Sunday, July 6, 2014


It's summer! Yay summer! Summer in Seattle is downright magical. The mountains, the blue Sound, the greenery and blooms, it's all so gorgeous and fragrant. That picture above is the view from the hammock Shawn set up in the back yard. We've got these cherry trees that just begged for a hammock. I bet if you enlarge that photo you can see the cherries. They were pretty tasty. Gretel thought so, too. But uh, I think she may have overdone it. She ate cherries for about two days and then seemed to avoid them.

Summer does not begin in Seattle until July 5, so say the locals. This year, however, I don't think Seattle got the memo until today, the 6th. Yesterday was hit or miss with sprinkles and sun, but today - today is 80 degrees and clear blue skies. If that isn't hammock weather, I don't know what is.

I know I've been remiss. We Shraders have had a lot on our minds this spring, and I think now we can finally let go of some of it. That said, I know we have lots to catch up on, so let's get to it.

Lorelei finished the 3rd grade with a bang! She had a great year, and to celebrate, she had a sleepover with her friend Chloe. Chloe switched schools for 3rd grade, so she and Lorelei didn't get to see each other much. But here they are, relaxing in that fabulous hammock:

School ends here on June 19, or thereabout, every year. It's late by Ohio standards, but that's because they don't go back until after Labor Day. I have never questioned this, I just assume it's to take full advantage of July and August, the two best months in Seattle.

Also in June, we visited the Washington coast. The beaches are so pretty, even if it was chilly. This picture was at Ocean Shores, I believe. We sampled a few beaches that day.

So pretty. <sigh> I find it harder to tear myself away from the mighty Pacific every time I see it. That day there was thick fog coming in off the ocean in the earlier hours. It felt a bit like a Stephen King novel.

Gretel and Lorelei didn't care, though. Gretel's first trip to the ocean was, well, I'm not sure. I don't think Gretel likes such wild, uncontrolled situations. She definitely didn't like the fog. But she loved walking with Shawn on the trails and on the beach, especially when she didn't feel like she had to protect Lorelei and me from the waves.

In May, John was back for another conference in Seattle. Oh, wait, I never told you about the first one, did I? It was in March. John came for a conference through his work in March, and we got to show him a bit of Seattle. He liked it so much he came back for another conference in May, and we took a day and got out of town. We went across the Sound to the Olympic Peninsula and drove to Port Townsend, hitting a brewery or two on the way. It was a gorgeous day, one of the most perfect I've experienced.

We look forward to John bringing Meredith and the kids back to the Pacific NW!

Also in May was Mother's Day! Shawn had to study that day but Lorelei and I went with the Castanedas to Crystal Mountain. We rode the gondola and had a picnic lunch with one of the most amazing views I've ever seen, watching the skiers get their last few kicks.

These pictures were taken from inside the gondola:

And then we have some views from the top:

Of course Amy and I, being the moms, needed a self-portrait on the mountain!

We can't forget the children, right?

That's Maya with her daddy. And his awesome, awesome, AWESOME shirt.

Seriously, this place is an hour away and we didn't need coats at the top because the sun was so bright on the snow. Look at the view!

I think the idea to go to Crystal Mountain was literally borne out of Amy waking up that morning and saying, hey, we should go to Crystal  Mountain. It was a really nice day.

In April we celebrated someone's birthday, I can't quite remember, it seems like I should, what was it again? Oh right, it was Lorelei's birthday! We had a party at the roller skating rink. It was loads and loads of fun.

You cannot beat roller skating. Every single person there had a blast.

Lorelei's birthday marked the end of the Birthday Season in our house. Well, really, the 29th (Grandpa Bob's bday) marked the end of Birthday Season. We all had good birthdays, but to be truthful, we all had other things on our minds.

We marketed the house in Ohio at the end of March. It went into contract on May 3, and it finally closed on June 30. Selling a property from this distance was challenging to say the least. I could bore you with the details of the stress it added to our lives, but really, let's just leave it at that. Our realtor was the best in the business (Polly Hamilton, Columbus Realty Professionals - look her up if you have a need), and we had a pretty wonderful closing agent, too (Keith Hamilton, former coworker of mine and title agent). Not to mention all the people who helped us along the way, Janice, the Franklins, the neighbors, etc. Without everyone's constant help, this would have been an even more challenging experience. But now it's done, and I feel like the last stage of our moving experience to Seattle has been completed. In a strange way, I feel like we have finally arrived in Seattle.

So now, we begin looking forward. We have some renovations to our Seattle home we'd like to plan for, and we have a few other things to do that we've held off doing while marketing the Ohio house. This is the season where we start to make plans. We begin with vacation. In August we are planning to go on a road trip to the Redwoods of northern California, and then meander up the coast of Cali and Oregon. I'm so excited about it I can't stand it. We will stop at my beloved Pacific City, OR, where time stands still. I don't know if I will brave a surf lesson this year, but Lorelei and I will definitely have our boogie boards out in the Pacific. It can't get here fast enough.

For now, though, we will bask in the glory provided by these wonderful blossoms from the trees in the front yard. They cast a rosy glow in our living room for a few weeks in March.

And also, I'd like to share that Lorelei and I are counting down until Shawn is done with school. As of today, it's 41 weeks. Go Shawn!