Hello 2020. Goodbye to a Pretty Epic Decade!

I could leave my blog at a nice even 2500 posts and retire from the Internet. That's pretty much what I've done for the last five months. I don't have the kind of content I used to [read: pretty baby faces, attractive camping spots, tempting food photography, inspiring mission opportunities]. I've signed myself over to another kind of life. The #teacherlife.

Theoretically, I should be able to do it all. Trips on breaks, camping over the summer, food creation on weekends. But at the moment, I'm halfway through a two-week break with only a couple garbage cans full of used tissues to show for it.

And maybe it's because I'm just in my second year of teaching fifth grade, but things are still taking too much time. Lesson planning, then building worksheets if there's nothing suitable available in the curriculum, then finding engaging videos and web content, then hours and hours grading all the assessments. Most Friday afternoons and Sundays are spent working. I mostly enjoy the work, but I'm finding myself dreadfully out of balance with all the other things I'd also like to do. Such is the dilemma.

Let's do a quick catch up:

I left off in my last post describing a bike tour of the San Juan Islands which was one highlight of the summer for sure, although I wished we could have brought my Tim along.

We continued the summer with a trip to Silverwood [unfortunately on one of the busiest Mondays of the summer]. I had been planning to try a roller coaster just to test my edges a little, but the three minutes on Tremors was enough for a lifetime. It was so intense and scary, my eyes teared up almost instantly. With teeth firmly clenched, I hung on for dear life. The train felt like it was going to float right off the track, but then it would BAM down hard and rattle, rattle, rattle my bones out of place. I didn't want to leave the park without a positive experience, so my last ride of the day was on this umbrella thing. Nice and breezy.
We spent a couple nights near Hyak, at a biker campsite! Leave it to the guys to pack in ingredients for tacos and pancakes and more! We don't go hungry, even when we're bike camping! Riding through the Snoqualmie Tunnel is dark, cold, and exciting! Super bright lights and ridiculous sing-alongs make it more fun! We were fortunate to have fabulous weather and beautiful lake views along the trail.

Our next summer adventure began with a couple nights at the most beautiful [and warmest] lake in Idaho, Priest Lake. Entertaining kids here is easy!! Be sure they have swimsuits, bonus points for boats or boards to play with, hammocks for down time and plenty of food. That's all you need! Tie it all up with hot chocolate and cops and robbers in the evening and you're golden.

We continued our adventure up into Canada, driving over to Abbotsford for the airshow after a lovely visit with my grandparents in Hope. The first night of the airshow was epic and awesome, and the other days would have been amazing too if not for the rain!! We huddled under a blanket, but gave up fairly quickly. Fortunately, we got to see almost everybody, including the fighter jets, which were unbelievably LOUD. It was a fun finish to our summer break!

Of course, school started not soon after and our #InstaLife nearly stopped.  Oh wait, here's Ezra with his new instrument...
And we managed a quick trip to the Idaho Farm to see if the boys had outgrown their grandma yet!

Thanksgiving Break was soon upon us and off we went to Seattle, hoping for smooth sailing!!
But alas, we would not be flying out at 11:30 that morning. Oh no. Not until 6:00 that night would our newly booked direct flight get us on our way to London. And that wouldn't allow time for us to catch the shuttle bus to the Stansted airport before our Ryan Air flight left for Venice.

We arrived in London too late. I have forever learned my lesson about booking separate tickets at least a day later. Fortunately, these were budget tickets, but the process of rearranging our plans and picking up new tickets was stressful and time consuming. Thank you to the London airport WiFi!

We managed to find a very adequate hostel for the night, with an airport shuttle to help us catch our early morning flight from Gatwick to Pisa, Italy. We indulged in a sticky toffee pudding, which was really as yummy as it sounds. Hot shower, comfortable night's sleep and back on track.

We were supposed to be in Venice that night, but the AirBnB host graciously allowed us to switch to Wednesday night instead. We were able to keep our two nights in Genova and after quickly exploring the little town of Pisa with its leaning tower and muddy river, we took a train north and found our next night's accommodation with only a little trouble. The streets of Old Town Genova are no joke!
We rode elevators and funiculars and wandered down narrow streets, tempting fate but knowing Google maps would always rescue us. The weather was pleasantly warm and the people were friendly. At one point we came upon a crowd apparently protesting something in front of a government building. Climate change perhaps?

Then up again early early and time to dodge raindrops and puddles all the way to the train station. We had over five hours in trains before arriving in Venice, Italy. Almost immediately, Ezra was disenchanted with the floating city. He didn't want to roll up his pants and walk down the flooded streets! Fortunately, the tide was moving out and the places we needed to go quickly became accessible. I thought it was a grand adventure and looked forward to the next high tide!

We found Marco Polo's house, St. Mark's Basilica, and Waldo. Ezra accidentally fed his gelato to the pigeons when trying to pose for a picture. I ordered the pink flavor [berries of the forest] pictured below and enjoyed it the most of any gelato we found on our whole trip. Ezra's favorite flavor was the strawberry we found in Pisa. Very interesting place, cold and rainy and wet!
And then it was time to fly back to London! And it was a sunny, gorgeous day! We spent a great deal of time walking around the city and traveling on the underground [super easy to use]. My favorite thing was hiking up to very nearly the top of St. Paul's Cathedral to see views of the city. Ezra enjoyed touring the battleship and seeing its big guns.
And that was our whirlwind adventure -- super crazy, but still worth it. Memorable for sure.
Coming back with jet lag and trying to get through three more weeks of school = pretty tough!

And here we are. Facing 2020 straight on. Just a couple more days to make the decade count. 

Just look how much we've changed in ten years!!