Tag Archives: seattle

Seattle Day Two: Quack Quack

If there is one thing we always try to do in a new city it is a tour, which is ironic because we aren’t actually tour people. But a hop on hop off bus tour always gives us an easy overview of a city without having to figure it out on our own (even though my husband is the research king) and generally for a fairly low price vs the value of what we get.

So we decided to step it up and go full tourist on our second day in Seattle, and give the kids a tour they would actually enjoy, so naturally we did the Seattle Duck Tour, full of the cheesiest of the cheesy tour guides you could possibly imagine, but since the bus turns into a boat, and actually goes on the water, well, we had to do it. And of course we couldn’t say no to the quackers, also known as the most irritating whistle you will ever give your children, along with permission to use it at will. Trust me.

About 2 minutes into the tour, which was cold and windy, L fell asleep. This left F to hold down the ship with sharp observations about the people we drove past and the things we saw. His highlight was definitely the water part of the tour, where he happily quacked away at any and everything he saw. We rode past Gas Works Park, and knew we would be back to check it out the next day, and at the end of our tour F turned to us and said “Huh. I didn’t know this would be so boring!” I’m pretty sure this was not given a seal of approval by our 5 year old, but we enjoyed it!

Waiting for the duck to take off

Waiting for the duck to take offQuacker!Quacker!Gas Works ParkGas Works ParkWatching a sea plane take off with Seattle in the backgroundWatching a sea plane take off with Seattle in the background

Embarrassingly after we got back it was time for lunch, and we figured we may as well try out the Seattle Center Armory again for lunch, since it was a hit the day before, and we all ate some awesome pizza at MOD Pizza. Since we all have very different tastes in our pizza choices the individual sizes were perfect.

With L fully refreshed after her duck tour nap we opted to stay where we are and we headed over to the Pacific Science Center, which, in a word, was awesome. From the dinosaurs when we first came in to the toddler area to the hands on area where F stood and touched sea creatures for a long time, to the butterflies, it was well worth the cost to visit and the amount of time we spent there.

Pacific Science Center

Pacific Science CenterDinosaurs greet you when you enter. Dinosaurs greet you when you enter.

The toddler area was a great match for our 2 year old, L.
The toddler area was a great match for our 2 year old, L.If it is a sea creature and you can touch it our 5 year old, F, is there!If it is a sea creature and you can touch it our 5 year old, F, is there!

We checked out some other exhibits, and finally had to drag our kids away, with promises of ice cream, which always work with our two. After we paid our exboritent parking fees we headed to the Queen Anne neighborhood of the city to check out Kerry Park, an overlook which I am sure everyone is familiar with. Like all photo opportunities with a 5 and 2 year old the pictures were hit or miss, but we did walk slightly down the hill to a playground which they enjoyed more than the scenic vista. Imagine that!

Seattle from Kerry Park

Seattle from Kerry ParkF and L in Kerry ParkF and L in Kerry Park

Highlights of the Day:

Food:

-Seattle Center Armory/MOD Pizza (lunch)

-Poquitos (dinner)

-Molly Moon Ice Cream (dessert – yum!)

Sites:

-Seattle Duck Tour

-Pacific Science Center

-Kerry Park

Transport:

We drove down and parked by the Space Needle. It wasn’t cheap, but we had a stroller and it worked best for doing the duck tour and staying for the Pacific Science Center, and then driving to Kerry Park.

Helpful Tips:

The duck tour was cold, likely because we did the first one of the morning and it was overcast. They provide blankets but be aware it can be windy and cold, so dress appropriately (again, layering is great!)

You can bring food to the Pacific Science Center, and eat at any of the many picnic tables outside.

The playground at Kerry Park is fun, but not huge, and it is a steep walk back up if you park on the top by the scenic overlook.

Molly Moon ice cream is delicious. Enough said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seattle: An Ideal Family Destination

After the tumultuous beginning to our trip I knew we could really only go up from where we started, and even if we couldn’t I made the decision to tell myself we would so we were starting the trip off on the right foot.

When we first started planning we knew we didn’t want to stay in a hotel; setting aside the fact that if we all had to share a room we would be going to be around 7 every night it just wouldn’t allow us enough space to be comfortable and to have space to have breakfast every day without going out. We booked a 2 bedroom apartment in the Capital Hill area which, will not the most central, was still central enough to walk in and see the major tourist areas of Seattle.

We decided to tackle some of the bigger attractions on Sunday, and with the weather sunny and cool, a nice respite from the recent Atlanta heat, we packed up and walked into Seattle.

In the planning stages of this trip we had very little information to go on, as I had been the only one to have visited Seattle at all, and never Seattle with kids. We had a general idea of where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see, and we ended up going above and beyond over our week long visit to both Seattle and Vancouver.

