Friday, December 28, 2012

Deception Pass and Unique Lighting

One of the last days we were in Bellingham we made a day trip with my parents to La Conner (a town south of us) and to a vintage lighting store called Mary Davis Vintage Lighting. It was amazing! They had original 1920's lighting as well as reproductions and I could have been in there for hours. So beautiful! We will for sure be back to get lighting/chandelier for the living room and possibly kitchen/mudroom. Wonderful pieces and really sweet owners who you could tell were passionate about historic pieces. Looking forward to spending lots of money there!

We had lunch and afterwards my parents were heading to a another store and we were heading back. They suggested that we do a small detour and visit Deception Pass on our way home. The kids were happy so we went for it and were so thankful we did. It is breathtaking! 

We got out and walked across the bridge and around and it was beautiful. There were lots of beaches and trails you could go explore and so we will have to go back this summer which shouldn't be a problem since it is about 30-40 minutes south of our house! A nice way to finish up our trip in the Pacific Northwest!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2013

Christmas this year was pretty weird since my two younger sisters were backpacking in Thailand and not with us. It was the first time that my family hasn't been together on Christmas. I know that it is bound to happen sometime but it was still hard and strange. It was probably a good transition into not "normal" Christmas celebrations as it looks like we will be in Saudi next Christmas which will be a huge change for everyone.

We went to Christmas Eve service and enjoyed a beautiful candlelight service and then we came back for our traditional snack feast. My mom also makes tons of appetizers and we eat those for dinner. Lots of fun snack foods, appetizer and goodies to feast on.

We then got into our pajamas and read the Night Before Christmas, the Christmas story and then wrote our letter to Santa and put out cookies and milk and a carrot for the reindeers. Peyton was so excited this year and was ready to go to bed. She surprisingly didn't get out until we woke her up in the morning. 

We were all pretty blessed with lots of gifts and the kids were pretty spoiled. Thankfully we have a house now that we were able to leave some gifts at which also means things for the kids to do when we all head back this summer. We had a wonderful Christmas dinner and although it was small and missing a couple of family members it was nice and we were thankful to be back with my parents for Christmas. Next year should be interesting....I already brought some more Christmas lights and some new decorations home with us to help make us in the Christmas spirit in the desert. I am excited about spending Christmas in Saudi next year but nervous as I am sure it will be hard being away from family for the first time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Snow days...

Nothing like snow to make it feel like Christmas! Bellingham doesn't get much snow in the city but my parents live higher and often get snow. They can have snow as soon as you leave their driveway into the rest of their gated community, the community won't have snow. 

We had a couple of days with light flurries and not much. Some would stick but nothing too impressive.

Well one day it started snowing with light flurries in the city of Bellingham so we knew by the time we got to my parents that there should be a good amount of snow. 

We were pretty shocked when we came back and saw this as soon as we pulled through the gate....

Since we knew there must even more snow by my parents and that there was no way we would be able to get up the hill to their house safely, we decided to park the car at the bottom and walk up in the snow. 

You can see their house at the top left corner. The hill leading up there is a difficult walk when there is no snow and it was hard work walking up. 

My dad came down in the tractor and drove Peyton up to the top. Graham however was scared to go on the tractor so we had to carry him up the hill. Nothing like carrying 33 pounds up a slippery and snowing steep hill! 

Of course all that snow means play time. We went sledding down the hill in front of their house, attempted to make a snow man and did snow angels. Poor Graham had to wear Peyton's hat as I forgot his at our house. They had a blast!

We didn't make it up to Mt Baker this year but they were having record snow falls. I am looking forward to taking the kids skiing one year. Lots of fun in the snow!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Some of the things we did in Bellingham

The majority of the time we were in Bellingham we were working on our house. But we managed to sneak in other activities.

We attended church as much as we could. My parents have made Hillcrest Chapel their church home and we have made it ours as well. Peyton LOVES their children ministry and is always looking forward to going and we are excited at one day being able to move back and get more involved. 

We made our annual sugar Christmas cookies and then decorated them. Graham was old enough this year to get involved with the process.

We played in the rain often and shortly after getting there went to a consignment store for some rainboots which were a lifesaver. So easy to slip on and off and nice dry feet and as many puddles to jump in as the kids could find. Defiantly the way to go every winter! I am sure if we actually lived in Washington the winters/rain would get to us eventually but I LOVE it. I love the rain, I love knowing that it is what contributes the beautiful greenery around us and it doesn't bother me. I make sure to wear boots or my waterproof running shoes and a good jacket and I am set. I was a little cold somedays and so I need to upgrade my jacket but overall I loved the weather!

