Archive for October, 2023

I almost skipped this September recap, but then I saw Isaac in these sunglasses and decided I want these photos in our family journal…

Coleman Pool!  We made it happen this year, on the last day of pool season – they shuttered this place for Fall the very next day.

So glad we seized the 85-degree day – if this isn’t Seattle summer bliss in a snapshot, I don’t know what is.

It was hard to coax Isaac out of the water, but his teeth began to chatter and I wanted to get a dry towel wrapped around him.  Glad I packed the special snacks.

Isaac and I spent a little time with the new Lincoln Park mascot while Juliette and Shane finished this swim.  This troll installation is beautiful – I’m looking forward to watching her age with the forest.

Feel that summer breeze running through your fingers, kiddos.  Fall is (was) coming; I recall that temps dropped 20 degrees the next day.

Case in point:  sweatshirt weather at Alki Beach on Labor Day!

The world really is this boy’s oyster – he’s climbing and digging and exploring a bit more freely, also falling and getting scraped up more freely, but bruised knees are a part of summer.

Sweatshirt beach days…we make it work.

This feels like entirely old news at this point, but Juliette started fourth grade last month and is loving it.  She’s in a fourth/fifth split and has one of her closest buddies in her class.  She does after-school jump rope club on Wednesdays and after-school coding club on Thursdays and her favorite recess activity is “taking long walk around the playground and talking with her friend, S”.  She currently wants to be a second-grade teacher when she grows up.  Requisite first day pics:

Some random hammock snaps:

And a Sunday trip to the Puyallup Fair!  Juliette and I are fair-fans but have missed it the past three years – we felt like it was time to inaugurate Isaac.  And Shane, for that matter – he’d never been (places with large crowds of people are not so much his thing).

Fly like the wind, Shane and Juliette!

Shane and Juliette loved their twirly swing ride and Isaac was still dozing in the stroller, so Juliette and I bought another pack of tickets and took a spin on the single swings.  Get ready, Girl!

We’re getting hiiiiiigher…

Pure joy.

And pure peace.

Once Isaac was awake, we wandered over to the animals to pet the newborn piglets and the pygmy goats.

These little guys were less than a day old!  Mama looks tired.

This was the highlight of Isaac’s day.


This plastic cow-milking simulation was entirely weird, but funny to watch.

The faux egg-collecting game was a hit.

A couple of ice cream cones, a quick zip through the hot tub display, and we called it.  I think we checked all the fair boxes, minus the corn dogs, which Juliette just couldn’t get on board with.

And finally, September brings soccer season.  It’s great to be back on the sidelines with my fellow cheerleader.

Juliette’s team is the Fuchsia Fighters and they’ve got as much (more?) spunk than ever.   Juliette scored a heck of a goal at her last game and I was that mom jumping up and down from the sidelines, waving my arms with glee.  It’s my own form of cardio these days.

Onto Autumn!

One more summer trip to log on the blog, before we get to a humdinger of an October (humdinger in THE VERY BEST WAY)…

We had such a fun family reunion with our buddies at Hood River last summer that we declared it an annual event.  We reconvened on the Oregon/Washington border this past August for another long weekend of eating, drinking, and playing; this time we stayed on the Washington side and booked a bundle of rooms at Skamania Lodge.  Isaac was like an un-penned animal after four hours in the car and immediately set out to explore every inch of the wide open grounds.

Meanwhile, Shane and I explored the bar menu.

This place was going to do juuuuuust fine.

Our friends trickled in throughout the course of the evening and the gaggle of children grew and grew.

Isaac wanted so badly to be counted among the big kids.

His sister did a pretty good job of including him.  Along with that blonde red-shirted boy, who had no affiliation with our group but made himself right at home!

Speaking of big kids…it still blows my mind we’ve got teenagers in the group.  I mean, this guy’s not drinking age, but he’s old enough to pour for the grownups!

Wine and pizza and crispy Brussels sprouts were passed around…

And before I knew it we were talking under the stars.  We never run out of things to say to one another.

I’ll give you one guess as to who the earliest riser of the bunch was on Friday morning!

I forgive you though, Isaac, for getting me up with sun.  This golden light at 6:30am was pretty magical.

