Friday, March 27, 2015

We made it!

We've made it to Seattle! We've been really busy since we arrived, unpacking and settling in to our apartment, taking care of various necessities (like getting new health insurance), and spending the afternoons wrangling kids while looking at houses.

We had a pretty uneventful and anticlimactic exit from LA and trip up to Washington. Here's a little photo chronicle.

The day before we left, we went to church one last time and said goodbye to all our friends there. One of the pillars of the church and choir snapped this pic of the four of us (Ivy's face is stuffed with cheese, naturally). The church, and the preschool that Alice attended there were two of the things we will miss the most. I hope we can find a suitable substitute for both!

On Monday, we asked the movers to come at 7am so we would have enough time to drive up to the Bay Area after they finished. They were an hour and half late. Once they arrived and got things underway, I took the girls out of the house so they wouldn't be underfoot. We went to Starbucks for a little snack and a hot beverage that I could take to the chilly park with me.
We played until lunchtime and headed back to the house for one last meal. The movers had cleared everything out of the house by then and were finishing up in the garage, so we had a picnic in the empty living room.




 The movers still had a few things to finish and the girls were running amok, so I took them out again. We went to the library and to visit our friends' house to deliver some food that we didn't want to throw away. Alice said a sweet goodbye to their daughter who was her little friend. We'll really miss them.

We went back to the house when Jon gave the word and watched the movers finish, close up the trucks, and drive away. We'll see all our stuff when we have a new place to put it!
We finished up a few last minute things around the house. Ivy entertained herself by coloring on some packing paper...
 And then Jon and I finished off the last frozen treats in the fridge.
We took one last photo in the house where both girls were brought home from the hospital and learned to walk...
And then we hit the road. Even though the movers started late, they still finished by the time we were hoping, with just enough time for us to drive to the Bay Area.
Bye, house! Thanks for all the good times and good memories, and the great start for our family.

Ironically, it was raining in Burbank when we left and we saw about five rainbows on our drive. After so many years and so many drives up and down this stretch, it was weird to think that we were making a one-way trip this time and wouldn't be returning that way for a good while.



We got to my parents' house pretty late, but my dad was home when we got to there, so we let the kids play with him for a while before we got them to bed. We had planned to stay there another day to relax before we hit the road again. So we made sure to hit up our favorite ale house for lunch. We all enjoy the tootsie pops for dessert!

 We also made sure to see our dear friends before we left town. We had a fun playdate at the park.
 Alice loooooves any spinny things at the park, good thing they are so common these days.
 Ivy loooooves to swing.
 The best shot of the many I took...
 Hilarious kids.
 Quick, everybody get outta here! Poor little guy.
 Bubbles!!!

And then early the next morning, we hit the road for another 5-6 hour drive. Once Ivy fell asleep, I told Alice she could watch her programs on Jon's phone. She was pleased as punch. She didn't even get car sick. Thank goodness!!
 And both kids were quiet, for I don't know, at least twenty minutes... Awesome.


Bye, California! It was so weird to see it in the rearview mirror, knowing we weren't coming back, except maybe to visit. I've lived in California most of my life and Jon has never lived anywhere else. We love California and had so many good times in all the great places we've lived. We're both so happy to have grown up here, but we're really excited to have a new adventure. With some rain.

Hey, Oregon! I've literally never seen you before!
We stopped just over the border, in Ashland, and found our hotel. The Ashland Springs Hotel is a lovely hotel in a historic building, right in the middle of things. 
We've taken the cats to our parents' houses before, but they'd never stayed in a hotel. We got them, the kids, and all our stuff upstairs and got the cats all situated. Turns out, they really enjoyed the hotel experience!
The cats (and the kids) had to inspect absolutely everything. The decor and color palette (described somewhere online as apricot, mint, and cream) totally complimented Marci, she looked great in there.

We headed out to find some food, walking around the area checking the phone for restaurants and reviews. We ended up at the Standing Stone Brewery, because, you know, we like beer. We walked into a smaller dining area in the front and told the waitress we were trying to find a good seat for the kids. She took us around the corner and down the hall to a bigger dining area complete with a bookshelf full of toys and puzzles for kids to play with while they wait. She even brought over two little chalkboards for the girls. We were set.
The food was great, too, though the kids wouldn't eat their delicious fish sticks (really just a smaller portion of the adult fish n' chips). We had a great meal but the kids were antsy and Alice ended up pulling her bowl of chicken noodle soup into her lap and then onto the floor, where the dish broke.

We had her sign her name on the apology we wrote on the receipt, since she'd been goofing around and not using her most polite behavior.

Then we stopped by Zoey's Cafe for some delicious ice cream. I had Oregon cherry and Oregon chocolate with blackberry and hazelnuts. Yummmm.

Alice was pretty upset about her wet soupy pants... At this point, Ivy wouldn't walk, so Jon picked her up to carry her along. She was kicking and screaming, so he set her down again and she marched off, satisfied with herself. We all laughed at her, because it was silly, and she turned around and gestured emphatically, saying "It's not funny!" Which of course, is even more funny, especially from such a precocious two-year-old...

