The Spouse was able to rearrange things at work and I am still desperately trying to deny Passover's imminent approach so we decided that a trip to Seattle sounded much more pleasant than cleaning kitchen cupboards.
We packed up the kids after a long debate about bringing laptops along. Needless to say I found that issue less urgent than my boys did and, to punish me, they spent the first 30 minutes of the 3 hour drive squabbling loudly. Then, praise God, they fell asleep. The Princess kept busy with a bag of amusements I'd packed for her so "when-do-we-get-there?" wasn't repeated too many times.
It wad a gorgeous, sunny day and we were blessed with very little traffic and an easy entry into Seattle despite its mind boggling freeway system which includes numerous mysterious offshoots and exits off both the right and the left sides which strikes me as particularly demented and makes for slightly stressed out day trippers. After wedging the mighty minivan into a tiny underground parking space with a whole 4 inches to spare on either side, we walked out down to the Pike Place Market, a Seattle institution that I loved visiting as a kid. There's enough going on there to keep everyone interested and amused for the day.
We met up with good friends who were also visiting the city this week. The Princess and her best buddy posed for pictures with the pig:We did a little shopping, lots of browsing, and lots of eating (which is described in detail, with photos, here). I enjoyed showing my children some of the things I remembered from childhood visits to my beloved aunt including the original Starbucks, the crumpet shop, and Market Spice tea.
We gave each of the boys a little spending money to play with and they'd brought a bit of their own. MonkeyBoy spent a few dollars on tooth destroying candy and then gave quite a bit of money to the street performers. As we were leaving the market and walking back to the car at the end of the day a woman who was clearly needy asked us for a little something. I gave her a couple of dollars and then noticed MonkeyBoy reaching for his wallet once again. He was a bit troubled but gave the lady the $5 bill that he had left. He actually hesitated because, he later told me, he'd planned on using that money as his contribution to the MS Walk in 2 weeks. Maybe it's easy for him to give away money because he's rarely ever earned it, but I was very proud of his generosity. Given what an absolute pill he can be much of the time, it does me good to know he has such a giving and non-judgmental nature.
The Dark Lord seemed to have a fine time despite spending a fair amount of time showing us the teen attitude he's perfecting these days. (I've recently stumbled upon the term bershon which pretty much sums it up.) What amazes me is how the kid manages to retain the bored/cool/whatever look while chowing down on a giant cookie! His observations on the day in Seattle can be found here.
It's not such a long drive, really, and The Princess travels well as long as I have the foresight to burn through a bunch of ink downloading enough things from Enchanted Learning to keep her entertained, so we might make the trip more often. A change of scenery is good.