In which we go to a wedding: Symon & Ashley edition

August was a busy month: two weddings in two weekends, each of which one of us was in. We couldn’t be more happy for our dear friends starting this new chapter in their lives and joining Team Married! After Bri and Ian’s nuptials we were back in Seattle for Symon and Ashley’s. Again, some of my terrible photos instead of their wedding photographer’s quality images:

Our dear friend Verlaine who was in our freshman dorm and is one of the few people that knew us before we were dating stayed with us for the weekend. After picking him up our first stop was to the Moon Temple for some celebratory drinks.

Our dear friend Verlaine who was in our freshman dorm and is one of the few people that knew us before we were dating stayed with us for the weekend. After picking him up our first stop was to the Moon Temple for some celebratory drinks. I sent this photo to Molly with the caption, “Jealous?” The answer was a resounding YES!

Verlaine wanted to go jogging the next morning so I hauled myself out of bed before work and ran around Green Lake with him. Only an 11 year friendship could make me do that.

Verlaine wanted to go jogging the next morning so I hauled myself out of bed before work and ran around Green Lake with him. Only an 11 year friendship could make me do that.

The rehearsal dinner was at the first restaurant Symon and Ashley took us to on our first night in Seattle - Barrio in Capitol Hill. It was so good! Since the food was Mexican to celebrate Ashley's heritage we had British paper crowns to celebrate Symon's.

The rehearsal dinner was at the first restaurant Symon and Ashley took us to on our first night in Seattle – Barrio in Capitol Hill. It was so good! Since the food was Mexican to celebrate Ashley’s heritage we had British paper crowns to celebrate Symon’s.

Adults turn into five year olds with British crackers

Adults turn into five year olds with British crackers

Harold, another old Duke friend, grew up in London. He told us that most of the time people wear the paper crowns for about five minutes before quietly slipping them off - this crowd though was full of good sports who wore them the majority of the night.

Harold, another old Duke friend, grew up in London. He told us that most of the time people wear the paper crowns for about five minutes before quietly slipping them off – this crowd though was full of good sports who wore them the majority of the night.

Anna, myself, Verlaine, Fernanda and Bruno

Anna, myself, Verlaine, Fernanda and Bruno at the rehearsal

Almost newly weds!

Almost newlyweds!

On the day of the wedding Jeff had to go early for pictures and my only job was getting the Steckel brothers and Verlaine to the venue on time. We got ready at my house and I had the chance to try Rent the Runway for the first time. It was awesome! I loved my dress and from now on I’m only using them for events.

On you know, just being serenaded by a Juilliard trained violinist while getting ready. Verlaine played for Symon and Ashley as they processed, and recessed down the aisle. It was fun because he also played our first dance at our wedding.

On you know, just being serenaded by a Juilliard trained violinist in our kitchen while getting ready. Verlaine played for Symon and Ashley as they processed, and recessed down the aisle. It was fun to hear him again because he also played our first dance at our wedding.

On our way to the venue with the boys (and champagne).

On our way to the venue with the boys (and champagne).

Getting ready for the ceremony - photo credit by Hannah P.

Getting ready for the ceremony – photo credit by Hannah P.

Jeff and I at the reception

Jeff and I at the reception

Verlaine and I at dinner

Verlaine and I at dinner

Brad Kelly and I at dinner - it was so much fun to catch up with so many old Duke alums!

Brad Kelly and I at dinner – it was so much fun to catch up with so many old Duke alums!

The stunning bride and groom!

The stunning bride and groom!

There were 10 Duke alumni there - some of whom I hadn't seen in years! They came from Brazil, New York, Texas, LA and of course, Seattle.

There were 10 Duke alumni there – some of whom I hadn’t seen in years! They came from Brazil, New York, Texas, LA and of course, Seattle. It was nice to know that all these years later we can still party pretty well.

Photo booth!

Photo booth!

The next morning I took Symon’s cousin Kai, Verlaine, David and Lauren – all out of towners – on a mini-tour of Seattle.

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We stopped by Pike Place Market to see the thrown fish, saw the waterfront, ate clam chowder at Ivar’s, were disgusted by the gum wall and enjoy the sunshine before heading up the hill to one of my favorite views of Seattle from Kerry Park:

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Since they all had planes to catch we truncated the tour and swung by the Fremont Troll before enjoying more sunshine at Gas Works Park. All too soon we dropped everyone at their hotels or packed them into Ubers on their way to the airport. It was such a fun weekend and I’m so happy we could celebrate Symon and Ashley!

In which my mom came to visit – Part I

My mom had a big birthday last year and our present to her was a plane ticket out to see Seattle. We’ve been here a little over two years now, but the timing hasn’t been quite right to get her out here to see it. That combined with a busy summer and a need to put in vacation requests 6 months early, we had to wait until this summer season was almost at an end for the trip.

It was well worth it – every other visitor (Graham, Molly, Kuppy, Teresa and Larry, Roy and Nell, our Duke friends for the wedding) made the perfect practice for our amazing time. As Jeff put it so well: We did ALL of the stuff and things. If it was to be done, we won Seattle. Our amazing itinerary:

On Saturday we…

Picked mom up at airport mid-morning | Had her lashes done at Lash Noir | Ate a late lunch of chicken and waffles at the Bugundian | Walked down to Green Lake | Had tacos and quesadillas at TNT Taqueria & adjusted to Pacific Standard Time zone by going to bed early.

