Treasure Walks and Early Spring in Seattle’s Washington Park Arboretum

What is it with 3 and 1/2 year-olds and treasures? Is this a thing? Maybe its just our little guy, but lately all he can talk about is treasures, from finding treasures to receiving them as a reward.  The good news? Anything can be a treasure.  So as long as we call it such, anything can have the potential of being special to him.  The bad news? Since everything has the potential to be a treasure, we can spend a lot of time waiting around for a lollygagging preschooler investigating every nook and cranny along our way.

Sometimes it all works out though, like during our visit to the arboretum this past weekend.  As soon as Bergen was “released” from the jogging stroller to walk on his own, he requested the use of one of the bags we’d brought along for the dog’s (ahem) deposits.  I credited him for his smart thinking! He declared that he was going to search for treasures, and then for the next mile or so, he picked up anything that happened to catch his eye.  Rocks, sticks, leaves, blades of grass…they all went in the bag.

If you’re looking for a way to focus walks and hikes with your young children, you might just think about bringing a bag along for collecting! It’s easy, doesn’t require a whole lot of pre-planning, and Bergen was more than willing to toss the treasures back when our walk was complete.

Treasure Walks and Early Spring in Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum |

Treasure Walks and Early Spring in Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum |

While Bergen was focused on finding treasures, I had the chance to admire early spring in the arboretum.  Yes, while the east coast is suffering through snow, ice, and bitter cold, we are experiencing abundant sunshine, flowers in bloom, warmer temperatures, and even (it seems to me) more active wildlife.

Treasure Walks and Early Spring in Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum |

Treasure Walks and Early Spring in Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum |


Have any more tips on holding kids’ interest while walking and hiking? We’d love more ideas!

You can also check out our other tips for hiking with a preschooler.


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Treasure Walks and Early Spring in Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum |

Treasure Walks and Early Spring in Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum |


Embracing the Arrival of Spring at the Seattle’s Washington Park Arboretum

With the sun beaming in through the windows and gorgeous blue sky greeting us this morning, I knew we had to get outside while it lasted.  What better way to enjoy the spring weather than at our nearby Washington Park Arboretum?  Little legs can run free while I take some time to check out what’s in bloom, and try to soak in as much warmth and rays before the clouds return.

From the moment those stroller wheels touched ground inside the park boundary, Bergen and his buddy Dylan were in their element.  Pointing at the trees, following robins as they fluttered by, and “remarking” about whatever else they noticed.  Soon stroller patience was over, and it was time to get out and really explore.

Washington Park Arboretum Bridge

Pink was around every corner.  I love the green of Western Washington just as much as the next gal, but it’s nice to have some variety back in our landscape.

Flowers Washington Park Arboretum

It was clear the birds were grateful for this day just like the rest of us at the park (from runners, to cyclists, to dog walkers and school children).  Their songs became our background noise and soon the boys were doing their best to sound just like them or at least laugh at my attempts.

Robin Washington Park Arboretum

Toward the end of our time at the park, Bergen proved he loved being out running the trails even more than I thought.    While he’s a happy guy, he’s not one for cuddling or creating tender moments.  He’s much too busy for such things and would rather be off getting his hands dirty and making messes.  Today was different though.  After a shriek, he came barreling down the path in my direction as I was crouched down taking photos and gave me a great big hug.

Trail Washington Park Arboretum

It didn’t stop there though.  No, Bergen had more love to give.  After he was finished with me, he scrambled right over to his buddy for his very first “friend hug”.

Big Hug: Washington Park Arboretum

Hug: Washington Park Arboretum

Do you share his sentiment for the new season? 

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*Also if you have a quick second, please take it to vote for us in the Circle of Moms: Top 25 Outdoorsy Moms contest.  It’s easy and you can vote once a day. Voting ends 3/27/13. BIG THANKS!

Braving the Seattle Grays One Walk at a Time

Yesterday Bergen, Norman, and I found ourselves back at the Arboretum.  Both guys needed a walk and some outside time, and I wanted to see what the Arboretum was up to as winter nears.

Washington Park Arboretum

Pleasantly surprised to see a burst of purple color.

I decided to stop into the Visitor’s Center, something I’d usually skip.  I could come up with a bunch of great reasons to encourage one to go inside, and explain why we decided to go in this day, but let’s be honest, the real reason is that I heard they were now selling coffee and Cougar Mountain cookies.  Along with my fresh cup of coffee, I picked up a bag of the special Arboretum Blend coffee beans from Zoka Roasters.  Someone on my Christmas list is very lucky.  The volunteer at the desk greeted us, and said something that made me stop and think: “My…you’re brave to be out and about on a day like today…”.

It wasn’t even raining.

