Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Letter 2013

Liang’s Christmas 2013 Letter

Yet another year has flown by in a flash. It seems like way more than a year ago that we were snowshoeing atop Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park on New Year’s Eve day with Joe’s cousin Nikki. We also spent some time in the port towns of Port Townsend, Port Gamble, Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island.

In February we had a great time with Dave at Belgianfest in Seattle drinking some of our new favorite types of beer. For Jackie’s 30th birthday in March we took a daytrip to Bavarian Leavenworth and Lake Wenatchee. A few weeks later we enjoyed a relaxing rustic cabin weekend on snowy Lake Wenatchee with our friend Jorge.

In April, the Wrights came for another visit, this time with the Potters. The visit was action packed with distillery visits, Mariners game, gray whale watching, bald eagles, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, and snowshoeing at Big Four Mountain in search of Ice Caves but only to find a thunder and lightning storm.

In May we became true Seattleites and decreased our carbon footprint by selling Jackie’s car and increasing the Jackie’s bike mileage quota for Bike to Work month. For our 6th anniversary we went sailing, camping and kayaking on Orcas Island with Darren, Andy and Jorge. The best news of 2013 was Jackie successfully completed her Architect Registration Examinations! She is now a licensed architect in South Carolina and soon will be in the state of Washington.

June marked the beginning of summer where we spent an outdoor weekend at Verlot campground and hiked to Lake 22 and Old Robe Canyon. 

Joe also acquired an upgrade to his favorite toy: a new lightweight kayak! Jackie in June took a trip to Wisconsin for some quality family time.

Our big vacation for 2013 was a whirlwind trip all over Oregon. It began in Oceanside for 4 nights with some of our church small group of 3 other families renting a beach house. It continued for 2 nights of camping in northern California’s Redwoods National and State Parks. The true highlight was camping 2 nights at Crater Lake National Park. We enjoyed the 4th of July in Bend, Oregon and 1 more night in the Columbia River Gorge.

In July we drove to Boise, Idaho for a weekend to help Joe’s cousin find an apartment before she began grad school at Boise State University. We upped our hiking prowess to the alpine lake wilderness of Lake Pratt in July and Mt Dickerman in August. 

Jackie and her friend Jamie ran a 5k Foam Fest obstacle course. 

We spent a rainy weekend in August in Juneau, Alaska with Howards & Wrights thanks to Dave’s airline benefits. We kayaked beneath soaring bald eagles in waters fed by Mendenhall Glacier 7 miles away.
Over Labor Day, Jackie’s Mom, Dad and brother Andy came to visit where they got a great taste of the Pacific Northwest: a ferry boat ride, the Hoh rainforest, Kalaloch Lodge, Pacific Ocean sea stacks at Kalaloch Beach, Second Beach & Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park, Lake Crescent, Hurricane Ridge, Seattle Underground Tour, Lake Union houseboats, seaplanes and plenty of quality family time.

With our church small group in September we did an Amazing Race.

Joe visited Boston. In October Jackie and friend Britton drove the entire Cascade Loop in search of the perfect landscape to photograph Fall colors. 

We took a subsequent trip back to the rustic Lake Wenatchee cabin in October with Jorge to replenish the firewood supply and enjoy Leavenworth’s Oktoberfest. Jackie caught up with a childhood Wisconsin friend Tracy after 20 years apart.

Halloween was a highlight at Jackie’s work. She made a fox costume and danced to ‘What Does the Fox Say?’ song.
This year we instituted a new family tradition for the Holidays. We got a $10 permit from the ranger’s station to cut down our own Christmas tree in the National Forest. We have some good lessons learned for our endeavor next year. 

Joe spent 2 weeks working in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Although these yearly highlights make us sound like such busy-bodies, we have barely scratched the surface of exploring everything we want to here. We have absolutely adored our past 3 years in the Pacific Northwest. There really isn’t a better place to live for us! There is plenty of water to kayak, trails to hike, mountains to climb and beers to taste.

We keep a blog of all our explorations if you would ever like to know or see photos of more:

May your heart and home be filled with the true spirit of Christmas.

All Our Love, Joe, Jackie & Chance Liang
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