May 28, 2007- we ran away to Chicago and eloped without telling a single soul, except for Judge Laurie from chicagoweddingjudge.com. Then we hoped on the el with a photographer and took random pictures throughout my favorite big city.
The weekend celebrating started Saturday when we loaded up the van with bikes, kids, carseats, and overnight bags for everyone and drove out to Bainbridge Island where we dropped our kids off at my parents' house for the night. My husband and I rushed to catch the ferry to Seattle and then drove out to Bothel where we checked into the McMenamin's Anderson School hotel. Basically, its an old high school that they renovated into a hotel. And it's AWESOME!
At first I had my doubts. When I heard "renovated school" and "hotel," I pictured a college dorm room with shared bathrooms (barf!). I have this little obsession with hotels. They are my favorite thing in the entire world. I love everything about them- bleach scented bed sheets, crisp white pillows, the sound that the blackout curtains make when you draw them shut for bedtime (or "bedtime" wink, wink), room service that's too expensive to actually use, individual soaps that you get to open new each day(!!!), little notecards with hotel logos on them, even those pathetic mini hairdryers that are attached to the wall and only have one blow dry speed- "slow AF." See, I told you I'm obsessed.
Given my love for all things hotel, I was concerned that staying in a renovated school would
Sadly, I didn't snap a SINGLE picture of the hotel or it's amazing accommodations (but if you're ever near Seattle- look it up!) except for this picture of me using the door post thingy as an impromptu stripper pole. Because I'm classy like that. And because I'm a super mature, 30+ year old ATTORNEY and mother of three. Duh, peeps.
After we checked into our room (and after I did my obligatory DIVE onto the hotel bed to inhale all that wondrous bleachy-sheet smells), we grabbed our bikes and headed out for the Sammamish River Trail, which conveniently enough leads straight to Red Hook Brewery, a whisky distillery, Chateu St. Michelle, Columbia Winery, and numerous cellars and tasting rooms. It was the perfect northwest anniversary date adventure! Renovated school. Bikes along a river trail. Breweries. My skinny jeans. We were just two flannel shirts and one wax mustache short of achieving Hipster Level. Gross.
We rode the pleasant 4 miles into Woodinville, which was accessible entirely by river trail, wearing our trusty rain jackets like good Seattlites and ducked into Red Hook Brewery just in time for some rain drops to fall from the sky. We ordered our first of many rounds of alcoholic beverages and then set out to plan our winery-hopping adventure. Except. EXCEPT! ALL the wineries were closed. ALL of them. They had all closed at 5pm. WHAT? 5pm on a SATURDAY? Our library is open later than that. What the HUH?! (Yes, I have memorized our library hours. No, I swear on my ironic, kitten face purse that I'm not a hipster!).
Well, there went our ENTIRE evening of anniversary plans. But I was too buzzed off my one glass of pinot grigio (pronounced: pin-aut grig-gee-oo) and too excited to be out with my favorite person doing random stuff on bikes to even care. So we stumbled (for me that would be literally) into a tasting room and ordered the fanciest sounding thing on the menu, Melange Blanc, which actually happened to be everyone's white wine leftovers mixed together in a fancy bottle (think: mixing all the soda fountain drinks at the McDonalds, except with white wine). But it still contained alcohol so it was still highly acceptable to me. So good, we took some for the road:
OMG. Who's the wino? [laughs nervously and backs away]
Our next stop was Purple Café in Woodinville, selected because it was the closest thing that was both open AND served real food. We laughed and reminisced over an avocado BLT and bacon-cheeseburger. And more wine, of course. Then we mounted our bikes again and road back to the hotel in a gloriously satisfied, beaming stupor, amid the beauty of the nature unraveling before us. Or at least before me (wink, wink):
Amazingly, I felt great the next morning. We must have biked off all our alcohol. And were reunited with our kids. I always feel a mixture of anxious excitement and wistful reluctance whenever we return to the land of parenthood after a really fun date night. It's a confusing but, I guess, appropriate mix of feelings.
We had all Sunday to recover (and do ten loads of children's laundry) and then had more exciting biking plans for Monday, which was both memorial day holiday AND my 32nd birthday. This time, we loaded up the two youngest in the bike trailer, with Jacob riding between us, and headed south to Tacoma for birthday breakfast donuts at Pao's Donut and Coffee Shop.
This, of course, required biking over the steep Tacoma Narrows Bridge. And lots of water brakes.
The ride would have been a little bit nicer if I hadn't been pulling 60 pounds of toddler and preschooler behind me. My husband rode behind and gave me supportive pushes every now and then. He offered to pull the boys, but I really wanted to earn my donuts. Especially after all the wine I consumed on Saturday. Eventually I had to give up and give him a turn up one of the steep parts. As much as I like earning my donuts, I like having my legs attached to my body just as much.
Man pulling bike trailer with 2 kids. Is there ANYTHING sexier?! [The answer is Batman. Always Batman.]
We rode through a little memorial celebration at one of the parks and then, huffing and puffing and beginning to question whether donuts were worth 4 miles of uphill biking, we arrived at Pao's donut shop! Only to find that it was..... CLOSED. Ha ha! What did we learn? No one has any consideration for the drinking or eating needs of bikers.
Luckily Safeway was only three blocks away and carried a variety of (what I chose to believe to be) just as yummy donuts. The kids were satisfied. And I was happy to be basking in everyone's company. There's nothing I love more than family outings. Even though our family outings are full of screaming, and crying, and yelling, and swearing, and shouting "shut up and have fun DAMMIT."
Happy Birthday to me! I survived another year!