Monday, January 1, 2018

Polar Bear! Or, What the Kids Swear They Will Do Never Again

What’s this?  Beautiful, clear skies?  Blue water?  Double Bluff Beach?  Dwayne wearing two winter coats?

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Must be time to


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We met fellow bears and friends Matt and Emily at the beach. The kids abandoned clothes immediately…1-1 Polar Bear 4ids

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…and then made a girl pile with their towels.

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I think my face gives a good indication of the temperature.

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I’ve had this bikini since my twenties.  It’s a bit ironic that the smaller an item is, the better it can fit.

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It’s noon!  Time to….

1-1 Polar Bear 14…Holy CRAP that’s cold!

We quickly come back in. First picture stamped at 12:04, Kyla is out of the water at 12;05. 

First back in!

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Wow, this kid makes me smile.

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Vivian really tells it like it is!

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Piper’s smile must just be frozen on.  You can see Matt and I both helping Kyla back.  Her legs were pretty numb.

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Easy to believe she’ll be a teenager soon, right?

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A hug from this guy is as good as the complementary hot cocoa!

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Monday, December 25, 2017

White Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It slowed down sometime during the night, but we woke up to this on Christmas morning. 

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After breakfast clean up, the kids went out to play, and Dwayne and I took ourselves for a walk.

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Have I mentioned how much I like decorating the outside for the holidays?  To be truthful, it’s more how much I enjoy having it decorated.  And, honestly, once it goes up, it doesn’t come down until 1) it’s warm enough, and 2) my to-do list is otherwise short. So I’ll get to enjoy my ducklings for quite a while yet.

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Oh, I think for next year, Mama Duck needs a Santa hat.

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And maybe she’s not the only one.

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Thanks, Snow, for finishing the decorating for me.  I love it!

Our Christmas Elves

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We got to sleep until well past 7am, when Kyla poked her head and asked about the gifts at the end of her bed—since Wesley is always snuggled up next to her by the morning, Santa left both her wrapped books and his at the foot of her bed.  But then the kids tiptoed quietly to prepare the annual kitchen cafĂ©.

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I’ll give them full credit for their willingness—they even want to serve us off the special menu before presents.  We talked them into gifts, but I was really proud of how they wanted to give us something special first. 


Since not one of them believes in Santa, they go to great lengths to pretend they do.  The same lengths Dwayne and I go to as we play along.

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Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Another ‘elfie, over bacon, cinnamon bread, and satsumas.

Christmas  morning

Here’s our living room after Santa came….


…and then once the sun was up.


The kids work hard to give fun presents to everyone.

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And while I assist Santa on every gift, Dwayne out-Santas Santa as he showers me with fun, fun presents.

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I love our Christmas morning together, just the five of us.  The kids were super-wonderful all day.

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Best Christmas Eve Ever

I think our Christmas Eve tradition is to do something different each year (it drives Kyla batty).  But this year was more low-key that usual, so we make plans to go to the Brazilian churrascaria (sha skah DEE uh, at least that’s as close as my English tongue can get) in Bellevue.  We had an early 3pm reservation so we could go to the 5pm candlelight service.  Since my parents were with us, we managed to even show up a little early!

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This had been on our list for a while—our new thing to celebrate Dad’s birthday is to try a “unique dining” experience.  Last year, it was the medieval Bors Hede Inn, and this year, we decided to treat him to a traditional Brazilian Steakhouse….two months late (Need-time). 

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If you haven’t been to one before, it really must be experienced, so with that, I let myself off the hook of giving more details.  However, I will admit that Fogo de Chao is the nicest churrascaria we’ve ever been.  It was the perfect meat, I mean meal, for everyone!

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But what turned greatness into pure magic was the snow that began to fall halfway through the meal, making the afternoon even more perfect for 6/7ths of us.  Sorry, Mom. 

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Honey, take an ‘elfie!

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My parents karma ran into Need carelessness and, of course, we were 10 minutes late to service.  And coming out, the world was white and wonderful.

A white Christmas is coming!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas Adventure in Seattle!

We’re off on an adventure, starting the day with smiles.

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We met Rochelle, Mabel and Ruby to carpool downtown.  The first stop?  Convention Center for easy parking.  (Because you are either going to take the first parking spot you find and pay $25 for it, or you drive around looking for a cheap spot, and you park farther away, and still pay $25. That’s my experience, anyway.)

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And then we quickly found the Gingerbread Houses!  Mama love.

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The octopus is made of Swedish fish.

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It made me hungry for candy and I don't even like non-chocolate.

Then off to the carousal!

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All that makes us hungry (again), so the monorail brought us to the food court and Seattle Center with the Winterfest Train. 

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Everything looked great until I got a closer look at hotballooner. 

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Then we’re off to the much anticipated ice-skating…with real ice this time!  Badly groomed, but the kids were thrilled with the upgrade from last week. 

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We let them get the rest of their energy out at the playground before taking the Monorail back to downtown.


Nearing the end of the day, we made a quick stop at the Fairmount Hotel to see the life-size Gingerbread House (and what kid doesn’t want to lick the walls?).

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Then even a quicker turnaround, as we see the line into the Teddy Bear Suite, and decide that no teddy bear is worth a queue on the Friday afternoon. 

But even with a dead car battery, and ahem, bags of candy, we still ended the day with smiles, too. As Wesley chirped: This is the best day ever!