Archive for the ‘shane’ Category

August and early September were chock-full of trips and bustle as we squeezed every last drop of playtime out of summer 2022 (though let’s be honest – traveling anywhere with a baby is equal parts work and play, if you’re lucky).  Our bonanza started small, with a weekend on Bainbridge Island to watch Shane and the Rusts compete in another pickle ball tournament.  I mean, since Shane was playing both mixed doubles and mens doubles and since pickle ball was founded on Bainbridge, and since I found the sweetest little AirBnB on an idyllic farm, I felt like the kids and I should tag along and make a getaway out of it.

Isaac and Juliette liked watching the ferry pull away from the dock, but the real excitement came when Juliette realized Nancy was on the same boat as us.

It was a quick float to Southworth and an hour drive to Bainbridge and then we drove along the prettiest little lane to land at what would be our front yard for the weekend.

We explored the grounds and met the animals and had a picnic dinner on the grass.

This place felt too good to be true when Shane discovered a pickle ball net in the garage to go with the striping that was on the parking pad out front.  He and Nance were able to get a little practice in, though having to maneuver around Casey, the resident dog, complicated the game a bit.

Saturday was game day for mixed doubles; the kids and I joined the gaggle of West Seattle ballers to cheer on Shane and Nance.  There were a couple of handy wins, a couple of defeats, and a couple of hard-fought victories.  They unfortunately landed just a couple of points shy of the medal round, but I was impressed by how much improvement I saw in their game since I last watched them play in June.

Isaac was mosly just impressed by the adjacent playground.

Until he wasn’t impressed at all.

I spent the afternoon back at the AirBnB  with the kids while Shane and Nancy cheered on some of their buddies at the tournament.  Isaac and I both took a much-needed nap (true to form, he took vacation as a cue to party / fuss all night), and then after waking we played a rousing game of How long can we keep Issac in bed?

Not long…

We bopped around the farm before grabbing pizza and ice cream in Winslow.

The owners of the AirBnb were super-friendly and gave Juliette a bunch of carrots to feed the horses.  She loved how popular she immediately became!

But she didn’t love the horse drool.

I had Isaac bathed and jammied by 6 pm, but he was still pretty bright-eyed, so we took another stroll around the farm.  He loved watching the chickens strut around their coop and once he got past the initial surprise of the rooster’s high-pitched crow, he smiled wide at each cock-a-doodle-doo.

Juliette came out to join us and snuggled up with Dusty, the resident cat.  We played a few lawn games and turned in early, while Shane played pickle ball out front with the owners.  He’s insatiable.

Shane got an early start on Sunday to meet up with Jason at the courts for mixed doubles while I took my time getting going with the kids.  Isaac had another hum-dinger of a night, but didn’t seem too sorry about it.

Sleepless nights aside, I was reluctant to leave this place.  The dahlias!  The farm-fresh eggs in our fridge!  The animals…we loved those animals.  Juliette spent a good 20 minutes saying goodbye to the horses, stroking Rose and Willow on their noses while murmuring, “You’re such a sweet girl…”.  No, Juliette – YOU’RE such a sweet girl.

She tried very hard to make sure each horse got equal amounts of love.

Meanwhile, Isaac really liked those chickens…

We arrived at the courts mid-morning to find Shane and J on a roll.  They won a handful of games, were immediately humbled when a couple of 60-something guys clobbered them, but ultimately made it to the medal round.

Silver!  Congrats, guys.

Once the medal pics were snapped, we were ready to jet home.  That much pickle ball is exhausting, partly for Shane, who was on the courts for all those hours, but also for me, who ran point on crowd control / baby patrol – Isaac has yet to learn the true art of spectating.  Still, though, so worth the trip, to see Shane play a game he loves with people we love.  And…horses!  Juliette and I are still thinking about those horses.

Our trip to Idaho was the real star of July, but we had some closer-to-home good times, in between the daycare colds that Isaac so generously shared with the family at 2-week intervals…  When we weren’t coughing, we were summering!

There were Saturday morning walks to the playground, with the babies in tow (one blonde, one furry)…

Lots of time trying out the array of riding toys at Ercolini…

SWINGS, with the sweetest hat…

Family bike rides to Hiawatha, followed by beverages at Good Society…

Evening scoots…

Treks to the new neighborhood donut joint…

And some West Seattle kitsch.

There was a lot of pickle ball, mostly by Shane, but the rest of us joined in on the fun from time to time.  Isaac holds the balls, Juliette coaches me on my form (“Paddle up, Mama!”), and then Isaac crawls across the court with said ball and the game is over.

On the days we weren’t feeling great, there were Rubik’s cube races…

Crowded reading sessions in the gray chair…

More reading, on the couch…

Lots of movies, which held Isaac’s attention for all of two minutes…

And lots of kisses, because when your baby looks up at you as you’re rocking him and he coughs directly into your mouth, you realize that there’s no point in trying to avoid his germs.

On the days we were feeling…medium, not playground-good but not couch-ridden bad, we camped out in the front yard with snacks and bubbles.

Maybe a wagon ride around the block, just to pass the hour till naptime.

The very best days were the water days – there were a couple of weekends that we felt good enough to run through the sprinklers and bust out the kiddie pool.

(I think Sister felt better than Brother, poor kid…)

Lunch al fresco – things are looking up!

The neighbors one-upped us with their water toys, and were kind enough to share.

We really did luck out on the neighbor front…

We tried out the wading pool at Lincoln Park but found it was a bit much for Isaac and not quite enough for Juliette.  Still, it got us out of the house and they were awfully good sports.

And Colman Pool.  Colman Pool.  We zipped down there a couple of times on the e-bikes for an afternoon of water-front swimming.  Talk about Seattle summer magic.  This place has my heart.

Has all of our hearts, actually.

Juliette passed the swim test, making it mid-way across the pool and back on her own, and is now allowed in the deep end.  It took every bit of courage she could muster to tell the lifeguard she was ready for her test, but goodness, the look on her face when she passed.  Such satisfied exhaustion.

Isaac and I cheered her on from the sidelines.

Round 2 at Colman…

The water felt a little chilly that day, but Isaac and I liked dangling our feet in while Juliette did handstands.

We found a few new summer faves and joined friends for a Fish Sticks game – they’re a rec baseball league that plays less than 20 minutes from our house.  The bleachers are fun, the snack bar is pretty good, and the mascot is a total character (I suppose you’ve got to have a sense of humor if you’re sporting a fish stick costume).

Shane won Dad of the Year (eighth year running) when he offered to move the TV outside so that Juliette could have a backyard movie night with a couple of friends.

And after a few days of jump rope camp, Juliette has a newfound hobby.  She didn’t know a single kid heading into this camp and could hardly jump without tripping on the rope on her first day, but by that Friday she was brimming with excitement over her end-of-the-week performance.

Go Jules!

We found a new coffee shop that has the best banana muffins and ample outdoor seating.

And finally, most splendidly, we paddled.  Juliette and I spent an evening in the water near Lowman Beach and sheesh, if this isn’t peak summer goodness, I don’t know what is.

Best first mate.

There were days last month when outside temps ran too hot and Isaac’s temp ran too hot and it was all we could do to just muddle through.  But oh, when you get to watch the sun set over the Sound on a warm July evening, things look up.

Wednesday’s water park adventures left us a little tired, so we took it easy on Thursday.  First things first – morning coffee at Doma!  My mom and I don’t have tons of overlapping interests, but COFFEE.  We get each other when it comes to coffee.

And then some playground time at the park across the street from my mom and dad’s house.  Juliette caught her baby at the bottom of the slide and I spent several minutes swinging with my baby on my lap and I loved how slow it all felt.  Nothin’ to do, nowhere to be – this time to linger with my kids felt extra-special.

By afternoon, though, I of course felt a little antsy, so we packed up our gear and drove over to Honeysuckle Beach in Hayden for some floating and paddling and lakeside lounging.

Isaac loved feeling the lake water lap at his feet.

I feel you, Bud – HOORAY for lake days!

Then he put a fistful of sand in his mouth.  I swear, sometimes it feels like Isaac senses us starting to chill out, let our guard down, and then he decides, “HA!  I’ll teach them not to watch me with eagle eyes!”

While Shane was on the shore swatting rocks out of Isaac’s hands before he could eat them, Juliette and I got out on the SUP.

Juliette is so good at multi-purposing our board – it’s part SUP, part kayak, part floaty.

I can’t wait to get Isaac out for a paddle, but for now, he’s plenty happy to cheer on his sister from the dock.

Lake smiles!

And an evening country walk to top it all off.

Friday was similarly pretty mellow.  Crawling and coffee, swings and snuggles, a very fancy lunch…

We spent a couple of hours at Tullamore Park – the swings were a hit, but there was some splash pad skepticism.

Is he having fun?  Who’s to say?

Juliette and I seized upon our last night in Idaho as a chance to get out for a hike at Tubbs Hill.  We listened to the Sing 2 soundtrack on the drive to Coeur d’Alene and I looked in the rear view mirror at her belting out the words to Could Have Been Me in the backseat, eyes closed and face scrunched up in so much sweet drama and goodness, eight is great.

