Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Original Emory

The above picture is my great-grandfather.  Joseph Emory Buxton.  He was born on this day, April 30, in 1900.  Everyone called him Emory.  He was the source for Parker's middle name.  He passed away in 2002, at 102 years old.  My dad could probably tell better stories about him, but I will share how I remember him.

Growing up, we always made a trip out to his house whenever we were in Nebraska.  The earliest memories I have are being a bit frightened and thinking the house kind of smelled strange.  I also thought it was weird how much hair was on his ears!  We would go out to his pond and see tadpoles as big as my head (or so they seemed.)  As I got older I started to appreciate the life experience he had.  He had lived through the invention of cars and TVs, two World Wars, the Great Depression and countless other amazing things.  He was so sharp too, it seemed like he could tell you every detail of an 80 year old story.

I don't remember much about my great-grandma, but I am told that when she got sick Emory did everything he could to help take care of her.  My dad will have to correct me if I get this story wrong.  I remember more from hearing it retold than actually witnessing it.  We were going there for some holiday.  By this time my great-grandma was no longer able to cook (I think) so Emory took on the task.  It did not end well, as I recall there being a lot of black smoke and such in the house when we got there.  Something was burned and burned bad!  He cooking skills improved through the years though.  My favorite memory was when I was maybe 13?  That made him about 98.  He had pulled out a frozen apple pie to thaw and was getting ready to put it in the oven.  He grabbed it of the table, but lost his grip and the whole thing flopped upside-down.  It didn't seem to faze him at all.  He grabbed the empty pie tin and scrapped the whole pile, broken crust and all, back into the pan and put it in the oven to bake.

If nothing, he was resilient.  Long before we knew that Parker would be "Parker," I knew his middle name would be Emory.  It is different and unique and gives him some character.  I wanted Emory to be remembered, and I hoped that Parker would have many of the things that make me smile when I think of my time with my great-grandpa.  They were both born on the 30th and I didn't think about that until today.  111 years 7 months separated their births.  I wish he was still here.  I think it would have been fun to know him as an adult and get to talk with him more about his life.  I will just have to make memories with my new "Emory."

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Today's "Worst Mom Ever" Moment

I know that I am NOT the worst mom ever.  But all of us have those moments that make us feel that way.  Parker and I took a walk to Target today and were heading over to my parents right after.  When we got back home I just put Parker in the car so we could get going.  He was very crabby at this idea so I gave him my keys to play with while I ran inside to grab his bag.  My dad has warmed me...and warned me not to let him play with them, but I didn't listen.  I grabbed the last item and was heading out the door when I heard it...*beep*.  I just stopped for a few seconds...then realized that my car was most likely locked...with Parker inside.

I ran to the car and sure enough it was locked.  I freaked out for a moment, then remembered the spares!  I ran back in to Jimmy's dresser and looked in the key box.  Nothing.  Then I saw his normal set of keys sitting there.  Unfortunately, that meant Jimmy had taken the spare to work with him.  Ok, time for plan B.  I will call my dad and see if he still has a spare set, "where is my phone?"  In the car, of course!  So I run to my wonderful neighbors house and pray that she is home.  Thankfully she was and let me borrow her phone.  My parents did not have a set so that solution was out.  There was only one choice left (other than waiting 5 hours for Jimmy to get home.)  I called the police.  They were very understanding, but I felt a little silly for being in that situation.  The car wasn't running and it was in the garage so he was never in danger.

The officer arrived within about 5 minutes and started to break into my car.  Just as he got it unlocked Parker started chewing on the fob, initiating the lock button.  It was "beep, beep, beep, beep."  I finally caught the door in time and we were clear!  The aforementioned wonderful neighbor made me feel better when she shared that it had happened to her once too!

Lesson learned: ALWAYS leave a door open if you are going to have the kids in the car (even for a moment.) And, don't let the kid play with your keys.  I did get him a fake set (which my dad is still unhappy with,) but it will keep him away from the real deal!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Seattle: Part Three

Tuesday was our last full day in Seattle.  We have made a habit of visiting baseball parks when we travel to new cities.  The Mariners had a game with the Detroit Tigers that night so we bought a few tickets.  We initially planned on taking Parker, but my mom offered to watch him.  This left an open seat, to which my dad asked to take!  He isn't a big baseball fan, but likes seeing new and different places.  Our rental was only 1.5 miles from the stadium so we walked.  It was a beautiful night for a walk.