I bought tickets to take Peyton to the Nutcracker Ballet. It was a fun girls night with my mom as well. Peyton enjoyed it and was really interested in the first part and I decided to leave on a good note and so we left during intermission and went to get ice cream. It was at Mt Baker Theater in Bellingham and the theatre was beautiful. Totally unexpected. A fun night and maybe next year or the year after that we will make it through the whole show. I am glad we did it though and that she was able to attend her first ballet!

We visited many of our favorite eating spots. Had some mexican (or at least Washington's healthy version of it) and of course visited Rocket Donuts several times. John even got me a Rocket Donut coffee cup on our last trip there before we came back to Saudi so I could have a little bit of Bellingham with me here.

We love Bellingham so much! And every time we are there it feels more and more like our home! I love that John was able to spend more time there and see why I love it so much and why it feels like the right place for us to raise our family. I am even more excited that he gets to come this summer and experience the beautiful weather, parks, festivals, farmers markets and so much more! We really miss our new home of Washington when we are away....

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Flight back to Washington

Our flight back to Washington went surprisingly well...mostly because I had John with me and it is a thousand times easier to fly with a one to one ratio! I don't know if I will ever fly by myself again.....maybe....

We flew through London again this time and again the plane was crazy hot while sitting at the gate. The last time I flew with Graham, he ended up getting violently sick and throwing up the entire flight. Although there were several things that probably contributed to it, I do feel like the heat helped start it off. I was prepared for him though and had him dressed in really light clothes, no blanket and instructions for John to fan him until we were up in the air. I forgot however....about me....and I was the victim this time. I had already been under the weather and recovering from a cold and I did not do well. Thankfully John had Graham and I just had Peyton who unfortunately didn't sleep much on the flight but at least was content to just watch movies. I was so thankful that John was with me, I have no idea what I would have done on my own and am thankful that all the other times I have flown by myself I have not gotten sick!

We landed in London and had about an 8-10 hour layover so we went to check into a hotel, get showered, changed, eat some yummy breakfast and have some naps. We had already received our boarding passes in Bahrain so we could just go through the security and straight to our gate which was quick and easy. Our second flight yielded more vomiting for mom but other than a couple of crying episodes from Graham (which lasted all of two minutes each) it was a good flight.

When we landed in Vancouver and made it very slowly to the passport line as Graham now insists on walking and pulling his own backpack with no help (which is nice but SLOW) through the airport, I was worried about the line and having to wait with the kids and since I didn't have the solo parent card I didn't expect to get any special treatment. Thankfully we still did get some special VIP treatment and were moved to the front! We made it through, got our bags and were out to find G.

I LOVED hearing Peyton talk to Graham about finding her G and what to look for and on and on and on... As soon as we were out of the doors into the waiting area she starting looking for her and as soon as Peyton saw her, she dropped her bags and ran in between people as fast as she can to get to her for a big hug. Every time I see them see each other after a long time apart it makes the whole flight/travel process worth it. We were then off to drive across the border into Washington and for a month of enjoying family, our new house and rain!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Ready to Go!

We are all packed and ready to go to start our journey Washington tonight! 

The taxi picks us up at 10:00 PM and our flight leaves out of Bahrain at 2:00 AM. We fly to London and have a ten hour layover so we went ahead and booked a hotel room for the day and then we fly into Vancouver where my mom will be waiting to drive us down to the USA and to Bellingham! Peyton is overjoyed that her countdown chain only has one more ring left and she is planning on how she is going to great my mom. She was even talking to Graham about how she would help him find G if he didn't remember who she was since he is a baby and she is a big girl. So cute!

This trip seems to have been much more stressful preparing for with arranging plans for the house, and working to set up a contractor to start some work on the crawl space and then also ordering the majority of our items that we normally take the time to go around and buy since I knew we would be busy with the house. It just seemed like so much going on and extra long lists this time around. But we have gotten as much done as we can and are ready to enjoy a month in Washington!

I am incredibly thankful this time because John is flying with me both ways and he has the whole month off! I am so excited to have a whole month with John and have help on both legs of the flight! This is proving to be incredibly more helpful than it already was with both me and Graham catching a pretty bad cold. I have been sleeping and useless for the past two days and have a tiny bit more energy today while Graham started getting sick yesterday with a cough and runny nose. We are praying that he either heals quickly, or that it doesn't progress much worse and that he continues to handle it like the champ he is and with the smile he normally has!

So....11 more hours until we head out..... :)