Archive for June, 2016

We’re only 10 days into the official summer season, but we’ve already made some good progress on our summertime bucket list.  These sun-shiny months have a pesky way of flying by at warp speed, so we’re doing our best to make the most of them.  This means…

Berry-picking!  We spent a Sunday morning out at Remlinger Farms a couple of weeks ago and walked away with five pounds of raspberries and seven pounds of strawberries.  At least, that’s what was in our bucket.  Throw in another pound or two for the loot in Juliette’s belly.

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Kudos to Shane for staying focused on the task at hand…

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Biking for beer has become something else of a summertime tradition for us.  The ride from Matthews Beach to 192 Brewing in Kenmore is a favorite route – nachos and Pilsner at one end…

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And then back to the beach to cool off in Lake Washington!

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Shane thinks Juliette looks like one of the Golden Girls in this swimsuit.  I love it.

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When Juliette wants to ditch the bike trailer and strike out on her own, we head to Lincoln Park for the water-side pathway.  She’s gettin’ to be a speed demon on that thing!

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Must be these expert demos:

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We’re spending plenty of time at the tried-and-true favorites, like the Jefferson Spray Park (note to self:  she will always get soaked.  always pack a swimsuit!).

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And the Cheasty Greenbelt across the street from our house.  We don’t have much in the way of backyard, but this is a dang good substitute!

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And last night, an intense wrestling match on the lawn at the Columbia City Farmer’s Market – what you can’t see is the cherry juice dribbling down these kids’ chins!

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Comin’ tomorrow:  JULY!

Some of my earliest, fondest memories are of family camping trips in the Colorado woods.  Drinking Tang and building campfires and hanging out along the river, playing with worms while my dad and brother fished nearby.  And so I was pretty thrilled when Shane (warily) agreed to book a weekend at Beckler River Campground with our friends.  We were doing it!  Becoming a camping family!  Jules was going to love it!  We would go on beautiful hikes and eat delicious meals cooked on a camp stove and spend our nights snuggled warmly together, snoozing soundly in the great outdoors!  My mind swirled with exclamation points.  Shane bought us a big new tent and I made a grocery list that included marshmallows and graham crackers – we were due to head toward Skykomish on Friday morning.

And then…

I checked the forecast.  RAIN.  So. much. rain.  Dang, I was bummed.  More than bummed, actually – I was a wreck.  In the wake of the Orlando shootings, I was desperately needing a breath, a chance to get away and soul-share with some of my nearest and dearest and to rejoice in the beauty of summer in the PNW.  We were on the verge of begrudgingly taking a literal rain check, but regrouped with the gang and decided we’d try our luck at a campground further south with a slightly better forecast.  Shane stayed true to character as the skeptic, but he decided to go with the flow after watching me weep over the thought of throwing in the towel (seriously, folks, I was a mess).  We would give it a go.  Owhi Campground for the win!

And then…

Juliette woke up Friday morning grumpy and complaining that her ear hurt, so I called her doc right away and got her in for a 10 am consult.  The pediatrician said it looked like she had the beginning of an ear infection.  We could still head out for the weekend, but it was suggested that we pick up a round of antibiotics for Juliette, to nip any chances of fever and full-fledged infection in the bud.  I cleverly had the doctor call in the prescription to Costco in Issaquah, so that they’d have it ready and waiting for us as we swung by on the road to Cle Elum.  We could still make camp by noon and have our pick of the first-come first-serve sites!

And then…

Three hours later, the prescription was finally ready – the Costco pharmacy was insanely slow and held us hostage in Issaquah way past our target departure time.  But hey, at least we’d be landing at Owhi about the same time as everyone else – we’d be together to pick a spot or form another back-up plan if things were full!

And then…

Nance texted – she was sick.  Really sick.  Their clan was out.  Brian was stuck at work.  They wouldn’t make it till evening.   Josh and Jess weren’t coming until Saturday.  And the weather forecast was looking gloomier by the minute.  If not for Juliette chanting “I want to go caaaaaaamping!” from the backseat, we might have high-tailed it back to Seattle and let her overdose on Daniel Tiger while I sulked and Shane very secretly breathed a sigh of relief.  But we pressed on and rolled up to Owhi, 40 minutes north of Cle Elum, in time to snag the last of the lakefront sites.  We pitched our gigantic new tent, rolled out our sleeping bags, and settled into our camp chairs.  Shane poured me a cup of wine, Jules slurped on her apple cider, and I patted myself on the back for my pig-headedness optimistic persistence.  Things were looking up.

