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Published: Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A picnic among the tulips in the Skagit Valley

  • Photo by Rose McAvoy

  • Photo by Rose McAvoy

  • Photo by Rose McAvoy

  • Photo by Rose McAvoy

On Friday our family packed a picnic and visited the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. I thought you might enjoy a few of the shots we captured in the fields. It is always a treat to be able to see row upon row of vibrant tulips up close. We even told The Little Helping we were going to the rainbow flower farm. The festival draws visitors from around the globe but the crowd was light during our time among the tulips. The Little Helping had a ball running around in the open areas and poking his nose into various blossoms.

Most of the time the bare dirt surrounding the tulip rows is generally one ginormous slippery mud puddle. We were grateful to be able to visit at the end of a dry week and walk easily on firm ground. Thanks to a demo by Mr. Second Helpings, The Little Helping's chief entertainment was hurling chunks of hard packed silt to the ground and squealing with glee at the resulting explosion. - If it weren't for our carpets I might consider removing all of his toys and replacing them with dirt chunks and other assorted natural debris.

There are two major tulip fields in the area. For no particular reason we visited Tulip Town. There is an admission charge of $5 per adult and we could not bring our picnic inside the gate because they also sell food on site. Rather than find another spot to eat, we popped open the back of my car and turned our lunch into a tailgate party. I kept the food super simple. On the spot I made wraps using low-fat, high-fiber tortillas, a wedge of Weight Watchers cheese spread, mashed avocado, a couple slices of ham, and topped with packaged broccoli slaw. We also nibbled whole wheat crackers and grapes. For a snack on the way home we had some trail mix (store bought).

At the end of our trip we were dusty, tired, and dazzled by what we had seen in the tulip fields. The drive home was one of quiet contentment made audible by The Little Helping's occasional snores and snuffles. I hope he dreamt of dirt chunks exploding into rainbow bits.

The other day while I was doing some yard work I asked the Little Helping if he would like to put some of the branches I had pruned into our yard waste container. He looked at me with casual sincerity and said, "no thank you, I don't have time." Curious, I asked him what he did have time to do. He replied, "I only have time to blow bubbles and fly a kite." When I finished up the pruning we sat together on the porch and blew bubbles until Mr. Second Helpings arrived home from work.

In the coming week I hope each and every one of you can take a day to marvel at the beauty in your region or simply pause a few moments to blow bubbles and fly a kite. Think of it as a mini vacation from whatever happens to be on your plate this week. The pause will be good for you - body, mind, and spirit.

Story tags » ParentingFamily fun

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