Our first stop was Pike Place Market, or as our 5 year old, F, calls it, the fish throwing market. It was, understandably, crowded, but bearable. I think the crowds intimidated both of our kids so they never strayed far from our sides. The flowers were spectacular (and only $10 for a huge bouquet!), and while kids may want to rush over to see the flying fish you should take a moment to stop and literally smell the flowers. If we lived in Seattle we would be there every week buying new arrangements! We headed over to the main attraction, the Pike Place Fish Market, and watched the fish sail through the air. It was definitely a highlight for both F and our 2 year old, L.

Ready for Pike Place Market

Ready for Pike Place MarketThe flowers are stunningThe flowers are stunningChecking out the fish (he didn't realize this wasn't real!)Checking out the fish (he didn’t realize this wasn’t real!)

Once our bodies realized it was lunchtime we headed up to the Seattle monorail and rode it over to the Seattle Center, where we checked out the Space Needle from below, and went in search of food. We ended up eating at the Seattle Center Armory, which is similar to a food court but with local, fresh food options. It had great choices, and we didn’t feel guilty about eating there – plus we were allowed to order beer, which is always a bonus! This is also where the Children’s Museum is located, although we decided to skip it since it was such a beautiful day.

It was quickly determined that it was nap time for L, so we decided to take a taxi back to our apartment. We were told by a taxi driver that Washington required car seats in taxi cabs, which is not the case in most states. I am still not sure if he was correct, but at that point it didn’t matter and we just had to figure out how to get back to the apartment without walking, and so after some quick research and finding One Bus Away we hopped on a bus and it took us straight back to the apartment, give or take a few blocks. It’s a great app, especially for people unfamiliar with the city and its bus routes.

The Space Needle

The Space Needle

After naps we decided to check out a park that was recommended by An Emerald City Life (a Seattle mom) and we headed out to Ella Bailey Park, with a fun playground and great views of Seattle. We tried to snap a few pictures but our kids were more excited to play than to be photographed so we let them run off and play, good for both getting rid of energy and helping with jet lag!

Posing in Ella Bailey Park

Posing in Ella Bailey ParkChecking out the view from Ella Bailey ParkChecking out the view from Ella Bailey Park

Highlights of the Day:

Food:

- Seattle Center Armory (lunch)

- Skillet Diner (dinner)

Sites:

- Pike Place Market

- Seattle Monorail

- Ella Bailey Park

Transport:

- Walking

- Seattle Metro Transit (Bus)

Helpful Tips:

Parking is hard to come by – we paid extra for a space behind our apartment and it still wasn’t guaranteed! We did street park for dinner, and when we went out to Ella Bailey Park it was outside the city enough that parking wasn’t an issue. Be prepared to walk or take public transport, or pay a premium for parking. We found the downtown area very walkable.

We tried to do a Seattle Duck tour and they were very busy, so we opted to come back the next day. If you decide to do it on a weekend book in advance!

Layer, layer, layer! It was cool in the morning, but warmed up nicely by the afternoon!

 

 

The Truth About Difficult Traveling Days

It’s time to be truthful. Sometimes, in travels, it isn’t fun. Sometimes, in traveling, it is stressful and tiring and can lead me to tears. Sometimes, on our trips, I think why are we doing this? Yesterday, well, yesterday was one of those days.

We left yesterday for our week long adventure in Seattle and Vancouver. I was already feeling a little stressed because I am not a good packer. At all. And I struggle with this on every trip I take. I pack too much and it means we have too many bags and I just don’t know how to pare it all down so instead we have learned how to maneuver with too many bags and not enough hands.

See? I don't lie. We pack a lot. Too much. We know.

See? I don’t lie. We pack a lot. Too much. We know.

I mean, I may need 3 black shirts and an extra pair of jeans and shoes just in case, right? Don’t even get me started on the kids clothes. I did really well this time to only pack them 3 pairs of pajamas each. And, we have access to a washer and dryer every day of this trip. So, there you go.

Anywhoo, it generally takes about 25 minutes or so to get to the airport, and while we would love to utilize our public transportation (because, let’s be honest, pretty much the only thing Atlanta’s public transport has going for it is the train to the airport, sadly) it is really difficult with a stroller, 3 suitcases, 2 car seats, 2 kids and several carry on bags. We enlisted my parents to help us get there so we didn’t have to leave our car for a week, and as we entered the highway, 2 and a half hours before our flight time, with my parents and F several cars behind us, we came to a complete deadlock, with brake lights as far as we could see.

Not a car was moving for miles. Thanks Atlanta!

Not a car was moving for miles. Thanks Atlanta!

I immediately called my parents and told them that whatever they do they needed to avoid the highway, and take a different route. My husband, who was beating himself up for not checking the traffic ahead of time like the anally retentive guy he usually is, was trying to figure out the best way for us to get off the highway and take it from there. Unfortunately for us the exit we planned on taking was closed, with no prior notification before the exit, and after that there were no more exits for several miles. Thanks Atlanta, your public transport sucks and your highways suck and your decision to do major roadworks, thus closing down 3 out of 6 lanes on a Saturday where there are road races, summer vacation-ers, and a Braves game, well, that decision sucks. You can see how I felt about it.

