It was weird not being with family over Thanksgiving and so we were happy to hear that McBrides wanted to come to Seattle to visit us over Christmas. I’m not sure what made them want to come to Seattle this time of year, but we were so happy to have them! Everyone was able to come see us except Andrew and Kerby. We were happy to have whomever could come, but we did miss Andrew and Kerby!
The McBrides decided to drive it again. In case you didn’t know Seattle is about 25 hours from Thatcher so its a pretty intense drive. There are also several snowy passes that they had to drive through to get to us. In fact, they got caught in a pass for several hours. Roads were closed both directions for several hours, but they finally made it!!!!
I don’t think Seattle is famous for their Christmases, but I was very surprised at all there was to do over the holidays! I was able to find a lot of things that I thought the McBrides would like to do (Nadine mostly!) and I ended up having quite the list. I don’t think we were able to accomplish nearly everything, but we were able to do a lot!
Nadine really wanted to watch the kids rock climb, and we thought the rest of the McBrides would like to try it out as well so we took them all to Vertical World. I think everyone had a blast climbing and I Think Nadine enjoyed capturing everyone climbing. The kids were able to show off their skills and when they were finished I took the kids with me to pick up some Dick’s for some of us for lunch. Ashley didn’t love climbing so she came with me! (I was very happy to have company on the drive to get food and to catch up with Ashley!) On the drive to get Dick’s she filled me in on a her new boyfriend whom she’d just met and had fallen pretty hard for! (Spoiler alert…they’re married now!)
After climbing we all went to get fish and chips at Little Chinooks at Interbay, which is super close to Vertical World! We took McBrides here last time they were here, so we knew that half of them didn’t love it thus the Dick’s for those less adventurous eaters!
That night we went to the the Light’s of Christmas which is Stanwood, Washington (near Kayak point about an hour from our home). This one was a bit more pricey, but it was set up really well! the kids got to see Santa for the first time this year which was very exciting! The whole “village” is covered in lights. There is a small light maze which was fun. There was a train that we waited in line forever to ride, but its the one thing the kids wanted to do. Their Aunts and Uncle were great sports and the train ride was fun. They did have concessions stands that sold hot coco, homemade donuts, and other things. We did split some donuts and they were good. It was crowded and cold, and a bit far, but we still had a blast. (Although I don’t think this will be a yearly tradition due to cost and distance, but I do recommend it!) If Christmas is your holiday and you love all things Christmas, this is the place for you!
The next day we decided to venture downtown and we went to the Gingerbread village at the Sheraton Hotel. This one I seriously have mixed opinions on…This year the theme was Harry Potter. Even looking at photos on line of it doesn’t do it justice. These gingerbread structures were super detailed and beautiful, they even moved! They really were super impressive to see. Where my opinions on this one are mixed is the line. We waited in line FOREVER! And then we even bailed on waiting in line and so we just got a side view and a behind view of the actual event. (From the limited view I did see I was beyond impressed.) IF we go again next year we won’t wait in line, we’ll just look at the back end of it and call it good, unless there isn’t much of a line. (We did go the week leading up to Christmas, when schools were out and the holidays were in full swing, so that may have added to the crowds.) It was warm, and crowded, and the kids weren’t in the mood for lines. BUT it was very impressive! So yes, I’d recommend it, but if lines aren’t your thing (Think an hour in line, for about 5 minutes looking at the gingerbread structures) I’d maybe pass, unless you are already downtown and you just look on the back end like we ended up doing. At the end there was a huge Christmas tree decorated in Harry Potter theme, The Sorting Hat included! So even though it started off rocky for us I think we were all impressed with it in the end.
I think…that evening we ventured onto the East Side and went to the Bellevue Botanical Garden D’Lights. We had been to the Botanical Garden previously and had a great time! When you go normally its free, but going for the Garden D’lights its $5.00 a person, kids 10 and under free. (They do offer free nights too!) There is paid parking and free parking as well. A lot of the gardens are closed off for the Garden D’lights, but I loved it! I think everyone really enjoyed it when we went and I think we will go every year! Before we went to the Gardens though we had time to kill and we decided to go to a Goodwill. Of course everyone found treasures and had fun at the Goodwill!
After the Garden D’lights we decided to go watch one of the Seattle Christmas Ship Festival sailings. I actually really enjoy this and we had been earlier in December to scope it out and see if it was worthy to take our guests to. When we went earlier in the season there weren’t many people. The beach we went to had a few bonfires going that you could warm yourself while you watched. There was also a park there so the kids could play. When we went with McBrides there was definitely a crowd! But it was still fun to see the ships all decked out in Christmas lights and hear beautiful carols being sung! Our kids didn’t like this was one as much as the one we had previously watched, (no park!) but I think it was still a success!
