Tuesday, October 19, 2021

No More Trick Or Treaters In Our House


My kids had been at the neighbor's house playing outside for hours. I called them home to give the parents a bit of break. "Can we go back over after chores?" a mini asks. I indulge, as long as it's okay with her parents. Afterall, we've been gone for nearly a month and they haven't had their usual socialization. They spoke excitedly about a Halloween party. I half listened, half quickly changed the subject, so we could get chores underway.

"The quicker chores are done, the quicker you can get back to your friends." Not surprisingly, chores were done in record time. Three hours later they came back home holding a shopping list for me.

"Here this is for our Halloween party. It's all day Saturday October 30th," the middle mini spat out, along with a dozen other details I couldn't identify due to the speed at which he spoke.

"Oh, so are you doing the party and then heading out trick or treating?" I asked, curious about how they planned this. I made a mental note to text the neighbors and make sure this was actually happening or if it was one of their many things they'd planned just for fun. 

"No, we're not going trick or treating," the youngest mini said. The words caught me off guard. I knew the 13 year old didn't want to go, while the 11 year old was on the fence, leaning towards no if it meant he went to a haunted house instead. The youngest, at only 9, I thought would be with me for the night. I knew it was only a matter of time before I had zero trick or treaters to get ready on Beggars Night, but I certainly didn't think it would be this year.

Last year we didn't do the typical trick or treating. We skipped Beggars Night and instead, dropped off Halloween surprises at family and friends houses on the 31st. The minis dressed up and we were able to see people we hadn't seen in months. It was special and will stick out in my mind forever. I fully expected the minis to be in full trick or treat mode this year. I can't say I was prepared to hear I had no plans for Beggars Night other than to hand out candy to other trick or treaters (and make sure my children' didn't destroy the neighbor's house with their party).

We are passed the ages of the fun trick or treating events around the city. There's no more heading to the zoo to get candy or playing games at Living History Farms. We've outgrown all of that and apparently good ole' fashioned trick or treating too. I can't say I'm sad or upset about any of it. I believe I once wrote about my children's lasts....the last year believing in Santa, the last trick or treat, the last magic of childhood slipping away. I think I thought I would be sad.

But it's not. I'm not. I'm fully relishing in this new big kid phase we find ourselves in. Sure there's a lot more mouthiness (they are my children after all), more sleeping in, and a lot more opinions to consider. It's also kind of lonely. I realized a day that was once hectic and migraine inducing, was now a day I had free (thanks to my neighbors willing to host this Halloween party we know very little about). 

"Maybe we can order take out and watch a scary movie with the dog while they're at their all day party," I suggested to my husband. A mini happened to overhear it and asked us not to watch an entire list of scary movies because they wanted to watch them to. I looked over the list and saw every good scary movie I would actually watch on there. The kids are too old to need us for everything, so we actually have free time, but our kids also don't want us to do anything that may be considered fun without them. It's at this point I'm realizing, this is how parents become boring.

Monday, October 18, 2021

From Portland To Seattle (And Everything In Between)

My favorite part of taking road trips is being able to explore every part of every state we wish to. We've been able to do some really cool things because of road trips. Naturally, we thoroughly enjoyed the drive from Portland to Seattle and everything in between. We made stops at Mount St. Helen's and Olympia before getting into Seattle to be with family for the weekend. 

I'll be honest, Mount St. Helen's was a drive. Small, two lane, curvy highways through the mountains take awhile, but it was loaded with amazing views. I'll never quite get over how amazing it was coming around a bend and seeing Mount St. Helen's in the distance, snow covered with it's top blown off. Maybe it was because I studied the volcanic event in school or maybe it was because the minis and I watched a documentary on it last school year, but it was a powerful sight. 

We weren't able to do any hikes since dogs aren't allowed on the trails due to regrowing the landscape (it's still very bare 41 years later), so we stopped at as many lookout areas as possible. The youngest and I did the beginning portion of a trail while the boys and dog stayed back on the paved portion, but this would be an interesting area to hike. There appeared to be tons of trails going around the mountains surrounding the volcano with excellent views of Mount St. Helen's. However, the park service is very finicky about staying on the trails only and not going beyond that due to the regrowth.

We stopped at a fun rest area/visitors center. The visitors center wasn't open (as many in the area currently are not due to Covid), but we were treated to stellar views and a fun playground before hopping back in the car to get to the next lookout area (for us).

A big shoutout to my car photographer, Max. He was ready to go with pictures out the windows as we drove. 

Our stop in Olympia was needed for many reasons. One, we were ready to get out and stretch our legs, which we did on a trail at Watershed Park. Two, I had a grocery order to pick up before we got to our Airbnb in Seattle. Grocery pick ups saved me during the trip. Since it was a moving, solo parent trip, getting into a grocery store, or any store for that matter, was a challenge with a dog and three minis in tow. If I had to go into a store every few days for snacks and car foods, we would have had a lot less time to explore and adventure and spent more time within a store. Boring! We lived by Walmart grocery pick ups. I just had to be sure to change the pick up location since we switched cities so much.

Back to Olympia. It seems like a gorgeous city with a great vibe! We only spent a couple of hours here, but I loved their capital area and parks. I'm told they have great farmers markets as well. The coolest part was seeing the rainforest. Olympia sits on the southern edge of the Olympic penisula, which (in case you didn't know) has Olympic National Park that is part rainforest. In the forests around Mount St. Helen's there were pine trees and typical forest plants. As soon as we got into Olympia, moss, ferns, and humidity surrounded us while we hiked. It was very cool to experience such a diverse landscape.

Picture courtesy of Elizabeth, who cut off the top of my head.

The drive from Olympia, through Tacoma, and into Seattle was around an hour and a half. It was a simple drive with traffic. We got settled into our Airbnb and had my cousin and sister over for dinner. A little back story to this trip: my sister and I were supposed to go visit our cousin who lives in Seattle in April 2020. Between work, homeschooling the minis, and my husband's work schedule, it was impossible to find a time for a long girls weekend. So, the minis and I drove out with the dog, my sister met us in Seattle, and we all got to spend time with my cousin. It truly couldn't have worked out any better than it did!

My sister and cousin brought dinner over to the Airbnb, where we chatted and played games all night long. 

I snagged the perfect Airbnb in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood. It was a fairly basic, ground floor apartment, but we LOVED the neighborhood. Plenty of street parking, easy access to nearby parks, and wide sidewalks to take the dog on long walks. Plus, the neighbors embraced Halloween, so we had a lot of decorated houses to view while we walked around.