View from our seats
The west side of the upper level concourse overlooked the sound and downtown.  It made for a lovely view at sunset.

We woke up early on Wednesday morning to pack and clean up.  We had to be out of the rental by 10 and didn't fly out until 5:30.  We had a lot of time to kill!
We said goodbye to my parents and they headed to the airport for their earlier flight.  We headed to the other side of the Sound to the town of Bremerton.  Our initial reason for visiting was because MXPX (Jimmy's favorite band) is from there.  
When we arrived, I learned that it is a Navy town.  Kitsap Naval Base is located just outside of town.  It also has a shipyard that constructed naval vessels until the 60's.  We stopped at the Navy Museum and learned about the history of the base and shipyard.

 They also has a great kids area with a little kitchen and submarine to play in.

Near the museum was a fun little park that led down to the waterfront.  It had 5 huge copper fountains.
 We sat for a while and watched the ferry from Seattle come in.
We ate lunch at a cute little cafe and headed back towards the airport.  We were then told that our (already late) flight was delayed an hour.  Thankfully, they have a wonderful play area, so we parked ourselves there for 2 hours!  

We headed to the gate about 30 minutes before our new departure time.  Parker enjoyed looking out the window again.
We finally departed 1.5 hours late.  Luckily our flight was only half full so we were able to let Parker sit in the seat between us.  He thought it was neat to have his own table for snacks and toys.
He finally fell asleep when the cabin lights were turned off and was out the rest of the flight.  We touched down just before midnight and were very excited to be home.
We were even lucky enough to get home just before a whopper of a spring snowstorm (another one is happening right now!)
Thanks for reading about our fun trip!  I hope there are more to come!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Seattle: Part Two

I was hoping to cover our trip in two posts, but I just have so much I want to share and this post would be so long.  I will have to settle for a three posts!  After our fun filled weekend outside of Seattle, we spent some time in town.

I had bought a Groupon for a Savor Seattle food and cultural tour of Pike Place Market for Monday morning.  We met up at Market Theater which is known for it's Gum Wall!  It is just as gross as it sounds, but also pretty cool!

We were led though the Market and learned about it's long (and sometimes torrid) history.  We also stop at 9 eateries and got to taste about 20 different items.
Mini Donuts, Market Spice Tea (I don't like tea, but their signature stuff was amazing!),
Tyler, our guide, at the flying fish stand, Pike Place Chowder
The last picture above was my favorite stop.  Pike Place Chowder was amazing.  We got to try both the original clam chowder and the seafood bisque.  Both were tasty, but the bisque was incredible.  No wonder they are in the Chowder Hall-of-Fame!
Chukar Cherries (chocolate covered fruits),  Beecher's Mac and Cheese,
Piroshky - Piroshky (Russian meat pies), tastes just like Runza!
 Parker took a snooze for about 30 minutes of the 2 hour tour.
We had so much fun, and would certainly recommend this to anyone visiting Seattle!  Parker loved the tour too and even gave Tyler a hug when it was over.
 We took a stroll through other parts of the market in search of some lunch.  We settles back at Pike Place Chowder and shared a big bowl of the Original!  Even Parker had some.

Chowder Mustache
 There is a small patch of grass and a "park" near the Market that overlooks Puget Sound.  We soon realized that Parker has never walked on grass since the snow never wants to end here in MN!  He was very apprehensive, but got the hang of it quick.
 It is hard to tell from these pictures, but he is trying to climb a little hill...then go back down!
We even ran into some Nebraska Cornhusker fans (they're everywhere!) who thought Parker was pretty adorable too!  We chilled for the rest of the afternoon and evening.  We had been on the run so much, it was nice just to rest.

