The Lowdown, Vol. 4

Sometimes you’ve just got to get outta Dodge. And with the boys happily in L.A. for some time with their dad, that’s just what I did. I took a drive up to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, jogged over to Rainier National Park (well, not literally), and then visited some friends in Portland on my way there and back. It was a great trip – a little retreat for myself. But when you take a trip alone, you often end up with some pictures that look like this:

And if you’re used to going to National Parks with your kids, you’re going to really miss them when you drive around one all day, and then again that night when you’re in the motel room by yourself. And since you were really looking forward to some time to yourself, it takes you by surprise that you’d rather have them with you instead. But then when you stop to think about it, you’re not that surprised at all. And you’re wishing that they were in this picture, standing on the bridge:

The rainforests are beautiful – lots of moss and ferns and old trees with pretty creeks gurgling by. Lush greenery and gorgeous wildflowers line every road, even the highways. This is what the Pacific Northwest is known for.


Next I headed over to the coast. Not being a reader of the books, I unwittingly found myself in Twilight territory. There is a rather large store in Forks, Washington, called Dazzled by Twilight, which I happened to drive by. I glanced at the life-size cardboard cut-outs of the characters lining the sidewalk, smiling as I thought of my sons and their disinterest. (Well, Nigel has disinterest. Aidan has disdain.) Closer to the coast, I saw “Welcome, Twilight Fans!” signs posted on little motels I passed and another souvenir shop devoted to the series. In fact, the photo below was taken a few yards away from the official “Twilight Tours” bus, which a young couple was waiting to board.

The next day, I drove to Mt. Rainier National Park, and at first I had no idea how lucky I was that it was a clear day. I later learned that the majestic mountain is often cloaked in clouds. As I rounded nearly every bend in the road I had to pull over to take a photo, gasping at this fourteener‘s beauty. This picture really doesn’t do it justice.

After my cozy night’s stay at the lodge, I decided to stop at one last waterfall on my way out. Fortunately, there were others there at the same time, and I asked someone to take a photo:

But wait, there’s more for this Lowdown post! Months ago, my friend Jazzygal bestowed the Happy 101 award on me, and I’m finally listing the 10 Things that Make Me Happy. It’s something I always need to be reminded of, but I’m really needing it now, so thanks again, Jazzy!

  1. spending time with Nigel and Aidan – watching movies together at home, reading, playing games
  2. writing novels
  3. enjoying meals with friends
  4. reading an amazing novel
  5. sleeping in
  6. blogging
  7. winetasting
  8. traveling
  9. savoring a piece of chocolate
  10. being home when the boys are, but doing my own thing and just hearing their voices, happy doing their own things – Aidan on his X-Box Live and Nigel scripting the movie he’s watching – makes me so happy.

There you have it. I’m going to opt-out on the tagging this time, but if anyone feels like leaving a comment listing the things that make them happy, all the better! These days, with the boys gone and the stress of a big impending move hanging over me, I need all the happy I can get!

20 thoughts on “The Lowdown, Vol. 4

  1. AmyLK

    What beautiful pictures! I always miss my son when he is not around. I’m glad that you got some time for yourself.

  2. pixiemama

    I definitely get what you mean about thinking that, more than anything, what you want is time alone. Then when you get that time alone, all you can think about is the kids. I love the ease of traveling without kids, but then I miss them like MAD.

    I love the photos. We are yearning to be there right now!

    & as for what makes me happy? Seeing your smile. 🙂

  3. Julie Jabbers

    Amazing pictures, thanks for sharing.

    Good for you, stepping out and taking a much needed break.:) You need to take care of YOU, and I know you’re glad you did, and yet, like all us moms, we miss our kids when we do. Maybe they can be on that bridge for a pic one day.

    What, no Twilight store pics? lol Yes, I like the series.

  4. Niika

    Beautiful pictures! Glad you had such a nice time. The part about the boys being either disinterested or having disdain for Twilight made me laugh out loud.

  5. Lex Savko

    Fantastic pictures! You’re right, Washington state is truly greener than green. And “majestic” is the exact word that came to mind the moment I saw that picture of Mount Rainier. Hopefully sometime in the future I’ll get to see it in person.

  6. Elizabeth

    I was happy to see that you’d posted because I’ve missed you! I sort of envy you that alone time although I totally understand you missing your boys. I especially liked that on your happy list you said that knowing that they’re in the house and not necessarily WITH you makes you happy. That makes me happy, too!

  7. Alicia D

    Wow, what amazing photos that im sure were so much more amazing in REAL life :). We were just in Portland too, a few weeks ago. Loved it!!

  8. Sheri

    What a beautiful collection of pictures you shared. That place looks so peaceful and removed from the “real” world.

  9. Paulene Angela

    Great post.

    Quite high on my list would be having time to re-focus, time to stand back and look more clearly, I definately need that, it’s a tonic.

  10. Kim

    Those photos are beautiful! I know what you mean about having some time and then wishing they were near when you do something you know they would love. What a nice way to spend some time though!

  11. Jazzygal

    Ah…lovely post Tanya! Glad you got some nice time out for yourself but it’s not surprising you thought of your boys throughout.

    Gorgeous pictures, thanks for sharing.

    It is nice to remind ourselves of the things that make us happy, isn’t it?!! 😀

    xx Jazzy

  12. Carrie N

    Love that you took this time for yourself! The Mount Rainier pic was beautiful and made me ache for Northwest summers. We lived in Olympia for a few years and loved every second of it. Time alone is much needed and so wonderful, but I do agree with you that it makes us ache for the ones we love, too.

  13. Christine

    I loved LOVED LOVED your pictures! I think I will be adding this to my wish list destinations.

    One of my huge lifetime goals that seems completely unattainable is to spend a week alone in nature. I think better when people are not talking to me, and crave alone time.

    My top 10 happy things are
    music (and the invention of the IPOD so I can listen to what ever I want, whenever I want)
    bare feet in the grass
    Salem Pond
    Fuzz Bubbles (my dog)
    My camera
    wearing flowers in my hair
    spell check
    clean air after a good rain

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