Monday, October 20, 2014

Seattle BABY

I feel like all I have been doing lately is recapping vacations. Trust me, this will be my last post regarding travel for a looooong time. We both agreed we don't want to hop on a plane anytime soon after we landed in Denver a couple of weeks ago from our Seattle trip, I never thought I would get burned out from traveling but I think I might have finally reached my limit this year. Hopefully we can plan some fun visits/trips for next year but for 2014 I am thinking that all travel is over for us.

The main reason for a quick weekend trip to Seattle was so I could finally get my hands on this little guy:

Emerson Bjorn.

He was born back in July and even though I had seen several pictures of him, it still wasn't the same as getting to hold him and see his smile in person. And that little guy has a great smile.

It was also an excuse to get our husbands to finally meet in person after almost 6 years of friendship between Kelsey and myself. 

Traveling out of state to meet someone as a sort of weekend-long blind setup is soooooo far out of Jeremy's comfort zone so I was kind of anxious in the weeks leading up to the trip to see how things would play out. I mean it's an uncomfortable situation for most people and it takes a long time for my shy husband to warm up to people so I prayed for the best but even I couldn't have expected how awesome the weekend turned out to be.

Bryant and Jeremy hit it off right from the start and there were several times during the visit when Kelsey and I would just look at each other in wonder over how well things were going. It was like the four of us had been close friends for years and spent most of our weekends just hanging out, doing activities we all loved together. 

It was also a chance for them to show off how awesome the area of Seattle is and try to help me convince Jeremy how much we need to move there. It's one of the few cities we've visited that we would actually choose over Colorado if given the opportunity. It is downright beautiful in the PNW, especially this time of year. 

They took us to a beautiful lunch spot overlooking the Snoqualmie Falls, a gorgeous sight we were mesmorized by, we just don't have anything like that in our state. 

My girl!

We pretty much have our time together down pat so we weren't sure if things would change with our husbands in tow this weekend. Thankfully, all four of us seemed to love doing the same things and eating the same food so everything turned out effortless. 

We toured the area, sat and talking in their living room for hours, ate all the delicious food Bryant made for us, we played board games, went to the most epic and fun corn maze ever, and so on. It was the PERFECT fall weekend!!!

They took us on their favorite running/walking trail after getting ice cream so we spent a good chunk of the afternoon enjoying the changing colors and autumn weather. Emerson was a trooper and slept pretty much the entire time. We forgot we had a baby with us the majority of the trip because he was so good. 

I want a trail like this so bad wherever we end up. I can picture Willow and I spending hours on it every week.

I wish I had gotten a better shot of their downtown. It reminded me so much of the cute little towns from Hocus Pocus or Practical Magic, it was so adorable and friendly. 

This moment made me happy, happy, happy so I snapped a pic to remember it.

Per the usual lately, I didn't take nearly the amount of pictures I am used to doing on vacation so I'll throw the rest on here to give you an idea of the laid-back perfect weekend. 

We held a certain baby. 

Jeremy shocked us all when he actually asked if he could hold Emerson. Babies typically scare the living daylights out of him so he doesn't start bonding with our nieces/nephews until they are older and "less breakable" in my husband's words.

We did the corn maze... it was pretty phenomenal.

They had a breaking point at the half way mark with fire-pits for s'mores and photo ops.

Probably my favorite picture from the weekend.

And of course we did the touristy thing and spent the day at the Seattle Waterfront after church. 

The best hosting family.

The cutest, littlest host

Two pictures taken in Seattle, two years apart, with one big difference in between.

Needless to say, Jeremy came home and has been upping his search on the job front specifically in the Seattle area. We are both in love with that city. A lot would have to happen but Kelsey and I are both praying on our ends and hoping that if it's meant to be then prayers will be answered and someday we will pack up and head Northwest to stay for good!

And on that subject... more to come on the job hunt soon. {Hint: there's nothing really to report on and the frustration has officially set in.}

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hawaii Diary Part 2

If you've been to Maui then you've probably heard of the Road to Hana. It's on the east side of the island and it's barely been touched to keep the sights as natural as possible which means the road around can be pretty treacherous and scary.  We decided to forgo attempting it ourselves and signed up for an all day tour bus with a guide to drive it along the way. Best.decision.ever.

