One of the things that really made the trip was meeting up with Matt's Aunt Diane. She has lots of energy and an open heart and home and let us bum around with her, not only mooching off of her tour guide abilities, but her two youngest kids making great babysitters.
Matt had his conference for most of the day every day, but then was free at night. The boys' favorite activity (besides roasting "smarshsmellows" around cousin Craig's new fire pit) was the awesome science museum. It huge and had all kinds of things for kids to touch and explore. I had to laugh - Diane mentioned that they had a great dinosaur exhibit. "Oh, great the kids love dinosaurs," I said naively. Ha. One look at the roaring t-rex and Nathan was shaking in his boots. Of course, that spread to Carter, who though at first thought it was all fascinating, was suddenly scared too. However, other exhibits were on the other side, necessitating several trips through the dinosaurs. Nathan soon proved why rollercoasters and scary movies make money - he by the end of the museum was ASKING for the shivers of going through the dinosaurs. Always makes me wonder - when as a parent do you push your kids in life, knowing they will warm up, and when do you back down and let them walk away from something you know they might enjoy?
I loved this - we were walking to the science center, when Nathan, who was very proud of his map, insisted that we stop and he double check that we were going the right way. (His dad must have divulged to him that I am directionally challenged...) I loved that he just plopped down in the middle of the sidewalk for said map check!
Carter and Luke seeing Seattle from the stroller (during Nathan's map check)
Nathan, Carter, and Aunt Diane pushing the water wheel at the Science Center. Nathan so accurately said, "Look, we look like hamsters!"
The boys loved the butterfly exhibit - these butterflies were no strangers to being stared at!These huge butterflies were enjoying a fruit buffet.
Now Nathan is afraid of the dinosaurs but LOVED this human-sized talking fly? Standing here with their cute cousin Camille (who was so great with Luke - taking care of him almost the whole time!)
I had Aunt Diane take this picture so I could remember the day when my boys were so little to be scared by the dinosaur exhibit. If you know Nathan, you can tell this is his "my mouth is smiling but my eyes aren't" smile.
This is a fountain that is nearby the science museum and the space needle. It squirts water choreographed to music and you can tell from all the kids in swimsuits that this is a popular summer activity! Nathan was proud of himself for being brave enough to run down and touch it (only when the water wasn't squirting mind you!)
Nathan in front of the space needle!
We of course took a trip to Pikes Place Market. Two actually. Once after Matt's conference ended, only to find out that the vendors closed by 6 p.m. So, trip two we finally got the real feel. We watched the guys throw the fish, hunted down the famous doughnuts, and saw lots of pigs...when did the pig become the symbol for the market? There were even pink little piggies marking the way, but my kids were disappointed that there were no ACTUAL pigs in the market. This little piggie went to the market? To market to market to buy a fat pig?We found the pig!
Matt and I's highlight of the trip was our first, yes you heard that FIRST, night away from the kids. Yes, we have never been away from our children in five years overnight, unless you count being in the hospital away from most of them to have another one. Yeah, not quite. So, when Aunt Diane offered to watch the kids, we tried not to say yes too quickly. A night in a big city with my hubby? No diaper bag, snacks, stroller (yes, I pushed the kids up and down the hills of Seattle in a stroller!), no constant head counts, and we even had something besides McD's for dinner.
Actually, we had dinner in the Space Needle. Yes, it involved eating $5 subs for dinner the rest of the nights, but just close your eyes when you sign the check (yes, they have a food purchase MINIMUM) and you too can enjoy dinner in Seattles most famous icon. You rotate around 360 view of the city and dinner includes a free trip up to the view area (one of the big selling points for us). We really wanted to do something for our night out that we couldn't do anywhere else. It was amazing and the food was delicious. Our kid-free night really reaffirmed out grown-upness. We even got to hold hands. Tee-hee. Sad thing is the next morning we woke up at 5 stinkin' 30 a.m.! Our morning to sleep in and we had so nicely enjoyed falling asleep to our great hotel view of the city...only to wake up to the bright early sunrise. Oh well.
This is our view from the hotel. To the left you could actually see the space needle. It was so fun having this hotel in the middle of downtown!
Our last event was to hit the Seattle Aquarium. The kids always enjoy any animals in most any setting so they had a good time.
We drove to Portland that night and spent the night with my oldest brother Jonathan and met my newest two nieces, twins, Clara and Nicolyn. SO cute! We played with them and cousin Annika (their 2 year old sister) and then finally finished up and went home. Whew!