We found the path and then lost the path and just as I wondered how we ended up so deep in the woods, we saw a mama deer with her three baby fawns not so far away.  We tip-toed toward them and they galloped away on their sweet skinny legs and then we found our way back to the trail.  We chatted and laughed and oohed and ahhed at glistening Lake Coeur d’Alene and felt the goodness of it being just us two for an evening.

Juliette found a trail of seashells that someone had left along the path and reveled in collecting these little treasures and then hiding them in new places for the next hiker to find.  

We played Kidz Bop on the drive home and hunted for the handful of license plate states we hadn’t yet crossed off our road trip list and damn, did I say eight is great?

We were gone for all of three hours, but still, she was over the moon to be back with her dad.  They spent the rest of the evening updating their license plate checklist and coloring in a map of the states we hadn’t yet spotted.  Again, slow life luxuries…

Isaac gave Bernie a few final pat-pats on Saturday morning, we took a few porch pics, and then we were homeward bound.

It was back to business on Monday, with work and daycare and summer camp, and while there’s always a piece of me that finds comfort in settling back into a routine, by noon I was missing my kids somethin’ fierce.  It was a good week.

Last year’s Fourth of July Idaho spectacle was such a hit that we decided to do a 2022 version, this time with our favorite fourth wheel.   Grandma and Grandpa, here we come!

We hit the road with one baby in a carseat and one baby in Juliette’s arms – she is very attached to her doll as of late and I love it.  There’s my little girl…

We had all kinds of wiggles to get out by the time we got to Post Falls, so there was play-grounding…

And pickle-balling…

And staying up late to watch the fireworks on Independence Day Eve.  This was just the pre-party!

The booms lasted well into the night, but eventually the neighborhood fell quiet and we got some rest.  About 20 minutes worth, at least, and then Isaac woke up ready to party.  Gosh, he slept horribly that first night – I think he was up about every hour, trying to make sense of his new digs.  But the Fourth dawned sunny and breezy and Isaac looked awfully sweet in his red, white, and blue, so after I had my morning cup of coffee, brewed lovingly by my sympathetic mom, all was forgiven.

We ventured over to Falls Park after morning nap to check out the swing situation.  Four thumbs up.

Isaac’s eyelids grew heavy during our evening walk and had very little fight in him when bedtime rolled around.

Which was perfect, because the rest of us had some fireworks to watch!

Everywhere we turned, the sky bloomed with sparkles.

We went inside around 10:30, but I peeked out the window every few minutes when the booms sounded particularly dramatic.  What a show.

We spent Tuesday morning in Coeur d’Alene, playing and picnicking at McEuen Park.

This was Isaac’s first splash pad and he was a little perplexed by it all, but had a good time waving his trusty plastic spoon through the streams of water.

Not so much a fan of being sprayed in the face, though…

My favorite part of the spray park is the post-drying-off diaper time.  Sun’s out, belly’s out!

Isaac, you’re such a wonderful little goober.

And Juliette, you’re so beautiful.

We swung by the lakefront to say hello to Mudgy the Moose and to snap a few pictures, popped over to the the bakery for an iced coffee, and then were back in Post Falls for afternoon nap.  I felt our gears clicking into vacation mode, and it felt good.

We shared the biggest pizza ever for dinner that night, which was great, because we were carbo-loading for the next day’s adventure!

On Wednesday morning we kissed Isaac good-bye and took Juliette to Silverwood for a day of water slides and roller coasters.  We came here last summer and she declared it one of the best days ever, so I was excited to bring her back without a baby in my belly – bring on the whirls and twirls.

We arrived at the park before the gates opened and found ourselves with enough time to grab a hot chocolate at the kitschy Victorian cafe and plan out the day’s route.  So much thought went into which slides to hit first as we evaluated hourly temperatures, likely wait times, and fun factor.  I love a kid with a plan.

We moved through the lines quickly that morning as it seemed most people had opted to begin the day at the amusement park; Avalanche Mountain was a family favorite, though Ricochet Rapids also had us squealing with glee.

There were many, many laps around the lazy river…

And then a couple of rounds down the Riptide Racer.

We headed over to Roller Coaster Alley after lunch which was decidedly not a hit as Juliette sobbed through most of our time on the Timber Terror, so we recalibrated (and possibly over-corrected) with a very mellow spin on the flying elephants.

By early afternoon we were back to the lazy river, wondering why we’d ever left.

Whew!  So much fun, the three of us living large and following our every whim.

So tiring, though.  Sun, water, fun, done.

Back at home, Isaac had the best day with Grandma and Grandpa – seems he hardly noticed we were gone!  We missed you, Buddy.  Kind of.

Up next:  more water, more swings, more happy kids.

Ah, June – when daylight runs long, but gosh, the month runs short.  Some highlights:

A new family toy!  Shane leveled up his e-bike game and bought a RadWagon to tote around Juliette for school drop-offs and miscellaneous errands.  I wasn’t sure this was necessary…

…until I realized there was room for one more!

Isaac loves his new chariot.

On Sunday afternoons we hop on the bikes and pop over to the library for Juliette’s weekly reading material, swing by the Hiwatha playground to get some wiggles out, and then head to Good Society for a soft pretzel and a round of cold drinks.  On a ride last month as we zoomed through the neighborhood, Juliette called over to me, “I feel like I have to pinch myself, I can’t believe how fun this is!”.  I tell you, it’s the little things.

In mid-June we spent a weekend in Sequim with the Rusts while Shane, Nance and Jason all made their debut in the PNW pickle ball tournament circuit.  It was A LOT of pickle ball.

A LOT of time on the playground adjacent to the courts.

But also a lot of hanging out at our AirBnb, getting to know the resident deer.

Are they watching the NBA finals on the iPad, or are they watching Isaac yuk it up?  Tough to say…

We put on our most exuberant cheer faces when Nancy and Shane took to the courts on Saturday morning.

Ok, Isaac’s cheer face lacked a little luster.  Kiddo was making up for all the hours he didn’t sleep in his Pack N Play the night before.

These two won a couple, lost a couple, and took a few sweet sips of the tournament Koolaid.  They’ll be competing again come July and August!

G continues to be the best “chosen” big bro to Juliette (and to Isaac, for that matter!).

I know, Isaac, I KNOW!  This is all taking a bit longer than expected…

I super-duper don’t mind having a sleeping baby strapped to my chest, but was all too happy to hand him off to Shane for a bit once he woke up roaring to go!

We spent the late afternoon and evening  back at the house, hot tubbing and watching this mama and her baby wander through the yard.

It was homemade pizza for dinner, s’mores for dessert, and then a good hard crash at bedtime.

Shane and Jason took to the courts on Sunday morning while I got off to a slower start with the kiddos, opting to let Isaac grab his morning nap in our king-sized bed.

We’re ready!

We arrived at the courts to find Shane and Jason taking out their opponents one by one.  These guys were on fire!

Meanwhile, big bro manned the playground.

(Slow down, G!)

Seriously though, they were on a roll.

And giddy about it.

The gold medal match was intense, but Shane and J kept their cool and emerged victorious.  GOOOOOOLLLLLLLD!

Look alive, Bud!

I guess I’m officially a pickle ball wife now, toting around the kids and cheering from the sidelines while my husband lives out his athletic dreams.  I’m here for it.

Mid-June saw the end of the school year and its requisite swirl of emotions.  Juliette was chosen by her teacher as the recipient of the Seymour Kaplan Humanitarian Award and Shane and I got to go to the assembly where she was presented with her certificate.  Goodness, it felt good to be in her school again after over two years of having to stop at the front door!  Felt even better to see our girl recognized for her kindness, generosity, and willingness to look out for others.

I picked up a bouquet of flowers to commemorate the last day of second grade, knowing Juliette would have a hard time saying goodbye to her teacher and classmates, but the flowers didn’t cut it.  I spread my arms wide open at pickup that day, the goofiest of congratulatory grins on my face, and Juliette burst into tears as she buried her face in my chest.  Change is hard.  But hallelujah for good teachers and good friends.  They’re not going anywhere!

And she did perk up a bit over pizza that night.

Soccer season ended right on the heels of the school year, and again, what a group!  Such progress this season, as the girls really started to pass to one another and play the whole field, rather than just following the ball around as a cluster of awkward arms and legs.  Juliette is getting more aggressive with her play, but because she’s Juliette, there are always overtones of friendliness and concern for others.

Plus, such cute fans.

See you in the fall, ladies.

Isaac attended his first Mariners game and Juliette caught up with an old buddy…

And we celebrated Fathers Day with a romp in the park, the finest rosé, presented with such flourish, and a homemade card from Juliette that brought tears to Shane’s eyes with her outpouring of gratitude.

(Isaac didn’t make a card, but he certainly turned on the charm.)

