© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

Our first trip to the Olympic Peninsula: camping at Dosewallips State Park

 

We arrived late after a gorgeous sunset ride on the Edmonds to Kingston ferry, driving through the Olympic National Forest to get to Dosewallips State Park in Brinnon, Washington. We’re a Bigfoot family – not seriously, but ok kind of seriously – and my husband pronounced the forest very “Squatchy.” We drove along Highway 101, looking for hulking shadows or glowing eyes around every turn. So cool.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

Riding the Washington State Ferry from Edmonds to Kingston. Selfie!

 

We set up our tent in the dark and settled in. Even with the late night and the big change from our routine, my twins did very well and went right to sleep. In the morning, it was full-on campground fun time. The bike and scooter came out, horseshoes and lawn bowling set up, and plenty of neighbors to wave at.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

Playing horseshoes at the campground.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

A kid-friendly campground. Check out the Airstream in the background – so cool.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

They crack themselves up.

Was this deep woods quiet reflection? No. It was car camping, social camping, “get to know where everyone’s from” camping. My kids love the campground atmosphere, and my husband and I are becoming fans, too. It helps to see your kids so happy.

We did get out to explore. They tried play-fishing with toy rods in the Dosewallips River – note to mom, get real rods! We walked the trail over to Hood Canal, stepping over thousands of oyster and clam shells, and getting to see some live ones, too. My daughter and I hiked some of the Maple Valley Trail, walking quietly through the other-worldly green of the forest.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

Play-fishing on the Dosewallips River.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

A natural!

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

Pitching rocks on Hood Canal.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park. Maple Valley Trail

The Maple Valley Trail.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

It rained after dinner. Having some cozy time in the tent.

 

If you’re a family who hasn’t tried camping yet, I’d say go for it. Just expect that if you’re a mom who does a lot of work to care for everyone at home, that won’t change. Travel isn’t about luxury and pampering all of the time. Sometimes, it’s a game of horseshoes, washing little faces outside, and sleeping in a cozy tent.

And the feeling that you did it together.

 

About twin-mom.com and Linda Jenkins:

twin-mom.com Linda Jenkinstwin-mom.com is a blog about family life and travels in the Pacific Northwest, with some time just for moms, too. Follow Linda and her busy family as they enjoy close-to-home and accessible family fun.

Former attorney Linda Jenkins is a Pacific Northwest travel, food & wine, and lifestyle writer. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers including 425 Magazine, South Sound Magazine, NWLawyer, The Everett Herald, The Seattle Times, and The Tacoma News Tribune. Read more…

twin-mom.com’s header photo is by Jon Anderson of Jon and Rach Photography.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

The goat trick: planning a memorable summer and a visit to Foster’s Produce and Corn Maze in Arlington, WA

 

We’re so close.

The end of the preschool year is in full swing here. We have end of year parties, concerts, and lots of reshuffling of the family routine. Big plans and changes are coming as we head to kindergarten in the fall, but for now, I have two four year olds and a whole summer just at the end of our fingertips.

The other day we were having one of those sunny, it’s-almost-summer vacation mornings when I got a very hot tip from Facebook that BlackJack, the famous goat from our local Foster’s Produce and Corn Maze, was coming out for the summer. Who is BlackJack? Well, first, say it right. If you’re four years old, it’s “BlackJaaaaaack!!!” He’s a rather famous goat who does this amazing trick – he trots up to the second story of a fun little goat structure and hoists cans of food up for himself. He’s not shy about it, either. Go BlackJack.

The kids had a great time. We’ve been coming to Foster’s since they were barely waddlers and I don’t remember them taking on so much responsibility as to the feeding of dear BlackJack. They took the reins, cleared mama’s wallet of every quarter to feed him, and spread the love with carrots for the goats Gus and Annie, a soon-to-be-named sheep, and a rabbit we met only briefly. I can’t believe how big they’ve gotten.

So I may be trying to rush away the end of this school year, but I love free time like this and can’t wait for more. Mostly, I just want to savor this last summer with preschoolers. We’ll do local things like go see BlackJack again, and far-off things like tag along on mama’s writing trips. We’ve made it a long way and there’s still plenty more fun. Bring on summer.

 

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

*See BlackJack at Foster’s Produce and Corn Maze and please visit the other great businesses and summer events in the Arlington, Oso, and Darrington communities. We’re a fun place for families and those who like to be outside. Our local businesses would appreciate your support. #OsoStrong

 

About twin-mom.com and Linda Jenkins:

twin-mom.com Linda Jenkinstwin-mom.com is a blog about family life and travels in the Pacific Northwest, with some wish list finds just for moms, too. Follow Linda and her busy family as they enjoy close-to-home and accessible family fun.

Former attorney Linda Jenkins is a Pacific Northwest travel, food & wine, and lifestyle writer. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers including 425 Magazine, South Sound Magazine, NWLawyer, The Seattle Times, and The Tacoma News Tribune. Read more…

twin-mom.com’s header photo is by Jon Anderson of Jon and Rach Photography.


