Saturday at Bothell Landing

Saturday started with a distinctly windy feel. It was moist, as many Seattle-Area days start, but with a thick of dark grey quick-moving clouds in the sky. Fall has come quite fully, and leaves are collecting in earnest around most everyplace. The word of the day though, was “wind.” A strong inconstant wind, not quite gusty, but slower and rolling. Like someone was making tea… the wind would just steadily increase in speed until the whistle blew, when someone removed it from the fire, and it would stop abruptly. Within 15 minutes or so, the cycle began again, and the wind would resume the boil. Temperatures were in the high 50s and low 60s; certainly bearable, but given the wind, jackets seemed the order of the day.

Zoe, Lydia and I went to Bothell Landing (as has become the Daddy custom) again after a pancake breakfast. It was something of a chore to get them into coats and clothes and shoes and things, but once accomplished they seemed happy enough to be at the park. I required a coffee, as although I’d made coffee with breakfast, I forgot to actually drink any. I, with a mocha in hand, got the girls into the swings (despite warnings of “wet pants”) and began our “just got to the park” ritual. Both girls have become avid swing set fans. In Zoe, the change is more pronounced; when she was Lydia’s age, she didn’t want anything to do with swings. Lydia has always enjoyed them.

Once swinging had become less interesting, they jumped out, and began climbing and jungle-gyming, only to find that the jungle-gym was entirely too wet to be enjoyed. We decided to take a small walk, to look for leaves with interesting colors. The girls didn’t immediately take to the idea (moping about the wet junglegym seemed enough initially) until a lucky breeze gently blew dozens of several hundred leaves from one of the taller trees. Suddenly, eyes lit up as a miniature (yet also enlarged) snowstorm of leaves came towards them, and suddenly I was jogging after my toddlers, while they ran to catch anything still flying.

After a few leaf-storms, the girls found a tree that seemed suitable for climbing. Zoe, after achieving the third branch (a good 5 feet above ground) stated quite plainly that: 1) she had magically transformed herself into a Tree Princess, and 2) she would not be coming back home anymore with Daddy nor her sister and 3) as a Tree Princess, she was no longer bound to things such as “bedtime” or “consequences.” (Consequences = “punishment for less than desirable behavior.” in enlightedliberalparentese aka Heatherspeak.) As there were no further handholds above the one she had most recently reached, I acquiesced, indicating that I thought her mother might miss her.

Lydia kept trying to get to the bottom branch, but couldn’t quite negotiate it after a good 15 minutes of trying. It was ~2 feet up, but wide and thick, which made getting her arms fully around it to climb it the most difficult task. I picked her up and sat her on the branch, which seemed to satisfy her enough to begin a “tight rope walk” on the thick branch. Within seconds, she slipped, planted her butt on the branch, and told me that she was quite tired of tree climbing now, and had decided that Tiger Hunting should be the order of the next 20-30 minutes or so. I pulled her down, and we began a tiger hunt. Mainly, it involved Lydia finding an appropriate tiger hunting stick, and then striking trees with it. A few minutes into the tiger-hunt, Zoe realized getting down from the tree would likely involve some acrobatics (or at minimum, a more advanced tumbling skill.) While Zoe was retrieved, she indicated that she didn’t want to be a Tree Princess anymore.

The park hadn’t cleaned up too much after the Tiger Hunt, so we decided to head home, and get some lunch. The wind had gotten stronger, and more frequently gusty feel, and rain started to fall. Even a few of the “I run / bike / extremesomething everyday” folks were obviously packing it in. I wondered about lunch, but mostly wondered if Heather had gotten enough sleep. As we made our way home, the clouds were rolling more violently and quickly. The wind was howling a touch, and Lydia asked “Can I have hot chocolate?”

I didn’t know if we had any hot chocolate, but even if we didn’t and I had to stop at the store, the answer would be yes.

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