United States of Motherhood: What To Do in Seattle on Spring Break For Less Than $40 in One Day: A Word-y Photo Essay

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What To Do in Seattle on Spring Break For Less Than $40 in One Day: A Word-y Photo Essay

Yes, my friends, the photo essay below is what one does in Seattle with three kids when you never get around to planning your husband's vacation hours and your checkbook into that cool Hawaiian vacation you talked about in December.

Ah, well, with our luck, I would have booked it on ATA or Aloha Air and then we would have been screwed.

Besides, our swim team took spring break last week, so we would have missed two weeks straight of swimming. We did that last year when we went to Florida at this time and you would think my kids had forgotten how to swim.

Can I tell you: It's such a bummer to literally spend 18-20 hrs a week in commuting and practice and other 15-20 hours every other week at meets, for them to regress into doggy paddles. Seriously! Ack!

So due to these reasons and a million more, I've planned a bunch of day trips and activities to keep our kids busy while staying local. Fortunately, they don't have any homework this break, so we are free and clear to get out and about.

Unfortunately for CG, there was a break down in marital communications in regards to our plans, so he did not ask for time off and is working in our quiet, empty house, while we are out having fun on our day trips followed by swim practice.

At least he will finally get his Mini back today with it's stripes. Now, just a month after the accident, he needs to get an alignment, fix the hood position (too much road noise), and get the engine checked out. We are already at $3000 plus for that accident on the bridge. Thank God for insurance and $500 deductibles.

The worst, though, is we really haven't used the rental option, so we have been with one car all these weeks. Not too bad because CG works from home, BUT that means if we go out, he's stranded. And it means when he goes to his MBA classes, we are in for the night.

Also, unfortunate was that Eldest, unbeknownst to him, had also tied us down by needing to take care of a friend's dog. We didn't find out until said family was flying out that they thought he had committed.


It seems if you don't go somewhere during break, it's a given you'll be taking care of someone's home, mail, dog, whatever. I don't usually mind, but this was a complete surprise to me and somewhat changed our vacation plans. Sigh.

Errr... I did say photo essay, yes? So a long-winded intro later(people don't call me Windy douchehole for nothing), let's get back to the photo essay.

After going all Martha Stewart yesterday and making three types of scones, and forgetting to put the all important ingredient, butter, in one batch, we had a some yummy, flaky goodness with milk and OJ.

We left some for CG and took the rest over to a friend's so she could enjoy the benefit of all that butter and sugar and carb yumminess.

Hey! They were cranberry and cherry-apricot. Fruit! See! Practically good for you! I bet you were thinking I was turning into one of those food pushers I bitched about last year, eh?!

After dropping off PB's sleepover friend home and picking up Eldest from his sleepover, we went off to Seattle.

The weather was so-so. SO, we went to our favorite museum (we're members so it was FREE!). Parking was great. $6 later, we spent a fun two hours exploring water explorations:

And snakes:

And hands on tide pool exhibits:

Much to my six year olds' delight, we learned that the hole in the middle of the anemone is not just it's mouth, but it's "butt." He fell instantly in love with Science center intern for enlightening him to this very fact and saying butt:

And blowing massive bubbles:

And sculpture:

And butterfly exhibits:

And seeing how much one's children weigh on Jupiter, Saturn, and yes, even poor Pluto:

And visual displays and some actual science:

Then, we went to the bastion of Seattle tourism, Ivars. Yum! Fresh sourdough bread bowls filled with salmon or clam chowder, fish and chips, and seagulls.

Bonus: I had a coupon in my Entertainment book. Ha! After paying $31 bucks instead of $36 (score $5 saved), you can't leave without feeding the seagulls. Cheap entertainment people!

I usually hate seagulls and pigeons, but these birds, my friend, have honed their tourist trade for years. They'll gulp french fries from your hand.

They will circle two feet above your head waiting for you to pitch them a piece of sourdough. And yes, they'll do serious dives and acrobatics to get the bread before it hits the water thirty feet below when your pitch is bad--where even more birds await a easy treat.

They prefer the french fries, the picky bastards, but Eldest ate 'em all, so they suffered on bread:

Some couple even offered up their bread bowl to the kids! Unfortunately, those fowls were super fast so I only got wind-ups.

We didn't suffer though from the awesome views of the ferries leaving and boats going out to tour the Puget Sound:

Even the flowers on the piers were beautiferous:

We window shopped for a while waiting to use up every minute of our $2 parking meter. Then, we were off again. We tried to make a trip to the awesomest library on the west coast, but no parking was to be found. It's okay, we'd been there before.

Instead, we headed back to the eastside. I made the traditional wrong turn onto Highway 5, so as usual, we got a wonderful tour going north before we turned around to go south.

Look, I even got a self-portrait out of it as I blazed 70 mph in my loop. If you look really closely, you'll see the Space Needle on the right:

After our "tour" of highway 5, we went to a beautiful park in downtown Bellevue and soaked up the rare Northwest sun:

And took flying leaps off of swings. Ah! To be an eleven year old daredevil again:

And saw water fountains:

And tulip trees abloom:

Then, if was back to Mercer Island for practice. While the older kids languished in a pool in a bubble practiced hard, Li'l Man and I took a stroll down to the club's private beach. Ah, Lake Washington:

We watched birds. The regular ducks, Canadian geese, and assorted waterfowl were all present. You know--the usuals. We were however lucky to see the bald eagles up in their nest like last spring. Although I am unlucky in that I got no pics fore I don't have a zoom lens--yet--but that would make a fab Mother's Day gift in anyone needed ideas.

Then Li'l Man scrambled on some rocks:

And wrote in the sand:

And admired the clouds as only a Northwesterner can:

And I was given that gift that always melts a mother's heart, the wildflower bouquet given with soft, still slightly pudgy fingers:

Then, it was back to home base to eat dinner with CG. He was only a little lonely. The meatloaf muffins and leftover whipped potatoes from the night before had kept him company for lunch. He had had a rough day at work.

Now, he had us and two lovely fresh steel head fillet basted in a miso, soy sauce, and sweet teriyaki sauce. Add some coconut rice and steamed broccoli, and all was forgiven.

Who knew that staying and eating local could create so many memories? All on $39 and 1/4 tank of gas? Pretty thrifty, eh? Seattle for a family of four (Sorry again CG!) for less than $40!

Today, we've puttered at home. We've picked up the Mini.

We've finally installed Eldest's flat screen monitor he got at CHRISTMAS.

The two younger ones are neatening the playroom.

We've fed the friend's dog after a minor crisis when the garage door opener didn't work.

We have swim practice, as always, this afternoon.

All's quiet on the home front. Gearing up for tomorrow.

Who knows what adventures we might find in our own backyard for less than $40.


Dana said...

The Science Center was always one of my favorite places growing up - do they still have that bell curve exhibit where the steel balls frop down??

I may have to stop reading your blog - it's making me terribly homesick :(

Kandace said...

Tourist in your own city, what a great idea!

Please, that photo of you in the mirror with the Needle is quite an awesome capture!

Whit said...

Man, I miss it there. I used to walk my dogs over to that park in Bellevue. They have a great 4th of July there.

Queen of Shake-Shake said...

Tell your six year old that the sand in the ocean comes from a Parrot Fish's butt and see what he thinks of that butt story. It's true. They eat coral and what they poop out becomes sand. Of course, not all the sand is made that way, but some.

Ann(ie) said...

I love me the Science Center. AND Ivar's. What great pics and what a fun day!!!!

Erik said...

Sigh, I need to move back - maybe you can fedex me some Ivar's chowder to tide me over :)

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