Archive for April, 2016

A smorgasboard of photos from the past couple of weeks:

One of my very favorite kids turned six last week and we celebrated with pizza and popsicles at the park.  I remember when this sweet boy was just a little roly-poly of a thing – now he’s SIX, all grown-up and super-cool.

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Still awfully sweet, though…

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Most of the attendees were boys in the 6-10 year range and Jules couldn’t quite keep up, but she was pretty thrilled to watch from the sidelines and get a glimpse of future shenanigans.

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Don’t even think about it, kiddo!  Too high, too high!

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Best to stick with frolicking in the grass with her pint-sized buddy!

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Love you, Z!  It’s such a pleasure to watch you grow.

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Shane, Jules, and I spent a sunny Sunday morning hanging out at Lake Union, watching the boats and sea planes go by.

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Girl knows how to accessorize!

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And then a sunny Sunday evening at Seward Park – suddenly beach weather is upon us!

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These two were giddy with the promise of summer on the horizon (it’s a distant horizon, but still very exciting!).

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I’m loving these longer daylight hours – we can push Juliette’s bedtime back a bit on the evenings we want to take a spin around the block after dinner.  She’s slowly getting the hang of her balance bike, although it seems she usually decides she’s done riding once we’ve reached the farthest point from home.  Of course.

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We checked out Montlake Playground on Friday with our buddies – Juliette was quick to set up shop in the “kitchen” and make me a sausage with chocolate.

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This.  Kid’s.  Smile.

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Little O turns three tomorrow and we celebrated with him on Saturday morning at a Top Pot Caspar Babypants concert.  He is Caspar’s biggest fan and bopped along to every single song.

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Jules was not so impressed with the music, but the donut with sprinkles was a major hit.  Points to Shane for not complaining once through the whole thing – this is decidedly not his scene!

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Shane is bound and determined to make a biking family out of us, so he borrowed Nancy’s bike for me on Saturday afternoon and corralled Jules and me over to Seward Park for a short ride.  Truth be told, I would have preferred to tuck myself into the bike trailer with Juliette and her books, but still, it was fun.

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The mid-ride stop for snacks by the water was a plus.

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Yesterday was rainy and gray – we spent a lot of time cuddled up inside with hot tea and Finding Nemo.  Juliette and I did venture out for a quick run up to Jefferson Park - I haven’t jogged with the stroller in awhile and barely made it up the hill with old bag of books.  As I huffed and puffed, she called back, “What’s wrong, Mommy?”  I said, “You’re so heavy, baby!”  She sighed dramatically and said, “I know!  I’m so tired!”  Life is rough, huh, kid?

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My photo log tells me I’m due for another update on Jules, so here’s the latest and greatest on little Miss Sunshine:

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Sunshine schmunshine, huh?  For the record, 20 seconds later, she looked like this:

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Moody as ever, but we’re rolling with it and relishing the highs, of which there are many.

Our conversations are reaching new levels of sophistication and I’m loving the updates I get from Juliette at the end of the school day.  “O brought a robot to school for show and share, and N drinks all his milk, so he has strong bones!”  After she gives us the highlight reel, she often wants to know how Shane’s or my day went and is increasingly curious about our jobs.  She’s starting to make sense of what we do and is solidifying her own hopes and dreams:  “Mommy makes buildings, Daddy works on computers, and when I grow up I’m going to wear Pull-Ups!”  The other day, as we were driving home from school, she said so sweetly from the backseat, “Mommy?  I like talking to you.”  And when she tires of talking to me, she just picks up her phone and calls a friend (usually Jack), gabbing in all kinds of gibberish:

As her vocabulary has expanded, she’s started demanding more specificity from Shane and me.  When I say, “Look at that bird!”, she responds with, “Actually…it’s a crow!”  When I say she’s two, she says, “Actually…I’m two and a half.”  Next thing I know, she’ll be rolling her eyes and muttering, “Duh, Mom…”  Gah!  My big kid!  A few nights ago I pulled out the duck towel she used as a baby in a desperate attempt at a flashback.  It hardly covers her bottom now.  But I think she liked the cool breeze on her cheeks.

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She continues to have endless amounts of energy and is always finding creative ways to expend said energy.  Shane predicts this game will end in disaster.  I’m in the “she’ll learn her limits somehow” camp.

Skateboarding with her big buddies G and Z is another new favorite pastime – she wasn’t the least bit deterred when the skateboard slipped out from under her feet and landed her rump-first on the concrete.  She’s sturdy, that kid.

