The Pacific Northwest: Roller Coaster Edition

When was the last time you rode a roller coaster?

I don't mean the kiddie coaster. I mean a sky-high, drop-you-a-mile-a-minute, take-your-breath-away roller coaster. If you are a fellow Minnesotan, picture Valleyfair's unfortunately named Wild Thing. (Yes, the jokes while you wait in line are ubiquitous. "I can't wait to do the Wild Thing with you, baby." "Remember last year when we did the Wild Thing? Man, I'm so excited to do it again." "I never scream as loud as I do during the Wild Thing.")

It's crazy and fun and exhilarating and ohmyword why did I choose to do this to myself?

That's pretty much my life lately.

I'd like to promise that I'll fill you in with all the details this week. But seeing as I don't know which direction the coaster is going to crank me next, I'd best not make commitments. (Although I do have high hopes to share a few stories this week, because this week is critical to a lot of the developing plot lines.)

But I can tell you this: Kieran, Corey and I are in Seattle right now. I'm accompanying Corey on a business trip that requires my presence. (I'm so cryptic, aren't I? I could totally be a spy.) And since Kieran is a nursing machine and my favorite cuddle monster, he came along for the ride.

Here are a few pictures of our adventure yesterday (which I originally shared on Twitter).

Kieran's first flight. (He's waving to our other kids who are at home with the world's best babysitters right now.)

I love sitting next to the window. In fact, if I don't have a window seat, I compulsively lean forward every few minutes to sneak a glance out the window nearest me. (Yes. I'm that annoying person.) Yesterday was amazingly clear from the time we left Minneapolis until we got to the Cascade Mountains, at which point the marine layer captured us. I took this picture over Montana, I think. Can you see the huge lake near the top of the photo? Does anyone know what that body of water is? It had a long and fairly large river snaking out of it to the south, if that helps.

Kieran slept for about an hour, then just hung out for the remainder of our 3.5-hour flight. He was a great traveler. (And we were very thankful to the grandfather who originally had the third seat in our row. He voluntarily moved to another seat after take-off so we could have a little extra room for the baby. Sweet, generous gesture.)

Once we arrived in Seattle, we headed downtown to take a huge ferry. This is our boat as it approached the dock where we were waiting.

Having never been on a ferry this large before, I was totally fascinated. And give Seattle credit, because they have this form of transportation down to a science. Foot traffic disembarks on the upper walkway. Wheeled transportation exits on the lower road (first bikes, which came streaming off like a race was beginning, then motorcycles, then cars; so orderly). Then we were given the green light to head aboard.

Me and Kieran on the windy "sun deck" (which is how I think the ferry should label the upper deck; I know it's not always cloudy in Seattle, but wouldn't it make you laugh if the signs showed sun deck in quotes?). For the record, I'm not trying to get Pepsi so sponsor my blog. That's actually a huge glass of iced tea, which was vital after nursing a baby through a long plane ride.

If you know the area, the fact that we took the ferry has probably clued you in to the fact that we're not staying in Seattle proper. We're actually on the Kitsap Peninsula, which is a finger of land west of downtown Seattle. The ferry we rode dropped us on Bainbridge Island, which is adorable and New England-y and reminds me a lot of Maine. (Or at least what I think Maine looks like. What do you think, Jo?)

I've never been to the Pacific Northwest before, save that summer I was a camp counselor for two weeks in the mountains of Oregon. A few initial thoughts about the greater Seattle area:

1. Water, water everywhere. Which I love. Water is my lifeblood, my comfort, my joy. (If I had written the Psalms, I would have written things like, "God is my clear quiet lake" and "You, Oh Lord, are the mighty waves of the ocean; whose power is like yours?") I thought only Minnesota had water every direction you look. I was wrong.

2. It's gray. And cool. In June. Sigh. I wish the sun would come out. Because then this area would be gorgeous.

3. The trees are huge. Like, gigantic huge. I fully expect the one outside my window right now to open it's eyes and start speaking Entish to me.