Delicious. Ivy chose "penguin" ice cream, it had a penguin sticker next to the flavor name tag. We told her it was coffee (Kahlua, actually) and she was cool with it. Alice and I were sharing tastes of our flavors, and we asked Ivy if we could taste her ice cream. She said, "Just one bite, OK?" That kid, man.

Just eating her ice cream, like a boss.
We came back and put the kids to bed and watched the Newsroom with the iPad and headphones. Heavenly. I had to take a picture of Eli cuddled up with Alice while we watched TV. He's never done that before...

In the morning, we had a lovely little breakfast on the hotel mezzanine, packed up, and got ready for another five hours in the car. 
But first, we stopped by Lithia Park to let the kids run around and stretch their legs and get some fresh air.

It was lovely, and very chilly.
Just past this bridge was a playground, so we didn't get much further than that. Ivy wanted to swing all morning, and Alice was playing on the spinny things. So after a while, I convinced them to play a few rounds of Poohsticks on the bridge. That quickly turned into just throwing sticks and leaves into the water, so we went down to the bottom step to ensure that no one went over the side of the bridge. We did that for a good long time while Jon took a phone call, and then it was time to hit the road again!

We enjoyed the drive through Grant's Pass and the mountains, especially when They Might Be Giants' "C is for Conifers" came on. It was just so delightfully perfect, for obvious reasons.
 
Our next stop was Portland, and we arrived to the Benson Hotel about an hour before check-in began. Luckily, they had a room for us and we were able to go right up. It is a lovely hotel with a beautiful lobby that smells wonderfully like roses.
The cats seemed to enjoy this hotel, too. It was a smaller space to explore, and we got settled as quickly as possible and headed out to explore the area and find some dinner.
 I really wanted to see Powell's Books, so that was our first stop.
We headed straight for the kids' section but didn't get to see much or stay long before the kids started self-destructing. Some day, I'd like to go back by myself with a whole day (and some dollars) to spend. We tried to find the nearest kid-friendly restaurant, and ended up just around the corner at a Noodles & Company and got the girls some pasta with shrimp.

We had breakfast in the hotel restaurant and then packed up and hit the road again. But not without a quick stop to a Portland landmark. No, not this gate thing (what is this??).
 I ran in to grab some of Portland's famous pastries to enjoy on the road. Man, that place is wild.


 

I got us a McMinnville Cream (with a mustache!), a bacon maple (eaten, not pictured), a buttermilk, and the classic Voodoo Doll. Delish.
We didn't get to see much of Portland, but we could tell it's weird and it should definitely stay that way. We'd love to get back someday soon! Though our little taste of this local establishment, and our time out on the streets made me suspect that I was right in thinking we aren't quite weird enough to live there...
  We hopped in the car and were on our way out of Oregon in a jiffy. See you later, Portland!

 Hello, Washington!

It was a pretty quick trip from Portland to Seattle, but Alice made sure she could squeeze in a few shows.
We drove for a couple of hours before we had to stop for a quick lunch, and then it was just about an hour to our new home. We picked up our keys and checked out the place!
The cats explored and settled right in, and so did the kids. We are really lucky and grateful that they are all so flexible and adaptable. I spent the first few days unpacking our things and getting a few necessities. We brought a medium-sized suitcase and a few boxes of mementos with us in the car, and shipped a large and small suitcase, and a big box of stuff. It didn't take long to find a home for everything, and it's been nice to have so little stuff to put away and a home (more or less) for everything in the house.
 
The girls' room is a bit like a prison cell at the moment, only a few toys and no books allowed (Ivy still tears and eats and generally destroys books if left unattended).

We brought Ivy's little PeaPod tent for the trip, and I think she slept in it for a few nights once she got here, but she's been asking to sleep in a big girl bed for a while now (she used to climb in Alice's bed and tuck herself in under the covers), so we decided to give it a try.

We started her out with a nap and she went right to sleep. So we tried it out at night, too, and she took right to it. 
We've had just a bit of trouble with her getting out of bed and running around wreaking general havoc at bedtime (breaking the blinds, getting into the closet, climbing under beds, jumping around like an elephant...). Based on some crackerjack advice from my Facebook friends, we tried staggered bedtimes and that's been working well for the last week or so. We put Ivy to bed first and close the door, and then I read to Alice in our room with the door closed until it gets too dark to see. Ivy still gets out of bed and runs around a bit, but she gets bored because she can't see or hear anyone (Jon is working at the kitchen table out of sight and has his headphones on!), and no one responds to her. She is usually asleep or very near to it by the time Alice comes to bed, and even if Alice rouses her a bit they usually just talk or giggle for a little while before they conk out. 
 She did fall out of bed one night early on and clunked her face on the stupid baseboard heater in their room. No blood or visible damage though, and she went right back to sleep, so all was well. For the most part, it seems like she stays under the covers and on her pillow, but I do occasionally find her like this:

We had a fun little trip and were happy that it wasn't any harder or more memorable! We've been enjoying ourselves up here and have been doing a little bit of exploring. I'll post some photos soon of what we've been up to since we arrived!