Polka Dots and Pineapple: Life of Family P

Blessed to be a blessing...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Take Me Home Tonight

After nearly a full month in Washington, we are homeward bound today!  If all goes as planned, we should arrive back around bedtime.

We will be traveling the majority of the day and will cross through three time zones before arriving back to our island home in South Carolina.  This has been a great trip and we would do it all again for sure!  We are excited to be back home, but we have loved our stay in the Pacific Northwest and look forward to coming back!

For our last night in town, we enjoyed dinner at Etta's last night with Josh's cousin and his sweet wife.  The boys were very young when they last saw each other but both moms reconnected them so we finally found a mutual time to meet on this trip.  We enjoyed a wonderful dinner and time with them at this famous Seattle restaurant!

Here's wishing us a great and safe trip from the West to East coast!  

And onto some very important news......Baby Jameson Jon Newton made his grand debut yesterday!  Congrats Carly and Jon - we are so happy for you two and look forward to meeting the little man! :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Our Space Needle Date

We had a great date night at Seattle's most recognized landmark, the Space Needle!  The evening was absolutely perfect and we couldn't have asked for a better experience!  To top it off, Josh had checked weather several days in advance and decided that last night (Tuesday) was probably our best option for clear skies.  For February in Seattle, he truly picked the perfect time!  Not only did we ride the elevator to the observation deck, we also dined at SkyCity Restaurant, a rotating restaurant looking over the city from 500 feet above.  This is where we were able to enjoy the sights and flavors of Seattle!

The views were incredible!  One particular thing that we chose to do was make our reservations for the first dinner seating at 5:15PM.  That was the the best decision because we saw it during daylight, sunset, and dark!  Perfect!  

The food was great!  With tourist attractions, it's always a gamble if the food is good or not; however, we LOVED everything and we know why this restaurant received the restaurant of the year award a couple of years ago.  We shared crab cakes as an appetizer, Josh had filet mignon and crab legs and I had peking duck for entrees, and then we shared a dessert!  The dessert thing was pretty funny because Josh is all about some chocolate cake and I'm all about ice cream.  We weren't going to get a dessert at all until my wise-guy husband discovered the option where he could get a hot chocolate cake that came with ice cream!  ha!  And to top it off [literally and figuratively] they had Makers Mark ice cream!  Seriously!  You know this Kentucky girl was all about that!  It was really good......anyone know if they make this in Kentucky (or anywhere else for that matter?!)!

If you're interested, you can read history and fun facts of the Space Needle.  One particular fun fact that I will point out and I think is so cool:
"In 1966 11-year-old Bill Gates, now Microsoft chairman and co-founder, won a dinner at the Space Needle restaurant offered by his pastor. Gates had to memorize chapters 5, 6 and 7 of the Gospel of Matthew, better known as the Sermon on the Mount, and he recited the sermon flawlessly."

I think the following pictures can tell the story of our wonderful date night:


As you can see, we had the best time together as we enjoyed the Space Needle!  Here are some tips for those of you who might travel to Seattle and are thinking of doing this attraction.

1.  Do this attraction!
2.  Go for the gusto and dine at SkyCity Restaurant!  Yes, it's on the high-end of price, but it's so worth it!  So do what we have done and skimp and save in many ways, then go enjoy this place without restraint!  Trust me with this.....don't just go to the observation deck.  I promise that the views and experience in the restaurant are worth the difference! (and I am an extremely frugal person, kind of a tightwad to be honest, so trust me and do the restaurant too.....see #4 for further reason!)
3.  Make your reservations early.....as in days or weeks (in high tourist season) in advance!
4.  When you dine in the restaurant and spend the minimum (which is not hard to do), your observation deck tickets are included -- that's a value of $18 per person!  (which can go a long way toward your meal price)
5.  Depending on the time of year and the season, try to make your reservations where you get to see both daylight and dark while you dine.  Seriously.....this is one of the best decisions we made!
6.  They have daily specials (not cheaper, but a different and nice selection) that are not on the menu....which is what Josh ordered his meal from.  We didn't know this until we arrived, which is fine....but since I'm all about knowing info ahead of time, I would have called earlier in the day to ask what the choices were.
7.  Right now there is a $25 gift certificate (off a minimum of 2 entrees) for purchase on restaurant.com (after the coupon code I used, I paid $3 for it)....this definitely helps!  However, if Josh and I were going again we would stick to our usual behavior of sharing an entree when dining in a restaurant.  That is the only thing we would have done differently.....we would have split one entree instead of each ordering our own.  Add to that the appetizer and dessert, of course. Instead, they boxed up leftovers to go so I will warm those up for lunch today.
8.  It was also nice to go during a season where there are nearly no tourists in Seattle.  The place was not busy or crowded, so that was nice!
9.  The restaurant had a professional photographer come and make a picture of the table.  The cool part is that you don't even have to buy the picture from them.  If you want to order a photo you can or you can opt for the free email of your picture.  We did that and it arrived within minutes.
10.  The waitstaff was amazing!  They kept our drinks refilled and were very friendly.  Also, the waitress was so kind to take our picture multiple times.  On her own she came to us and said "The sun is setting, let me get another picture of you two!"  She grabbed my camera, put in on the right setting (on her own and without my instruction) and took the pictures!  I thought that was a very nice gesture!
*If you don't believe me and only care about the space needle for the views of the city and you absolutely refuse to dine in the restaurant......save your money and just go to the base of the needle to get pictures and then go to the Columbia center for the views.....Columbia tower is much taller so you can see more and it's only $5 per person.  But still, you should trust me and do what I already suggested! :)  

And since we have already been asked, this wasn't set-up as an early Valentine's dinner; however, I'm cool to go with that and say that we've already celebrated V-day!  That way we can just stay home since we return Friday night after nearly a month away.  :)

I am no tour guide, I am just really pleased with our evening and how much fun we had!  We knew it was a rare and blessed opportunity that we get to do this, so we took advantage of every moment!

