Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Island Getaway

Eric's parents recently got a new TV, which means Eric recently got a "Umm... can you please come up to the island and help us get it set up" request from his parents. We were happy to oblige considering going up  to their place is always a fun outing for us.

This being a three-day weekend, it was the perfect opportunity to spend a night on Whidbey and soak up some island-paced fun. As we packed up the van Sunday morning, Eric looked at me and said, "Do you realize this is the first time in over 5 years that we've packed for the island and haven't packed the travel crib??" We felt so liberated and oddly underpacked.

We easily made the ferry and as we waited to leave the dock, Annika proclaimed, "Look! A motor boat!" A moment later, she said, "TWO motor boats!!" She was right... and the second boat was a police boat apparently pursuing the first motor boat. We'll probably never know why the police were after the boat ... we'll just chalk it up to one of life's mysteries.

Once we arrived on the island, we quickly adapted to island time. There's a sense of ease on the island that we really enjoy. Things are quieter (until our kids arrive, that is) and slower paced. Even though Whidbey is only a 15-minute boat ride away, it feels quite remote in many ways.

The kids had a marvelous time running around Eric's parents' big yard while Eric addressed the TV/connectivity issues addressed. There is a grassy slope that Conor loves to scoot and roll down. (This is why we pack many changes of clothes!). He was covered in grass stains and dirt, but was so happy. It was great to see the kids running around the yard, pink cheeked, happy, and giggling. They took turns chasing each other and being the leader up the hill.

That afternoon, all six of us all packed up and headed to the local health club for a dip in the saltwater pool. We had a blast splashing and swimming to our hearts content. Annika proved what a fish she really is; she was here and there (always with an adult close by) and rarely needed any assistance. Conor had so much fun kicking around using a pool noodle for flotation. I don't think either of the kids stopped smiling the entire time we were in the pool. Three generations of Olsons had fun and emerged from the pool all pruny and tired.

On our way back to the house, we stopped in the meadow by the house and watch two deer nibble on some grass. I kicked myself for not bringing our camera with us, but was grateful that my phone's camera was close by. The deer kept an eye on me as I crept as close as possible for a quick picture.

Our final big project for the weekend was making bird feeders with Eric's mom. Annika's teachers helped the kids make feeders a few days before and kindly shared the recipe with me. We combined 4 c bird seed, 3/4 c flour, 1/2 c water, and 3 T karo syrup. After taking turns stirring the mixture, the kids, Eric's mom, and I pressed the concoction into cookies cutters, placed straws in the middles (future holes for the strings), and then baked the feeders at 170 degrees for an hour. Ta da! Instant (almost) bird seed buffet. After we got home yesterday, I hung the feeders (with the kids' guidance) on a big rhododendron next to our living room window. Come one, come all! I'm sure we'll be popular with neighborhood critters once word gets out about the feeders.

A special thanks to Eric's parents for hosting us this weekend ... we hope you enjoyed the visit, too!

Pink-cheek Annika

Pink-cheek Conor

Oh deer!

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