9 months in!

Just doing a little calculation in my mind that it’s been almost 9 months since we moved here and life has never seemed so busy ever!  Even when we owned the business I don’t feel as though it was this busy.  Perhaps some of it, maybe most of it, is kid driven based on play dates, science fair projects, basketball games and hip-hop classes (Kayla not me) but I think in general we’ve just taken on a much more energetic life.  Now I don’t mean energetic as in working out I think it means more so being involved and out and about.  Some of this might just be thinking differently about how life was back in the AZ – who knows.

Denise and I continue to finish up school with Denise being much closer than I but both of us feel as though we’re probably just going to continue on down our higher education path and rightfully so.  Up here a bachelors really is equivalent to a highschool diploma if you want anything more than burger flipping or baristaring (although I would bet most of the good baristas also have ba degrees!) so it makes sense we would continue sweating and perservering to get our Masters degree.  This way we can be better role models for the kids too!   I shall be glad when it is finally over however, however long the entire process takes, but Grand Canyon makes it really easy to get in to classes and focus on the work.

Well this is a super exciting update, that much I am sure of, but if you made it all the way through kudos to you!  Maybe leave a little comment?

It’s a party in Seattle!

So I think I’ve probably this clear enough but Seattle is a bit different.  In fact I think this is quite a bit of an understatement the more I live here and the more I/we get to experience.  Take this Saturday for instance which was the birthday party of the most fab Cindy Saver (free link: www.residentialongings.com – she’s a great Realtor too) who threw a wonderful shin dig if I must say.  We all bundled up, it is still January you know, and headed on into the city.  Parking on the street wherever we could, it was dark but the streets were packed with people milling around and there was just an electric vibe with the light rain too.  When we got inside the eclecticism didn’t stop.

We were greeted with all sorts of different people some with bow ties, some with tutus and some with plain t’s + jeans.  It was an interesting sight that only seemed to extend as the night went on.  People came and left.  A giant rendition of Happy Birthday with orchestral base accompaniment was enjoyed by all.   People also felt totally free to bring their dogs too!   And just when we thought it couldn’t get any more unique the Seattle Fire Department showed up to wish Cindy happy birthday only to whisk away again for an emergency call.

All in all it was a great night highlighted by our trip to the rooftop for a little nighttime photography as attached.  It’s events like these that serve to highlight the diverse culture, people and experiences you can have being part of a community like this.

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A Skaters Life for Me…

Ethan is totally into his skateboarding thanks to the immensely talented Ryan Handy his instructor.  He really did such an awesome job taking him from someone who was not too sure on his footing to someone ready to take risks and have some fun!

We’ve hit the skatepark numerous times since his lessons ended and he has loved it and to be honest I’m more than a little jealous.  What it does though is gives me a chance to play around with video again something I enjoy so much.  Just a short update for now.  Perhaps something a little more in depth a few days from now? :0

Hiking in the mountains

So today was/is my birthday and we thought what better way to celebrate then start to take in all the awesome hiking Washington has to offer.  I had previously looked up this hike: (http://www.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip/364362) and it seemed like it would be pretty easy.  Poo Poo Point is part of the Tiger Mountain State Forest and is where many para-gliders launch from so you gotta be careful on the ground! Whew after getting about 1 mile or so in after 90 minutes we had to stop!  The descent was what we were really worried about since some other hikers had mentioned we still had quite a ways to go.  The kids were troopers and loved every minute of it.  Here are some snaps: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eekphotography/sets/72157631487728710

This past month has also brought new school for the kids and boy are we ever impressed!  The schools here are ultra amazing from communications, teacher engagement and educational content.  Everything they do seems to be a notch above what we are accustomed to including proper music and art classes that focus on core concepts – what a refreshing change for a school to actually be good.

Coming up next week we finally get to move into a three bedroom place!  While it is in one of the older buildings it is super quaint with hardwood floors and lots of charm.  Yes I know that doesn’t mean too much considering it is an apartment we don’t own but to live somewhere nice with unique features and also some space as well.  Wish us luck!

What’s it like here?

Some people undoubtedly ask at some point why we would trade super cheap rent, lots of land and space to move around for our life here in Seattle?  If they saw our arrangement in person they probably would only have a stronger opinion that we are completely mad in the head.  We downgraded from a 5 bedroom 2800 square foot home for the comforts of a 2 bedroom apartment which costs more (a 3 bedroom is on the way though…).  Why?

There are plenty of reasons and they keep getting stronger by the day:

  • Culture – there is so much more culture that is easily accessible here.  No getting in the car and driving 45 minutes just to be around other people or engage in cultural fun.  Today for instance we hung out on the deck of our apartment overlooking Lake Washington as the Blue Angels buzzed by doing their aerial acrobats.  Tons of neighbors came out and the kids played around for a bit.
  • Environment – it feels as though the area is actually alive.  Green makes a ton of difference along with the rain which is so cleansing.
  • People – more laid back.  Less in your face and overall nicer.
  • Work opportunities – the top companies are up here and they pay well.  Yes the cost of living might be a bit higher but you get public transit, well kept parks, events and tons more for your dollar.
  • Schools – specifically on Mercer Island the schools are 10’s.  They rank some of the highest in the nation and after Arizona’s dismal rankings perhaps anything is better but these happen to be some of the best.