					
© twin-mom.com. Tulip Town. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Mount Vernon, WA.

Our first trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Mount Vernon, WA

 

I love to spend time in Skagit County with my family. It’s a wonderful area to get the kids outdoors. Mount Vernon is a vibrant, historic town with fun people. When I met my husband, he was living in Mount Vernon and I was living in Seattle. At first I wondered if this guy was the real deal, but obviously after eight years and two kids, the Skagit Valley was good to me!

Years ago, one of our first dates was the Mount Vernon Street Fair that’s part of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. I remember my husband driving me the long way through the tulip fields, trying to impress me, I’m sure. It worked. I’m not saying that the tulips will get you a partner for life but they sure didn’t hurt the effort in my husband’s case.

© twin-mom.com. Tulip Town. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Mount Vernon, WA.

Fast forward a few years. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival happens every spring. Each year, I think we’re going to get our twins dressed in their cute mud boots and out for that vibrant picture standing in front of the tulips.

But somehow this is the first year our twins have ever seen the tulips. They’re nearly five years old. The tulips aren’t that far from us. It’s a shame, I know. The lost photos alone!

We went to Tulip Town, a great option for families. It wasn’t a good start for us, though. I tried for the photos. But one of us couldn’t shake the grumpy and I ended up carrying a kid for a while.

© twin-mom.com. Tulip Town. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Mount Vernon, WA.

I decided to let it go and just let them direct what we would see. My son was mesmerized by the rows of colorful flowers, in his own quiet way.

© twin-mom.com. Tulip Town. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Mount Vernon, WA.

It turns out they loved the indoor area with the murals and the tulip arrangements.

© twin-mom.com. Tulip Town. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Mount Vernon, WA.

They also liked the reflecting ponds in memory of fallen heroes. That made me proud. And all was well after we got a cookie from the espresso stand.

© twin-mom.com. Tulip Town. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Mount Vernon, WA.

© twin-mom.com. Tulip Town. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Mount Vernon, WA.

I read a lot of “how to plan your trip” tips and visitor information. My most practical tips would be to bring cash – although it wasn’t an expensive morning for us at $12 for our family of four, including the cookie. I’d also bring mud boots for everyone. And do everything you can to get there early.

But my most useful tip would be to bring your most positive self. I think that for moms, outings like the tulip fields are about that desire we have to break from routine a little bit, to nurture our kids with experiences. It’s love that gets families out in the mud and the traffic. And as I was reminded, it’s mom’s willingness to let go that can often carry the day.

© twin-mom.com. Tulip Town. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Mount Vernon, WA.

© twin-mom.com. Tulip Town. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Mount Vernon, WA.

About twin-mom.com and Linda Jenkins:

twin-mom.com Linda Jenkinstwin-mom.com is a blog about family life and travels in the Pacific Northwest, with some wish list finds just for moms, too. Follow Linda and her busy family as they enjoy close-to-home and accessible family fun.

Former attorney Linda Jenkins is a Pacific Northwest travel, food & wine, and lifestyle writer. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers including 425 Magazine, South Sound Magazine, NWLawyer, The Seattle Times, and The Tacoma News Tribune. Read more…

Follow twin-mom.com on:

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twin-mom.com Washington State restaurants

Fourth of July Parade, Arlington, Washington 2012. With Rotary Duck Wally Thomas.

Our community is grieving: the Oso mudslide and life in Arlington, WA

 

That’s me in a duck suit, walking in the Arlington 4th of July Parade with my twin ducklings, 2012.

The Oso mudslide tragedy on March 22nd forever changed the communities of Arlington, Oso, and Darrington. I live in Arlington with my family. I’ve volunteered here, raised my twins here, and had my business here. My family is well, but I do know people who have lost their lives and loved ones due to the mudslide. My community, the one I write about so often on this blog, is grieving.

If you’d like to help, you could make a donation to a number of charities and local groups, like the Cascade Valley Hospital Foundation. There has been so much generosity shown to our community that it makes me well up to think of it.

This is a strong community full of quiet heroes. Like many great American small towns, we rely on each other for help in times of need. This time, the whole world has been there with us.

These are some great moments and family memories I’ve had with my family in and around Arlington. We will have more, I’m certain.

National Day of Service: Volunteering with Twins, Arlington, WA

100 Awesome People I Know: High-Flying Mayor Barb Tolbert, Arlington, WA

Girls’ day out: the hiking walk on the Centennial Trail, Arlington, WA

Maybe we should have skipped the ice cream, Arlington, WA

Special Day at the Farmers Market, Arlington, WA

Food from the Farm, Garden Treasures Nursery & Organic Farm, Arlington, WA

Cooling off on the Centennial Trail, Arlington, WA

Day hiking with little kids – celebrating a big day on the Boulder River Trail, Darrington, WA

Fire trucks! A visit to the Arlington Fire Department, Arlington, WA

How to take great photos of kids: 5 tips from Jon and Rach Photography, Arlington, WA

O Christmas Tree: early holiday inspiration at the Festival of Trees, Cascade Valley Hospital, Arlington, WA

Thinking outside: the Nakashima Barn and the Centennial Trail, Arlington, WA

 Explore Arlington: This Small Town Will Make Your Heart Soar. 425 Magazine, May/June, 2013.

