Saturday, July 23, 2011

Trip Summary: The Washington Portion

Although Washington wasn't our main destination on this trip, we had a lovely time there and I'm glad we spent a few days there before heading to Vancouver.

We flew from NC to Seattle (via JFK) on July 7th and arrived at my aunt's house in Bellevue at something like 2 in the morning. It's interesting to me that Emmett's first flight had the same destination as my first flight. My first time on an airplane was when I was about 11 and my mother and sister went to visit my cousins in Washington state. Aunt Susan lives in the same house and it was nice to have that first destination be so familiar. We were a little bit torn between talking a lot and catching up then and there and just going to sleep, but of course sleep was badly needed.

On that first full day of vacation, we managed to see 4 of my five cousins and several of their kids. It was especially interesting to see the contrast between two of the female cousin David's daughter Grace loves babies and loved holding and entertaining Emmett, whereas Dawn's daughter Kate had the "babies scare me" mindset. I suppose I can relate...babies kind of terrified me for quite a while there, too. It was really fun to see everyone. We had dinner out at a restaurant called Szechuan Chef, and Emmett surprised me by enthusiastically eating a spicy potato dish that Adam ordered. Before this, he'd seemed affronted by spicy food. I think the trick is to let him discover things on his own. In this case, he was sitting close enough to the potatoes to grab and start eating them.

Dawn and Kate spent the night at Aunt Susan's house, which gave us more time to catch up in the morning, then we headed out to Bellevue Square Mall for a playdate. As it happens, one of my best friends from the Cornell art dorm days lives in Bellevue and has two kids, one of whom is only about a week older than Emmett. We met up at the mall's play area, which apparently gets kind of mobbed whenever the weather is crappy, which is a lot of the time (especially this year). The play area was adorable and it was a trip to see Jeremy. There was a surreal moment when a song by 10,000 Maniacs was playing in the background where it really felt like maybe 18 years hadn't gone by. We talked alot about mutual friends we'd seen in the intervening years and parenting stuff. After some playspace time, we all went out to lunch at Boom noodle, where I somehow managed to spill a sippy cup of water on the floor twice. ("Karin, I'm afraid we're going to have to cut you off!" Jeremy sort-of-joked.) I was lso amused by the moment where Jeremy and I were talking to each other under the table while we each cleaned noodles and things off of our kids' highchairs.

We hit the Bellevue Farmer's Market on the way back. I am always intrigued by the things that "foreign" farmer's market have. For instance, this market had soup. "Why doesn't ours have soup?" I wondered, temporarily forgetting all of the times that it's been too hot to even go to the market.

We spent the rest of the day having quality time with Aunt Susan. My cousin Doug and his sons visited for a while; we took the dogs for a walk and spent some time on the swings in a nearby park; and we spent some time that evening at a local shopping center called Crossroads, which has a surprisingly good and varied food court.

We drove to Vancouver the next day, stopping in Bellingham. We'd stopped there on another trip and I remembered the existence of a really great pizza place where we'd had rosemary lemonade. Unfortunately, I could not remember the name or location of the restaurant. Aswe looked for a place to eat, we crossed paths with the last five minutes of a gay pride parade, then decided to try a place called the Mount Bakery Cafe. This place was very family-friendly, with books and toys available and other babies and small kids present. It took us a while to get our food, but it was excellent: I had a portabella Benny (Eggs Benedict) and it was served on a savory waffle.

As it turns out, we found the pizza place (La Fiamma) on the way back to the airport, and it was as good as we remembered. We spent a bit of time in Seattle before heading to the airport on the following Sunday. My main goal was to get pictures of a building that has walruses on it, so we used the navigation capabilities of our phones to find the building. We also had time to visit the Elliott Bay bookstore (especially cool because it's dog-friendly!) and have a bite to eat at a vegan eatery (Plum Bistro). At some point, I imagine that there'll be a trip where we take Emmett to see more of Seattle's kid-friendly attractions, but with limited time and attention spans (including those of the adults on the trip), this worked out to be enough excitement.

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