Seattle: Christmas in the Northwest

Happy new year and welcome 2018!

2017 was a difficult year for us. In late summer, we lost my beloved Mother In Law. We started this blog as a type of diary, a way she could follow us along our fun adventures. I am pretty convinced she was often the only reader! We have decided to keep it up, in the spirit of how much she loved travel, but instead focus a little more on recommendations and tips from our adventures. Be sure to share yours with us!

We really love Seattle at Christmas. And it was a SUPER magical Christmas because it snowed! The whole city was covered and a winter wonderland. My family was in from Alaska and honestly, people tend to stay at home when it snows here, so the city often seemed empty. There is so much to do and over the years, we seem to have done it all but we keep finding more! I’ll focus on a few great highlights from this year.

  • Speaking of magic, one thing we discovered a few years ago was the Christmas magic at Swanson’s Nursery. Swanson’s is a great place to take your kids! For the holidays, they have a wonderful Santa that you can schedule online beforehand, reindeer to visit, lots of photo opportunities like real sleighs, a themed toy train track, and so much more. If you child isn’t a fan of meeting a large, bearded stranger in a red velvet suit, they even have cut out santas so you can take a picture. Throughout the year, Swanson’s does kids crafts, lessons, activities and chickens in the summer to visit.
  • We visited MoPop to check out the Jim Hensen exhibit that ends Feb. 25th. The exhibit covers his influence on television and puppetry, with artifacts like scripts, puppets, character sketches, storyboards, photos, costumes, television clips and even the chance to design your own muppet, from the Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, Sesame Street and more. It was like seeing long lost friends! From the Labyrinth ending, you can walk downstairs to catch the David Bowie exhibit. It’s our favorite museum in Seattle. MoPop is the perfect spot to visit the rest of the Seattle Center. During the holidays, there is a month long celebration called Winterfest, with an ice skating rink, a giant train table, performances at the armory and lots of activities for the whole family.
  • Something new we did this year was check out the Christmas Ships. In the past, we have been passengers and it was a wonderful experience. But it was completely different to get to Gas Works park with a few hundred people and hear the choir sing to us from the boat – and the parade of 40 decorated boats that followed. Bring a warm drink! It was cold out there but beautiful! ships
  • We may have started a new tradition for dinner. My family always has crab on Christmas but this year didn’t bring any down from Alaska, so we went to B and E Meats in Queen Anne. We picked up steaks, King Crab legs, crab cakes and some Havarti to snack on – everything was super delicious. crab

We have so much to look forward to in 2018. We are headed to Europe in February for mid winter break, we are reserving all of our yurts and camping sports for the year, we have a trip to Alaska in July and we are just beginning to think about our annual Thanksgiving trip. Follow us to keep tabs on where we are in the world and happy new year!

 

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Seattle: The Warrior!

As many of you dear readers know (since you are mostly our far away family), hubby works for the local Pacific Science Center. It’s an amazing, wonderful resource for families. Little thinks his dad might have the very best job in the universe and sometimes we agree! He’s been working long hours and been stressed out this spring bringing yet another amazing exhibit to the center and as usual, we can’t wait to check it out.

The latest is the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit! Artifacts more than 2,000 years old traveled from China to Seattle and Little’s Dad was in charge of offloading them and setting up the exhibit. It’s amazing and if you are in the Seattle area you have to check it out!

TC2There are over a hundred artifacts in the exhibit and about a dozen actual warriors from the site in China. The real figures are amazing. Some things to notice about the warriors exhibit include the numbers in the info boxes – you can see how many horses, generals, archers, etc. were found. Also, a docent pointed out the differences between the restoration work from the70s and the more recent restoration work.

Don’t forget to catch the iMax movie before the exhibit – Mysteries of China. Both the documentary and the exhibit are appropriate for kids (not too young.) It was a beautiful day at the Seattle Center!

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Seattle: Happy, Happy Birthday – Happy, Happy DAY! Hey!

We celebrated a birthday in May! Little has had every birthday in the emerald city, including multiple park rentals (Carkeek, Magnusson), bouncy house in the back yard, and Pump It Up. We try to rotate a casual park celebration with something bigger, to include more kids. This year was a big year and little really loves the Burke museum, so we decided on a Dino Dig party!

I made homemade cupcakes and (for the first time) butter cream frosting with tiny dinos and chocolate rocks on top. We had Dino Claws (Bugles), Dino Gummies, Dino Bones (candy) and eggs (whoopers) – Dino everything! Little made the goodie bags himself. It was a little heavy on the sugar, but isn’t every good birthday celebration?

