Endless Summer.

Oh summer, please don’t leave us!  While the rest of the world is gearing up for pumpkin spice and changing leaves, we are holding on tight to the bits of summer still remaining up here.  Somehow with two different school schedules, summer camps, travel, etc. – we only had ONE week of the entire summer where both kids were off school with no commitments.  So I decided that I would throw all my commitments out the window too, and we would have the BEST WEEK EVER.

It’s nice that the kids are older and can do fun things like camps and all, but it also means less spontaneity and last minute beach days.  We had a lot of things on our summer bucket list we still needed to cross off.  And luckily we got the perfect week of summer weather, so we made the most of it!

First up, Jetty Island!

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It’s about a 45-50 minute drive north from Seattle, and you catch a small boat to this gorgeous strip of sand out in the middle of the Puget Sound.  You can only get there by taking the small ferry, and the only amenities there are a few picnic tables, one floating restroom, and big gorgeous stretches of sand and sea.

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My friend Nicki and I have talked about doing this for THREE YEARS now, and we still hadn’t been there.  We always felt like the kids were either too young to handle the drive, we wouldn’t have enough time with naps, or it would be too hard to juggle all we needed (toys, wagons, diaper bags, etc.) onto an island by boat.  This year, we breezed up north like it was nothing, the kids walked onto the island carrying whatever few shovels and buckets they wanted, and Nicki and I each had a small bag with a few essentials and lunches.  We had finally MADE IT, and it was so easy and so fun.

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The island was beautiful with tons of beach grass, driftwood, shells for collecting, and plenty of space to spread out and feel like we had the place to ourselves.

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And because the water surrounding the water was so shallow, it was warm and swimmable even though it was the typically frigid Puget Sound.  My only regret was not wearing a bathing suit myself!

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We were gone most of the day, and cruised home before afternoon traffic picked up, just in time for some down time and playing in the backyard.

I didn’t have a plan for Tuesday, so I left it open-ended and let the kids choose whatever sounded fun to them.  Cullen said the only thing he wanted to do was ferry to Bainbridge island.  I didn’t really want to deal with that or spend a ton of money, so I hesitated.  This was around 8:40am, and after a few minutes of consideration I looked up the ferry schedule.  The next ferry was at 9:35am, and I rallied to find my inner-fun mom and told the kids to run and get dressed.  I tossed a few snacks in the bag, took a 30 second shower, and we were out the door with time to spare.  We parked in Pioneer Square and walked onto the ferry for a grand total of $8 – score! 

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I feel like in the hustle and bustle of every day life, the kids are so used to hearing “wait a few minutes” or “not today, kiddo” and it felt so good to be a fun mom that finally said, “okay let’s go.”

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It was another one of those moments where I remembered myself a few years ago, overwhelmed with tiny unpredictable babies and toddlers – wrestling strollers and praying for no tantrums or pooped pants.  And here just a few years later, it was so easy to just walk onto the ferry and go have a big adventure with no stress.  To my mamas in the trenches, just hang on.  Your time is coming too, and while it’s bittersweet to watch your kids get so big, it’s also so liberating.

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We used our Chinook Book coupon to get discount admissions to the Bainbridge Children’s Museum, which the kids absolutely love.

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It was pretty empty, and the kids played for several hours before it was time to ferry back home and make some lunch!

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We took the (free!) ferry home and then headed to our neighbor’s house for a bit after lunch. She got this awesome new swing in her backyard and it is a HIT.  Oh would I would give for a big tree that could handle a giant swing!

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To round out the day, it was time for long overdue haircuts.  I figured I shouldn’t send Cullen off to Kindergarten with this ridiculous mop, and he was so overheated and sweaty from it anyway – time for a chop!

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Looking way too clean cut, but I know it needed to happen.  Love him so much.

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Wednesday brought the week’s other big adventure – a day-trip to Camano Island with all the playgroup buddies!

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We are so lucky that some of our friends have an amazing beach house, and it’s such a treat any time we get to join them. I have been up there a few times before, but we had never had a day where we took all the kids up together.  The drive took about 90 minutes, and it was more than worth it once we got there!

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We all took a long beach walk, collected shells, found giant crabs and jelly fish, and enjoyed one big last summer hurrah together.  These three have been friends since birth, and they are a second family to each other.  They all start Kindergarten this month, which feels so unbelievable.  So grateful for such great people in my kids’ lives.

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We let the big kids take the kayaks out by themselves (tied to a rope which we were holding), and they felt reaaaaally proud and excited to do it independently.

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We didn’t get home til 5pm that night – an all day adventure, and so much fun!  The perfect last weekly outing all together.  I hope these kids know how lucky they are.

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The kids (okay, and mom) were TIRED on Thursday, and it was weirdly gloomy and rainy.  We went to the Bellevue children’s museum and I let the kids watch a movie in the afternoon while we all caught up on some rest. 

Friday we were back at it!  It was hot and sunny, and the kids and I headed out early to get in some late season blueberry picking. 

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We go berry picking every year, and it’s funny that we still haven’t progressed past the phase where the kids just stuff all their berries into their mouths instead of the buckets. 

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We ended up with four pounds (picked by yours truly), and very full tummies.

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It was super hot outside, so we finished up just in time for one last afternoon at the pool!  We joined our friends at their pool in Bellevue, and the kids had the shallow pool all to themselves.  Even better, I didn’t have to get in – the best kind of pool day!

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Ended the week with tired, happy kids – I’d say BEST WEEK EVER was a big success!

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For some reason Seattle kids seem to start Kindergarten later than anyone else in the country, so with still another week off school, our family retreated to Lake Chelan for a few days this week for a few more sunny days.  Going to go unplug and relax by the lake!

Wishing you a happy start to September!