There were tears involved, all from me, and a super negative attitude that ended in the knowledge we were going to miss our flight, also from me. There were also some words. Lots of words. It took us almost an hour to get off the highway, at which point we relied on google maps to lead us through parts of Atlanta I have never spent much time in, and finally to the airport, with 45 minutes to spare before our flight time.

My parents and F had been there, so we did a complete puzzle of hopping out of our car, my dad parking it, meeting my mom and F in the airport where we took advantage of my parents Diamond Medallion Delta status and got checked in right away. And, thanks to the generosity of several strangers in security, who saw 2 frazzled parents, a sick 5 year old and an adorable 2 year old and let us go first, and even helped me get all our bags when Lee had to take F to the bathroom. Sometimes the kindness of people can start to make it all better.

We made it onto the plane-train with about 30 minutes to spare, and once it got to Concourse A I was feeling pretty good, only one stop to go, and then it stopped. And just sat. And sat. And sat. I started to feel nauseous. Once it started moving I could breathe again.

L on the plane-train. She didn't know why it was stopped either.

L on the plane-train. She didn’t know why it was stopped either.

We raced through the airport, with about 25 minutes until take off, with Lee pushing F in the stroller because he was too sick to walk, and me holding L’s hand and making her little legs run at double speed, which is not easy for a 2 year old to do. We made it to the gate, walked down the jetway, and knew we were okay.

Gridlock on the jetway too!

Gridlock on the jetway too!

The one benefit to getting on the plane late means less time to sit while waiting to take off, even though I had to store our bag, filled with the snacks, about 10 rows ahead of us, with Lee. We sat down, amongst a family heading out to go on an Alaskan cruise, including a 2 year old boy that L befriended, and we took off. Straight into 45 minutes of turbulence.

So now I am smelly from running and sweating, flustered from racing to make the plane, scared because I really hate turbulence, and for 45 minutes all I heard was ‘Mommy, nutha snack? Mommy, more snacks? More snacks mommy. MORE SNACKS MOMMY’. Since I couldn’t get to the big snack bag I found every last thing left in my purse and she ate it all. Eventually we got the ‘real’ snacks and life was good, and quiet, again.

L did a lot of this, ipad watching and lollipop eating, while I waited for the turbulence to end.

L did a lot of this, ipad watching and lollipop eating, while I waited for the turbulence to end.

At this point I am thinking the flight is going pretty well. We are out of the bad weather, scheduled to land early, L was happily watching Yo Gabba Gabba and coloring, and I finally had a chance to go the bathroom. Which meant I had to take her with me, but since we were 2 rows from the back it wasn’t a big deal. We squeezed into the bathroom, and when we left walked up ahead of us about 15 rows to see Lee and F. At which point I hear lots of laughter and a nice woman kindly points out I have toilet paper hanging out of my pants.

I could have died. Actually on any other day I probably would have died. But I was so tired I just couldn’t muster up the energy to care. I laughed it off, chalked it up to just one more thing that happened, and called it a day. Not really, but I felt like it.

This is what all parents tray tables should look like - snacks and a beer. Yum.

This is what all parents tray tables should look like – snacks and a beer. Yum.

Then L seemed to do a lot of this, which involved washing her window, tray table, seat and more with wipes. Wipes are an awesome, cheap plane toy. Who knew?

Then L seemed to do a lot of this, which involved washing her window, tray table, seat and more with wipes. Wipes are an awesome, cheap plane toy. Who knew?

And then...sleep. Blissful sleep.

And then…sleep. Blissful sleep.

And then the rest of the flight happened, we landed, got our car, got our tired children to the apartment we rented, realized we are about 15 years too old to be hanging out in the area our flat is in, and went to sleep. Sleep is a great answer, because when I woke up? It was a new day, in an awesome city, and I was ready to take on Seattle.

'Mommy I do, by self!' Of course, a stubborn 2 year old at the end of a long day!

‘Mommy I do, by self!’ Of course, a stubborn 2 year old at the end of a long day!

Poor guy was still feeling rough when we were on our way to get the car but he was a real trooper

Poor guy was still feeling rough when we were on our way to get the car but he was a real trooper

And then, upon exploring our apartment rental, he declared it awesome and that he loved all the cool people hanging around the bars outside. Also known as hipsters, or people too young for us to be staying near.

And then, upon exploring our apartment rental, he declared it awesome and that he loved all the cool people hanging around the bars outside. Also known as hipsters, or people too young for us to be staying near.

Sometimes, despite the travails of traveling, even on a day when you wonder why why why, you hear your kids giggling about the day to come, and it is all worth it, even when you previously thought it wouldn’t be. When you wake up and look around you, at your happy kids, rested despite their jet lag, staying in a clean, safe, nice apartment, in a city across the country from your very own, you realize that you are lucky to have these opportunities, and a day of suffering is worth the outcome.

Everyone is rested, happy and ready to go after breakfast!

Everyone is rested, happy and ready to go after breakfast!