Category Archives: washington

buy me some peanuts

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I’m starting to feel a little bit more motivated about the blog, but I have a lot of catching up to do. I promise not to be super anal about the lack of chronological organization if you will.

We’ll start with a game. In May, my family treated us to a Mariners/Angels game. The fam was all decked out on our M’s garb (except for Zack, who was forced into a "First Angels Tee" because he had outgrown his teal onesie). The weather was gorgeous, the kids were amazing, and, believe it or not, the M’s almost took the game. We were so close!!!

Two very big floating hats.

Aunt Tami schooling Abby on the game.

One sleepy fan.

Aunt Sharon lent Abby her rally monkey. Mr. Monkey got lots of snuggles.

Zack NEVER falls asleep like this. Sweet boy.

She gave up the rally monkey for the finger.

Reading his favorite book after his uncharacteristic catnap.

This was the first game that ALL four Williams have been to (Abby and Zack have graced Safeco Field before 🙂 ), and we got to be with our family, so it was pretty special. Still, I am hoping that the Mariners can make our next trip to Anaheim even more worthwhile (the stadium’s lack of good espresso and garlic fries brought a tear to my eyes). Go M’s!

the post i’ve been avoiding

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It creeps up on me every once in a while, completely blind-siding me, and leaving me with a lump in my throat. I miss Washington. I’ve done this moving out-of-state thing a couple times before, and I knew it would take a little time before the reality of leaving my own reality would set in. And it has become real. Our everything has changed. Its the strangest thing. We have so many loved ones here, and are really starting to settle into a rhythm in our household. We are familiar with the area (like, blindfold me and I could get you to the beach and 3 different Starbucks, familiar). We love our home, love the weather, love the company . . . so when feelings of loneliness and homesick-ness creep up, I don’t know what to do with it, and am only now giving it the attention that it deserves.

I suppose I owe this new-found awareness to Starbucks, and their ever-impressive marketing. I just walked into the store to grab a mocha, and passed through two huge "Pike Place Roast" signs, and was instantly overwhelmed with memories. Memories of the obvious . . . trip after trip to Seattle . . . drinking coffee that tastes just like its supposed to . . . cheering for a so-so team at the most beautiful ballpark in the country . . . sunny days in the middle of Spring. I’m ok with missing those. I can go back and experience these for years down the road.

Maybe I’m starting to mourn the things that will continue to grow and change . . . without the Williams family . . . without me. I miss my friends. I miss hearing more of their stories . . . rejoicing and being angry with them. I miss the family who helped us cope with not having our own close by, who wouldn’t have Josh and I (and later, Abby) find ourselves alone on a holiday. I miss listening to a group of people play/worship like I have never seen before. I miss the raw feelings worn on the sleeve of a small church community.

Some of our dear friends are in the process of buying their first home. I won’t be at their housewarming. Other friends just met their second-born. We missed that too. We’ve prayed for, still another family, who has been fighting with the Nicaraguan government to bring their 3 adopted sons home. The process is almost over, and we won’t be there to love all over the boys.

I know. That’s life. I am so thankful that God continues to provide just what we need. We are blessed more than we could have imagined. We have laughed a lot. Played a lot. Josh and I have even started dating again, thanks to the loving, gentle hands of our kiddos’ amazing Grandparents.

But, I’m a bit homesick.

(Dear friends in Washington, you know who you are. We miss you. Send a message and let us know how you are. If you don’t, I’m pretty sure I’ll stop blogging 😉 .)  

room with a view

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There are many reasons I am thankful for Washington. One being that it opened my eyes to God’s beautiful creation. Many people consider Western Washington "God’s Country" and now, having lived there, I might have to agree. Time and time and time again, Josh and I would find ourselves just in awe of vast snowcapped mountains, evergreens blanketing the sides of the highways, and crystal clear lakes that forced you to slow down and take notice of them. It is gorgeous there.

BUT, I am also thankful for our time in Washington, because we had to slow down, and enjoy the Creator’s portraits. We were removed from the comfort of our hometown, and given the opportunity get lost in a whole new place . . . and ended up truly appreciating what we were seeing.

And guess what? It turns out Southern California isn’t so bad either. Sure, since we have been here, we have experienced some pretty nice stormy weather, but for the most part, we have seen something like this at the end of our days, from our front porch.

Maybe its thanks to our new-found appreciation for the beauty of nature, or maybe its us having learned how to purposely slow down, but most likely it is our 2-year-old who has caused us to truly fall in love with where we live. Without prompting her, she has pointed out the orange clouds, the sunny sky, and the green "mountains" (which she refers to as Mistletoe Mountain, thanks to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse). In the chaos of moving and transition, her excitement for her new home has given us some much needed peace-of-mind that, yeah, God is providing . . . and tonight, he used the rainbow of a sunset to make us smile and remind us that He has His arms around us.

departure

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We’ve finally got internet, and now that I am sitting on my corner of the couch, ready to share the latest, I’m having a difficult time knowing what to share. There’s simply too much. There’s been a lot of joy and struggle, confirmation and doubt, rushing and waiting, and lots and lots of transition.

I guess I can always start small with our leaving Washington…

Our dear friends Andy, Geoff, and Jon let us stay with them during our last few days in town, and we felt so at home. We got a chance to visit with so many loved ones, and our friends from the band blessed us with some farewell fellowship and a precious book of memories. The blessings just kept coming as Andy, Matt, Erinn and Geoff helped to make our old house squeaky clean (pretty sure they are still recovering from all the work they did 3 weeks ago 😉 ).

We left for the airport in the wee hours of the morning on January 5, and the kids, from start to finish, were incredible.

Even our fuzzy kid was an incredible traveler (when under the influence of sedatives)…

We left on a gray Seattle day, to touch down in Burbank to some GORGEOUS blue skies. Oh, and it wouldn’t be a trip through the Bob Hope Airport without a little celebrity sighting. OK, I know its  a stretch, but does Hal Steinbrenner count?

Well, I’m gonna do the unthinkable and leave you all hanging before posting pics of our new home. Its nearing midnight and I’ve burned that oil WAY TOO MUCH over the last month. Stay posted and goodnight!

sunday in seattle

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My little sister, Sharon, who is pretty much one of the greatest people I know, is up in our neck of the woods for Christmas. My bro-in-law’s family lives on nearby Whidbey Island, so for the last few years, coming up to the Pacific Northwest has been a two-for for the Cook family. We got a chance to celebrate Sharon’s birthday (exactly my half-birthday) downtown, which had decked its halls for our visit. The kid’s schedules only allotted us a relatively brief visit to the city, but we had so much fun.

We met up with Sharon, Wes, and his parents, Dave, and Tina at the Seattle Center. Abby is fascinated by the Space Needle right now, and insisted on saying hello to it repeatedly, and also asked if she could tickle it. Hmmm…

It was pouring when we arrived, so we avoided this awkward interaction with the Needle. Instead, we hopped on the Monorail (which we discovered is actually a 2-rail monorail) and headed over to the Westlake Center for dinner.

After dinner, we went on a little ride on the carousel. Abby was in heaven.

Then the highlight of Abby’s evening came when she spent some time watching and petting the carriage horses. Its not too often we get to hear her squeal with delight, but this was one of those times and my heart was so happy.

The little man was also a trooper, but insisted on staying awake the entire time, which made for one very long, and loud, car ride home.

After we got off the monorail, and tickled the Space Needle (would have LOVED to be a passerby), Josh and I realized that this would probably be our last trip to Seattle as Washington residents. It was surreal, and a little sad, to think that we would be leaving this place that we had grown to love. I know God will continue to bless us with new experiences, faces, adventures, and places to visit, but there is something so special about the place where you really became a family.

Spending time with my sister, however, reminds me that being close to our families is right where we need to be at this season, and I look forward to posting more pictures of our families, rather than for our families.

Blessings!

just ducky

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The Smiths were visiting on our last family day, and treated the Williams family to a longstanding, Seattle tourist tradition . . . a ride on The Duck! This tour brings you to some of the major attractions of the city, and then paddles its way into Lake Union. Josh and I did the tour when we first moved here 4 years ago, and were pretty stoked to bring the kiddos on the tour as well. Abby LOVES seeing the Space Needle and riding on ferries, so we figured this would be an extra special treat. What we didn’t anticipate was how Abby would handle:

…climbing the ladder of a boat on wheels
…being greeted by a kindly (but LOUD) tour guide
…sitting underneath the only speaker on the boat which was blaring "Brick House" as soon as we left the parking lot
….getting pelted by the freezing rain that the boat’s plastic windows failed to keep out
…being handed a pirate’s knife and plastic bone and prompted to wave them in the air to the intro of "Hooked on a Feeling"

Needless to say, simply telling our 2-year-old that we would be riding on a "boat-car" did not sufficiently prepare her for the thrill of the Duck. She was pretty overwhelmed with the experience. But it was a wonderful time, nonetheless. Abby got some serious snuggle time with Mommy and got to sit with Uncle Andy while looking into the water of Lake Union as we floated along. Zack enjoyed "wearing" Daddy in the Bjorn, while bundled up in an outfit reminiscent of little Randy’s ensemble in A Christmas Story. Josh and I got to make memories with our little ones and some dear friends on a perfectly Seattle-esq day.

Mommy, Abby, and Salmon.

Yes, at one point our very charming captain replaced his cap with lady Viking horns. What a kidder.

I don’t know if you can tell, but apparently there were portions during our frigid and windy ride where our youngest may have had a hard time catching his breath.

Till the next memory-making adventure…

fall creations

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Fall in our neck of the woods is inspiring. When its not POURING, it is absolutely a beautiful place to be. Its crisp, colorful, and makes a lot of people around here really happy (since so much of the year is gray).

