With only one day of January to go, and zero posts here from me so far, it's safe to say that 2014 has started with somewhat of a bang.
Not only have I been trying to settle into some kind of groove with my new working hours (about to change, but that's a story for another time), we've also played host to family and friends visiting from both Australia and Los Angeles.
The first celebration, though, was Miss Pie turning the big FOUR. It was a fairly low-key event, but one that kept repeating with various visitors bearing gifts. Lucky kid. The thing that made her feel most special on the day, however, was when the candle-lit cake (lemon-cream cheese with butter icing) came out. Hell, I wished I was four again.
That same evening, my brother and sister-in-law arrived for a stay. We spent the next few days cramming in some sightseeing - mainly places I hadn't been to before.
We hung out at the EMP Museum, where they had a Nirvana exhibit. My brother, J, and myself, were (were?... still!) all massive fans of Nirvana so it was a pretty special afternoon. Bonus sightings were the Fantasy exhibit, complete with Jim Henson's hand-scribbled notes, one of David Bowie's costumes from The Labyrinth (I was obsessed with that movie as a kid), and the Lion's costume from The Wizard of Oz. As if that wasn't enough, we discovered the Sci-fi exhibit - Christopher Reeve's Superman costume, Star Trek memorabilia, and more from Dr Who. Knowing what science fiction buffs our soon-to-be-visiting friends from L.A. are, we knew we'd be back the following week.
Another new experience for me was the (downtown) Underground Tour at Pioneer Square. I'd had no idea about the history of the pioneers in Seattle, and it was interesting to learn about how the underground passages came to be, when they'd been the original open streets. There is some bizarre history behind Seattle's early days.
After my brother's visit was done and dusted, we welcomed our friends from L.A. Their daughter is the Faery's 'BFF', and they have another child the same age as Miss Pie. Get-togethers with these guys is pretty much as good as it gets, as we share a lot of the same interests but also get introduced to new things to love - through them - whether it's food, movies, TV shows, or books.
After six months of feeling a little (socially) isolated in Seattle, it was wonderful to spend time with our friends again. Their entire visit was a blur of chasing four-year-olds, eating, story-telling, more sightseeing, more eating, and late nights with four kids doing their best to evade us at bed time. What made me happiest, though, was witnessing the joy that the Faery felt to be with her little soul mate. The two of them giggled about nonsensical things, late into the nights, and it was incredibly sweet. Understandably, there were many tears when it was time for our friends to leave.
Of course - in that entire period of sightseeing with family and friends - do you think we saw the blue sky just once? Nope. Seattle did what Seattle typically does at this time of year, but I was pretty mad when the sun came out in full force the very day our friends flew back to L.A. A day earlier - when we'd been up the top of the Space Needle - would have been nice. Ah well.
After a run of dreary grey - but busy - weekends, we finally had a full three days of sunshine. We soaked it up by discovering another local beach and park (including views of Mt Rainier that guarantee I'll be frequenting the place in warmer weather and Instagramming my little heart out), and a trip to the zoo.
I looked at our calendar the other day, and was in genuine shock when I asked J where January had gone. I'm hoping February will be gentler, but I wouldn't redo January for the world. The time we spent with loved ones was more than worth it, and my soul was a thousand times happier for a week or so. In the mean time, I need to start putting those pennies aside for a trip down to California...