Home from France and England!

We had to rise early to get to the airport for our flight. We took a taxi and it was raining a bit. We got there on time, and the flight was delayed. We ate some food and read and waited. It is Brandon’s birthday. We gave him a puzzle book and some treats.

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After we boarded we had our movies and food and sleep time. I was tired. I watched Lincoln and Pretty in Pink and slept. The kids had time for games and movies and a little sleep. This is Brandon’s longest birthday ever.

We arrived home around 4:30 and everyone wanted to go to sleep around 5:30 but we got Subway sandwiches and around 6:30 got ready for bed. The three youngest girls fell asleep on the couch reading around then. I went to bed just after 7. Brandon was at his friend’s house and went to bed the latest after watching the Giants game. Wish we could have celebrated more for him, but we were just too tired!

Mont St. Michel and Versailles

It was time to say goodbye to our retreat in the countryside. We packed up and closed down the house. We got on the road up to Mont St. Michel, a little city and abbey on an island off the coast. We didn’t have time to explore, just to see it and take pictures.

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We decided to try and get to Versailles by the end of the day. So we took off, found some food and gas, and then drove the 4 hours to Versailles. Just a couple wrong turns. And we came as most of the crowds were leaving. It was half price after 5:30, and we only had an hour to explore, but that was about the threshold of the youngest of the kids, and we were planning to explore the beautiful gardens for an hour or two.

We got in and headed to the Hall of Mirrors and the Kings and Queens chambers. This is quite a palace!

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When we went out to see the gardens, it was closed for a light and fountain show. We were so disappointed. Nicole was excited to take pictures, such a bummer! We regrouped with our disappointment and headed back into Paris.

 

Planning the trip

It is three weeks until we will be in London for our big family trip. I am starting to get really excited to go and just have that experience with Erik and the kids. I am researching places to go and see, trying to think about what will appeal to the kids, and find places for us to stay.

I have a few friends who live in England who have given great tips and ideas. My sister just went there a few weeks ago. And I have my past trips to London to draw on. I sometimes wonder how we planned our travel before the internet?  It makes the world come together and seem so accessible.

I am trying to not feel stress associated with the trip, just soaking in the joy of being able to go. We have all worked really hard to earn the money for the trip. So many blessings, large and small, have come together to help us pay for it. I am feeling grateful, excited, and curious to see what adventures are ahead for us in London and Paris.

Washington journey

Rachel and I flew to Seattle this morning and had a great tour of some harbor towns across from Seattle. I thought this sign in the airport was amusing. Seattle is near lots of water. We just needed a rental car, not a cruise ship.IMG_1723We had a delicious lunch in Gig Harbor.IMG_1726 IMG_1725 IMG_1724We then stopped in at Rachel’s aunt’s jewelry store in Port Orchard.IMG_1727

We then made our way to Poulsbo where Rachel’s grandparents live. It is a Norwegian town on the water. They live in a wonderful home with tulips and a great view of the water. We had a great visit with them.IMG_1728

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Her grandparents took us our for dinner. They are sweet. I loved watching them take care of each other and hold hands on the way out of the restaurant. Years of life and love together.

IMG_1731We then made our way to the ferry from Kingston to Edmonds. We made it with just three minutes to spare.

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We had a long drive up to La Conner in the Skagit valley where we are going to see tulips and have our Jacobsen women’s retreat.

This was waiting for us in the room we stayed in.

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We made it and united with the rest of the Jacobsen women for our adventures this weekend. Some delicious cookies and conversation, and we had lots of rain on the drive up. I am glad to have arrived safely, and I am looking forward to a fun weekend.

 

 

 

Zion National Park

Today Heidi and I flew to Las Vegas, picked up a rental car, picked up Crystal, and then drove to Zion National Park in southern Utah. We three friends have gone on numerous trips over the last few years. When we all lived in the same city, we used to walk the dish a few times a week. We started going on yearly getaways together. The first was a fun surprise trip to Portland, Oregon. We have gone local, visiting Muir Woods and Carmel and Monterey. We have gone south to Santa Barbara. We have driven up to Ashland, Oregon, to see a play and go for bike rides. We met in Salt Lake once, and the latest trip was to Zion National Park with a little time in Las Vegas.

It is always fabulous to talk and eat and think and discuss things with these two dear friends. We went on a wonderful hike to the Emerald Pools in Zion’s. It had some waterfalls along the dusty trail. On the way back down it was dusk, and many deer came out along the trail for feeding on leaves. We were literally just a few feet from them. The views in the park are spectacular, the red rocks, the soaring rock walls, the beautiful puffy clouds. We will have more time tomorrow to hike and explore.

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Going Away

I am going away overnight to celebrate Rachel’s 40th Birthday! It will be fun to be by the ocean and have time with other great women and celebrate this milestone for Rachel. I always have mixed feelings about going. I am going to miss my Friday night with Erik, a baseball game of Brandon’s, and time with Robin. The rest of the kids will have time with their cousins and grandparents at their annual Kousins’ Klatch. So it is a good weekend to be away without missing out on too much. But I do love my time with Erik and the daily routine. I used to have a travel bug when my first kids were little. Now I want to just travel as the whole family. Interesting to see that shift.

I will have some beautiful pictures of the beach and ocean and friends tomorrow from the time away. Happy weekend!