Alone time & "keepers"


Alone time. We all need it, regardless of our age, our circumstance or our station in life.
For me, this week has been testing my patience at every front. Our toddler has a virus that is kicking his little buns, our older kids are having school fatigue that manifests itself in bickering and snotty looks, our house is torn apart as we try to find a flooring solution (a whole 'nother story no thanks to toxic wood from an unnamed massive wood flooring supplier) and the hubs and I are just worn down.

Today, though challenged again, I am grateful that I was able to take off last night for some much needed alone time. I grabbed a coffee, good music and drove to the salt water. Salt water cures all I swear. I can still smell it. I was lucky to get to enjoy an amazing PNW sunset, alone with my (uninterrupted) thoughts at the Mukilteo Ferry Docks.

As I walked back to my car to start heading home, this sign on the keepers house struck me.
It's not as if its unique in any way - anybody whose seen a lighthouse has seen the 'keepers house', but when I saw it it made me smirk and I heard myself say "hmph - aren't we all" (you know like a crazy person).

I regained my composure (silencing the crazy), but then I started to think on that somewhat sarcastic sentiment, and you know what? We are all "keepers". It resonated with me because I have children and as any parent knows, we are keepers - we are responsible for their safety, their health, their bright shining souls - just as a keeper of a lighthouse.

And, while I say that as a parent it resonated, I thought further on that, and as school has been nearing an end I have had an overwhelming emotion that I'm trying to figure out how to express for our teachers. We (my husband and I) are super blessed to have our kids being taught and cared for by some of the most thoughtful, compassionate and truly wonderful people. We are all "keepers".

Who else (if there's anybody out there :) do you consider to be a "keeper"? 
Or what do you consider yourself to be a "keeper" of?

PNW Family Adventure : Mirror Lake


The results are back from my informal poll and hands down, this has been voted our favorite family hike yet! Destination: Mirror Lake, (Washington).

Almost every weekend we head out on an adventure - not always knowing where, just packed and ready for anything. I am usually riding shotgun with a coffee and scrolling through the 
Washington Trails Association website for somewhere new to us. 

I realize that the 'no plan', plan, doesn't work for everyone, but with the WTA website search capabilities it has worked really well for us.
*disclaimer: this no plan thing doesn't always sit well with the hubs, but I muster up a nice smile and whisper "just roll with it, honey" and wink - most of the time it works.

As you can see from the picture above, we indeed have a toddler in tow. 

He's only 2. 

This makes it a little more challenging to find a suitable place where the 'bigs' can have fun and the little guy can still hang. Because of the fact that he's the size of a four year old, we too, always have to keep in mind that we will undoubtedly have to carry him in, or out...and at 40lbs...that's a burner for anyone.

Mirror Lake was a perfect hike for us because it is only 2+ miles. It's located off of I-90 just after Snoqualmie Pass at exit 62. You can find more information at this link:

Here's our real world summary of this outting;
Once we exited I-90 and turned onto the dirt road, we were a little surprised at how long the additional 6 mile drive felt. I knew our friends who were following were cursing my name (heehee #sorrynotsorry). 

To only say that it is a dirt road is comical! 
It's a rough, bouncy, dirty, dusty, drive SLOW, drive next to what seems like a cliff to me, scare the **** out of your kiddo on the cliffside window, 6 miles.

The major tease, was when we passed "Lost Lake" boat launch and thought we had arrived! Ha!
This moment was only topped by the realization that the .5 mile, steep rocky road to the trailhead was in fact, wayyyy harder than the actual hike in total. Just our 2 cents. 

The hike however was a blast. Our toddler hiked just fine in his little canvas tennis shoes the entire way without any help (except to climb over big downed trees and over the small river/creek for safety). Our big kids had a great time spotting wildlife, taking pictures and inspecting all of the trees, twisted roots & dirt layers exposed on the side of the trail. They also felt pretty cool crossing over "the river" in the first picture above.  

The last push to the lake was a little steep, but their young legs handled it just fine, and at the end we all had the ultimate reward. Mirror Lake did not disappoint! It was heavenly.

Even though we were unprepared for swimming, we couldn't resist! The water was pretty cold but felt absolutely amazing. What a memory maker for our families. If you haven't been here yet, put it on your list. 

What to bring:
Snacks of course, plenty of water, a hiking stick if you have sore knees and a towel for sure just in case. SPF is always a good idea, however the trail is actually well shaded in most areas.

It was hard to tell who was having the better time. I looked around and truly could not tell. Our 11 year old's were chatting away and daring each other to jump in and our toddler was tearing his shirt and shoes off grunting and pointing to the water. I can't lie, I didn't want to leave.

There was a lot of whining and begging when we announced it was time to go. I think they could've stayed there all day and night. Maybe we'll have to camp out next time.

If you're trying to find an outdoor adventure for yourself or your family, the WTA website offers a great advanced searching option that makes it easy to find what works for your situation, even for wheelchair accessibility which doubles as a perfect option for new walkers too! 

by mlekoshi