The dawn comes slowly to the Pacific side of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. Most winter mornings I wake in the darkness to the sound of rain, but this day was clear, and the bluish-gray dawn gave way to a golden sunrise as my house slowly woke up. My day starts early. I wake a couple hours before my children, so that I can work in peace for a bit and enjoy my coffee. Today was a preschool day, which meant that our morning routine needed to happen a little quicker than usual. My oldest daughter wakes up slowly and in her own time, but my youngest girl starts bouncing as soon as her little eyes open. With my husband’s help, we get them up, dress, fed breakfast, I pack lunches, comb hair, and we all brush our teeth.
Then it’s off to town! We live in a really remote area of the country, so going to preschool (or the grocery, or the library, or the park) requires us to drive 35 miles to the small town of Forks, Washington. My husband works for the National Park Service, and his current assignment is in a remote coastal outpost for Olympic National Park. Once we’re in town, I drop off Ella at preschool, and I normally drop off Anna at day care for a few hours, but today she had a doctor appointment first.
After the appointment, I dropped her off at our daycare for an hour so I could get a few more minutes of work done. In town, my only option is to go to the library, since Forks is so small it doesn’t have a Starbucks or coffee shop. But first a stop at my favorite coffee cart. After I work, I pick up the girls and they eat lunch in the car during the 45 minute drive home. Once we are home, it’s nearly nap time, and the baby asks to be put to bed. Ella hangs out with me for a bit, and then settles down in her own bed for her rest time. She doesn’t really nap any more, but we all need an hour in the afternoon of quiet to help us get through the rest of the day.
She’s ready to get up before Anna is awake, so she and I paint and have a snack. Before long we hear Anna’s bouncing, letting the whole house know she is awake, and then it’s time for an afternoon adventure! A clear day means that we spend as much time as possible outside, so we play in the yard for a bit, and then take a walk around the park complex. We visit Dad’s office, check the mail, and then he and Anna go for a run.
In the meantime, Ella and I pack up the sand toys and head to the beach that is walking distance from our house. We have some nice play time together just the two of us, before Dad and Anna met us after their run. We’ve lived in this remote area of the world for nearly five years, and yet a sunset on our coast still takes my breath away. The distance from neighbors, friends, and amenities is hard to take sometimes, but I am ever grateful for the chance to raise our children so close to the natural world.
As the sun set, we pack up and head back home. Dad gives the girls a bath to get all the sand off, while I make dinner. After we eat, we cuddle on the couch for stories and iPad time, and then it’s off to bed!