February at home and in Mexico

It’s hard to believe we’re half-way through our time here.  We decided to head back home to Redmond for a few weeks with Lynn having meetings there and wanting to see family and friends.  It was our first time flying British Air and it was very comfortable.  The boys did great watching way too many movies and didn’t sleep a wink.  It was strange leaving at 9 am and arriving the same day at 11 am.  Within a couple of hours, Nathan and Jace were out for the night without anything we could do to wake them.  Adjusting to new time zones is a killer for kids. Good thing they don’t have much of a schedule to stick to right now.

Of course the first order of business for the boys was reuniting with their dog, Lily.  She jumped up so high in excitement when she saw us and ran out to our car ready to go home.  We’ve been so fortunate to have such sweet friends taking good care of her.  She’s been spoiled.  The boys couldn’t stop loving her and were so happy she hadn’t forgotten them.

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Tyler used his new iPod touch to film the reunion and didn’t realize until the next day that it got lost in all the excitement.  After hours of retracing his steps and searching high and low, he never found it.  Thirty days were all it lasted.  Not a happy mom. Grandpa J. came over right away to big hugs from the boys.  We’ve lived near both our parents for the past 15 years so it’s been hard being so far away.  Grandma J. was in Texas awaiting the arrival of Diane’s baby.  Little did we know baby Cora would arrive 9 days after her due date   She’s my 18th niece and it’s killing me not being able to see her.  She’s precious!

It was a whirlwind of jet lag and reuniting with loved ones and re-exploring familiar territory.  Somehow the house seemed gigantic.  The little boys ran all throughout the house in amazement, remembering all their old toys and special things.  We’ve missed the beautiful greenery of the northwest.  Driving for the first time in 3 months felt so weird but liberating.  I couldn’t wait to shop at all the stores I’ve missed.  It didn’t take long to fill my cart high at Costco with all our favorite items.  You can’t really buy anything in bulk in England and it was so wonderful to fill the fridge and pantry for a full week or two!  Going to brunch and lunches with dear friends was so fun to catch up and see everyone.  It’s been a little lonely and I’ve truly missed the amazing friends I have here.

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My dad took the boys to the annual boat show in Seattle to check out the latest stuff.  They always enjoy their outings with him.  He took them over to Century Link field where the Seahawks had just played.  They loved being right down there on the field.  Unfortunately, when they tried loading up to go home, the car wouldn’t start.  All the electrical power was out on a car less than 6 months old.  They were stranded downtown until I came to get them.  Poor grandpa had to wait for the tow truck.  Not a good ending to a great day.

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Sunday was extra special because Cade was ordained a Deacon at church.  We’re so grateful for family nearby that came to be a part of it.  Jace was especially excited to see his best buddy cousin, Grant.  We had a big lunch and enjoyed reconnecting.

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We timed it right being home for the Superbowl.  What an exciting game–the boys and Lily were so proud of the Seahawks!

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Jace was able to go to his former preschool for a few days and loved seeing all his friends and favorite teachers.  He joined the Chinese New Year march in the freezing cold. IMG_9183

Tyler spent a lot of time with his friends and Cade loved having loads of neighbor boys to play football in the park with daily.  Nathan dumped out all his Legos and had fun with friends too, especially seeing the Lego movie a few times!

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We spent the next couple weeks going to all the places we’ve missed.  Mod Pizza, Yogurtland, Taco Time, Pomegranate Bistro, and Daniel’s broiler – because it’s not easy to find a good steak in England. IMG_9264 IMG_9268

Lynn and I were able to slip away for some sun down in Puerto Vallarta for a week.  This was our 8th President’s Club trip with Tableau and I didn’t think we’d be able to make it this time.  We lucked out getting a great nanny to help out – who the boys fell in love with because she built massive blanket forts and had Nerf gun wars in the dark.  I don’t think they missed us a bit!

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We stayed at a favorite resort of ours, the Grand Velas, which pampered us with delicious all-inclusive food and fantastic service.  It was heavenly.  Reconnecting with so many amazing people was great – this group is really something special.  It’s been incredible to see such growth from our first club trip of eight to around 200 this time

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Some highlights were boating out to the Marieta Islands to see the spectacular volcanic islands and wildlife; snorkeling around the islands and through caves to see turtles, eels, manta ray and lots of tropical fish; watching baby whales jump alongside their moms; and my most favorite activity of  all–sitting in the sun reading or falling asleep to the sounds of the ocean.

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While we were basking in the sun, it snowed back at home.  The boys and Lily loved playing in it for a day before it melted.  Thankfully it was gone by the time we arrived!

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We returned home re-energized and finally got to see my mom.  We were scheduled to head back to England the next day, but at the last minute, I decided to extend our stay another week.  We just didn’t get our fill and Lynn was flying out to Singapore for the week anyway, so I figured we may as well be at home than alone in the apartment.  Poor guy flew all the way to London on our scheduled flight, only to fly out to Singapore 8 hours later.

This gave us a chance to hit the ski slopes!  Cade and Tyler have been watching all the Olympic coverage and wanting to ski all winter.  Thanks to grandma for watching the little ones, we drove up to Stevens pass and had an awesome day together.  The boys had a little private lesson to brush up on their skills while I skied some of the harder runs.  The visibility was so  horrible and I ended up flying off a huge jump I didn’t see and bit it pretty hard.  At least no one witnessed it, but I was sore for days!  They didn’t want to leave, but I was worried the pass would close again with all the fresh snow of the day.

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It was time to say goodbye again, which seemed a little harder this time around.  It’s a bizarre feeling to be living in two completely different settings and feeling the pull of both.  We have been blessed to love where we’re at when we’re there.  At least when our European adventures are over we will look forward to returning home to the place we love!

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Jace enjoying his kid’s meal

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