Archive for May, 2016

Trips to Portland are fewer and farther between since we had Juliette, but it feels like every time we go down there, we think, “What took us so long?!”  We made it to Mitch’s house around lunchtime on Friday, after an easy (although not altogether quiet) drive.  As soon as we walked in the door, Morgan grabbed Juliette’s hand and said, “Do you want to come play in my room?”  And with that, they were gone!  The girls spent the next hour trading baby dolls back and forth while Shane and I ate a peaceful lunch and caught up with Mitch.  This cousins thing is money.

Elise came home from school a couple of hours later and we spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out in the yard, cardboard sledding and testing the range of the rope swing.

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Last time we were in Portland, Juliette was happy to play the part of the baby.  Now it’s, “Come sit on my lap, Elise!!!”

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We ate dinner at the house and then took the kids out for frozen yogurt in Multnomah Village.  Nothin’ like an up-past-bedtime sugar high…

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Saturday was cool and damp, so we opted for a morning indoors at OMSI, bouncing from the giant sand box to the turtles to the earthquake house.

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When we got home, Morgan and Elise offered to put Juliette down for a nap.  I’ll give you one guess as to how well that went.

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But finally, once the cousins were sent upstairs and I let Juliette climb into our bed, she slept.  As did I!  We woke up refreshed and ready to hit the hot tub.

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We closed the day out with a trip to the library and playground, followed by dinner at the neighborhood Mexican joint.  Not a shabby Saturday!

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Sunday morning was quiet and lazy, perfect for coffee-sipping and lounging indoors (until the kids started climbing the walls, at which point we headed up the street to do our coffee-sipping at Starbucks).  Kathryn and Morgan went out to run some errands while Elise enjoyed some solo time with her little cuz.

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Elise is really into the Harry Potter audio books right now, but quickly learned that Juliette isn’t the most attentive listening companion…

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So out to the trampoline we went!

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We closed out our visit with what has become our traditional living room dance party.  The grownups and Elise pooped out after a couple of Miley Cyrus songs, but Jules and Morgan rocked out to what felt like Billboard’s entire Top 40 Pop.

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One last snuggle for the road as I prepared for that familiar ache of missing my nieces…

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See you sooner rather than later, Jarrells!

Ten years ago today, Shane and I said our I do’s.  Wowsers!  Either I’m getting old, or we were just a couple of kids when we got hitched.  Maybe both.

We dropped Juliette off at daycare yesterday and played hooky from work so that we could pay homage to ten years with a kid-free day of marital bliss.  We kicked off the celebration with breakfast at London Plane and probably said more to each other at that meal than we have in the span of the past few weeks. Juliette is insistent on playing a central part in all of our conversations lately (talk to ME, daddy!), and while I love an adorable toddler tale, it limits our subject matter.  It took Shane and I a few minutes to find our footing on grown-up ground, but soon enough we were laughing and then I was soul-baring with tears in my eyes and then we were laughing again, giddy with each other’s undivided attention.  The bill came and we just let it sit there for 20 minutes while we talked some more and I savored another refill of coffee.

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We left the restaurant hand-in-hand and thought about going grand with a day of indoor rock-climbing or outdoor exploring, but at 10 am we found ourselves back at home, in our pajamas, spreading blankets out on the living room floor and queuing up a movie.  Talk about bliss!  After we’d vegged and dozed and thoroughly recharged, we visited the Frye art museum to check out their Young Blood exhibit (go see it!) and popped into the Chop Shop for happy hour bubbly cocktails, toasting to ten years past and decades to come.  It was a decidedly quiet day, not quite the trip to Paris I’d envisioned years ago for our milestone anniversary, but still, it was perfect.

Our friend Steve, best man at our wedding, has been holding onto our written vows since our wedding day and sent them to us in the mail this week.  As Shane and I held the wrinkled pieces of paper in our hands today and re-read the promises that were made a decade ago by a couple of starry-eyed twenty-somethings, we smiled at all the ways we’ve both fallen short of and exceeded our wildest dreams.  We’ve done good.  And we’ve done…not so good, sometimes hurling hurtful words when the going got tough or falling into the roommate rut when the going got slow.  But we’re in this for the long haul, Shane and I.  We’ll keep relishing in the joys, doing our best to band together when life feels hard or just incredibly mundane.  I imagine some day we’ll look back and think, “Ten years?  We were just getting started.”  And then we’ll take another bite our Nutella crepe as the lights of Paris glimmer on the Seine.  😉

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Ahhhhh weekends: a precious time to recharge and reconnect after a long week.


Juliette woke up at 5:45 on Saturday morning.  I think she was in time-out twice before 7 am.  Shane and I had made grand plans for a fun family hike in the mountains that day, but when I came out to join them in the car, I found Jules laying on the floor of the back seat, scowl on her face and arms stubbornly crossed, and Shane on the verge of losing his shit.  We almost called it a day.  At 7:45.

We pressed on, though, as the thought of shuttering ourselves indoors with our little monster was hardly anything to look forward to.  We sweet-talked Jules into her car seat, put on some music, handed her an apple and a couple of books, and just north of Seattle it seemed the toddler tides were turning.  We all sang along to “Ho Hey” and decided it was going to be a great day (Lord have mercy, please make this a great day!).

We arrived at the Heather Lake trailhead around 9 am and loaded up our backpacks – I carried snacks, water, and sunscreen while Shane hauled the kid (I got the better end of the deal, for sure).

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The trail was a little more rugged than we anticipated, but Shane channeled his inner mule and plowed right on ahead.

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Oh, and look who came along for the ride – three Rust boys!  And a dog with a gimp leg!  (That’s Dexter, their weekend dog-sitting charge.)

