Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

January 3, 2011

Long Live Spontaneous Adventures

On Thursday night we decided at the last minute to head up to Seattle to spend New Year’s with my brother and his family. It’s about a 4-5 hour drive from our house in Eugene to their house in Tacoma.

Liz, my sister-in-law, and I had talked about maybe getting together for New Year’s but didn’t make any firm plans. I got an email from her on Thursday afternoon telling us they were planning to go over to my cousin’s and we were invited if we felt like making the drive.

The deciding factor in heading out of town for me was this: I want to make more time for good stuff with people I love.

First and foremost that means planning more adventures with my siblings and their kids. Two weeks ago I was able to use miles to book tickets to take the kids and visit my sister in Charlotte in March. Go miles go.

So we packed up the car Friday morning and hit the road.

Someday down the road I’m going to do an album of all these photos I’ve got of Lucy and Anna together. It always looks like they are sharing special little secrets.

Not long after we arrived it was time to head over to my cousin’s house for a perfect kid-friendly New Year’s Eve party.

Crazy boys. Lots of jumping, running, eating cupcakes, watching movies and being silly.

The girl’s did some coloring at a station my cousin-in-law set up (such a great idea). Anna was in bed by 7:30pm. Lucy was up for the distance after almost falling asleep once.

The photo of the backyard fireworks I took at a super low iso (like 100). I set the camera on a table they had outside and just pushed the button once the firework started. It took a super long time for the shutter to close and this was the result.

After playing games and a bit of merry-making, we were back at my brother’s house by about 11:15pm. It was pretty much the maximum for the kids (besides Anna who’d already been asleep before we had to take her out to the car).

It was a great way to spend the last night of 2010.

On Saturday we headed up to Seattle to Pike Place Market.

Turned out just about everything was closed – tons of people walking around with nothing open. Not super great when you’ve got four little kids who were looking forward to lunch at the Market.

While figuring out what was next we hung out a bit at the small park right below the Market.

It’s been years since I’ve been to the Market. I’ve got good memories of going there with my parents as a kid: sights, sounds, smells.

Love you Liz.

Having a chat while waiting for burgers at Dick’s.

She’s almost two and she totally knows it.

We ended up not staying up in Seattle too long since so many things were closed and it was really, really cold. Back at my brother’s house we hung out before having Thai food for dinner (Simon eats “chicken-on-a-stick”).

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was getting out and running near my brother’s house. On Saturday I cruised neighborhoods and on Sunday I ran along Ruston Way. It was really, really cold but the sun was out and the view was amazing.

We love you guys and hope to see you again soon!

Long live spontaneous adventures. Long live getting out of our house and going and seeing and doing and celebrating.

PS: Look for that long list of words coming tomorrow morning.


  • 1.
    Kathleen said…

    As a mom/sister/daughter who has long lived very far from family, I’m so glad to see you took the opportunity to spend time with yours. MIne has been a two days drive —-LONG DAYS—-away for so long and we have had to make “family” out of friends. You will NEVER regret the time—-what a blessing to have an opportunity to spend time with cousins!!!

  • 2.
    Tinka said…

    Some of my fondest childhood memories are of the times spent with my first cousins. Summers were the best because we would spend a week or more in Houston visiting and then they would come to San Antonio to stay with us. Sadly, that closeness faded as we got into high school and our lives took different paths.

  • 3.
    Susan said…

    Those adventures rock! I love it when my sisters (and my sisters and my mom) come up for the day – to go to shops here in Savannah. We do the ‘who can spend the most in this store’ game, we eat lunch, share laughs, and they go home – 4-5 hour drive back. My brother is only 2 hours away and we need to have a “spontaneous” adventure – well – it is on my 47 before I’m 48 but still…

  • 4.
    Maureen said…

    Hope that fireworks shot can be reinserted. You have us guessing!

    Spontaneous is so often good because we don’t have expectations built in like we do when we plan it out. I too had a lot of cousin time when I was a child and it’s something my children missed by living overseas so much of their life.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      HA – not sure why that didn’t show up. I re-inserted it now :) .

