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.
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....
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?)
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!