Archive for July, 2019

I love a long a weekend.  I really love a really long weekend, which we were graced with when the Fourth of July fell on a Thursday and I was off on the following Friday.  We awoke on the Fourth itching for a little adventure and were pulling our stuff together for a ferry ride to Vashon Island while Juliette played outside; I had just packed our snacks when she burst through the front door and said, “Mommy!  There’s a parade and the neighbors are going!  Can we go?  Please?  Please?  Pleeeeeeeeease?”  Ah, Vashon.  I guess we’ll visit you some other day.

It turns out the West Seattle Fourth of July Parade is just a million kids riding their bikes and scooters around the block while their parents walk behind them, but still, a good time was had by all.

Juliette is in the midst of a deep Star Wars infatuation and was stoked to see R2D2 taking a stroll down the street.

And then we found our beloved neighbors (who brought extra accessories!) and Juliette’s excitement quadrupled.

We ended our trek at Hamilton Viewpoint Park, where I stretched out on the lawn while the kids played frisbee.

We gathered the kids for a group photo and then tossed Juliette and her scooter in the bike trailer for the short ride home.

The rest of the day was spent in the yard, alternately pruning bushes and sipping beer while the kiddos zipped up and down the block on their assorted vehicles.

And then…fireworks!  We started on a tame note, with sparklers and smoke bombs.

…and pooping dogs.

Once the sun set, a portable wood stove appeared, along with a bag of for-real fireworks.

These were legit!

Happy Fourth, y’all.

Juliette and I picked berries on Friday and then joined the Chens on Saturday for a hike at Lake Talapus, off I-90.  The misty morning made the woods feel particularly magical.

We arrived at our destination two miles in and perched on some lakeside logs for cake pops and water.

Good Lord, I love this land we live in.

Shane lulled the kids into a hiking trance on the way back to the cars with his usual recounting of The Lord of the Rings.  They ate it up and finished the 4.2 mile journey with minimal foot-dragging.

Made it!

Four cheers for a four-day weekend.

When Juliette brought home the invite for her preschool graduation, I put on my happy face and used my happy voice to exclaim,  “This is SO EXCITING, Baby!  I can’t believe you’re GRADUATING!”  But behind my overly-exuberant smile, my heart was sinking in my chest…I can’t believe she’s graduating.  Her preschool has been such a warm, friendly home away from home these past three years.  She’s greeted each morning with hugs from four different Mexican grandmas that coo “Ohhhh, mi Corazon!” as they lift her off her feet and squeeze the breath right out of her.  Plus, it’s preschool.  Preschool is for little kids.  Which means by association that my girl is still little.  Right?  RIGHT?!

Juliette got ready for the graduation ceremony in her classroom with her teachers while all the parents waited in the outside plaza, and the moment she stepped outside in the frilly white dress and flower bow Miss Marta had given her, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  She’s so grown-up. I mean, I guess I knew this already, what with the learning to read and the wanting privacy in the bathroom, but in that moment, as she grabbed the hand of her buddy and waved to me on her way to seat, her maturity was just so wonderfully, woefully evident.  I waved back, again with a smile that bordered on manic, my eyes shining.  We’ll call them tears of joy.  Tears of pride, maybe?  Ok, tears of downright heartbreak.  Baby Jules has 100% up and flown the coop.

Time has whisked away my preschooler, but the beautiful little lady left standing in her stead is, truth be told, AMAZING.  Juliette’s class took the stage for their their dance performance of La Movimiento Naranja and she stood front and center, singing and twirling her heart out while I grinned from ear to ear.  Like, genuinely grinned – seeing this kid’s confidence and exuberance and grace sent me over the moon.  She’s so lovely.

The kids changed into their caps and gowns after their performance (this preschool doesn’t mess around!), and then Juliette took the stage once again to receive her hard-earned diploma.

