Hakuna Matata Hiking

Hiking in the springtime is as good of reason as any to walk with stick in hand. Or run with stick and sing Hakuna Matata. Means no worries! Over and over at the top of your lungs.

For Langley it’s extra nice having a rest stop along the way. He’s a bit like a donkey in that regard: stubborn! Lake is more than happy to oblige and join in having a sit in the dirt. Hakuna Matata.

Lake likes to say, I’m a funny guy! It’s true too. He said I liked our visit to Jamma Julie. We had a great visit. Also with Grandpa Ken and Gramma Annie. We even brought Langley with us.

Langley had a grand time lounging outside on the hillside estate a overlooking Hood Canal. He thought he’d fully immerse himself in the resort lifestyle and go for a quick dip in the pool. Okay, so maybe he accidentally fell in and it wasn’t totally intentional. Michael guided him to the stairs out as he swam his own rescue. We weren’t quite sure what he thought of that. Hakuna Matata!

April Showers April Flowers

April Showers Bring… April Flowers!

As the cherry blossom viewing peaked and gave way to shoots of new green leaves, the rains came through washing the petals away in rivulets of pale pink. Then, suddenly there were seas of flowers and bowers of blossoms everywhere and exploding flowering trees and shrubs over every street corner. Especially dramatic is the display in the Skagit Valley. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, where swaths of joyful tulip heads dance their colorful dance in the between, yet further, rain showers.

April showers bring more April flowers. One happy mama. And one happy little boy! Mud! Tractors! A perfect day, really… rain, sun, tulips and springtime! A must see. A must do.

PC Luisa Jehle (tulips, Lake in tulips) and “Thank you!” to Luisa for taking Lake to play in the muddy tulip fields.

Cirque du Soleil-Crystal

Lake loved the Cirque du Soleil show that Nana treated us to last weekend. He was at rapt attention during the entire circus show on ice! Now, he likes to act out the scenes with Crystal, “the goirl”, the “ski boys” and the clown with the tractor that crashed! He will “skate” around the house with his arms lung out wide and victorious and then make a huge wide open clown mouth at the end. He’s ready to go back to another Cirque du Soleil, please! What a thrilling show for all! Thank you to Nana especially for hosting us along with a delicious Irish dinner afterwards. A perfect day, I’m glad to spend it with you all!

Au Pair Sunshine

Parenting a toddler is an emotional roller coaster. So frustrated and annoyed one moment, so in love one moment later. On rough mornings where Lake is all endless whinging tears, turning the reigns over to Luisa, our magician au pair, is a godsend. This was a happy scene from which to leave work. Even though Lake likes to say, “I don’t want you to go to work Mama,” he seems to have a better time of it when I do. When Luisa emerged from her bedroom and arrived on the scene, it was like a ray of sunshine came out and dried up all the tears. It takes a village as the saying fondly goes. A perfect day, I’m glad you got to spend it with Luisa!

Fauntleroy Ferry

The ferry ride from Vashon Island back to Fauntleroy West Seattle had zero line and came frequently, every 20-30 minutes or so. And of course, free for the Eastbound passage. What’s not to love? We even had the boat nearly all to ourselves. Lake was joyous to run unbridled while we kept a loose watch on him. Either April is a great time to travel or Vashon Island remains a hidden gem for weekend getaway from Seattle. We’ll have to visit again and conduct more field research!

Pure Organic Kitchen and Juicery of Vashon Island

Michael and I have a tradition we’re inducting Lake into. When we travel we like to seek out the vegan and/or gluten-free restaurant(s) and patronize them. Lake likes this tradition since it usually merits a dessert he can eat.

On Vashon Island we found the Pure Organic Kitchen and Juicery. A tiny establishment with an “excellent” food handling rating, a rare distinction among vegan restaurants. One must exit the café and enter through the back door to access their one (very clean) bathroom; that’s how small it is. It was modern and delicious and we gobbled up their tasty treats- “one of each please!” I especially liked their kale pizza for its inventiveness and attractive presentation. Also refreshing and delicious!

Our quick and easy home-cooked hack of the vegan GF pizza, not nearly as fresh and raw, is Trader Joe’s cauliflower/polenta pizza crust (frozen) topped with a can of TJ’s Grecian Style Eggplant and some broccolini florets as the topping. Both ways are enjoyable. All the family is enrolled in the adventure of gentle planet living and fresh garden eating. Yum!

