Lime Kiln State Park

Lime Kiln Start Park was only a 5 minute drive from where we stayed on the island, and it turned out to be a great spot for hiking, whale-watching, and exploring tidal pools. There are a number of trails that lead you from the parking lot to the lighthouse, along the coast, and various look out points. A couple highlights from our time there: We found a banana slug on our hike – which was ENORMOUS. Jane reminded us that she can scale boulders much faster than the rest of us. And we learned a bit about the whales that pass through and live in the surrounding waters.

The tidal pools were incredible and full of life. We found crabs, fish, sea snails, anemones, barnacles, mussels, and many others. We took along this book and used it to identify what we found as well as learn a bit about each creature. The best part was definitely the sea lion we saw splashing around just 15 yards away from us! We were all wading in the water and climbing on the rocks when we looked up and saw his head poke out of the water. He hung around for a few minutes before swimming off, giving us just enough time to get a good look at him. I’m sure it’s something we’ll remember for years to come!

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San Juan Island

 

Last weekend we drove north and took a ferry to San Juan Island. The island is known for its whale watching, Friday Harbor, the wildlife, and beautiful coastlines. On our first night there, Jane and I decided to take a drive and explore the island a bit more. We stumbled across this little trail that led right to the beach. We watched ships pass by, collected rocks and shells, and climbed across large pieces of driftwood. The perfect end to a long day!

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Getting Outside

The weather has finally warmed up out here in the Pacific Northwest and we are taking full advantage. The kids and I have been outside every day – whether it’s playing outside in our yard and neighborhood or finding new playgrounds to explore. From the moment they wake up (which is way too early) to the moment they go to bed (which is way too late) all they want to do is go outside. Which I love! Being outdoors is so amazing for children. There is so much to learn and see and climb on and explore. Henry is no longer squeamish around bugs and insects. Now, when he finds a new snail, he’ll gently pick it up and hold it so we can all take a closer look. Jane’s ability to run and climb is pretty impressive for a child her age. I suppose if she wants to keep up with Henry, she doesn’t have much of a choice! 🙂 Just yesterday Alex took them down to the lake and they saw the first baby ducks of the season! Here’s to a long summer filled with many new adventures for us!

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Happy Birthday Jane!

I remember the day Jane was born very vividly. Her due date had been April 18th, the Friday before Easter. As I was laying in bed that night, I told her she had better come out right then and there, otherwise she would have to wait until Monday. We had Easter plans scheduled all weekend that I (selfishly) didn’t want to miss. Sure enough, the weekend went by without a hitch, and on Monday morning, I woke up in labor. My Mom and sister Katie came to the house to watch Henry while Alex and I got ready to go. Through tears, I hugged Henry good-bye and told him I would see him soon. My labor progressed quickly (like it had for Henry) and Jane was born just five hours later.

Today, my Jane turns three. THREE! She is intelligent and curious and kind. She is independent and stubborn and strong-willed. She wants to do everything herself, and usually after only a few tries, she’s mastered it. Simply put, she is the best daughter I could have ever hoped for. We all love you so much and can’t wait to see all you’ll do in the next year!

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Spring has Sprung!

Winter is coming to an end and spring is finally starting to show itself! We make it a point to get outside every day and soak up some much needed Vitamin D. Our new yard and neighborhood is great for playing outside – unlike our last place where we had no yard and the neighborhood was situated on the side of a massive hill. We are taking full advantage of the extra outdoor space and the half dozen parks and playgrounds that are all within walking distance. Not only is there so much to do, but almost every day the kids from the neighborhood come and knock on our door to ask if Henry and Jane can come out to play. I can’t describe how much I love this. I didn’t know kids still did this!

Here are some pictures of the kids doing what they do best – coloring with chalk, playing hopscotch, and picking flowers.

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Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

This past weekend the kids and I packed up and headed south to the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. They had both just gotten over their colds and I *had* to get out of the house. Plus, it was sunny in March! That never happens! This park is similar to a zoo, with a few differences. The animals that live there are the same animals you would find in the Washington wilderness. Plus, the park is designed to make you feel like you are going for a walk through the woods and seeing the animals in what would be their natural habitat. At one point, we were walking along the path and I looked over to see a bobcat following us! There’s also a tram ride that takes you through roughly 435 acres of meadows, forests and marshes. We saw bison, elk, moose, mountain goats, deer, and a few other animals – most within a few feet from our window!

The park also has a fantastic discovery center geared towards little kids and a playground that is made almost entirely from natural materials – logs, tree stumps, rocks, etc. I’m always impressed by the playgrounds in Washington – they really push kids to challenge themselves. And many aspects of this playground could be manipulated, so kids were moving logs and branches around to create forts and hiding places.

Henry and Jane loved the tram ride and playground the most. They also loved looking at (and fighting over) the park map. Henry liked planning our route through the park and Jane just liked taking it from him, as little sisters do. They spent so much of their time arguing over what we should see next that I felt they weren’t enjoying themselves and learning about the animals. But, within a few seconds of leaving the park, they were both telling me they had the BEST DAY EVER and asking when we could go back. Go figure!

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Checking In

We’ve had a very busy 6 weeks out here. Not only did we have the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, we moved too! The move was not something we expected to happen, but after considering our options we decided to jump at an opportunity that came our way. We’re happy we did and are now settling into our new house. After spending most of December shuttling back and forth between the old house and our current place, I decided to challenge myself (and the kids) to get outside every day. On some days, we only have time for a quick walk around the neighborhood, but we’ve gone hiking at Snoqualmie Falls, explored some new trails and lakes by our house, and gone sledding in Snoqualmie Pass. Here are some pictures from the last few weeks…

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