A Birthday, a Getaway, and a Road Trip

My parents (and brother) came out for over a week to stay with us and during that time there was so much that went on. It was a jam packed trip, split into segments of time, that like always, went by too fast. Let’s reminisce on their visit.

A Birthday:

My parents arrived very late on Friday, 9/16. This first weekend was spent just the six of us and more or less was spent celebrating my mom who was turning 60. I felt so honored that she was spending this big birthday with us that we had to do something special to celebrate her. The first day was the Michigan State versus University of Washington football game held at Husky Stadium. We spent the morning playing at home and then got ready to head out for the park/lunch/game. We visited “Little Park” so that Reese could show them the monkey bars and where she had her birthday party. We then walked to get a big lunch in Capitol Hill and shared some Thai food sitting outside at Manao Thai. We dropped Reese off at Lottie’s house so that she could play instead of come to the game and see her friend for the first time in over a month. We then rode the light rail with Brooke to the stadium and enjoyed one miserable outcome of a game. We all wished MSU had pulled off the win or at least made the game close but that wasn’t in the cards on this day. Nevertheless, Brooke did great and it was a fun experience that we had. We bussed home and then retrieved Reese from Lottie’s house.

Sunday was my mom’s actual birthday and it started first with Reese’s gymnastics class. Grammy and Granddad got to see her in action and then we headed out to Harry’s Fine Foods in Capitol Hill for an excellent brunch. We had to wait just a bit for our table so they gave us complimentary brunch cocktails and the rest of the meal was amazing, although Brooke was a little out of control without a good nap. He stopped at Volunteer Park on this gorgeous day to play for a bit and then headed home where some of us napped and I helped Reese put together her poster board for school. We finished the night with a birthday dinner of jumbo crab cakes outside on the deck followed by a nutella chocolate cake.

Monday morning we all got Reese ready and showed the parents the 1.5 mile walk to Reese’s school, had them meet her teachers and show them the drop off process. We said our goodbyes to Reese as Bryan and I were heading out of town that day. We walked back home, quickly packed our bags, I had to get a drug test for my new employment, and then we said our goodbyes to Brooke and my parents and wished them the best as we set out for the airport via the bus.

A Getaway:

With the kids safe in my parent’s hands Bryan and I left Seattle for a two night/three day getaway to Las Vegas without the girls. A rarity! We got to the airport smoothly and were immediately notified that our flight was delayed 45 minutes so we decided to use two of our passes for the Alaska Lounge near our gate. This was a relaxing time with complimentary drinks and food, a quiet space to talk and watch the airplane traffic, and we were immediately transported to a time without kids. Kind of. Our flight, once departed, was smooth, and I got to read a book. We landed in Vegas around 7 pm, got an Uber to the MGM Grand where we were staying, quickly changed and got ready to go out, and picked up an Uber to Old Vegas and the Fremont area. We had reservations at Carson’s Kitchen for 9 pm and had an excellent meal of stellar cocktails and elevated bar food. We set out to play giant yard games at a place Bryan had been before but sadly the place was not hopping on a Monday night and we didn’t have anyone to play against. We headed to casino to play low bet blackjack and after 90 minutes of playing cashed out at a $10 loss. Worth the time playing. We took an Uber back to our hotel and were very eager to get a good night sleep.

Our next day in Vegas started late and slowly. We went out to find lunch and got some amazing fajita nachos at Nacho Mamas. After that we got ready for the pool and took awhile to find two vacant chairs at the pool. It was hot but it felt amazing to lay out, soak in the pool and read more of my book. We shared a large mojito at one point and when we had had enough sun we headed back to the room to shower and change and get ready for the night. We had dinner reservations at 7 pm at Scarpetta in the Cosmopolitan and tickets to the show Absinthe at Ceasar’s at 10 pm. We strolled the strip for some time before dinner and then were seated at an amazing table overlooking the Bellagio fountains. We shared a great salad, pasta and branzino dish, plus drinks and a bread basket, and left stuffed. We strolled the Avenue some more and then got a drink at the circus tent before the show started. The show was wildly entertaining and involved a fair amount of audience participation, which thankfully we did not get pulled into. After leaving the show we stopped by Milk Bar to try something from Christina Tozzi’s place and had some wonderful cereal milk soft serve and crack pie before heading back to our room to catch some more good sleep without kids.

We still had nearly a full day in Vegas on Wednesday and spent it in much of a similar fashion. We first went to the pool for some more time and this time were able to get a spot by the lazy river. We then cleaned up and packed our bags to leave with the front desk and then set out across the street to New York New York to get lunch and Tom’s Urban. It was super nice sitting outside right along the strip and people watching but still under shade and air conditioning. We spent a long time there before strolling up and down the strip again, getting a few souvenirs for the girls, and a shirt for Bryan. We headed back to the hotel after 5 pm to retrieve our bags, grab a cab, and headed to the airport. We were there with plenty of time but ready to just kick back and head home to the girls and my parents. We flew first class home and were given some snacks and drinks that apparently did me in because I remember sprinting to the light rail from the plane was so not fun. We got home just before midnight and were ready to crash.

While we were away my parents did an amazing job taking care of the girls. Morning is a whole thing in itself and they got Reese ready and Brooke fed and Reese to school. They entertained Brooke throughout the day, took her for walks and got her to nap. They walked to pick up Reese from school and took her to a park everyday and then had dinner at home for the girls and did the whole bedtime routine. The hardest part for sure right now is the overnight for Brooke and my mom found the best option was to cuddle with Brooke through the night and I think Granddad might have shared Reese’s bed a time or two. They survived and everything and everyone remained intact. We were excited to be reunited with everyone once we were back home.