Island Center Forest

We explored some of the 10 miles of trails of Island Center Forest during our Vashon Island Weekend. It was refreshing to see all the green of springtime unfurling. Lake is carrying on Michael’s tradition of having a stick in hand while walking or hiking. We encountered only one other trail user during our day hike: a woman bicycling her dog. Vashon is a well-kept secret.

Water Taxi to Vashon Island

One of the best kept secrets of Seattle, along with other local points of interest , are the completely accessible and affordable means of getting out on the water and exploring the scenic waterways. A view of the Seattle Waterfront from the water is a breathtaking change of scenery and perspective.

The Washington State Ferries (cars and dogs also allowed) and the King County Water Taxis (passengers only, no dogs) offer these priceless opportunities for less than $10 pp (eg to Vashon Island it’s $5.75 one-way, bicycles and kids under 5 free, with orca lift only $4.50). Lake was just A few months old when we’d last taken the water taxi to Alki and had wondered about taking it to its other destination Vashon Island. Walk-on as a passenger from the Seattle Downtown Waterfront (even bring your bicycle) and with the tap of an Orca card, 22 minutes later you can find yourself on Vashon Island.

From the ferry landing dock on the north end of the 12 mile long island, an Orca card transfer will buy you a free seat on the waiting Metro and take you up the hill and down the island to your chosen destination. We stayed at “The Charming North End Loft” compliments of Airbnb for initially earning Super Host. It’s lovely! Complete with a suitably charming little free standing gas fireplace to cozy up near while listening to the rain pound down on the skylights overhead. Michael came to join us by car ferry on Saturday morning (yea!) as he worked late Friday night and the Vashon Island Water Taxi offers service week-days only.

Which was your favorite part Lake? The water crossing by boat? The seven platinum blond Golden Retrievers puppies, only 8 weeks old, who greeted us? The (much anticipated) My Neighbor Totoro Miyazaki’s film we watched after making and eating dinner? Without skipping a beat, My Neighbor Totoro was the clear winner. Lake is becoming a Studio Ghibli connoisseur. More on that later. Thanks for tuning in to another “perfect day” I’m glad I spent it with you!

Chairytale Evening

This evening we played again under the enchanted cherry blossoms while folks with all sorts of accents came to pet and play with Langley. “Auntie” Lindsay Arnold took the gorgeous family photo. The scene was like out of a fairytale. Indeed, afterwards I sent Lake to sleep with a story.

A lion arrived in the Quad and began asking for Lake, the fairest prince he’d been hearing about all over the land. He bowed at once deeply to Lake and said he was enchanted to meet him finally. His zebra and giraffe musician friends struck up an accompaniment while they promenaded around the Quad. They passed slowly under all 30 of the the 90 year-old cherry trees in full bloom while blossoms drifted down gently like snow all around them. Lake caught one on his tongue and the Lion laughed deeply. As the procession came to a close the crowd of visitors let up a big cheer. That spurred the musicians to pick back up their instruments and merriment commenced. Lake and the Lion began to dance and laugh. Soon all the animal friends and guests were dancing too. It was an enchanted ballroom under the night sky. They danced and ate and drank all night long until the first rays of sunlight began to creep into the sky. One by one the people and couples drifted away and the animals began to bed down each under his own cherry tree. Mama then picked up Lake and carried him home to bed just as the sun was rising. As soon as Lake’s head touched the pillow his eyes fell asleep and he slept soundly with a smile on his lips… dreaming of an enchanted cherry blossom ball that comes but once a year.

Enchanted Newfoundland Kingdom

It was surreal. So many blossoms. So many people. Such a warm sunny day light a light warm breeze. Occasionally the blossoms would be kissed by the wind and would drift down in a lazy snow flurry.

We spent four hours on Sunday afternoon at the University of Washington Quad touring the de facto Cherry Blossom Festival. Lake and Langley and I. Plus a zillion others. It was a festive zoo. With surmountable difficulties we were able to meet up with some other Newfoundlands from the Newfoundland Club of Seattle. Lake was excited to look for James Bond (225# Newfie and 3 years old) in the crowd. As it turned out Langley was pretty happy to find him too. Sightseers effectively forgot about the cherry blossoms when we walked by. Langley is a showstopper. Everyone’s enamored with Langley. He is the strikingly handsomest Newfoundland we’ve ever seen. While James Bond may be the prince, Langley holds his own as the regal king. We held court in the shade of the blossom-filled sky and enjoyed to no end the enchanting floral canopy above.

Simply look up and one finds great peace, in spite of the crowds of loyal subjects. Truly enchanting. Our Enchanted Forest!