Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Seattle Vacation - Day 4 5 6

Hey family,

We were blessed with blue skies for 5 of the 7 days we were in Seattle.  From what I understand that doesn't happen very often, but it happened for us!  Easton and Layla wore their jacket or sweater almost every day at some point.  Notice I used the singular form of jacket and sweater.  We only own one of these for each of the 4 Webbs because Phoenix doesn't have many opportunities to dress like this.

The lighthouse in the background is on Mukilteo Beach.

We took the extremely short, but worthwhile tour of the lighthouse.  You walk in, go up the stairs, walk around and ask questions of the lighthouse lady.  That thing behind us is made of glass and has a modern light bulb in it.  I learned that this lighthouse has a signal cadence of "on for 3 seconds, off for two seconds" so that ships passing by know where they are.

The staircase leading up to the light is steep and old.  So much history and usefulness here...

The boys and Layla went to the History of Flight museum.  Layla only joined us because we made her and she was bored the whole time.  Easton and I were interested and completely involved.  Oupa and Doyle were even more tuned in because Oupa loves history and Doyle loves planes.  We had a personal tour guide and I learned so much about history and planes.  All of the planes in the museum actually fly!

There were a couple of days in here where I was completely unproductive and it was perfectly awesome.  I didn't do anything for hours at a time.  This is a new, strange concept considering how my life has been for the past couple of years.

The twins woke up every morning like clockwork at 7:00 or so.  It's not like we were on vacation or anything?!  The part that made this OK is how Kendra and I slept in while Christy, Doyle, Ouma, and Oupa took care of them.  Plenty of arms to hug them and hands to help them with breakfast and all the things eight year olds need.

During one of our hikes we discovered a banana slug.  The biggest slug I've ever seen.  We had no salt, so no slugs were harmed in the taking of these pictures.

Christy's granddaughter, Evelyn, spent some time with our crew.  I was happy for the twins to experience cousin connection with a kid their age even though she isn't officially their cousin.  The most interesting part of the dynamic between Evelyn and the twins was that Easton got along with her better than Layla.  It was an odd experience for Layla to not be the main focus of Evelyns attention.  It was as if she couldn't understand how a girl could want to hang out with Easton more than her.  Anyway, the three of them played together very well and had some memorable adventures along the way.  We found a bridge where I wanted to capture the extraordinary green and woodsy feel of the trail.

Kendra rested at home and Doyle worked while the rest of us went hiking.  The trail was steep in places, but everyone made it just fine.

There was a moment where Oupa had to catch himself from stumbling over Easton and he moved Easton out of the way quickly.  Easton snapped at Oupa and didn't believe him when he said it wasn't on purpose or out of meanness.  I'm guessing Easton's had some bullies or half-friends at school be mean to him so he puts that projection on other people in his life.  Anyway, Oupa was gentle and direct in addressing Easton's disrespectful response.  It was a valuable moment to capture in a picture because many grandpas wouldn't take the time to seek connection over pride or ego, but our Oupa does and it's impressive.

I was down in the mud and water with the kids as much as they wanted me to be.  Layla has experienced muddy lakes and polluted rivers.  This stream was the clearest, cleanest water she's ever seen.  Some people take that for granted, but to someone like Layla who's not used to it, she felt it important enough to show me.

One of the many highlights of our vacation was visiting GGMa's house.  She is Christy's mom and I'll always remember her as the lady who sings prophetically and has the most amazing backyard view I've ever seen.  She also has a little shed in her backyard called the "mouse house".  I don't know who named it, but it fits very well.  This is GGma with the twins and evelyn inside.  She made them snacks and they had the best time inside their own little world.

This is an outside picture of the mouse house.  It looks a little creepy in this picture, but in real life it looks very inviting.  Many of the man-made things in Seattle are tucked away, hidden among a bunch of trees.

I took a bunch of pictures from the deck of GGMa's backyard because it isn't often we get a background this special.  I noticed in Ouma's house and Christy's house that there are very few pictures of the four of them together so here's a good one I will print and frame for them.

The best way I can describe the relaxed, friendly atmosphere of our Seattle vacation is this:

So much of our time was wisely spent chatting about past adventures, God, and current events.  There have been many situations in the past where I spend a few days with some people and never really get to know them or share life.  This week I was blessed to really get to know them... and Ouma and Oupa even better.

Easton and Layla and Kendra together in one moment; My world, captured in a single picture.  If I can be the best husband and father, then my life will be considered a success.  There were moments last year when we didn't know if these moments would ever happen again.  Seeing her sitting upright at the table supporting the twins as they hang on her is a little thing to most people.  not even noticeable or worthy of a mention.  but for us it is a huge expression of how well she has recovered.  I am thankful.