We strolled down the hill and toward town in search of breakfast, stopping every so often to take in the view.

We found yogurt and fresh mango slices at the supermarket and then took our fare down to the riverfront to eat.

This kid’s playground radar started beeping and suddenly we stumbled upon these couple of random slides.

And then we found Sister!  (She and her Uber-Dad offered us a ride back to the hotel.)

We took over the hotel lobby late morning…

Played a little disc golf…

And then hit the pool, to Juliette’s utter delight.

Isaac’s delight, too!  He’s loving the water more and more.

Strike a pose, ladies!

While the big kids perfected their cannon balls, I was happy to walk laps in the shallow end with Isaac in my arms.

Lucky kids.

I felt like I’d lived a full day by noon, but we were only getting started…  We walked back into town after swimming to find lunch, then convened at a park to bat the volleyball around and play various lawn games.

At some point the fathers disappeared.  I found them at the whiskey-tasting room next to the park and asked Shane if there was room in their circle for one more guy.

Isaac fit right in.

At some point we strolled up the street for ice cream, again completely overtaking the place – traveling in a pack of 24 is no joke!

There were plenty of times during the weekend when Shane and I had to divide and conquer, one of us hanging back on Isaac-duty while the rest of the group partied, but there were also plenty of times when Isaac folded right into the mix, thrilled by the presence of so many adoring playmates.

Tech break.

And then to the local fair!  It was a quick little trip, but enough time to get our fill of tractors and farm animals.

We spread out at the picnic tables at Walking Man Brewing for dinner.  The grownups drank beer and the kids played corn hole and all was right with the world.

How ’bout them Friday Night Lights?

Saturday!  Morning!  Sunrise!

Isaac and I spent more mother-son bonding time down by the river, this time finding a little dock to lounge on.

I filled my empty coffee cup with rocks from the shore and he tossed each stone in, one at a time, until the cup was empty and he asked, More?  More?  More?

We were here for awhile.  I didn’t mind.

Finally, though, I coaxed him off the dock and into the stroller in search of breakfast.

We found a train on the way, which was very exciting.

We found smoothies and cinnamon rolls and espresso at The Cabin Drive Thru.

And we found this late riser!  Glad you could join us, Jules.

The gang headed out on a hike late morning (sans Isaac and Shane) to Wahclella Falls.

Here comes the party bus!

The hike to the falls was a mild climb, but the kids hardly complained and the payoff was real.

Paparazzi children…so weird to be on the other side of all those lenses!

The more adventurous of the fellas couldn’t resist taking a dip.  I wish I had audio of their high-pitched shrieks as they collectively dunked.

These two got along so swimmingly all weekend, despite the fact that they only spend 2-3 days together each year.  Some friendships just work.

That’s how I feel about all these folks, actually.  We just work.

(Back at camp, Shane and Isaac were partaking in their own form of bonding.)

Juliette, luckily, had plenty of fun uncles on the trail to fill in for Shane.

We cooled our dusty heels that afternoon at a little swimming basin in Hood River.  VIVA LAKE LIFE!

This game made for some laughs and some very good action shots.

Give yourself a couple of years, Isaac…

We floated and jumped and lazed around for a couple of hours, collectively keeping an eye on each other’s kids.

Isaac wasn’t feeling great that afternoon, but the paddleboard did pique his interest.

We migrated a quarter-mile down the road to convene on yet another lawn for a picnic dinner.

Juliette and S were very into their cartwheel practice and suddenly the grownups were challenging each other to headstand competitions (Nance for the win).

And then there was much cajoling and cheering as the adults showed off their own cartwheel skills.  Some people stuck the landing.  Some really didn’t.  In either case, we laughed a lot.

16 years of friendship and counting…

We high-tailed it back to Seattle on Sunday morning, as Isaac’s fever had spiked in the night and we were eager to return to the comforts of home.  But man OH MAN, we left with boatloads of good memories.  Cheers to Year 17.

She did it.  Double-digits.  Juliette Grace is TEN!  Her big day was clouded by the bout of Covid that had struck our house a few days earlier, but Shane, the sole survivor, was able to make a balloon run and I strung up the usual streamers before heading to bed on her birthday eve.  We weren’t going to let that virus keep us from celebrating.

