Independence Day Weekend

We got back from Florida on a Saturday. My mom and little brother, Scott, flew in from Shanghai on Sunday! We spent the first two weeks they were here running all the errands they can't do in China, with lots of trips to the park sprinkled in. Scott took Driver's Ed and got his wisdom teeth out.

For the long weekend, though, we rented a minivan so we could all go somewhere together and were determined to have some fun! On July 4th, we donned our most patriotic outfits and headed to the Museum of Flight. The museum is normally $20 a person, but thanks to Adam's company discount, we scored tickets for $4 each instead.

Outside of the tech industry, there are quite a few big companies in Seattle - Starbucks, Costco, Nordstrom, Boeing. You can pretty much bet if you meet a guy and he doesn't work at one gigantic tech company in particular, he works for Boeing. So long story short, that's how there came to be such a neat museum here!

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So far, we've just been to the Museum of History & Industry and the Chihuly Glass Museum, both of which were excellent, but the Museum of Flight was a great thing to do with kids that wasn't specifically for kids, you know? We started off with the exhibit dedicated to the history of flight, from the Wright Brothers to the International Space Station.

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Tucked into a corner, they had a little kid's section with a bunch of interactive activities. Claire called it the "airplane park."

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We had lunch at the cafeteria and stopped for a photo opp.

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Scott's really rocking the "blue steel" look in this shot. 

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Everyone tells me these two look alike.

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Then we walked across the street to see this - a Concorde jet! These flew across the Atlantic at more than twice the speed of sound, but they were really expensive to operate and retired in 2003. It was so narrow and cramped inside!

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The other main attraction was Air Force One. This plane was used by Eisenhower, but then moved to Air Force Two for Kennedy through Nixon. So, LBJ flew to Dallas on this plane and flew back on Air Force One, as the new president. And Richard Nixon flew to China on this to sign the famous peace agreement! Understandably, it was quite a bit more spacious than the Concorde.

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The original Boeing 727, 737, and 747 were on display as well, but you couldn't walk through them.

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Out there they also had all these cute child-sized planes to play with! Definitely Claire and Maggie's favorite part of the day.

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Gentleman, start your engines...

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Ready for take-off.

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And Claire, representing the Royal Canadian Air Force, pulls into the finish line!

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On Saturday, one of Adam's coworkers invited Scott to a game convention. (They had met before, so it wasn't weird, don't worry.) The rest of us took the opportunity to head to something a teenager most certainly wouldn't be interested in - a little kid's amusement park. I had bought a Groupon to Remlinger Farms, about a thirty minutes drive into the country. We'd been there last summer to pick raspberries and blueberries, but they also have a little family fun park.

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We ate lunch there (although next time I would be more prepared and pack a picnic) and then started with the rides aimed specifically at toddlers. Claire loved, loved, loved it.

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They have a steam train that goes around the farm so you can see all the animals.

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There was lots more to do, but both girls were melting down and we knew we still had another coupon to come back later in the summer, so we let Claire pick just one more ride. Surprisingly, she picked the roller coaster. She actually loved it so much that we each took a turn riding with her. It was actually pretty intense for a kid's ride!

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My Dad flew in from China on Saturday night!

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And then on Sunday, we hosted a barbecue for our "young marrieds" group at church. My parents generously gave us a grill for Father's Day and we'd just put it together the weekend before. We didn't have to provide the food (it was potluck style, thankfully) but we spent the whole week doing yard work. Nothing like throwing a party to kick your butt into gear!

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We weeded all the flower beds in the front and back yards, spread mulch everywhere, got a deck box for toy storage, hung up the hose reel, and bought a table on super clearance at World Market. We hadn't really planned on buying a picnic table at the moment, but they were having such a good sale and we had rented that minivan so we could actually get it home. Especially with the party, it just made sense.

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We still have to attack the pit of weeds that the backyard descends into, but things are looking a lot better. The party was a success, though, and a great way to end the holiday weekend!

P.S. Our parish priest stopped by for the barbecue, which was actually the first time we've had a priest in our home. Kind of nerve-wracking! Anyway, he told us that Clint Dempsey (captain of the US soccer team) goes to our church. Apparently, he always leaves right after communion so no one will recognize him.

P.P.S. While we had that van rented, we answered the conundrum of whether a minivan would fit in our garage once and for all. It juuuuust barely fit! So one of these days we'll trade in our Kia Forte and it will be a very exciting day indeed.

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