Summertime Challenge – Junuary


It is almost the end of June, or this year Junuary. In the great Pacific Northwest, summer might have started according to the calendar, but the sun generally doesn’t start showing its face on a regular basis until late July. Since out family challenge is to explore more of what the great outdoors has to offer, it means we need to be true to our NW roots…we need raincoats!

Today we donned Thomas the Train raincoats, backpacks and the baby wore a hat (something I need to remember for next time) and we set off to Snake Lake trail off of S19th street in Tacoma. The Snake Lake watershed is connected to the Tacoma Nature Center, and both are run by one my favorite governmental entity’s in Pierce County, Metro Parks.

The walk was easy with the 18month old. We didn’t bring a stroller for him, or use a backpack carrier either. Though the backpack might have made it a faster walk. He tends to dawdle, even in the rain. I have to keep reminding myself that this is still relatively new. We met many people who were using the path to run and saw some great sites along the trail. Great thing is that the rain was light while we were walking and some portions of the trail were dry because all the trees kept the rain to a minimum.

After our walk, we ended up at the Tacoma Nature Center. We read books, tried on skunk/beaver/duck costumes and watched turtles swim in their habitat. The center was a big hit because: it was indoors, warm and the activities were numerous! Even during lunch, my older boys, who’ve been there before, kept explaining, ‘look at that!’. It was a natural place to stop and eat the lunch we packed. We made sure to clean up after ourselves. The facility is so nice, it would be a shame to leave it a mess!

Lessons Learned
1) Bring a hat! (I got really wet)
2) Keep a change of clothes in the car, in case of falling in the mud – or other extreme boys sports. (This helped keep us warm and dry on the way home)
3) Pack a lunch. This is a great way to make sure that you’re prepared when the munches hit and a way to rally the troops toward the end…only a little farther till we can stop for lunch! Plus, you can save money vs. eating out.
4) Bring a change of shoes. I forgot to pack the baby’s rain boots and he was mad I kept lifting him over puddles. He wanted to stomp in puddles like his brothers, but I didn’t have a change of shoes. So yes, I became the crazy lady telling her boy, who is surrounded by mud and nature, to be careful about getting dirty…


Juvenile Diabetes Research – Beat the Bridge

Last month, I didn’t even realize it, but we started our summertime challenge.  My company had a large team of people signed up to run in an effort to beat the bridge, but it wasn’t until a very good friend of mine called and said “Wanna walk with me” that I even coJDRFnsidered participating.  Thank goodness for her, because now we were off and walking.

The count for our group was substantial, my friend and her daughter, myself and my three children, for a total of 6.  After I convinced my 5 year olds that the 4.5 mile walk was a good idea, and there would be rewards (extra pool time at the end of the week) for not fussing, they finally got on board, the walk itself was really great.

We walked all around the University of Washington campus, talked amongst ourselves and met some really nice people from all different kinds of companies wearing their logo t-shirts.  We packed some portable and easy to eat & walk snacks like apples as well as water for us and the kids. I can’t remember the amount of time it took to finish because I wasn’t paying attention.  And, the 5year olds felt great they got a medal for finishing.

Lessons Learned

  1. Find the exit, quickly: As we came to the finish line, we saw vendors and tents all around.  Because we were in the middle of the pack it was crowded, but doable.  While we walked around to see everything many more people arrived.  It got scary, so I told the older boys to hold onto the stroller for fear of losing them in the crush.
  2. Remember where you park: I was in a new parking lot and didn’t even see the signs marking the sections of the lot.  It took us 20 minutes in the rain to find the car. *head smack*
  3. Bring a lightweight jacket WITH A HOOD: see post #2 about walking in the rain brrrr…

With that in mind…I’m thinking about walking the 5K for the sound to narrows.  I’m not quite up to the full 12K yet. Maybe toward the end of the summer.

Hiking – our family’s new challenge

Its funny, as a mom who works outside the home,  my weekend time with my kids is precious.  My older two, the 5 year old twins, when reminded that tomorrow was Saturday and mommy would be home have different responses. One said “Yeah, mommy will be home”; while the other said very glumly “No TV! Oh man!”.  I like outdoor time, especially as the weather starts to warm up!  This summer, I think our challenge, in addition to the garden, will be going on 1 hike, volksmarch or other walk per month.

