I am IN LOVE with Washington State. There, I said it. What has it taken me so long to get here?!? I could see myself living here. We are looking to retire in Costa Rica, but after visiting here I told Hubby that Washington State has just claimed the number 2 spot in my places to retire. Maybe, just maybe we could get Ft. Lewis AFTER Korea. (Hey big Army Gods....is anyone listening? We want to be Six in Seattle next!!)
On our second day in Washington we stayed closer to Gig Harbor and headed out to hike one of the many, many state parks this area has to offer. Jerrel Cove has 43 acres of forest and 3,500 feet of saltwater shoreline on Harstine Island in the south Puget Sound. (Thanks, Wikipedia!) This is a FABULOUS place to take the family for a day of exploring and to absorb all the beauty Washington State has to offer.
C really adds a new element to our life here.....this picture is after he picked up a slug! Again, I was laughing so hard. Have you ever picked up a slug? If so then you know slugs leave LOTS OF SLIME behind. It is almost like blowing your nose on your hand, but WORSE! C had to find water, but when he did it didn't help much. Slug slime doesn't come off very easily.
In this next picture Boy 2 is trying to figure out how to put the slug in his pocket (Reminder: when we hike the person to find the 'coolest' thing wins bragging rights till the next hike.)
He couldn't figure out how to put the slug in his pocket, but he did make a little bed for him:
Boy 2 showing his treasure to his Daddy & Grammy.
Grammy with her grandkids....I barely miss getting the fish that just jumped in the picture, but you can still see the ring in the water.
Another picture that makes me laugh out loud - for two reasons. #1 - doesn't Boy 1 look like Jimmy Neutron? #2 - Hubby just put a little crab down Jimmy Neutrons shirt and now Jimmy Neutron is FREAKING OUT! (Just for the record I think Jimmy Neutron is not only smart, but handsome!)
He became quite attached.....
Sorry, I had to throw in a nature shot... I love these flowers. What are they?
While looking over the edge of the docks we noticed a few treasures.....there were TONS and TONS of mussels.
And check out the anemone with the jelly fish hiding among them:
Hello sweet deer....thanks for letting us invade your space.
Until next time....
PS....in the end Boy 3 earned bragging rights. Really, who could beat out a slug?
On day 1 we headed to Seattle to explore Pikes Place and oh what fun it was! Our first stop was Beecher's for a little Macaroni and Cheese...and OH MY GOODNESS - it was AMAZING! Best Mac & Cheese I have ever eaten! No joke! I LOVE this stuff!
While we were there we watched a little cheese making.... How I wish this cheese was easier to get!
Next stop was the ORIGINAL STARBUCKS! MIL is a HUGE fan of Starbucks and was super excited about getting a little java from here! Check out the old Starbucks sign - pretty cool huh? This Starbucks opened on March 30th, 1971 and it retains its original look because the Market is in a historical district with design guidelines. (I can't believe something opened in 1971 is considered 'historical'.....dear God, what does that make me?)
We purchased shrimp cocktail and a little smoked salmon from this place...YUM-O!
The teenage boys were HUNGRY (surprise - right?!) and many friends had told that they NEEDED to eat at Ivars on the waterfront and that they NEEDED to eat the clam chowder. So we did. (We aim to please while on vacation.)
Happiness is 2 kinds of salmon, eating clam chowder and having some wine....(you have to sing that line to get the right effect)
After having a great lunch our next stop was the Seattle Aquarium!
It was cheaper for our crew to buy a family membership to the Aquarium than to purchase tickets for each person individually! The Seattle Aquarium isn't huge, but it is HUGE on FUN! Below Boy 2 is touching an anemone in the "Life on the Edge" exhibit. Everything in this exhibit is from the Puget Sound!
The starfish were amazing - can you believe all the colors?! My favorite one is the Sunflower Sea Star! I'm sure you can pick it out!
Boy 2 LOVED this anemone!
This octopus is from the Puget Sound as well.
Meet Bubba Fish.
