More Seattle Fun

We had another great day sightseeing in Seattle today. We actually slept in (at least for us) before having breakfast at Relish, the cafe in our hotel.  We walked down to Pike’s Place Market and wandered around for a bit, seeing the fish being thrown and putting gum on the gum wall.

After that, we toured the Seattle Aquarium, which was really well done.  We saw jelly fish, an awesome octopus, touch tanks, and tons of fish.  We took a break and went out on a harbor cruise to see the skyline from the water.  It was really warm today, so about halfway through, we went and found some indoor seats on the boat, which was a good plan considering the kids’ energy was dropping a bit.

We ate lunch at the Crab Pot at the pier.  My salmon tacos were great…I think I have had seafood for every meal, but I’m not complaining.  After lunch, we went back to finish up the exhibits at the aquarium and had fun watching the seals and otters play.  We got some homemade ice cream as a fun treat and then walked back to our hotel for a rest break.

My husband took the kids to the pool again late this afternoon and then we all had dinner at Dahlia Lounge, which was one of the filming locations in Sleepless in Seattle.  The food was amazing.  We tried the peking duck, crab cakes, buffalo cauliflower and the doughnut dessert.  We have tomorrow morning in Seattle before our flight back home in the late afternoon.  We have had a great time as a family together this week.


Fun in Seattle

We drove from Mt. Rainier to Seattle early this morning and dropped off our bags at the hotel before dropping off the rental car.  We are staying at the Westin, which is a luxury after our room in the national park.  I think we were going through electronics withdrawals!

We took the monorail to the City Center area and ate lunch at MOD pizza.  All of the pizzas were made of demand (get it?) and super delicious.  We went up to the top of the Space Needle and had a great view of the entire city.  It was really warm and clear today and saw both Mt. Rainier and what we think was Mt. St. Helen’s.

After the Space Needle, we went through the EMP (Experience Music Project) museum.  I really enjoyed the exhibits there, especially the Nirvana one, the Fantasy one (with costumes from the Wizard of Oz!) and the hands on music instruments.  Even my daughter was excited to practice her piano on the keyboards.  There was a great park right outside the museum with rope climbs an giant slides.  We had to drag our kids away after several trips down.  I think they would have stayed there all day.

We went back to the hotel to rest before dinner, but ended up going to the hotel pool instead.  My son told me at dinner tonight that it was his favorite part of the trip so far.  What is it with kids and pools?  Anyway, it was a nice indoor heated pool and it felt good after walking around all morning.

After that, we got ready for dinner and my son promptly fell asleep on my lap two minutes before we were going to leave.  Our plans to walk to the pier changed and we decided to take a cab instead.  We ate at Anthony’s Pier 66 and had a beautiful table overlooking the water.  Our meals were great.  We all ordered fish, obviously, and tried the salmon, halibut and ahi.  We walked back to the hotel and are letting the kids stay up for a little bit considering we are all sharing a room tonight.

Mt. Rainier National Park

We spent our second day at Mt. Rainier National Park hiking and having family fun. After a quick breakfast at the Paradise Inn deli, we went on the Nisqually Vista Trail, an easy 1.2 mile loop. We passed a stream, flower meadows and ended at an overlook for a viewing of the glaciers on the mountain. 

After that, we went through the Paradise Visitor Center, seeing the movie and looking at the exhibits. We had a mediocre lunch at the cafe there (avoid the cardboard pizzas). Outside, we were able to look through a sun telescope to view sunspots on the surface of the sun. My son declared it was so cool and he wanted to be an astronaut so he could go in a rocket ship. 

We tested back at the room for a bit and then drove down the mountain to Longmire in the afternoon. We picked up Junior Ranger booklets for the kids at the museum there and found a quiet place to work on them. The kids were really into completing them, especially with the promise of badges at the end. Since we had already gone on several hikes, the books were easily done. We took them back to the ranger, who asked them about what they did, administered an oath, and have the kids certificates and badges. The kids loved them and proudly wore them the rest of the day. 

We did the 0.7 mile Trail of the Shadows loop in Longmire next. Highlights included seeing a deer close up, a large meadow with a view of the mountain and bubbling sulphur springs. 

We ate dinner at the National Park Inn, which was good. We tried the halibut and the spinach salad and both were yummy. We drove back up the mountain and got soft serve ice cream at our hotel for dessert. The kids were stoked to get their own (most of the time, they split a cone). We have an early morning tomorrow for our drive to Seattle. I think everyone is ready to get back to the city. 

Olympia and Paradise

We packed up from the Lake Crescent Lodge and drove to Olympia this morning. After a quick stop for a photo opportunity at Kurt Cobain’s old house, we had lunch at Wagner’s European Bakery. The sandwiches were so good and even better, they came with a small slice of cake. Yum!

We toured the Washington State Capitol building and got to peek into the two chambers.  The kids liked seeing the inside of the dome and all of the marble.  They even met some friendly guards!