Our trip is winding down and we have had a great time!  We are in awe of how blessed we are to share this opportunity together!  There are some things in our life that are far from perfect, but we have chosen to dwell on how we have been blessed by God and enriched through this experience!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sweet Seattle & Surrounding Scenery

[WARNING: This post is on photo overload!]

On Thursday I enjoyed another solo day downtown Seattle since Josh was again working at the plant on the southside.  I LOVE water ways and boats, so I decided to walk to Lake Union.  I didn't follow any specific course and instead let my sense of direction lead me there.  It was a pretty good little hike (my route was close to 2 miles) and fortunately, my internal navigation led me to the right place although I did have to make some detours due to sidewalk and road construction.  While walking to Lake Union I was really close to the Space Needle:

Lake Union

A view of the city from Lake Union:

The natural explorer in me wandered to this place:

And I enjoyed simple and quaint views like these:

I walked back to the downtown area where I had started out that morning.  This picture is for my Dad:

After all of that walking and exploring, I had worked up an appetite!  So I returned to a French bakery in Pike Place Market where I had wanted to dine. 

The yummy smells of walking by this restaurant brought back many great memories of the May 2003 trip to France that my friend LL and I enjoyed.  During that trip, we ate quite a few of these......so naturally, I had to order one again.....for nostalgic reasons of course. 
A thin sliced ham, with butter, on french bread.  Super yummy!

And then I decided to top it off with a healthier local treat, an apple (Jazz variety, so sweet and delicious!) from this produce stand:

Since I pretty much used all of my energy at the beginning of the day, I enjoyed taking it easy for the afternoon before Josh picked me up and we enjoyed oysters on happy hour at Elliott's again. 

Later that evening we met some of the other Charleston engineers for dinner at Red Hook Brewery where we decided the food was not very good. 

We called it a night so that we could get to bed and get ready for a touristy day on Saturday.  

On Saturday morning we drove to Mukilteo where we boarded the ferry to Whidbey Island.
And by "boarded," I mean we drove our car onto the ferry.

The cars were all parked in lines bumper to bumper.  I was thankful that we had an outside spot so that we could see the water and islands outside.

It was only about a 20 minute ride, but I really enjoyed it!

We turned our GPS on and I thought this was really funny.....our car in the middle of the water!  That's not something you see every day!  :)

Fortunately we lived to tell about it! ;)  It wasn't long before we were released off the ferry and we were greeted with this sign:

We were also greeted by these petitioners!  (Seriously, it was just a group of people holding signs and flags - there was no violence or action taking place....at least we are not aware of any.)

The drive was beautiful!

And then......the moment we had been waiting for......we made it......to Deception Pass!

How beautiful!!!


We had a low-key Saturday night where we stayed in, ate snacks for dinner, and watched the UK game.

Sunday morning delivered the moment I have been waiting for!

Since we arrived weeks ago, this sign was in place of the attraction I most wanted to see:

I was sad that I couldn't see them from the moment we first visited Pike Place on our first weekend.  However, I was so thankful that we would still be around when they reopened!  

If you're not sure what I'm talking about, this is the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market!  

For a little history about how I learned about this place years ago......in the midst of my leadership studies I read the FISH! Philosophy book.  It remains my favorite today!  The book is based on "boosting morale and improving results" and it uses this particular fish market as the model.  The fishmongers have a great time and are always looking for a way to make someone's day.  I had seen many video clips of the fish throwing in action, so you can see why I was so excited for the opportunity to witness this event!  

We were there pretty early Sunday morning so it wasn't very busy.  The fishmongers were really nice to chat with us, answer questions, and take our picture!  They also gave me stickers (is it weird that stickers are just as fun at 26 as they were at 6?)  I was thrilled and seeing this site with my husband made my day!  I was so thankful for Josh who got up early on the weekend to take me downtown on what started out as a rainy day & I was thankful that the market was open and I could see them in action! 

I brought my book again for the photos, which led them to introduce me to another book written about the market: "Catch! A Fishmonger's Guide to Greatness" (the tag line is: 'stop floundering and become more effective in your life and work').  Of course I bought it.....because I wanted it and because we weren't buying any fresh fish to bring home and they autographed it for me! ha!  I haven't started reading it yet, but will update when I do.  Until then, enjoy these photos from our time at the Pike Place Fish Market!
(Yep, that fish above is airborne!)

 Josh and me in the midst of the fishmongers behind the counter!

And since we were at Pike Place (for what we figure was our last visit during this Seattle trip) we enjoyed some homemade donuts:

We may have grab some cheesecake to take with us to enjoy during the big game:

And there was one last trip to the original Starbucks:

Before we left downtown, we did one last tourist attraction.  We headed down post alley to the Market Theater Gum Wall:

On our way back to the hotel in Lynnwood, we grabbed a pizza [to go with our cheesecake, of course] and took it back to the room for the Superbowl!

Last night we went to dinner and a movie with a couple other Charleston engineers.

And tonight we have big plans that I can't wait to post about!!  

Here's a little hint: