My summer vacation began at approximately 3:00 pm on June 29; after 180 days of school, two days of literacy curriculum framework writing, and two wisdom teeth extraction surgeries for my teenagers. As mentioned in my previous post, I no longer wait for life to happen. Instead, I live it, because everyday holds the possibility of amazing things. With that said, I’ve created a summer bucket list of things I really want to do. Most of them will be unimpressive to anyone other than myself (Hello, ice cream cone? I seriously only have like one a year. It has to be good.) Plus, I’m leaving off the things I have to accomplish; repainting my baseboards, deep cleaning my kitchen and bathrooms, and steam cleaning the carpets (quadruple yuck).

Nevertheless, I plan to complete, and maybe add to, the following bucket list over the course of my summer vacation.

Hike to a waterfall at Mount Rainier

Take a ferry ride

Take a military flight to a random destination for an unplanned trip

Eat an ice cream cone

Hike at Mount St. Helens

Visit Montana

Go to a wine tasting in Leavenworth (preferably with my mom)

Drive to the Coast

Watch my sister’s 80’s band perform

Finish my backyard patio/reading nook/ sanctuary

Read an average of one novel/week

Watch the Mariner’s at Safeco Field.

Eat at SkyCity in the Space Needle

Like I said, most items on the list are fairly ordinary, especially for those who live in the Pacific Northwest. I think for those of us who do live here, we can all agree that we are  extremely fortunate to live in an area with so much to do. It’s amazing to me that I can go for a walk around my neighborhood and not only see the Tacoma valley, but also Mount Rainier. I love it, and can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Yesterday began in the most ordinary way possible. I woke up, had coffee and was reading a manuscript by one of my fabulous writer friends. But like all great unplanned days, I decided we needed to get out of the house and go on an adventure. After three days of teenage wisdom teeth recovery (surgery was definitely not on the summer bucket list, no matter how necessary) and round-the-clock medication, we all needed a change of scenery. Plus, Chris just returned from three weeks of training the day before. The fact that he might have been tired was beside the point entirely. After all, he’s in the military. They are trained to adapt.

In the end, after ensuring my teens’ pain level was down and pitching the idea of going on an adventure to my ten-year-old (she was totally down as all favorite children are. Kidding!) we approached the LTC. Consequently, he was the one who decided we should drive to Mount St. Helens.

In all, it turned out to be an amazing day. The views were spectacular, the wildflowers amazing, and the hike was refreshing, but not too strenuous.

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A memorial for those who lost their lives when Mount St. Helens erupted.

One of my favorite parts of the hike were the wildflowers growing near the mountain. For me they represent something more than nature. They are a promise that even when things seem dark, there is an opportunity for growth and better things to come. I think that’s a hope we can all relate to right now.

All in all, it was a perfect day, and a beautiful way to start my summer vacation.

Until next time…

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