Letters to My Kids

The One with the SPU Photos

After a late night youth group bonfire party on June 24th, we met bright and early (or not really bright at all) in the church parking lot on Monday at 4:45am. Four Bible Quizzers (ages 12, 15, 17, and 18) and five adults (ages shall remain confidential. lol), headed to the Buffalo airport with loads of luggage in tow. 

First, a note: Yes, adults outnumbered students. Yes, it was kind of humorous. Kevin and I went as quiz masters so we got our registration paid for. One of the leaders was a student’s mom, and the other two ladies have been directing quizzing together for more than a decade.
After 7 hours of flying (and feeling like it was 11am for hours and hours, thank you jet lag), we made it safely to Seattle Pacific University. After dropping off our luggage in our dorms, we hopped on the city bus and headed for Pike’s Market. 
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the girls and me (Jayne, Catherine, Kirsten)
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a shot from inside Pike’s Market. 
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I’m impressed with this self-timed picture–
I precariously balanced our camera on a curved post
From Tuesday until Thursday, we were busy with round after round of Bible Quizzes. Tuesday and Wednesday, our team of four students had 16 rounds of quizzing against teams from all over (Kentucky, Ohio, Florida, Washington, New York, Pennsylvania, and more!) While they were reciting Scripture, Kevin and I were busy judging answers by other quiz teams like them. I quiz mastered in the Young Teen Veteran B division (aka “students in grades 6-9 who have quizzed more than one year and aren’t quite as awesome as A division, but still pretty great”). Kevin worked in the Senior Teen Vet B division. Quiz mastering is long and hard, but so much fun. What a fantastic opportunity for both of us.

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Team Shot with Team Shirts
(shirt design thought of in my brain and executed by Kevin.)
Jesus Christ (infinity sign)
the same yesterday, today, and forever

In between all of the quizzing, we had morning chapels with a fantastic worship team and a riveting speaker. We ate way too much delicious food in the dining commons.
We played lots of overly competitive Rook.
We hung out around the grand piano in the student lounge.
We went to the SPU sponsored carnival and gallivanted around campus (well, I gallivanted while the other adults went to the coaches’ meeting.)
We climbed FLIGHTS AND FLIGHTS of stairs. Seattle is crazy hilly.
We walked 2 miles to Gas Works Park overlooking downtown Seattle. It was a fantastic park where the quizzers enjoyed the sights, some soccer and ultimate frisbee, and some fun photo opps like this one–

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Kirsten and I exploring Gas Works Park
After the quizzing week was over and we had packed up our rooms, we headed into downtown for an evening of sight-seeing. First stop? The Space Needle. This world-fair-attraction from 50 years ago is really quite the fantastic experience. We spent a couple of hours goofing around at 350 feet in the air.

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At the top of the Space Needle
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we heart Seattle
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Space Needle after Dark
That night, we drove to a Super 8 motel and spent the night with more Rook and girly conversation late into the night. One of the teens asked me, “Mel, I think it’s past your bedtime.” She was right.

Saturday morning we made the 2 hour drive southeast to Mount Rainier National Park. Wow. This place is seriously breathtaking. We drove and drove through the winding (nail-biting) curves for most of the day, stopping to take pictures every few turns. We even ate our Subway lunch next to a 5 foot high pile of snow.

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Kevin and I in Mt Rainier National Park
In the middle of all the driving, we did get out and hike around a 2 mile trail for a bit. Very awesome. The sights and sounds in a forest like this one is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Incredible.

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The group exploring Mt. Rainier National Park
Another night in another hotel, and we were off for the coast. You can’t go to Seattle and not experience the Pacific Ocean, right? This was my favorite day of tourism as it was the most relaxed. The kids played in the chilly water for hours and hours, there was football throwing, and beach walking, fried-fish-eating, and book reading, window shopping, and ice cream cone eating. Perfect if you ask me.

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Wave Jumping in Long Beach, WA
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The girls and me at the Pacific Ocean
Sunday night brought us to another hotel where we had just enough time to go a brief swim in the pool, shower off, and play another round of Rook. We packed up our stuff for good in the morning, and headed to the airport. Our flight was delayed 2 hours, so we had plenty of time to enjoy the surprising amount of tourism that can be had in the SeaTac Airport before sitting on the plane for 4 hours. Thankfully, we made it to our transfer flight at Chicago Midway Airport with just 10 minutes to spare. *whew*. Another seemingly-quick flight and we were in Buffalo. It was 1:30am by the time we arrived home and I got to clean our bathroom thanks to the nasty smell of decaying fish that had found its way up the toilet after flushing our beloved goldfish last week (due to the high heats.) awesome
Despite the many days it’s taken me to get over my jet lag and the plain ol’ exhaustion of an 8 day trip, it was   A PHENOMENAL experience. I loved the time I had with those three girls, I loved the city of Seattle (and I don’t even like cities!), I loved the sight seeing, I loved quiz mastering at the National Level, and I loved the other leaders on the trip. I’d call that a win! 
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