** i purposely didn't bring my camera today - it's a lot with the kids and the rain and more the toddler really. it was nice to really be in the moment with them and could always snap a few with my iPhone quickly. can you snap with an iPhone? tap a few. no. that doesn't sound right at all. so, just a side note as some are blurry, dark whatever else and you know, typical phone pictures.**
this is our third time coming to vashon island. port defiance ferry is about 15 minutes from where we are in gig harbor. and the ferry ride to tahlequah on vashon is only 15 minutes. we drive our car on, when you walk around the ferry with toddlers, no matter how many times they've been on a ferry, it's like it's a new grand house or car , inspecting every inch, oohing and ahhing "yeah! mama we're on a ferry boat!" and then back in the car we go and driving away from the dock and into the lush PNW evergreen-y, mossy, winding road - the feeling that's always inside my chest, to feel this gratitude for the beauty. even in this dark and gloomy mysterious film noir weather that makes me so dehydrated for salt water, you cannot deny how gorgeous it is. Especially if you just get outside. You can't do this place justice if you don't go outside and explore.
I can feel instantly the busy electric energy slide off as we drive on vashon highway. today we were here because we have an open house for the parents and kids that will be attending school in the fall. amaia will be coming here a couple times a week to round out the other three days at a waldorf school that she's currently attending and will also be doing the same amount of days next school year ~ if i'm making sense. so this school, it's ENTIRELY outdoors. in waldorf, she's already spending 80% of her time outside, but this program is a really great bonus, because the focus is on playing and being within that forest environment. the learning and growth that happens in that environment. the self discovery and the innate early need and longing to be connected to the land. unfortunately, this is not common pretty much - anywhere in public education and importantly early childhood education. and it makes me so sad.
so, she's in an amazing outdoor space with tons and tons of space. tons of learning. their lead teacher being an ethnobotanist. tons of playing - important part. tons of getting dirty and being outside. being in the woods. learning about the woods, i mean. all of that amazing stuff. amazing. veda napped on me in a baby carrier after about 20 minutes of splashing in this massive mud puddle. and we spend the rest of the couple hours talking to other parents and getting to know the school.
this video above is of the same mud puddles that knocked veda out in my carrier pretty much for 2 hours. amaia continued to play, explore and just be where she is the most happiest. there is a lot that goes on but I won't go into it. Mostly She's at peace. thats really what i care about in the end. is her being happy. as much as i miss the warm weather, i have been really grateful for the waldorf school and now cedar song nature school. you can learn more about this type of program here, and if this is something you're interested in, see if you can find a nature based school for your kids in your area. even if it's once a week. and if you can't do it, try bring your kids outside everyday. there are family nature clubs you can join. and great online resources for family friendly hikes and trails. It's great if you can play outside in your yard but there's a lot offered in being out in the woods, the trails, hiking and forests. I have the same feelings about ocean and the beach. Probably why Hawaii is so perfect year round for this sort of thing. but rain or shine or cold. Dress them right. Go outside. it will make them feel alive. it will make them grow. it will make them happy. this kind of thing, i tell you. its so good for their soul. and its really good for our development. as erin says " children cannot bounce of the walls, if there is no walls"
so after this, we headed back towards the main part of town. there is one major highway that runs up and down the island, where most everything is, and on saturdays the farmers market is there- pastured eggs, raw honey, seasonal produce, grass fed meats, all there. all local. then, we all went for lunch at the hardware store, which i've probably instagrammed before, but they have a good selection of GF options. I can't eat any of their GF bread as it has buttermilk and usually made with rice flour. so i stick with the naturally gluten and dairy free items, which here is easy to do.
you also should check out pure. its this really cute all vegan, gluten free, raw place. amaia devoured two cups of this blueberry deliciousness - just cashews, lemon, coconut, vanilla, and blueberries! nick and i tried some cowgirl cookies. i haven't eaten oats (even GF oats) in a while, so this was really filling for me, and made me kind of queasy, also too sweet for me (medjool dates and vegan choc chips is a lot of sweetness!) but i guess once in a while its ok. i am partial to my baking ;)
check out vashon bookstore. new and used books. got some great finds today. including pele volcano goddess, amaia is really into lava lately. obsessed is the word.
have a good weekend, and get out there!
Ps. If you want to read more about vashon here is a good article / http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/travel/vashon-island-near-seattle-a-rural-throwback.html
and be sure to check out Vashon's parks website, it has a a categorical listing in the different outdoor specialities for your kind of fun!
They've also reopened their library which has a kids playground right next to it (near downtown vashon and the Saturday farmers market)
There's a lot going on in that artsy island, indoor stuff, concerts etc.