The Road to Hana includes waterfalls, black and red sand beaches, farms, a winery, sacred pools, etc. It was a long day {we got started before 7 and came home after 8} but was well worth it to see the entire island.

I mean, really, some of the views were just unreal.

We stopped by the famous black sand beaches and I made the mistake of taking my shoes off to walk on them... ouch.

You can't go to Hawaii without looking at waterfalls. Unfortunately, when you combine the hottest month of the year and a current drought, the waterfalls aren't quite what they usually are.

And then of course the red sand beach...

It's amazing how much different beauty can be on one island...

and then how quickly the scenery can change when you drive to the dry side of the island.

Does it even look like the same place?!?

It started raining towards the end of the day so it was perfect timing to stop at the local winery and try out some of their different wines including pineapple which was... interesting.

Ok, enough Hana pictures...

We bought tickets to see the Hawaiian show "Ulalena" in Lahaina. I wasn't sure what to expect but our concierge couldn't have described it better when she said it was a mix between a luau, Cirque Du Soleil, and the Lion King. It was SO good!!

Heading out to the show

Seriously, I know I'm kind of theater obsessed but if you ever go to Maui, buy tickets to see this. You won't be disappointed!

For some reason, snorkeling ended up being the most popular activity for all of us during the week {probably because it was the cheapest option out there and holy moly Hawaii is expensive} but we had a blast with a different experience each time we went. We were smart enough to ask our rental shop where a good snorkeling spot was that wouldn't be hugely overcrowded and she recommended Napili Bay. It was AWESOME! Hardly any tourists and fish and coral were everywhere you looked.

 Our second to last day on the island, Jeremy and I swam way out past the bay and encountered four HUGE sea turtles who decided to let us follow them and swim with them for about 15 minutes. Jeremy and I both kept looking at each under water in shock that we were getting to experience something so cool together. It was the highlight of my trip by far and I was kicking myself for not having bought an underwater camera to capture the moment.

One big guy did come up to shore where the waves were crashing for about 15 minutes but I never got a great shot of him.

You'll just have to trust me, that's a sea turtle. =)

We ate at the famous Duke's recommended to me by an Instagram friend and finished dinner off with their Hula Pie... oh my goodness... yum. We saw several people there who came just for that dessert.

I have to pass forward the favor and tell anyone who has a visit coming up to Maui to HAVE DESSERT AT DUKE'S! You won't be disappointed, promise.

My father-in-law Cliff has had an incredible year at work so we wanted to do something extra special to celebrate and congratulate him. We decided to make the dinner cruise "his" night and there were many special toasts made to him while drinking our Mai Tais <--- holy cow, addicting drink.

We were really bad at getting a picture of the four of us that vacation, I think this was one of three we took together. I even found my luau dress from our honeymoon 6 years ago so of course I had to bring it along for a special event that week.

Our Christmas Card picture!

My in-laws have never done a selfie before and after seeing so many other people on the boat taking them, they decided to give it a shot. Neither of them could stop laughing long enough to actually get a decent "selfie" down. It was so funny, I had to capture the moment. Someday they will be professional selfie masters like me and Jeremy. ;)

They played really great music all night as we ate dinner, drank cocktails and watched the sunset and  sailed around the island.

I have to say that the best part of the evening was after the sun had gone completely down and they turned all the lights on the boat off so we were in the middle of the ocean in complete blackness. We sat there for about 15 minutes looking at the stars and the lights on the island. It was breathtaking and peaceful and I never wanted it to end.

We had a red eye flight on our trip home so we were able to have one more complete and full day in Maui before heading to the airport and wrapping the trip up. We decided to drive up to the top of the Haleakala volcano to do some sight-seeing above the clouds. We went from temperatures in the mid 90's to low 60's in the span of an hour, it felt SO good to finally get some relief from that heat! I promised Jeremy I would never complain about being too cold again.

Dr. Jeremy taking in the view.

Sadly, it was another vacation that came to an end far too quickly. We made so many special memories together that week and I will forever be so grateful to my in-loves for always giving me experiences of a lifetime that I would never be able to have otherwise. I am so beyond blessed to have them in my life and I can't wait to see what's in store next!

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