Last week was the boys’ spring break, and even though we were going on vacation the following week, I still wanted it to feel like a fun week of (free/cheap) local activities.
On Sunday (while Casey worked at the market), we rode scooters all the way down to Discovery Park and hunted for pine cones. Then we took them home and on Monday, we rolled them in peanut butter and bird seed, and hung them in the tree to make bird feeders.
On Tuesday, we went miniature golfing. We pass this little mini golf course on our drive every single day, and Cullen always asks if we can go. We are typically en route to Whole Foods when we drive that way, so I always say no. But this time, the sun was shining, it was only 10am, and we had no other plans – and so we golfed and it was awesome. And they were actually pretty good at it!
And on Wednesday, we went to the tulips. I don’t know if you know about the tulips out here, but they are an EVENT! The tulip fields are a little over an hour outside of Seattle, and they bloom for about three weeks every spring. They draw thousands and thousands of visitors from around the world, who to come see the incredible rainbow fields and surrounding scenery.
In our five springs here, we have never gone – and this year I was determined to change that.
Things I had heard about visiting the tulip fields before we went: It would be muddy, be prepared for a big mess. It would be crowded, expect horrible traffic and big crowds. It would be worth it, it will take your breath away. And oh it did.
My plan of attack was to leave early and go on a weekday. I had hoped to make it a family adventure, but Casey was swamped trying to get business stuff in order to be able to go out of town. And so I borrowed his pick up truck and headed out into the country with the boys in search of rainbows of tulips.
Part of my grand plan was to avoid the main highway exit directing people toward the tulip fields, and to go a slightly longer back way. As we rolled along toward Roozengard – the main tulip field that was still in bloom this year – I glanced to my left out the window and saw big bands of bright color in the distance. Tulips!
It was Tulip Town, another spot I’d looked into, but the website warned that because of the unseasonably warm start to spring, the tulips were all being “topped.” And indeed when we got there, we found crews in the field cutting all the beautiful tops off the stems of some of the rows, as they need to be kept healthy for the following season.
Rather than push on toward the bigger more popular field, something told me to turn off and go check this one out. I don’t know if it was because we came into town from the opposite direction, or because their website had claimed to be all but done for the season, or maybe because it was a weekday – but there was no one there.
For all the warnings of enormous crowds and hours of gridlocked traffic, we swooped in and ran through the muddy fields with only a few other people. It was kind of amazing.
And the mud – ohhhhh the mud. I learned quickly that as a mom of boys, dirt happens. And the quicker you accept that and let it happen, the happier everyone will be. My two rules were no splashing near other people, and no splashing with your hands – otherwise, have fun.
And so they did. In fact, I’m not sure they even noticed the tulips. They just jumped and ran and splashed and screamed with delight.
Cullen seemed particularly unconvinced that he was really allowed to get as muddy as he liked. And so he’d jump and splash mud everywhere and then sheepishly look up at me, not sure what I’d think. But I was so taken aback by the fields of color and felt so grateful to be on an adventure with my kiddos – what else could I do but smile?
The kids might have not been totally impressed by the tulips themselves, but man – I was. It was so incredible, and I’ve never seen anything like it.
I kept thinking how much I knew my mom – a florist for 20 years – would have loved it too. Next year we will plan to go back mid-season, when the fields are in peak bloom – I can only imagine!
We spent a little over an hour just slowly making our way around the giant rectangular field. I still couldn’t believe how lucky we were to have the place to ourselves.
I think another part of our luck was that it was drizzling rain when we left Seattle. “You know it’s raining, right? asked Casey as I packed up lunches and got us ready. I did, but between radar mapping and blind faith, I was convinced that once we got outside the bowl of the city it would stop. And it did, and it was beautiful.
With just enough leftover rain to make for some epic entertainment.
We made our way all around the fields and then said goodbye til next year to the pretty tulips. We will definitely be making it an annual tradition!
And then the boys enjoyed sticky PB&J’s on the tailgate of the pickup truck – which, when you are 2 and 4 is pretty much the best thing ever. We hung out and took our time, and I thought about how lucky I felt to be spending a Wednesday morning out in the beautiful countryside with two kids that I adore.
Being home with them every day for years and years – it’s easy to lose sight of the gift that it really is to spend time with little ones. I get easily bogged down in house work, and never ending toy explosions, and arguments over who gets which milk cup every morning. And day in and day out that stuff can really wear you down.
But I’ve been working hard at seeing the bigger picture, and not getting so wrapped up in the day to day stuff. I’m trying to be less controlling, more spontaneous, and more appreciative of the little bit of time I have left before these boys roll out the door to Kindergarten and stop telling me all their secrets. And for me, that means steering the car into mini golf instead of the grocery store. And letting them get as muddy as they want to.
Happy (Marathon!) Monday, my friends! Have a wonderful week!