Shane and I had Juneteenth off from work, which happened to be Juliette’s first day of summer break, and daycare was open, so we dropped off little brother and headed for the hills.  We wanted to seize the day and do something that Isaac would typically put a damper on, so we settled on a hike at Rattlesnake Ledge.

It was misty that day and visibility wasn’t great, but I didn’t care a bit.  It felt so good to be in the woods with Shane and Juliette, to have it be the three of us that day, like old times.  We missed Buddy, but also…we kind of didn’t?  I was FREE!

And the…lookout?

We booked it back to the car as the rain started to come down, but then we did some shopping at the outlet mall and lingered over pizza at Tutta Bella and got a drink at Starbucks and took our sweet time through it all, just because we could.  And then we picked up Isaac and were overjoyed to fold him back into our threesome.

We wrapped up June with a weekend trip to Portland to catch up with the Jarrells.  The cousins picked right up where they left off at Christmas.

Juliette earned some dog-walking points…

Isaac didn’t sleep great that first night, but again, was more than happy to nap in my arms.

I coulda shoulda woulda put him back in his Pack N Play for his nap, but…nah.

Time to go play, huh?!

It was hot that day, so we packed up the paddle board and the kayak and drove down to the river to play in the water and lounge in the shade.

We had milkshakes as our afternoon snack and ordered pizza for a backyard dinner.  When it’s hot…

I don’t know what’s happening here, but it’s making me laugh!

Isaac had his bedtime bottle al fresco…

And we went to bed sun-kissed and full of pizza.  Morgan made pancakes the next morning and offered to do a special one for Isaac.  Tiniest pancake ever!  There was a quick round of pickle ball later that morning and a spin through the farmer’s market, and then it was time to head back home.  As always, the weekend felt too short and before we’d even hit the Washington border, I was looking to put another visit in our calendar.

And that, friends, was June.  Isaac says thanks for scrolling this far.  Onto July!

May: Glorious bouts of sunshine, weekends at the softball and soccer fields, and more quality time with Grandma and Grandpa!  My dad joined my mom in Seattle at the beginning of the month to pitch in on the childcare front as Isaac transitioned into daycare.  It was such a treat to have my parents with us for an extended amount of time and see them fold into our day-in and day-out.

Grocery shopping with an extra set of hands is so helpful – one cart for the baby, one cart for the food.  And speaking of helpful, Isaac feeds himself now!

My mom and I made quite a ritual out of our morning coffee and spent our few weeks together perfecting our grounds-to-water ratio in the French Press and the Chemex.

We also zeroed in on our favorite wine varietals for evening Happy Hour…

My mom held Isaac extra-close on her last evening here – she fell pretty hard for him, with his generous smiles and sweet baby nuzzles.

I mean, how could you not?

(For the record, Juliette got plenty of love, too!)

Mother’s Day was a mostly-chill Sunday, though Shane was thoughtful in layering on a couple of thoughtful touches.  The signet rings he ordered me with the kids’ initials were late in arriving, so he and Juliette dashed out for a backup gift.  Isaac helped me tear into it, and the look on his face says it all.  You got Mom a…?

Leaf blower?  Indeed!  And I LOVE IT.

Juliette made me a card and “Isaac” made me this funny bouquet at daycare.

I always request French toast when homemade brunch is offered.

We got out for a short post-brunch family bike ride and discovered Isaac loves the feel of the wind in his hair.  Er…helmet.

My crew…I’m the luckiest mama.

May saw the end of softball season and dang it, I’ll miss watching these Dragons round the bases!

Isaac is also a fan.

Shane has often commended Juliette’s hustle, and it’s true – this kid leaves nothing on the field.

Saturdays were for softball and Sundays are for soccer.

It’s a pretty ideal way to pass a sunny afternoon, on a blanket with my boy while his sister dashes back and forth in front of us.

BAHHHHH!

May also brought several school festivities and after two years of hardly getting to interact with Juliette’s teacher or classmates, it was nice to spend an evening at the 2nd grade Spring Fling.

And the annual Move-A-Thon!  Issac and I walked over to the school parking lot on a sunny Friday to see how many laps Juliette could run in the space of 20 minutes.

Answer:  A LOT.

Playground weather is upon us and we’ve been heading down to Ercolini a couple times a week, first for the swings, but also for the plethora of riding toys.

See what I said earlier about the wind in his hair?!

Sister snaps:

And finally, cozy-time at home, because May certainly isn’t all sunshine and parks.  Chair snugs…

Couch snugs..

And floor snugs.  We’re a lovey-dovey bunch.