  • 5.
    Sally said…

    Loved this post. We had a similar (well, sort of) experience on New Year’s Day. The place we wanted to go was closed… Here’s to learning to roll with the punches! Have a great day, Ali!

  • 6.
    dawn said…

    How fun and awesome for the cousins to be together. Great way to start the New Year. Love all those photos, can’t see the fireworks one though, hope you get it to show for us. This is exactly what I want to do with my one little word “time” this year. I have family nearby but we only see them at 4 holidays and it’s not enough with everyone growing up so fast. You should make a ” cousins” book for both Anna and Simon they would love it and they could add their own thoughts to it. Thank you for sharing.

  • 7.
    Bree said…

    How fun :-) I love adventures like that

    Just so you know the fireworks shot isn’t there.

  • 8.
    Tina said…

    Making time to be with those you love is the best, especially when you have kids. It does take an effort, even when those you love are close (in my case) but totally worth it. My kids are teens and still talk of all the time we spent with family and friends.

  • 9.
    Leora Henkin said…

    Happy New Year Ali! We had a similar spontaneous celebration with my sister and brother in DC. The only bummer was the long drive home to NC yesterday and the school/work reentry this morning!

  • 10.
    playcrane said…

    Spontenous adventures! Now if that isn’t play than I don’t know what is.

  • 11.
    Chris said…

    This post is perfect for me! It embodies my word/goal for 2011, and is the perfect kick-start for that. Thanks so much for sharing another great slice of your life with us!

  • 12.
    MARSHA said…

    i thought it was just me that could not see the firework pic. it sounds like your had a great time with family. i always liked seeing my cousins when i was growing up. have a great week.

  • 13.
    paula s said…

    Thank you for sharing a small part of your life. Those are some great pix!

  • 14.
    cori jepsen said…

    Hi Ali,
    My Mom and Dad are just outside of Portland…you are in a beautiful part of the USA…there is nothing prettier than the north west!!

  • 15.
    Alison said…

    Looking forward to seeing the list of words. I’m having a hard time deciding on mine. I thought about “change”, since I am getting married this year and in the midst of a career change. However, last year was so full of change (moving, leaving my job, going back to school) that I don’t think that word leaves me with a sense of purpose or excitement. I’m trying to think of a word that incorporates both change (the upcoming wedding and job) with stability (creating a home for myself and my partner, working on my faith). A tall order!

  • 16.
    Helen said…

    Ali, totally with you on the ‘making time for important things with people I love’ idea….it’s just a matter of consciously deciding to do it. Life is chock full, yes, but usually of things that can wait. Quality time with family cannot wait, should not be made to wait.

  • 17.
    Queen Mary said…

    Great pics Ali! I can’t believe how bit that young man of yours is getting! Eons ago when you were in DC we chatted a bit, I’m sure you won’t remember, but my son has decided to pursue a PhD in neuroscience for education — not many out there, exciting stuff for him. He’s invited me to an evening of imagination and the brain — his advisor is involved in this group — it looks way cool — she started as an artist then did neuroscience to see how it all works! It’s never too late to start over!

  • 18.
    Queen Mary said…

    PS, the pic of the girls putting on their shoes? Totally keep that in case one of them becomes a shoe you-know-what like my daughter! EXCELLENT then and now pic!

  • 19.
    Deb Pereira said…

    Ali, I live on 35th just two blocks down from your brother. I also run this neighborhood and Ruston way often. It’s such a beautiful place to live and makes for some scenic running routes. So glad you enjoyed yourself here.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Awesome Deb – it’s such a beautiful spot :) .

  • 20.
    joni possin said…

    I would love to see an album of photos with Anna and her cousin. They are sooooooo adorable and DO seem to be sharing secrets. I love watching Anna grow up.

  • 21.
    Rebekah Pontow said…

    Wow, I love this! I think I need to add spontaneous to my life too!

  • 22.

    Oh, I love this. What a fantastic family adventure.

