Our family has been on a whirlwind pace the past couple of weeks. No sooner had we returned from our camping trip to Bull Trout than Annabelle and I turned around and headed to the great state of Washington for my friend Melissa’s wedding.
Melissa and I have been friends for many years. We met through little brother Rob when he and I lived in California and Melissa was living in Seattle. Rob and Melissa’s then-boyfriend were buddies from working together in Alaska (are you following so far?) and Melissa and said-ex came down to California to watch the Rose Bowl. Rob had told Melissa that she and I HAD to meet me because we were exactly alike. Sure enough, we hit it off immediately, and have been friends ever since.
Melissa and I made a few trips to Mexico and traveled all around the state of California together (well, OK, mostly we went to the wine country a bunch of times and spent a month in Palm Springs once at a horse show). When I moved back to Idaho I convinced Melissa to move here too. She was with me when I met Desperate Hubby for the first time, and was the only person to know that we were eloping when we flew to Las Vegas six months later. We’ve laughed and cried, gossiped and counseled, and shared many a bottle of Veuve Clicquot over the years.
Through it all she has been one of those friends who is always there, and whether I see her every day or once a year our friendship never changes. Though she has been back in Seattle for a few years now, she is never far from my thoughts, and no one could have been happier for her when she met the love of her life, Kelly Martin, and planned her dream wedding.
Wild horses couldn’t keep me away from the big event, so Annabelle and I boarded a plane really, really early in the morning to head to Seattle.
Really, really, really early.
Speaking of really, I’m sure I don’t really look this old. It was probably the dry cabin air. And the three hours of sleep.
Our flight got us to Seattle just after 7:00 a.m. so we had the whole day to explore before we were due at the rehearsal dinner that evening. Our friend Kris (owner of Chic-The-Wonder-Horse that Annabelle shows) was kind enough to volunteer her Seattle-ite brother Mark for a day of sightseeing. Mark was kind enough to accept the challenge, so we drove our rental car straight to his house from the airport.
We were greeted by Mark, his lovely wife Jennifer, and their beautiful daughter Sylvie in their charming home just a few miles from downtown Seattle. Mark made us breakfast and we sat and chatted in their perfectly manicured back yard for a couple of hours, during which time Annabelle played gleefully with their cat Buddy and somehow scored a bunch of cool dress-up clothes, several stuffed animals and a nice plastic dinosaur she picked out for Batman. Which necessitated buying another bag for the trip home, incidentally. But that’s another story.
Eventually we loaded up in the rental car and headed downtown. It was a picture-perfect summer day in Seattle. Warm and sunny and just right for a nice walk-about. First stop was a splendid little wine store, which didn’t interest Annabelle much. But I liked it. Then we got on the train and headed on to Pike Place Market.
That was much more entertaining.
Especially when viewed from atop Mark’s shoulders. Did I mention what a nice guy he is?
We did all the touristy things…….
bubble gum alley…….
which was cool until Annabelle tried to eat a loose piece of gum. Gross.
Then we visited the trained parrot. I forget his name, Booker maybe? But he did all manner of tricks and was pretty neat. Annabelle even got to hold him.
When he was playing “Dead Bird.”
We made our way down to the waterfront, and Annabelle was extremely disappointed at how long the line was for the giant Ferris wheel. She was appeased by a ride on this gorgeous vintage carousel though.
We were all getting pretty hungry so Mark took us down the street to the iconic Ivar’s Acres of Clams. Mark was a veritable fount of knowledge about all things Seattle, and Ivar’s was no exception. Seems Ivar was quite a character in local history. Among other crazy things, he advocated feeding the seagulls. And his restaurant still allows it today.
Mark showed Annabelle how it was done.
And then she was unstoppable.
She fed them……
and fed them.
It was getting later in the afternoon, and Annabelle and I needed to start the drive up north to Everett to get ready for the rehearsal dinner. Mark walked us back to our car and then boarded the train for home. He had been a fantastic travel guide, patient and very knowledgeable. Thanks again Mark. You are a gem!
