Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Vacationed and Birthdayed Out

The third birthday of our three-girl's-birthdays-in-summer circus is today. That means that things can settle down a bit. Maybe. We're still redecrating Samantha's (birthday girl) room (tart apple and canteloupe slice paint on the walls) and that takes forever. I bought her Stephenie Meyer's Eclipse today and she's happy as a clam. Plus the ENTIRE family was over for a barbecue on Sunday night in her celebration. All brought presents and we played games and ate cake. Our neighbors hate us because we are so loud. But I really don't care.

So I've eaten a ton of cake and gained back the five pounds it took me months to take off. Months to take off, two weeks to put on. Life's not fair, as my grandmother used to tell me all the time. Amen to that. Amen again. But I still feel like crying when I think about it.

Wow. What an amazing family vacation we returned from last Wednesday. Darren and I kept looking at each other wondering why everything was going so well. No one woke up during the night during the 11-day trip, no one had any sort of temper tantrums, no one threw up in the car or had any bathroom issues. We had a little whining on the last two days of driving, but most of that was from me. The kids were fine. There was a bit of bickering about whose turn it was to read Harry Potter but that was about as bad as it got.

"This is the best family vacation we've ever had," Darren told me. I couldn't have agreed more. Once the youngest is about six, things are a lot more fun. Hang on all you people out there with kids younger than six, your time is coming. Your ship will come in. We got to read in the car instead of entertaining kids every second. We got to have conversations. We got to really have fun together instead of just trying to keep kids happy and avoid meltdowns.

It feels wonderful to have reached this point in our family. And this trip was an amazing time for our family. The Pacific northwest is gorgeous, and I am going to live there someday. I love the pulsing city of Seattle, I love the deep forests and fresh air and plants and flowers that just grow everywhere. I love the clean smell and the green around me.

Here's what we did:

Bonneville Dam, Columbia River Gorge, OR
Multnomah Falls, OR
Sea Kyacking at Point Defiance, WA (we saw seals!)
Farmer's Market, Tacoma, WA
Trader Joe's, University Place, WA
Mount St. Helens, WA
Forks WA, The Olympic Peninsula, Washington coast
Hoh Rainforest
Bainbridge Ferry to Seattle
Pike's Place Market, Seattle
Mariner's game, Seattle
Boat ride on Lake Washington at dusk--beautiful.
Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle
Vancouver Acquarium, Vancouver, B.C.
Dinner at Gastown, Vancouver
Lyn Canyon Suspension Bridge and Cliff Jumping, Vancouver
Drive, drive, drive drive

Thanks Cathy and Chad for letting us stay with you in Dupont. We loved your hiking trails! Mark and Ginger, thanks for the awesome weekend. Riding on the Swetenia at night was an experience everyone loved. Thanks for the drum lessons, I guess.

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