball, with a hula hoop and played a flute I think it was!
Then we headed back to Everett. We went to my mom's house after Matthew's nap. Then we all went to the park near her house after which we met my brother and dad at Olive Garden for dinner. We all said our good byes and off we went to bed (ha, Matthew would not sleep until 10:30p and was IRATE for being woken up the next morning at 5:40a to go for the plane!)
We flew ALL FREAKIN' DAY on Tuesday and we were originally supposed to get in around 6:00p but ended up getting in around 7:20p which means we did not get home until almost 8:30p. Matthew was a bear to get to sleep but he finally passed out and slept in the next morning.
All in all we had a fabulous visit with a few minor blips here and there. I had many favorite moments - like when he is face would light up to see his Grandpa and Oma. He talked about them non stop and I will forever keep that picture of Matthew sitting the back seat with both of them - his face beaming as he looked up to touch their faces. I also loved that he can tell a story - he related an entire story about this caterpillar that ate our tomato plants last year about five times - that is the first time he has ever done that AND he stringing together 4-6 words to form actual real life sentences! At the end of the day, Matthew was a VERY patient and good little boy through all the driving, flying, etc. and we were super proud of him!
If you are still with me, I am glad we had a nice visit and hope to do it again next year.