Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mount Rainier

This mountain is really huge.  You can see it from so many places, but I usually only get a view of it when I am driving.  Took the opportunity to capture it when hubby drove us home from the city, driving over the lake.  It is one of the few mountains still with snow on it.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Company picnic

Amazon has a family day each year that we attended at Seattle’s football field recently.  The kids had an absolute blast!  The field is huge, with many levels.  We only discovered the top floor at the end.  Next year we will go there first!

The first activity the kids did, was decorating their own frisbees.  It was interesting experimenting with the effects of different colours.  There were lots of other activities too, like a science section, GoldieBlox, Lego, crafts and face painting.  (I waited too long to get in line for the henna tattoos.)

  

There were quite a few performers around too.  They were still grinning by the end of the day, which was very impressive!  All very friendly and happy to pose.

 

We had lunch in the stadium stands, watching all the events on the grass.  Learned a bit about broomball!   Sure was entertaining watching the three-legged race on the big screens!  The kids got a bit of exercise playing putt-putt, laser tag and going on carnival rides.  The boys’ favourite is always the climbing wall.  They flew up there. 

     

I didn’t get a chance to photograph the official mascot, but I got a shot of the cute box guy.  All the children there loved him!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Birthdays

Two of the kids had their birthdays shortly after we arrived in Seattle.  I knew we would not have enough time to get them presents after we got here, so I bought early and sent the gifts over with our airfreight allowance.  It made a big difference not having to rush around trying to learn where shops were.  I guess we could have ordered online, but that kind of spoils the fun of hunting for the perfect gift, at least for me.  ( do wish I had wrapped them beforehand though!)

We had given the kids early birthday parties before we left.  I discovered these cute little cakes at Safeway (QFC also makes them).  Got a Barbie one as a surprise for my youngest.  Think we managed to give both kids a special day each.

PS if you want to see some of our daily adventures on Instagram, you can follow me here: http://instagram.com/whiteforge

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First Days in Seattle

We arrived in Seattle during the first days of spring, with regular blue skies and bright flowers starting to peek out everywhere. 

After so many hours travelling, we were grateful to arrive at our temporary home in Redmond.  The corporate housing was very pretty, with a great view over the river out the back.  It was in a complex with lots of families around.  The kids had friends to play with every day.  The stairs just weren’t so great up to the bedrooms.  They were quite steep and all of us slipped at least once, hubby taking a fall.

 

Driving there was interesting, especially since we were tired.  “Wrong side of the road” kept making it feel like we would be t-boned every time we turned left.  A friend had given us the tip “righty tighty, lefty loosy”.  It doesn’t just work for opening jars.  When you turn right, keep tight to the edge and when you turn left, keep loose.  It is easy when there are lots of cars around, since you mostly follow the other drivers.  The concentration has to kick in when you are the only driver around. The roads are mostly quite well-marked and spacious, which made it a lot easier.

The trees here are tall and green, new shoots were budding everywhere.  The cloudy skies were something to watch, the kids finding creatures in the sky.

 

A beautiful walking trail runs behind the corporate housing.  It runs along the river.  It was permanently filled with families walking their dogs, cycling or rowing on the river.

  

All the streets are lined with trees as well.  It makes you feel a lot closer to nature.  All the plants and trees camouflages the buildings.  It doesn’t feel like you are close to a city.

Redmond is really beautiful.  We are slowly finding our way around and getting lost a lot less often!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Hummingbird

I haven’t seen a hummingbird since I was really young (a long time ago in a land far far away!).  It was so great to see one again.  We discovered this one by the bushes outside our corporate housing.  Keen to plant some flowers that are friendly to them next spring.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Seattle buildings

We haven’t been to the city much so far (except for hubby who goes to work each day!).  Some beautiful buildings.  Looking forward to seeing more.  Seattle is very different to Melbourne. 

Everything is very clean in the areas we went to.  There are small shops in some of the alleyways.  Lots of traffic police as soon as any kind of event is on.  Lots of development happening too.  People move fast in this city.

 

 

These massive baskets of flowers hang everywhere.  They went up in spring.  The colours are great to see, decorating so many buildings and businesses in the city and the suburbs.  People like colour here, I love that!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Puppy Power

We made a deal with my husband, if we move to Seattle, we will be getting a puppy.  Because we have so many little children coming through the house, temperament was very important.  It was quite a hunt, but we found a gorgeous golden retriever puppy from a breeder in Quincy, on the other side of the mountains.

 

Naming him caused big arguments, until I suggested Jar Jar Binks (we were getting him on May the Fourth!). So meet Binks.  He has been such a joy, really helping the kids to settle in to life here. 

 

He is growing at a tremendous rate, dwarfing his playmates at puppy playgroup. 

  

He has earned the nickname “silly doggie” at home because of all his antics!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A pretty moon

The moon is beautifully clear here.  Love watching it peek through the clouds.

Friday, August 8, 2014

So we have moved

November last year, about the time I was finishing my studies, I got an excited call from my husband.  He had been approached by Amazon to interview for a position.  Something we had not been expecting or had planned for.  (They had discovered his cv through LinkedIn.)  After a long process of interviews, he was offered a job in Seattle (yeah, the USA, way on the other side of the world).  Thanks to some wonderful friends who jumped in to help, we managed to get everything organised to move by the end of March.  On a beautiful Saturday morning, we said goodbye to our home and our friends.

With everything happening so fast, (job offer only came in end of January), there weren’t many flights available.  Lets just say that having 2 hours between connecting flights were not nearly enough.  We were sprinting between domestic and international lounges.  Thank goodness for my ThinkTank International camera roller bag.   It turns into a backpack, which made running a lot easier.  Somehow they never weighed it.  I suspect they couldn’t believe someone would be running with 20kgs on their back.  Sorry I never got a photo of how I packed it.  I had stuffed all our valuables in there as well as all my gear  (3 bodies, lots of lenses, flash, etc.).  The straps they use are brilliant, for once I didn’t end up with sore shoulders or back.  (It also fit easily as carry-on for all three different airlines we flew with.)  Thanks to Simon who helped me find the bag in time for our flight!

 

The flight to San Francisco wasn’t the most pleasant, but we survived.  Grateful that we landed early as the flights behind us were all sent to LAX due to computer problems at emigration, as well as  fog.  We spent three hours waiting in line before the systems were up and running again.  The kids spent the time sleeping on our bags.  Ironically, due to time differences, at that point it was earlier in the day than when we had left Melbourne.  The staff were really friendly and helpful, trying to make the best of an unpleasant situation.  The waiting passengers, not so much…

The flight for the last leg to Seattle had thankfully been delayed, otherwise we would probably have missed it and had to have stayed over as the flights were so fully booked.  Somehow, at this point, we also misplaced one of the kids’ jackets.  I don’t think we were very good company any more.  The pilot from Alaskan Airlines was really good, compared our previous two landings on this trip, the kids didn’t even realise we had touched down.

 

We arrived to a quiet airport, got our bags and our rental car and found our way to the corporate housing. (Yeah, it wasn’t quite that easy, but will blog about that part later.)

We arrived at the start of spring, with beautiful weather and bright colours everywhere.  This place is really gorgeous, adjusting is just taking some time.  If you have school-age kids, moving across in April is not ideal.