The next day we took a road trip to Leavenworth! Nadine’s Aunt lives there and we wanted to see them. Last time McBrides were here we went to Leavenworth as well and visited with them and had a blast. Nadine also really wanted to see Leavenworth at Christmas time. The whole town gets into the holiday spirit and is decorated beautifully. Heck they even have a year round Christmas store so you know they take Christmas seriously! The drive up was a little sketchy, but not too bad. (There is one major mountain pass we have to go through that is home to one of the Ski resorts near us.) We took our minivan without 4wheel drive and it did fine. A few times we felt icy, but Chris drove like a champ. There was an accident that happened just before we got there and we were lucky enough to get through before the traffic got too backed up. (The accident was very minor and no injuries just slid into the snow banks.)
We went straight to Joan and Jari’s house and had lunch with a few of Nadine’s cousins as well. After that we got on our snow clothes and we were all able to play in the snow! The kids LOVED sledding, in fact everyone seemed to really enjoy sledding. After playing in the snow we all changed back and then the kids, Chris, and I started for home. We knew that Nadine and the rest of the McBrides wanted to walk around the town with it all lit up at night, and we knew the kids wouldn’t be the most fun to do that with so we headed home earlier than everyone else. I think the McBrides all really enjoyed walking around Leavenworth, even the not so Christmasy people. We had a nice drive home and the kids went to bed at a decent hour and I got to take a shower without worrying about taking all the hot water! (We all-9 people- have been sharing one shower/bath!!!) It ended up being a great day! Leavenworth is seriously an awesome town and I recommend it year round! (We’ve personally been in the summer, the fall, and the winter and all the times were awesome!) Leavenworth also has a lot of Christmas festivities in December, we just went a little too late to participate in them, but from what I was told, it was still awesome to walk around!
The next day Bryan, Chris, Ashley, and Michael went skiing/snowboarding at Steven’s Pass. (Basically where we were the day before-on the way to Leavenworth!) I heard great things about it and I know they all had blast! I know it sure beat the Arizona Slopes! While they were playing in the snow Nadine, Brianna (she plays basketball and didn’t want to risk getting hurt skiing), the kids and I had fun in town. We went to the movies (I want to say we saw Sing), we went shopping, we went out to eat and we just had fun driving around. We made it home in time to prep for Christmas Eve dinner! I am very happy and blessed that I get along so well with my in laws! I really had a blast with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law! I’m glad I feel comfortable to send Chris off with parts of his family while I stay back with the rest of his family!
When everyone got home we did a typical Christmas Eve. We ate dinner. We opened a few presents (games and jammies). And just played. I think everyone was very pleased with how our Christmas week was going and I feel like we felt the Christmas Spirit big time! After kids were in bed half our group watched a movie, some went to bed, some did a video call with their boyfriends (Ashley), and I got to talk to my mom on the phone. As nice as it was to have Chris’ family for Christmas I still missed mine so I was happy to have a bit of time talking to my mom!
That night we were lucky enough to have Santa come and leave us some awesome presents. (When Lillian wrote letters to Santa she was very truthful and showed how naughty she was and how nice she was…she was about half and half according to her. Luckily Santa loves honesty, plus I put in a good word for her because I think she was A LOT more nice than naughty!) We just did Santa gifts and unwrapped a few presents and then we went to church. It was nice to break it up a bit and feel even more the Christmas Spirit!
After Church we unwrapped the rest of our gifts and made Christmas dinner. Nadine had a headache so she went to take some Tylenol. Unlucky for her she ended up taking Tylenol PM. She didn’t realize she took the PM variety until she was fighting staying awake. Then Brianna needed some medicine too. Nadine went to show her where the medicine was and we realized that Nadine had taken the PM, not the regular! We all got a good laugh and Nadine felt justified in a short nap! Christmas day was perfect just playing with new toys, visiting, and laughing. I love our family!
The next day the McBrides packed up and left us! Its always sad to say goodbye when family leaves, but we are SO glad they all have made an effort to come and visit us! This Christmas was so amazing. I was impressed with how much Christ was the focus of Christmas! The Lights of Christmas had several nativities set up, the Christmas Ship Festival sang traditional Christmas songs that focused on The Birth of Jesus. Having Christmas on Sunday set the focus even more on the Birth of Jesus as well! It was a Christmas for the books, that’s for sure!