Tuesday started with a tour of Chihuly Garden and Glass.  If you haven't heard of Dale Chihuly, you have some googling to do!  He is an incredible glass artist and is known for his elaborate blown glass pieces.  Chihuly Garden and Glass is a museum/atrium/courtyard that his full of his art.  It is almost directly below the Space Needle.  The pictures don't do it justice...
Below is a videa of Parker walking the grounds.  He was much more interested in the path lighting!
We headed straight to the Space Needle from here.  It was a quick elevator ride up to the observatory deck.  I was a little underwhelmed by this.  Maybe it's because it is only 518 ft. up, compared to Empire State (1050 ft) and John Hancock (1030 ft.)  It has some fun info about how it was built and several models to simulate the view at different times of day and seasons.  It was a "must-do" for the tourist, but I probably wouldn't go again.
West - Puget Sound
South - Downtown, Stadiums

 We stopped at one of the nick-nack shops and found this adorable piggy bank for Parker.  We had just been talking about getting him one and it was a nice memento of his first longer-than-a-weekend vacation.  My dad put in the first coin!
That's it for this post...The final post will include the baseball game and our final day trip to Bremerton.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Seattle: Part One

We had the opportunity to take a trip to Seattle this spring for my cousin Michele's wedding (#2, if you are counting!)  We decided to make a full vacation out of it and spent 5 days out west.  It was Parker's first flight so we were a bit nervous about how it would go.  He did wonderful on the way out!  He loved watching the action outside the terminal and fell asleep as we were taxiing.  He slept for half the flight and we were able to keep him occupied with snacks for most of the end of our flight.

Ready for take-off!
We rented an amazing townhouse near the International District that we shared with my parents.  We just hung out on Friday night as my parents had already done the grocery shopping.  

Saturday was the wedding.  It took place in the LaConner which is just over an hour north of Seattle.  It was also the Skagit Valley Tulip festival.  We only saw a few fields on our way into town because we were running short on time.  It was very pretty, but I didn't have a chance to get pictures.  Parker was able to find some toys to play with before the ceremony started.
 It was a beautiful ceremony and Michele was glowing.  

 Now it is time time to eat and party!  The food was so good!  They had mini pizza and cheese and crackers for cocktail hour and a full Italian style spread of veggies, chicken and salmon for dinner.

Parker loved the music and lights on the ceiling.

Parker conked out from all the excitement
So beautiful!
We woke up early Sunday to head back up north to go whale watching.  My parents volunteered to take Parker with them so Jimmy and I could have a day out and about.  The boat departed from Langley, WA, which required us to take the car on a ferry!  It was a very neat experience!
On the ferry
It was a sunny, but brisk day so I borrowed my mom's jacket and Jimmy took one from the closet of our townhouse (Go Ducks!)  We boarded the Mystic Sea just before 11 am.  It rained a bit just as we were heading out into the sound, but it cleared up quickly.
We were lucky and got to see the gray whales right out of the gate.  You first look for the spray from the blowhole, then see the back and (sometimes) the tale.  I didn't realize how sneaky whales could be! They can stay submerged for up to 15 minutes and reappear up to a MILE away!  There really isn't a science to tracking them.  The whales we saw have been coming back to the sound for 2 decades.  They have trained spotters that can tell you which whales are out.  They can tell by the white patches on the backs and tails.  We saw 2 different whales on our trip.

We were on the boat for 3 hours and headed back into town for a bit before heading back to Seattle.  Jimmy spotted a cupcake shop so we got some dessert.  He said it was the BEST frosting he has ever had.  It was light and fluffy, but very flavorful and not too sweet. 

While we were up north, my parents took a trip south to Mount Rainier.  It was snowy and cold up there so it felt like home!  The top was closed due to bad weather, but they still had fun.

We ended our day out with dinner at Ray's Cafe.  It was restaurant week in Seattle so you could get 3 courses for $28!  Spendier than a normal night out for us, but cheaper than it would have been.  Plus, our pediatrician had recommended Ray's when we mentioned out trip to her.
Lesa's meal (top): Crispy Calamari, Blackened Rockfish with hush puppies, Ginger Creme Brulee (best dessert ever!)
Jimmy's meal (bottom): Scallop Salad, Top Sirloin with peppercorn sauce, Blood Orange Cheesecake w/ chocolate sauce.

Up Next: Pike Place Market, Chihuly Garden, Space Needle, Safeco Field and Bremerton