Best Birthday Yet

I celebrated my 30th birthday last weekend. It’s a pretty big birthday, a big milestone, and I have to admit I’m a little nervous about entering into this next phase of my life. I’m not sure why though, age is merely just numbers. And as they say, like a fine wine we only get better with time. (šŸ˜‰).

I’ve always enjoyed celebrating birthdays, I even try to get away with having birthday ‘weekends’ or ‘weeks’. So, even though I was a little nervous about turning 30 and we’re on a bit of a budget, I was really looking forward to doing something fun. Colleen (the bestie) flew into Seattle from Idaho to spend the weekend with us and help celebrate the loss of my twenties. I was super excited to see her since we’ve been gone since March! Colleen came in Friday morning and left Tuesday afternoon, from the moment she landed we were non-stop sight-seeing and exploring the Seattle area. We got home late every night, only one night of the four nights she stayed did we make it home before the sun set.

Colleen surprised us by telling me that her mom would be purchasing tickets for the three of us to go see one of my favorite bands (Dirty Heads) play in Seattle while she was here. I was beyond excited and couldn’t believe how generous that was either. That Saturday, on my birthday we headed in downtown and Colleen bought all of us City Passes. A City Pass gets you into 5 different hot spot tourist locations at a discounted rate. We chose to check out The Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, EMP Museum, Seattle Aquarium and Argosy Cruises (1 hour harbor tour). As you can see there was a lot to do and many things for our eyes to gazed upon in just a few days.

The Space Needle was so much fun, with the City Pass we were able to go up twice, once in the daylight and another time in the evening. Seeing the city at that height was so pretty and I only got that ‘Oh my goodness I’m scared of heights’ feeling in my stomach once. It’s hard to believe they originally built that building with intentions of tearing it down after the world’s fair. EMP Museum and Chihuly Garden and Glass have a lot of interesting items. Chihuly’s work is lovely and the exhibits inside EMP are educational and quite impressive. We enjoyed the aquarium, they had a nice sized octopus and some really cute sea lions to watch splash around. But, I think the Argosy Cruise was one of my favorite things from the City Pass. It was just a small cruise ship that took a group of people out on a narrated harbor tour. Our tour guide was very amusing and showed us some great things about the city.

Now going to the concert with the bestie and hubby that Sunday was the best part of the entire weekend. The lineup was Bleeker, Tribal Seeds, Dirty Heads (my fave) and Sublime w/Rome. The opening band was a rock band from Canada neither of us had heard of before but they kick booty. The singer had a stellar voice and some fun stage performance. We had never seen Tribal Seeds live before that night, they performed really well. When it came time for Dirty Heads, all though we’ve seen them before I felt as gitty as a teen girl waiting to see her first boy band concert. (!!) They killed their set and totally did an amazing job. Sublime w/ Rome of course performed to perfection as well. All in all the entire show was grand and so was my birthday weekend. I hadĀ so much fun and am so grateful to have a friend like Colleen. It was wonderful for her to come see us during our adventures on the road.

*Remember to check ourĀ FACEBOOKĀ page for additional photos of our adventures. And if you’re going to be visiting Seattle or even live in the area. VisitĀ HEREĀ for information on City Passes. It’s a great discounted way to see some of the hottest areas of the city. And of course, if you’re interested in hearing my favorite band Dirty Heads, go check them outĀ HERE.

image
Our City Passes
image
The three of us up at Space Needle
image
View from the cruise ship
IMG_7411
Chihuly Garden and Glass
image
Dirty Heads on stage

Family Time in Washington

Federal Way, WA is where Jeff and I have found ourselves the last couple weeks. We have been here visiting with Jeff’s sister Rachel and her family. On our arrival they were ready to show us around and were gracious hosts from the get go. We rolled into town with the van still not working very well and Scott, (the bro in law) immediately offered their car to us so we could get around and explore the city. We were told to make ourselves at home and before we knew it Manko was even sleeping on the back of the couch with their dog like it was her own house.

Rachel took us to Pikes Place Market our first Saturday here. The market was exactly as I had imagined but ten times the people. Jeff’s sister warned us the weekends were busy but the amount of people shopping and wandering the market was astounding. We read more than 9 million people visit the market each year that’s close to 25,000 visitors a day! We only stayed a short time so we weren’t able to see all of the multi-levels, therefore Jeff and I returned another time weaving in and out of the levels and people.

Jeff, Scott and their oldest Max went fishing a couple of times while I spent time with the girls. It sounded like they had a pretty good time and I really enjoyed hanging out Rachel and the two younger girls. All three of the kiddos are always on the move and constantly learning new things. Max is learning to read and comes up with the best questions, Louisa has the best imagination and can play for hours, and little Lydia is in the mimicking stage and it amazing to see her little mind working.

Scott and Rachel made sure we tried some of their favorite meals and places to eat. One night they made a seafood feast with tortellini and homemade alfredo sauce, everything was so tasty. Rachel even surprised me with a birthday cake one night! Jeff showed off his skills in the kitchen a couple of times too. And on another night we all played ‘picnic’ eating our dinner on blankets in the living room completed with plastic cups and straws.

