I thought marriage was a breeze until I had kids. I thought parenting was easy until the firstborn became a toddler. I thought two kids was a juggling act until I had three. Yeah, don't bother reading my thoughts. They will probably be wrong. ~The Denise half of Dwayne & Denise
Dwayne and I like to celebrate with adventures—and with all the Hallmark holidays out there, we have lots of opportunities to play. For Mother’s Day, I had a pedi & gossip with a girlfriend and later a family dinner, so I put myself in charge of Father’s Day to do something a little wilder.
I had originally looked at going to Paradise Inn on Mount Rainier, not terribly far from the lot my grandparents had in our childhood. But when I googled, Alta Vista Crystal Resort came up first and distracted me. (Squirrel!)
It was a minimum two-nighter, which meant we had to figure out how to leave after the craziest day in the work week for both Dwayne and I, but it was nice to be forced to leave Friday evening. With the late sunset, we had a beautiful drive out of Eatonville and still arrived with enough time to jump into the saline pool and hot tub before a late night movie and bedtime. So worth waking up where you want to be on a Saturday morning! This is a resort under new management working it’s Sasquatch off to appeal. It’s certainly in the mountains, just a 15 minute drive to Chrystal Mountain base.
To begin, they have a scavenger hunt, which guides through all sorts of trails I wouldn’t have noticed on my own. And since we were “looking for clues” and not “hiking” it was totally fun for the kids.
We loved the spring-fed, slightly above freezing creek through the area. It was exactly the sort of scenery that comes to mind when I think “Washington Beautiful.”
Don't fall, Babe!! (He didn't.)
I had planned our trip up Chrystal’s gondola to give us plenty of time to get on the wait list for the restaurant with the “Best View of Mount Rainier”. Unfortunately, arriving 90 minutes before the last seating doesn’t work when there is already a 2 hour wait list. Well, it was a day with perfect summer weather, and we were not the only ones on the mountain. It was actually a little bit like the Grand Canyon—English was a first language for only about half of us mountain gawkers.
...and finally, we near the top....
Mt. St. Helens adds to the perfect panorama.
Part of adventuring is being adaptable. Well, to be honest, the result of not planning is needing to be flexible. I could have brought groceries to make dinner—we had a tiny kitchen in our suite, but the nearest grocery store was about the same distance as the nearest tavern, so outdoor seating and outside BBQ for us.
And we were back in time for smores and yard games back a the resort.
Brian's family came up for the weekend, and not only do I like getting together with my siblings, but I love the that the cousins spend time together.
My parents has seven grandchildren (period, full stop). Wes and Parker are the only boys, so when Wes has to wait for his boy cousin to show up, measures are takent to work through his feelings. In this instance, it meant standing on top of the wishing well my paternal grandfather built to aim invisible bolts over the hedge at all passing cars that do not contain Parker. Funnier to me, is that Keith and Julie come from the other direction.
Piper thought she could call dibs on Taryn over her own mother. We both love to hold the babies.
Kyla is such a fantastic babysitter. Even though she would love to join the grown up conversations or read her own book, she plays with and reads her younger cousins.
Wednesdays can be tough anyway, as I volunteer during Pipe’s library time at school and then 30 minutes later, drag Wes along so I can coach Math Team for an hour and a half. This Wednesday had a morning Coffee with the Superintendent that I attended, plus a one-on-one meeting with same superintendent later that day, right before my 2 hour dyslexia meeting at the district offices. All those still happened, but when I got home at 9:30 from the coffee, Wes came running at me with “worms!” “cats!” “bedroom!” pouring out of him barely intelligibly.
I went into his bedroom and quickly realized home school was going to be canceled today.
In a new feline low, one of the cats brought in a dead mouse. A very, very dead mouse. So old that maggots were crawling out of it and making their way up Wesley’s book case and across the carpet.
Wesley was not so calmly trying to drown the “white worms” by spraying water on anything that squirmed. When that failed to work, he used his outdoor knife to cut them in half. I was not amused. However, I was motivated to do a thorough cleaning, and by bedtime, I had thoroughly cleaned all surfaces in Wesley’s room, had wore him out scrubbing out goo from his carpet, and had deep cleaned his carpet and the entire hallway. While at it, I came across this:
Two more dehydrated mice well hidden under his captain’s bed. Even Dwayne didn’t try to defend the cats this time.
Before he could reliable build anything, he was a champion destroyer (Cousin Kara *might* fondly remember building him sand castle upon sand castle for him to kick over). But dexterity comes eventually, and he likes to end a math lesson with manipulatives by building something with all the blocks.
Then he got it in his head to bake, and this is his carmel chocolate torte.
This is what he was super-excited about--taking his Thor hammer and retrofitting it with nerf pistols on each side. He drew designs, tried and failed, and eventually came up with a solution to produce the Ultimate Wesley Weapon. His enthusiasm knew no bounds as his sense of self grew. Good Times, as witnessed by Mama.