This picture makes me laugh all over again!! This is C, Boy 1's friend that joined us on vacation. I love this kid. Hubby challenged the boys to fully submerge their head in the water and touch an anemone with their nose. He told them he would pay them $20 to do so. Boy 1 said no way (which is surprising because he ate a beetle for $20 just a week before) but C said 'no problem' AND HE DID IT....right there in the middle of the aquarium. We about died with laughter. I'm surprised (and thankful) that we didn't get kicked out of the aquarium! Good times, good times!
We had a great first day in Seattle!
Those of you that know me KNOW how I dislike going out of order with blog postings (damn type A...), BUT today I'm leaving my comfort zone and making an exception. This is what I saw as I was drinking my coffee on the back porch of our vacation home in Gig Harbor, WA. I will go back and blog all the things you have missed, so make sure you check back dates often....I plan on writing about our trip over the next few days. For now enjoy this scene....
There were 5 bald eagles flying around this morning.
The eagles were feasting on a salmon they caught. How I WISH I had witnessed the catching of the salmon!
Isn't he beautiful?
Two in one shot. LOVE IT.
After many EXHAUSTNG days at Fort Hood we are finally on a much needed vacation. Our destination - Gig Harbor, Washington. We were going to stay in Seattle, but when we found this house for rent we decided we needed the calm and relaxation of the Minter House. This house is about 45 minutes from SeaTac airport and totally off one of the most beautiful beaten paths you ever drive. It backs up to a stream that feeds off the Puget Sound into a salmon hatchery. The only problem we had with this house is that once we arrived we really didn't want to leave the property. It was so peaceful and the wildlife was abundant. Here is a tour of the Minter House.
When you walk into the house the first thing you see the fully functioning kitchen. They must have known I was coming because there was a bottle of Merlot waiting on the counter just for us!
The kids stayed had their own staircase that took them to their bedroom. There was a king size bed as well as a twin, and they had their own bathroom.
This room is where Grammy (AKA- MIL) stayed. It was on the first level, she also had her own bathroom.
Hubby and I stayed in the master suite (up a different set of stairs) we had an amazing view of the Sound.
And of course we had our own bathroom as well - the only problem with our bathroom, we couldn't keep the kids out of the tub.
The living area - the house has wi-fi and cable.
This is a smaller house across the driveway attached to the garage and it is used as a game room, however the sofa turns into a hide-a-bed. This suite also has a bathroom with a shower making this the perfect place for the two teenage
boys to live for the week.
The most spectacular thing about the Minter House is the back deck, in this post you will see why: Gig Harbor in the Morning.
4 weeks after 'the break' I took the boy in to have his pins removed....He was so excited and couldn't wait to to get them out! (Nice ORANGE picture huh? :o)
Edward scissor elbow!
Boy 3 watched the entire thing!
WOW! She pulled them out with vice grips!
He did really well - the only time he got a little pale was after the first pin came out and blood followed. Unfortunately they wouldn't let him keep the pins.....
It is just amazing to me how quickly little people heal. He has to remain 'inactive' for 3 more weeks (haha) and will need another x-ray when we arrive in Korea, but so far so good! :o)
Seriously, couldn't you just lick the computer right now?
I got this idea from the May issue of Cooking Light. They had healthier version. I kicked it up a notch.
Use your favorite bread. I used one of those fancy specialty breads that the deli makes fresh daily - you know the kind, you buy it warm and you have to cut it yourself - YUM!. Slap Nutella on one side, Marshmallow Fluff on the other, throw a few bananas in the middle and put it together. (Try not to eat it just yet - it gets better.)
Dip your heavenly sandwich in a mixture of beaten egg and milk making sure to do this delicately so you don't end up with lots of nappy raw egg in the middle and gently put your sandwich on the griddle. You can use a frying pan, but in my opinion griddles are better...
Cook on each side for about 2 minutes or until lightly brown.
You kids will love you even more.
However you might want to make extra....I only ate half of my sandwich (super good, but I really need to watch this girlish figure) and I thought WWIII was going to break out in my house when the boys started fighting over the other half of my sandwich. Don't worry, I made more.