Now that time is more precious than ever, I am realizing how much I love to create things. No, that’s not entirely true. I love to copy things that others have created. I have a friend at MOPS who creates, and shares her ideas with us. Thanks to her wonderful, creative mind, I have some fun ways to display my Fall pictures from the last few years.

I was hoping Abby would also enjoy crafting as much as I do . . . which she does, unless it involves an edible medium. She and I set aside some time to decorate Halloween cookies, and it was going pretty well, until I left the room to go change Zack’s diaper. I came back to the table to find a little girl with an empty tube of icing and a smirk on her face. The cookies turned out fine, but notice that very few of them are decorated with black icing . . . since that’s what Abby ended up eating in lieu of her dinner. Silly me for leaving the room. I would have done the same thing 😉 .

i heart halloween

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I tried to have very low expectations for our first Halloween with two. Abby has been testing us quite a bit this week, wanting things her way or no way. And the little guy has been going through a growth spurt . . . very fussy and very hungry. We had a slightly disappointing beginning to our day, but the evening ended pretty well.

We started out early this morning and headed to a local clinic to get our H1N1 shots. We arrived a half hour after the clinic opened to a line that would have taken us 4 hours to get through. So the thought of waiting in the cold with two small kids was terribly unappealing, and we turned around.

On the way home, we spotted a pumpkin patch, and pulled over. But a muddy field and cold weather kept us from picking. So, we headed to the grocery store to pick up some sugar cookies for decorating, and let Abby parade around the store in her costume. She was the bell of the Fred Meyer, as people pointed and smiled at our little Minnie Mouse, so that redeemed our seemingly endless car ride.

We also found another "pumpkin patch" a little closer to home (aka Safeway) that was giving their punkins away, so Josh grabbed a few for our pie-making enjoyment.

By this time, Abby was rubbing her eyes like crazy, and the baby needed to be fed, so we sped home and had a little lunch. A little icing makes EVERYTHING better 😉 .

After a long nap for the whole family, it was time to get in costume and head to the Mill Creek Town Center, where TONS of little ones trick-or-treat every year, and our church was giving some treats and balloons out. Of course, an hour before we needed to head out, the rain started so I planned on our celebration to be very brief.

Our little giraffe exersaucing…

And with the zookeeper…

Obviously, Zack was not too fond of wearing his costume, but his daddy was THRILLED to wear him. Abby, on the other hand, couldn’t be happier in her Minnie "Diva" costume. She even helped me get ready for the evening.

One of her buddies, Brooke, was also a precious Minnie, so we had to snap a picture.

We also spotted a little Tinker Bell (better known as Madison).

Aside from Abby insisting on wearing my "ears" all night (mine did have a veil on it 😉 ), Abby was such a trooper. She was completely fascinated with all the costumes she saw, and at one point, in her giddiness, she said "Trick-or-Treat! Happy Birthday Momma!".

Zack’s night was not quite as enjoyable. We had to skip a couple naps today being out and about, and the poor little guy was NOT better for it. After nursing him in a nearby bakery, he managed to calm down, snuggle, and take a little nap.

Since Abby knew none the wiser (and it was fricken’ freezing outside), we stayed in the bakery the rest of the evening. Abby was still too little to really enjoy trick-or-treating, but she was able to have her first candy bar. She couldn’t eat it fast enough.

(I love that last picture. It exemplifies Halloween to me. Daddy’s hand, with a balloon tied to it, feeding candy to an exhausted, dripping wet little girl who has yet to have enough molars to fully chew the bar’s nuts and nougat.)

Over all, it was a wonderful day. Any time we have nothing to do but be a family is a good day, no matter what we do or where we go. Happy Halloween!

so full

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That’s how we feel after this week. Our tummies and our hearts are full. Josh’s dad from Florida, and  brother and sister-in-love from California, have come to visit us on this GORGEOUS Autumn week. The changing leaves are ushering in a new season, the weather is cooling, and our family is drawing close. Our cups of coffee . . . and the cups of our souls . . . are spilling over.

The boys.

Grandpa Dave works for the Mouse, and we got some fab tees to show for it.

Josh with two of his favorite people, in his happy place . . . on a Mac.

Abby and Grandpa Dave on a Costco run.

Uncle Cam’s look-alike.

There’s no doubt who the fam was rooting for. Maybe Abby can hand her jammies down to her bro for next year’s playoffs.

A little cup of joe, and some giggles, before heading out for a day in Seattle.

If only we could ALL look this cute in our Space Needle pictures.

Abby LOVED being in her backpack today, and didn’t mind the new vantage point from Grandpa’s shoulders.

The kiddos have been amazing all week, loving all the attention and snuggling.

Lunch on the patio at Ivar’s and mom’s obsession with trying to stay as germ-free as possible this flu season. Yeah, I’m a nervous wreck. 

Lacy, Cam, Abby, and Rachel.

Attacked by some clown.

Taking this picture with people we love NEVER gets old.

At this season in our lives, miles and state borders separate us from our family, but our heartstrings, more than ever, are drawing us close.