Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tulip Festival 2011

So this year was our tenth year of visiting the tulip festival! How are we old enough that we've been together for ten years?! Crazy...
In ten years we have missed only one tulip festival, the year Ayden was born. That was because I was hugely pregnant and didn't want to leave town just in case I went into labour. And then we found out Ayden was breech, and there were lots of appointments and tests to deal with that. Otherwise, we have visited Mt Vernon to enjoy their tulips every year! Impressive. I love tulips, they are my favorite flower.
We gathered the kids together on Sunday afternoon, and after the usual false starts--I have to go pee while we're still in the driveway, Me hungee, and Mwa, Mwa, MWAAAAAAAAAAAAA (I pooped, I want boob, I just puked on my outfit)--left town headed for gorgeous fields of tulips. Really, this annual trip is not for the kids. But they are pretty cheerful about it, especially because on weekends Tulip Town sets up a number of pretty spectacular kites, and they have a gift shop and cafe.
The border crossing always makes me nervous. U.S. border guards are scary. But I guess that a mid 30s couple in a mini van with four small kids going to the tulip festival are pretty low risk, because we had no problems getting across. :p
The kids were great. Amarys is a surprisingly good traveller! She slept the whole time. Riley was a horrific traveller from birth to about two years old; he NEVER cried, but on roadtrips? He screamed and screamed. He's great at it now, but it was tough to travel with him for the first bit. We had a hilariously awesome time; Amarys had a diaper blowout at the farthest end of the tulip fields so I had to change her diaper in the grass at the edge of the field with scads of weekend tourists walking by and her screaming like she's dying because its windy and cool and she's only six weeks old so of course she still hates diaper changes. Also, Riley puked all over himself on our way home, strawberry milkshake and french fries in all the nooks and crannies of his carseat. Which was our backup carseat because the chest clip on his regular carseat broke a few days before. What's a family road trip without some major body fluid spillage?!
In between those incidents we visited the tulips, took tons of photos, bought kites for the kids and a framed photo for us, and went to Applebee's for dinner and Krispy Kream for dessert! We had a blast. Here are some awesome photos!

Matthew took this photo below; he really liked
the fact that there was one solo orange tulip
growing in the yellow ones

We try every year to get a family shot and a good
one of each child...some years we succeed, others not so much.
But this one is nice!

I don't know if you have ever noticed, but sometimes
pictures of Matthew are in short supply. this is because he
is always moving, and my photos of him are often a blur.
You can sometimes get him to stand still for a picture
if you ask him to make a goofy face. Then you get a
goofy faced photo...

Mid field diaper change...we had lots of looky loos because
Amarys was screeching and we looked kind of weird

I wanted a daddy-baby shot but Amarys was
not cooperating

At least they look the same???

Here was the first attempt to get a solo shot of Ayden;
I was trying to get him to have a real smile so I was
yelling things about Harry Potter pooping, but the
effect was a little overly funny than I bargained for and
I couldn't get his eyes open because he was laughing too hard
(how can you tell I have boys? Potty humour. It works every time)

This is my favourite photo of 2011

The setup for the family photo--I have
no idea what we are looking at!

And the finished product

I love family traditions in general, and this one is a favourite of mine. Its a reminder of all the years past that we have visited in various stages of our family history, and of our relationship and how cool it is that we love each other so much and really enjoy each others' company. I know that for me, this man never gets boring or distant, and that our connection just gets deeper every year. He really does make life taste better. ♥ Brent first took me to the tulip festival when we had been dating for two months, because he knew I loved tulips. Who knew we would be going back ten years later with four kids tucked under our wings?
The tulip fields also remind me of my struggles with depression in my late teens and early twenties, because the first year I really started to walk out of that struggle was a remarkably sunny one, and there were lots of brightly coloured tulips blooming. I've wrestled mental illness in different forms for years, and am grateful for everything in my life that helps keep me balanced. Although my kids test my balance, they sure make life worth living, and balance worth striving for! This trip helps me mark each year of family history, and personal journey, with gratitude. And it sure is a kick ass backdrop for photographs...


Louise Chapman said...

Gorgeous!! Great family photo! I def. need to get down there one year, those flowers are an amazing backdrop.

Tonya said...

Wow, beautiful pictures. Absolutely beautiful. Your family is so stinking CUTE!

Anonymous said...

Melissa, Dawn Sambrook here. Was all ready to go to the Tulips today... for the second time this spring... and was faced with a two hour border line. Thwarted. Will try again next week! You inspired me to go to the trouble one more time.

Jonathan Erdman said...

Matthew looks like he is 14. How the heck did he get so old?

You look gorgeous and Amarys is adorable.

Oh my God your family is so precious and beautiful and amazing! This post makes me so grateful for this whole blog and for your sweet life, how we get to follow you step by step. What a gigantic blessing you (all) are.

ms emili louann said...

Wow! My favorite things about this post:

1. "I want boob!"
2. Matthew with the pink tulips and gorgeous mountains in the background
3. Amarys' pink bow!!!
4. Your family photo - you're all so gosh darn beautiful.
5. The fact that you love tulips. They are the simplest yet loveliest blooms.


Tonya said...

I pulled up your blog to see if you had written anything. Liza asked me to stay on it so she could see "that cute belly" - your belly!

Tamie Harkins said...

Woops--I just realized that I was signed in as Jon before. That was me!

melissa said...

thank you guys!

it was a fantastic trip. we had so much fun!
i recommend it for anyone who can swing it.

thanks tamie, i figured it might be you and not jon =)
i can't believe how old matthew is getting, either. you should hear him talk! the transformation is pretty amazing.
i'm very blessed, and grateful.

lori said...

One of my main thoughts was how old Matthew looks in the serious shots, so it's funny that other people noticed too.

I love how well Amarys matches the tulips. Otherwise, with her demeanor, she is kind of like the grumpy yellow tulip amid all of you cheerful pink ones.

Traditions are cool!

I like the single petal toward the end. Neat-o shot.

I always get nervous crossing the border too - any direction, no matter which country's personnel. I am so sure they're going to dramatically confiscate something. A box of oranges (been done), a plant I'm traveling with (didn't confiscate it, but took 1/2 hour to figure out if it was a legal variety), our hunting guns (if paperwork isn't correct or whatever), our dog (again with the paperwork). Stressful!