Monday, May 9, 2016

Rhododendrons & My Mom

My mom came to visit last week and I now feel like I've really got this whole hosting thing down. Each time we've had company we've managed to do something a little different (not just the Space Needle and Pikes Market over and over again) so I feel much more confident planning for visitors. Of course, I don't really think of my mom as "company." She's family, which means even though we planned a bunch of fun things to do each day, we also just allowed time to sit out on my deck, to go for lots of walks around the neighborhood with the pup, to take our time each morning, and stay up late at night, and soak in all the fleeting minutes we had together.

We had fantastic weather for her entire visit and unlike when my old roommates came to visit, Mt. Rainier was out in all her glory for our viewing pleasure all week long! After picking her up from the airport we headed to a favorite local spot for a late lunch, picked up groceries for the week and made our loose plans for the next few days. The first thing on our agenda was a trip to Seattle to see the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. Dale Chihuly is a local, from Tacoma, Washington, but his work is displayed all over the world!! I hadn't ever been myself and was excited to get to do this with my mom. Monday morning (and every morning that week) we got up, had breakfast and took Hunley for a long walk before heading into the city for the day. The museum is located right next to the Space Needle and you can see some of his funky garden installations poking up over the fence but nothing can really prepare you for the awesomeness of seeing it all  up close and personal.
(The Glass Forest)
(One of my favorites from his Macchia series)
(A boat filled with glass whos-its and whats-its galore. You want thingamabobs? He's got plenty!)
(The Glasshouse takes your breath away!)
Doesn't mom look so pretty coordinating with the blue glass stalks? Outside the glasshouse is the garden and it's filled with even more pieces that blend in to the flowers and garden beds- his work truly does belong in nature. Mom and I wandered around with our cameras out the whole time and everywhere you turned you were surprised by a new piece popping out at you. I couldn't pick a favorite display if I tried. 

After we'd soaked in as much as we could, we headed for lunch over near the market, which is a so much more enjoyable on a weekday when there are far fewer tourists. We picked a French cafe that reminded us another favorite French cafe from back home in our little village in England. After a leisurely lunch we followed our noses to Piroshky Piroshky and picked out two yummy pastries to share along with cappuccinos. This fantastic little place always, always, always has a line down the block so when you go on a Monday afternoon and don't have to stand in a long queue it's even more impossible to resist!
We fixed dinner at home that night and actually used our dining table, which only gets used when we have visitors, and then relaxed all together on the couch and watched a movie together. The next day we headed out on another excursion that had been on my list for a while. I'd seen signs on the highway for the Rhododendron Species Garden and knew that would be right up mom's alley! We weren't sure what to expect but were excited to find a lush oasis tucked in the woods off the highway with over 10,000 rhododendrons, ripe for the selfie taking!
It was hard to capture the scale of the place and sheer number of rhododendrons. We happily wandered around the shaded trails and pointed out our favorite colors or exclaimed over the size of some of the flowering trees. They also had a small field of blue poppies in season. Did you even know poppies came in that color?!
After we left the garden we headed to grab lunch on the water. It was a beautiful sunny day so we sat outside at Duke's Chowder House. T.J. was on call that night so we allowed ourselves to have a big lunch with plans for popcorn dinner at the movies. That night we went to see the Jungle Book and splurged on the large popcorn and three boxes of candy. Go big or go home!
Since I played hooky on Monday and Tuesday, we went to my office on Wednesday so I could get some work done. It's been super quiet at the office since my director is on maternity leave so it was nice to have my mom there to keep me company and to go to lunch with. On our way home we treated ourselves to mani-pedis and then stopped in my local library to get me a library card. I haven't had one of those since before college and I'd forgotten how much I love browsing through a quiet library and checking out books- something I always associate with my mom and the growing up years.
T.J. was home "early" that day so we headed to our favorite restaurant in Tacoma and mom treated us to a yummy dinner. We made sure to send T.J.'s mom this picture so she could know her boy is being well taken care of.

On Thursday I went in to work again and then we ran a few errands before leashing up Hunley and going on the long walk to the water. No visit to our little corner of the PNW is complete without doing this walk at least once. The last time my parents were here, Hunley was just a few weeks old, we took turns carry him down the trail, and he was completely un-interested in the water back then. This time was a different story and I'm glad my mom got to see our little water-dog in action. T.J. and I both can't wait until we can bring him to our parents' lake houses and let him swim off their docks.

Unfortunately the next day I had to return my mom to the airport and she had to head back to the East Coast. It was such a perfect, albeit short, week together that we tried to fill with as much joy and as many hugs as we could manage. If I could sum up our visit in one word it would be "rhododendrons"  and not just because we saw A LOT of rhododendrons while she was in town, (which we did), but because there was not a rhododendron we passed all week that we didn't exclaim over. And if my mom has taught me one thing, it's to always look for the positive, the beautiful, the Creator wherever you are, wherever you roam. To not get bogged down in the hard that you miss out on the beauty right in front of you. Our week of flower chasing, and mountain gazing, and long walks and longer talks, was just the perfect reminder of that.

6 comments :

  1. Well I will need at least three posts to say what you managed here : ) Thanks for being the hostess with the mostest! It was such a nice week and I can't wait to do it again soon! Love and miss you Mrs M xo

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  2. I LOOOVE the Chihuly glass museum in Tacoma, I'll have to check out the one in Seattle! Great job taking your mom on such an awesome tour of the area :). I'm so curious - what's your favorite Tacoma restaurant? I don't recognize the inside.

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    1. I haven't been to the glass museum in Tacoma yet! I definitely want to check it out. We love so many places in Tacoma- I'd love to know you're favorite- but our favorite restaurant is Stanley and Seaforts's. It's the perfect spot for a nicer dinner out, we usually go for birthdays, anniversaries. They do a huge military discount and have THE BEST view! I went back in and added a link ;)

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  3. This is so sweet! What a fantastic time together!

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  4. We love taking my mil there!
    What a great weekend. I need to up my selfie game!

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