A road trip in THE Cube had to lead somewhere. The first destination on ours was Seattle, Washington. The best part of this trip was definitely having the chance to visit with family we seldom get a chance to see. In my case, it had been four years since seeing most of these people--and a few were completely new to me. Case in point, this little firecracker was a couple months from being born the last time I saw my Uncle Mark and Aunt Jaime:
Luckily, McKenna seems to have little to no stranger fear and instantly made me feel welcome by giving me a tour of her room, trying on all of her princess dresses for me, and of course shielding me from "shadows" by turning into Word Girl and chasing them away. (And while we're on the subject, why did a super hero called Word Girl not exist when I was a child? She sounds right up my alley, and really every English teacher's dream.)
Similarly, little Lilah was an absolute doll. She wasn't even a twinkle in her parents' eyes the last time I saw her family. I am so happy I finally got a chance to meet her, too. How can you not love a face as precious as this?
She's a bit more shy than her sister, but warmed right up to us. I wish they were closer, so we could play more often.
I also got to visit my great aunt, Maryann, and she took Grandma and me to breakfast the next day. My Aunt Maryann has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I was so happy to know she still remembered me, and she still seems very much like the Aunt I remember. Her short term memory is fading very fast, but her long term memory is still great. It was fun to see her.
Of course, no family gathering would be complete without some Rock Band (and by some, I really mean excessive amounts. . . I am surprised we haven't been signed to an actual record label):
Did I mention that Seattle was scorching hot while we were there? What's that, you say? Seattle doesn't get hot? You are seriously misinformed. There was a record-breaking heat streak the entire time we were in Washington. To the tune of over 100 degrees every day. We spent a few evenings in the pool (sunset was about the only time cool enough to even swim!)
This is Mom and I breaking out our synchronized swimming moves. My mom is so awesome.
One day, my mom, aunt Karen, Jared, and I decided to wake up at 5:00 a.m. and watch this:
The sun rising in Deception Pass National Park. We'd planned on exploring the tide pools, but sadly didn't find a lot of those. We did see some killer views, though, and had a lot of fun.
I love this one, because it shows how different the beaches in Washington are from the ones in North Carolina:
I know people always tell Jared and I that we look just alike, but I don't think anything puts that into perspective more than this picture:
You can't tell where his profile stops and mine begins. Wow. We are twinners.
This is me being a mermaid. And Jared . . . being . . . something?
I like this, because it looks like maybe I'm a real photographer. Also, notice the shoes I'm wearing. Sigh . . . this was the last time I wore those shoes. They were the perfect pair of slip on tennis shoes. No socks required. I bought them before we went to Italy, and I loved them. Despite my undying love, I accidentally left them in the rental car when we returned it in Utah. Stupid Enterprise Rent-A-Car. They totally stole my shoes, or threw them away, or something. Ugh!
We also went with Grandma, Uncle Shawn, and Skyler to Experience Music Project (EMP) in downtown Seattle. This is Sky in the sound lab, experimenting with different kinds of drum sounds:
Grandma Joy (proving she is not a typical Grandmother):
All of us reflected in the EMP ceiling:
Mom on bongos:
Jared testing out a guitar:
This was us on an escalator, when Grandma was scared and making us laugh:
After EMP, we did what every Seattle tourist must. Paid a visit to Pike's Market:
Jared in an alleyway:
The gum wall. So. Gross.
Another day, Mom, Jared and I explored Gasworks Park. It's an old, Industrial area that they've converted to a park, complete with views of the Space Needle and multiple grassy knolls.
And, we also paid a visit to the troll under the bridge. No, really, there is a troll under a bridge. Here he is, taking out his wrath on a Volkswagen Beetle:
It was a great trip. It reminded me how much I miss my family and how cool it would be to live in a big city. (Not that I don't love Kinston, I do, but last time I checked we don't have trolls lurking under bridges, which I think is pretty darn cool!) Thanks for hosting us, Shawn and Karen. And thanks, Grandma, for letting us stay in your suite!