A Tough Day In Seattle With Kids: Swimming, Singing, And Shouting In The Rain

I’m writing this post because I personally love it when parents tell the truth about what went down during those 2-drink-minimum days. I think that most family travel blogs are kind of like Facebook – most of the time people gloss over the gritty stuff and focus on the shiny parts. I’m more of a realist myself. And today was not the best day. Lemme tell you why.

I’ve been looking forward to our family trip to Seattle for a long time. Josh and I spent our first year as a couple in this city, and we’ve got a lot of great memories here. I was excited to revisit some of the places we used to go, and also to do some fun new stuff with the kids.

Last night was awesome. We checked in to our hotel, then went out for dinner at a fantastic restaurant – Bitteroot BBQ (review coming soon). Although it was WAY past our kids’ bedtime by the time we were done with our meal, we were having such a great time that we decided to get a little crazy and go to Hotcakes bakery for some homemade ice cream sandwiches and tea (woo! party!). We didn’t get back to the hotel until 10:30 and the kids weren’t asleep until after 11. To put this in perspective, Bear normally goes to bed at 8, and Bird’s bedtime is at 9.

At this point, some of you might be thinking, so what? They can just sleep in the next morning! They’re on vacation! She is totally overreacting.

To you, I would say: do you know the story of how I slept in a tent in my backyard for six weeks because my kids are such terrible sleepers and they almost pushed me over the edge? (This story is a legend at my kids’ school. Moms I don’t even know have come up to me to ask for my autograph.)

I’ve written about this before: my kids are really bad sleepers. And to make matters worse, so am I. So we were skating on very thin ice with the sleep thing; we were riding the razor’s edge, and we knew it. But like I said, we were on some kind of weird vacation high, and we really did throw caution to the wind.

We really paid for it the next day. (That would be today). At 5:30 am, there was all kinds of hissing and growling coming from behind the sliding door of our suite. Seconds later, both kids burst through the door into our room, arguing and hitting and possibly even kicking each other. I’m still not exactly sure what happened. Something about a zombie.

So that’s how our day started. No one could go back to sleep, although we were all exhausted and grumpy. We tried to make the best of it, but it was hard. We visited the EMP Museum (Music, Sci-Fi, and Pop Culture), and that was great…

jimi guitar

Jimi Hendrix’s Burned Guitar, With Bear in The Background

but Bear was really too little to go to the “Lure Of Horror Film” exhibit, so we had to split up. And then Bird got lost. And Josh really wanted to spend more time in the Nirvana experience, and I wanted to watch the huge screen of music videos, and it was just kind of chaotic.

It didn’t help that it today was the only rainy day Seattle has had for weeks. Not that we were surprised, nor do we mind a little rain – the weather just added a layer of difficulty to an already challenging day. We finally decided to come back to the hotel for a swim at the indoor pool, which was a great idea. But our kids were so tired that they ended up bickering and fighting and generally infusing the entire pool area with negative vibes (see, I am definitely from Berkeley). So we left.

We tried again, going out for an early birthday dinner at The Walrus and The Carpenter. Another stellar restaurant, which my kids normally would have loved. But not tonight. More bickering and fighting and shouting (some from us). Normally, we would have thrown in the towel and had early bedtimes all around, but tonight, we had reservations for the Space Needle at 8 pm. (Whose terrible idea was that? Mine! I’m a wild planner, and I had made these reservations days in advance).

Bird's Eye View

Bird’s Eye View

We finally made it back to the hotel by nine. I was strongly tempted to dose both of my kids with Ambien so that they would be guaranteed to sleep through the night, but I restrained myself. I’m going to dose myself instead.

The sun will shine here tomorrow, in many ways. And I’m totally going to post on Facebook.

How about you? Have you had any tough trips with (or without) your kids lately? I’d love to hear your stories.


  1. I am sooooooooooo happy when I hear from people who are honest about the sometimes really difficult parts of child rearing, instead of pretending it’s all an “Ozzie and Harriet” life. (That reference alone tells you how old I am.) 🙂

    Here is our story. For years we have traveled long distance and just locally with our now 13 year old grandson. Extremely polite and appreciative, he’s been a dream kid. This past year we just added his four year old sister. She’s also well-trained, but heck, she is only four, and a totally different personality, and a different gender and a different age group, likes different foods and now there is someone to bicker with.

    Last week we had them over night and in 48 hours we had taken them to a waterpark, a drive in movie and a trampoline park. A fantastic time in my book. But at lunch just before going home, the four year old starts acting up and won’t stop until I finally raise my voice and speak a bit sternly. Then her feelings are hurt and she won’t speak to me the rest of the day or kiss me goodbye. Sheesh!

    We always have tons of great plans for fun, but occasionally we run smack into reality, and it ain’t always pretty.

  2. Points Pixie says

    Anne – As usual, you know exactly where I’m coming from! Your day with the grandkids sounds amazing…a fantastic time in anyone’s book.

  3. Sorry to hear you’re having a rough day, hope today went better! Do the kids journal when you travel? Not sure why that came to me. I guess I was thinking how fortunate they are to take so many fabulous trips. When my nieces/nephew visit or we travel together, I incorporate daily journaling for them to remember all the fun times they had each day. If they wake up early, I give them choices – 1) sleep 2) read 3) go back to sleep 4) journal. Of course I know kids act way different around parents vs aunties – this is just what works with us.

  4. Points Pixie says

    Rebecca – Love the journaling idea. I’m thinking it would be great to give each kid a little notebook, a glue stick, and pens/stickers. Then they could make a little scrapbook type thing! Thanks for the idea.

  5. “…infusing the entire pool area with negative vibes.” I’m dying! You have a way with words.

  6. Points Pixie says

    Ariana – Right back atcha! Your blog is awesome.


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