Tuesday, April 30, 2013


We remember the firsts. The first smile. The first tooth. The first word and step and day of school. We remember those days and write them in baby books and on calendars. We take pictures to capture those moments to treasure forever. We ask other parents about their child's firsts and compare stories. Firsts are important.

But what about lasts. I don't remember the last time Adam sat on my lap. Or the last time Josh asked me to snuggle with him before bed. I don't remember the last time I washed their hair or put on their socks. I don't even remember the last book I read to them. Or the last time we sang silly songs before bed. Those things just kind of stop happening. And at the time, it's a relief. Finally they can dress/feed/bathe themselves! But I wish I would have known. If I would have known that the last time Adam sat on my lap was going to be the last time, I wouldn't have been in such a hurry to do whatever it was that made me get up. If I would have known the last time I snuggled with Josh at bedtime was going to be the last time, I would have lingered just a little bit longer. I would have smelled their hair and hugged a little tighter and closed my eyes and stamped the memory into my mind. But I didn't know.

I have a few more chances with Julianna. I have had enough firsts and lasts by now to know that they happen all too quickly. She's almost five. She still sits on my lap. But sometimes I find myself thinking, "Really, girl? You are getting so big and it would be way more comfortable if you would just sit beside me." Then I remind myself that this might be the last time. And it's suddenly a lot more comfortable. She still wants bedtime rituals. And as tired as I am most nights, I still stay and pray and read or sing or snuggle or tell stories.

When will the last time come? Will I remember it? I still have a few lasts with the boys, too, and am watching for them. But not looking as forward to them as I did before. The last time Adam holds my hand as we walk through a parking lot? I don't want that one to come like it already has with Josh. The last time Josh asks me to make him hot chocolate? I'd be fine making him hot chocolate as long as I can lift the cup. The last time Julianna wants to follow me everywhere I go? I'm okay with even that lasting a while longer. Because I know that there will be a last time.

It's true that I look forward to the day when I can be by myself for five minutes without someone needing me. And it's true that I went to Arby's for lunch by myself on Saturday and it felt like a mini vacation. And it's also true that to some lasts I bid "good riddance" and never looked back (diapers, bottles, strollers...). But I hope that some lasts never come. And that there are some lasts that I know are inevitable but that I want to remember forever.

But for now I will look forward to the firsts and watch for the lasts. And when one of those lasts happen, maybe I will be able to catch it and hold on to it for just a little longer.

And if you enjoyed that post, check out this one from May of 2007. My astute friend Kathy* said she thinks I need some new ideas (after giving me copies of both posts with similarities highlighted). I think my ideas are so great that I have to write them twice. Whatever. 

*She who can remember my blog posts from six years ago, but can't remember what she walked down the hall to ask me...or where she put her lemon bars. 

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Spring Break In the Big City

For months now we have been planning a trip for spring break. We had a family vote and, although not unanimous, we chose Seattle. It's around a six hour drive from home. And there are lots and lots of fun things to do for all of us. I was excited to take Julianna to the zoo and aquarium for the first time. (The thought of that sold the one Seattle holdout in the family to the idea.) And then there's Pike Place Market and the Space Needle and The Pacific Science Center.

I began planning our trip last winter. Because that's part of the fun, right? We have a friend who was able to get us a great hotel room for an even greater price. It was amazing, really. And made the trip possible on our budget.

Our trip began on Sunday. We went to the sunrise service at church and ate Patty's amazing breakfast and then headed out. We made only one stop at a scenic view pullout in the middle of Washington.

As soon as he got out of the car, Adam spotted a lizard. He spent his time chasing others and trying to catch one. I wonder if he even noticed the river and huge cliffs that we had actually stopped to look at. 

