Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring Break in Seattle

Last week was The Boy's and The Girl's spring break from school. We had been planning to visit Grandma and Grandpa Texas in Houston for our annual escape-from-Chicago-winter trip, but Uncle Chris's new baby was baptized on Easter Saturday, so we headed to the Emerald City instead, leaving The Dad at home to work.

Apparently, as anyone who reads this blog already knows, I am a brave soul to take 3 children on a 4-hour plane trip by myself. Especially because, unfortunately, The Tot woke up on the morning of our trip in a crib full of sick. The Dad and I discussed leaving The Tot at home with The Dad, but ultimately decided that he'd be happier with me. He slept most of Tuesday, both on and off the plane, but rallied on Wednesday. Unfortunately, he got sick again on Thursday, and woke up on Friday morning screaming. I took him to see the folks at Wallingford Pediatrics, around the corner from our flat, on Friday morning, and they very kindly squeezed a sick out-of-towner walk-in into their schedule. The doctor we saw, Dr. Hadley, was wonderful with The Tot, getting on the floor to do the exam and waiting until he warmed up to her to let her do the diagnostic checks she needed to perform. I was very impressed, even The Tot's regular peds are not that good. As it turns out, he had a viral bug and no ear infection, and was just crabby from feeling crummy. Unfortunately, he later passed his bug onto Grandma Texas.

Because Uncle Chris still lives in a vertical 2-bedroom apartment, and because the thought of 3 kids in a hotel room gives Mama fits, we stayed in a little apartment in nearby Wallingford. So cute! After we settled in to the apartment, we walked up to Wallingford Center for cupcakes (and a latte for me) at Trophy, and then down to the park to enjoy the rare (so they tell me) warm, sunny day. Only in Seattle would you see a mom nonchalantly nursing a 3-year-old in a public park; Chicago is not nearly that crunchy.

More after the jump.
Uncle Chris picked us up for dinner; we joined Aunt J. and Baby N. at Ivar's Seafood on the pier. It was too cold by then to eat our fish-and-chips outside, but we took The Boy, The Girl, and The Tot down to the drive-in pier to see the boats. The Boy wasn't "so sure about this." And The Girl kept disappearing among the tables on the patio, which made my heart flutter, especially as there had been an attempted child abduction at Pike Place Market only a day earlier.

Grandma Texas arrived on Tuesday night. She had rented a car, so she drove us all down to Pike Place Market on Wednesday morning. I had given each of the kids some spending money, and The Girl was especially excited at the thought of spending it at Pike Place Market. The Boy had regaled her with tales of the market from his trip last year. They both bought stuffed snakes and Seattle market t-shirts. I talked to pottery vendors about the art of throwing while admiring their work and drooled over the beautiful produce. We had lunch at 3 Sisters cafe (The Boy complained), and got mini donuts and lattes at the Daily Dozen. Then we met my old friend Valerie at Seattle Center, where there was an indoor carnival of sorts. The Boy and The Girl tired themselves out on the various bouncy castles ($15 for 2 all-access wristbands? priceless), got twisty balloon shapes, and The Girl got her face painted as well. The Tot took a naplet while Valerie and I talked. We visited Uncle Chris and Aunt J. at their apartment for dinner.

On Thursday, we took the ferry to Bainbridge Island, and drove the 11 miles down the road to Poulsbo, a seaside village with Scandinavian roots. We stopped for pastry at Sluy's Bakery, spent an hour looking at and buying used kids' books at the Book Stop, and had the best mac & cheese in town at MorMor's Bistro.

Our adventure for Friday was to Mecca: the flagship Nordstrom, where we had lunch at the loudest Nordstrom Cafe I've ever been to, and bought The Girl and The Tot shoes. Afterward, we headed out toward the airport to visit the Museum of Flight. Both The Girl and The Tot fell asleep in the car and while The Girl slept for awhile with me in the car when we arrived, The Tot woke up and wanted to go with Grandma Texas and The Boy into the museum. At the museum, we checked out the Blackbird and other amazing planes, made the hot air balloon go up, and test piloted a mini Blue Angel plane. All of the museum's docents were men in their early 60s, wearing khaki pants, blue buttondown shirts and navy blue blazers; an entire docent staff of retired enginerds. For the record, I am very thankful for those enginerds, but it made me chuckle nonetheless.

At the end of the day, Grandpa Texas arrived from his 6-hour flight from Connecticut, and we went to dinner with him, Grandma Texas, and Uncle Chris. Aunt J. and Baby N. stayed at home to work on projects. We ate flat-bread pizzas at the cavernous Bella Terra. The Girl, a normally adventurous eater, does not like pizza, but still managed to try several pieces. Afterwards, Uncle Chris chased The Boy, The Girl, and The Tot around the lawns of Lincoln High School.

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