Vacation Report!

My parents wisely decided to re-instate the family beach vacation this year. Mostly, this was an excuse for all of us to fight over my 3-year-old nephew Ben.

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We were in Fort Morgan, AL which is just west of Gulf Shores.

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We spent lots of time in the ocean.

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(Some less than others.)

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I read MANY books! You’ll find out how many in the coming days.

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We played in the sand.

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We played in the pool.

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Sometimes it rained.

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watching the storm

We sat on the porch and watched the storms.

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We blew bubbles.

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Lots of bubbles!

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(We had to buy more bubbles mid-way through the week.)

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There was jumping on Pop Pop.

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Games with Dad.

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The occasional Time Out. (I die!)

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A TREASURE HUNT with “the girls” (our cousins).

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A visit to an Estuarium.

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It was basically the Best Week Ever. Thanks, Bob and Dee, for making this happen!

There’s no snow on the ground.

Despite predictions, we did not get much snow last night. Instead, it’s bright and sunny and the ground is dry!

Let’s take a mental vacation to December 2010, when there WAS lots of snow on the ground!

My parents and I decided to drive to Colonial Williamsburg and walk around, in the wind and snow, without paying to enter any of the houses. Somehow we thought that was a good idea. (In the end, we were all very cold and grumpy. But it was still very beautiful outside.)

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these two clowns

Sunrise

There’s no appropriate way to segue back to vacation recaps, so let’s just go for it.

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Sunrise Visitor Center is the highest point on Mount Rainier that can be reached by vehicle – 6,400 feet at the parking lot. One of our family friends was working at the gift shop this summer, so we visited her for lunch.

Since the sky was clear – rare for Rainier, we were to discover – we decided to take a short mid-day hike. (Full disclosure, we decided on a 5.6 mile loop with a 1,200 foot elevation gain.)

Halfway up, we stopped with some other hikers to watch a bear and a coyote in the valley. Despite my urging, they did not meet up and start to brawl. (No photos, because they were no more than moving specks from our height.)

Vacation Report: The Food!

It’s so daunting to return from a vacation and be asked, “How was your trip?” I never know what to talk about. Do I give a general overcap? Do I give a lengthy play-by-play? Do I talk about the interpersonal dynamics among our family and analyze particular conflicts from each member’s perspective? Do I just promise that I’ll be posting pictures/blogging about it in the future, and tell them to stay tuned? (I have attempted each of these already.)

There’s never a good place to start! I decided to start with the food, mostly because I’m obsessed with this photo.

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Isn’t this proof that my family knows what we’re doing? Don’t you want to BE us in this moment, at this table?

This was one of the last days of our trip, so we had hit a stride, lunch-wise. Let me back up a bit.

Our first day looked like this:

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Karen gave me a detailed list of what she did last year in Seattle, which was both thorough and practical: “You can see these three things in one morning, since they’re in the same area.” “If the weather is clear, you MUST go up the space needle.” “When you go to the Public Market, EAT A PIROSHKY!” Since I had no idea what a piroshky was, I asked for more details. They were somewhat indescribable, as a food item. Her description reminded me of the first time I had an empanada after being told, at 2am on the DC streets by a drunk girl, that it was “like a warm pocket of LOVE!”

Karen stumbled upon the piroshky stand – near the original Starbucks, but significantly less crowded – her first day in the city, and returned multiple times because it was a cheap and yummy meal option.

So, let’s recap: affordable, unknown food in a convenient, non-crowded location, delicious enough to warrant a return visit? That is everything we love! Our very first Public Market goal was to find this piroshky stand.

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We found it. Duh.

Now, check out all these options! Sweet! Savory! Flaky! Doughy! How were we supposed to choose? We went with our strengths – Mom asked for the spinach, egg, and cheese (aka the most healthy option), I choose a cinnamon cardamom roll (sweet and complex), and Dad went for bavarian sausage AND something that had rice and mushrooms and some meat option (aka Man Food).

Sidebar: notice how I already forget what we ate? This is why I should have taken notes, and more pictures, and why I’m talking about the food now before I forget even more!

Here’s one more picture. It doesn’t explain what was in the final piroshky, though it had flavors that reminded me of African or Moroccan dishes.

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We took our bag of (what is the plural of piroshky?) to the waterfront, sat at a table, and sampled every option, choosing our favorites, calling dibs on last bites. We left a few crumbs for the birds, and started wandering the rest of the market.

I’ll have to tell you about that later, though, because it’s nearly my bedtime.