This weekend we went away.  Not on vacation, but a quick “get-away.”  Alex is away on a fishing trip, so the boys and I escaped the crazy heat and headed up to the mountains in search of cooler temperatures.  While there wasn’t a dramatic temperature change (think 85-90 degrees instead of 95-105 degrees) it was a welcome change of scenery and activities.  As an added bonus Nana and Pop-pop were also at the condo, which meant extra hands to help with the boys.  That is always a good thing.

Henry was thrilled to be at the “whitepassskicondo” where he went swimming with Pop-pop, “rock-climbing,” and hiking.  Even Charlie was excited to have a new area to explore, stairs to climb and of course the full attention of everyone.

Sunday, we visited Mount Rainier National Park and went “back to Paradise” as Henry put it.  We made so many fond memories during our five visits to the park last year as a family and with dear friends.  (Remember our trip to Paradise last year?)  This made it all the more fun to share the experience with my parents.

Mount Rainier

One of many wildflower photos.

Henry was more than happy to play the role of “experienced tour guide.”

Nana was a trooper, carrying Charlie on her back (the ergo carrier and a big pregnant belly don’t really mesh) despite the hot temperature.

A bit of an admission.  Never, ever, not in a million years did I think I would enjoy taking hikes, exploring nature, or find myself intentionally planning a trip to a national park with my family.  I tell ya – kids make you want to do crazy things.  Really.  Yet, there is nothing better than taking the kids on a “hike.” (This year Henry hikes on his own – last year he walked some and took breaks in the backpack.)  There are so many fun things to explore – waterfalls, wildflowers, sticks, bugs, dirt, really the whole experience is fascinating with kids.  Even Charlie enjoys being outside and exploring new scenery.  (Though he does have his mom’s very fair complexion and aversion to the heat/sun.)  But to prove that I haven’t completely lost it – day trips are still our (my) thing.  I’m pretty sure that no matter how much the kids *may* love it – camping just won’t become my thing.  But then again I’m learning to never say never.

After all, I never imagined that one of my children would become a Junior Park Ranger.  Hey, it goes to show that you just never know.

The official handbook (filled out by Henry and Pop-pop) and certificate.

Taking the official oath.  (This park ranger thing is serious business…)

At last – the badge!

{As a side note – I wanted to pass this information along, as it probably applies to many families that read our blog.  At all National Parks you can apply to receive an “Access Pass.”  This pass is “a free, lifetime admission pass issued to U.S. citizens or persons who permanently reside in the United States and who have a medical determination and documentation of blindness or permanent disability.”  Down syndrome fits into this category, which now makes all national parks a “free-for-all” for our family.  I realize that some will have a strong opinion about this one way or another, but I thought I would share the information leave it up to you.}


5 thoughts on “Away

  1. Just beautiful! I love the newest park ranger badge! lol too cute ~ taking the oath of office. One day if he every really does that an oath ~ you’ll have this picture too. thanks for the access pass information. We have to go and get ours. Our State has one too for admission into all the state parks

  2. This brought back happy memories of a series of National Park trips as a kid. We three big girls would become Junior Rangers when we stayed more than a night or two at a park. Our youngest sister, feeling left out as she was too young to enter the program, would do activities we invented so she could be a “jun-jer jun-jer ranger”

    Welcome home from paradise!

  3. beautiful. Good for you for going. I can’t imagine where you got the energy to do all of that, but I am sure glad you do! Your angels are growing up so fast! We miss you guys!!! oxoxo

  4. Rainier has to be one of my very favorite mountains. So spectacular how it suddenly rises up to the heavens. Love it.

    And awesome on that access pass. I’m trying to figure out how people could object to that…having a hard time figuring it out. But, hey, I guess some people can find anything objectionable. But I think that having MORE people with “disabilities” out enjoying the wonder of our parks can only be a wonderful thing for all of us to see and share.

    Rock on you National Park mama, you.

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