Juliette and I took a stroll during West Seattle’s big Garage Sale Saturday and she came home with this getup – we’re covered for Halloween 2022!

Or maybe just for a typical Friday night, knowing how this girl likes to roll…

Juliette also picked up this puzzle from a yard sale, which I thought was a terrible idea, but she loves a challenge!

Shane and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary with homemade Manhattans, fancy takeout, and a living room viewing of Top Gun while Isaac slept and Juliette spent the night at friend’s house.

I slept like a baby after that Manhattan, but Juliette got hardly any shut-eye during her slumber party.  She came home a bit of a mess and I asked her if she wanted to lay down with me, like old times, and voila…I still got it.

And now it’s June and it’s been awfully rainy, but I’m sure we’ll make it back outside for some backyard brunching before the month is over.  I think the best is yet to come.

March was for savoring the quietude of maternity leave, but April was for finding a new family groove as I returned to the office (can’t say we’ve quite found that groove, but we’re getting there day by day).

Goodness, I dreaded saying good-bye to my babies after seven months of full-time momming…  Juliette and I had a good cry in her bed on Sunday night as I tucked her in, which I think was therapeutic for us both; by the time I had to leave the next morning for my first day back, she was cheering me on with, “Don’t miss your bus, Mama!  And I love your shoes!”  Isaac went with the flow and loved hanging out with Nancy that first week – I think he hardly missed me, but was still awfully happy to land back in my arms at the end of the day.

Shane’s parents came out to visit and watch the kiddos during my second week back at work (the daycare waiting game is no joke!), and both kids ate up the extra attention.  Juliette played a song for them on her keyboard and Denny about fell out of his chair as he gushed over her talent.  #1 fan, no doubt.

Isaac took to Grandma and Grandpa right away – he loved sitting in Pat’s lap and pulling on Denny’s beard.

Grandma is the BEST baking buddy.

Juliette wowed Grandpa with her batting skills…

And Isaac did what he does best, which is look cute.

We missed them the minute they left – good-bye felt especially hard this time around, as we know Isaac will be so much different next time they seem him and Juliette becomes more emotionally attached to her grandparents with each visit.  “It’s just so hard that they live so far away!”, Juliette cried as they hit the road that morning.  I know, kiddo, I know!

Once Denny and Pat left and we’d dried our tears, I offered to take Juliette out for a little pick-me-up.  It was the last day of her Spring Break, so I thought we were due for an adventure – I gave her a handful of options and she chose a visit to the Space Needle.

We let Isaac tag along because Shane had to work, and because like I mentioned, HE’S CUTE.

There was an hour-long wait to go to the top of the Needle, so we passed some time at the Seattle Center playground.

Baby boy really likes the swing.

And then, it was time!

I haven’t been to the top of the Space Needle since they replaced their wire mesh fencing with these panes of floor-to-ceiling glass, and wowsers!  It’s pretty remarkable, stepping off the elevators to an obstruction-free panoramic view of the Sound on a sky-blue day.

Don’t lean back, Juliette!  That’s some thick glass, but still…makes my stomach flip.

Chilling on the glass floor…

And our final descent…  Our Spring Break mini-adventure was a total hit with both kids – such a stunner of a day.

We celebrated Easter morning at home, with bunny ears in bed and goody baskets and the church service streaming while we ate our cinnamon rolls.

Juliette grabbed these ears from the Target dollar bin and was so excited to matchy-match her brother.  He really is like the best-ever baby doll sometimes.

Isaac can’t be trusted with hard-boiled Easter eggs, or with jelly bean-filled plastic eggs for that matter, so squeakers it is!  These have been the gift that keep on giving.

We put the finishing touches on our Easter treats and then headed over to the Rusts for Sunday brunch.

Hat buddies!

Juliette really wanted to do an egg hunt and the older boys were so sweet to indulge her and join the fun.

Ok, let’s be honest – the thirteen year-old was totally into it.

The photos we’ve taken on these steps!  So many memories with this bunch.

Buddy, I promise not to make you wear this headband again (for another 11 months), but lemme tell you…it looks so, so good on you.

And Mama-Jules pics, because hey!  I wore something other than leggings on a weekend.

My mom arrived on Easter evening to watch Isaac for week 3 (and 4, 5, 6…).  Again, he was a friendly little dude and settled right into Grandma’s arms.

There were a handful of days when Isaac ran her a little ragged (he’s not a dream all the time), but she took it in stride and loved on him throughout the short naps and the bouts of fussiness.  Plus, the extra set of hands in the kitchen to cook and clean up was invaluable as I adjusted to my new work day.  Shane and I were so, so thankful for her help.