Chocolate croissant and a peanut butter banana smoothie for breakfast – whatever you want, Boo.

And one early-morning present, because we figured she could use some fresh entertainment for yet another day of quarantine.

Juliette finished her 500-piece puzzle by lunchtime and then patiently waited for Shane and I to finish up work so that we could dig into her dinner of choice: it was burrito night!

With root beer in a champagne glass, because…TEN.

We cranked up the party music after dinner and she dug into the rest of her gifts.

2023 was the year of Gilmore Girls for me and Jules, so she was very excited about the matching set of key chains I bought for the two of us.

(And I am the Lorelai to her Rory…)

Shoes!  Always a pair of shoes.

Juliette’s one and only gift request was a paper fan, because she thought “they just make you look so fancy”.

That was five bucks well spent.  Huge hit.

Isaac was a bit of a pill that night, if I recall, though this photo is making me question my memory…

I know this wasn’t the birthday you’d planned, Juliette, but you sure do roll with the punches.

Thankfully, Juliette was in the clear in time for her party the following weekend.  She brunched in the backyard with a few friends and they made bracelets and sipped their hot chocolate and belted out Taylor Swift songs at the top of their lungs.

SO happy to be among people her own age once again!

These girls were all so sweet, jockeying to give Juliette the gifts they’d brought and ooohing and aaaahing over each little trinket.

Long live stuffies as the most thrilling gifts in the pile!

She’s such a great receiver, genuine in her gratitude with each rip of the wrapping paper.

Juliette was most certainly the belle of the ball, but she was willing to share the limelight with this beau, for just a few minutes.

THANK YOU to these girls for putting such a happy end cap on what was a pretty lonely week for our girl.  She’s the luckiest.

Or maybe I’m the luckiest?  So lucky to call this kind, sensitive soul my daughter.  Juliette, I hope this year is filled with wonder and laughter.  I hope you continue to give life your all, whether it’s on the soccer field or with your nose in a Harry Potter book or as you race up and down the hall with your brother in a raucous game of tag.  Just keep doing things so fully, so engaged.  You’re good at that.  Keep being curious.  Keep being a helper.  Keep being YOU.  I can’t imagine anything better.

We just spent an afternoon at the apple orchard and I was feeling very on-board with the onset of autumn, but looking back at these photos from peak summer, I can’t help but long a little bit for tank top weather…

August was full, with our Minnesota trip and and a long weekend in Hood River (more on that in another post), and poor Isaac’s strep/flu/ear infection trifecta in between, but we still found our little joys on the home front.  My mom spent a lot of time with us in August, making trips partly to help out while Shane and I alternately traveled for work, but also just to spend some time with the kiddos.  She joined us at the playground and coffee-shopped with Juliette while I was at work and often had dinner on the table at 5:30.  Come back anytime, Mom.

We did a quick overnight on Bainbridge Island to watch Shane and Jason compete in the Founders Pickleball Tournament.  I never get to do quite as much spectating as I hope to do on these trips, but wrangling Isaac is its own kind of fun, I guess.

A photo of the mixed-doubles GOLD team on Saturday with their biggest fan:

I spent Sunday morning with the kids at this sweet little cafe / nursery and sipped my latte while Isaac chased the resident cat among the plants, murmuring “More meow? More meow?”

And then we headed to Faye Bainbridge to play for a bit, because I knew Shane and J were in the tournament for the long-haul and we had some extra time to pass.

We make a decent trio.

We were back at the courts with plenty of time to watch the guys clinch their gold.


(It was a windy ferry ride home.)

We spent a lot of time at Lincoln Park, bouncing between the playground and wading pool.

It’s only a few inches of water, but on a hot day, it does the trick.

And the backyard hangs…so much time spent on our picnic blanket out here, watching cartoons or eating popsicles.

And it turns out Grandma is a ladder ball champ!

We amped up the backyard action the last weekend of August with a campout for Juliette and her buddies.

Isaac crashed the party early the next morning and was met with four adoring fans.

And suddenly it was time to do our back-to-school shopping!  Juliette pushed her napping brother around in the stroller while I grabbed flared jeans and rompers off the racks of Target and Marhshalls.  On with Autumn.