A Road Trip:

I was home for literally 12 hours before I was on the road again, this time my bag was packed with all different necessities. We were renting a house outside of Leavenworth and my parents had rented a van and I left with them and the girls around 11 am and Bryan was waiting to graciously pick up Chad from the airport when he arrived at 6 pm. Our car stopped in Roslyn to try and eat at Roslyn’s Cafe (famous from Northern Exposure) but it was yet again closed at a time when I was trying to visit. We had lunch at a place called The Brick and then got back in the car to continue our drive north. We stopped once more, this time actually in Leavenworth to explore town for a while before checking into our cabin. We went to the candy shop we went to last time and Reese picked out a toy at a toy shop. We also selected some fancy cheeses and crackers from the cheese shop and then picked up a pick up order from Safeway and drove the last 20 minutes to our cabin. We let ourselves in, unpacked the car, and explored all of the amenities, which were many. We made a simple dinner at the cabin and then while I put Brooke to bed the other three jumped in the hot tub. I came out to join them when I was done and it was all and good for awhile.

It was the four of us and the baby monitor on the deck. When we had decided that we had soaked for long enough we got out, toweled off, and then realized we were locked out of the house. All three doors to the house locked automatically and there was no access to the ground level to walk around to the front door. We were essentially locked out. We tried many things, shouting for neighbors, looking at the various tools that could be used on the deck, but without any luck. We decided to get back in the hot tub to wait out the arrival of the other car but when Brooke woke up on the cam all of that was over. Granddad was able to pop out one of the windows with a broomstick (miraculously not shattering the window), unlocked the door and I ran down to calm Brooke. At this point we all showered and were more or less calm when the other car arrived another 45 minutes later. We helped them unpack and then all got to sleep for the day ahead.

We knew that we were going to be in the middle of a pocket of smoke from a nearby wild fire and so we rearranged plans and made due with what we could considering the circumstances. After breakfast in the cabin groups of us went for a walk along Lake Wenatchee and the State Park there. They had a little playground at the campground that we spent some time at but the winds were definitely howling through so our visit there was short. Back at the cabin we soaked in the hot tub, played various games, and enjoyed the sunlight coming in and space to run around indoors. Around 5 pm we all donned matching shirts for a night out on the town.

The 1962 Squad took on Leavenworth for a time. Reese had wanted to ride in the horse carriage around town so we took the quick ride around while gaining some insider history into the town of Leavenworth. We got seated at Andreas Keller just after 6 pm. The accordion was already playing live music and we had a super spacious table in the back for our group. It felt like a very authentic Bavarian pub and Brooke was digging it. We got a bunch of different schnitzles, goulash, pretzels and beer for the table, plus all the wonderful sides and our group was happy with our ordering. Reese had asked for the staff to sing Happy Birthday to Grammy but then cowered when they came over to do it. We left the restaurant and headed to Rhein Haus where our group (including the girls with apple juice) took a group shot to celebrate the birthday. Chased that down with more beer and if we didn’t have the girls would have probably ventured to more bars but instead headed downstairs to the Whistlepunk Ice Cream store for some seriously good cups of ice cream and massive cookies. I drove the group home, all fitting into the minivan and then put the girls to bed, although Brooke seemed like she wanted to party the rest of the night through.

Saturday was our last full day there and we were set on getting a hike in while we were in the Central Cascades and near so many great hikes. We still had worries of the smoke but fortunately, after a filling breakfast of eggs and bacon, we drove high up to the trailhead for Round Mountain and Nason Ridge that we were luckily above all of the smoke and the skies were clear and the air was fresher and smelled of pine. It was a steep trail for the first mile and a half and we were then treated to our first lookout of Lake Wenatchee below and Mt. Glacier in the distance. We continued a little further on, hitting the ridgeline, and from there it was pretty level and offered some great views of the valleys and nearby mountains. It really was a beautiful hike and after we went about 2.5 miles or so we decided to turn around and head back to the house since there was the Tech vs. Texas game on that was already starting.

We got back to the cabin, started the game from the beginning thanks to Hulu, and the boys were able to watch the whole game. Us girls put on quite a snack spread, breaking out those fancy cheeses plus more, and sometime during the second half took a dip in the hot tub with both girls. Tech managed to beat out Texas in overtime so it was at least a good game. The boys took a turn in the hot tub with Reese and mom and I took Brooke for a walk around the neighborhood and golf course we were staying by. Bryan made some excellent sirloin for dinner and we had one last great group dinner at the cabin and then settled into a movie on the big screen in the movie theater room.

Sunday was checkout day and the boys were heading to the Seahawks game back in Seattle so there car left first. Us girls finished packing up and checked out of the cabin around 10:30 am and set back on Highway 2 which was fortunately back open. The drive was easy and it was nice being able to catch up with mom. We stopped for some delicious baked goods from Sultan’s Cafe and a break for Brooke and then managed to get home just about 1 pm. The Seahawks and the Falcons had a very close and interesting game but the Seahawks didn’t manage the win. Us girls played in the backyard for the majority of it and once the game was over drove to Capitol Hill to meet the boys at Annapurna Cafe. We had a delicious dinner with the large group of us sharing all of the entrees (8 of us total) and after a long time there we headed home for one last night with my parents there.

Monday morning came and my parents helped with the morning routine and helped me drop the girls off at their respective places. I said my goodbyes to them and then headed off to work and they headed to the light rail to take them to the airport. We did so much during this visit and the entirety was so fun. I’m glad we got to celebrate my mom and I’m glad to get a little time away from the girls and with just Bryan. Can’t wait until the next visit!


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