We’ve done some things with Bergen that others might think twice about, but a walk outside? That’s not so brave.  Right? For us, it’s more of a necessity.  Outside in nature, Bergen is happy.  He’s calm.  He’s content.  The puddles.  Rocks. Grass to run his hands through.  It’s also the wide-space allowing him to toddle to his heart’s content.  And an added bonus: Wonderful naps at home follow a good romp outside.

Toddler Arborteum

Happy Toddler Arboretum

Exploring the ground: WA Park Arborteum

Toddling: WA Park Arboretum

Joyful: WA Park Arboretum

Where is your favorite place to roam free outdoors (with your little ones or by yourself) even in the cold, dark {almost} winter? Share.

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5 Reasons to Love Seattle’s Washington Park Arborteum this Fall

As you might already know, we’re frequenters of the Washington Park Arboretum.  We’re lucky that this 230 acre park is practically in our backyard.  With so many visits you’d think we would be sick of going, but instead we’re just finding more reasons to appreciate the place.  Every season brings something unique and special, but here’s what we’re loving this fall:

1. The Fall Colors

The oranges, yellows, and reds are here.  Against the evergreen trees, the colors just pop.

2. The Sounds of Fall.

This month brings a special art installation to the Arboretum called Paths II: The Music of Trees.  There are 7 sites each with it’s own unique soundtrack to listen to via a speaker high above.  Take a look and listen at Site 5.  The sound you’ll hear (aside from crows, camera noise, and an airplane) is actually the feet of flies flittering  about on a special microphone that picks up sound by touch!

3. The Fall Weather.

Sure, the rains have returned, but we’ve also had some gorgeous sunshiny crisp weather creating the perfect conditions for hiking the trails of the arboretum.

4. The Smells of Fall.

  • Fresh air.
  • That telltale Seattle rain
  • Smoke spilling out of the Stone Cottage’s chimney.

5. Little Surprises.

Due to our exceptionally warm September and early October, you’ll still find flowers in bloom!

How and where are you enjoying fall?

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More Arboretum Adventures:

Wild Sightings: Washington Park Arboretum

There we were on one of our usual walks in the Washington Park Arboretum catching up on the days activities.  Bergen babbling away in his stroller.  Norman wishing he was off his leash chasing the squirrels scurrying about in the grass and trees.

All of a sudden, we were stopped in our tracks.

We listened for several minutes trying to locate where the sound was coming from.

Once we were able to hone in on one particular tree, we inspected each and every branch and limb until finally…I spotted the creature who was talking to us!

Beautiful Barred Owl

The owl stayed very still, high up in the tree allowing us to watch in awe, and even allowed us to point out our discovery to others passing by on their walk.  I’ve seen an owl once before, but this was Slaed’s first “owl in the wild” spotting.  Not such a usual day after all.

Ever spot an owl in it’s natural habitat? Or any share-worthy animal in it’s natural habitat?

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Washington Park Arboretum Waterfront Trail

Here in Seattle, we are coming close to setting a record, and this time it doesn’t have to do with coffee, grunge bands or precipitation.  It actually has to do with the lack of precipitation!  46 days (and counting) with NO RAIN to be exact, and we’re not complaining.

Slaed, Bergen, and I (and Norman: the dog, too) walk after Slaed gets home from work nearly everyday.  We enjoy all of our neighborhood walk routes, but our most favorite is our Arboretum loop.  We’re lucky enough to live just a few blocks from the entrance.  Most of the time when we visit, we take the paved route, and then circle back home through the neighborhood.  On rare, special days however, we continue past the visitors center, under the 520 highway, and on the Arboretum Waterfront Trail.

This walk is rare and special because 90% of the time, it’s too soggy and wet to get through without hip waders, rain gear, or no care in the world about getting completely muddy and gross.  We also need a little more time than our usual walks as the trail adds 30-45 minutes to our adventure.

So when Slaed got home early one afternoon this week, and I recalled our rain record, we jumped at the chance to introduce the trail to Bergen for the first time!  Upon reminiscing, it turns out we probably hadn’t visited for at least 2 years.

The trail first has you walking on a wood-chipped path, which ends after a few hundred feet leading you to a series of boardwalks, and the real highlight of the experience.  The first island is Foster Island, followed by Marsh Island.  These wetlands are some of the last in Seattle.

From the boardwalks, we actually took our time for a change noticing the construction to the University of Washington Husky Stadium, chatting with canoers, and trying our hardest to spot wildlife.  If we are lucky, we’ll catch a glimpse of blue heron, muskrats, and turtles, but this time ducks were the only creatures hanging around in our view.