Staying with Scott and Rachel has been so much fun. We shared some great laughs, had wonderful conversations, tickle wars with the kids and giggles about unicorns or silly jokes. I also loved reading with the kiddos and playing games too. For a couple of days the adults put together a 1000 piece puzzle, with Max’s assistance of course. It was his first ‘big’ puzzle, so it was really quite impressive to see how he figured things out and how long he stuck at it before getting bored.

Rachel and her family had plans to travel to Idaho for a visit about a week after we arrived here. So, they graciously offered their home to us so we could continue our adventures in the Seattle area. We are truly blessed to have such wonderful family.

 

image
Painting Louisa’s nails
image
At our picnic dinner
image
Max with our completed puzzle
image
Loved sitting next to this cute face in the car- Lydia

Exploring Oregon

It was nice getting back on the road again after the long pause in GP. The first day out gave us the same butterflies and gitters that we had the very first time we left back in March. It took us a minute to get back into the groove of the van life but soon found ourselves parking at Walmart, eating cheese and crackers for dinner and exploring new places.

After we left Grants Pass we headed over to Crater Lake. We’ve always wanted to stop there during our trips out to visit his grandparents, however we’ve never had enough time or the road to the lake would be snowed in. Crater Lake is one of the deepest lakes in the country and is probably one of the most pristine too. People travel from all over to gaze at it’s beautiful blue color. The lake was absolutely breathtaking and as we drove around it we almost forgot to snap photos.

Jeff and I spent the next few days driving along the Oregon coast. Our route took us through Eugene first and eventually we got to Newport. Newport was one of my favorite places when I was younger so I really wanted to show Jeff. The weather had been real gloomy all day during our drive but thankfully by the time we arrived the skies cleared up. The town was much bigger than I had remembered but the smell of the ocean, the people shopping the streets of the bay-front and the sounds of the sea lions were still the same.

We continued up the coast stopping just outside of Depoe Bay. This area is well known for whale watching, even after most have migrated through a few resident whales hang around. We stopped along a cliff just to make lunch and let Manko out for a stretch and I happened to over hear a couple standing near us say, ‘Hey did you see that?!’ and ‘Oh my goodness there it is again!’ So of course I had to gazed into the ocean and sure enough, water shooting up from a blow hole!! A whale was swimming about just down from the cliff we were standing on. We never got to see the whole whale, just a fin or two and the water blowing up from it’s blow hole but it sure was exciting.

Jeff and I also took a detour into Tillamook and wandered through the cheese factory. We watched the workers make cheese and although it didn’t work, I tried really hard to convince Jeff it was ok to have ice-cream at 9:30 in the morning. We stopped in Astoria for lunch as Jeff’s brother in law recommend a small food truck to try that serves the best fish and chips (The Bowpicker). Apparently everyone else knew how good the food was there because the line was almost at the end of the sidewalk! Starving and inpatient, Jeff didn’t want to wait so we found a food truck more suited to my diet, The Good Bowl. It served only vegetarian food and was extremely delicious.

Before we finally reached our ending destination in Washington, we stopped along the way in Long Beach, Wa to check out Marsh’s Free Museum (another recommendation from the brother in law). Its a unique place filled with vintage rarities, odd items, freaky sculptures and of course a gift shop to match. We spent quite a bit of time in there, everywhere you looked there was something new to find. If you’re ever in the area, be sure to go check out ‘Jake the Alligator Man’. The shops along the boardwalk were just as unique too. We finally made it to Federal Way, where we are currently visiting with Jeff’s sister Rachel and her adorable little family.

image
Crater Lake

Community Love

Hey everyone!

We haven’t disappeared or anything, we just haven’t had much internet access so it’s been hard for me to post. We left Grants Pass last week after staying with Jeff’s Grammy for about a month. Jeff’s grown up going to Grants Pass for visits since his grandparents live there, but I’ve only visited a handful of times. I got to learn the city pretty well while we were there and have to say we kinda fell in love with the area. It has a lot of charm for a smaller town with a little bit of a big city touch. We felt the area had great community involvement too, which is wonderful. Jeff and I really want to get more involved with the community and our neighborhood wherever we may land. This place is definitely on our radar of potential places to move in the future.

I also found a wonderful volunteer opportunity in Grants Pass that kept me busy while Jeff worked. Down the street from his Grammy’s house is the Josephine County Food Bank and Raptor Creek Farm. A beautiful garden takes up just over 2 acres of the property with a giant warehouse to hold all of the fresh organic veggies and donated food before it is sent off to feed those in need of a full a belly. The garden supplies an array of veggies and herbs from basil to kale and tomatoes to watermelon. The organization is ran by a handful of amazing people and of course the many generous volunteers who offer their time daily. Everyone I met was extremely friendly and made the experience there so enjoyable. I was able to help with a variety of chores around the garden during my time volunteered. I helped harvest veggies, wash and bag the veggies, pruning and thinning, transplanting of young plants, weeding and I also helped on the building of a cob oven on the property. I so enjoyed my time there and I hope to visit again.

If you’d like any additional information about the Josephine County Food Bank or Raptor Creek Farms, you can find their informationĀ HERE

IMG_7130
The Farmer Man Gif with some volunteers.
IMG_7108
Pulling weeds.

IMG_7114

IMG_7105
Such a beautiful place