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The Peninsula

After 6 years of living in the Pacific Northwest, we finally made a trip to the beautiful Olympic Peninsula.  Since we moved back from Germany I’ve committed to spending less time in the yard and more time exploring and creating great experiences with our family.  This was a great trip.  It started off with a ride on the Kingston Ferry – the kids really got a kick out of the quick ride across the Puget Sound.  We made our first stop in Sequim – home of the Dungeness Spit,  – the longest natural spit in the United States at 5.5 miles long.  From Sequim we went to Port Angeles where we made our first night’s stay.  We had a great dinner at some little italian place in town and enjoyed a night of laying in bed watching tv while it rained outside.  After a morning run along the coastal trail in Port Angeles and a little exploring around the old town, we headed off towards Cape Flattery – the north-western-most point of the continental United States.  We took the scenic route instead of the highway – it was quite scenic diving along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, but there sure were a lot of twists and turns in the road.  next time I’ll go for the highway I think.  It POURED all day long.  We enjoyed a nice tour through the Makah Indian Museum and then we went south toward Forks.  We drove through Forks and went straight to the Hoh Rainforest.  Seriously Awesome – huge trees and lots and lots of Moss.  We did a short hike (~1 mile) throught the Trail of Mosses and then went to check in at the Forks Motel.  Day 3 was Sunday and it was beautiful – blue skies and sunshine!  We attended church at the Forks Ward and met a couple from my hometown in Northern Utah who were also visiting Forks for the weekend.  Small World!  We found each other because we both had Utah State license plate frames 🙂  Go Aggies.  After church we went to LaPush to see the Ocean.  Amazing!  the waves were so huge and the weather was so great.  we actually took our coats off for a few minutes.  After that we headed home – another great weekend in a beautiful part of the world. 
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Happy New Year 2010

2010 – the year of the…….TBD I guess.  2009 was the year of the leather bags (from Florence) and 2008 was the year of the kilometer.  Anyone have any good themes for 2010???  January has been great so far.  It was the warmest Seattle has ever been; however we did have some really cold days too and of course, lots of rain.  We have this little tradition of taking pictures before church on Sundays but since we’ve been back in the Duvall Ward and I have meetings before church; the sunday morning photo shoots have been infrequent.  the 5th Sunday in January meant no meetings (hooray) so Dad was on top of taking photos – of course it was a little wet out but we’re used to it – we don’t even need coats!  We also enjoyed our first dance recital!  Lucy has been taking ballet the last few months and we got to see her perform the other night.  It was hard keeping Ruby from jumping up on stage with her sister but we managed.  Lucy did great and was so happy to get flowers at the end.  She said she wants fresh flowers all the time.  great.  We also survived 4 days without Jen this month.  while she was off at the National Craft and Hobby Association Convention in LA, Dad had the kids all to himself.  thanks to great friends who helped out in the day – we all survived 🙂
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Seattle Fun

Had Jen’s family in town for a long weekend – it was fun playing tour guide again.   The Genesis behind this visit was that no one could get tickets to Wicked in SLC – but of course we could in Seattle.  So we got a few extra and Bev, Bo, Dallas, Joni, Jesse, Will, Mary and Nelson all made it up.  The house was kind of full – but it was fun.  we had people sleeping all over.  Wicked was fantastic.  Just as good if not better than the cast we saw in London.  It didn’t have quite the magic of the West End and looking right instead of left, but it was great!!  We did some great touristy things in Seattle and had the most beautiful weather we could have asked for (especially this time of year).  We hit a few fish ladders – never gets dull watching the fish swim upstream to spawn; and a couple of beautiful Seattle parks with fantastic views (Kerry Park and Gasworks Park); we did a driveby of the Seattle Troll in Fremont; and had the best cookies ever at Specialty’s.  The Outlaws won the game of Bang that we played (I was one of them so I got my name in the box again) and we watched movies every night including the night before we had to leave for the airport at 5AM!  I was pretty tired that day.  Myles, Lucy and Ruby had so much fun with their cousins and Uncle Dal!  We loved it all.
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3 Months Later

