#14: Roadside America

Roadside America is our favorite thing to use when we’re in a car. We’ve settled on a rule for this Thing: Becky is the only required person. She’s allowed to do this with her dad, her sister, me, one or both kids, or even alone, but it’s kind of her Thing at this point, so none of us can check an attraction off without her present.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

This year Becky made it to over 100 places. See if you can recognize any of these from your own travels:

#42: “Rent” Holiday Decor

Last year Becky had the great idea of a rotating seasonal decorative corner in our house, and we liked the tradition enough to keep it around. Here’s how it works: we buy a set of decorations from Goodwill, enjoy them in our house for a while, and when it’s time to change it up, we return those to Goodwill and buy more! This year we decorated for three seasons.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

Late Winter

Spring

Autumn

Early Winter

This month we overflowed the usual corner to include stocking hangers.

 

#62: Wings & Waves

Our kids live for waterparks. Sadly we live in an area where there aren’t very many; if you go north the first thing you come to is Great Wolf Lodge (a 1-hour drive) and if you go south, the best option is Wings & Waves (a 1-hour drive). The latter doesn’t require a hotel stay, and has a great draw – it’s on the property at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum – so when it came time to make good on their 12th-day gift from last Christmas, this was the place.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

It happened this time that our neighbor Adam was available to come with! Becky and I both have great memories of family outings that included friends, and we wanted to give this a try.

The day was great. I had just cut my finger pretty badly and had a semi-open wound, so I wasn’t able to go in the water, but the kids disappeared for most of the day and kept themselves very busy. I found a perch on the mezzanine and wrote blog posts and read my book all day, and they got all wrinkly. The day was a great success!

#51: Park Both Cars in the Garage

It’s a recurring theme in our lives that our garages get out of control. Every time we move the garage is the first dumping ground for things we’re not sure where to put yet, and it’s always a struggle to stop thinking of it that way. So this year, yet again, we planned on making the garage into a bedroom for cars.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

Our garage is bigger now than in houses past, and one of our cars needs to plug in at night, so our plan this time was to park them both in there. Every night. We’ve been doing this with the Jeep since maybe August, the Tesla has never parked anywhere else, and it feels great! My parents always parked inside, and it just seems like we’re finally grownups now.

#13: ZooZoo

We love a good live performance, and when we saw Frogz a few years ago, it was weird enough that we couldn’t stop thinking about it. It’s back this year as ZooZoo, and Becky gave us all surprise tickets for the 2nd Day of Christmas this year.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

If you get a chance to go, take it – it’s one of those things that you’ll just never forget. Our kids were both laughing uproariously at the sheer absurdity of it all. It’s a work of genius.

#29: Christmas Tree

It’s only been in the last year that we’ve started having a real Christmas tree in the house, but we try to take it a little seriously. We go to the farm, cut a tree down ourselves, haul it home on our own car, and decorate it ourselves. It takes all day, and it feels pretty good.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

This year we got a bit of a late start for the season, and went shopping on December 8. We tromped around the big fields at Thorntons’ Treeland, but we couldn’t find the right tree in right height. They were either too conical and full (Becky calls these “LEGO trees”), or nice and sparse but too short. Then we spotted the perfect one. It was already cut, right up front when you first arrive, and was marked up probably twice because it was so beautiful. I had doubts about how tall it was, but I couldn’t deny its beauty. So we brought it home.

What followed was a comedy of errors, with two separate trips to the store, two sawings of the trunk, my tallest ladder fully extended, and about 10 attempts to get the lights distributed just right, but we think the end result was worth it. It turns out I was wrong about the height; next year we can fit one 5 feet taller if we give up our entire living room.

#72: Seattle Weekend Trip

Grandpa Ken got married! The wedding was in the Seattle area, and all of Becky’s siblings were going to be there, so we made a weekend out of it, and had some fun.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

On our winding way home, we (of course) took the scenic route and (of course) found several Roadside Americas to enjoy, including the Twin Peaks waterfall (which took the kids about 10 tries to figure out how to pronounce), a really good burger place with literal tons of 50’s kitsch and which happened to be having a classic-car gathering, a really big log, and a place where sulfur bubbles up through a spring, and makes eerie ropy chemical trails in the water. We also saw some salmon making their way upstream to spawn! We like road trips.

November Misc Round Up

Lucy and Will dressed up in yet more costumes to go trade their Halloween candy for money at Happy Kids Dentistry; they were both disappointed that Coco was out of donuts before Trackers; Lucy prepared for her part in a mock trial; Will and I tried unsuccessfully to meet Lucy and the Lees for fund-raising froyo; Will tried on some wrestling gear; Lucy visited a courthouse; and Lucy made tasty treats with Emma.

Becky got some vibrantly red Allbirds; we all went to a board-game night at the neighbors’ house; and Becky attempted to cure a migraine with a hike.

Puppies.

 

#7: Gelato Factory Tour

We’ve become big fans of Airbnb Experiences since they came around – what better way to get to know a new city than to have someone who lives there show you their favorite things? So it is with this Experience – there’s a woman named Laura in Rome, who knows people at the largest gelato factory in the city, and will take you on a tour in the “laboratory,” which is where the magic happens.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

Giovanni Fassi is one of the oldest names in gelato, and their gelateria is absolutely massive. Most places in Rome are just large enough for maybe 5 tables, but this one had at least 20, and lots of room for standing. We arrived just before the place opened for business, and our guide made hand signals to someone inside, and we entered through a side door. We then donned booties and hair nets, and went back behind the counters into the area where the gelato is made.

And then this nice, fast-talking, bearded Italian man handed me a giant immersion blender, and told me to liquify the strawberries. What was I going to do? You don’t turn down a gift blender, so I took it. I like to think I did a pretty good job, because the sorbetto al fragola that we tasted 10 minutes later was divine.

This was truly a unique experience, and stands out in a trip that was bursting with memorable moments. I was grinning the entire time we were there, from the moment we got to go in through the back door until our last Sanpietrino.

#22: Carbonara

One of the great things about the 100 Things is that the list is alive. We found ourselves eating so much carbonara in Rome that we started comparing and ranking them. And a Thing was born, one much more entertaining to read about than the one it replaced. Trust me.

This is part of our 100 Things in 2018 challenge. Make sure to click on the photos!

Carbonara, if you’re not aware, is a simple pasta preparation. You cook the noodles until they’re almost perfect, then toss them in a bowl full of pecorino cheese and eggs and bacon (traditionally guanciale, which is cured pork cheek), and then serve with a dusting of more pecorino and a bit of pepper. It’s incredibly simple, and quite possibly the best possible pasta.

 

We ate a boatload of this stuff in Italy, and even made some at home for the kids with some pecorino we bought on the trip! The kids loved it as much as we do, and while we don’t do carb-heavy meals like this very often in our house, this one might be a new family favorite.