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(No, I did not let her roll off that step on her belly – I’m not that easy going!)

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Shane was swept up in the Warriors craze and has a definite case of NBA fever.  Juliette likes to snuggle up with him on the couch and catch a game, but she loves to head outside with her dad to “dribble”.

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Her athletic endeavors leave her with quite an appetite – she’s a solid eater and is chowing down on her veggies these days without too much coaxing.  Anything sweet set within an arm’s reach of her disappears in a flash, though;  I try to limit the indulgences and keep cookies and candy and juice in the “extra-special treat” category, but it sure is fun to see her eyes light up over a lollipop.  Shane and I were ordering a pizza the other night and when I asked Juliette what kind of toppings she wanted, she shouted, “Syrup!”.  When I suggested pepperoni, she said, “No, I want brown pizza!” (brown is her code word for chocolate).  Chocolate pizza with syrup…I’m getting flashes of that scene in Elf where Will Ferrell tops his spaghetti with M&Ms and crumbled Pop Tarts.  For the record, this precious cherry-chocolate macaron lasted all of seven seconds:

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She’s still the girl of a hundred different faces and is bound and determined to master the wink.  Don’t hurt yourself, kid!

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Her “scared face”, donned whenever she hears a loud noise, is pretty great as well.

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Have I mentioned that I’m completely stumped over how to tame this hair?  There aren’t enough bobby pins in the world.

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And a couple of random goodies from the photo reel:

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Happy…31 months?!  I asked Juliette the other day if she was still my baby and she replied, “No, I’m a KID!”  Indeed.

In spite of the pink fluffy trees and the sunshiny weekends, I’ve found myself feeling funky these past few weeks.  No single thing has me down, but a handful of stresses and sadnesses have left me anxious and blue.  And I noticed over the weekend that I wasn’t just being mopey and withdrawn, I was being impatient with Jules and cold toward Shane.  It was time to nip this funk in the bud.  I needed a reboot, a little time to introspect, a day off.

I’m pretty scroogey with my vacation days, hoarding my time off for…what, exactly?  A spur-of-the-moment three-week trip to Paris?  Ha!  I figured I could spare a day for the sake of self-care and told my team on Tuesday afternoon that I’d catch them on Thursday.  Now…what to do with nine luxurious hours of freedom?  I thought about going shopping or working on a house project or just staying in bed all day with a book, but decided I’d mix things up and head to the mountains for a hike.  I dropped Juliette off at daycare on Wednesday morning and drove east to the Little Si trailhead in North Bend, feeling so very Carpe Diem-ish.

Shane and I hiked this trail back in 2009, but I’d forgotten how rugged it was.  Or maybe I’d just forgotten what hiking is really like?  I mean, it’s been awhile.  Still, scrambling over those rocks felt good – I was 36 pounds lighter without a toddler in tow!

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Brace yourselves – it was a moss bonanza out there I got shutter-happy trying to capture the infinite shades of green.

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Seriously though, this moss!

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Finally, just as my ankles started to get wobbly and my knees started to ache, the light at the end of the tunnel…

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This guy took my spot…

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Not to worry though – I found another monster of a rock a little further up that had my name on it.  I pulled out an apple and just sat, the crunch of my Fuji seeming like the only sound for miles.

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After 15 minutes of lonesome zen, I was joined by another couple who recommended that I check out the Boulder Garden Loop on my way back down.  I took swig from my water bottle and was off.


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Something about the word “garden” in Boulder Garden Loop conjured up images of easy, meandering, flat pathways.  WRONG.

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But I huffed and I puffed to another summit and then flew down the hill, satisfyingly bone-tired by the time I reached the car.

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This little out-of-character foray into the woods did me a world of good – I’m not completely funk-free, but I’m on the path toward gratitude and contentedness.  And let me tell you, that path is covered in moss.

Cherry blossom season in Seattle comes in two phases – first the dainty white and light pink blooms of the UW quad, then the puffy pink pom-poms that burst forth across the city.  The pom-poms peaked last week and it felt like I was greeted with happy clouds of pink around every corner.  The walk from my office to Juliette’s daycare has never been lovelier!

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This sprawling beaut of tree was spotted around the corner from Juliette’s dentist last Friday (poor kid had no idea what she was running toward – teeth cleaning is not in her wheelhouse of favorite activities!)…

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And Lake Washington Boulevard has been donning its finest – Juliette and I headed there to decompress and eat a cookie after said traumatic dentist appointment.

