Sunday, February 8, 2015

February Adventuring

When we went to Fort Casey, we bought the annual parking pass for all Washington State Parks.  Since we have a state park nearly on our doorstep, we decided that we could drive there and wander around on some of the paths that we hadn't attempted yet since the walk from home to the playground always does us in for further exploring.  Our stated objective was to find the path that leads to the shore of Lake Washington, but everyone acknowledged and agreed that it was fine if we didn't make it on our first attempt, and we didn't.  We did find this really cool clump of three trees that has grown together at the base.  Jared thought that some of the holes in the giant trunk base must have gnomes living in them.  I tend to agree.  
 The day was a little rainy and cloudy, but we walked down into a ravine and found everything coated in a neon green moss, and heavy with fog.  I don't think that this picture really captured the effect of it.  How is this forest so beautiful in the dead of dreary winter?
 B's legs were tired until he found this walking stick.  Winter has returned in earnest, and so everything was soaking wet.  The path was slick with mud.  B fell in the mud once, and was busily contemplating the mud on his pants in the middle of a narrow place on the trail when a runner approached him from behind, his footsteps muffled by the dampness of the ground.  B looked up and found a six foot stranger looming inches away from him, let out a shriek, and started running up the trail as fast as his little legs would carry him.  B has serious stranger anxiety lately.  He hasn't even enjoyed going to nursery at church as much as he used to.  Maybe he senses his position changing as our baby's birth approaches, or maybe he is just responding with normal toddler anxiety to his increased capacity for independence.  
 We turned back in time to spend some time on the soaking wet playground before heading home.
 We came back later in the week with the Christensens and found the actual trail to the water.  We were within a stone's throw of the beach when we remembered that it was a school day for Grant, and had to turn around.  We will make it to the water one of these days.  Next time we will have to bring snacks, though.  It was a long way down, and the Knight team was not pleased about having to turn back when the goal was so close.  B hit a wall about ten steps back up the trail and insisted on being carried nearly all of the way back to the car.  His 30 pounds felt like a lot more by the time we reached the top.  Was I ever a pregnant, sweaty mess by the time we reached the top!  Thank heavens for Rebecca, who can always turn bad attitudes into adventure with stories about mountain lions, bears, and shark attacks to make the long, steep, uphill trail seem short.  All of the children arrived at the top of the trail looking as if they had been rolling in the mud (I'm not sure that they hadn't), so Grant went to kindergarten in Jared's clothes. All of the Knight kids had their rain coats washed three times last week.  It would have been more if I had washed them faster.

I hope no one is getting tired of seeing pictures of these children at the zoo, because they are certainly not getting tired of going.  Here they are looking at a bunny.  Cheyenne: this is the biggest of the bear hats you made us for Halloween right before B was born.  Can you believe he is that big?
 Our zoo day on Wednesday was a great day for looking at birds.  They were very lively and active for a cool and drizzly morning.
 We rediscovered the zoomazium, an indoor playground for kids younger than 8, which we hadn't been to since we got our new membership in September.  It was nice and dry in there, and the kids got to meet a live lizard and dance to animal music.  B's bandanna is a bib to catch snot and slobber, but it doubles as a scarf on chilly days.  He has been battling a minor cold all week.
 The cold hasn't been bad enough to slow him down.  It doesn't even really seem to bother him in the daytime.  He was deeply torn between wanting to go everywhere Jared goes, and not wanting Mom to be out of his sight ever.
 Eloise has no such attachment issues.  She just loves to run and climb.  Everyone would probably have been happy if we had only gone to the zoomazium, but we were trying to finish a zoo scavenger hunt that we started on our last visit. . .
 . . . and B wanted to see the penguins.  We learned that our zoo has 45 penguins, including some juveniles who hatched last spring and haven't turned black yet.  Their exhibit also currently houses a wild Blue Heron, who likes to eat the fish that the penguins leave.  The penguins are performers.
 Eloise was very interested in finding out what kind of food each animal likes to eat.  She would ask me to read signs to her and then wait for me to ask, "So is this animal a carnivore, an herbivore, or an omnivore?"  She is pretty good at answering that question correctly.  I think a lot of this animal interest is due to a current obsession with the PBS show "Wild Kratts," which is the subject of Lego building sprees and daily games around our house.  Eloise and B were ecstatic when we copied the Kratt brothers and did a "creature rescue" on Friday, moving a large worm off the parking lot at the YMCA before it met the fate of countless other worms we saw smashed on the parking lot.  Jared was sad that we carried out the creature rescue while he was still in his swimming class, so that he didn't get to participate.
On this trip to the zoo, I learned that komodo dragons have bacteria in their saliva that gives their prey blood poisoning, even if the komodo's bite doesn't finish them off.  The komodo, which can survive on less than one pound of food a day, can lumber slowly after its prey and eat it at the dragon's convenience when it succumbs to the poison.  Yuck.  It's a good thing this komodo dragon is made of bronze.
 In spite of the rain, the hippos were in their pond, snorting and whuffling like an old diesel engine trying to start.  All of the children thought that this was a special performance just for them.  Immediately after we left the hippos, B ran into a puddle and soaked his sneakers and his pants up to his knees.  I think he was telling me it was time to go home, which we did.
B in the stroller without shoes or socks in the drizzling rain drew a lot of funny looks on our way out of the zoo, but another outing was survived.  It occurred to me recently that our new baby could come in as little as six weeks, so I had better get the adventures and outings in with my big kids while I can.  This is definitely going to be harder in a few weeks.

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