Sunday, July 31, 2011

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Since we were already so far east in Washington, we decided to go just a little further and visit my aunt and uncle in Idaho.  We had beautiful weather and beautiful views and we went biking and walking and then biking again. 

But perhaps most important, the infamous Coeur d'Alene Moose Walk! 


follow the trail to find the 5 moose statues around the city



(look!  a Goose on a moose!)




BR and my Uncle Jack became good buddies



When we weren't out hiking and searching for moose, the kids left their own (chalk) tracks through the neighborhood:



and apparently BR got a hold of my camera and documented what it was like to be in Page and Jack's house, if you're less than 3 feet tall:





 leaving behind, as usual, some indisputable proof that he was, indeed, the photographer:


As you may remember, Coeur d'Alene made my top ten list for this past year and we definitely want to go back sometime. 



Thanks for a great visit, Page and Jack!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Eastern Washington


Early in July we took a trip out to see Aunt Mer and she took us out camping. 

Let me stop right there and say this.  Folks: this is the VERY best way to go camping with little kids.  Here's what you do: first, find yourselves an Aunt Mer (good luck), and second, start planning a camping trip together. 

Meredith furnished all the gear, she pitched the tents before we even arrived at the site AND she cooked all the meals.  FAN-tas-tic.
 









On the drive out from Seattle, the kids informed me of a highway sign that (supposedly) forbade anyone to give a thumbs-up.  I remember that Jer and I gave each other a confused look and then, just to annoy them, I found a dozen reasons to do it.  "NO, MOM!  The sign says DON'T do that!"



check out this slide!



BR had a good time on the camping trip, but it took a little while because at the start of it, he wasn't convinced it would be rustic enough.  "I don't want these cars parked here and I don't like these parking lots," he complained.  But then he got into some grass that was taller than his little head and he brightened up: "Now this is what I call camping!"


Hardcore, BR.  That is hard-core.

Oh, and what was that no-thumbs-up-on-the-highway thing all about?  Turns out, the kids were right...Sort of:



Friday, July 29, 2011

MIA

It's been pretty slow here on RandB for awhile, but we are finally online in our new home!  Yup, that's right, this past Tuesday, exactly 13 months after we set out from Denver (to the day), we have finally arrived to a home of our own (okay, so it's a rental) and we will stay put (for at least a year). 

We have been out hiking already and enjoying the summer monsoons and desert lightning storms (though not all of those simultaneously, of course) and everything is a-ok.  Now, if only that moving truck would arrive with our stuff, we could start to settle in a little.  It's a new challenge for us, to live in such a...uh...clutter-free space.  We've only got our suitcases for now so it's like camping!  Indoors!  With one sleeping bag!  And two towels!  And none of our dishes (Or a can opener. Or a knife. Or pots and pans.).  Ah well, whatever: we've got the internet and we've got photos, so it's all good.  Not having boxes to unpack will just free me up to catch up on blogging, right?

Besides, a colleague of Jer's babysat our kids last night so we could go out for my birthday, so we caught a movie and they had pizza and so i guess we're all off to a great start. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

counting the year

We started this journey over a year ago, in our warm and cozy Jetta, on a 95 degree day.  Now the 5 of us, 385 days later (which is just about ¼ of BR's lifetime) are taking a look back and...counting:


3 continents, 5 countries, 16 US and 5 Indian states.

5-plus months in NYC and over 4 in Kolkata, India.

Flights: 17 for the kids, 19 for me, and 29 for Jeremy (for a grand total of 99)

Distance covered: at least 26,000 miles (kids), 28,000 (me) and Jer had a whopping 40,000.   That's a minimum combined total of 144,000 miles, or just less than 6 times around the globe (which, for any readers who might not be a stuck-in-their-ways Brit or American, is the equivalent of 231,700 kilometers).

I packed and re-packed (suitcases for long trips or overnight bags for short ones) at least 27 different times.

We are finishing the year with 1 medical fellowship degree, 1 completed year of homeschooling, zero items stolen (so far), and countless crayonned walls courtesy of BR.

We visited with 42 family members (including all but one of the children's great-grandparents).

We will have lived (or at least spent one night) in 1 house, 5 apartments, 5 friends' guest rooms, 16 hotels, 1 farmhouse, and 1 beachhouse.

__________


I am a little exhausted just writing all of this, to tell the truth. This week alone we will cover 3500 miles and if you count the week before that and the one we are about to jump into, it is somewhere around 6800 miles, 6 flights and about 40 hours of driving.

At any rate, we are getting close to what my parents do in a single year, but they do it every year.  And we have no plans to carry on the competetion.  You win, we plan to stay put for awhile and I look forward to the time when the most exciting material I have to post is a domino pattern or two.


No regrets, though.  We have met some really extraordinary people and seen some fabulous sights.  Since we're counting, I will list some of them.

4 exceptionally adventurous people (obviously there were many more, but here are just a few honorable mentions):
 
- the retired German woman, in her late sixties, who spends 5 months of every year living in a very simple guesthouse in the heart of downtown Kolkata and volunteers with the Missionaries of Charity at the Shishu Bhavan orphanage five days a week.  She sips her morning tea in a quiet corner of the dining hall with a view of the garden and fiercely guards her time alone and away from the crowds and noise.  On her day off she naps and rests and recharges so she can go out and then do it all over again.

- the Canadian couple in their 70's who were backpacking around India.  They still paddle out to a remote corner of the Queen Charlotte Islands every year in their homemade canoe and remember trudging through the snow in the early mornings, pulling their three children on a sled to the one-room schoolhouse in Whistler before it was what it is today.

- the suburban mom down the street from Jeremy's folks' place whose husband built a four-person collapseable tandem bike so they could carry it to Europe and bike around for a few weeks with their young sons (then ages 4 and 6).  They now have a five-person bike, so they can still get around with their three younger children.  Of course.


Finally, 10 of our favorite places and sights, in no particular order:


New York City skyline (photo source)

Langkawi Island, Malaysia


Kuala Lumpur skyline


beautiful Coeur d'Alene Lake
Coeur d'Alene Lake, Idaho  (source)

Great Banyan tree, Kolkata, India

Langkawi Sky Bridge (Malaysia)

Lake near Salzburg, Austria

Neuchwanstein Castle, Germany

Rothenberg ob-der-Tauber, Germany


Palolem Beach, Goa  (photo source)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

trip to the Southwest

Two weeks ago, we left the kids with the grands for a few days and Jer and I flew down south to try to find housing for our next adventure.  Our year-plus of travel is about to come to an end, and we needed to find a place to settle into our new life in the Southwest.  The short story is that we found a little house to rent in a good neighborhood near what is reputed to be a good school.  But that's the boring part.  I took photos of some of the more entertaining parts of our visit and hopefully it is a taste of more good and fascinating cultural experiences to come (once we move there later in July).   
there are summer evening performances by the local People in the main square.
(and others are sometimes invited to join in)

the Jr. High Rodeo was taking place and we went to take a look.
these girls were sharing a set of earphones while riding along.



(the backyard and view of one house we looked at but didn't end up buying)

(look, trees!  at least five, anyway...)

another [collapsing] house we didn't buy

standing on the roof of said house

it was hard to walk away from this one.  it had trees growing out from it! 
then again...it was collapsing.


 blue and stormy skies


red rocks everywhere
and these are some clips of awesome stunts the kids were doing at the rodeo (the next contestant in line didn't struggle so much with the calf and set a record for 9 seconds):