The days are getting shorter and, even in the summer heat, the wind is changing and leaves are beginning to turn. And…dread, back-to-school is upon us.
I mourn the end of summer. I love warm weather, summer styles, and (above all else) the freedom from schedules. I enjoy being at home with the kids with no agenda. Yes, we have a few weeks of camp sprinkled in between our family adventures, but I enjoy “the dog days” of summer when we spend late mornings in our jammies with the kids building lego cities for hours.
Because this change in season is particularly difficult for me, I try to find joy in and make special plans for our final days before school starts. With 3 kids in elementary school, early fall can be a very difficult transition as our schedules suddenly become much more busy. Each year we plan a final camping weekend over Labor Day with our family friends. And this year, we decided to make back-to-school shopping a fun adventure by planning a “staycation” in downtown Bellevue (a quick trip across Lake Washington from Seattle).
We thoroughly enjoyed our overnight stay at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue. As a family of 5, we rarely stay in hotels…the kids kept calling every detail “fancy.” And we were fancy! From ordering room service of warm chocolate chip cookies with milk while watching a late night movie, to taking bubble baths in the luxurious tub, we lived it up!
And it’s hard for us to choose a favorite activity. For the kids, the lap- size pool complete with noodles and balls was definitely a highlight. And I certainly enjoyed the convenience to all that downtown Bellevue has to offer. After checking in (and doing a couple of cartwheel in our suite), we ventured across the street to Din Tai Fung for dumplings and their phenomenal green beans (a family crowd pleaser). With full bellies, we settled in to watch the aforementioned movie in our jammies. After putting the kids to bed, my husband and I enjoyed some alone time drinking wine in that giant tub.
When we awoke late the next morning, we headed downstairs to the Hyatt’s beautiful atrium to enjoy brunch. With young children, I can’t remember the last time we brunched…let alone the last time we all slept in past 8:00?! This may be the highlight of my trip! The breakfast service at the hotel’s Eques restaurant was delicious. The kids’ enjoyed the buffet; helping themselves to fresh fruit, bacon and waffles with Nutella. I choose healthier options, ordering a green smoothie and a poached egg on avocado toast that I’m still drooling over.
After breakfast, we thought that a dip in the pool would be a perfect opportunity to get some energy out before hitting the shops at Bellevue Square for some back-to-school shopping. Bellies full and hair wet from the pool, when we finally wandered across the street we were prepared with our agenda. We started at Uniqlo for some great basics. We hit the jackpot (no pun intended), when Jack discovered the elastic waist jeans, which are perfect for a lean child looking for pants. And the girls each snuggled up to fleece jackets. Afterwards, the girls and I headed over the Zara Kids for some more trend-driven back-to-school styles. We capped off our trip with smoothies and a game of chess before leaving for home well-rested and feeling moderately more prepared for school’s start.
Thank you for returning to read my blog. I have taken a much-needed and much-longer respite from this space than I had anticipated. Writing and sharing feels good and I’m happy to be back at it. I hope you enjoy a restful long weekend and are prepared for the changing season upon us. I look forward to sharing more and connecting in this space in the coming weeks. Cheers to the long Labor Day weekend! ~Jenn
A special ‘thank you’ to the Hyatt Regency Bellevue for hosting our family. And we are also grateful to Eques and the Bellevue Collection for their hospitality. While this post was sponsored by these lovely partners, you can always expect all content, photos, and opinions to be my own.