I know, it’s preschool – the bar for “graduating” is hardly high.  But still, I’m so freaking proud of her.  The dad of one of Juliette’s classmates sat next to us that evening and gushed about what a kind girl she is, how warmly she greets the other kids (and their parents!) each morning.  Her teacher told me at our parent-teacher conference last month that Juliette is quick to share, quick to look out for kids that are new or having a tough day.  The proficiency in letters and numbers is all well and good, but what warms me to my core is that she’s proven herself to be an A+ friend.

Happy graduation, little one.  Next stop: Kindergarten.  I’M SO EXCITED FOR YOU!  HOORAY!!!  YOU DID IT!!!  YESSSSSSS!!!

Summer!  It’s here, and we are livin’ it up, as evidenced by the prevalence of ice cream and swimwear in my photo backlog.  Jules and I are loving beach days…

And buddies…

And bikes!  Bicycle Sundays on the Boulevard are better than ever.

When we want to bike a little closer to home, where Juliette can’t quite navigate the hills, Shane pulls her around on his e-bike while I bring up the rear.

We pedaled down to Alki one weekend and feasted on waterfront kimchi fried rice at Marination…

…and then I slogged it home on my non-electric bike, up what felt like the Everest of West Seattle.  Seriously, I had no idea biking could be so hard.  But I made it!  Barely.

I think I’m better at paddling than pedaling.  We headed to Rattlesnake Lake a few weeks ago for a lazy spin in the water.

This place is somethin’ else.

And this kid?  Best-ever first mate.

And finally, after beaches and buddies and bikes and boards, there were berries!  Juliette and I made our annual trip out to Remlinger Farms last week to comb the rows for fresh, juicy raspberries.  She has become quite the little harvester.

Get ’em, Jules!

Ahhhhh, summer.  Tastes so good.


In addition to our annual pilgrimage to Fort Flagler, we’ve made a tradition of spending a weekend roughing it on Bainbridge Island with the gang.  Since the campground is just a few miles from the ferry terminal, Shane usually opts to get there by bike.  This year he brought a buddy:

Look who we found on the boat!

I was ever-so-slightly anxious about these two biking on the hilly roads, so I was extra-happy when they rolled into camp (with big ol’ smiles on their faces).

Tent: check!

Best bud: check!

Bunny ears (they had no idea): check!

Everyone had arrived by evening and we gathered around the campfire for s’mores.  No matter what we’re doing, Jordan always seems to up the ante – this time, it was with whiskey-soaked marshmallows.

Scrolling through these pics makes me a little misty eyed.  These folks.  These are my people.

We went down to the beach after dessert and watched the kids haul wood into their fort for a pretend campfire as the sun set.

We woke to gray skies and a chill in the air on Saturday morning, so after breakfast and more log-hauling, I was ready to head toward civilization for a little pick-me-up.

The guys decided to go to town by foot while the moms and kids went by car.  We pulled up at the tail end of their very public glutes and quads workout.


We took over Fletcher Bay Winery, ordering wine flights from the bar and pints of beer from the next-door brewery.

We returned to camp just as the clouds parted, so La Verne and I headed out for a paddle.

In hindsight, this looks not-so-safe…

Dinner on Saturday was family-style, with chicken and hot dogs and tacos and twelve different kinds of chips.

Emily and Daniel saw a slight chance of rain in the forecast for Sunday morning and used that as their excuse to high-tail it back to Seattle on the 8pm ferry.  Ah, well – all the togetherness was good while it lasted!

Isaiah did us the service of reading the kiddos their bedtime story.  Next year, we’re just going to throw all the kids in their own tent for the whole night and see what happens.

While Shane broke down camp on Sunday morning, I took the kids down to the beach so that Juliette could hide the special treasure-rocks she had decorated at home.

Some kid is going to be so excited to discover this carefully-hidden hand-painted stone (or so Juliette believes).

We closed out the trip with a little Spike Ball, a little fireside chatter, and a round of hugs.

Jules, your chariot awaits!  Catch you on the flip side.