Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey Trot 2012

 Seattle Turkey Trot 2012
This is our third Thanksgiving participating in this 5 K race to benefit the Ballard Food Bank.  The first year we volunteered, and got to give the folks registering hand stamps in the snow.  Last year we ran.  Maeve ran/walked. Silas was in the stroller a bit but mostly carried by Mike.  We finished 2011 in about an hour.

This year Maeve and I ran/walked it in 49 minutes.  I expect she ran or skipped all but about 3/4 of a mile. Silas and Mike were the sweep - Silas was the very last participant to cross the finish line at about 1:32.  Mike carried him less than 1/2 mile, so he walked most of it.  Pretty good for a 3 year old!

Photo 1 is before the race.  Silas wanted to run as a lion- his Halloween costume from last year.

Photo 2 is from when Maeve and I walked back to finish the in-park part of the race with Silas.  We're approaching the finish line, so Mike had a great view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, which were actually visable.

It's a great course for kids - all downhill and ends at Golden Gardens Park.

Photo 3 is us drinking up the after-race refreshments, mango flavored coconut water, on our way to the cool playground at Golden Gardens.
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Friday, October 12, 2012

Silas on the Tagalong

October 12, 2012

Silas is now big enough to ride on the Tagalong.  He's been practicing riding around the block and Wallingford for the past week.  He has to stretch a wee bit on the downstroke and I was a bit nervous about him riding on the big roads to school, but he did it yesterday the first time and he's fine.  Mike is avoiding the big downhill on 45th down to the freeway in front of Dick's Drivein for the moment.  Silas is so happy to be on the Taglong just like a big boy.

He's also now a maniac on his balance bike and we've taken off the training wheels on his regular bike, but he's not able to 2-wheel independently yet.

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mountain Loop Highway Camping

September 14-16, 2012
We went camping at the foot of Mt Pilchuck (Verlot campground - wouldn't camp there again) to get an early morning start up Mt. Pilchuck.  It was awesome!  Lovely September weather, in the 70's and sunny.  We started off a little cranky, and Silas walked the first hour up, but once he was in the pack we seemed to settle down and the kids were happier.  It's a 5.5 mile hike and over 2200 ft elevation gain, so was a big up for Maeve who was tired by the scree fields at the end.  We did a walk 11 minutes, rest 2 minutes rhythm for about the last 40 minutes.  The views were amazing, and we kept hoping the haze would burn off, but it turns out it was from the fires in Eastern Washinton.  The views were still great, although we couldn't see Seattle or Mt. Ranier.  The last few feet to the top was a scramble over boulders, Maeve's first, and she did great.  It's not very exposed, which helped.  There were a ton of people on the trail, and as the photo of Maeve coming down the ladder from the lookout shows, there was a bit of a wait to go up or come down.  Silas really wanted to do the scramble, and got to "scramble" all but about 45 minutes of the way down. Just a lovely hike.

The last two photos are of a walk a little farther out the mountain loop highway to the Big Four ice caves.   After deciding the day before that Silas was too big for the backpack, we did a 2.25 mile, 200 ft gain hike to see the ice caves.  Big 4 mountain was neat, not sure why it's 4 instead of 5, but there's probably some history there.  The trail was super-well maintained with lots of boardwalks and bridges, which the kids liked, and the caves were cool, really really cool, so much so that Silas and I went back up to the trail for a while to eat a snack and warm up.  You can't actually go in the caves because they're dangerous, but we walked all around the outside. The air temperature changed a lot depending on whether or not you were getting the air coming out the caves.

Camping was much better - no problems with the 4 of us in one tent, everybody slept, and the kids are now big enough to safely explore the camp ground, like the woods around our site or walking to the bathrooms on their own.  Yay!

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Denny Creek Waterslide Hike

Posted by PicasaSeptember 9, 2012
We did a short hike up to the Denny Creek Waterslide.  We decided it was time to start doing some shorter hikes without Silas in the pack. It was a lovely walk up, with very little water at the waterslide.  The day was too cool to get in the water, anyway, but we were able to walk upstream a few yards to the waterfall and eat a snack there.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Desert Hiking

 Desert Hiking
July 1, 2012

We went for our first desert hike.  We were in scrubby valleys (Robinson Canyon/Ainsley Canon) in L.T. Murray Wildlife area, less than 10 miles off I-90 at exit 101.  It's just a 2 hour drive from Seattle.  July 1 our summer hadn't hit yet and we went through rain and 50 degree weather on the way out.  Past Snoqualmie Pass, the sky started clearing up, and ended up being a lovely day to the east of the Cascades, dry and about 10 degrees warmer than in Seattle.  We walked up a couple valleys filled with grasses and scrub.  I didn't get a good picture of it, but one side of each valley was wooded and the other was just grass or bare.  These are valleys that elk and deer overwinter in and we saw parts of 2 elk skeletons as well as several spent shot-gun shells.  However, we had the trail to ourselves - we saw one mountain biker on the trail and there was a couple camped at the trailhead with two horses who were riding, but we only saw them at the trailhead and got to pet the horses.  Lovely.  Now that the kids can stay happy over 90 minutes in the car, we'll start doing a lot more of these in Spring and Fall.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Maeve's 6th Birthday

