Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Allki Beach

Here is where we are today... Took the bus to the water taxi. Some beautiful scenery, but the beach itself? I'll take FL beaches... Much nicer sand and WARM water. That said, it's about 76 and breezy here, so no complaints!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Seattle Beaches, Who Knew?

It was a beautiful summer day in Seattle today, so it was time to check out the local neighborhood beach. The what??? Yes, you read that right, there are beaches in Seattle. We are staying in Ballard, and i have come to really love this neighborhood. It's very family friendly, home of the locks and has the most Southern CA style beach I've yet to see here.

We went over to Golden Gardens and it is a great spot. Totally has the beach vibe... Flat sandy beach, volleyball players, concessions, playground and musicians. It's awesome. You can almost imagine you are in California... Except the water is ice cold and it's only 72 degrees out in August. I was worried the girls would complain about the cold water but they had so much fun playing with rocks and the driftwood, they didn't complain about the water at all. Score!

And take a look at the awesome playground. I have to say, hands down, the Seattle playgrounds blow away the ones in Florida. Every playground here has some sort of climbing structure, many have the old style merry-go-rounds, and they all have monkey bars... None of which I've seen in FL. and the girls love it all. But I will give FL the clear win on beaches. As great as Golden Gardens is, it doesn't come close to the glorious Siesta Key white sand and warm waters of the gulf. But for today, it was just perfect.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Hiking with Auntie Tina

The girls and I drove out to Issaquah yesterday to meet up with Dean's Aunt Tina. She took us east to hike to the bathing rocks at Denny Creek. At the risk of sounding completely repetitive, it was gorgeous! I've come to realize pretty much the whole pacific northwest is gorgeous this time of year. So just sit back and relax. You are going to hear this FL gal oogle over the beauty here in pretty much every post.

The hike was great and Tina was the perfect guide. She pointed out flowers, brought homemade chocolate chip cookies and made a game out of counting the steps. And the bathing rocks were awesome... Big flat rocks to play on and an ice cold creek to dip your toes into. Fantastic!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Discovery Park

Took the girls on a hike in Discovery Park and it was absolutely gorgeous. First we continued our picnic tradition and had fun at a cool little playground. What made it so neat was not the playground itself but the cool tree fort that was up the hill that a little girl showed Natalie.

Then we embarked on a hike down to the beach which was studded with beautiful vistas. The last 3/4 mile had over 200 steps down the steep slope! A challenge for Katherine but she made it. They really wanted to get to the beach so we pushed on.

Now you can imagine what hiking UP 200+ steps is like with a 7 and 4 yr old. We were at over 2 miles at this point and they were tired. So guess who got to alternate carrying kids the last mile? :) it may have been a bit too much for the girls, and they were really tire when we finished, but they said they liked it! Love my little hikers...

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Trader Joes

Can I just say that in the first four days of being in Seattle, I've been to Trader Joes twice. Happy Happy!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Hello Seattle!

Summer in Seattle... it's pretty spectacular. My brother always says there is no place more beautiful than a summer day in Seattle. Pete you are so right! We've been here four days now and I'm still amazed at the views that just pop up at you around a bend in the road. It's been in the low 70s and breezy, and not a drop of rain. This, you must celebrate in Seattle since it won't last long. Especially when you know if you were home you'd be sweating it out in 90 degree heat and crazy humidity.

We arrived on Saturday to a beautiful house in Ballard that I found on Craigslist. It's perfect for our stay... Three levels with a playroom for the girls, a great deck and small backyard. Next Tuesday evening there is a neighborhood block party. My kind of neighborhood! We went down to the local piazza place and Delancey did not disappoint. And Joan, look what they serve with their pizza. Dean is now a convert to your salt revolution.

Sunday we woke up to sunshine and headed down to the Sunday Fremont Market. We walked around and enjoyed the street musicians and ate some delicious Indian food...even the girls liked it. Score!! I will make these girls ethnic food lovers if it's the last thing I do, one bite at a time. :)

After a beer for Dean and some Sangria for me, we were ready for our next stop: Volunteer Park. A beautiful park nestled in the hills of Seattle, it's one quirk was the graveyard located adjacent to the kids playground. Didn't bother the kids one bit, but one can't help but reflect on the energy of young life when looking at the visual reminder of lives past. 

We found some renaissance guys in full regalia sword fighting for beer . Or something like that. It was pretty hilarious.

The park was pretty, but nothing spectacular. Fun to let the girls run off some energy and to be surrounded by an urban forest. I will never tire of the beautiful greenery of Seattle.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Goodbye SB

Just a quick shout out to our awesome friends in SB, Amy and Andrew for letting us crash at your place less than two weeks before you move. You guys rock! So great to see you guys and so awesome to see our kids having so much fun together. Miss you already and can't wait to see you in SD next summer!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Santa Barbara Fun

Nothing like coming back to a place you used to live to realize how much you miss it. Santa Barbara is gorgeous... There is simply nothing comparable to the beauty of the mountains rolling into the sea. That, combined with the positive energy of people here makes it a truly special place.

We've been spending lots of time catching up with old friends, eating our way through town, hiking, and hitting the beach. I even managed to sneak in a beach run and I have to say it a the best run I've had since leaving CA. The weather here is my perfect running companion.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rankin Ranch

Rankin Ranch... truly one of my favorite places on earth. If you haven't been here, it's hard to explain how being a guest at a working catttle ranch can truly revive your spirit. It's all about family here... yours and the Rankins. The Rankin family is hard working, yet always have the time to make you feel at home. When you are here, you become one of the family. My parents have been coming here for 34 years. Yes, they love it THAT much. So do I!

 There are no tvs here, no phones, no easy internet access... You become totally unconnected from the outside world. And that in itself makes the ranch remarkable. Dean had a moment of panic when he realized he wouldn't be instantly able to check in with work. But after a few days, he fully relaxed and when we were leaving said he could really use a few more days being off the grid.

 A typical day at the ranch starts off with a huge cowboy breakfast... Eggs, bacon or sausage, hash browns and toast. Unless its pancake day (the BEST I've ever had). It is virtually impossible to be hungry here. Then you go on a morning horseback trail ride. One for the kids and one for the adults. The kids then go with the kids club and do cowboy art projects, nature hikes, swimming and taking care of the animals on the ranch. Which means lots of time for the adults to relax!

 After lunch on the terrace, it's more horseback riding and swimming. Maybe some ping pong or shooting pool. Then while the adults enjoy happy hour, the kids play games in the lodge with the counselors. Everyone meets up for another huge cowboy dinner in the dining room (Mexican night is my fav). Unless its hayride night... Then we take a hayride out to the huge BBQ area for tritip and a horseshoe competition. After dinner you can go feed the ranch animals and then there is always a family activity in the lodge. Then you wake up and do it all over again!