Tulips 2022

April means a trip up to Mount Vernon to see the tulips. It almost didn’t happen this year. And it kind of only half-happened, since only three kiddos made it up. There wasn’t a day open I had all the kiddos home, other than weekends. Weekends weren’t an option for me, crowds and all. I cannot wait until next school year when I have all five kiddos home on Fridays. The options for outings are endless! And come April 2023, we can hit the tulips on a Friday.

The three kiddos and I made the trek up north on the last Monday of April. The tulips weren’t going to last much longer. Even looking online today, they say the flowers are kaput, “A cool and long bloom season has finally come to an end … meaning we are finished flowering for the spring.” Phew, we made it in time! The plan was to head up after getting Saige and Baby off to school. It’s a good 90 minute drive from home and we needed to be back in Woodinville for Laine’s gymnastics practice late afternoon. After the tulips, I wanted to take the kiddos to La Conner again for ice cream. We did this last year and I wanted to hit it up again—I’m a creature of habit.

We always go to Roozengaarde. There’s Tulip Town up there also, but I’ve never been. The first year I went to the tulips, I went to Roozengaarde. And just like how I’ve been going to the same pumpkin patch since we moved up here 16 years ago, I go to the same tulip place. Doesn’t mean it’s the best or anything. Creature of habit and all.

It was surprisingly busy for a random April Monday morning. And by busy, I mean more people than I had anticipated. It was still quiet. There was ample parking and few crowds around the flowers. Everyone was spread out and it felt calm. The kiddos and I started off as usual, checking out the garden area around the windmill. We nosed around a few of the fields close to the grassy area. The actual tulip fields were further out this year; they switch them up it seems. We collectively decided to skip walking out to the fields. It didn’t feel like there were that many compared to past years. And having a wild toddler with us who had energy to get out from the 90 minute drive up, none of the rest of us wanted to deal with wrangling her.

After nosing about the few tulip fields close by, we grabbed a picnic table and ordered lunch. I debated about making lunches to bring with us but decided against this plan. It seemed reasonable to pay for overpriced lunches for three kiddos. Had I had all five, I likely would have packed lunches. I think it came out to about $35 for two hot dogs, two bags of chips, one soda, and one large bag of kettle corn. All which was from Costco, minus the kettle corn. Eh, sometimes convenience is worth the money. Last year we hit up a Mexican restaurant in La Conner. If we had more time I would have done this again. Next year, on a Friday!

Laine downed her hot dog after giving the overhanging end bites to Maive. Blaise ate about half of his hot dog and gave the rest to Maive. The chips and Coke disappeared, and we kept the kettle corn unopened for Brian. Lunch, check. As the kiddos ate, the blue skies made an appearance. The weather forecast was rain all day. We lucked out. Then again, any weather forecast up here is meaningless.

After lunch, we stopped by the kiddo-sized cabin for Maive to get her play on. There were a few other toddlers hanging out in the cabin when Maive entered. She lasted a few minutes before deciding she was finished. It’s not very exciting. It’s basically an empty room about the size of a small walk-in closet. But it’s super cute. It has windows and a small porch, and of course tulip planters surrounding the cabin. Maive ended her cabin stay with a big jump off the porch.

Walking toward the main garden area, we scored with a picture opportunity of the kiddos in front of the windmill. There were only a handful of people around the entrance where the windmill is located. It was getting close to 1pm and we needed to wrap up the tulip outing if we were going to hit La Conner for ice cream. We walked about the main garden for a bit before making our way to the exit. I absolutely love tulips. The garden there is stunning. Being around them makes me happy. Which is why I usually have a fresh bunch on the kitchen table each week. Maybe I’ll plant a ridiculous amount of tulip bulbs this fall so I can have my own tulip field come spring. We have a sprinkling of tulips that bloom out front. And they make me happy. But even more would be better.

To La Conner next. I love this little town. I could totally see Brian and me living there if we didn’t have kiddos. I’m sure it’s perfectly fine for families but for our needs, it’s not ideal. We found parking along the street and walked a few blocks for ice cream. The kiddos ordered and we grabbed one of the three tables out front. I don’t think there is an inside to the ice cream joint? It was dead downtown. A few locals walking pups, and us.

A few licks into their cones, the kiddos decided to walk over the waterfront where we had ice cream last year. A bench was open and they parked there to finish their cones. It was calm and peaceful, and we enjoyed the blue skies and river in front of us. A local older woman walked past with her cute pup, Oliver. She stopped to chat with me, asking questions about the kiddos. It took a few minutes of chatting for me to realize she likely has Alzheimer’s. When I asked her how long she’s lived in La Conner, she said she didn’t know. That her daughters showed up to her last place with a moving truck, packed her up, and moved her to La Conner. I asked where she moved from and she had no idea. She was talking sweetly about her daughters and her home in La Conner, and how much she loves it there. Especially the three meals they provide daily. Turns out she lives in the assisted living facility that we parked in front of a few blocks over. Sometimes I want my world to be that small to where I’m excited about three meals a day. But then again, I thrive on chaos and I’m not sure I could enjoy such simplicity. That’s one of my goals, to move toward simplicity—in all areas of life.

Ice cream licked and cones chomped, it was time to load back up for the drive to Woodinville. We made great time and arrived in Woodinville around 2:45pm. We had a bit over an hour to kill. I had arranged for Saige and Baby to go home with a friend after school, which was such a relief not to be on a tighter time schedule. The kiddos and I killed time with a return I had to Target, and then a trip to the Dollar Tree. About $65 later, we left the Dollar Tree for Laine’s practice. I like how the lady ringing us up at the Dollar Tree said, “You have a lot of stuff.” I mean, yeah, but it’s the Dollar Tree and we have to buy five of everything. Including the ridiculously cheesy American flag glasses for the Fourth of July. Brian was in the market for ridiculous American-themed stuff for his annual Fourth of July outings around town here. Eh, I’m not a Fourth of July fan. And to be completely honest, I’m not a big America fan so I couldn’t care less about anything American flag or Fourth of July. Perhaps I belong in the Netherlands. Tulips and all. And that whole democratic socialism thing. I digress.

Laine was dropped off at gymnastics practice and then Blaise at rock climbing. Maive and I made our way back home, stopping to grab Saige and Baby first. It was a successful day for all. Until next year, on a Friday. I’m really looking forward to Fridays.

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