Our first big family trip was planned to introduce Baby to my husband’s side of the family in northern Washington. I love that area of the country. The first time I ever visited was long before I met my husband. When I flew in all I saw was green. Green soggy earth. I loved it. The temperature never rose about 75 and never fell below 50. It was my kindof place. The land of North Face, serious coffee addicts and fresh flowers.
I always look forward to adventures in the Pacific Northwest, though this particular round would be obviously different with Baby in tow. We planned a noonish flight for Daddy’s work schedule and in the hopes that Baby would sleep through her first flight. I woke the little one up around 6am and began running her ragged. By the time we left for the airport she was dead weight in our arms.
I had a minor panic attack as we went through the security checkpoint when the TSA man wanted to steal Baby’s food but my panic must have made him rethink it because he let a couple small jars slide instead. We made it to our first/only layover with no problems. Infact, Baby was voted cutest baby of the day at Denver International Airport by the TSA ladies and managed to stop a small crowd by hanging onto Mommy’s carry-on luggage like a monkey as we jogged to the next gate.
Our second flight was delayed and Baby was wide-awake by the time we boarded. Only plus of the incident was that my husband and I were seated one in front of the other on the plane and just bounced her from seat to seat. By the time we reached Seattle, Baby, Mommy and Daddy were exhausted. We met a relative for dinner and Baby and I fell asleep at the table. I remember very little from that night.
The next morning we went to my favorite site in the city, Pike’s Place Market. No matter how many times we visit, it is the first and last place I want to go. Though I would fully recommend the tourist trap to any adult visiting the area, I warn parents with small children to be weary. The crowds can be crushing and scary at times. And it is very easy to become distracted by tiny asian women popping in and out of huge flower stalls filled with giant blooms. We downsized our giant BOB stroller for a small folding travel version for this trip and yet we still had trouble getting through the crowds. But a benefit of the stroller was that at the end of our morning market stroll, we carried baby and piled the stroller high with 7 fresh bouquets for less than $50. It was amazing. I grinned and pet each bouquet like a crazy person. If ever I leave the midwest, it will be for a small condo in downtown Seattle within minutes of the masses of fresh flowers and determined asian ladies.
From the moment we left downtown Seattle, it was a week packed with family time. We drove from home to home meeting and greeting cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and great grandparents.
One of our last days in Washington, we met with my Husband’s parents and took Baby on her first ferry ride. We rode out to the San Juan islands and explored Roach Harbor. The island lifestyle is so prevalent in the area that I instantly wanted a boat. I wanted to live like the old retired doctors and lawyers of the area with their Sperry shoes and sassy boat names. We strolled through manicured gardens and tried Lavendar gelato. We watched rainbows emerge above the Puget Sound and laughed as the little ones pointed out various sea life. All in all it was a great day trip for any small family. The local restaurants and stores catered to tourists with a great selection of food and souvenirs but the atmosphere was more relaxed and upscale then the grungy streets of downtown Seattle.
My recommendation if you’re in the area, is to get out of Seattle. Load up that stroller and take a road trip north to the small towns of the islands. Spend a little bit of cash on the ferry and watch seagulls, otters and sometimes whales as you relax with your favorite little one.
One of the last day trips we could work into our busy family-visiting schedule was to Leavenworth, Washington. The town was a few hours from where we were staying with family, but my husband and I couldn’t resist the allure of authentic German food. Ever since we visited Germany on our honeymoon, we have desperately sought out authentic German food and beer. Obsessed seems too weak of a word.
The entire town is stylized as an old German village with the architecture of each building crowned by authentic looking murals. We spent the day eating spaetzle, schnitzel and drinking German beer. We walked stony trails along a small mountain river and explored cute Christmas stores. We chose a family Christmas ornament and watched Baby drool over sweets at a candy shop. Again, I would adamantly recommend a day outing with your small family to this small town. There are many little restaurants (not all German) that were family friendly and inexpensive. On our way out we snagged flavored brats for the ride and took in our last mountain views.
Our last full day in Washington, we spent exploring the State Fair with the in-laws. Baby and her cousins oh’ed and ah’ed at the assortment of alpacas and cattle on display. We watched a costume contest for show dogs while the bigger kids rode rides. We shared snowcones and explored craft displays. It was a day of quality family time that Baby greatly enjoyed.
The next day we said our goodbyes and drove into Seattle for lunch. We ventured back to Pike Place in search of fried halibut and chips. Perched in a huge window, enjoying our fried food and listening to the hustle of the city, we stared out at the Puget Sound and watched cargo ships lazily float by. Baby was entranced by the huge ferris wheel rotating near by. Mommy and Daddy sighed, mentally preparing for another round of flights on our long way home.