When I was a child our family spent a week on Orcas Island every year. As a kid year after year it was a little boring but now that I'm grown with kids I can understand what my mom liked about it. Then when Steve and I first started dating we stayed there together. My bachelorette party was there. And we visited since. So there is a history. For once in my life I planned a little ahead and started researching places to stay on Orcas back in March (those of you who are planners probably think this is late, but for me it's e-a-r-l-y). Sadly the cabins were booked out a year ahead. But I was able to snag some weekday camp spots at Moran State Park. A huge part of the fun (after the 1 1/2 hour drive to Anacortes) is the ferry ride through the San Juan Islands.
We planned this trip with friends. The big kids are all very close friends so this trip was SO much fun for them. My kids had been looking forward to it all summer.
Mount Constitution. My mom wasn't a big picture taker. One of the few childhood photos I have is of me in this lookout tower. Adrian wouldn't go up (afraid of heights like his mama) so I didn't get my picture of the kids (just Evie). Wah! All that way and didn't get the photo. That's life.
Steve stayed below with Ainsley (look close and you can see them). The view is breathtaking.
We spent hours swimming in the lake. Even Ainsley went in. She's quite a little fish for a girl with a trach.
She was SO happy. I love this girl!
One of the best parts of camping, in my opinion, is eating dinner by lantern light and playing Candy Land. It's tradition.
And of course the Smores and roasting marshmallows.
We live in the Northwest but no matter how many deer we've seen the kids are always SO excited to see another.
I know you wanted to see a closeup of that Mermaid Crossing sign.
They also have cute shops with interesting things to tempt the tourists. I actually got a few clothes and things for me which I never do. Steve was VERY happy especially that I got a cute pair of shoes. I guess he's tired of seeing me wear the-same-old-stuff.
The following day we took the kids to the zoo for the afternoon. Late but better than never. (Thanks grandma for the annual zoo pass!) The zoo is one of my favorite places to take pictures. I think it's every Seattle family's tradition to take a picture with the baby elephant statue.
We also saw the usual suspects.
As well as......
The odd and seldom seen tapir.
This past year has been so busy. We used to get to the zoo more often. I hope we'll go again soon.
The grand finale' of our vacation was the circus! Back in May we all made lists of things we wanted to do this summer. It was Adrian's idea to go and we just got lucky to find out ahead of time that Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey was going to be in the Seattle area. Despite the PETA protesters (including a poor 10 year old kid who I felt very bad for) we had a great time. The animals looked very well treated to me. The show was pretty spectacular though not exactly the way I remember it as a child. My dad took us once and my recollection is that it was not nearly as flashy then. Though back then they did let you pay to ride the elephants and that is something I'll never forget, the feeling of coarse elephant hide and hair between my legs. My kids are very impressed that I can say I've ridden an elephant.
We decided to splurge since this was our vacation and got front row seats. The unobstructed view was fabulous for picture taking. Here are just a few of the pictures I took.
Even the clown didn't scare her.
The mermaids in the parade were beautiful.
The tight rope walkers going up an incline. No net. Yikes!
The Torres Family motorcyclers: riding 7 motorcycles inside a 16ft steel globe.
The contortionists were a little too close. But WOW!
The trapeze artists.
I believe that's 9 tigers in there.
The dog walking one of the elephants.
I think the confetti at the end was almost the most fun. It showered down on us like rain.
We tried to enjoy the final days of summer despite the rain and the kids headed back to school on Wednesday. Ainsley starts on the 20th. I love the summer but I'm ready for fall.
Well I guess you can see why it took me 3 weeks to write this post.