Our much-anticipated trip to WA did not disappoint. We had a FANTASTIC time! We loved meeting all of our extended families. Everyone was so nice and made us feel very comfortable and welcome.
These relatives are all from Kurt's dad's side of the family. Everyone mentioned is Kurt's cousin unless otherwise specified. He hadn't seen them for about 13 years and I had never met them so we were very excited to go see everyone.
Our plan was to leave Wednesday morning at 4 am but Kurt got the "lets leave early bug" (as usual) and so we left Tuesday afternoon. We drove for 4 hours and stayed up in Yreka. We still had about 8 hours to go the next day. On our way through Portland we stopped at the temple. It was a beautiful day and the sky was such a pretty blue.
We arrived at Uncle George and Aunt Judie's house at about 4:30 which was a good time. It gave the kids time to run and play before settling down for the night.
On Thursday we traveled up to Seattle to go to Pike's Place Market. Cori and her kids went with us which was really good because getting through Seattle was crazy but she knew her way and got us through with no problems. We met Karen there and got some yummy donuts and explored the market.
Hailey found some cupcakes she really wanted:
Then we stopped at the cheese factory and watched them mix the cheese. You looked through the windows and then had huge tubs/baths of cheese. It was a crazy amount of cheese!
All of us in front of "the sign" to get your picture taken with.
Then we walked down the street and ate at Steamers. The kids found this cool water feature along the way and wanted their pictures taken.
Kurt loves to take jumping pictures.
Oops, a little out of order but oh-well.
On Friday we went to Roger's house. Roger and Veronique had a daughter, Monique, pass away at the beginning of the year and we went to the cemetery to visit her gravesite.
Then we went to a big grassy area where the kids could all run crazy and play but all they wanted to do was climb on this thing and scare all the moms to death by jumping off of it.
On Saturday we had a big family BBQ to celebrate 4th of July. They had all sorts of fun games for the kids to play. They did the limbo (which I don't have any pictures of!),
a donut eating contest:
Hey, who's kid is that using his hands?
Water balloon throwing contest:
And of course we had fireworks for the 4th:
(Oh, by the way, this is at like 9 pm and it was still so light!)
Gotta have sparklers:
On Monday we all drove to Mount Rainier. We drove up to Sunrise Point (I think??). It was a lovely 41 degrees outside! Chilly!
Mt. Rainier played peak-a-boo with us but we managed to get some good shots of it.
Siri and her family:
Cori and her kids
Emily and her family:
Somehow we didn't get a picture of Uncle George, Aunt Judie and Damon. I guess we will have to come back to get one!!
Then we drove to a lower elevation for a picnic and hike.
Just down from where we were going to eat was a little trail that lead to these bridges.
It was a bit scary watching the kids cross but we all made it safe and sound.
A group shot:
Out of Uncle George and Aunt Judie's 10 kids we had 6 here:
David, Damon, Cori, Siri, Emily and Karen.
Missing were Honor, Roger, Amber and Ryan.
Our little hiker boy:
No, we didn't magically have a 4th baby.
Kurt borrowed Siri's baby Will for the hike.
This would be our happy hiker:
This would be our not-so-happy hiker:
Kayla did absolutely amazing on this trip. With all the new things, places and people we thought she would have had a hard time but she did so good! Until this point when she shut down and didn't want to hike anymore. She got up and was a trooper but she definitely drug her heels and lagged behind.
We took off after the hike to begin our journey home.
On the south side of Mt. Rainier, there is a town called Packwood where Rick (Kurt's brother-in-law) and April (Kurt's sister) own cabins (they are vacation rentals so if anyone is interested, let us know and we will get you hooked up with Rick). We stopped there for gas and were amazed at these animals just sitting on the side of the road.
There were 3 just hanging out. The gas station lady said they come down all the time and there can be so many that they fill up this field plus another. Amazing!
Oh, and just for a good laugh - us city folk thought they were moose. Apparently they are Elk. We had no idea - we were completely clueless.
By the last 11.5 hours of our trip home on Tuesday our kids were beat. There were 9 kids staying at Uncle George and Aunt Judie's house (Cori and Siri were visiting from UT) so there were always kids to play with. From the time they got up in the morning, til the time they dropped into bed at night, they were running - all day long. They were exhausted.
Well, exhausted kids and traveling in a car for 12 hours don't really mix all that great. Kayla managed to take a nap at about 11 am and was fine the rest of the day but Hailey and Evan just would not fall asleep and boy were they grouchy; which made for a grouchy momma.
Finally, FINALLY this happened:
Oh man - the peace that we had was complete bliss!
We had an amazing trip and wish we could have stayed longer. Thank you so much to all our WA families that welcomed us and entertained us. We had a great time and it was so GREAT to meet all of you!
And remember, anytime you want to come to Cali, you always have a place to stay! We would love to have you!