Info to Know:

  • Washington Park Arboretum is located near the Montlake and Madison Park/Madison Valley neighborhoods in Seattle.
    • 2300 Arboretum Drive E
      Seattle, WA 98112
    • Map
  • If venturing onto the Waterfront Trail think about the weather conditions (past and present), and plan accordingly.  Bring your camera, sturdy shoes as you won’t want to hurt your feet on the holes in the boardwalk, and maybe even binoculars to help you spot the many species of birds that can be found within the area.
  • Strollers are fine for many of the trails within the arboretum, but you’ll need a baby carrier for the Waterfront Trail.

Go do some more Friday travel photo Daydreaming over at RWeThereYetMom?

Then check out the fun at Delicious Baby!

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the rundown: week 2!

Sending out my goals to the world again proved to be just as motivating for week 2.  Part of it is also, of course, just making a plan in general.  With a little person around to take care of, it’s important for me have goals for the day, otherwise I’ll get totally distracted, and wrapped up with feeding, playing, cleaning up, and on and on.  Another realization I came to this week is how helpful it is to share my training goals with Slaed.  Just another person to keep me honest, and support me, and oh, take care of Bergen while Norman and I run!

The goal is in bold.  What I actually accomplished is below. 

Monday: Stretch & Strengthen: Plan to do a cardio strength class at the Y, and then lots of stretching when I get home.  I think the sequence found here will be perfect.  It’s from the blog, “my yoga life“.  Hal Higdon has some great stuff on stretching here too.

Cardio Strength class at the Y. Similar to my Wednesday class with a little more cardio than strength.  This may not be the best class for my stretch and strengthen day.  It’s technically supposed to be more of a rest day because of the long run on Sunday, so I’m thinking it’s a bit too much cardio.  I did manage to do the stretching sequence, but it wasn’t right after class when it would have been most beneficial.  The poses complement the running well, and seem to stretch exactly the right muscles. I need to spend more time in them though.

Tuesday: 3 mile run: Plan to do a DIFFERENT (than last week) 3 mile run with B & Norman mid-morning.

Ran 3 mile with B & Norman.  As I checked out new routes using “map my run”, I mapped out a loop run with a mile and a half or so being through our beautiful Arboretum.  It was beautiful indeed, however Bergen didn’t seem to agree as he fussed and cried for 2 out of the 3 miles, even with a break for eating.  He’s not exactly liking his stroller these days.

B may have been fussy, but at least we got to enjoy everything in bloom at the arboretum.

Wednesday: 2 mile run or cross-training: Plan to do my favorite cardio class at the Y.

Total Strength class at the Y was once again great fun. Our instructor mixed it up for us, and brought out steps, so we stepped away to her upbeat music selections.  I loved the steps because it added a new challenge, and I also felt like I was in one of those aerobic classes from the 80’s.  Some nice daydreaming…

Thursday: 3 mile run + strength: Plan to do an early morning run with B & Norman AND this easy strength training routine thanks to “another mother runner“.

3 miles with Bergen and Norman (same arboretum loop as Tuesday).  This time B did not fuss nearly as much as Tuesday.  I think I managed to time the run to coincide with nap time: much better. However, he’s still not completely content in the stroller.  I think he’d rather be out exploring.

I don’t know what it is…didn’t do strength training AGAIN. I kept thinking about it, but just didn’t get around to it. I need to get the exercise ball out from the basement, and the hand weights out of the closet.  Maybe seeing the equipment will get me going.

Friday: REST!

A whole lot of resting was going on at our house. I came down with a cold and was not up for anything.

Saturday: 30 minute cross: Plan to do an early morning walk around the neighborhood with the whole family.  We will probably walk for at least an hour though.

2 different 30-minute walks with the family both the Bergen in the ergo.  Does that count as strength training?

Sunday: 4 mile run:  Plan to run with Norman.  I’ve mapped out a pretty hilly route, but I’m excited for the challenge.

Ran 4 miles with Norman.  The uphill was tough, but it felt so good to get to the top.  Part of the run was along Lake Washington, and since it was such a beautiful day, lots of other runners and cyclists were out.  Fun to watch, and feel the comradery.  I’m a little worried about Norman though.  As we were running past a dog who was fenced in his yard, Norman darted in front of me, and I stepped (or ran) on his poor back foot.  He limped for a little bit and didn’t want to put weight on it, but then was able to walk it off.  This was just in the first mile.  He was able to pull through, and we obviously finished the run, but it seems like it’s bothering him a little bit tonight. I’m hoping I wasn’t too hard on my favorite running partner.

10 weeks to go! Look for my week 3 training plan tomorrow.  You can keep track of all of our running adventures here.

Jogging Stroller tips (to make it more fun for baby)? Please share!