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Juliette has no idea how good she has it.  Actually, judging from that face, maybe she does.

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I had my qualms about setting out on a five-mile hike with three kids and a gimpy dog, but the boys scrambled over the rocks like little mountain goats, chattering happily as I struggled to catch my breath.

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PLEASE let that be the light at the end of the tunnel!

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We sat on the shore of Heather Lake and dipped our toes in the freezing cold water, thankful for our long trek’s stunning pay-off.

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Once we’d hydrated, we set out for the short loop around the lake.  It was an easy walk and the perfect place to let Juliette do some “hiking” of her own.

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The kids were stoked about the patches of snow along the trail.  A snowball fight in May – who’d a thought?!

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Juliette spent much of the day yelling, “Gryffin!  Hold my hand!”  He was so sweet to oblige.

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We found a shady spot on the water’s edge to stop and eat lunch.  Juliette snuggled into my lap and I marveled at how lucky we are to live in the PNW.

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Soon enough, it was time to hit the long dusty trail back to the car.  These two make hiking looking so fun.  And deceptively easy.

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Juliette started getting antsy toward the end, so we pulled her out for the last half mile and let her grab her own walking stick.  Ok, actually Shane lost his balance and she kind of fell out, but thankfully, no one was hurt.  I tell you, we’re a bunch of troopers.

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MADE IT!  It was a long, exhausting day with a touch-and-go start, but a grand success in the end.  Kudos to Shane for upping the adventure ante – he always seems to know just how far to push us.

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For Mother’s Day, I asked for nothing more than rest.  Juliette obliged and didn’t stir until 8:30 on Sunday (penance for the previous morning’s obscenely early wake-up).  Shane took her downstairs while I slowly rolled out of bed and I came down to find the two of them busy in the kitchen, Shane at the stove and Jules at the coffee grinder.

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Shane served me perfectly crispy bacon and just-gooey-enough poached eggs with my fresh-brewed coffee and then Juliette and I piled blankets and pillows on the living room floor so that we could snuggle up with a movie.  Once we’d sufficiently vegged, we headed out for an easy family bike ride.  We drove over to Marymoor Park and then hopped on the Sammamish River Trail.

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I’m getting on board with this bike thing.  Particularly when it involves biking toward french fries and beer – Redhook, here we come!

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It was so serene out there, all gray and green, cool but not cold.

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We rolled up to the brewery just in time to beat the lunch rush.  Juliette was a lovely little dining companion and could hardly believe her luck when Shane told her that our next stop was for ice cream.  Mother’s Day was suddenly right up there with Christmas on her list of favorite holidays!

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French fry high?

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Shane had read good things about Shug’s, a fancy new ice cream parlor in downtown Seattle, and it did not disappoint.  I recommend a scoop of the blueberry.  And a scoop of the coffee.

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And oh my word, the cookies and cream!

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I’m so thankful I get to be this kid’s mama.  No doubt, it’s not all smiles and snuggles, but my word, she’s amazing.

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I sneaked away in the afternoon for a pedicure and coffee with La Verne and made it home for a mellow dinner and goodnight kisses.  Shane fell asleep at 8:00 and I finished out season 6 of Gilmore Girls.  Ahhhhh…weekends: they really can be so, so good.

Shane has been working long, stressful hours lately and I’ve had a few work-related evening commitments over the past couple of weeks, leaving our schedules uncomfortably full.  I’m feeling mired in the logistics of the day to day: “If I drop off Jules on Monday and Wednesday and pick her up on Wednesday and Thursday, can you do the rest?  And how about leftovers for dinner on Monday, takeout on Tuesday, and takeout leftovers on Wednesday?”

We’re making it work, but by last weekend Shane and I found ourselves desperately in need of some quality family R&R.  An island getaway, perhaps?  Maui sounded nice.  The flight did not.  Whidbey it is, then!  On the ferry we went!

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It’s a short ferry ride from Mukilteo to Clinton, but Jules made the most of it, jetting from one end of the boat to the other.  And back again.

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We breakfasted at Useless Bay Coffee Company - bacon and eggs taste so much better when eaten on a sunny patio.

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Jules was enamored with this glass sculpture garden next door.  I wasn’t sure I should let her pet the glass turtle, as she’s not the gentlest kid on the block, but we made it through with zero casualties.

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Bellies full, we drove over to Ebey’s Landing for a family hike.  The sky was as blue as I’ve ever seen it, the fields popping with yellow and green.

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Some friends gave this backpack to us a few months ago – I was skeptical as to whether Jules would fit in it, or whether Shane could handle 38 pounds of toddler on his shoulders, but apparently she did and he could!

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I know, it’s not Hawaii, but dang, PNW!  Way to bring your A-game!

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Juliette was a champ throughout the duration of the two-mile trail down to the beach, happily snacking and singing from her perch.  Shane was an all-out super-hero, “grimacing with grace” as his shoulders bore the burden of his daughter’s contentedness.

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Finally!  The promised land!

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The beach baby rears her pretty head:

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We slowly made our way back toward the car, and then just flopped down in the warm sand for 30 minutes to eat pretzels and play with rocks.  I could have sat here all afternoon.

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Jules could have happily hung at the beach all day as well, until she heard mention of a trip into town to get some ice cream, at which point she was all too eager to hit the road.  

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It was 2:30 by the time we left Coupeville, which is past Juliette’s regular naptime, so we crossed our fingers that she’d catch some Z’s on the car ride home.  Sure enough, 2 minutes into our drive, this happened:

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It is incredibly satisfying when a day trip with a toddler goes even better than you’d hoped – we were rolling the dice when we set out for a full-day ordeal.  But it was just what we all needed, active but leisurely, sunny and warm and tantrum-free.  Family reboot complete!