Parade photo by A.J. Chase for Rotary Club of Arlington

About twin-mom.com and Linda Jenkins:

twin-mom.com Linda Jenkinstwin-mom.com is a blog about family life and travels in the Pacific Northwest, with some wish list finds just for moms, too. Follow Linda and her busy family as they enjoy close-to-home and accessible family fun.

Former attorney Linda Jenkins is a Pacific Northwest travel, food & wine, and lifestyle writer. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers including 425 Magazine, South Sound Magazine, NWLawyer, The Seattle Times, and The Tacoma News Tribune. Read more…

Follow twin-mom.com on:

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Bloglovin

 

Visit Top Mommy Blogs To Vote For Me!

twin-mom.com Washington State restaurants

Nakashima Barn Trailhead, Centennial Trail. Image © twin-mom.com.

Thinking outside: the Nakashima Barn and the Centennial Trail, Arlington, WA

 

I’ve been attracted to barns for years. Where we live, there are plenty of achingly beautiful barns, some just barely standing, all wind-worn and faded and whispering history. I imagine them as grand debutantes, then taking their place as hard-working contributors to the kind of small farming many of us have recently come to appreciate again.

I have a few favorites: one near my daughter’s school, one on the way to swim class at the Y, one wholly abandoned. A few years ago I heard about the dedication of the Nakashima Barn Trailhead on  the Centennial Trail. The Centennial Trail has been a family favorite since our before-kid days, when my husband and I used to go there to stroll together and talk. The trail was there for me during the stresses of law school, and it was one of the first outdoor places I ventured to after my twins were born. We still use the trail often.

My daughter and I visited the Nakashima Barn on one of those afternoons when time gave us the chance for just one quick adventure. Between errands, waiting for school to let out for one, I decided to forego one more stop and go for a walk with my little girl. I love one-on-one time to hear what my kids are thinking about, and nothing else gives kids the room to open up and express themselves like a walk outside.

Nakashima Barn Trailhead, Centennial Trail. Image © twin-mom.com.

It was cold and bright when we visited. The first thing I noticed was the quiet. It was silent, the kind of silence that feels thick, like you’re floating. Then the silence was pierced by passing cars and logging trucks. So we kept walking.

Nakashima Barn Trailhead, Centennial Trail. Image © twin-mom.com.

My daughter loved the barn. Like many preschoolers, farms and animals are familiar to her because they’re the perfect context for early learning. Plus, I just think the simplicity of traditional farming life appeals to kids and makes sense to them – every living thing has a job to do and every contribution is important. What I didn’t plan for, and what I found the most valuable part of our visit, was her reaction to the Nakashima family’s WWII internment story.

Like most Americans, my twins are a beautiful mix of cultural heritages. They’re 4 years old, so a lot of the things adults do don’t make sense to them. I’m glad for that.

I tried to simplify what internment means. It isn’t an easy story to tell, the kind of wrong that happens on all sides during a war. I wasn’t making much sense to her until she got to put it into her own words. Here they are:

“They took the farmer’s barn away. That’s not nice. The animals cried because they miss him.”

Nakashima Barn Trailhead, Centennial Trail. Image © twin-mom.com.

We walked the trail near the barn and enjoyed the wooded path, although I’ve always liked the wide-open paved parts of the Centennial Trail, too. My daughter followed the birds down the path, stopping often to look back at the barn. She was especially quiet, not like her, until finally we had to go.

Nakashima Barn Trailhead, Centennial Trail. Image © twin-mom.com.

Nakashima Barn Trailhead, Centennial Trail. Image © twin-mom.com.

Days later, she still asks me to tell her the story of the farmer and the barn. My daughter has a beautiful clarity in her convictions and the kind of strength in her beliefs that makes me excited to see the grown-up she’ll become. I’m glad we made the time to visit the Nakashima Barn, and I’m glad for the quiet walk outside to think about it.

Nakashima Barn Trailhead, Centennial Trail. Image © twin-mom.com.

The website www.centennialtrail.com has more information about the Nakashima Barn and the Centennial Trail.

About twin-mom.com and Linda Jenkins:

twin-mom.com Linda Jenkinstwin-mom.com is a blog about family life and travels in the Pacific Northwest, with some wish list finds just for moms, too. Follow Linda and her busy family as they enjoy close-to-home and accessible family fun.

Former attorney Linda Jenkins is a Pacific Northwest travel, food & wine, and lifestyle writer. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers including 425 Magazine, South Sound Magazine, NWLawyer, The Seattle Times, and The Tacoma News Tribune. Read more…

Follow twin-mom.com on:

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Bloglovin

 

Visit Top Mommy Blogs To Vote For Me!

twin-mom.com Washington State restaurants