Now that the boys are back in school, I might be able to catch up!
When I last updated, we'd had four full and successful weeks of summer. We had maintained a good balance between sloth and usefulness. Our family vacation to Washington State was scheduled for most of weeks 6 & 7, so week 5 was filled with packing and preparations.
Looking back at my photos, my calendar, and my Facebook posts, it looks like week 5 was pretty quiet. We went to see Pixar's Inside Out with some of our friends. It was a 20-kleenex movie for me and Tommy. Charlie even needed at least one kleenex. The boys got together with their friends during the week, and we watched lots of old movies, and they helped me make plans for our vacation.
On the last Friday in June, we dropped the boys off for a 3 hour class on coyotes at the Rio Grande Nature Center. I'm not sure that they had a spectacular time, since the session was for grades 1-6, but they were good sports about it. It was mostly really little kids, but I think Tommy enjoyed being the big-kid helper. David and I went out for dinner while the boys were occupied.
On June 30, we headed to the airport for our family vacation to Washington State. We had two and a half whirlwind days in Seattle planned, and then four relaxing days with my family in Spokane. We arrived mid-afternoon on a Tuesday and discovered that my last-minute switch to the Warwick Hotel was an excellent move. We had a lovely room, a great view of the Space Needle, had easy transportation via Light Rail from the airport, and were able to walk everywhere.
We had dinner that first night at Serious Pie, a trendy pizza place near our hotel. The boys were pretty tired, so I'm not sure that they enjoyed it as much as I did, but they did seem happier after they ate. The coconut cream pie was excellent.
We got up bright and early Wednesday morning. We had a PLAN to see as much as possible. We started with a fancy breakfast at Lola. The made-to-order donuts were amaze-balls. The boys and David ate tons of traditional breakfast foods, and I enjoyed sauteed octopus with fresh vegetables and proper Seattle coffee. Breakfast convinced us that we were on track to spend a lot of money on really good food in Seattle. We were all OK with this scenario.
With our bellies full of breakfast, we walked down to Pike Place Market. We'd gotten a very early start, so we arrived before the market stalls were even open. Charlie had requested a visit to the original Starbucks, and my brother had implored us to stop at Piroshky Piroshky, so we popped into those two places before wandering the main market. The boys had to see Rachel the pig, the gum wall and the flying fish. I resisted buying flowers and fruit. (I didn't take a lot of pictures because that sort of photography is difficult with my family in tow.)
We found our way down to the waterfront by 10 am via the Hill Climb. We entered the Seattle Aquarium just as they opened, and really enjoyed all of the exhibits. Their favorite was the ocean and river otters. I have approximately 172 photos of fish tanks on my camera, all taken by David. I do not plan to post them all here.
We breezed through the aquarium quite quickly, so we decided to take a ride on the Seattle Eye next. It was a beautiful day for it.
We walked down the waterfront and did a harbor boat tour next. This isn't something we would have normally chosen to do, but the tickets were included in the City Pass ticket book that we had purchased. The City Pass is a great deal! It was very warm, but the scenery was beautiful. I didn't take many pictures though. I was pretty tired by this time.
After our one-hour cruise, we went to my favorite fish place for lunch - Ivars. It had just re-opened that very day after being closed for 9 months, and we opted to go into the sit-down restaurant instead of ordering from the walk up window. The fried clam strips were just as good as I'd remembered.
We popped in the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop after lunch, but sadly, the boys were not impressed. I think it was too crowded and they were too tired. It was about 2 pm by this time, so we walked back to our hotel (hot! tired!) for a well-deserved rest. The boys swam in the hotel pool, and I read for a while. We didn't have any big plans for the evening, but we eventually decided that we were hungry again. We found a well-reviewed sushi place in Bell Town, and ignored the fact that most of the diners were on dates and wearing stiletto heels, suits and jewels. We bought All The Sushi, and sat at the sushi bar away from the dimly lit dining room, so I hope nobody minded our presence. The sushi was spectacularly good.
We focused on the Seattle Center area for our second day in Seattle. We took a leisurely walk towards the Space Needle, and ate our breakfast at a cute little French bakery and cafe. I think the boys were still full of sushi from the night before, so a pastry and hot chocolate was enough.
We'd planned to arrive at the Space Needle just as they opened at 8:30 am. This was a great plan, because there weren't any lines or crowds at all. We looked around and took some pictures. I don't think I'd been inside the Space Needle in at least 30 years!
Our next stop was the Chihuly Glass & Garden place. We spent way more time there than I'd expected us to spend. The boys loved it, and David saw lots of inspiration for new designs inside his saltwater fish tank.
We went to the EMP museum next, and ended up spending the rest of the morning there. There was a traveling exhibition of experimental video game design, and we let the boys spend over an hour there. David and I just sat on one of the big couches in the open area listening to music while the boys tried out all of the different games. We also really enjoyed the fantasy and science fiction exhibits, the Star Wars costumes exhibit and the Chuck Jones Looney Tunes exhibit. The EMP is our kind of place! (We had lunch at some point too, but we just ate at the Seattle Center Armory food court.)
We took the monorail away from Seattle Center, just for the experience, and then walked to our hotel from the other end of the line. We had another quiet afternoon of reading and swimming in our lovely hotel.
We wanted to visit Pike Place Market one more time, so we walked down there for dinner. We didn't end up eating very much, but Tommy had a giant bowl of seafood stew at a Chinese place and we nibbled on a few snacks along the way. We spent lots of money in Golden Age Comics (oldest comic store in the US!), perused the magic shop, and picked up some Market Spice Tea before the market closed for the evening.
Friday was our last day in Seattle, and we needed to drive to Spokane in the afternoon. We spent the morning at Uwajimaya Japanese market in the International District. I have fond memories of that place. We picked up some interesting snacks for our drive and had a satisfying lunch in the grocery store food court.
Our drive to Spokane was uneventful. David had picked up a rental car when we checked out of the hotel, and we ended up with a decent-sized SUV. We stopped at Snoqualmie Falls along the way, and I was disappointed to learn that the place I had been picturing in my mind was not where we happened to be. (I got Multnomah Falls mixed up with Snoqualmie Falls. In my defense, I haven't lived in Washington in over 20 years.) David didn't mind the mix up. He even decided to take his first-ever selfie there.
We arrived in Spokane in time for dinner with the family at my mother's favorite restaurant. Thus endeth week 6 of summer. I'll finish the Spokane portion of our trip and the rest of summer tomorrow.
Must. Catch. Up.