Christy, Ouma, and Kendra together in oneshot.  there weren't too many of these taken because they were all busy playing with the twins, resting, having alone time, and going on their own adventures.

I took this panarama shot of the scene, but as you can imagine there is no way to do it justice.

I'm writing all of this after the vacation is over because we were fully disconnected from responsibilities, work, communications, and everything else.  Each day brought it's own excitement and outings.  there was very little time to be bored or to blog.  Whatever free time or down time I had was spent reading books and staring thoughtfully out the window.  That was perfect.  :)

See you soon!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Seattle Vacation - Day 3

Greetings family,

We're cold and loving every minute of it.  This day we rode on a ferry for the first time and played on the beach most of the day  All 4 Webbs plus Max were traveling on a boat in the ocean.

Max behaved so well on the short trip to Whidbey island.  He had no idea he was in for the best day of his dog life on the beach.

When we arrived it was still windy and chilly, but we were prepared with layers and hoods.  The coolness of the air temperature and the water had very little effect on the twins and their desire to play.  Beach buckets and shovels were the tools of the day.

This picture is priceless for me.  I smiled from ear to ear while watching Kendra trot along in the water along with the twins and Max.  This is a miracle considering Kendra's condition a year ago.  I will never get over or get used to the blessed reality of the life being poured out on our family.

You have never seen joy until you've seen a dog running on the beach.  Max found a playmate and they chased each other through the waves like a couple of best buddies.  His legs are substantially shorter than the husky dog so it was completely unfair, but Max played along just the same.

Ouma and Oupa sat on a log observing the play time.  They had no desire to get soaked and cold like the twins, but I'm glad they were able to experience this together with the 4 Webbs.

I captured dozens of pics from our day, but only a few of these made the highlight reel.  There was so much rich content that it was as easy as point and shoot and viola!  awesome pics...  Layla chasing after Easton out towards the waves in the extremely long beach.

Easton went out further than any of us.  He was the least scared of sharks even though we could all see the bottom and the beach was very shallow even a hundred yards out.

They had to pretend to be running in from the waves just for a rush of scared.  Max was more than happy to join them in romping through the waves.  His floppy ears drug through the water as his stubby legs hopped over the tiny waves.

Some bored people tied together driftwood with twine.  It is a massive pretend pirate ship with a second level, a ladder, and a lookout.  Easton could have played here for hours if we weren't having so much fun out in the water.

Kendra still has a lot of stress and tightness of muscles in her shoulders and legs and back, but she is feeling good enough to jog with Max on the beach and interact with the twins in a playful way.  It's difficult to describe how much I'm still appreciative and grateful for these simple moments with her.

I had no idea what to expect with regards to seafood and the Seattle area.  I didn't know if there are places where I can get crabs or oysters or clams straight from the ocean.  Apparently there are ways to do it, but none of them are cheap nor easy.  For that reason we settled with finding a few dead crabs on the beach and throwing them back for the seagulls.  I learned many things this trip about how we interact with the ocean and what's really involved in eating seafood.

We ended the day on a date night with April and Jason while the kids stayed home with Ouma and Oupa.  These are excellent days where we have all kinds of adventures and fun with the six of us and Christy and Doyle, but then get a break and adult time with just Kendra and I.  The best of both worlds...

See you soon!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Seattle Vacation - Day 2

Hello family,

Day 2 in Seattle was a tourist kind of day with lots of resting at home.  We even had a rare moment where Kendra took a selfie as we hung out on the couch.

I'm really glad for the twins to be bored from time to time.  They are finding creative things to do together and separate.  puzzles, coloring, reading, playing with toy plane sets, and all kinds of self-entertaining things to do during the down times between adventures.

Kendra prayed for great weather and her prayers are being answered:  Perfectly brisk and partly sunny.  I'm loving the novelty of clouds, breezes through trees, and the occasional misting.  We've been going on daily family hikes in the woods.  The trails look like this:

and the crazy things we see look like this:

The creek washed out a route next to a tree but the tree roots still connect to the other side of the creek!  Easton, Layla, and Layla Ruth are three peas-in-a-pod as we explore and discover all kinds of plants and animals.

Christy, Ouma, Oupa and Kendra go at their own pace while the kids and Max race up ahead.  These steep stairs and deep woods make for some great views and out-of-breath adults.

Layla and Layla Ruth are best friends if ever two 8 year olds were.  They are having the best time together.  I'm so happy for Layla to experience what it feels like to be around someone who has known her since she was a baby.