I don’t want to come off as a total nay-Sayer to Arizona but honestly there are better places and I feel so lucky to have made it here.

While the rest of the country bakes…

So while the rest of the country baked in unbearable triple digit temperatures we here in Seattle, plus some surrounding areas I suppose, enjoyed some lovely weather.  Most people around here tell us to not get used to it but to be completely honest we’re digging the cold overcast days as much as the 80 degrees and sunny!  It might sound weird to the average Seattle dweller to enjoy the dark days, and I am sure we will one day not be so happy about those too, but it is refreshing to see something other than the blazing sun. Yuck.

A new spiritual center!

So we tried out a new spiritual center in north Seattle, Center for Spiritual Living, which was great!  They have a fantastic kids program which really is a blessing to know when you are listening to a talk.  They have a great video which explains very well the concept behind spiritual living.

Hope that helps some of you understand where we try to live our lives from.

Some great coffee.

Yikes coffee is expensive up here.  Even the cheap crap is expensive too.  Whole Foods has this wonderful blend in full bean which we grabbed this week.  Although it will probably be our last experiment with premium coffee, **cough** $8 for 13oz **cough**, it was really good and deserved a little shout out.  I did the post work in Photoshop which I had to grab, begrudgingly, to finish Denise’s new website which will be launching soon.

Not bad for a cell phone shot…

Downtown Life

What is it about downtown life that is so awesome?  I thought this to myself a few days ago as I boarded the 6am bus in from Mercer Island.  It is a short commute from this little sleepy island which is connected via expressways and footpaths to the epicenter of Seattle life.  Downtown life, urban living or whatever you call it has this special sort of vibe that is hard to put a finger on.  I tried to explain it to someone else and I realized that I was not really doing it much justice.  Downtown life I suppose means something different for everyone but for me I love the energy and the sound that the city makes.  It is loud, colorful and full of life.  Jackhammers interspersed with buses, honking horns while emergency sirens all intertwine with the street performers as they make the soundtrack of this downtown life.  The life is there.  It isn’t pretty all the time, it is gritty and full of things that need to be fixed.  But you know what?  At least there is some life here.  And it spews out from all pores of the city from rich to poor, from gay to straight and every artist on the corner making a quick buck.  You can feel it this downtown life the moment you start walking around and feeling it on you.  For some people they don’t like this and make a super fast exit.  For me I love it.  This is my downtown life and I am not going anywhere.

Love living here series pt1

Oh the ways I/we love living here how can we count them?  This week has been so much fun and full of exciting things both me and the family have gotten up to.  First off the kids and Denise have been to a different park in less than 5 minutes each day.  Yes a different park.  All on the island.  Although there were a couple of times the drive took about 35 minutes since she got lost.  I suppose that learning the roads will come with time. As for me I love being part of downtown, seeing the hustle and bustle of life every day, catching a bus in and out of something which is alive.  I suppose that is probably the biggest thing we have found about living here.  The fact that people are out, things grow and there is generally a hum of life which just isn’t found in the urban sprawl from whence we came.

Last weekend we went into Pike Place for the first time and what did we find?  Well we found the market but we also found the gay pride parade too.  Talk about a teachable moment for the kids:

Ofcourse after that we had to do the usual Pike Place stuff so here is a couple of videos of that too:

A little fish throwing:

Oh the places you’ll go

The past few days have been a total whirlwind of exploration and acclimatization to our new abode.  Mercer Island is just amazing for kids and families as we’ve come to notice.  Tons of people out all of the time and the proximity to downtown is unreal – just a 10 minute ride (minus traffic of course) and you’re in the heart of the action!  On Monday we got to hangout with my sister and see her place up in Redmond which I also like immensely.  Yesterday we caught up with Cindy Saver, whose blog you can also read http://residentialongings.com, who showed us around the island a little bit including the ever awesome Luther Burbank beach.  Today we also met up with her and my sister again for some food and social gatherings.  During our trip downtown we walked into a pawn shop looking for a new camera strap and got a nice vintage 40 year old guitar strap as a welcome to Seattle gift from the worker.  I love this place.

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Finally Settling on a Place

Finally after much arguing we have found a place to live.  Deciding on Mercer Island was tough for us because we really wanted that urban sort of lifestyle getting rid of both cars and living downtown but it simply is going to be impossible.  There is a couple of good reasons for this:

  1. Our kids are loud
    A ground floor apartment is needed and to be completely honest we would probably ruin that awesome lifestyle for others.  Just sayin.
  2. Our dog is excitable.
    Most people who live in urban communities have those small dogs that fit in purses.  Our dog is 60lbs of excitable fun that would probably eat the little ones.
  3. Expense.
    Wowzer.  Totally crazy expensive rent prices for something which would fit our family.  I like the idea of downsizing our life but to be honest cramming the 6 of us into 800 square feet doesn’t actually sound that appealing.

So Mercer Island it is then!  http://www.mercergov.org/

Super excited…apartment is locked down now we’re just waiting for the approval to go through! 🙂