Wow!  So we move back to the US and I totally neglect our blog!  I think it has something to do with all the work that we had to do (and still have) on our house and yard.  Summer is flying by that’s for sure – but we are back into the swing of life in Washington state and enjoying the comforts of America once again.  We did a bunch of work on the house before we moved back in – painting, flooring, appliances, weeding, weeding & more weeding…then the real work began – actually moving in and trying to figure out where to put all our stuff.  Three months later – we still have boxes to go through and we finally were able to park the van in the garage (yeah!).  Good thing we have a deep crawl space below the house – I’m finding it is a great storage area!  We had a great time this summer at family reunions (Bear Lake with the Allens and Layton with the Grahams) and I just got back from a 57 mile hike with the young men in our ward (that deserves its own post).  Two more weeks until summer is officially over and the kids go back to school.  Wow! Fast Summer!!!!
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Comin’ to America (Neil Dimond Style)

OK, well we’re already here, but we ‘came’ to America Neil Dimond Style.  It was a great trip and we are settling into our little apartment in Redmond just fine.  It was really sad to see our house in Germany completely empty.  They loaded up the container and drove off while we locked the door and walked to our hotel.  We did stop for pizza at Caruso’s on the way – and had one last fun evening with Rob and Tasha, our good friends.  Where were the Smallze’s?  Probably cleaning or something .   We will really miss our good friends in Munich – but thanks to Facebook, Blogs, Email, IM and all the great products of the Internet (thanks Al Gore) it will be easy to stay in touch.  I’m not sure how it happened but we checked 13 items (I thought we were packing light!).  The stroller and car seats made it add up fast, but man it was crazy getting checked in when our taxi driver didn’t help at all!  No tip for her (yes it was a her).  Our flight out of Munich was on a small plane, but the big plane from Copenhagen to Seattle made up for the cramped space on the Regional flight.  Thanks to my Goldmember status, we were upgraded to Business Class and had all the room and comforts one could ask for.  It was funny seeing the kids with their seats reclined – watching movies on their personal TVs with On-Demand.  No one cared much for the caviar though.  I took a picture of Lucy on our flight out of Munich when she looked out the window and said "Goodbye Theo…Goodbye Friends…"  It kind of made me sad.  She really made some close friends at school both teachers and classmates.  Anyway, after 12 hours of flying – we made it to Seattle and got all 13 checked items and all 5 of us into the Grand Caravan and we made it to our temporary home.  We have settled back into trips to Target and Costco quite easily – and are doing our best to stimulate the economy.  Looking forward to getting back into our house next month. 
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March Fun (Euro Field Trip)

I won’t try to recap the entire two weeks that Bev & Bo were with us in Europe – I would need a bit more space (and time) to write about it all. Needless to say, it has been a fun two weeks – we really packed it in. Thought I’d share with you the highlights from the last field trip we took this past weekend.

3: countries (Czech Republic, Poland, & back to Germany)
3: days
1450: Kilometers driven (~900 miles)
7: people packed in our little 7 passenger
Touran (yes, you really can fit 7 people into this little thing)
1: Thule car topper – filled to max (especially on the way home)

Over 30: pieces of Polish Pottery we picked up real cheap in Boleslavic, Poland (the home of Polish Pottery). Lucky us that the US Dollar has gained about 30% over the Polish Zloty. I must admit the pottery was much nicer than the parts of the town – much of it was pretty run down, but we had a good time going from store to store and enjoying Polish pizza for dinner. We went to this small little pottery shop and met a super nice couple whose family business is making and selling pottery (mostly to the US). They gave us a personal tour of their facilities and that is where Jen and Bev found their favorite patterns. Such nice people. Here is a link to their website.

1995: The year the church building was dedicated in Gorlitz Germany, by President Monson and President Uchtdorf. This is where we went to church on our way home on Sunday. Gorlitz is on the border of Germany and Poland and has been spoken of by Pres. Monson in his book, Faith Rewarded as well as in a number of talks he has given (Thanks Be to God and Patience, A Heavenly Virtue). The spirit was so strong as we participated in sacrament meeting. This was the highlight of our trip. They asked Bo to share his testimony – and through a translator they were able to hear his strong testimony of the gospel. We met and talked with some wonderful people – and I came away with a great admiration for the pioneering saints who do so much in the small, remote branches of the church around the world.
 
After the in-laws left we made a trip to Frankfurt with a number of people from our ward.  Made a quick stop in Wurzburg to tour the Residenz Palace – totally awesome, especially the grand staircase!  The temple was great!  Had a very spiritual experience and feel that that was a great conclusion to our time in Germany.  We are getting ready to move (again).  5th time in our 9 years of marriage.  We’re getting pretty good at it. 
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