Seattle…. Part 6

They stop you on the way up the Space Needle to get a picture.  Here’s the one from our second trip up.

The view out our hotel room:

We did a boat tour on Puget Sound this day.  I think I was the only one who enjoyed it.  Turns out, Matt (and the kids) doesn’t like boats.

Another beautiful sunny day in Seattle!

Snagged this one off of Kirsten’s camera. 

Mount Rainer below.  It was clear enough to see it this day. 

Your kids toys coming straight from China:

Getting these ice cream cones was the biggest mistake of the  They were a mess!

Our favorite breakfast location.  We ate here every single morning.  It was right across the street from the hotel.

If you are ever near a Specialty’s Bakery you gatta check them out!  Delish!  We usually got an assortment of sticky buns, cinnamon roles and other pastries and shared them all because you had to try everything!

Seattle Part 1
Seattle Part 2
Seattle Part 3
Seattle – Part 4 
Seattle Part 5

Seattle….. Part 5

 I think some of the dates are off on my pictures. 

I can’t remember if this is the evening or the morning.

We have very few pictures of me on this trip since I was the one with the camera the entire time.  I snagged this one off of Kirsten’s camera.  This is in the hotel lobby waiting to start our day.

Lunch at the downtown McDonald’s.  Don’t use locked restrooms in McDonald’s in the middle of the city.  I speak from experience.  There are things in there you do not want your 8 year old to see.    (or that I wanted to see for that matter…)

The famous Hammering Man.

I don’t remember the name of this building but it has a really cool curved base.  

This is the bottom of the curved building which is why they are all looking up 😉

The Public Market is a must see in Seattle.  It’s neat.  We went first thing in the morning before it got too crowded.

The famous fish market.  If you order fish they sing and throw it around.  It was pretty quiet for us but we did see them throw the fish.  I think some people order it just see that.

 There are a bunch of shops inside the Public Market.  It kind of winds all around in this old building.  We were exploring before most of the shops were even open.

This is the original Starbucks.  It’s right in the public market.  We actually went here on accident a few years back but didn’t find out until we got home that this is where Starbucks started.

Funny thing about the coffee in Seattle….   We were really looking forward to enjoying it but it turned out to be more of a pain to always be carrying a cup of coffee that we didn’t drink as much as we thought we would.

Back behind the Public Market.  We didn’t have much of chance to see this area last time we were in Seattle so it was fun to explore this time.

On our way to the Aquarium.  It’s down on the waterfront on one of the many piers.  

 They have a large dome aquarium with sharks and everything.

 Sea Otters.

The Aquarium:    (and gorgeous weather!)

On one of the piers.

This was our favorite meal we enjoyed in Seattle.  It was not cheap but it was fun!  They are famous for their big bowls of seafood and they literally dump it on the table and let you dig in. 

If you ever make it to Seattle check out The Crab Pot.   It is worth it!   Brady slept through most of our lunches including this one.

The poor boy was starting to miss some things from home.  One of those things was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  You wouldn’t believe how hard it was to find a plain ole peanut butter and jam sandwich in the city.  He had to settle for Peanut butter and bananas. 

The other thing he missed was his toys.  He kept asking to go home and we finally figured out why that was.  He wanted to play with his toys.

Waiting for the mono rail at the mall.   I think this is mixed up and was from before all the above stuff.

The space needle at night.  We took two trips up.  Once in the day and once at night.  Your ticket allows 2 trips within 24 hours so we took advantage of it and enjoyed the city lights.

Seattle Part 1
Seattle Part 2
Seattle Part 3
Seattle – Part 4

Seattle….. Part 4 (The one with the boring baseball pics)

These baseball photos are from our Sunday afternoon game. The Mariners played the Boston Red Socks.  The funny thing is there were more Red Socks fans wandering around Seattle than Mariner fans.

We sat down on the field behind first base.  Ichiro was right in front of us.  He’s Brady’s favorite Mariner so it was fun for him.

I really don’t have a clue who the rest of these guys were…..
All of these were taken with my 70-300mm lens.

I wonder if one of those guys would trade me lenses……

Ichiro rarely turned our way so I couldn’t get a great picture of him.