We headed to our hotel, the Holiday Inn in Everett. Although we arrived only about a half-hour before official check-in time our room was not yet ready. My little girl was fading after her 4:30 a.m. wake up call, so I did the only thing I could think of to keep her going.
Fed her sugar.
After all the unique activities of the day, it was the hot fudge sundae at the sad little Everett Denny’s that prompted my daughter to say “This is the best mother-daughter-day ever!” Kids.
When we finally got checked in to our hotel and changed into clean clothes we headed over to the rehearsal dinner in the charming nearby town of Snohomish. The dinner included out-of-town guests as well as the wedding party, so it was quite a crowd in the little restaurant. The food was delicious though, and I met some wonderful people. My new friend Elaine changed my life by telling me how to access the Navigator application on my smart phone.
Really, I mean it. She literally changed my life. Plus she was super-cool. As was her handsome hubby Rick.
There was a sort-of-strange balloon-animal guy there making various creations for the guests. He made this lovely wedding hat for Melissa, but she accidentally left it in the ladies’ room almost immediately after he presented it to her.
Lucky for Melissa, Annabelle had to go potty right after that, and I found the hat and returned it to her.
You’re welcome, buddy!
It was heart-warming to see my beautiful friend so happy. I loved her groom-to-be, Kelly, just as much as when I had met him the first time a couple of years ago, and it was just awesome to see Melissa’s family and friends again.
After the dinner, we headed back to the hotel for a much-needed rest. Annabelle was such a big girl she insisted on sleeping in her own bed.
The wedding was the next afternoon, so we spent the day just mostly relaxing and swimming in the hotel pool.
Annabelle loved that pool.
In mid-afternoon we got all spiffed up and set out for the drive to Melissa and Kelly’s home in Snohomish for the ceremony. Thanks to the Navigation feature on my Android, the drive was a piece of cake. You really did change my life, Elaine.
We arrived at a property so beautiful it almost made me cry. The whole thing was absolutely gorgeous. Truly.
Guests approached under the beautifully draped driveway entrance and walked up a tree-lined drive to the huge yard where the ceremony was to be held.
The setting was picture-perfect.
And the ceremony was so perfectly-Melissa that I almost cried again. The couple had written their own vows, and they were just what I would have expected.
I just have to say it again. Perfect.
I was again overwhelmed with happiness for my dear friend. She deserves a wonderful life, and I know she will have one with her soul-mate Kelly, living in the beautiful green oasis that is their home.
After the ceremony there was a wonderful reception. With dancing.
And a wonderful dinner. It was the best wedding ever.
Congratulations and much love Melissa and Kelly. I wish you a lifetime of happiness!
The next day I dragged Annabelle around a bit for some more sight-seeing. She did not want to make the drive into Seattle, so we poked around Everett a bit.
She was very intrigued by all the sailboats docked in the marina.
We had a wonderful brunch and then headed on over to the Boeing factory, which was right nearby. Annabelle was too short for the actual tour, but we had fun looking at all the exhibits.
Annabelle looked so tiny next to the big airplane parts.
And we got to practice flying a 727 too.
We didn’t even know until after we got home that Melissa actually works at the Boeing factory! Duh.
We spent the last couple of hours of the day swimming in the hotel pool, then Annabelle got to experience her first taste (literally) of room service.
Oh yeah, Holiday Inn? Sorry about the spaghetti on the towel. At least I covered up the duvet……
The next morning we slept in and then headed to the airport for our early afternoon flight. Annabelle was proud to pull her own new rolling-duffle with all her loot from Mark and Jennifer’s, as well as a few other knickknacks picked up along the way.
We had a wonderful mother-daughter weekend.
Even if Annabelle’s favorite parts were the Everett Denny’s and the Holiday Inn pool.