The Museum put on a great party. It was about two hours long and they started with dino mask making and a scavenger hunt in the museum. The kids seemed to have a blast! After the scavenger hunt came the much anticipated Dino Dig. The museum wheeled in a giant pit and dressed the kids up, ready to do their best to uncover a dino. Our little paleontologists did a great job revealing the bones. Little enjoyed it so much, he asked for his birthday to be there again next year. Thanks, Burke!

DinoDig

Seattle: Singing in the Rain

It’s SPRING!

Where did the time go? I had planned on blogging about our favorite Seattle Christmas

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Santa at Swanson’s Nursery

activities, as we have a ton. We did make it to Swanson’s nursery to meet Santa. It was our first year not going to Nordstrom downtown. I don’t have the flexibility at work to take a little time off when Ben does on a Monday, which was the only way to avoid a two hour line. Swanson’s was adorable, there were reindeer to pet and we bought a beautiful centerpiece for dinner while we were there. As low key as it was, we still had to make reservations a month in advance.

 

My family was in from Alaska and that was a first. In the 16 Christmases I have been here, if I wanted to see any of them, it was north to Alaska or bust. My mom, dad, sister, brother in law and

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How to get a young woman to make gingerbread houses with her little cousin: wine.

niece where ALL here. It was dreamy and full of the things my siblings and I love to do, like museums and board games and laughter and food. We even dragged my parents to the MoPOP (formerly EMP) although the obviously loved the Boeing Museum of Flight more. It’s one of my dad’s favorite places and always tremendously special to see Liam

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Getting the scoop at the Boeing Museum of Flight

get a special tour from his papa, who makes sure to point out the planes he’s an expert on, having served in the Air Force for 20 years. My dad a walking encyclopedia and could spend days at that museum.

 

 

 

We have been on the road quite a bit so far this year, but it’s all personal stuff and not much to blog about. Our little family travel blog will be quiet for a while, because there aren’t any places we would rather be than with Ben’s family right now.

But I do hope to blog a little about little’s favorite local Easter egg hunts, trips to new museums in Seattle as we can do them (Nordic Heritage and Log Cabin are on the short list), gardening, spring visits to farms. Also, we have made our summer camping reservations: yurts on the Washington Coast in June, tenting in Rainier National Park in July and Deception Pass in August! Little will be spending three whole weeks in Alaska with his nana and papa this summer (!!) and we have plans to visit Washington DC and the Outer Banks this fall. We’ll pop up just like the little bulbs in my garden – waiting in the rain to surprise!

BrickCon: Everything is Awesome!

Late last year while looking for something to watch for movie night, out little family discovered “Beyond the Brick: A Lego Brickumentary” on Netflix. This was timely as we were looking forward to the upcoming “Art of the Brick” exhibit that was coming to Seattle. The documentary is great and if you have a kid who has the attention span for a documentary, it’s img_20161001_150257worth watching. We popped some popcorn, cuddled up and half way through the movie I heard about BrickCon.

BrickCon!!! I cannot believe that it has existed for 15 years and takes place in Seattle and this was the first time I had ever heard of it. Let’s start with — what IS BrickCon? Check it out here: http://brickcon.org

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Checking out a WWI scene

And if you don’t have the time to read more at the link, here it is high-level: BrickCon is a four day conference with a focus is on building friendships and community through the sharing of time, ideas, building techniques and unique creations. BrickCon is a four-day convention for adult fans, collectors, and builders of LEGO®. In other words – HEAVEN!

 

We recruited our geek in crime, Janie and headed to BrickCon on a Saturday afternoon after a rainy soccer game. Walking in, we weren’t sure where to start. BrickCon is thematic; whatever “MOCs” (My Own Creation) are submitted for judging are grouped into categories (castles, scenes, battles, spaceships, etc.) and tabled together. I wanted to run straight to Castles but Janie wisely started us at the beginning, which moved us along the traffic flow. One of the first things we came to was a full German Christmas Market, which has always been a dream of mine to create. There must have been hundreds of thousands of tiny white Lego flowers for snowflakes.

So much cool stuff. We noticed a table to the side that had a Game of Thrones theme. The Wall!!! With a giant inside the Dungeon! Pyke Castle!! Euron Greyjoy tossing Balon over a bridge! Little was fascinated even though he had no idea what he was looking at.

Some of the other amazing things we checked out included a giant Steampunk island with rollercoasters and carousals, gears moving and clocks ticking. That one was done by a mother and son team – talk about squad goals! And Janie, who is headed to France for her honeymoon in a couple months, loved a full replica of Le Mont Saint-Michel.img_20161001_152343

Our plan for next year is simple. We were right – these ARE our people and this was totally our place. We are going to volunteer next year and learn more about the builder culture and how we can join in. In the meantime, check out the website to watch for the 2017 dates. In our opinion, this event was much cooler than Art of the Brick and we are lucky to have it in our backyard.