With the cost of gas and available time, I think I am only going to challenge myself to 1 hike a month, but since that is 1 hike more a month than last summer – I’m okay with that.  If you are interesting in challenging yourself this way too, here are some resources I found:

Family Friendly Hiking Guides – This is a great website that has family friendly and expert hiking trails.  The website has tips and packing lists for day hikes as well as local excursions.

Save on gas and click at to bring up a map of your local area to show a list of available hikes. You can even filter the map for family friendly hikes.

AVA or the American Volksmarch Association page for clubs in Washington: I loved to Volksmarch as a younger person and would love to pick it up again.  These are usually very nice, peaceful walks with no race or stress component.  This website will direct you to local clubs and the events they host in your area.


Walk Tacoma!

This is a series of walks that help you explore the city we all love, Tacoma.  Walks are classified from “History Walk” to “Power Walk”.  Each walk is lead by experts in the subject and no RSVP is necessary.  Walks are typically during the work week, so take a longer lunch break and stretch your legs, or use this as an alternative to the park for the kids.

Contact DOTG for more information at 253-682-1739.

Wright Park to Stadium District Walk
April 4, 2012,
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
(walk at noon)
Walk with: Melissa McGinnis & Erik Hanberg, Metro Parks or Paige Van Der Vliet, Tacoma Living Fit. Kick-off with theAmerican Heart Association andMetro Parks on National Walking Day. Sign up for the Heart Walk and get healthy living tips. Meet by the Wright Park white lions on 6th Ave. Sponsor: The Hub
Brewery District to South Downtown Walk
April 20, 2012,
12 – 1 p.m.
Walk with: Michael Sullivan, Local Historian or Janet Bissell, Metro Parks. Meet in front of the Swiss Building. Sponsor: AHBL  
South Waterfront to Tacoma Dome Walk
June 6, 2012,
5:15 – 6:15 p.m.
Walk with: David Schroedel, Metropolitan Development Director or Tani Loomis, YMCA. Meet at the base of the UWT stairs and return via the Link. Sponsor: TrueBlue  
North Waterfront to Theatre District Walk
June 22, 2012,
12 – 1 p.m.
Walk with: Rueben McKnight, City of Tacoma or Debra Schneider, Fitness One. Meet at the corner of Broadway & 9th.Sponsor: Paladina Health  
Downtown to Hilltop Walk
August 1, 2012,
5:15 – 6:15 p.m.
Walk with: A local poet or Liz & Matt from Expand Yoga. Join us as we write about what we see on this Walk Poetic. Meet in front of the historic Woolworth Building on 11th & Broadway. Sponsor: DaVita  
New Route!
August 17, 2012,
12 – 1 p.m.
Walk with: Dale Wirsing, Tacoma Historical Society or Morgan Blackmore, Tacoma Strength. Meet in Tollefson Plaza. Sponsor: TWO KOI Japanese Cuisine

Family Nature Walks – Tacoma

Metro Parks offer great nature walks, lead by a naturalist at various parks throughout the city.  These walks are FREE and offered for children over the age of 3 (able to walk on their own).  Walks are organized and led by Tacoma Nature Center staff.  I’ve taken my children on these walks, and not only are the great exercise for the body, but they are entertaining and full of information too!

For more information: 253-591-6439 or click here

  • Jan 21st 10-11am – Center at Norpoint, 4818 Nassau Ave NE
  • Jan 28th 10-11am – Wapato Hills Park, 6231 S Wapato St.
  • Feb 4th 1-2pm – Oak Tree Park, Cedar and S 74th St.
  • Feb 11th 10-11am – Wapato Park
  • March 31st 10-11am – Wapato Park
  • April 14th 10-11 – Wapato Park
  • April 28th 10-11 – Swan Creek Park, 2820 Pioneer Way E
  • May 19 10-11am Oak Tree Park