4. We are staying in Poulsbo, which is a quaint, seaside village of Norwegian heritage. All the Velkomen signs and Vikings horns and Scandinavian architecture make it feel strangely like home.

And now Kieran's awake and ready to eat and we're going to head out to explore. More to come.


  1. We went to Seattle when I was around 12 weeks pregnant with my Natalie. I was lucky enough to accompany my husband on a business trip as well. It was the end of September. IT WAS GORGEOUS. I want to go back. But I know it may never be that beautiful again. We had sun every day - and when the sun makes all that water sparkle it was like a vacation drug. Combine that with the company's activities for everyone, and it was truly magical. We took a ferry to an island somewhere for a salmon bake. The spouses had a private author reading of her latest book in an historic bookstore downtown. We stayed within walking distance of Pike's Place market. We went on a private bus tour of the city. The spouses got to go watch glass blowing, and then make our own paper weights. MAGIC. Never to be duplicated on our own dime.

  2. Oh my word! I forgot the private banquet at the Boeing Museum of Flight! The museum was shut down for everyone but us! Good times...

  3. My girl and I rode that same ferry 3 years ago when we went to Seattle! And took a picture of the sign pointing the way to Poulsbo because I have a friend who grew up there!

    On your way back you HAVE to stop by Pike Place Market. And see the incredible, and incredibly cheap, bouquets of flowers they sell! (And at one end of the Market, just around the corner is the Bubble Gum Wall. Your kids will love putting their gum on it with thousands of other wads that are years (decades?!) old.

  4. I think pictures from a plane are pretty amazing, I am terrified of heights, but I love to look out the window, and have the window seat as well. It's so amazing to see the world from that far up!

  5. I'm reading your blog while eating cream beef on toast.

    Left you a message tonight before knowing you were in Seattle. Have fun!

  6. I have loved reading about your trip via email and seeing all of the pictures... wait- you haven't sent those promised emails yet!! :)

    And for the record, I think that we are the world's best babysitters (I know, so humble!)- though I am sure that Josh and Nicole are a close 2nd. :)

    Can't wait to hear more about the trip!

  7. YAAY! LOVE the PNW! That's my home area. Paulsbo is lovely. Enjoy!!
    Also, it's an unusually cold and cloudy June from all I've heard, but also June is often cloudy. I hope you get to see the Olympics and Mt Rainer before you leave. And I can't wait to hear all the news.

  8. I've never been much of anywhere, so thank you for this glimpse into Seattle! I'm not much of a traveler and don't really have much of a desire for it but I love reading about other places!

  9. Oh my goodness -- I do not know you, but I grew up in Poulsbo. How funny! Wish it was sunny for you guys -- when it's sunny, there is no better place to be!

    Enjoy your time there -- and eat a Viking Doughnut at Sluys' Bakery!

  10. How fun that you get to escape a bit with Corey & Kieran! I love the land that spans from Seattle to Vancouver. And yes, I think parts of it can pass for Maine. It's all just so beautiful.
    That said--and don't hate me--we've have lots of sunshine this week and month. Hopefully you'll get your share on this trip!.

  11. We honeymooned in Seattle and we actually got SUNBURNED. Sunny most of the week! We liked it so much there that we tried to figure out how we could move there! My hubby was like, "I bet I could get a job with Bowing..." Alas, since neither of us have no family beyond Minnesota we probably won't ever move there.

    Did you get to try those coconut-covered fruit logs? SO yummy! But I hope you weren't like me and forgot to pack your precious jar of marionberry preserves in your checked bag and had to dump it at security. I'm still bitter about that one.

  12. Wow, one ginormous sigh of happiness seeing all these pictures. You were in my favorite place on earth. Yes, the weather takes some getting used to, but it's SO WORTH IT. There's so much to see and do and experience and...I love it all. Can't wait to hear more and yes, I'll be at the party you mentioned in your DM. : )