Someone sent a note to me asking: "I'm writing you to ask how do you deal with the separations? " She also wrote "You are leaving and now my best friend is leaving me in mid-July.."
I pondered this for a couple of days before I could respond. How do I deal with separation? How has that changed over the years? Let's face it, moving sucks - sometimes. Separation is NEVER easy and it is so hard to say goodbye to dear friends and family! I feel like we all have 'seasons' in our lives, military or not. People come and go; some people are only with us for a season, some are with us for multiple seasons while others are with us for a lifetime.
Moving season used to be way too hard for me - I didn't think I was cut out for this Army life. I shed tear after tear after tear. But now (many years and many moves later) I have come to realize that it is not goodbye as I continue to run into the same people over and over thought out this Army life. A few things that makes moving easier for me are, number 1, my husband. He is my rock, and my best friend. He lets me cry on his shoulder, but he doesn't let me wallow too long. He embraces me when I am hurting and pushes me to be stronger and better than I was before. Number 2 is my kids. I let them know it is OK to mourn a loss (yes - moving is a loss!) but we don't stay in mourning for too long. We pull ourselves up by our bootstraps (or in my case high heels...) and search the internet for what the next adventure will bring us! After I make sure my family is taken care of (or they make sure I am taken care of ) I go to the old standbys, the phone, (what exactly are long distance charges anyway??) Skype, (even though I can't STAND sitting at the computer...I really need to get Skype on my cell phone, but I don't think I would like that either...walking around trying to clean with a person in hand - now if we could figure out how to have them help clean - sorry, I got distracted ...) email and Facebook! It has never been easier to stay connected! I remember back in the day when the phone bills alone were a big issue for military families - I thought my husband might divorce me after he saw our first telephone bill as a married couple! For me, I deal with separation by (drinking wine) staying connected through the phone and social media, which is a lot easier than it was back in the day when we had to rely on snail mail (I'm not sure I even remember how to HANDwrite) and those overly priced phone calls (and cheap pink sweet wine). Plus I make friends faster now than I did 20 (cough) years ago! When I move into a new place if the neighbors haven't come to say hi to me in say 12 hours, I go say hi to them - dragging my kids with me! (Hubby doesn’t partake in this ritual.)
OH, and I love the fact that I know that people ALL OVER THE WORLD! If I am traveling somewhere whether it is for vacation or moving I will have someone to connect with, someone I met previously on this journey of life. For example, we are going to Seattle and we have 3 sets of friends we can't wait to have dinner with or share a glass of vino with! PLUS, they give us the hook-up because they know all the cool spots! AND I love how I cannot see someone for 10 years and then when we are back together we pick up right where we left off - as if we had seen each other the day before.
For many moving season is one of the hardest (aside from deployment) seasons one has to face, but it is also a great season for personal growth. It is hard, but in the end it will make you stronger and you will always cherish those friendships you have created along the way no matter how many seasons those friends stay in your life.If you are selected to be a military spouse, you may have many, many more seasons than others. I say embrace them. Make the most of each season that is given to you. Love and make friends like you are not moving in 2 years BUT enjoy each day more than you normally would because you know you are moving in 2 years.....
One week after 'the break' I took Boy 3 in for a new cast and X-rays. Everything is healing BEAUTIFULLY! Here, check it out for yourself:
In true CAV spirit Boy 3 picked a black and yellow cast (you know since glow in the dark wasn't an option). He wanted to make sure he looked good for his Daddy's Change of Command.
Per his doctor: best case scenario cast will be off before we leave for Seattle on the 11th. YES! We will all get to swim, fish and go boating! Worst case scenario, it won't be off and he will have to go on vacation with a cast on which reduces our fun in the sun...WAIT, we are going to Seattle, there won't be sun - or so I have heard......
