Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Day in Tacoma

What began as a plan to go on a short tip to Seattle for a Bible conference morphed into a three day weekend for us kids. We figured, since we were already so near to Tacoma, it was high time we gave that city a visit :) Kayleen should receive full credit for coming up with the idea in the first place, and then carefully researching it for us...even though she would not be going along. 

After the conference, we headed down to Tacoma just in time for a delicious meal at the Indochine restaurant. Though the inside atmosphere would have been a cool experience, we were bumped to outdoor seating. It was prom night  and there wasn't a place in that city that wasn't packed with dressed-up high-schoolers. Since most of our group from church was heading home the Tacoma route anyway, they decided to join us for a bite to eat. Between the five of us at our table, we managed to almost completely devour five large servings of Thai food. 

We headed straightway to our lodgings for the night...the Hotel Murano. I was looking for a building that was bit more eye level with me :) ...not a 25 story tower that you had to crane your neck just to see the top of it :) Jonathon pointed it out to us in the distance declaring, "That's hotel Murano...the building with the big "M" on it. And that "M" does not stand for MacDonald's." ;)
We checked in and made our way to floor 19. Jonathon made the observation that this really only was a 24 story hotel since floor 13 was missing...which was lucky for us, 13 being bad luck :) 

The sun was just beginning to set as we all unloaded our bags into both rooms. For some of us, the night had just begun. We decided to set out on an evening tour of the city. It was 75 degrees at 9:30 that night :) Between prom kids running around everywhere and a battalion ball going on somewhere in town, the place was quite lively! The shops along the street had kind of en eerie look to them at nighttime, looking almost like a scene from an "I Spy" book :) 

Leisel commented on the fact that it reminded her a little bit of that scene in "It's a Wonderful Life" when the whole town is turned into Pottersville :) While walking along the street, a man invited us all in for some Kurdish dancing :) ...we passed up that opportunity ;)
We girls all noticed Jonathon was on high alert that night...which left us girls all remarking afterwards on what a fantastic brother we have :)

We had agreed upon eight as being our meeting time the next morning. But alas, the "enveloping" beds that Jonathon had told us were so spectacular, got the better of him. While all of us girls waited ready to go in the next room, Jonathon and Leisel were still sound asleep. 

We come to find out that Leisel and Jonathon had stayed up till 1 in the morning watching a TV show, and then slept through their alarms the next morning. Charae began "starring daggers" at me for having woken her up so early when she could have slept in :) I tried to make up for it by making a pot of coffee for us as we sat back in bed to read our Bibles. But the coffee didn't help much as it was pretty much a cup of colored water ;)

When looking for a place to eat breakfast that morning, we weren't really looking for a somewhere that served good food as much as a really good cup of coffee :) A little way from where we were staying, there was an Anthem Coffee Shop. We discussed the days plans over an iced cup of coffee and a breakfast pastry. 

Our first little expedition was to be across the glass bridge and a walk along the dock. It was lovely weather for it! Jonathon sighed and said, "Well, you can't beat this with a stick" :) 
By the time we had made it back, we were ready for our second meal of the day...gelato ice creams sandwiched in-between two chocolate cookies :) I knew we had picked the perfect place for lunch too when the restaurant began playing "Only You" by the Platters :D

I don't know how many times we walked back and forth through the Tacoma town. We were getting to know those streets like the back of our hand. While waiting at one of the crossings, I remarked to Jonathon that when we were in Japan, we'd just cross on a red if there were no cars coming. Jonathon looked at me and with a corrective tone in his voice and said, "Well, we are not in Japan."...and then he preceded across the street...on a red. 

Tacoma is a very beautiful mix of old buildings and brick walls, railroad tracks running through different areas of town and then the new towering city buildings and lovely glass work displayed throughout city. The old Union Station has been turned into the Federal courthouse now. The whole feel of the city was a mix between downtown Portland and Astoria.
When we stepped out of the car at Ruston Way, it had that same smell of the sea that you get at the ocean :)

At Ruston Way, there was also a Chinese garden that we visited. And to be totally authentic, we finished the remainder of our Thai food from the night before there on the benches :)

There were also two military ships docked at Puget Sound that Leisel and I were just itching to hop aboard :)

Our last little trip was to the Point Defiance Park where we found ourselves quite overwhelmed by the things available to do there. We decided to pass up swimming with the sharks at the zoo as that was one of the many attractions at the Point Defiance Park.  (I'm saving that till next time :) Instead, we took a walk through the rose garden and then proceeded to take a scenic drive down one of the trails. 

