Puyallup Fair 2010

21 09 2010

For us in Seattle, it’s been the year without a summer. According to local weather guru Cliff Mass, we’ve had far fewer warm days than normal, and for the 4 days ending Sunday we got twice as much rain as we normally get for all of September. (This particularly bugs me because September/October have been the best months for lovely light for photography. Oh well.)

In spite of this, we decided Sunday was a perfect day to head to the Puyallup Fair, our now-traditional end-of-summer fest. “There’s a lot of stuff to do inside,” we told ourselves on Sunday morning. “The kids can see all of the 4-H animals.” So we piled into our car and headed south on I-5… when the skies opened up, the rain dumped down, and visibility was just a few hundred feet on the highway.

We almost called it off. It would have been so easy to exit I-5 in Seattle and head for the indoor bliss of the aquarium instead. But we decided that part of the defining moral character of a Seattleite is not letting a little rain get in the way of your plans. To borrow a phrase from our climatological brethren, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

We had a couple of spells of heavy rain on the drive to Puyallup, but the skies were benign when we arrived. We spent the morning wandering through the 4-H barns. Our first stop was the draft horses. If Patrick had his way, he would have never left the stalls of the Clydesdales. I couldn’t convince him that every neighboring building was also filled with animals. He seemed sure that this was his only chance to see furry things, and he screamed in protest each time I tried to get him to move on. Eventually, I had to pick him up and carry him, fighting the whole time, to the barn that was 20 feet away. Once he saw there were animals in there, too, he understood that the entire fairgrounds were a fun place to explore.

Are You Looking At Me?

Patrick in the rabbit barn. I didn’t take pictures with the draft horses because they’re all tethered facing away from the aisle, so all you’d see are kids and horses’ asses.

Lunch was typical fair-food. Molly & I ate barbeque sandwiches. The kids ate cornbread and french fries. Alex saw somebody walking with an ear of corn and yelled, “I want corn!!” So we headed to one of the nearby roasted corn vendors, and he proceeded to eat an ear. Alex is so different from both his brother and me. He still won’t touch meat but he craves veggies.

Roasted Corn

This is when the rain poured down again, for what turned out to be the last time. We sheltered under the awning of a barn while Alex at his corn, and we watched everybody else scurry for whatever cover they could find.

Twenty minutes later, the rain stopped and patches of blue sky appeared. We headed to the kids’ rides. We did just a few rides (which still cost a fortune!). The big difference between this year and last year: Patrick could now go on rides with his brother!


Everybody had a grand time, and everybody was exhausted and ready to go home by early afternoon. All in all, a very nice way to say goodbye to the summer that never was.

Lake Easton

16 09 2010

Late August, the rainy & cool weather returned. The first weekend it happened, I tried to escape by throwing the kids in the car and driving east on I-90. In less than two hours, we made it to Lake Easton State Park. As you can see, we didn’t drive far enough to make it out of the gloom, but we did make it out of the rain.

Lake Easton

The boys threw rocks in the lake, explored the forest, and made instant friends with another family who was there to camp. Alex had walked up to the six-year-old boy and asked, “Do you want to play chase?” That was all it took. Everybody ran around the park’s little playground for almost an hour.

The kids slept well that night.

The Boys in the Trees


Ah, Remember Those Summer Evenings…

14 09 2010

…when it was warm and sunny at the end of the day? Here are a two pictures from August when the kids ate dessert outside.


The Boys

Summer’s **NOT** over!

8 09 2010

You can still get lots of berries at the farmer’s market. This is what one of the vendor’s hands looked like this past Saturday. And that’s after washing.

Berry-Stained Hands

Alex’s First Camping Trip

7 09 2010

This weekend, I took Alex to his first camping trip at Rasar State Park. It’s a well-equipped campsite on the Skagit River in the western foothills of the Cascade Mountains. It was a good spot for his first camping trip. They had a playground, bathrooms, a river, and ranger programs both Sunday night and Monday morning. Sunday, he learned all about common nocturnal animals in Washington state; Monday, he learned about Bald Eagles.

Did I mention wildlife?


But really, all Alex needed to have fun was the tent. After spending maybe an hour digging in the sand of the scenic riverbank of the Skagit, Alex declared, “Let’s go back to the tent.” And he spent the rest of the afternoon zipping and unzipping the tent, going in and out, and playing with his Playmobil horses in the tent.

Sleeping in the tent worked better for Alex than for me. I seem to be losing my ability to fall asleep on rocks. Alex zonked out right away. He did wake up around midnight and said, “I want to sleep in my bed!” But he didn’t fuss when I explained that his bed was a long way away. He used his flashlight as a nightlight, fell back to sleep, and slept until morning. Even the pitter-patter of rain that started at 2:00 AM didn’t wake him. The next morning, Alex was refreshed and happy:

The Next Morning

…unlike me. I didn’t realize exactly how tired I was until we got back to Seattle, but I was exhausted. Yet I still can’t wait for the next trip.