Stevens Pass

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I counted all weeks, and it turned out that it was our last Explore Day. So I’m finishing this project at last!!!
Already started couple of new year projects – it’s the only thing that keeps me sorting out my kids pictures and posting regularly. Will be writing about them in the next couple of days.

Now to our last Explore Day.
It takes about two hours to get to Stevens Pass, but that day there was an accident on the pass, so they closed the road, and a lot of people just turned back. But the morning was wasted anyway, so we spent three hours just sitting in a car and waiting for the road to open. We were not alone, so when we were moving again, we found that there is no parking place. We made about three rounds, and all this in the deep snow, before we found parking spot.
It was long past midday when my husband and son finally reached the slopes, but they were rewarded by two hours of skiing. It was the first time for my husband after a long break, and the first time for my son on the real slope, so two hours were more than enough.
Irina and I tried to play in the snow, but there is really no place for that, so we spent most of the time inside again.
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Snoqualmie West Summit

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Pasha had ski lessons at Snoqualmie West Summit, and that was our first time in this place.
It felt like real winter – strong gusty wind, snow falling in big fluffy flakes, white breath in the air… Maybe not the best weather for the first lesson, but Pasha enjoyed it all the same, and Irina and I spent most of the lesson time (hour and a half) inside, sipping cocoa (the best cocoa I had in years!) and watching the lesson.
I loved the open fire in rocks outside, it feels so good to be near it in such a weather…
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Bellevue Ice Skating Arena

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There is Ice Skating place in downtown Bellevue, set every year around Christmas.
Irina tried skating for the first time in her life and really enjoyed it. We went there with our friend, so Pasha had fun too, and he is skating really well.
Walker is a great thing for the beginner, we didn’t have such things in my childhood. My back was aching in a five minutes of holding Irina and trying to show her how to skate. But then we were really lucky to get walker, and Irina had some fun time trying to skate by herself.
That trip inspired me to buy ice-skates for Irina and find my old ones, and to start visiting skating place in Renton. Good start for a new hobby!
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Christmas decorations

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I know, it’s almost spring, but here is our another Explore Day, from three months ago ;)
Yes, I’m feeling like I’m cheating, it’s not any new place, only our house…
But our house really looks different and somehow new place with all that Christmas spirit!
I couldn’t wait for Thanksgiving to finally be over, to put our tree and everything. I was tired and exhausted by the evening, but we had a lot of things to do.
Tree decoration was the main thing of course, it took most of our day. Then other decorations – fireplace stockings (we have the most beautiful ones – handmade by my Mom), some candles, kids’ craft from the last year… And some new craft too. We made new snowmen to keep company for our existing crowd, and we tried to cut paper snowflakes. I really enjoyed the cutting, we found some nice templates, and Irina didn’t mind just to take some of mine for her own, but Pasha was very frustrated by the process… Next year we will make window paintings, we always enjoyed it back in Russia.
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Wallace Falls

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Wallace Falls again, but I’m not cheating, we didn’t follow the same trail this time. My husband took our friends by the usual trail, but Irina didn’t feel like walking for a long distances that day, so we found gorgeous place down near the river and spent all our time there.
Gathering and tossing rocks in the water is such a simple amusement, but it seems to me, that kids can do it forever, without getting tired or bored…
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Tiger Mountain

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Everyone is telling me, that Tiger Mountain trail is a tough one. But I didn’t feel that way, maybe because of constant chatting with friends, or maybe it was absence of my usual jumpy backpack with my little one on my back – this time we used our new piggyback, and it sure had a success, Irina even fall asleep on our way back.
Pasha chose one of our adult friend for himself as usual, and they had a running contest to the top, so no miserable wails and complains this time, nice change.
It was freezing on the top, with constant strong wind, but we stayed there a while trying to enjoy the view and show that our ascend was not for nothing.
It’s a pity we didn’t see any paragliders, bad weather for them, but it’s their usual starting point. Will need to make a note and come back here in summer.
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Ivanhoe Park

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Just a nice evening discovering new playground – Ivanhoe park.
Everything seems much more interesting in a new place, even such an ordinary and sometimes boring things like bike riding, sliding, and swinging…
I could feel winter in the air, evenings become chilly, and soon we will be happy to have such a nice hour without rain to play on a playground.
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Gilman Village

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We had real trick-or-treating this year, in proper Halloween costumes and in a nice place – Gilman Village. It’s some sort of mall or rather plaza, styled in country fashion. A lot of stores, restaurants and cafe, hair salons and other services, each residing in its own cozy wooden house – this place has some unique feeling about it.
Every owner was in a costume and had a bucket of candies ready to hand.
We had a half an hour fun, circling the place, trying not to miss even the smallest one. At last kids’ buckets were full, and I felt a little tired of all the crowd and noise.
We need to come back just to have coffee in some cozy place…
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Yogurtland

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Yogurtland is a nice place for some ice-cream. I like the idea of such places – you take a plastic container and fill it with whatever flavors of ice-cream you like, then you can add some fruits or candies on top (or in my son’s case you usually add some ice-cream on top of gummy-bears, m&ms and other candy). You pay by weight, and usually it’s quite cheap and really tasty.
My favorite flavor is blackberry, Pasha prefers “just plain ice-cream” which means vanilla, and Irina is happy with any flavor as long as she choose it by herself.
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Dr.Maze Farm

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You could do a lot of things with the apples – jam, confiture, compote, dried apples, bakery with fresh apples. I could easily get apples from the market, but figured, it would be fun to go apple picking with kids. And in my mind kept clicking all that pictures, that I could take – the grove of trees in a haze, my daughter picking an apple from the tree, kids chasing each other between the trees in the perfect sunset light, my son deliciously biting fresh apple…

I found one farm in Redmond, and then everything fell of the tracks. My son decided to stay home with his grandmother. My husband decided to take us out to dinner, so no sunset that day. And there was no sun – only thick fog.. Finally we went with my grandmother and Irina, determined to have a great time.
 There was no apple picking at the farm that I chose – only the most delicious cider I ever tasted. And anyway, apple picking season was long over – August and beginning of September is the time.
 And that’s how we ended at the pumpkin farm with a lot of attractions for kids and a big corn maze. Though it was freezing that day, we had a good time – tried wheelbarrow, tractor riding, mazes, frying pans music, and a lot more…

It seems that was fruitful autumn for the farm fairs visiting.

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