Home Sweet Home

I never understood why anyone would want to live in Washington State.

I was bored looking at the same old trees, the same gray drizzle, and the same street I’d lived on my entire life. Our idea of getting away usually involved camping in Idaho, or a day trip across the Canadian border. Why did my parents have to choose this state to raise us in?

Victory Pose at the Top of Mount Si, Washington
Mount Si in 2013.

For the record, Canada is a beautiful country, with more Canadian cities being added to my travel bucket list all the time. It took a cross-country move to make me appreciate what I’d had all along. I missed hiking, visiting tide pools, and being dazzled by how many stars I could see when we went on our summer camping trips. Washington is a gorgeous state, and I’m always looking for excuses to spend some time soaking it up with my family.

Having lived in Florida for eight years now, we’ve developed our own traditions; things we like to do every time I come home. Mom takes me shopping, I go for at least one hike, and of course, we have to eat some fresh Pacific-caught seafood! I always have a good time, even when I’m just hanging out at home watching movies with my younger siblings. Did I mention we watched the entire Hobbit trilogy this time around?

Goofy Selfie at Home with my Siblings
Don’t believe the rest of my pictures. This is what my Washington experience is like 75% of the time. And I wouldn’t change a thing! Photo taken in 2013.

My most recent visit was short and packed with family adventures. It was extra fun having Michelle around for most of our outings. Having just finished her freshman year of college, she also had an increased appreciation for the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I also spent plenty of time with my other younger siblings. My family is enormous. I have four brothers and three sisters, and I got to spend some time with each of them, excepting my brother Eric, who was still away at school. Don’t worry, Eric, we’ll make up for that lost time with an epic adventure next time I’m in town!

Family Photo at the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park in Washington State
This family shot from 2012 showcases the entire group plus one!

Mom has always been an excellent host, asking me what foods to stock up on, and suggesting new hikes to overcome. Since this was my first trip home since I started my blog, she was bursting with ideas on what I should visit and share with the world. It was an awesome, gorgeous trip home, and just looking through the photos we took makes me smile.

In the week I was home, we made a special visit to the Pacific Science Center to see the much-anticipated Pompeii exhibition, and to relive some of my favorite childhood memories in the exhibits that have been around for years. I’m looking at you, dino exhibit!

Dinosaur Exhibit at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington

We ate plenty of delicious food, from teriyaki salmon to authentic French crepes. It’s usually pretty easy to pick a clear winner out of the bunch. I love The Crab Pot, a fantastic seafood restaurant with several waterfront locations. We go almost every single time I visit, and we always order the Alaskan Seafeast, otherwise known as the crab boil of my dreams. It’s so huge, and so delicious, it’s even been featured on Man Vs. Food!

Mom and Jared at The Crab Pot in Bellevue WashingtonJared Wearing His Crab Pot Bib, and a Close up Shot of our Sea Feast

While we did enjoy a heavenly lunch at the Bellevue location, my favorite dinner experience this time around was spent catching up with my younger brother Jared at BJ’s Brewhouse. One of my favorite things about visiting home has to be spending time with my now-adult siblings. Jared’s so grown up now, he even tried to pay for my dinner. Awwww.

I also got to spend some time with my youngest siblings, attending Rachel’s swimming lessons, Christopher’s band concert, and going to the movies with the whole crew. I visited Jared at work, saw my little Michelle through her coworkers eyes, and played games and watched movies with my parents. I even got to see my sister Jennifer, however briefly, before she returned to her fast-paced life in Seattle.

Rachel after Swimming, and Chris after his band concertMy Family at a LWHS Band ConcertPlaying Dress Up with Michelle, and Enjoying the Pacific Science Center with my Parents

This may not be my most popular post, and I hope you’ll forgive me for being self-indulgent. I love my family, and I love Washington, and I truly treasure each visit to the place I will always call home. I’m excited to share a few posts with you in the coming weeks about all the fun things we did, from visiting the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival to running to the base of Snoqualmie Falls. I’ve already posted quite a few pictures on my brand new Instagram page, for those who are interested, and I can’t wait to share the details of those adventures very soon! Stay tuned!

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