  • 23.
    Robyn said…

    that’s awesome Ali! there’s nothing like spending time with family & you’re creating so many great “cousin memories”!

  • 24.

    What a fun way to start the year..

    Glad that your whole family went out there!!

  • 25.
    angie blom said…

    ah love adventures.. this is my 2011 resolution is to make more time for Family Adventures.. 2010 we missed out on way too much.. time to get back to the ones we love. I love that you are making this same step. it is all worth the extra effort.

  • 26.
    AndreaWiebe said…

    Sounds like a perfect time!!!

  • 27.
    PeggyK said…

    Ahhhhh!! Gotta love spontaneity…especially when it slows you down and lets you take in life!! Had to reference this post in mine today! Just too perfect!

  • 28.
    Noelle said…

    This is what I need to do more of, but I get bogged down in the hassel of going places with a 5 month old. My inlaws want us to go visit family 90min away next weekend, and I find myself stuck on “well we’ll need a high chair, and something to put her in when she’s tired of being held, and X number of diapers…” Makes me not want to bother. But really, I should relax and just GO.

  • 29.
    Amy K said…

    Ali, my cousins were my sisters growing up as I am an only child. Just had a chance to spend some time with them back in my home town over Christmas and it was so great to be back together…even though we’re all around 50 now, it’s still special to be able to do things together and it’s like we were never apart.

  • 30.
    Kylie said…

    Love your post Ali, really fits in with my OLW – ACTION! As in, stopping thinking and wishing, just go and do it, make it happen!

  • 31.
    Judy Webb said…

    Such beautiful girls and handsome guys, regardless of age!! Really agree on “spontaneous.” Something my family needs to work on.

  • 32.
    Suzie said…

    We spent New Years with my brother, it wasn’t as long a drive as you guys did but soooo glad we made the trip. Me & my husband do spontaneous trips alot, whoever drives organises the location(s) we pack a picnic and off we go! They are some of our best trips. Can wait for more spontaneous trips this year.

  • 33.
    JennV said…

    So glad you were able to come to Seattle this weekend! It is such a beautiful city and Saturday here was so gorgeous! Sorry nothing was open for you…you will have to come again soon. :)

    PS I love your firework photo!

  • 34.
    Christine said…

    Glad you had a chance to run along the waterfront. My husband and daughters run there often. So sorry that Pike Place Market was closed. I really enjoy the sights and sounds of the market.

  • 35.
    Sarah M said…

    I love this idea. Seattle sounds like a great place to visit. I also really love your posts from when you visit your sister in Charlotte — my family lives here too and it’s fun for me to see your photos at places familiar to me. Happy new year!

  • 36.
    Yolanda S said…

    How special to have spent that time with those you love. Those are the moments that the kids will carry with them forever. Happy New Year!

  • 37.
    jessica said…

    awww – great pictures. thank you for letting me live this family adventure vicariously through your photos. Love you guys and can’t wait to see you in March!!

  • 38.
    Linda said…

    You were at one of my fav places–Seattle–we live just north. Sure has been cold but soooooooo beautiful!!

  • 39.
    Jill said…

    oh, i love ruston way. and point defiance. and how beautiful the water is and the mountains. looks like you could see the olympic mountain range – clear as a bell. and i bet rainier was a sight to behold. ahhh. sweet memories of my child hood. (thanks :) )

  • 40.
    Juli Fish said…

    I so love that you are making time for family. There is nothing better than seeing your kids form relationships with their cousins (and aunts & uncles). What a great unexpected adventure! I’m right there with you on making more time for things that make us feel good (like family and really good friends).

  • 41.
    Sarah said…

    Seattle is one of my all-time favorite places that I have vacationed to! I absolutely LOVED the Market! I would have been SO DISAPPOINTED to find it closed. (Mmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about some smoked salmon jerkey from the Pike Place Market and THE BEST little sausage shop nearby where they have THE MOST INTERESTING combination of flavors. YUM!)

  • 42.
    alexa said…

    Love your energy and sense of adventure – thank-you for reminding me that life is full of possibility.

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