Sunday, December 28, 2008

Winter Wonderland!


Millie wants to be just like her papa! As soon as she saw him with his binoculars to do a bit of bird watching, Millie ran to her room and grabbed her binoculars too!

We have bird heaven here outside our backroom. So many birds, especially now that food is scarce. They all seem to fly and flutter around our bird feeder. We go thru a lot of birdseed these days!

This photo was taken in the middle of the road looking out our house. You can't even tell where the road is!
As I write this blog, I can hear lots of dripping and sloshing outside as the snow is quickly melting. We had temps today in the mid 40s. But we did have over a week and a half of freezing temperatures and constant snowfall here in Snoqualmie. Since snow like this is rare, so is the snow removal equipment. The entire city of Seattle only has 27 snow plows. When Snoqualmie called a state of emergency, they were finally able to contract construction equipment to scoop some of the snow from the roads and dump it at the parks down the street.

Millie had a blast in the snow. I pulled her on this sled up and down the roads in town.

Here is just one of the many snow piles at the town park! The kids loved it and I'm kind of sad to see it go.

This was our road. As you can see the roads were pretty snow covered. Since the Seattle area does not normally plow, sand or salt the roads, most people just stayed off the roads. It was so quiet that week! No garbage collection, limited mail, blizzards, burst pipes, closed mountain passes, no bus service, cancelled airline flights, it truly was a December storm to remember.

Now that's a big snow drift!

Millie wanted to play with our neighbor's "christmas tree." She will really miss all the lights, presents, snow and sledding!

Looks like we almost lost her here! I haven't included any photos of the slushy mess in the roads now. These photos are so much prettier!

Merry Christmas Everyone!


Our Christmas wish would be to have our families with us on Christmas. But since family is scattered all over the world, we'll keep you up to date on-line! Merry Christmas to Everyone from Melanie, Mike and Millie.

And let the festivities begin!!! I am so excited for Christmas just to experience it thru Millie's eyes. We put some of the presents under the tree a few days before Christmas Eve and slowly added more the next day. Millie was so ready to tear into her packages by the evening. (We open our presents Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning we may even find some treats in our stockings.)

We love books here! Millie actually stopped tearing into packages to do a bit of "reading" before continuing.

So many fun presents!

Even a new teddy! They practiced dancing along to the Christmas music before getting a little bit sleepy.

Millie loved her baby crib and really wanted to put her teddy bear down for a nap, as you can see she try to lay teddy right into the photo on the box.

But as soon as we woke up the next morning, Papa assembled the new bed and all Millie's dolly's got to try it out. We awoke to more snow falling outside! We definitely got our white Christmas this year and it has made it feel so cozy and put us all in the holiday spirit!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Blizzard?

It's 9:35 p.m., the temperature is 19 F and wind is gusting at 55 m.p.h. The soft powder snow that lay on the ground is whipping around creating blizzard like conditions outside. Unfortunately, it's too dark to take any photos. So I will just settle in with a good book and listen to the sound of the wind howling outside. I hope everyone here stays safe and off the roads.

The aftermath, what a mess. Doesn't seem like alot, but the wind cleared the street and sidewalf for us, the side of the house has about 3' drifts. Things are worse down in Seattle, airport, bus station, and amtrak, so thing's could be worse. Today we built a sledding hill next to the house out of a snow drift for Millie, will take a picture tomorrow.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....


We start every morning around here with opening a door on Millie's Advent calendar. Yummy chocolate behind each day's door...it's difficult to stop at just one. Only 4 more days until Christmas Eve and we can open our presents! Millie also had fun climbing around in the Christmas lights at the annual Christmas tree lighting festival in downtown Snoqualmie. We felt very festive riding a horse drawn carriage singing Christmas songs. (no photos of that event, Mike's fingers were frozen at that point.)

The next weekend we headed over to Keith and Scott's Christmas tree farm to find and cut our very own Christmas tree. The weather was still pretty mild and we found a nice Frazer for the corner of our living room.

Millie got into the spirit right away and helped us hang the ornaments on the tree. We listened to x-mas music and the sound of Millie saying, "MILLIE, TRY... I TRY!!!!"

During the week Millie and I baked sugar cookies with our neighbor and her two year old son. They were so good and did not last very long! Then Millie painted and decorated her very own Christmas tree ornaments. Millie loves to paint (any activity that involves lots of mess!)

Mike bought me these wonderful winter boots. They came just in time! A few days later, the Seattle area got snow. The schools were closed for 3 days! We got about 5 inches, but since this area does not get snow very often, they lack the equipment and money to remove the snow and ice. None of the secondary roads are plowed, sanded or salted. Since the weather is only in the teens or low 20's, nothing has melted and the roads are treacherous! Here we are days later and another winter storm is predicted. This time with up to 90 mph winds!

