Thursday, January 24, 2013

Visit From the Daines Family

After a few months of trying to nail down a weekend for a visit from our friends the Daines, we finally were able to get together for a long weekend just before Christmas.  We have known the Daines family for about 10 years now, although I feel like I have known them forever.  We met when both of our families were living in Charlotte, NC.  We moved to Wisconsin in 2007, and they moved to Beaverton, OR a couple years after that.  One of the things we were most excited about when we moved to WA this fall was the fact that we would be only a few hours away from them, so we were very anxious to finally get our families together.  We were not disappointed.  We had a blast all weekend long, laughing, playing games, going on little adventures. 

It started off really fun because we had not told our kids they were coming.  They arrived around 8:30 in the evening on Thursday.  They ding-dong-ditched us, leaving a plate of goodies with a tag that said, "From the Daines" on our front porch.  As the kids looked at it, a bit confused, they came up our front sidewalk. 

On Friday, we let our kids skip school so we could take the ferry to Seattle for some fun. 

One of our service projects over the holiday season was to put together some fun care package type gifts, one per child, wrap them up, and take them to Seattle to give to homeless people.  Every time we visit Seattle our children wish they could do something for every homeless person they see.  This gave them the opportunity to pick somebody and give them a fun gift.  (The care packages contained things like basic first aid care items, socks, a gift card to Subway, gum, candy, homemade goodies, hand sanitizer, etc.  They were packed in reusable plastic covered totes.)  Our first order of business when we got off the ferry that day was to deliver our gifts.  Julia already knew who she wanted to give her gift to, so she and Lincoln found the man at his usual spot and delivered his gift.  The next guy we gave one to absolutely made my holiday season.  He was sitting on the sidewalk and Julia (the only one of our children who was so into this that she was not at all shy about handing out the gifts) handed him the gift.  His eyes lit up and got really big as he said, "For ME?"  He grinned and shook the gift and just shone with excitement and genuine gratitude.  We didn't stay to watch him open it, but just those few seconds were enough to make a lasting impression on all of us. 

We distributed all the gifts as we walked up the waterfront.  We stopped at a picnic area next to the aquarium and ate our lunch.   We had such a perfect day to walk around Seattle.  The sun was shining and warm and our spirits were high. 

This street musician was set up on a corner near Pikes playing this tiny little piano.

We made the walk up to the Seattle Sheraton and went to the annual Gingerbread Village display there. 

We are excited to make this an annual tradition for our family.  The line was long (although I'm sure it would have been much worse on Saturday or Sunday),  but it moves pretty quickly. 

It was definitely worth it.  Such a fun FREE event.  We are always happy to add a free event to our traditions.

As we walked we also made stops at Pikes Place Market, and the gum wall. 

 There are always plenty of fun things to see just walking through Seattle.  We stopped for a few photo ops on our way back to the ferry terminal.

When you arrive in Seattle at the ferry terminal, you can walk along the waterfront, literally right next to the water.  But if you want to head into the city, you have to head uphill.  The streets are very steep leading up from the water and there are a few places where there are stairs for pedestrians leading up to the market.  This picture was taken on our way back down, almost to the bottom.

The sun was getting low by the time we got back to the waterfront.  It was, after all, the shortest day of the year.

Joe and Anita- keeping it spicy after all these years...

I had originally planned to do one post about their entire visit, but obviously  I'll have to break it up because we crammed so much fun into a few short days!