We took a little trip over the mountains to Seattle. I guess its been raining over there quite a bit- everywhere we went people kept asking if we were enjoying the sunshine. That's just not a question people ask each other over here. It would be like asking random strangers if they were enjoying being alive or breathing air. Because the air is nearly always sunny here. And enjoyable.
In fact one of my favorite things about going to the west side of the state is the greater chance that my kids will get to actually use their raincoats and rain boots. Well, they do use their rain gear- rubber boots are awesome for little boys (no straps, no laces!), and Avery wears his raincoat as a costume for his Evil Scientist persona. But, you know, they've actually had rain gear that has NEVER been used to keep water off of their bodies.
But no, it didn't rain.
They didn't wear their rain gear.
Here's what did happen, though:
A) I thought of an awesome photo project- pictures of people driving or riding in cars! Except I'm not sure how you'd do it. Pictures I take from cars always look like they were taken from behind a pane of smeary moving glass. But maybe, if I put the thought out there, maybe somebody else will do this project, and I will buy the book and be really happy.
B) We rediscovered why Newman's Own Ginger O's are the perfect road trip cookie. I can't explain it, they just are. Try it for your self sometime.
C) We went straight to our favorite U-Pick strawberry field:Dues Berry Farm north of Everett. They were flooded this winter and thought they'd lost all the berries, but to their surprise strawberries are there. The great thing is, they don't use pesticides or anything, and the strawberries were only $1 a pound. The bummer is, they weren't expecting berries, so they didn't weed or anything, and we picked pretty hard among thistles and something else, something allergy-inducing to get 18 pounds of tiny berries, which just isn't that much. And really expensive when you take into consideration the $35 in gas to get there.... Anyway, we still love the farm, and next year is their 100th year! so we're happy about that. And the strawberries are awesomely delicious. Even if I was sneezing so much the rest of the evening that I got a nosebleed, which hasn't happened in forever.
D) We went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant, which we'd vowed never to do over there, given how many delicious, authentic Mexican restaurants there are here, and how few delicious restaurants of any other kind there are here. Except Rusillos, and a few others... not that we eat out very often anyway. Three kids, no money... easier, cheaper, and usually more delicious to stay home. But this restaurant, El Rey, in Lake Stevens is very yummy and authentic.
E) Rented Bolt on DVD. Because even though my parents finally have digital cable, there's still nothing on. Bolt was cute. A little scary, but cute. About an hour too long for Miles, though.
F) Ansel rolled over. Again, and again and again. And started scooting forward. Directly to the edge of wherever he was (bed, lounge pad, other bed, rug). No, baby, no! Don't grow so fast!
G) I thought of another book to write. I'll call it Neglectful Parent, Happy Child.* Don't you just want to buy it already? (I have a theory about self-help books- I think sometimes people are just looking for the easy way out, they're hoping to spend $20 to have an "expert" tell them that what they're doing is fine, or that doing nothing but watching TV and being self-absorbed is great. And, you know, I could cash in on some of that crazy, lazy stuff.)
No, really, I had the idea for this book because of the raspberries- I didn't even cut out the old canes last fall, and this year there are SO MANY raspberries they're coming out our ears. I dashed out to pick a bowl full before we left for Seattle, and an hour later everyone else came out, and we ALL picked for another half an hour. At least. And Avery is happy to do grown up things by himself- make lunch, mow the lawn, start a load of laundry, fix the doorknob, Miles happily plays with his little cars or tree house toys for hours, without me, and makes up little songs to sing, and Ansel finally rolled over all by himself when I was not even in the room. You see? A little neglect is, apparently, good for children. And raspberries. Believe me, I'm an expert. * I guess there are some people who already live this, without my telling them how. Can you imagine? Parenting without an expert opinion like mine?! Well, they call it raising Free Range Kids, and their trust in their own children and the universe at large is lovely. Not so much where I can let myself go, at least not all the way, but nice. Trusting. And at least it adds some perspective to the decisions we make all the time as parents: when can my child go to the public restroom by himself, walk to a friend's house, go to the library alone? Check it out. Tell me what you think. Where do you draw those lines, and when do you redraw them?
H) We went on another letterboxing adventure, in these cool old woods, and spent quite a bit of time tromping around, finding the THREE! stamps that made a picture. It was fun. Muddy and woodsy and all things good. Except for the nettles. And something scared or hurt the baby, who screamed and screamed and screamed and cried and cried and cried. He who NEVER does that, hardly ever really fusses about anything. Poor little one. He seems fine now, though, so hopefully nothing permanent!
I) More berry picking, at Biringer Farms this time. 54 pounds total. They were having a little strawberry festival. The boys played with Grandma while we picked. Played, watched a church group puppet show and ate pulled pork sandwiches and somehow got orange and strawberry soda-colored mustaches. I don't know how....
J) REI. One of our favorite stores. Avery is in awe of the climbing mountain they have, and is already begging to go back so he can climb. Instead the boys got new Keens (on sale! these ones, matching! the last pairs in their sizes!!), checked out all of the tents, over and over again, tried all the water filters, tried out their new shoes (and their old ones, too, just to see) on the hiking boot test-trail thingy in the middle of the shoe department. And we got a new buckle for the baby back-pack. Which Ansel will be able to go in pretty soon, I guess. Weird, him getting so big and growing up so much. I'm starting to feel nostalgic for his baby days, and he's still only 4 months old. What does that mean?
K) Home. The boys all slept over the mountains and across the desert. They woke up as we were pulling into town. Hours after we'd PLANNED to be home. Granola and strawberries for supper, at 9 o'clock.
L) And I should be thinking other less productive thoughts, but I can't wait for May to come around again (May seems to be my fertile month, as evidenced by the boys all being born within a two week span in late winter....)