Between the months of October and December of last year, Violet and I hopped on a plane to Seattle three times. Yep, three times. Once for my sister Monica's birthday, once for a post-Christmas Seattle Christmas and once just because I needed my mom. And home. I needed home.
And during this time, my little traveling companion went from sleeping throughout the 2+ hour flight to waking 40 minutes in and socializing with all the nearby passengers, whether or not they wanted a five month old grabbing their nose and squealing in delight. Granted, flying with Violet is not quite as easy as it was during her first couple of flights to Seattle, but she is now pretty much a pro. I love it when people ask, "Is this her first flight?" I can now proudly respond, "Nope, it's her ninth." Not bad for an eight month old.
My favorite thing to do while in Seattle is go out for dinner and drinks with some of my favorite people. If you've been to Seattle, you know that - at least in my humble opinion - one of the best and coolest parts of town is Capitol Hill. I can't walk down the streets in that neighborhood without being flooded with memories of nights out in my twenties. If those streets could talk, they probably wouldn't remember the details of those excursions any more than any of us do, but those were some good times. There was laughter, usually too many drinks, sometimes awkward run-ins with boys from my past, but there was always fun. And those good times have kept on coming up and down those streets. All three of my trips home in the fall and winter of 2012 involved nights out on Capitol Hill. From celebrating my sister's birthday at Via Tribunali with the fam to drinks at Linda's, the backdrop of so many good and bad memories, to dinner with my dEeDLes at Boom Noodle, Capitol Hill always makes me feel like I'm home.
But more than anything else, these trips brought some much needed time with family. (And some much needed down time, as well.) Violet got to be with her mama's family both in Seattle and in my hometown of Westport, Washington. She got to play with her cousins (she absolutely lights up when they come into a room) and she got to have some really special time with my mom, her gram. And I got to be surrounded by people who were always willing to hold a sweet baby girl so her mom could take a little nap. If that's not something to be appreciative of, I don't know what is.
And then there was our one night trip to one of my favorite places, Portland, home of some of my closest friends. I swear, we packed more into that one night in Portland than I usually do in an entire trip home. From eating grilled cheese sandwiches on a school bus at the Grilled Cheese Grill, to meeting Luna's new baby, Ariana, to hanging out with Carina's bunny, Sherman, to swimming with Violet in her first indoor pool dip (turns out a Vegas baby doesn't know much about indoor pools) to a mimosa brunch, our time in Portland was a highlight of my time at home.
One of the best parts of my time in Washington was getting to be with one of my very best friends and favorite people on the planet, my mom. And I needed that time so much. It turns out, you can go home again. In the time I've lived in Las Vegas, I've flirted with the idea of moving back to Washington, to the place I've always considered my home. But, as everything seems to, a person's idea of home changes as they do. And Las Vegas, and it's never ending sunshine, has become home, too, in a way I didn't expect. Sure, I might find myself back in Seattle someday, but - at least for now - the desert is where this girl from the beach wants to be. And I'm so lucky to have a place to return to that makes me feel so good. I wouldn't trade that for anything. Until next time...