Maeve turned 6 today.  We opened presents at home and then had a party at Meridian Park, across the street from our house.  Maeve asked for blueberry cake with cream cheese icing decorated with yellow stars, and we made a star pinata for entertainment.  It turned out to be a lovely day and we had over 36 kids kids there - Maeve's friends plus siblings.  I know because although 25 kids RSVPed, we had 36 Popsicles and at least 3 kids didn't get any because we ran out.
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Olympic Sculpture Park

April 15, 2012 We went to Olympic sculpture park in downtown Seattle.  When they made the park they made a cute little salmon-friendly pocket beach.  We wanted to see the beach at low tide, but the water wasn't quite low enough so we mostly could only see rockweed and barnicles.  But the walk down and up to the beach was lovely.  Mom got to see the Space needle from closer up and check out the sculptures and little bit of the Seattle waterfront.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Skagit Valley Tulips

 April 14, 2012

My mom is visiting and we decided to take the trip up to the Skagit valley to see the tulips.  The bloom map said fields of tulips were blooming, but after driving around a while and seeing tons of lovely yellow fields of daffodils and none of tulips, we decided to head to Tulip Town to see their gardens.  The tulips there were in bloom (but not the big fields) and we had a wonderful time.  We took a tractor ride and walked around in the fields taking tons of pictures.

Silas, Maeve, and Grandmom Shirley

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Sunday, March 04, 2012

Poo Poo Point

March 4, 2012

We did our first hike of the season today, given warmish weather with sun breaks. At upper 40's in Seattle, we figured it was too warm for a nice day of snow play, so decided to go for a low elevation hike. We walked up to Poo poo point, on Tiger Mountain, one of the Issaquah Alps (i.e. Cascades foothills). It's a popular spot for paragliding, and we've hiked it several times. This kids and I had only hiked up to the lower launch site, but this time we decided to go all the way to the top! Silas hiked up for close to an hour before deciding to ride in the pack - a great first hike for him. Maeve walked the whole way, and as this is a 3+ mi hike with good elevation gain, it was a good first hike of the season for her. She had Ralph, the class stuffed animal, with her this weekend, and after Mike carried up both Silas and Ralph, Maeve posed for pictures with Ralph at the top.

Silas also did a bit of walking on the first and last parts down - where the trail was muddy and fun. He likes having branches to sweep the trail.

There was one paraglider who had landed and was folding up his wing at the bottom. Often we see up to a dozen folks humping their wings up the trail (most take a shuttle up). Today we only saw a couple and were told it was too windy for good ride. We didn't see any gliding down.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cross-Country Skiing

Week of Feb 20-24, 2012

This week was winter break in Seattle Schools, so we headed to Mazama in the Methow valley of the Cascades for cross-country skiing. Mike and I hadn't been skiing since before Maeve was born, and most of our winter outings have been snow play with a little snowshoeing. But we decided it was time to get the kids on skis.

The Methow valley has an enormous trail system, and we skied several days in different areas around Mazama and a couple days up at Sun Mountain.

It was unbelievably beautiful. It was sunny most days, a little warm so there was some melting, but basically conditions were great.

Both Maeve and Silas learned to ski. Maeve for real  she took a lesson and by the end of day one was gliding, could snowplow and herringbone ("mugwump"). Later in the week we practiced a little sidestepping. She's not a big fan of "pizza," i.e. snowplow, and continued to prefer to fling herself down to a stop if she got going too fast. The technical names for ski positions are thanks to her great instructor. Maeve took a class the first day, and along with having played on the skis on our den floor, this gave her a lot more confidence and skiing skills.

We rented a house outside Mazama center that had a 1k track nearby, which we skiied on in the afternoons after nap. Every morning we went to a different area with green (easy) trails, of which there are many, especially in the valley floor. It's perfect for kids who are learning, and once they're older we'll be able to do much longer runs  but there are tons of less than 3k green runs that can end up at a warming shelter, with potty breaks, and snacks thanks to the parent's backpacks, which really helps keep the little ones going.

Silas did some shuffling along on his skis, too, but generally preferred to be in the backpack.

We also did some snow play and resting, sometimes trailside and sometimes off trail. There were horses and chickens at the house next to the apartment we rented, and the kids visited them daily.

The last photo was of a green run up at Sun Mountain our last day, when Maeve was getting quite good in the tracks.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Play on snow and no snow

Last weekend we went sledding at Snoqualmie Pass, and stayed long enough to catch a ranger-guided snowshoe hike.  Maeve did very well, finishing the whole hike.  The picture is at about the 3/4 mark.

To help Maeve and Silas get into the fun of skiing, we let them wear their brand-new cross-country skis around the living room.  This will not be a regular occurrence, and of course we don't let them wear shoes inside the house!  Now they are eager to hit the trails.