Seattle Part 1
Seattle Part 2
Seattle Part 3

Seattle….. Part 3

Back on firm ground after being jostled around for 40 hours straight.

This is King Station in Seattle.  I think we arrived early afternoon.

It didn’t take long to get situated in the hotel which was smack in the middle of downtown.  We ventured out right away.  We didn’t rent a car so we did a lot of walking.

We stayed right near the downtown shopping district.

This is the mono rail track below.  This is the next block over from our hotel.

Our hotel.  Nothing fancy but worked out well.  I’d recommend it to anyone.

Our first (of many) trip on the mono rail.  It started a block from our hotel and traveled about 12 blocks to the space needle area.  There are a few sketchy areas in between so we usually took the monorail even though it’s not the cheapest transportation.  

Brady missed a lot of this vacation during his naps 😉

We did all the touristy stuff.  We visited the EMP museum.  It’s some sort of music museum.  I actually found it quite boring…lol.

On the mono rail again.  This time Brady actually experienced it awake.

We arrived in Seattle on a Saturday and caught our first baseball game that evening.  We went to games most nights we were there.

The bat chandelier. 

I find baseball games quite boring also.  But it was fun to use my 300mm lens to capture some shots.

Our little Mariner fan finally getting to watch them play a real live game.

I absolutely hate these super high seats at baseball games.  I don’t like how helpless I feel being way up that high. 

You can get some cool city shots from that high up though.

We really lucked out with gorgeous weather the entire week we were there.  The moon was big and bright every night.

Sundat morning we headed straight for the space needle.  This picture below is taking the glass elevator to the top.

Our hotel is on the right in the middle of the skyscrapers.  You can see the monorail track and if you follow that down it ends near our hotel.

Another game….

This time we had much better seats.  We were in the corner behind first base.  Much better way to watch a baseball game.  I will bore you all with my shots of the game tomorrow.  I have no interest in baseball but I do have interest in photographing baseball 😉

I don’t know what was more expensive…. the food or the tickets….

Seattle Part 1
Seattle Part 2

Seattle…. Part 2

Here is 40 hours on the train.

I didn’t take a ton of pictures (by my standards…lol)  on the train but enough to see some of the really cool scenery we went through.  Traveling across this beautiful country by train was so amazing.  You see things you can only see by train. 

There was terrible flooding in the Dakota’s just weeks before we left.  Amtrak was actually shut down for a couple of weeks and only starting running this route about a week prior.  It was kind of scary going through these floods.  The water came right up to the track.  We actually had to go through it really slowly.  The devastation was crazy!

We brought projects to keep the kids busy.  Kirsten made a lot of pot holders on the trip.  🙂

Doing more projects in the observation car.  This car was a really neat place to spend some time.

Below the observation deck there is a dining and snacks area.  Cale and Matt spent the entire day building this new lego set.

And Brady didn’t miss his nap most days.

It was really neat to see the mountains come up.

The kids watched a lot of movies.  We worried about electrical outlets and thought they would be scarce but every seat had a couple.

The Empire Builder goes across some pretty high and long bridges.  This was one of them.  You kind of hold your breath until you are completely past them.  I had to remind myself that these trains do these bridges every single day.. They were scary!

I think this is a well know resort along the track.  It’s a popular Amtrak destination. 

These tiny mountain towns are so peaceful! 

We lucked out with really good weather on the train.  I worried before we left of bad storms.  There was a beautiful bright full moon the second night.

I believe these are the Cascade mountains coming up.  I’ve never seen anything like them.  They were so gorgeous! 

You can kind of get an idea just how long this train is.  That’s the front below.  I think there were a handful of cars behind us still too.

This area of the trip was probably my favorite.  The tracks were not as rough and because of all the turns and climbing up the mountains we went slower.  The scenery along this stretch was so peaceful and gorgeous. 

This new construction area was surprising.  This didn’t seem like a very populated area.  Plus it overlooked the waterway you see more of below.  Talk about a million dollar view!
I *think* this is the Columbia Basin.  I should have done
a better job of noting where we were.

I think this is one of the only times I actually got off the train.  You can get out at most stops but you have to stay close to the train because it will not wait for you!  And most stops are really quick (10 minutes or less) especially when they are trying to make up time.

