Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Playing catchup again! Being an adult leaves little time for things like journaling/blogging, doesn't it? But I'll try to do a broad recap.

For Landon's Spring Break this year, we decided to head down to Portland, Oregon to visit his Grandpa Burgener.

I'm so glad we went! We have lived within a few hours of Grandpa and Betty for years and hadn't done a proper visit. They were very gracious and happy to see us.

While there, we figured we may as well do some epic exploring!! We've been to Portland twice before as a family (and I used to live near here as a young child), but we haven't had much chance to see the sites.
We decided to use our time to take a ride on the Portland Aerial Tram, visit Powell's, eat our weight in food at the Portland food trucks, and visit an ice cream hot spot called Salt & Straw. There's a lot of eating involved in visiting Portland. :)

The next day, we had a huge surprise for Walter. The OMSI Museum happened to have a traveling display the same time we were in town called Game Masters. It was about video game designers through the ages, and included actual game consoles, from 80s arcade games to the most recent Kinnect and Wii games. When I saw the advertisement, we discussed it at length. It was expensive. And we work pretty hard to stay OFF screens when we're together on vacation. But it just seemed like too great of a chance to pass up. Walt's favorite thing in the world on display in the town we were hanging out in? So in the end, we went. And literally this photo made it all worth it:
This was his face when we got close enough in the line for Walt to see the giant Mario/Zelda poster and realized what we were doing. He could NOT hold still. He tried out nearly every single game, we stayed for hours. He bounced from one thing to the next and told us all about the different Zeldas, Marios and Minecraft games. He asked lots of questions and we enjoyed chatting about game design and showing Walt some of the games from our childhood. He LOVED it. Sometimes, spoiling your kids is a perfect idea.

Meanwhile, Zuzu found some fun things to do, too.
They had a great children's play space and she spent about an hour exploring it while Walt continued gaming. :) Rumor has it there were several sections with science and art and some other stuff, but we never made it that far!

We had a great time. Each year, we've managed to scrape together enough money to do a little spring break trip, and I've loved all the memories we've made! We've seen some fun things around the PNW, and spent time with great family members. And of course, Walt's favorite thing in the world is staying in hotels. So there's that.
Peace out, Portland. Hopefully we'll see you again soon!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Bucket List #66 | Mima Mounds

The Mima Mounds are a group of... well, mounds in Washington that no one can fully explain. Mysterious geologic formation? Obviously, it went on the bucket list! We finally got a chance to visit them on the way to Portland this week (more on that later). 

They were actually so much cooler than I was expecting! 
It's a beautiful site with prairie foliage and a fun little hiking trail. 
The morning we went, there were dense gray clouds and kind of a fog settled over the mounds, which made us feel like we were in Europe or exploring a fantasy world. Fun. :)
We spent about 45 minutes walking around, exploring and taking photos. There are more extensive hiking trails and a fun picnic spot, so we could have easily spent an afternoon there if we'd had the time.   
The mounds are "unexplained" in that no theory has proven how the mounds got there. Our resident scientist, Almost-Doctor-Landon, told us that it was probably a combination of geologic factors, such as a glacier, and biological factors, AKA ROUSs. Or ok, just regular gophers. But it's more fun to imagine that we were visiting the Fire Swamp. (Is anyone still with me? ;))
We definitely had fun visiting the Mima Mounds! We'll rate it:
Maybe we'll go back someday and take a picnic. Anyone want to join us? 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bucket List #36 | The Pink Door

The last stop of my birthday tour was at a funky, fun Italian restaurant on Post Alley in Downtown Seattle. It's called "The Pink Door" and literally has no sign, just a pink door. You walk in and go down into the "underground" part of Seattle to an impeccably decorated bistro/hipster joint. It had live music and fantastic food.
The whole experience felt very Seattle-esque. It was a little funky, lots of hipsters hanging out, good music and lots of fun.
I LOVE going to fancy places where you need a reservation. I don't know why, it just makes me feel so cool. Like I'm in the "know."
We had a great time and I'm glad we were finally able to sneak away for a grownup meal downtown. We'll definitely have to do it again!

Bucket List #68 | The Great Wheel

The second thing Landon took me to do for my brithday was to ride The Great Wheel downtown. This is definitely a cheesy tourist thing - but it's one of those cheesy tourist things that you'd feel lame if you'd lived in a place and never done. It's not crazy expensive, but enough that I never really wanted to pay for all four of us to go - especially factoring in parking and a whole day downtown, all that fun stuff. So I was really glad when Landon planned it as part of my birthday extravaganza!
While it IS cheesy - this was seriously fun! We went right at dusk so we could still see the view over the water, but the city was all lit up as well. 
The scenery was amazing and it was kind of romantic and quiet and just us. Literally, because on a Wednesday night we were the only two people there! Which meant we got to go around a few extra times. :)
I probably wouldn't call this a "must do" in Seattle - but if you're looking for a fun date night we thought it was a blast! And we're really glad we went. We'll rate it:

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Bucket List #56 | Seattle Art Museum

For my 30th birthday, Landon wanted to make sure I knew that our adventures aren't going to stop just because we're getting older and more responsible. :) To that end, unbeknownst to me, he asked some good friends to watch our kids for almost the entire day so we could cross some things off the ol' bucket list. It was amazingly thoughtful and a great day!

The first place we stopped at was the Seattle Art Museum.
There are two main reasons it took us so long to go here. The first is that two young kids + priceless art = not the most relaxing time ever. The second is that we just always assumed that it was way out of our price range! Little known fact, if there are no special exhibits showing, the SAM is operated based on donations, and you get to choose the amount. So conceivably we could have got in for $1/each! Good to know for the future.

I should have taken more pictures...but I was too busy having a great time! The top floor has a great collection of African art, antiquities from Greece and Rome, and an Arabian/Mediterranean display. Plus some other cool stuff. :)
We also loved this cool "Italian room", which is an actual room moved from a house in Chiavenna, Italy, built around 1550:
And now I must have these windows in my library someday. :)
My favorite part was the glass display on the middle floor (which I didn't take a single photo of because I guess I was too amazed). Now I'm psyched for the Glass Museum. They also had some modern art, some of which we liked more than others.
I also must have a cool dictionary page hanging somewhere in my house.

All in all, we had a super fun time at the Art Museum, and will hopefully find our way back someday! We rate it: