By David Kaufer
Ever since the twins were toddlers, whenever I asked Renee what she wanted for Mothers Day, she’s always said she’d like a day alone without having to worry about work, household chores and taking care of the boys. So the past few years the guys and I have started a tradition of hanging out together and I’ve had fun coming up with activities to keep them busy and entertained throughout the day.
Last year we did a mini-tour of some of Seattle’s finest parks, beginning at the Ballard Locks before moving on to Olympic Sculpture Park and the waterfront before going on to Gasworks Park and then ending at Kayu Kayu Park in Shoreline.
This year I wanted to do something different – and the weather forecast was its typically dicey and unpredictable self. I decided that a road trip somewhere new would be a good option. If the weather was rainy we could stay dry in the car and enjoy the scenery. The twins are such good travelers that this is actually a viable option. So after making Mom breakfast in bed (homemade waffles with bacon) and giving her presents, I packed up a load of snacks and drinks, buckled in Stone and Ty and we headed north to Mukilteo to catch the ferry to Whidbey Island.
I was excited to get back to Whidbey as I had not been to the island since we moved back to the area in 2005. But when I lived in the area previously, it was one of my favorite trips and I frequently took out-of-town visitors on the ferry over to Clinton and Langley. So it was special for me to be able to do the same with the twins and bring them on their first trip out there.
As we waited in the ferry line, a boy was walking down the lanes selling candy bars as a fund raiser. Ty got a big kick out of that and he stuck his head out the window to say hi to the boy and his mom. I explained to Ty that the boy was selling the candy bars to make money for something that was important to him. Meanwhile, Stone was having fun playing with the power sunroof – switching off between opening/closing it and then sticking his head out the window to check out the action. It wasn’t a long wait – after 20 minutes or so we were able to board the ferry.
On previous ferry trips with the twins, it was always a mad dash and chaos once we took them to the passenger area. One would typically run one direction while the other would go the other. I was pleasantly surprised this did NOT happen this time. They both were good and stuck close to me. I asked them if they had to go to bathroom (I did as I drank too much coffee) and they did. I was proud of myself for successfully orchestrating the events with both of them (using two stalls) and even getting their hands washed and dried without incident. We found an empty row of seats where we sat and enjoyed the brief ride. For the first time, Stone was totally happy and content simply sitting and watching the scenery. It was a nice break and a pretty ride as the sun broke through the morning clouds.
Once on the island, I decided to simply head north with Coupeville as a loose target destination. I had done some research the previous day for parks and playgrounds and there was supposed to be nice one in the town. We took a leisurely drive – periodically breaking off the main highway to drive past state parks or Forts along the way. I asked Ty if he wanted to get out to check out any of the parks but both he and Stone kept saying “no” – they were happy exploring in the car. We made it to Coupeville but I didn’t see the park or playground so we continued north towards Oak Harbor. By now we were all getting hungry so I decided to find a grocery store to buy additional lunch items to compliment the snacks I already packed.
After a brief stop at Alberston’s in Oak Harbor, I searched my iPhone GPS app for a local park and was happy to find a beach park only two blocks away. We drove down and discovered a really awesome park and playground. There were tons of climbing structures and lots of equipment for the boys to play on. The weather continued holding out with mostly sun (and more importantly no rain) so I let them play for an hour or so before bringing them back to the car where we all ate lunch inside together.
After lunch I decided to take the boys across Deception Pass and loop back around via Anacortes towards I-5 to begin the journey home. We didn’t stop at Deception Pass – parking was too tight and the boys weren’t too keen on stopping again but they enjoyed the breathtaking views as we crossed the bridges. By now it was later in the afternoon but still plenty of time to get in one last playground stop so I took them to Log Boom Park in Kenmore (a new favorite) where they played for another hour before we headed back home for dinner with mom.
It was officially Mothers Day and supposed to be a present for Renee. But I actually consider days spent like that with the twins a gift to myself as well.
David Kaufer is a fun-loving Super Dad of 5-year-old twin sons, an insane Oregon Ducks fanatic (follow him on Twitter @DavidKaufer), advocate for green/sustainability and autism issues, and connoisseur of Northwest microbrews. He and his wife Renee moved to Edmonds in 2005 to raise their family (and enjoy the gorgeous views).