In hindsight we should have done this more often during her time here, but on one precious evening we handed all kid duties to Shane and headed out for a cocktail.  We earned it.

April also saw the start of Spring soccer, and Isaac and I have found the lawn at Alki Playfields to be a perfect place to pass a Sunday afternoon.

Juliette gives it all she has every time, zipping up and down the field with flushed cheeks and tired legs.  Girl’s got heart.

And softball season continues!  Our weekends are a myriad of sporting events, and I love it.

Isaac loves it, too.

April evenings were spent walking around the neighborhood, savoring that fleeting season when the cherry blossoms and the tulips burst with peak color.

Our neighbor, Miss Pat, has an amazing collection of tulips – much as I’d love to make it up to Skagit Valley in the Spring, this suffices.

Isaac had a doctor’s appointment recently where a nurse told me that he had a “very mature face” (like an old man, I believe she meant?), and I see it here.  Maybe it’s the pre-bedtime sleepy lines under his eyes!

Juliette bikes around the block while we walk, and we cross paths every now and then.

One of my most favorite cherry blossom trees…

And a Friday morning walk with Nancy for more blossom viewing.

April felt busy as I transitioned to a new work-life balance, but there was still plenty of home time, plenty of hanging out in the yard…

Lounging on the sofa…

Puzzle-doing…

And lazy weekends with late wake-ups (Isaac, take a memo from your sister!).

Onto May – the joy in the juggling act continues.

Ah, March…March was full of long walks and longer naps as I soaked up my final few weeks of maternity leave.  That period of work-free life was made even more luxurious by the fact that Shane had a couple of weeks off between jobs, so we brunched with Isaac and played a little pickle ball and took more walks.  I ticked off a good chunk of to-do’s and then frantically relaxed, if that’s a thing, knowing how precious that time off of work was.

On the weekends Juliette joined us on our shenanigans.  Harry’s Beach House brunch is still our all-time fave.

March also brought on the onset of Juliette’s first softball season; she’s got team practice once a week, but requests bonus catching and batting time on evenings and weekends.

This patch of dirt at Hiwatha is where we spend our Saturday afternoons now!

And then, the long-anticipated first game!  The dugout was buzzing with excitement as girls pulled out their bats and helmets and checked the line-up.  Gosh, I love watching kids sports – what they lack in skill, they make up for in enthusiasm.

Gooooooo Dragons!

Juliette was a champ; she got a couple of hits, fielded a couple of grounders, and gleefully cheered on each of her teammates when they stepped up to the plate.

Isaac wins the award for Sweetest Spectator.

Game two was even more fun to watch, as the girls fell into the swing of things.

When we’re not soft-balling, we’re play-grounding.

This boy loves the feel of grass between his fingers – every time we set him down on a nice juicy lawn, he looks at me like, “why have you been keeping me inside all these months?!”.

Shane’s pickleball infatuation continues and has taken root in a good few of our friends.  I’m happy to hang with Isaac while the crew plays, but have hopped in for the occasional match.  I see the draw – a good volley is so satisfying.

March wasn’t all sunshine and playgrounds – there were plenty of rainy days that kept us indoors for tickle fights and snuggle fests.

And crafting!  Juliette had a few friends over one morning for a couple of hours of cutting and gluing and listening to Taylor Swift.

Isaac was the belle of the ball.  Little ham!

And finally, March brought Spring blooms.  Every year I find myself stunned by how good our neighborhood looks in the springtime.

Juliette gives cherry blossoms two thumbs up.

Misty mornings, sunny afternoons…either way, these tunnels of blooms are some kinda magic.

Walks with my boy…I love them so much.

It’s in the 60’s as I type this and I’m hoping we’ve put our beanies away for the season, but last month they got plenty of use.

I looked so happy carrying Isaac in the Ergo that Juliette decided to strap her favorite puppy to her chest.  She dressed him in one of Isaac’s old onesies and grabbed one of Isaac’s hats.  Such a little mama, this girl.

We strolled down this cherry blossom row, just a block from our house, every chance we got.

And then on April 4th I returned to the office and we all got to work finding our new groove.  It’s been easier and harder and better and worse than I expected, depending on the day.  I’m so thankful for those several months I had to focus just on holding my babes close.  Best job ever.

One last batch of island photos.  Need I even narrate?  More of the same old, same old.  That glorious Maui same old, same old…

We scored the perfect pool chairs on Tuesday morning and camped out there for several hours.  Isaac took his first and second naps poolside while Juliette popped out of the water only for her hourly sunscreen application.