{No pictures apparently exist for this day because we were too excited to see each other – it’s been almost 2 years!}

On Sunday we…

Brunched at Bastille | Explored the Farmer’s Market and various cute shops in Ballard | Walked on the beach and enjoyed Puget Sound at Golden Gardens | Watched the boats, salmon and sealion (!) at the Ballard Locks | Visited a PNW Trader Joe’s | Said hello to the Fremont Troll | Made delicious BLTs with the fresh homemade bread and Benton’s bacon that mom brought in her suitcase along with farmer’s market heirloom tomatoes & then walked our dinner off around Green Lake:

Ballard Farmer's Market

Ballard Farmer’s Market

Fresh blackberries

Fresh blackberries – isn’t she adorable? I’m going to age so well!

Golden Gardens

Golden Gardens

Ballard Locks - we loved this public sculpture!

Ballard Locks – we loved this public sculpture!

Boats in the locks waiting for the water to fill

Boats in the locks waiting for the water to fill

This picture is for Graham and Nick who wanted to steal this sign when I brought them back in the Spring.

This picture is for Graham and Nick who wanted to steal this sign when I brought them back in the Spring.

Selfie with the boats - we could not have gotten luckier with the weather!

Selfie with the boats – we could not have gotten luckier with the weather!

Fremont Troll

Fremont Troll

Delicious dinner! Yes, my dear Southern mother loves me enough to bring me Benton bacon and 10 lbs of White Lily flour.

Delicious BLT and green bean (fried in bacon grease) dinner! Yes, my dear Southern mother loves me enough to bring me Benton bacon and 10 lbs of White Lily flour.

Walking off the BLTs around Green Lake

Walking off the BLTs around Green Lake

On Monday we..

Took an Uber downtown to explore the tourist district | Drank a chai tea from the Original Starbucks | Ate sweet and savory pastries from Piroshky Piroshky! in Victor Steinbrueck Park overlooking Elliot Bay | Were disgusted by the Gum Wall | Used the buggy escalator at the multi-level City Target | Rode the monorail down to the Seattle Center | Visited the extremely cool Chihuly Museum | Took pictures in front of the Space Needle & then, if that all weren’t enough – drove 2.5 hours to go hike up to Glacier View in Paradise at Mount Rainier:

{This day’s itinerary convinced me that this trip needed to be spread out over several blog posts, not just one!}

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

Inside the Original Starbucks

Inside the Original Starbucks

Chai lattes in front of the mermaid with boobs Original Sign

Chai lattes in front of the mermaid with boobs Original Sign

Gum wall - thoroughly disgusted

Gum wall – thoroughly disgusted

Seattle Center - the line was way too long to go up in the Space Needle, plus, we had a lot to do this day!

Seattle Center – the line was way too long to go up in the Space Needle, plus, we had a lot to do this day!

Very cool Chihuly museum

Very cool Chihuly museum

We've been to Chihuly exhibits in Knoxville and Nashville stretching back decades. It was very fun to see him in his hometown.

We’ve been to Chihuly exhibits in Knoxville and Nashville stretching back decades. It was very fun to see him in his hometown.

I had never wanted to pay the $20 to go in because I just thought it was the garden area - but the other exhibits were totally worth the price of admission.

I had never wanted to pay the $20 to go in because I just thought it was the garden area – but the other exhibits were totally worth the price of admission.

These boats reminded us of the ones he did at Cheekwood mansion in Nashville

These boats reminded us of the ones he did at Cheekwood mansion in Nashville

View from the atrium

View from the atrium

Reflection in the garden's glass balls

Our reflection in the garden’s glass balls

On the way up I could tell it was going to be an amazing  hike - the top of the mountain was so clear!

On the way up I could tell it was going to be an amazing hike – the top of the mountain was so clear!

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iPhone photos don’t even do it justice.

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We chose to do the Skyline trail and since it was after 5pm and a weekday, we almost had it to ourselves. It was so much less crowded than the last time I was up here.

We chose to do the Skyline trail and since it was after 5pm and a weekday, we almost had it to ourselves. It was so much less crowded than the last time I was up here.

Only part of it was paved, but it was all straight up.

Only part of the trail was paved, but it was all straight up.

Views from all sides were perfect - we kept feeling like we were Maria in the Sound of Music

Views from all sides were perfect – we kept feeling like we were Maria in the Sound of Music

Because it was so late when we started, we decided just to get to the start of the glaciers, not more and stopped at Glacier View

Because it was so late when we started, we decided just to get to the start of the glaciers, not more and stopped at Glacier Vista

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Feet on the snow!

Feet on the snow!

On the way up we saw a couple of deer, and on the way down we saw a marmot!

On the way up we saw a couple of deer, and on the way down we saw a marmot!

He was a fat little guy, ready for winter.

He was a fat little guy, ready for winter.

As we left we had an awesome view of the sunset from so far up

As we left we had an awesome view of the sunset from so far up

Don't be completely fooled by the gorgeous scenery though - Mount Rainier is an active volcano!

Don’t be completely fooled by the gorgeous scenery though – Mount Rainier is an active volcano! This is the first of several Natural Disaster signs we encounter – the Pacific Northwest is a dangerous place.

All this, and we were only on day two!