No trip to Seattle is complete without someone getting a tattoo. This trip both Beth and Daniel got their first tattoos. It was a family affair with Dan, Thomas, my sister, Aunt Chris and me all there to witness the event. In the end my sister also decided to get a tattoo. I was feeling very left out but I had left it up to fate (meaning I didn’t make an apt) and the tattoo artist didn’t have any more openings that evening. No worries though, Dan and I have a tattoo artist in our neighborhood and I am already scheduled for my orchid tattoo.

Daniel was first on the table, his design ended up being a little larger than he anticipated meaning it took about 2 hours and cost a bit more than he was expecting. I think he was a little shocked by how much it hurt but he held up just fine, not needing any breaks.



Everyone was getting orchids to show their solidarity to Bethany and Isa. Both the girls share a genetic mutation that Shauna and I are carriers of. While it’s not a life threatening condition it is life altering and this was our way of showing our support. I think it is incredibly sweet that Daniel wanted his first tattoo to be an orchid and that he was doing it just for his sister.


Bethy was more than a bit nervous when her turn came up. She was really excited to get a small tattoo and had been talking about it forever. But after seeing her brother’s pain she started questioning it. After several attempted starts only to have her stop the tattoo guy it wasn’t looking like she would go through with it. But she finally pulled herself together and let him begin.


Eventually, after the initial pain, she didn’t think it hurt too bad after all.


The picture doesn’t show it but she’s giving me a peace sign for the camera.IMG00250-20110718-1433


Here’s Beth sporting her new orchid tattoo:


She decided to not have a black outline (thank you cousin Nicole for that idea.) Since it’s in her bikini area and will not ever be exposed to the sun it should not fade away.


Shauna has several other tattoo’s so this was no big deal for her. I think this was the first time that I’ve been with her for one of her tattoo’s though.



Everyone was very happy with their tattoos and there are many plans for future tattoos…far, far into the future!

Sweet little girls

Bethy is such a sweet cousin. For two weeks she had Isabella by her side nonstop. They cooked with the easy bake oven (45 minutes for 1 cookie.)


Then had tea parties with their treats…


and they played at the park down by the lake…


They played lots of games, this time with Drea and Isa. They also spent many hours playing Guitar Hero after Daniel fixed the Wii.


Everyone loves playing with Beth.



You may be wondering where are all the pictures of the boys from our trip to Seattle? Well here they are out on G-pa Larry’s boat crabbing. Big Larry, Dan, BJ, Thomas and Daniel all went out to catch us a crab feast.

Here’s BJ putting the bait in the traps. They bait them then drop them all in the water. After eating lunch on the boat they go back around to see what they’ve caught.


This one looks pretty full. You have to use those red things to make sure the crabs are big enough. If not, back into the sound they go. Since there were 5 people on the boat they were allowed to keep 25 crabs.


I think its funny how Daniel is all bundled up in many layers of clothing plus the big heavy coat and then there’s BJ in just a flannel. The weather’s so different than just a few weeks ago deep sea fishing in North Carolina, there you have to worry about getting sunburnt and being too hot.


BJ is an old pro at this, Daniel on the other hand looks much more hesitant about holding the crabs (notice the tongs.)


Why does Dan always catch the smallest creatures?


Looks like the boys have gotten over their fear of the crabs for a photo.


Finally Dan with something a little bigger.


They caught their limit so a crab feast it will be!


Since Shauna’s husband Chef Larry is in Alaska cooking on a private yacht Dan had to take over the cooking. We’re on Judy and Larry’s deck which is set all up for just these type of feasts. It’s a regular thing for them to go crabbing.


Look at the table all nice and clean waiting for the feast.


And this is what it looks like after all the crabs have been cooked.


The view of Lake Washington from Judy and Larry’s deck. One of the reasons I miss living there.


We’re much cleaner eaters at the girls table, that’s mom, G-ma Judy and Shauna.


We missed Little Larry at our crab feast but it was still a wonderful time with family!

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

Another favorite place that we always visit is the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. Every time I go I discover new treasures. This time I really focused on reading about some of the strange collections.

Home of the weird, freaky, interesting and curious, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop is a licensed museum and gift store. We have been in business since 1899, so we have collected quite the eclectic mix of treasures. We have interesting items for sale like jewelry made with real insects, butterflies in frames, or recyclable wallets. Our gift selection will please with Seattle’s own Glass Eye Studio’s hand-blown ornaments and paperweights and Northwest Native American hand carved totem poles and masks. We also have fair trade gifts from Africa and Asia.