We were all beginning to look a little wilted from so much direct sunlight. In all, Leisel informed us that we had walked 18,642 steps that day :)

We ended our day at the bubble tea shop back in Downtown Tacoma. 

And so ended a wonderful weekend up in Tacoma with some of my favorite people in the world. Next time I find myself in the area, I think a little parasailing is in order :) 

I cannot finish this blog post without giving a million thanks to Kayleen for her thoughtful care and preparation for our trip. For Jonathon who was so very sweet in driving his sisters around everywhere, treating them to the wonderful Indochine dinner that they ate, and always making sure that his sisters were having a good time. 


Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Three Littles and their Trip of a Lifetime

From: Austin
Our trip to Virginia was a complete blast. When we landed in the airport of Richmond Virginia, we three littles and grandma went to the baggage claim while grandpa went to get a rental car. After picking up our KIA, Sedona we packed it and headed for Williamsburg. 
Right away, we started unpacking at our SpringHill suites, Marriot before heading down to Applebee’s for a brief dinner. We had a pretty nice night’s sleep (besides for me and Grandma). In the morning Annie, Ania, and Grandpa went down and had breakfast...I slept :)
At three in the afternoon I woke up feeling fine and well rested, so grandma and me headed down to
the lobby. Within about 15 minutes, grandpa came and picked us up. We went straight to the capitol
building. It was gorgeous. We were very nicely greeted by a colonel, who made me his corporal, and a nice gentleman. 
We heard George Wythe try to convince us that a fight was necessary for our
independence, and then we went upstairs to hear Patrick Henry. He was a very passionate speaker and
convincing speaker....when it came time to vote, our decision was unanimous. 
Throughout that week, we heard another speech by George
Wythe and a debate between Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson. We heard the advice that Martha
Custis’s mother gave her before she married the dashing Colonel Washington. And at the end of the trip, we got to hear the eager General Marquis de Lafayette. He was the best speaker there. He told us about all his troubles on the way to America. We visited the whole historic triangle. We saw the battlefield of Yorktown and stood on the battle mound where General Washington beat General Cornwallis.
 Two days later, we went to the Jamestown settlement where we saw some amazing sights...ships designed after the original ones, the settlement as it would have been back then, and an Indian settlement. The whole trip was wonderful, but something happened on the way home. We flew to Denver almost an hour late. When we landed, the Jet way wouldn’t come out, so most of the people missed their flight, including us. Some people watched their flight leave. That was torturous. But we were able to book a flight to San Francisco and from there to Portland. By God’s grace, we got home safely.

From: Annalise
On the morning of April 29, three children got up and headed to the airport. They were going
to go on a very special trip with their grandparents to Williamsburg, Virginia. They were the last
of the grandchildren to ever be taken to Colonial Williamsburg. 
They arrived at 9 or 10 in the evening all tired, but excited. After getting checked into their hotel, they headed out to go and get something to eat. All went well, until Austin decided to throw up after everyone was nicely tucked into their cozies that night :)
The next morning, Annalise, Ania, and Grandpa went down to eat breakfast while Grandma
stayed up in the room with the invalid. After breakfast, they got ready to take their first tour of
Williamsburg. They loved it, and what they saw of it that whole week cannot all be described on
paper. A great highlight for them were the people that they met there, like Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and Marquis de Lafayette, who was their favorite of them all. Then there were those of whom it is hard to describe to you, just the ordinary people in the town of Williamsburg acting out their different parts.
Their trip ended with an exhausting flight home. They missed their flight from Denver,
Colorado to Portland, Oregon because of complications with the jet way door. After sitting there
for 30-45 minutes, they were finally moved to another gate. Their daddy and sister very, anxious
to get them home, found a flight from Denver to SFO, and then from SFO to Portland. These
tired travelers didn’t arrive home till almost 2 in the morning, and didn’t get to bed till about
2:30. It was a wonderful trip for these 3 children, and it will never be forgotten.

Dear Grandpa and Grandma,
Thank you so much for the love, time, and money that you poured into this trip. It was such a special time, and one that I will never forget; even though Austin and Ania got sick ;) I
thoroughly enjoyed every moment of that trip. Thank you again! I love you both very much!

From: Ania
Our trip to Virginia started early Saturday April 30, 2016. That morning started out with much enthusiasm. We got up, got ready, and headed down for breakfast. I had not even finished breakfast, before it was time to go. We got our bags loaded into the van and mom and dad took Grandma, Grandpa, Annie, Austin, and I to the airport.
When we finally got past security and in the airplane, it was a relief. We got through our two plane
rides, and landed at about 8:30. By the time we got our bags and our rental car, and had driven the hour-long drive to our hotel, as well as eaten dinner, it was about 11:00 P.M. I had a very sound night’s sleep that night; but I am sorry to say that the others were not so fortunate. 

The next day, I woke up very refreshed only to learn that Austin had thrown-up that night, and I had slept through it all. Well, Austin was sleeping soundly that next morning, so Grandpa, Annie, and I headed down for the buffet-style breakfast. The breakfast there was really a feast. They had eggs, ground beef sausages, bread, bagels, English muffins, blueberry muffins, oatmeal, other cereals, white grits, orange juice, apple juice, yogurts, and you could even make your own waffles!
We came back up to our room after breakfast and Austin was still asleep.
We got our backpacks with our snacks and headed out to start our day. Our first stop was to hear George Washington speak. He was an excellent speaker. Then we looked around the museum.
After that we looked  around the Visitor’s Center gift shops a bit before driving back to pick up Austin and Grandma. 
Once we were all in the car again, we headed out for the Visitor’s Center to park our car. We then took the bus to  the Colonial Williamsburg Capitol. When we got to the Capitol we received a warm  greeting, and were told that they had been waiting for us to take a vote on whether we should be a free country or not. Once everyone was gathered, we took the vote. It was unanimous...we should be free! 
We headed back to the hotel  after taking a bus back to the visitor's center, and picking up our car. We went to Huzzah’s for dinner that night. It was a fantastic restaurant... at least I liked it.
I woke up the next morning only to find out that Austin  had thrown up again. Well, we headed down for breakfast as soon as we were ready. After breakfast, Grandpa, Annie, and I headed to the room. Austin was up and felt well enough to go out. That day we went to hear George Wythe, a very great speaker. When we were through hearing him, we found the place where Thomas Jefferson was talking. We went across the street to hear him and listened until he moved on down the street. 

Grandpa and Austin left Grandma, Annie, and I alone. We couldn't decide whether to follow Thomas Jefferson or to stay around and wait for the guys to get back. We weren't getting anywhere, so after a little while Grandma told us to look at the ice cream shop in front of us...we had ice cream :) 
After a while, the guys came back. 
The next day we went to Colonial Williamsburg. There were carriages coming in and the horses that pulled them looked so sad and tired that we couldn't resist giving each horse a good petting before they were off again. They were so grateful and kind that I hardly minded the horribly itchy eyes that followed. That night we went to hear some fifes and drums. They were so much fun to listen to! Then we went to Bruton Parish Church and listened to a handbell and an organ concert. That night I threw up.  

The next day it was off to Yorktown and the Yorktown battlefield. I had a lot of fun. I got recruited and got to take a tour of the battlefield. It was very cool. The next day we visited Jamestown. We got to see the Indian village and the other villages there as well. My favorite part was seeing the ship that was there at the dock. It was a lot of fun going inside!

The next day, I woke up with a stomach-ache and Annie was feeling nauseous. Later Annie felt better enough to go see the Marquis de Lafayette, I still wasn't feeling well so Grandma stayed in the lobby with me. I really had a fun time beating her in a game that we had just bought while we were there. The next day, we went home. It was a sad day. 

We were coming into Denver, when we ran into a problem. It was a while before we got off the plane, so we missed the next flight we were supposed to take. It was exhausting, but still fun at the same time. I loved spending that time there.
Thank you Grandma and Grandpa. It was a lot of fun and a very memorable time. Thank you once again for taking us.