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The Hickory’s joined us just in time for dinner.  Juliette and Stella haven’t spent much time together recently, but they took to each other immediately and within minutes had claimed this log as their special spot, as I heard Stella ask, “Juliette, wanna go to our spot and play dinosaurs?”

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Eden is the sweetest little photo-bomber ever.

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We chowed down on bratwursts and veggies and then pulled out the marshmallows for dessert.  Juliette’s first toasted mallow!  Oh, the wonders of burnt sugar!

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We felt the pitter-patter of raindrops as we were cleaning up and headed to our respective tents for bed.  Juliette was pretty excited to crawl into her new purple sleeping bag and do books with Mom and Dad.  So excited, in fact, that she tossed and turned until 10:30 pm.  At least, that’s what Shane tells me – I was out cold by 8:45!

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There was one midnight rearranging of sleeping pads and blankets, but for the most part, we slept soundly until 7 am, at which point Juliette’s eyes popped right open and she exclaimed, “I wanna see Stella!”  We piled on coats and hats (it was cooooold) and made our way outside to join the Hickory’s for oatmeal and coffee.  In the rain.  Thank goodness they brought their pop-up canopy.

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Eden looks thrilled to be in her full-on winter gear in the middle of June, doesn’t she?

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These girls are for-reals thrilled, though – ain’t no rain gonna get them down!

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Thank goodness for the ridiculously large tent Shane splurged on at REI – it turned out to be a pretty great play space!

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The rain showed no signs of letting up, so we all decided to drive into Roslyn to find a dry place to grab a warm beverage and plan out the rest of our day.  We found refuge at the Red Bird Cafe, thankful for their good coffee and cell reception (Owhi is off the grid) and their kids’ area, where the girls whiled away the morning playing in the little pretend kitchen.  Three hours later, as the woman behind the counter began to wonder if we were ever leaving, the rain let up and we ventured out into the streets of Roslyn.  FREEEEEDOM!

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The break in the rain was short-lived, so we decided to drive down to Ellensburg and spend the afternoon at the movies – I’d been wanting to take Juliette to Finding Dory, anyway.

And then…

The dang movie was sold out.  Gah!  We got back in the car and headed toward camp, a little defeated, but consoled by the fact that time in the car was time out of the rain.  The rest of the afternoon was spent lazing around camp, venturing down nearby trails with the kids when the rain let up and then ducking back under the canopy when it started to pour.

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The Howells made their entrance before dinner, Josh in shorts on his mountain bike and little baby A snuggled into her puffy red rain suit.

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We ate dinner in the drizzle and did our best to keep the campfire going.  It really started coming down just as I was about to settle into my camp chair for a cup of wine and a s’more.  I looked up at the sky and dramatically shouted, “Whyyyyyy???!!!”, at which point we all just laughed.  Turns out there’s a special kind of camaraderie that comes with camping in the rain – come hell or high (high) water, we were going to make the most of the weekend.

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We all turned in early that night – Jules drifted off without much trouble and Shane and I capitalized on the opportunity to catch up on some reading.  The rain continued throughout the night but proved to be a pretty soothing soundtrack, as Jules didn’t move a muscle until morning.  We left the cocoon of our sleeping bags at Juliette’s urging and layered up again (38 degrees out there!) to join the group for breakfast just as the skies began to clear.  And wow, did they clear!  By 9 am we were peeling off jackets and taking turns on Brian’s paddle board.

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THIS.  This is what I had been waiting for.  I paddled out into the middle of Cooper Lake and just let myself drift for awhile.  Thanks, PNW, for coming through in a clutch.

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We slowly packed up camp, letting the kids romp in the empty tents as we trekked sleeping bags and coolers up to the cars.

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The weekend certainly wasn’t ideal as far as weather goes, but I’m still glad we pressed on.  We got to catch up with friends we’ve seen far too little of over the past year.  Jules had a total blast.  And after enduring the elements without crying or freezing or checking into a hotel, I’d say we’ve officially earned our badge as a camping family!  Already lookin’ forward to next time.

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We’re due, aren’t we?  I’ve only got another one or two of these in me before my little babe turns THREE.

While Juliette still loves to be wrapped up in her towel after her bath and snuggled to the tune of Rock-A-Bye, Baby, she’s daily planting her feet more firmly in big kid ground.  She doesn’t sit in my lap for bedtime books anymore and insists on a silly game where I try to sit in her lap before we each settle into our respective sides of the glider.  And last week, when I started in on Harold and the Purple Crayon, she said, “No, no, no, Mommy!  I read to you!”  She’s got her own version of Barnyard Dance and needs only minor prompting for The Itsy Bitsy Snowman.

