Last year some of my friends visited the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in nearby Woodburn and posted stunning photos of their children in fields of tulips with Mt. Hood looming in the background. The scenery was so beautiful it almost didn't look real, and I determined to add "Tulip Festival" to my list of places to visit this year.
About a month ago, when the weather was enviously beautiful and we were still in the heart of the driest and warmest winter Portland has seen in the last 70 years, I saw an advertisement for the tulip festival. It started on Alli's 6th birthday and ran for exactly one month. Curt took the day off work and we planned to kick off her birthday with a family trip to the tulip farm. Of course the warm weather spell was broken early into our spring break and Alli's birthday dawned gray, cold, blustery and with an all-day rain. Add to the mix the fact that Kaitlin and Paige woke up with the flu and our plans to visit the tulip farm flew straight out the window.
Today I chaperoned a "walking" field trip for Alli's kindergarten class to a nearby orthodontist office and Safeway. (Don't ask me how the two go together. I was on the field trip and I still don't get it.) It was supposed to be super rainy and windy, but the sun defied the weather reports and we stayed dry. When we came home for lunch, I checked the weather at the tulip farm and it reported blustery and chilly with sun and patches of blue skies. On a whim, Alli, Paige and I jumped in the car and drove the 25 miles to go and see the tulips.
It really was a blast. The walkways through the fields were a mass of thick mud with puddles perfect for jumping in (thankfully the girls wore their rain boots). Mt. Hood was shrouded in clouds rendering it invisible, but the beautiful Cascade Range boasted fresh snow and huge cotton ball clouds that danced around their many peaks and valleys. Tulips in every color lit up acres and acres of fields. It was spectacular. We chased each other through the flowers, splashed in the puddles, and took tons of pictures. Alli found two flowers that had fallen on the ground and she and Paige carried them around like lost treasures. When we were done looking at tulips, we rode the shuttle to the touristy area of the farm that had food booths, a gift shop and children's games. I conveniently forgot my wallet in the car on the other side of the farm so we only participated in events that were free. Alli's favorite part was pumping water down a ramp to race a duck. She would have stayed at that station all day. Paige's favorite was a play structure with a surprisingly fast slide. She flew down and almost landed straight on her tushy. Her eyes went from fear to utter delight and she giggled and ran back to fly down again. They were so excited about our time that as we were leaving, Alli borrowed my cell phone and left Curt the longest rambling message accurately highlighting everything we did. She even said, "It was a bit of a bummer that we didn't get to see Mt. Hood, but we saw lots of other pretty stuff."
Both girls fell asleep in the car on the way home which almost never happens, so I pulled into the driveway, left the car running and dozed with them in the bright sunshine. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. We'll definitely be back next year and I'll always take with me the memory of a wonderful afternoon with my girls.