We are surrounded by mountains, but live in the valley, so we couldn't find any hills walking distance to go sledding down, but Millie loved being pulled up and down the road on her new sled.

Deli cat even enjoyed the snow! We plan to stay warm in front of the woodstove the rest of this evening and will see what tonight's storm has in store for us. Mike's son is staying with us and is supposed to fly out of Seattle to the east coast tomorrow at 6 am, but that may not be possible. Stay warm and if it is warm near you, enjoy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving


It was so nice to have friends and family over our house for Thanksgiving. Mike's parents, his son Michael and Ping and her son Jeri spent the evening with us. The in laws and Michael stayed over for several days, as well. Mike's mom spoiled us by doing all the cooking and Millie was so excited to have her Lola, Grandpa and step-brother over. We can't wait to see them again. They live in Spokane, WA, so the 4 1/2 hr drive is much easier than a flight to the U.K.!

All aboard the Santa Train! Lucky us, we have a train depot right in town and right next door in North Bend. Santa took time out from his busy schedule to say hello to all the good little boys and girls. (Unfortunately Santa was sooooo busy we didn't have a chance to sit and chat with him, but hopefully next year!) Millie LOVED the train ride. She is really into trains. Can't wait to ride the train to the falls in the spring. That will be fun!

Millie and Papa settle in for a rickety ride to Snoqualmie Station for cookies and Santa fun!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Welcome Home!


As if reverse culture shock was not enough, after only being in the US for a few weeks, the rain started and the town was in preparation for a natural disaster. Record breaking river levels were expected, which meant it was going to flood. And of course our house is right in the middle of the flood zone. So we started our day last Wednesday with these images.

A sandbag filling party was going on downtown and everyone was preparing for the worst. Our house is raised, so we just had to clear out our above ground basement, put everything in the garage loft or high up on shelves, try to clear out most of the firewood from the shed, and stack our porch full with garbage bins, BBQ grills, strollers, etc.


At one point we thought we were not going to get wet and all our work was in vain, but when we woke up, we were greeted by a swimming pool in what used to be our backyard.

It wasn't much better in the driveway either. Good thing we drove both cars to higher ground!

No damage though! Most of our neighbors were pumping water out of their basements for days, ripping out sheet rock, etc. Some even went without hot water for days due to damage. We are lucky our basement is above ground and our hot water heater, etc is all on the top floor of the house. We just had lots of mucky mess for 2 days.


Stay tuned for more Coombes adventures....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Back in the U.S.A.

Well a lot has happened in the past month. We moved an entire household of a mom, dad, child, 2 cats, a couple thousand pounds of furniture and at least 10 suitcases back to Snoqualmie, Washington. To make matters even more tricky for us, we were all accidentally dropped off at the wrong terminal in London and had to transport all the luggage below onto a terminal bus and make our way to another building. (without the help of a luggage cart for a large portion of our airport journey!) And upon our arrival in the US, we were selected to go thru a special luggage screening due to our living abroad for 3 years. But we made it!



We returned home just in time to experience an American Halloween. First stop was a local pumpkin picking farm. It was so warm and sunny our first week home. Millie even picked her own mini-pumpkin.




Later that week, Millie went trick or treating for the first time. Here she is showing off her "Pretty Pink Witch" costume. She had so much fun walking to the neighborhood homes and getting chocolate and candies. She's only two years old, but she's already got a bit of a sweet tooth!



A goofy, silly witch!



We drove into Seattle 2 weeks ago and no trip there is complete without a visit to Pike Place Market. I was happy to see the cat shelter man was still there with his very friendly cats. Those of you who have been to Pike Place market will know who I am talking about...



We all miss England. At the moment we are still getting used to life in the United States again. I forgot how many commercials there are on the TV, and it takes some getting used to having to use a car to get anywhere again...but we will adjust...I hope.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Germany, the last hurrah

Off to Germany for one final trip (well at least till next year). In case you haven't heard, we are moving back to Seattle. Mike will be working for Boeing in Kent. We will move right back into the house we left! This move seemed more stressful than usual, maybe we are starting to get tired of moving, and may have to slow down in the future!


On the ferry from Dover to Calais, Millie and Dad admiring the white cliffs.


Millie and Mom surveying the Mosel, the town and castle below are Cochem. The fall colors are starting, and the FederweiƟer is on tap.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bressingham Steam Museum


Not an "real" museum, more like a British eccentric's idea to relive his childhood. Still, pretty impressive for a personal collection. Above Millie and Mama running to board an old German WWII locomotive...


Millie and Mama in the cab, a bit disturbing to think what this train may have been used for during the war. This was actually discovered preserved in a tunnel somewhere in scandanavia during the 1960's!


Papa and Millie riding a small steam engine.


Mom and Millie on the Carousel, or as the British call it a "Galloper."


Millie tuckered out after a long day.