Dress up is always a part of the indoor togetherness.  When they are not touching slugs and digging for crabs through the seaweed, they dress up as princesses and have tea parties.

Easton and I are having some excellent bonding experiences and adventures of our own.  The Boeing factory has a tour and museum called the "future of flight".  The photographer superimposed us onto the factory floor in the largest building in the world.  It can fit Disneyland and 12 acres of parking inside!

There were some interactive things in the museum like this jet engine.  Easton loves anything related to flight, transportation, and engineering.  Seeing a jet engine up close was a highlight for him.

He sat in a cockpit of a 747 and asked me what each and every button and switch do.  He realized quickly that I have no idea about flying jets.

In the background you can see the Dream Lifter, which is an odd shaped plane that transports pieces of the Dream Liner, 787 to be assembled.  from this observation deck we saw test planes perform takeoffs and landings.  If i had to guess, this experience will be what he remembers most about Seattle, but we have a few days left in our trip.  :

See you soon!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Seattle Vacation - Day 1

Hello family,

The 4 Webbs are on a real vacation (no work, no school, no responsibilities) in Seattle.  Before we left, we had a big home-cookin' breakfast with Oupa's mom and dad, Don and Avon.  Easton and Layla are blessed to have great grandparents who are still alive and healthy enough to spend time with us.  Their only other great grandparents are GG, Ouma's mom, and grandpa Siebold on my mom's side.  Anyway, Avon and Don have been married over 60 years and I am grateful for Easton and Layla to have the chance to know them.

The 4 Webbs took a flight with Ouma and Oupa and Max to Seattle.  The highlight for Easton was riding the tram.

The highlight for Layla was sitting being Kendra and Ouma during the flight.

Max did great in the airport.  Kendra was able to take Max for free because he is considered her "emotional therapy" dog.  He flew well, traveled well, and is being an awesome dog just like we have come to expect.

Easton was a good travel partner.  He held my hand as we navigated through the mass of crowds.  Not sure how many more years I can expect him to hold my hand in public, but for now he is more than willing.

We arrived at SeaTac airport, hopped in the rented minivan, and drove to Christy and Doyle's house.  The view from their front yard overlooks the Puget Sound from Mukilteo.  They were hospitable to let the 4 Webbs and Ouma and Oupa take over their house.

We arrived under sunny conditions so we took advantage of the weather by going directly to the Picnic Point beach.  I took a candid of Ouma and Oupa walking hand-in-hand along the beach.  I am continually looking up to them as role models for how to love each other well.

Christy showed the twins how to catch tiny crabs.  They are both fearless and started to fill their sand buckets with these little critters.

Oupa saw the train coming across the island so Easton and I hurried up to the bridge so we could watch the train go right under us.  This was a special occasion to be so up close to these massive machines.  We felt the strong wind blowing on us as the train flew by.  It's hard to explain the experience of standing over a train as it moves along the track, but I know Easton will never forget it.

You can see by our smiles how much we love to be at the beach.  I wish we could spend more days and weeks at the beach throughout the year, but living in Phoenix doesn't lend itself well to beach life. We'll take what we can get!

The twins had their buckets full of shells and tiny crabs and sand.  The water was surprisingly pleasant, but the beach was not very sandy here.  It was more rocky than anything and there was massive amounts of seaweed covering the shoreline.

We met up with April and Jason and Landon and Layla Ruth for ice cream and a beach sunset at Mukilteo beach. Jason and I had a father / daughter moment where the four of us sat on some driftwood while watching the waves roll in.

Easton as being silly as Kendra took a picture of him on the log.  He turned his ice cream upside down and didn't realize it would be dripping out onto his leg, but it did.  I am glad he is comfortable and confident enough in himself to be silly in public.

Our Layla and their Layla really are best friends.  they love being together and get along surprisingly well considering their differences in personalities.

Kendra and April get along as well as any best friends could ever hope for.  I am happy for Kendra to be around April any time for as long as she can because it is good for her soul.  see the similarities between the two pics?

The 4 Webbs are together and loving vacation time more than ever.  I am so glad to be sharing these experiences with all of us together.

Back at "Aunt Christy's" house, the twins played with Layla Ruth and Evelyn, Christy's granddaughter.  Their backyard is big enough for a kid play area and grassy enough to be useful, unlike our rock and cactus filled backyard in Phoenix.  These are the times to take advantage of what's available!

When we watched the sunset, we saw the ferry transporting cars across to Whidbey island, which is where plan to go in a couple of days.  What a great way to start our vacation week!

See you soon.