Our museum of oddities and curiosities range from genuine mummies and shrunken heads (tsantsa), to a two headed lamb, to a four legged chicken. Our miniature collection comprises of a display of fleas in dresses, paintings on the heads of pins, and the Lord’s Prayer written on a grain of rice.



And here is the lady writing on the rice, Beth and her friends each got a necklace.


This was in the case by the front door, very handy for those that are travelling up to Forks to visit the Cullins.IMG_2948

And for those that say Mermaids don’t exist, here is taxidermically stuffed mermaid.


Some things are more authentic than others, such as the 2 mummies that the store has on display both of which are completely real…

and shrunken heads from the Amazon (some of them definitely genuine, others probably not.) I’m hoping the ones I’ve bought for Daniel in the past are not real.


Feeding the Seagulls

One of our favorite Seattle things is going to Ivar’s at the waterfront and feeding fries to the seagulls. You have to watch where you sit while eating your food since there are quite a few bird flying around. On this trip Beth got hit by a fly by poop that was shot at her arm while eating.

As the sign states, “Do not be afraid of overfeeding, Seagulls are Dainty eaters.” Well I’m not sure if they’re really dainty, I think they would eat you fingers if they were given the chance.


Ok sometimes the birds do seem a little scary! Those beaks hurt if they catch your finger instead of a fry.


Did Beth think she was under attack?


The Seattle Gum Wall

Our family has just returned from a 2 week vacation in Seattle. I grew up in Seattle and most of my family still lives there. Some grouping of us travels back to Seattle at least once a year to visit. The kids have made plenty of treks to Seattle throughout their lives, when we’re in town we have our favorite places we like to visit (Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, Pike Place Market, Lake Washington, Ivar’s on the waterfront, Taco Time, Vince’s Pizza, Hmm I guess a few of them center around food.) But somehow in all of my many travels around the city I had never heard of “The Seattle Gum Wall.” We were with some out of state friends visiting Pike Place Market when they mentioned the wall and directed us to it. Just down the side stairs from where the fish are being thrown at the market.

Beth thoroughly enjoyed the grossness of the wall.


Don’t worry she didn’t really tough her tongue to the wall.


One of the most offbeat attractions in the United States, the Seattle Gum Wall is also one of the most germ infected tourist spot in the world.

Located in Post Alley, under Park Place Market, the Gum Wall has its beginning in the early 1990s, when people, irritated that they had to wait in line to get tickets to the theater, stuck chewing gum on the wall. At first, they would use the gum to stick small coins to the wall, but in time, the tradition of the coins disappeared, and the gum remained.

Theater attendants scraped the Gum Wall twice, but gave up in 1999, when it became a certified tourist attraction of Seattle. Now it is filled with thousands of pieces of chewing gum, of any color imaginable. And, as the wall grows, the chewing gum art becomes more sophisticated. You’ll find names written with pieces of gum, and symbols like hearts or the peace sign.

But, the Seattle Gum Wall is also one of the germiest tourist destinations on Earth. In a ranking made by Trip Advisor, it came in second place, after Ireland’s Blarney Stone.

It was quite an impressive site to see. Now that I know of its existence I noticed the souvenirs being sold at various shops down on the waterfront. How did I miss this in all of my previous trips downtown. IMG_2849


The biggest chicken coop I’ve ever seen

When someone says they want to build a chicken coop images pop into my head. When my sister mentioned that they needed Dan to help with her chicken coop while we were out visiting I had those same images. Something kinda long and narrow surrounded by chicken wire with a chicken wire top to keep hawks out. Her husband is a chef and his dad worked at Boeing his whole life so when they plan a project they have just enough knowledge to get them in trouble but apparently not enough to put limits on a task.

Those that know us, know how much Dan has been working for the last few months. Besides his regular job that keeps him away from home quite a bit he has also been helping out a friend by building his new restaurant. Since Dan has all the knowledge, skills and tools, work at the restaurant could only get done when he was there. Which meant all his weekends and non work time have been spent at the restaurant. So we have been really looking forward to this vacation for a break and to spend a little time together before he headed out on his week long fishing trip.

Back to the chicken coop; this is not the chicken coop that I (or Dan) imagined. This is a chicken palace, large enough to house, well us, next time we head out to visit. But Dan being the good sport and blinded by the vision of catching Halibut dove right in and spent quite a bit more time than we all expected building a chicken coop.

Here’s Dan and big Larry surveying the site. The posts had already been cemented in (which was the first clue that this was not going to be a small chicken coop)


Dan and Larry are working on the roof, as we all know it rains a lot in Seattle and that grass won’t last long once the chickens move in. So to help cut back on the muddy mess that is sure to happen they are putting a regular roof on the coop.



Here’s proof that the boys, Thomas and BJ, did help just a little bit.

