Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Houseful.....

Sarah and co arrived just in time to experience a no-holds-barred American Halloween - and they were determined to make the most of it! After sourcing 2 very cute costumes and a lorry load of very scary temporary tattoos we set off with a witch and a Skelzor towards North Admiral for their annual Trick or Treat Treasure Hunt. I think Mike was the only one not phased by the whole spectacle (born and raised on extravagant US holiday traditions!). There were dogs in costumes, tiny babies in costumes, grown-ups (I use the term loosely!) in costumes and even a couple of transvestites (unfortunately I didn't manage to secure any photographic evidence of this so you'll just have to take my word for it!) Outstanding were the Wiener dog dressed as a hot-dog, the Elvis and Hound-dog combo, and the teeny tiny Scoobie Doo! It took Livvy and Josh about 5 minutes to get the hang of marching into the stores and simply having to say Trick or Treat to be rewarded with a bag full of sweeties! They got a little carried away and came away thinking that they will most definitely be crowned the winners of the best costume contest as well as winning the enormous Treasure Hunt Prize Basket! Well - in their Auntie kate's eyes - they deserve both anyway!!
We even managed to squeeze in some pumpkin carving although I think Mark and Mike enjoyed that just a touch more than the kids!
The candy bags and kiddiwinks have now made their way safely across the pond just in time for Show and Tell at school on Monday!

Red Rocks and Bright Lights

I had been beside myself with excitement since Sarah had told me that she and Mark had booked a holiday in Sedona (the closest their timeshare would bring them to the PNW). Even better, they were going to fly home via Seattle and spend a few days here with us :-)
So Mike and I headed off to spend a long weekend with the Twigges and Twiglets in Arizona with no higher expectations than being able to spend good quality time with my sis and Mark and the two sweetest munchkins in the world!
As it turned out we managed to squeeze quite a bit into the weekend; at least 30 games of Uno in the back of the minivan (with some pretty nifty tactical playing by both Josh and Livvy!), a visit to the Grand Canyon, some acrobatic sessions in the pool, a drive over the Hoover Dam, and a very exciting visit to Vegas. Sadly, the kids were not allowed to hover too close to the blackjack tables or slots, although with their card playing skills that probably turned out well in Vegas's favour! We managed to find a room at the Treasure Island which Josh and Livvy thought was 'way cool' - although I'm not sure whether the pirate show or sleeping in a bed with Auntie Kate and Mike held the most appeal! As Aunt and Uncle we were spoiled rotten with constant attention, ensuring permagrins on our faces for the entire trip.
It was very hard to leave on Monday - but we managed to drag ourselves away knowing that it would only be a few days before we could resume the wrestling and hairdressing sessions back in Seattle!

Hunting Rookie

So this year made our annual trip over to Colfax for the fun and frolics which is Opening Weekend of Pheasant Hunting Season - but this time we had the added excitement of bringing our own rookie bird dog, Fergus! As Cortez always says, 'It's all about the dogs' - and giving them the opportunity to do what they were born to do. I think it's a great sacrifice those boys make for their dogs - after all it's a pretty grueling weekend of firing guns, drinking beer, eating good food and tromping about the countryside - selflessness, pure selflessness ;-)
It was almost a full complement this year, (absence of the newlywed Leighs notwithstanding - honeymooning in Fiji is a pretty good excuse in my book!) with 8 hunters and 5 dogs (plus Sydney who was representing the Leigh household!). In addition, Heidi took advantage of her post-Masters free time and made it over this year, as well as Wendy and the boys (Blake wins the youngest participant prize yet again!) and Jenni and Baby Bump Lothbright (future hunter I'm sure!). Jenni and I joined the boys on Sunday morning to check out the progress of Gunther and Fergus and get some of the fresh Whitman County air. As it turns out the air was more muggy than fresh and by the end of the morning we had halved our number of layers and doubled our thirst!
In the end the rookie had a good first outing; he flushed a bird on the first morning (nobody mention beginners luck!) and did a good job of staying close to his Dad. His stamina needs a little work (but then again so does his mum's!) but it made for a very docile hound for the remainder of the week!

When two become one....Burleighs drop the 'Bur'..!

It was certainly a long time in the making - 7 and a bit years to be exact - but the long awaited union of Tiffany and Ryan was well worth it!!
The wedding was a wonderful combination of family, friends, humour and love. The PNW weather cooperated for a change and the ceremony took place under a vivid blue sky!
The chocolate and Granny Smith green wedding colours worked wonderfully with the country setting of Tesa Valley Farm and even though it got a little chilly later on - I dont think anyone really noticed.
Blake Stauff - Wendy and Frank's son - took the prize for the youngest wedding guest - at a mere 11 days old - whilst Tiffany's Grandma evened the score at the other end of the age spectrum! Megan was definitely the most beautiful pregnant bridesmaid I've ever seen - and showed no signs of the stress caused by having to find a seamstress to enlarge her dress by about 4 sizes!
Ryan wowed everyone with his dancing skills (way to go North Seattle Community College Swing Class ;-) )and his chocolate brown pumps, whilst Tiff just smoldered as a very serene and elegant bride.
My nomination for new favourite person has to go to Michael, the officiating priest. What a dude! As I said to him on the day - if there was ever anyone who could inspire me to set foot back in church - he would be the one. I wont go into the reasons here - for fear of embarrassing myself (and him probably) - but great job Michael!