This might be Leavenworth, WA or close to it.  This stop is the same as above.

There are two long tunnels on this route.  This is the second one and is 7.8 miles long.  It’s weird to go through these tunnels and just a bit scary 😉  I stood in the last car through this tunnel because I wanted to see us come out of it.

The first tunnel was during the second night and it’s around 8 miles.  I knew it would be while we were sleeping and was hoping I would sleep through it.  But I woke up while we were in it!  It kind of freaked me out.  I could tell we were in it because the sound was echoed and I could see the mile marker lights as we passed them.  I was not fond of the tunnels and bridges on the train.

It was cool to catch the exit of the tunnel.  As we traveled on a bit further this is what I saw:

It dawned on me that that was the mountain we just passed through!  Seeing it like that is quite crazy.  I’m just glad I saw it after the fact and not 

Finally coming up on Puget Sound!  Almost there!  This was a beautiful sight to see… the end of our journey!

Ballard, WA:

Quest Field.  The station is right near it so we knew we were there!

Ready to get off the train:

Even though the train was almost 3 hours late leaving Minneapolis I think we arrived in Seattle 1-2 hours behind schedule.  It was pretty crazy how much time they made up along the route.  We were so thankful there were no major delays. 

Here is part 1 of our cross country adventure on the Empire Builder.

Seattle… finally!

I haven’t even looked through our Seattle pictures yet.  I just haven’t had the time!  So starting this week I’ll post our cross country adventure.  And an adventure it was!

We started our summer vacation driving to Minneapolis to catch the Empire Builder.  We got on the train in Mineappolis and got off the train 40 hours later in Seattle, Washington.  That was 2 full nights and days sleeping in coach with three kids.  Crazy…. probably.


This was the first time I’ve ever been on a train so I didn’t know what to expect.  It was way easier and way better than I ever imagined.  The kids loved it and we brought plenty of stuff to keep them occupied.  I brought a book to read but never actually got around to reading it.  The nice part about the train is you have a lot of freedom to walk around.  Our train was pretty full but didn’t feel too cramped. 

The most surprising thing about the train is that it is one bumpy ride!  I kind of expected a smooth but loud ride.  Was I wrong!  There were many moments that I was praying we wouldn’t derail 😉  Apparently all the jostling is normal and you kind of get used to it after awhile. 

Disclaimer:   I was not a photographer on this trip.  I was a mom on vacation with her family.  😉  I pretty much just shot in auto for most of the trip.  My camera was kind of a pain to deal with.  Next vacation I might even consider just bringing a small point and shoot instead.  

On the way to Minneapolis.  Oh, the anticipation of the vacation we waited 6 months for!!  I can remember the excitement looking at these pictures.

Driving into Minneapolis.  We were so surprised at how low these planes are!  It was fun to try to catch them on camera while driving under them.

The first part of our trip was to visit the Mall of America.  The kids had never been there before.  It was only my second time.  The first being 15+ years ago.  Of course the main destination was the Lego Store.  There are not many lego stores in this country so this was pretty fun for the kids.

You can’t go to The Mall of America without doing a few rides!  I don’t think Kirsten really knew what this ride was because she is a big chicken but she survived and even had fun on it.

We ate dinner at The Rainforest Cafe.  It was a neat place.  This is just hours before we were to get on the train.  We arrived in Minneapolis before lunch and the train left that night.

The train station reminded me a lot of our little airport up here.  Unfortunately our train was delayed a few hours.  It was supposed to arrive at 11pm but didn’t show up until after 1am. 

We were assured we would all have seats next to each other but that did not happen.  Because our destination was at the end we boarded last (which I thought was odd) and when we boarded there were no 2 seats together anywhere.  I kind of had a little breakdown on the train because there was no way I was going to be separate from my 3 small kids.  We finally managed to get 4 seats together and slept really really cramped up that first night.

Enough people starting getting off the train the next day and we were able to get 5 seats all together and enjoyed the rest of the trip.  It was frustrating that the attendants didn’t do a better job of dealing with us that night.  The attendants on the way back were much better at enforcing certain areas that were reserved for large parties.  So I’m guessing that all just kind of depends on how assertive the attendants are.

I’ll post more tomorrow….