We got to the hotel early Sunday evening after a very peaceful trip across the state of Washington. The kids were so excited to swim so we all got changed and headed to the pool right away. We had the pool and hot tub all to ourselves which was nice. After a few hours swimming we decided to order Domino's pizza. It was declared by some of us as the "best pizza ever." I think it was the hunger talking. (I still feel a little guilty because I think I accidentally gave Ralph, the delivery guy, only a five cent tip. Oops.) The kids were thrilled that there was a pool and swam for hours every day we were there. It was great fun watching them play together. We made a stop at Target for some pool toys on the second day. Julianna would throw the dive sticks and the boys would fetch them. For hours they did that...together...with no arguing. It might have been a spring break miracle.

Monday morning we got up and had breakfast at the hotel. We all loved the waffle maker! And since it was supposed to be the best weather day of the week, we headed to Woodland Park Zoo. It was about a 25 minute drive through Seattle. I was glad Arrty was driving. Those big city drivers are crazy! 

Julianna was most excited to see the penguins. And guess what the first animal we came to was? Penguins!

After that we saw so many wonderful, beautiful, amazing creatures. I couldn't help but think what an amazing, imaginative creator we have to have designed all these different animals.

She is gorgeous. I could have sat and watched her all day.

I found it interesting that the wolf exhibit was right next to the elk exhibit.  


Jules loved the flamingos. I think it was because they are pink.

The pudu, the world's smallest deer.

Seattle Day 2 was downtown. First we stopped by Pike Street Market. The boys enjoyed seeing the fish and talking to the fishmongers. Pike Street is crowded and loud and colorful. It's also where we bought four of the most delicious plums I've ever tasted!

Next was Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. Tons of really weird stuff to look at. Two headed calf? Check. Mummified couple? Check. Shrunken heads? Check. Like I said...weird.

Then an Argosy Seattle Tour Cruise. It's a great way to see the piers and the city. Plus the narrator adds lots of interesting facts like the chair in the top of one of the buildings that supposedly brings luck to single women who want to get married. It's said that they will be married within a year after sitting in it. And remember the picture of the Beatles fishing out of a window? That building is on the Seattle piers. And the women's restroom voted the "Most Beautiful Restroom in the US" is housed in one of Seattle's skyscrapers.

. Then it was off to the Seattle Aquarium. One of the highlights for all of us.

Hands-on tide pool. I thought the kids would stay there all day.
The cutest jellyfish ever!
This octopus was fascinating. What amazing creatures!
He may be taller than me, but he's not taller than a sixgill shark. 

The sea otters were another favorite of us girls. Such cuteness!

This river otter posed for me. 

Seahorses are amazing! And beautiful!
The final stop in downtown was The Crab Pot for supper. The boys were so excited!

Crab, shrimp, mussels, corn, potatoes...
Day 3 started and ended with a ride to the top of the Space Needle. It takes only 41 seconds to get to the top. There are three different elevators so you can see different views on the way up or down. 

Then the Pacific Science Center.

One of my favorite places in the whole, wide world.

One of my favorite moments of the whole trip happened during our viewing of this IMAX movie. There was a scene with jellyfish and since it was 3D, it looked like they were swimming right in front of us. I loved so much when Julianna reached out to try to catch one of the jellyfish! And she wasn't the only one in the theater who tried it! 

The last stop of the day was the EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum. It's very interesting for older people, but not so much for little ones. We spent a short time there, though, and saw some interesting music memorabilia. There was a Jimmy Hendrix exhibit, a Nirvana exhibit, a guitar museum, and an exhibit about the history of the leather jacket. The kids' favorite exhibit was the history of the Art of Video Games. 

This sculpture is made from 700 instruments. Some made by the artist to play continuously . There are stations all over the museum where you can listen to this sculpture's music.
This is the beautiful outside of the museum.
The guitar museum. Some really interesting pieces can be found here, including the guitar Jimmy Hendrix played at Woodstock. 
It was a great trip. We had such a good time even though by the end of the week we were all exhausted. We did lots of walking, lots of talking, and lots of laughing. We learned a few things about the world and each other. And we made some wonderful memories. Which is what it was all about anyway.