The movers arrived an hour late on Tuesday, 8 May. I thought this was a bad omen. I wasn't thrilled. Really? Late the first day? I can't stand it when people are late. However after they arrived and got straight to work and didn't take a smoke break after 10 minutes I was beginning to forgive them. (I'm not sure why/how anyone would forget their ID Card when coming onto a military instillation, but whateve's) After they worked for an HOUR NONSTOP I was really starting to like these ladies. I loved the fact that they were all LADIES doing my pack out, and they were good at it. They weren't just tossing my household goods in a box taping it up and marking it 'shoes' when it was really kitchen plates. They actually LABELED everything that was in the box....This isn't a great picture, but you can see all the writing on the boxes:
The EXACT moment the packers won me over was when I ask them if I could pack my own shoes. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: I would like to pack my own shoes, do you guys mind if I grab a box and paper?
Movers: (looking at me like I am nuts) Sure we will fix a box up for you, but just so you know, we wrap EACH SHOE INDIVIDUALLY and place them in the box.
Me: YOU DO WHAT?!?!
Movers: we wrap EACH SHOE INDIVIDUALLY and place them in the box.
Me: You are kidding me? You are not serious...?
Movers: Really, that is how we pack shoes.
Me: OK, you can pack my shoes.
OK, I'm in LOVE. Rocky's Moving and Storage, why can't all moving companies be like you?
Day 2 of the pack out was even better when one of the ladies ask me: "is there anything else you want me to put in
this box? I really don't like to mix boxes."
I MUST be in the Twilight Zone.
By the end of Day 2 all of our household goods going to Korea were boxed and ready for the movers the next day.
It was about 6PM in the afternoon, Hubby went to play golf. I had just poured myself a little 'after the movers leave' cocktail, I had the remote control to the DVR in hand and was about to sit down to watch Private Practice when my neighbors daughter Kenzie came bursting in my house yelling "Mrs Trish, Mrs Trish, YOU NEED TO GET TO THE ER NOW!! HURRY!!" and she ran back to her house yelling for me to follow her - What the what, what?
You see, Boys 2 & 3 were playing at the neighbor's house. As I was running towards the neighbor's house I was expecting to hear screaming, but I didn't and in the few seconds it took me to get there I thought that Kenzie must have been exaggerating. There was no yelling and I was seeing no signs of blood. As I am trying to catch up with her (and with 1000 thoughts swirling through my head) I heard her say it was Boy 3. He was hurt. But I was confused. There was no screaming, crying or sounds of any kind. That is when I saw my neighbor Kayla with phone in hand leaning over Boy 3 (he was on her couch) asking me if I thought she should call 911. My first reaction was 'why' - he was lying calmly on her couch, not even crying, but coddling his arm. When he saw me, the tears started, he moved his hand that was covering his arm and that is when I almost vomited right then and there and said (not very calmly) YES, CALL 911! I went into a mini panic. I sat beside him while Kayla called 911. She ask for an ambulance, things were taking too long for me...I ask Kayla if they were sending an ambulance, she shrugged her shoulders and continued answering the questions the dispatcher was asking her. Again, in my small state of panic the 10 seconds Kayla was on the phone seemed like 10 minutes so I ask her again if the ambulance was coming she shrugged once again and mouthed 'I don't know'. That is when Momma Bear went into growl mode and said 'GIVE ME THE PHONE.' I took the phone out of her hand and ask in a not very nice way "is an ambulance coming or do I need to put him in the car and drive him to the ER?!?!" That is when the very nice dispatcher said 'Yes, the ambulance is on the way, I just need to ask a few more questions' - I said thank you - again not very nicely and gave her back to my friend. Grrrr..... Why couldn't she just tell us the ambulance was on the way before asking a million more questions?
While waiting for the ambulance I collected myself, called Hubby, told Boy 1 he was in charge, let him know where Girl was and grabbed my purse.
It took the ambulance a little longer than it should have because our street is not in any GPS system. To me, this seems like a problem that should have already been fixed (especially for EMS) since our street is now 4 years old, but I'm not in charge of that.....
