Fourth Festivities.

Happy Fourth (errr, Fifth) of July!  We had a fun, festive family day with a good combination of activity, food, and friends – exactly as it should be.  Our day started off pretty early with plans for a morning hike.  We decided to try something new and drive out to the Snoqualmie Pass area to hike Rattlesnake Ridge

I read a bunch of reviews online ahead of time that said this hike was “an easy day trip” and “great for kids.”  I have since decided that the people who leave hiking reviews on WTA are all hard core hikers and have different expectations and definitions of “easy” than I do.  Ha!

It was a beautiful hike, but anything but easy.  We climbed an elevation gain of 1,160 feet that went straight UP – inclined the entire way.  I was expecting it to be pretty low-key, but I found myself having to take a lot of breaks to catch my breath and drink some water.  Climbing two miles up is tough!  Good thing we had gorgeous views to encourage us to keep going.

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I didn’t take a lot of pictures along the way, mostly because Cullen had a really hard time in the hiking backpack.  I feel like a lot of you comment that you are amazed that we take him out so much and do all these things with him, so I thought I’d keep it real.  He is definitely not always good, and we have our fair share of toddler disasters too.  He spent pretty much the entire trip up whining into Casey’s ear and squirming around in the backpack trying to escape. 

We kept promising him that when we got to the top he’d be able to get out and stretch his legs.  And then we finally got there and discovered that the top was pretty much a rock cliff – yikes!

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The views were absolutely gorgeous, but I suddenly found myself having a bizarre fear of heights.  The overlook of the trail was literally just a series of large boulders (with a giant hole in the middle) and no level ground to stand on.  It was also really crowded!

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But the views were absolutely breathtaking, even on a cloudy morning, and I wasn’t willing to retreat before pulling out my camera for a few clicks.

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Twenty-six weeks pregnant, and looking incredibly nervous about the massive cliff directly behind me.

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We hiked back down to a small clearing area and let Cullen out for a few minutes.  Normally he really enjoys our hikes and points out things like birds and trees, but this just wasn’t his day.  It happens.

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We slowly hiked the two miles back down, which was almost as hard physically as climbing up.  The trees were so deep and tall, and the weather was perfect.  Even if it was harder than expected, I was still really glad we gave it a shot and experienced a new trail. 

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Somewhere about halfway down we realized Cullen was being alarmingly quiet, and we turned around to see him passed out in the backpack. 

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I think a lot of his grumpiness was probably just him feeling extra tired for some reason – it happens!  He was totally conked out and didn’t even wake up when Casey took the backpack off back at the car. 

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Four miles round-trip and a climb of over 1,000 feet – we were all WIPED and ready for a nap.  We headed home for a family snooze.

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Once we were all rested and showered, we headed to our friends’ house for a low-key backyard BBQ.  They had a delicious spread of festive food, including a giant grilled portabella mushroom that got added to this plate after I snapped the pic. 

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Cullen discovered his buddy Max’s golf caddy and took possession over it the entire time we were there.  Thankfully Max was willing to share.  He has a strange obsession with trash cans, and he thought this was his own mini garbage can to pull around.  He collected cups and napkins to fill it up with all night long.  Sigh, so weird. 

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Barbecue boys!

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Check out this hilarious photo series of his buddy Nisso having the audacity to try to touch the golf caddy…

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The next photo would have been Cullen screaming and freaking out about his precious “trash can” – but I jumped up and intervened.  Eventually they sorted it out, as usual.  Silly boys.

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After dinner it was time for some festive desserts!  Casey and I brought a big box of firework donuts from Mighty O – our favorites.  So pretty!

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Festive family.

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We headed home around bedtime, but not before snapping a few holiday photos to look back on next year. 

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I’m so thankful for such wonderful boys in my life.

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And another one who will be here before we know it!

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It was a fun, family Fourth – one of my favorite days of the year. 

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Once Cullen was in bed, Casey and I headed to the balcony off our master bedroom to enjoy some treats we brought home from the party…

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And I sipped on my beloved Dry Soda – a Seattle specialty that is not to be missed!

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We have beautiful panoramic city views of many different neighborhoods from our new place, and a gorgeous pink sunset felt like the perfect end to a great day.

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Casey and I sat outside for a few hours and just enjoyed each other’s company – watching fireworks above the hillsides all over the city.  It was awesome.  We were able to see several different firework shows all at once, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how grateful I am to live in a new place we love so much. 

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Unfortunately the dogs didn’t have as nice of a night.  Huey spent the entire night barking non-stop, and Indy ended up curled up in my lap in a ball on the balcony, shaking like a baby.  Poor pups.

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Hope everyone had a nice, festive Fourth!  What a treat that the weekend is just around the corner now.  Enjoy!