Sunday, September 20, 2015

How to Play without Kid Input

This is a kind of love letter to my husband, but really to my parents who took the kids Friday evening until Sunday afternoon.  I love, love, love you!

For his birthday, Dwayne wanted me to take him away for the weekend.  I had actually tried to make reservations for Winthrop to show our support for the area devastated by the state’s worst fire on record (and patting myself on the back for the charitable giving of my spending hundreds of dollars on personal luxury)…but everyone else was doing the same thing and my first 7choices were booked for the weekend!

So we just drove north.

tulalip resort casino oasis pool

I surprised Dwayne (and myself) with our first night at Tulalip Resort and Casino.  It’s a beautiful place, every bit the luxury resort it reports to be.  Any place with a waterfall in the oasis pool can’t be all bad. The fact that no-smoking laws don’t apply on reservation land escaped us at first, but you can’t spend anytime in the slot machine wasteland before remembering that indoor smoking isn’t prohibited…and no ventilation is ever adequate.  However, the restaurants were in the casino wing, and I would wade through more slots and cigs to eat again at Black Fish. IMG_2723


Saturday was for Bellingham.  We had reservations at The Fairhaven Village Inn.  On a continuum of $$$ hotels, the Inn is very much to the right (or left) of Tulalip.  The Inn didn’t have carved alabaster bas relief native art motif light fixtures down each hallway, but it did have a charming library with tea, coffee, and cookies 24 hours a day.  And it was by far the better location.  Dwayne and I walked more miles in those 24 hours in through Fairhaven than we have walked together the rest of 2015.  (Yeah, that says more about us than about Fairhaven, I know.)

When we first got to Bellingham, I directed Dwayne to Lake Padden for a couple mile walk in this picturesque spot.  But the park was closed for an all afternoon bike race.  So then we tried to visit my alma mater, but it was move-in day (!) at WWU.  Finally, we parked far enough away and walked up and around the entire campus and arboretum.  It has been almost 20 years since I was last a student there.  Of course, a lot had changed, but it was somewhat surprising how much remained as it was.  It’s a beautiful campus, but the academic life didn’t quite tug on my heart like it has before.  I now think more about eventually dropping Kyla off somewhere like this…leaving her to be a independent student with just a final hug.  Ouch!


But there wasn’t too much to be morose about, other than if we didn’t make it to afternoon tea by 5pm at the Abbey Garden Tearoom.   We actually got there in plenty of  time, though my picture hints at a different outcome.  Dwayne found a gentleman’s tea on the menu,while I ordered a French chocolate dessert with my afternoon tea that made my toes curl.   

(You can’t tell the tea cozy on my head, but under the table, my toes are curled.)



While walking (and walking and walking) off our tea, we came across these plaques with QR readers.  It gave a mini-history lesson of the area using footnotes of footnotes, probably.  I loved it!


We tried to walk every inch of Fairhaven, 3 parks, some trails, and a hilly neighborhood before we went back and changed for dinner.  If you ever eat at the Cliff House in Bellingham, go for the view and great staff, not the food.

IMG_2756 IMG_2761

The next morning was as blustery as it can get without pouring rain, so I was impressed with these sailors! 


My hair tried to be my sail, but I’ve not such a good sailor.


Since I lived in the area last, Boulevard Park went from being a great place to an amazing one, with a long waterway walking path and even better access.  Dwayne and I so enjoyed our time together in Bellingham, but I couldn’t help but think of how I’d like to bring the kids up here with their bikes someday!


And why, oh why, has no one told me just how wonderful Five Guys is?  Why is McD’s and all those other hamburger places still open when one can eat here?  All right, so this is a little north for us, but now I know what place to look for when we need lunch on the road!


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Ready for Hogwarts

With some initial reluctance on my girls’ part, I trapped the kids in the van for a few long car rides and made them listen to the first Harry Potter, as narrated by the talented Jim Dale.  A few pages in, they were all hypnotized.  We listened to it several times before we watched the movie (we have all of the DVDs at the cabin). 

Watching any movie more dramatic than PBS is like giving Kyla an ecstasy and speed cocktail—she runs up and down stairs, hides behind furniture before running outside to do a few laps around the house and climb a tree before she peeks back at the screen and does it all again.  Piper gets close and closer to her mama and says she’s scares but can’t stop watching. Wesley sucks his fingers and gropes the person closest to him (whether or not he’s watching a video). 

IMG_2711But they all loved it, proven by Wesley finding my witch’s hat with our autumn decorations.  He grabbed it and ran to the bathroom.  He came back in a moment with his shirt off and bathrobe on, saying excitedly, “Mama, I’m wearing my Hogwarts robes!  I’m a wizard!”









Piper wasn’t going to stand for Wesley going to Hogwarts before IMG_2713her, so she ran to her bedroom to get her best witch clothes and posed for me with the hat.  Later they all found the adult-sized Gryffindor robe and tie that, ahem, is in my closet and wands that had previously been mistaken for sticks. It was a fun afternoon with my little witches and wizards!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

New at the Cabin!

Sept. 2015 new at cabin 8

It didn’t happen until the end of July, but we have a new deck!  It’s made of a Trex-like material, is about twice as big with a bump-out just begging for a picnic table, and could support an elephant.  Please don’t test this theory, but I’m a bit giddy about not falling through the boards anymore on the way from the kitchen to the grill!

Sept. 2015 new at cabin 9

The same company that tore out and rebuilt the deck also put in a firepit.  Dwayne used up some old pavers lying around to finish the edges.  We had to wait several weeks for burn ban to lift, but earlier this month, we got to christen it with hotdogs and s’mores.

Sept. 2015 new at cabin 2Sept. 2015 new at cabin 7

My awesome dad gifted us with an old set of horseshoes and built the wood frames for the pits.  You’d think he was a smart old man until I tell you he rashly came over to the cabin last weekend to “celebrate Dwayne’s and Kyla’s birthdays” and ended up putting them together and digging out the dirt to set it up. Shoulda waited unitl all the work was done before venturing over, Dad—you should know that by now! The poles are a regulation 40’ apart, and so far, Dwayne and I can comfortably throw about 38’.

Sept. 2015 new at cabin 1

“We” also completely disposed of the stumps, brought in topsoil, covered grass seed with some peat moss, and in an afternoon, the days of Stumps and Pissy Wives were over.  Just a note, instead of grinding the stumps for $700, we decided to take 100 times as long and probably twice the cost and did it ourselves. Lesson learned.

But the good news is that Pissy Wife was completely transformed into Happy Wife when, while I was getting peat moss and seed, I spotted our new deck furniture.  It’s not the picnic table I want to get, nor does it follow my rule of being used, recycled, or handmade, but I like it, it fits perfectly on the deck or around the campfire, and now it’s ours. Currently, it is in the shed, waiting for a coat of marine-quality varnish…and spring, but I’m excited to sit out on the deck without having to drag out living room furniture!

  Sept. 2015 new at cabin 5

   Sept. 2015 new at cabin 4

It’s only interesting to us, as the owners, but while we were having a load of topsoil delivered, we also ordered 3 yards of 5/8ths minus with binder (note to self: get 4 yards next time and the same gravel) to fix up the driveway. 

Sept. 2015 new at cabin 10 

And this little guy is our new mascot.  He supports a special needs group on the island and looks forward to greeting guests and also more seasonally appropriate neckwear (next time, Benet*, I promise).

Sept. 2015 new at cabin 3

* Benet is the bodyguard in The Magic Thief trilogy by Sarah Prineas.  The cabin’s name, Heartsease, also comes from the this series.