Stella’s First (mini) Road Trip – Mount Rainier

Although we live in West Seattle, I would still consider Mount Rainier a road trip when it involves an infant. In the last week of our Seattle stay, before “moving” across the pond to Korea, my mom, dad, Stella and I drove down to Mount Rainier National Park.  We decided to do the scenic loop of the park, entering at the northeast corner on 410, passing by the Reflection Lakes, visiting Paradise (yep, it’s a place!), and exiting at the southwest corner before heading back home.  When it was all said and done, we were gone for 8 hours and drove about 225 miles.  Stella was an absolute trooper and had her first diaper changed in the trunk.  (We have since perfected that technique)…. [Read More]

O Canada! Venturing to Victoria…..

View of the Empress Hotel

I have been pretty bad about blogging lately, but I’m trying to catch up.  A couple weeks ago, my mom, dad and I drove from Seattle, around the Puget Sound and back up the Olympic Peninsula to Port Angeles, where we caught the ferry to Victoria, Canada.  I know this is going to be strange, especially considering our extensive travel in Europe, but this was my first time visiting our northerly neighbors.  So far, I can say that Canada did not disappoint and Victoria is absolutely beautiful.  Some people say it’s a sleepy town, with its quaint tea houses and the small bay based on sailing and sea-plane tourism, but I found it charming.  Granted, I’m not sure I would want to actually live there, considering you are rather isolated.  The only way off the island are ferries to mainland Washington or Canada or a small airstrip at the north end of Vancouver Island…. [Read More]

Springtime in Seattle

Downtown Seattle from Kerry Park

I feel fortunate to live in a place with such beauty.  Upon moving to Seattle in late winter, I was really eager to get out and begin exploring my adopted city, especially when the weather started changing for the better.  I started first in my neighborhood – West Seattle / Alki Beach – and then moved on to other famous landmarks and neighborhoods – Pike Place Market / Seattle waterfront, Kerry Park / Queen Anne, Green Lake and the U district to name a few.  Of course I chronicled my findings (although mostly with my iPhone, so the photos aren’t of highest quality) and I figured now is as good as time as ever to showcase my new home.  I feel like I’m finally getting my bearings straight and can navigate about 70% of the time without directions, so at least I’m heading in the right direction…. [Read More]

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

This was my favorite grouping of colors.

Two years ago, Bobby and I traveled to The Netherlands specifically to see the famed tulip festival.  Unfortunately, we were a little trigger happy and showed up a bit too early to see any blooms.  Today, we made up for our disappointment by visiting the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival near Mount Vernon, Washington, about an hour and 20 minutes north of Seattle.  While I am sad that Bobby couldn’t join me, both of my parents are in town and we thoroughly enjoyed the tulips together…. [Read More]

The Southwest’s Best – Upper Antelope Slot Canyon and Zion National Park

Upper Antelope Canyon

We spent our last weekend before “the great move north” (AKA Seattle, the final leg of this tortuous PCS) on the Northern Arizona/Southern Utah border.  We planned to go to Page, Arizona to tour the Upper Antelope Slot Canyon, probably the most famous slot canyon in the world, but decided to tack on Zion National Park when we heard it would be in the 70s.  Most of the time the peaks of Zion are covered in snow/ice in the winter and hiking is iffy at best, but not with global climate change.  People were hiking shirtless!  (Maybe I shouldn’t be writing this when the east coast is currently buried under feet of snow.)… [Read More]

Devil’s Bridge Day Hike – Sedona

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A couple weeks ago, Bobby and I wanted to get out of town for the day, so we headed just up the road to Sedona.  We’ve made this north-bound trek several times in the past few months, and we always see these beautiful balloons flying over the valley.  They certainly chose a gorgeous morning to take a ride…. [Read More]

Grand Canyon & Monument Valley

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After Bobby finished up his retraining in the jet, we found out he had some paperwork issues, so we’re stuck in Arizona for a few more weeks.  Although living in a dorm room on base is less than ideal, we figured we should be happy we’re holed up in a state where it’s 75-80 degrees in February.  (Thank goodness we are not here during the summer months!)  What better way to pass the time than to take advantage of Arizona’s national parks?  Of course, the most famous of its parks is the Grand Canyon, located northwest of Flagstaff.  I first visited with my parents when I was about nine years old and I don’t remember much other than some mules walking down a path, so needless to say, I was excited to return.  Bobby, on the other hand, although he has flown over the canyon numerous times, had never been!… [Read More]

Back to Blogging – A Four Month Recap!

Street view - yes, it even has a picket fence!

Since moving back to the States in late September, I’ve been taking a blogging hiatus.  It wasn’t really planned, but I think I was traveled out and just decided to spend time with family and friends for a while.  After three and a half years of living in Italy, we were really excited to be able to catch up with everyone – from Seattle, to Texas, to Kentucky, to Arizona and beyond.  It’s been a fun ride and while Bobby prepares to leave again (for Korea this time!), I figured I’d look back at our last few months in the motherland…. [Read More]

Landing Ship Tank 325 – A Floating WWII Memorial

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Currently, I’m spending some time in the States visiting family and as luck would have it, a very cool Navy ship docked near my hometown.  The USS Landing Ship Tank 325, based out of Evansville, Indiana, takes summer cruises up the Ohio River each year, and it just so happened that I was at home when it made a stop in Ashland, Kentucky this weekend.  The LST-325 is a decommissioned Navy ship that was first launched in 1942 during World War II.  It is the type of boat in the famous beach scenes in Saving Private Ryan (where troops storm the beaches of Normandy) and Flags of Our Fathers (about the landing at Iwo Jima).  The boats can beach themselves and then tanks can exit directly from sea to land.

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And the Olmsted Adventure Begins!

Olmsted Scholar Class of 2012

Last weekend, Bobby and I started our Olmsted experience by attending the annual Olmsted Scholar Reunion and Orientation, held in Washington D.C. We flew in from Salt Lake City on Friday afternoon in preparation for the kick-off event on Friday evening.  We had the pleasure of meeting the other scholars of the Olmsted Scholar Class of 2012, with representatives from each branch of the United States military.  … [Read More]