(Who looks more ready for bed in this picture?!)

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It might be a stretch to say she’s really reading, but she’s super-interested in letters these days.  She tackled lower-case characters last month and seems quite pleased with her progress (b, d, and h are all mixed up, but we’ll get there).  p.s. No reason to be concerned about her forehead – band-aids are just her new favorite accessory.

Her mouth runs a mile a minute, and while we’re dealing with much-too-much whining and repetitive questioning (“What is this is, Mommy?  What is that is, Mommy?  I neeeeeeed it!”), the random stuff that comes out of her mouth is pretty good.  Like when we drive past some woods and she says ever-so-hopefully, “Maybe there’s some goats in those bushes?  You tink so, Mommy?”  Or when she throws open the bathroom door and yells, “DADDY!  ARE YOU GOING POOP?!”  (Privacy is nothing but a distant memory.)

She doesn’t go anywhere without Purple Baby anymore – PB comes to church with us and waits patiently in the car all day while Juliette’s in school and loves to ride along in the bike trailer (Jules is not sharing that Kombucha, though!).

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But who’s an even better playmate than Purple Baby?  Her buddy N, of course.

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Grandpa had an overnight layover in Seattle a couple of weeks ago en route to the East Coast – Jules was more than willing to show him the ropes at the neighborhood playground.

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This picture is a couple of months old, but I just came across it on my phone and feel compelled to share it…

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I guess she’s still got some baby-ness left in her, huh?

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Happy 33 months, sunshine!  You’re da best.

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June has brought her A-game this year, kicking off the month with a solid six days of sunshine.  Shane had Friday off and suggested a family hike in the mountains – I wasn’t sure I was up for a long trek, but when I saw him throw Juliette’s bike in the trunk, I figured we were in for some pretty mild terrain.  We made a pitstop at the bakery for sustenance, and then found ourselves nestled among the Cascades at the Gold Creek Pond trailhead just one hour later.  The “trail” was flat and paved and the perfect place for Jules to practice her cruising.

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And Gold Creek Pond was a glistening turquoise lake, clear and serene and all kinds of lovely.

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We found a patch of grass and a shady picnic table where we could have a snack and then dip our toes in the freezing water.

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I love baseball cap weather…

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Our mile-long loop left us all parched, so we hopped over to Dru Bru for beer and ginger ale.  Cheers, kiddo!

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After a solid family nap in the afternoon, we met up with some friends at Jefferson Park for a taco picnic and a romp in the splash pad.  This picture makes it hard to believe that summer hasn’t officially begun:

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We spent Saturday morning down by Lake Washington, sunning and paddleboarding.  It took some major negotiating to pry Juliette off this thing – had to promise the kid treats and a trip to the plant store (she loves Lowe’s these days).

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Sunday was hot, hot, hot, so we headed to the mountains again, this time to check out Franklin Falls.

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Shane wanted to save his shoulders and asked Jules to walk the first part of the trail.  She made it…0.1 miles before begging to get up in the backpack!

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I’ve been on a couple of waterfall hikes that end with an anti-climatic trickle over some rocks.  Not the case here!  This baby was roaring.

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Juliette wasn’t a fan of the cold falls-spray and spent our time down there nuzzled into my chest.  There are worse things, I guess…

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We plowed through the crowds back toward our car, scoring a sweet little spot near the river to stop and refuel with strawberries and pretzels.

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And we found ourselves back at Lake Washington on Sunday evening, eating pizza with Jack and La Verne while the kids ran circles around us.

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These ring-around-the-rosy pics would make the best flip book ever!

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Ahhhh…June.  So far, so good!

May was good to us.  A little hectic at times, but chock-full of joy.  Outside of the trips to Whidbey and the mountains and Portland, there was a lot of good stuff happening close to home.

There were backyard BBQs and post-dinner walks with buddies…

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There was one glorious 80-degree day at the beach:

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There were a couple of pretty great bicycle Sundays at Lake Washington Boulevard with our crew:

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There were some very productive afternoons in the yard with my little helper:

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And there was the celebration of buddy N’s third birthday this past Friday, with cake and balloons and a wild rumpus at Wiggleworks!

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(photo by La Verne)

And then, because that kid is a party animal, a second celebration on Memorial Day for Mr. N, complete with a Snoqualmie steam engine ride and pizza and cupcakes and giggles, oh my!

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June, you’ve got some big shoes to fill.