The it was back in the car for the drive to Mt. Ranier National Park. The driving times have been a lot longer than I had anticipated on this trip, mostly because of the one lane highways, windy roads, and getting stuck behind super slow cars. Late this afternoon, we made it to the Paradise Inn. The inn has a long history and is in the higher elevation area of the park. We have a 2 room unit, and although it is a little old, the views are amazing. We can see the top of the mountain from our room and it’s just gorgeous.

We took a short hike to Myrtle Falls, which were beautiful. We saw several marmots playing along the trail, which the kids liked seeing. We ate dinner at the dining room here and really enjoyed the buffalo meat loaf. I told the kids it was hamburger and they gobbled it right up. After they were done, I fessed up and they thought that was so cool to eat buffalo!

We made a quick stop in the gift shop for a Christmas ornament, a slap bracelet for my daughter and a postcard to mail to Grandmom from my son. The kids are finally asleep (at almost nine o’clock!) and I am enjoying the sunset view of the forest from our room.

Olympic National Forest

Day two of our Washington adventure began with breakfast here at the lodge and then we loaded up in the car to drive to the Hoh Rainforest. After a two hour drive, which I thought was only going to be an hour, and a quick stop in Forks for a Twilight photo op, we arrived.

We did the Hall of Mosses trail, an easy 0.8 mile loop with the kids. The trees almost looked primeval. They were covered in moss and looked completely undiscovered. The kids did great again and loved blazing the trail.

We stopped for lunch at a nearby cafe called Hard Rain Cafe. My salmon burger wasn’t horrible, but the normal burger and the turkey sandwich were awful. The kids were good sports and perked up after we let them get licorice for dessert.

Back at Lake Crescent, we rented a canoe for an hour and took the kids out on the lake. They each took a turn paddling and we had a great time enjoying the clear blue water. Unbelievably, they still had some energy, so we did a quick 0.6 mile trail called Moments in Time. Highlights were the lake views, a meadow with wildflowers, and a mossy bench.

We ate dinner at the lodge, which was wonderful. The salad, soup, halibut and steak (and cobbler) were all excellent. My husband built a lakeside fire outside our cabin and we let the kids roast s’mores after dinner. It was so peaceful to sit and enjoy the lake and the smell of the fire.

Lake Crescent

Today is the start of our summer family vacation. Going away just the four of us is getting to be more rare, so it is so nice to have a week just to bond as a family.

We decided to go to Washington state this year. Last year’s southwest road trip went so well with the kids loving the national parks, we thought we would do something similar. We flew into Seattle this morning, rented a car, and drove two and a half hours to Olympic National Forest. We are staying at the Lake Crescent Lodge, in a Roosevelt cabin. It’s nice when we can have a separate sleeping area for the kids.  Everyone just sleeps better that way.

We immediately set out on a two mile hike to Marymere Falls, a 90 foot waterfall in the forest. The kids did great and loved the hike and going over bridges. It was the perfect amount of time for them.

Our cabin is right on the lake, so the kids goofed off in the shallow water while my husband and I say in chairs watching them. It was so peaceful and we both commented that this is how it should be. Neither kid wanted electronics…they were just content to play and throw rocks.

We drove to the Log Cabin Resort for dinner. The food was pretty good but way expensive. I guess when you are one of the only places around, that’s what you get.

The kids are in bed now and my husband went over to find some internet to check work emails. I am sitting her listening to the lake sounds and watching the sun go down. This is how it should be.

Making Mistakes is Okay

My daughter had her dance recital today.  This was her third year of dance and she was so excited to be up on stage with her class.  Last year, I practiced with her to make sure that she knew the steps.  This year, however, she said she was old enough to know them on her own and that she knew what she was doing.

She had the dress rehearsal last weekend and she knew all the steps!  She looked great out there and was having fun.  She was so proud that she did it all by herself. This morning, we got ready and drove to the theatre and I dropped her off backstage.  When she came out on stage, she was just beaming and started the routine perfectly.  Toward the end of the song, instead of doing certain steps, it was clear that she was doing something different than the rest of the girls.  She had started to repeat a few of the steps from the beginning.

As she was holding both her arms up over her head, I could see the moment when she realized she had made a mistake.  To her credit, she found where she was and finished the dance.  As a mother, my heart broke for her.  My husband leaned over and asked if she had messed up.  We decided that we wouldn’t say anything to her.

After the show, we went backstage to pick her up.  She wanted nothing to do with the flower we had brought or giving her brother a hug. She was extremely sullen.  I immediately knew what was wrong, but she insisted she was just tired.  I had driven separately earlier to drop her off, so when we got in the car, it was just the two of us.  I asked her what was really wrong.  “Mom?” she said. “I think I made a mistake.”

I told her that she did a great job and that everyone makes mistakes sometimes.  I told her the dance looked amazing and that she had a beautiful smile.  I praised her for all the good parts she had done.  I could tell she felt better, although she brought it up again later in the day.  I am sure we will continue talking about making mistakes and that it is okay.

I need to remember that it is okay to make mistakes too.  I need to be able to go to God and say, “I think I made a mistake.”  When I do, I know that He will meet me with the same love that I met my daughter.