Really, honest-to-goodness spring. With real sunshine. And warmth! (Unless you live in Colorado or Minnesota or one of those other states that spring has forgotten. In which case, I just want to cry for you. Snow on the first day of May would be enough to make me start selling furniture so I could buy a plane ticket to Hawaii. Hang in there.)
Here in the Pacific Northwest, however, we have made it through another winter, and now I can hopefully not worry about falling into the depths of rain-induced despair for many months.
Sarah and I got a bit distracted with whatever distracts us, and last week realized that we better get out to the tulip fields before they were all gone. This marks our ninth trip to the tulips. We started with 2 kids in 2005, then four in 2006, then five in 2008, six in 2010, and seven in 2012. We used to go to Woodburn, Oregon, and now we go to Woodland, Washington (yes, the town names still trip me up). We've gone in rain with umbrellas and boots; we've gone wearing shorts and flip flops. We've gone with Aunt Andrea. And almost always we go with cookies.
No matter what, though, we go.
As soon as we get there the girls sprint into the fields and start collecting all the petals that have fallen on the ground. They have strict instructions not to pick the flowers--which, of course, is very very hard not to do--and older kids periodically accuse younger kids of breaking the Pick No Flowers rule, but generally, they do pretty well.
Though they are happy with petals, their main goal is a find a whole tulip that has been knocked over by the wind. A tulip with its stem? That's gold.
The last few years I haven't been taking too many pictures because it's a little bit of "how many tulip pictures does a person need?" But this year I have my new camera, and my kids are old enough that I don't have to worry about them eating (too much) dirt, so I managed to snap a few more pictures than I usually get.
Of course, no matter what, there's always pictures to be taken. Who can pass up babies in tulips, or kids with tulip heads?
There they all are! Addie, Toby, Clover, Wavey, Jules, Sydney and Med.
And despite Sydney falling and scraping her leg, and despite Med's protests, Sarah and I decided that the weather was nice for not just ONE flower adventure but TWO.
From wide open tulip fields, we drove a mile down the road to a cute little perfectly manicured lilac garden.
It was beautiful.
It had dozens of lilac trees, and benches, and paths, and secret hiding spots. The kids played hide and seek and collected flower petals, and Addie and I strolled around smelling all the plants.
On the drive home Sydney said she wanted to go back and take pictures, and Clover wants to go back with her sketch pad, and I wouldn't mind going back with a book. And we could sit in the garden and just take it all in. I think that sounds like a very good idea.
So, if you're in the area, the tulip fields don't have too much more life left in them, but Hulda Klager Lilac Garden is open year round, and I suspect they have lots of things blooming all summer long.
I know that May 1st is traditionally when you go around surprising neighbors with flowers on their doorstep, but we opted to use our tradition to just surprise ourselves with flowers in the fields.
Another year, another tradition kept.