We all took a trip to Port Townsend over last weekend to visit my dad, who is doing as well as one might do after losing a lifelong love who he'd been married to just shy of 44 years and known since he was a child. The biggest sign that mom was gone was that dad and my aunt had sorted through decades of stuff that my mom had kept in the interests of someday needing it. No longer, sadly. The house was free of clutter; the car was clean; those kinds of changes told me more about mom being gone than her physical absence.
PT treated us well. The weather was gorgeous, sometimes a bit hot even, unusual for the place. We took the boys to a gorgeous flight museum (the Port Townsend Aero Museum right at the Jefferson County airstrip). It's more of interest to serious pilots and enthusiasts than to the likes of us, but the boys enjoyed it for a few minutes, and we were happy to give the operation our money!
Here's Ben in front of a 1923 car that they included in the exhibit for context, I think, and to show off its beautiful restoration. Digression. I thought, okay, our house was built in 1922. This was the car that fit into there. Lynn and my dad were of the mind that, no, the person who could afford our house wouldn't have afforded a car. So how did people get around? Three blocks from our house in one direction would have been a main trolley line of some kind. Most likely a few blocks the other way, there was probably another. Most people took public transportation! So there you go. Our house probably did not, in fact, have a car in its garage until later!
The trip challenged the boys and us a bit, in a good way. For nearly five years, Lynn and I have kept to a lot of routine, because it keeps the kids happy and safe, and keeps them sleeping so we have enough energy to get through the day. We are fortunate that Ben was and is a good sleeper, and that Rex has transitioned into one. You can't choose that about your kid or force it. We have friends who have tried everything, and still have trouble getting their kids through the night. (Fortunately, from what I know from parents of older kids, the rugrats eventually start reading or having things they focus on, and if they're awake while you're asleep, you just convince them that it's in their best interests to quietly pursue those activities.)
The first time since Rex was born that he slept outside of a crib in our room or the boys' room was on our trip to Maine last October. He did fantastically well, as did Ben. This is only the second time we've taken a trip with Rex away, and he slept on a travel bed with very short foam "walls." He did fine. The kids were up and shrieking at each other at 6 am or so both mornings, but they slept all night, and so we were all in good enough spirits and had enough energy to enjoy the day.
(I harp on sleep, but I fear that all four of us do very poorly without enough of it, so much so that we just have crummy days most of the time. Recently, I've had a few crazy interruptions, such as being up til 2 am nursing a server, and slept far less than usual--about 5 hours that night. The testament to how well we're managing is that some nights like that don't ruin my working week or family time.)
PT is often quite moderate in temperature, especially compared to Seattle. When it's 85°F in Seattle, it'll be 70 or so in PT. So we had the pleasant surprise that when we went to a sandy beach at Fort Worden, the park at which Lynn and I were married in 2002, it was warm enough to get into suits and build sand castles. We came back better prepared the next day, too.
The kids had a great time. So did I, and I'll speak for Lynn and my dad, after having solicited their opinion: they did, too. We'll probably take a brief sojourn again up there in August, and then we're heading to Oregon for a wedding (my brother-in-law Michael and his fiancée Kathy) where my dad, sister, Lynn's folks, and potentially my niece will help keep the kids in line! I'm officiating (!!), and Lynn's the best woman.