IMG_8897 IMG_8899

Here’s the roosting box that Shauna did pay some else to build. She had a feeling if left up to her hubby it may not get done in a timely manner. The boys painted it with a little help from various adults.IMG_8900

and here’s 1 of the 5 chicks that will be making the coop their new home. I am so jealous, if I could figure out a place to squeeze them into my yard I would totally get some chickens. I love the idea of fresh eggs from my yard every day!


Sophie also seems to like the idea of fresh chickens but for a whole different reason.


The boys were being silly climbing into the roosting box.


So of course Isa also had to give it a try!


peek a boo


Those are some good looking doors! The other thing you have to worry about out here is all the wild life. The chickens aren’t just prey for the hawks. You have to protect them from ‘coons, possums and rats. So you have to use hard wire all around the open spaces so varmints don’t chew their way in.


And finally the completed coop, just in time for us to head back home to Columbus. What you can’t tell from the picture is that the hard wire is wrapped all the way around the coop at the top and bottom. The bottom is also cemented into the a trench in the ground to prevent creatures from burrowing under the coop and getting in. These are some well protected chickens.

Dan’s fishing trips

One of the big parts of our trip to Seattle was Dan, Larry (my sis’s hubby) and big Larry’s (Larry’s dad) planned fishing trips. They had a 4 day trip, home a day, then a 3 day trip.

The first trip was to Westport (3 hours away from home) where they had 2 days of fishing for Halibut, Ling Cod and Rock bass. Both Dan & Larry caught their limits and got to keep fishing to catch the boats limit.

P5110032 P5110034

P5110035 P5110039 P5120051

On the way there they also had to battle the Fat Smitty. Little Toe (Little Larry) and Dan killed the Smitty while Big Toe (Larry’s dad who the rest of us call Big Larry but Dan for some reason has taken to calling Big Toe) couldn’t quite finish his.

For those that don’t know the Smitty is a monster hamburger and Fat Smitty’s restaurant is apparently a travel destination for people all over the country.


The second trip was to Neah Bay (6 hours away from home) where they had 1 long day of fishing for Halibut & Ling Cod. They were up at 2:30am, at the docks by 3, then they steam out for about 3 hours to get to where they’ll fish, a day of fishing, 3 hours back to shore, then back to the cabin at 8pm.

This was the trip where Dan caught the biggest fish that he’s ever caught, a 50# Halibut! While he was excited about the halibut they enjoyed fishing for the ling cod even more. In Dan’s words they’re easier to hook up with and they fight like mad while the halibut takes more skill to hook and comes up like a brick (whatever that means.)

P5140070 P5140076 P5150081 P5150093 P5150095 P5150096 P5150109

They’re already planning next years trip; fishing for tuna which is further out and a 2 day trip spending the night on the boat. I love rare cooked tuna so I’m really looking forward to this!

Pho fascination

No matter where we travel the country seems to be the same. The same chain restaurants and stores are in every city. I don’t want to go shop at Target or Wal-Mart when I’m on vacation I want to visit small local shop that are actually selling something I can’t find in Columbus. I also don’t want to eat at the same restaurants that I can eat at any day of the week.

I’ve managed to try a few things during this trip that I don’t normally see at home. Conveyor belt sushi, chicken teriyaki, king crab legs, fresh fish & chips straight off the boat and Pho.

The Pho was calling to me, probably because there is a Pho restaurant in every strip mall we drive by. In the years that I’ve been gone from Washington the Asian population has grown dramatically in the Seattle are. And because of that you see more Asian restaurants and Asian grocery stores than anything else. Its fun to be in such a culturally diverse area especially since I’ve grown accustomed to Columbus, OH which isn’t really known as a Mecca of diversity.

So Pho is basically a noodle soup with some type of protein (chicken, beef, brisket or tripe; which seemed like strange choices to me) in a broth with a few scallions floating on top. There was an accompaniment tray that had basil, bean sprouts and peppers to add to the soup. The sprouts did add a nice crunch. We went to Pho Hoa which gets good review from friends but honestly I wasn’t that impressed. The Pho (that I didn’t realize was Pho) that I had in Columbus at the North Market was much better. It had rice and veggies added with just a little broth so it seemed more like a meal in a bowl than just a noodle soup. My sister is now inspired to check out more Pho restaurants to decide which one is her favorite. She has plenty to choose from!

CIMG0158 CIMG0159 CIMG0160 CIMG0161 CIMG0162

Just one more of the Pho restaurants; Pho Hut (instead of Pizza Hut?) we also saw a place called What the Pho. I wish I had a camera with me all week to record he many Pho restaurants we drove by.