The whole time Boy 3 was pretty calm. He wasn't freaking out crying, screaming or anything. In fact he was so calm it freaked me out a little. When I ask him what happened he said, "I fell off the slide (a little tykes slide mind you) and Boy 2 fell on top of me and then I heard my bone crack."
A little while later as he was lying on the couch still waiting for the ambulance he asks - "Mom, are you going to take a picture now?" I just love that kid! :o)
Upon arrival to the ER at Darnell they immediately gave Boy 3 morphine. I ask if they had some for me, but I think they thought I was joking. I wasn't.
See that big lump on his arm? That is his bone sticking up. No joke. Compound fracture. Thank GOD it didn't break through the skin.
Before they gave him the morphine, they ask him what his pain level was and showed him the chart. He told them a 10. While I was talking to him I ask him again about his pain level and explained that a 10 is the worst pain ever and that at a 10 most people are crying. I ask him if his pain was that bad - he said yes - but he had no tears, at all. Since I am SO in touch with my feelings (some call it 'emotional basket case', but they are just mean) this didn't sit well with me, so I told him that it was OK to cry if he was in that much pain. He told me he could cry, but he didn't want to annoy people. MY HEART BROKE. I told him to annoy away...this is a time that it was perfectly fine to annoy people. That is when he said, "Mom, I didn't do my random act of kindness today, so this is my random act of kindness. I'm not going to cry so I don't annoy people."
How freaking precious is that?
Finally after about 4 hours in Darnell, they decided to send him to Dell Children's Hospital in Austin. At this point I hopped in the car and headed home to grab a few things as I knew we were in it for the long haul now. When I got home, I started throwing things in my bag getting ready to leave - that is when Boy 1 came in freaking out telling me something is wrong with Max (our dog). OH DEAR GOD....are you kidding me?!?! I don't have time for this!! Apparently after someone (I won't mention any names here) cleaned the kitchen after dinner they didn't put the trash away....(we had a roasted chicken for dinner) and Max decided to help himself to the garbage. As he was enjoying a nice chicken bone (yes, I KNOW they are bad for dogs) it got stuck in between his teeth and across the roof of his mouth. Again...ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I have a kid in the ER and a dog that needs to go to the Vet ER. OH MY GOSH - where is that drink I poured myself hours ago? I tried to get the bone out, but couldn't. I needed to get back to the ER so I could ride in the ambulance it with Boy 3. CALGON!! When I got back to the ER I told Hubby about the dog - he headed home to shower and to see what he could do about the dog...
Once we got to Dell Children's Hospital we had to wait again. They didn't want to do surgery until 12 hours after Boy 3 had eaten dinner. SO we WAITED some more. At about 4:30AM they wheeled us into the room he would be in after surgery. At 5:30AM they took him down to surgery. Boy 3 needed a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and he needed another type of pediatric surgeon (I can't remember the name...) on stand-by as the main artery that does down the front of the humerus bone had been displaced and if anything went wrong, he needed to be close by. Boy 3's doc was amazing! He told us that best case scenario he would be out of surgery in 1 hour. If he wasn't out in 1 hour he would have someone come talk to us. He was out in 50 minutes!
OH, and while he was in surgery we were finally able to get ahold of our moving company and put them on hold for the day. AND Hubby told me that he was able to get bone out of the dog's mouth.
These next pictures were taken about 36 hours after surgery. This is when we went to explore this amazing hospital. There were things for kids to do all over! They had play rooms, where the kids could do anything from art, to video games to build with legos. There was a butterfly wall, a bat wall and a huge wall that was a ball maze (in the picture above). The pictures below are in the MIDDLE of the hospital! They had an atrium with waterfalls and gardens on each floor. Boy 3 wanted his picture taken on every floor.
As Boy 3 was checking out of the hospital the toy cart came by! Boy 3 got to pick out a toy and a book to take home! How fun is that?!
OH, and through it all we did manage to get our stuff on the moving truck - even though the rain held us up for a while.
Really. I couldn't make this shit up if I wanted to.
Now, where is that bottle of wine one should always have on hand when PCSing?