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Cookies and sunshine do a body good!

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Shane went for a long bike ride on Sunday and then met Jules and I at the other end of Lake Washington Boulevard – we found a sunny patch of grass near the water and piped the Giants game through Shane’s phone.  It ain’t Spring till you hear Jon Miller shout, “That. Ball. Is. OUTTA HERE!”

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It was a stunning weekend, weather-wise.  And then…this happened.

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The trek to Juliette’s school wasn’t quite so grand today – no chirping birds, no bright and fluffy trees.  Just gray skies, wet shoes, and bloom-strewn sidewalks.  I know, I know, part of the magic of cherry blossom season lies in its ephemeral nature, but I can’t help wishing it would last just a little longer.

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I’ve always looked forward to my mom and dad’s visits to Seattle, but I’ve longed for quality time with them even more in the years since I’ve had Juliette.  It’s a good feeling, watching people love your kid, and grandparents are especially good at doting, at hugging and playing and bearing witness to the fact that you have the sweetest, smartest, most amazing child on earth.

Thankfully, grandparents are also good at keeping their cool when that sweet kid turns into the whiniest, clingiest, most tantrum-prone of toddlers.  Jules was on a definite mood swing rampage this past weekend!  Way to keep it real, kiddo.  So maddeningly real.

But hey, let’s dwell on the highlights:

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We had a good time running along the blossom-lined sidewalks of Lake Washington Boulevard on Friday morning.

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On Saturday we all hopped on Lightrail to take advantage of the recently-expanded tracks and catch a ride to Capitol Hill.

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We spent awhile at Cal Anderson – Jules hit the playground while my mom and I sipped our tea and coffee from Caffe Vita.

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When Juliette was feeling stubborn and disagreeable, we found that the only tear-free way to move her along was for Grandma or Grandpa to challenge her to race.  On your marks, get set, GO!

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We spent the rest of the afternoon at home, sidewalk-chalking, kicking the soccer ball around, and cracking open cold drinks on the back porch.

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Sunday was another beautiful day, so we ventured to Kubota Gardens for a green-and-pink fix.

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My mom and dad hit the road back to Oregon on Sunday afternoon.  As we said our good-byes, I felt that overwhelming urge to plead Juliette’s case, as she’d had another doozy of a morning.  I wanted to shout, “She’s usually not like this, I promise!  She’s such a sweet, funny, affectionate little girl!  She loves you so much but is just having a hard time showing it!”.  I bit my tongue, though.  I mean, they’re her grandparents.  They know the drill.

Spring has sprung and we’re making our way through our annual tour du blossoms, hitting our list of must-sees before the trees shed their pink and white fluff.  I skipped out of work a little early on a particularly sunny day a couple of weeks ago and picked up Jules for an afternoon stroll through the arboretum.

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The tulip trees had already dropped a lot of their petals, but the pink and brown forest floor was lovely.

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To infinity and BEYOND!

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The UW cherry blossoms are also high on our list of March destinations, and since our last visit there was cut short by the rain, we headed back out on a clear-ish Saturday morning to get one more peek.  I was hoping we could perch Jules in a tree and get her to sweetly smile for some glamour shots, but she had other ideas, wildly running loops and loops and loops around the lawn.  I guess that works, too.

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Finally!  She sits!  (By the way, Shane’s already dubbed her a future Husky.)

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Juliette’s been working on her wink – kinda sorta almost there?

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Shane was laid up with a doozy of a flu last weekend, so we put our park tour on pause.  The three of us ventured out of the house for church on Easter Sunday and then came home for a low-key egg hunt.  Low-key until Juliette wolfed down her stash of chocolate bunnies, that is…

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By early afternoon Shane’s strength was waning, so Jules and I left him on the couch and headed out for our c-group Easter meal.  There was another egg hunt for the kids (more treats!  yay.), ham and rolls and salads and lemon tarts for the grown-ups, and merriment for all.

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I’ll admit, with Shane out of commission and me left to do quite a bit of solo parenting, I found myself having a hard time fully dwelling in the goodness of the Easter message.  Yes, God is Risen, but MY PARTNER IS DOWN and my kid is driving me crazy!  Looking at this photo, it’s hard for me to remember what she did to upset me…

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So we’ll temporarily sweep those terrible two moments under the rug and revel in the bright spots of Spring.  There are many.