After traveling for 21 hours we are in Seoul.  Please follow our adventures here.

I plan to finish this site out over the next few weeks - writing about farewells & our vacation.  Please check back dates often. 

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 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.
Just getting started. Isn't it beautiful?!?
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.... 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?)
The band that was playing in the background was actually very good! (As odd as they were..)
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.... 
Good Morning friend...
There were 5 bald eagles flying around this morning.
Salmon swimming upstream
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)
Mr. Happy
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.....