Some more scenic pics from the San Juans

No whales, no bald eagles, no kids. Just some pics of the islands.

The San Juan Islands

We spent a couple days this weekend in the San Juan Islands - Friday Harbor, WA, to be specific, which is on San Juan Island. We took an hour ferry ride there (which took a 90 minute drive from Snoqualmie to get to the dock), and were lucky to get on the boat even though we arrived at the dock two hours ahead of departure!

The San Juan Islands are nestled on the western coast of the United States; five miles due west of San Juan Island lies Victoria, BC. The ferry ride itself is worth the trip, as it meanders between dozens of small islands through Puget Sound. There are so many great views at so many angles that you miss great picture shots.

We arrived late Saturday afternoon, checked in to a hotel, and headed to the west side of the island to Lime Kiln Point State Park. We were hoping to catch some whales, as its also known as "Whale Watch Park," but no such luck. Instead, we were treated to my first bald eagle sighting! Way friggin cool. I tried taking some pictures, but my little ol' Canon is just not very good at zoom shots. I need to invest in a better digital camera and telephoto lens if I am going to post about my travels in the Pacific Northwest. I did snap a couple good silouette pics of Spencer and Garrett.

The following morning we checked out the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, then boarded a boat for a 3-4 hour whale watching tour. I really wasn't sure what to expect, and I would have bet money that we didn't get to see any whales, that I had just purchased snake oil. Wow, was I wrong. Within an hour, we were watching Orcas travel through the San Juans, jumping out of the water regularly. Easily 100+ whale sightings in two separate locations. I am working on uploading some videos, and have included some of our better pictures below.

We left early Monday, making the 8am ferry by a nose. After grabbing a quick bite on the ferry, we enjoyed the views of the islands with the Olympic Mountains in the background on a sunny morning. I can definitely see us getting a cottage up here someday and spending weekends and summers there.

Thank you for your service

A quick post of thanks for those that paid the price so that people like me can live in a blanket of freedoms the world never realized was possible until the late 1700s. No words or explanation can do my thanks justice, nor can they explain the tremendous net positive impact the American Military has left on the world.

A reminder that Freedom Alliance helps out the families of those soldiers that have died in battle.


Backs against the wall

Time for the Dominator to step up and win a game for the Wings tonight. I wish I could say I have a lot of confidence in the Wings, but they are a young team that still needs some seasoning (kinda odd saying that with a 42 year old and a 45 year old on the team). Regardless of how it goes tonight they've had a great year and they've been a lot of fun to watch in the playoffs. Go Wings!


Little League night at Safeco Field

Caught another baseball game tonight, this time with the Mariners taking on the San Diego Padres. It was Little League night and we all participated in the parade around the field. A crazy collection of probably 2000+ kids and their parents circling the field, taking pictures, and kids jumping into the outfield wall.


Some pics from last night's TBall game

To close up the night, thought I'd post some pics of Spencer's game last night.

Happy Birthday Spencer!

Spencer turned 6 on Wednesday, and this year it looks like he's turned his focus to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Kind of cool to see a comic phenom created while I was in high school being adopted by my kids. So, TMNT now trumps Star Wars, Spiderman, Batman, Buzz Lightyear, Dash (The Incredibles), and Rodney Copperbottom (Robots).

He loved getting two more TMNT action figures, and gave Garrett a hug to thank G-man for his new rocket launcher (you'll have to see it).

The Detroit Lions draft

Yeah, ok, so I've a few weeks behind on this. But today is "garage sale day" in Snoqualmie Ridge, so I'm going to use the time to catch up on frivolous blog posts while I wait outside for hours with nobody interested in our junk.

So about them Lions. Ok, Calvin Johnson was an interesting pick. He's as close to a can't miss player as you could get in this year's draft, so that's a plus. On the downside, is WR somewhere the Lions should have been focusing on? I have a hard time believing a team like Seattle or New Orleans or Denver wouldn't have been interested in giving up some picks for Johnson to get them over the hump. And the Lions have more pressing needs - I would have liked to see them pick up either Gaines Adams or Joe Thomas.

But, it is what it is, and the Lions will have two strong WRs in Williams and Johnson, and solid supporting in Furrey, Robinson, and Bradford (is he back?).

The rest of the draft I liked - lots of picks, lots of defense and a little help on the OL. Only pick I didn't like was Smoker. So, basically I didn't like our top two picks, but overall a decent draft.

Copper River Salmon

This is the third season that Copper River Salmon has been in season while I've been in Seattle, and I finally gave this expensive ($25+ a pound) version of salmon a try. I didn't even season it, figuring I would ruin the natural taste. I must say, I was impressed. I was very skeptical that really expensive fish would be that much better than the garden variety, but sure enough, this was good eatin'. Can't say I'm going to fork over $20 for a serving of fish very often, thought.

Two years in Seattle

My how time flies. Two years ago Garrett couldn't even crawl. And I had never heard the phrase "no worries" let alone work it into my lexicon. And Purdue had a decent football team and a crappy basketball team. And I thought for sure Millen would have been fired instead of given a five year contract extension.

But I digress. The family has been in Seattle for two years. What have I learned? What's changed?

  • We have the best neighbors, bar none. Just amazing what the families around us do to build a sense of community. I wish more Americas would take on that spirit and quit looking for the government to replace the familial and communal units.

  • We do love living in Snoqualmie Ridge. Partially because of the neighbors, but just as much as its away from the city just far enough to feel country, but close enough that we're not more than 15 minutes from a Lowe's or Costco.

  • Taxes, taxes, taxes. Sheesh, I thought I was taking a step up with no state income tax. 8.9% sales tax anyone? And going up every year. And don't get me started on my property taxes.

  • Things are a little slower out in the Pacific Northwest. Not sure why, but this town certainly isn't in a hurry to get anywhere or do anything. That's mostly good, except when I'm on the freeway...

  • Sports anyone? Wow, is this place dead when it comes to sports. I'm a little surprised they can field a football or baseball team with the lack of discussion, enthusiam, interest, or knowledge around pro or college sports. On the flip side, everyone skis, hikes, boats, and bikes. Different view of sports, I guess.

  • It is hard being so far away from family that a car trip on short notice isn't possible. Shoot, a plane trip on short notice isn't possible either. Good thing we have the Internet.

  • Spencer has turned into a little boy in front of our eyes. Almost done with his first year of school, participating in Tae Kwon Do, TBall, and Soccer, and starting to do things independently in public and being very responsible.

  • Garrett is just crazy. In a good way.

  • My professional network in Seattle is stronger than it ever was in Chicago, simply because there is so much software development and products in this town. Good career move for me.

  • We love the mountains - the views and the hikes and the tubing and the skiing.

  • We miss Purdue football. That's one thing Amy and I talk about during the fall, we really miss the tailgating with friends. That was the essense of who we are and what we enjoyed.

  • Snow sucks around here. Not because of the snow, but because people around here aren't used to it.

We've found a nice home here in the Pacific Northwest. Interesting to see what the next year brings.


A little trek up Little Si

Our first hike of the Snoqualmie hiking season was Little Si, Mount Si's little brother. Not a lot to talk about (I cover some of it here). But we took over 100 pictures.


Spencer gets his Orange Stripe belt

Spencer continues his Tae Kwon Do progress, earning his orange stripe belt this week. No video of him breaking a board this time, but Amy did snap an awesome action picture of Spencer.


The Other Side of the Mountain

For the first time I ventured east of Snoqualmie Pass. This weekend the family went down the tri-cities area (Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick Washington) to catch the "Thomas Live on Stage" show in Pasco. We left late Saturday morning, spent the night in Kennewick (it's a three hour drive), caught the show Sunday afternoon, and were home by 8pm Sunday night. We tried to do a little sightseeing along the way, but aside from a viewpoint of both Mount Adams and Mount Rainier, and a park in the middle of the Columbia River, we weren't all that successful.

East of the pass was what I had been told it was - desert. Although it was more mountainous than I had expected.

The kids enjoyed the show, especially Garrett. He was quite upset at intermission, thinking that all the trains had gone home.

Pics from the Sox Mariners game

Unfortunately no good pics, but am posting some nonetheless. The Good Guys lost 5-2 to the M's, but we all had fun nonetheless.


Picture Post

This last pic is Spencer marching, along with Coach Sprague (who's a great coach for kids), in the Fall City Little League Jamboree Parade. A fun day to kick off the Little League season.

Our own Very Important Cougar

Spencer surprised us this afternoon when he brought home a citizenship award from his school - the "Very Important Cougar" award. This award is "awarded each month to at least one student per classroom for their exemplary school citizenship, behavior, and/or academic progress. Children who are recognized as a VIC have their names published in the Cougar News and their picture posted in the school entry way. They also meet with the principal and receive a special award certificate and other prizes. We took a picture of Spencer with his award and gift. And we let Spencer stay up as late as he wanted tonight as a reward, which is one of his favorite things to do. He fell asleep by 11 :)

Congrats Spence!