I swam for awhile with Juliette while Isaac dozed in his dad’s arms.  I always went down the slides first, partly so that I could be at the bottom when Juliette landed, but also because I loved to look back at her as I slid out of view, her beaming at me and yelling, “Go Mommy!!!”.  Eight is great – she’s so much fun to pal around with these days.

And…he’s up again!  Time for lunch.

We drove up to Paia and chowed down on pizza from the Paia Flatbread Company – their Mopsy pizza with Kalua pork and pineapple and mange bbq sauce was outstanding.

Isaac and Juliette are achingly sweet together most of the time, but this picture is also quintessential – him unknowingly digging his nails into her arm or pulling her hair and her looking at him like, “Why would you do that?!”.

We popped over to Ho’okipa Beach after lunch to enjoy the crystal clear water and watch the kite surfers, but the wind kept us from lingering too long.  Take us back to our quiet little beach at Wailea!

Late afternoon pool play…

And then sunset at Makena Cove, which was just a few minutes south of our resort but a totally different beach landscape.

My attempts to get Isaac to nap that afternoon had been unsuccessful and I knew we were risking a sunset meltdown, but once Shane tucked him into the Bjorn, he fell into a silent daze.

Too…tired…to…fight…it.

Photog-in-training:

I had asked Juliette if she wanted to wear her swimsuit to the beach, but she said she didn’t want to get wet.  The call of the ocean never fails!  We both left with wet hems on our shorts.

Shane headed out for a cocktail with Jack after dark.  Isaac fell asleep without much fuss, Juliette started watching Hamilton for the umpteenth time, and then BANG!  We were all startled by an extensive fireworks display, which was a mostly-nice surprise, minus the baby wakeup.

Wednesday!  You know the drill.

We opted for beachfront chairs that morning and La Verne rented a couple of boogie boards for the kids.  Juliette mostly loved it, until a wave took her under and forced saltwater up her nose.

Who you lookin’ at with that mean mug, baby?!

I put Isaac in the Bjorn and waded out in the water with him, where the gentle waves could lap at his legs.

Reading break after another gnarly fight with a wave…

And more of this…  I remember feeling some baby fatigue that morning, wishing I could just put Isaac down and walk away for a couple of hours, but then a mom in a nearby chair saw me holding him and said with such sincerity, “Oh, I miss those days so much it makes my heart hurt!” and I recalibrated.  This phase is hard, but it’s also fleeting and so full of goodness when I lean into it.

The plus-side of holding a baby – nobody asks me if they can bury me in the sand!

Morning, Bud…

Juliette can’t ever resist the urge to try again.  I love that about her.

The sun felt particularly strong that day and we’d blown through most of our sunscreen, so we decided there was no shame in just enjoying an afternoon in our hotel room.

Juliette snuggled up with little bro…

And then I snuggled up with Shane, at which point Juliette exclaimed, “You two are so romantic!” and asked if she could snap a picture.  “Romantic” is one of her favorite words these days – I’m glad we make the cut.

Evening pool sesh…

And then over to the Chens’ beachfront cabana for pina coladas and one last sunset.

And…there it goes!  The kids clapped extra-loud for the sunset that night as whales flipped their fins and spouted water in the foreground.  

Tuckered.

We had an afternoon flight on Thursday, so we were able to squeeze in a couple of hours of beach play before heading the airport.

We don’t see nearly enough of these folks in Seattle – so fun to be neighbors for a few days.

And…the pool is on the way to the room, so why not?

Isaac and I headed back to the room to finish packing while Juliette and Shane did one last loop (or three) on the waterslides.  Oh, baby…you are not the easy-going-est of travel partners just yet, but I sure do like having you around.

Juliette tossed coins into the fountain as we were checking out – I asked her what her wish was and initially she said it was “to have kids some day”, but after realizing how high those stakes were and how hard it was to land a shot, she wisely adjusted course.  “I hope I have fun with my grandparents when they come to visit!”

Stuck it!

And with that, we were Seattle-bound.  I know, so many photos (kudos to Grandma Schnell for letting me know she’s looked at all of them!) but so many memories.  I want to remember forever how blonde Isaac’s hair looked in the sun, how it would get just the slightest bit curly after taking a warm nap in my arms.  I want to remember Juliette’s utter glee as she came down the waterslide, how her head would disappear underwater for just a moment and then she would emerge gulping and laughing.  Those sunrise walks with baby boy were the stuff of dreams.  Shane and Juliette’s matching Husky hats and the way those two play together as the very best of buds.  Acai bowls and fresh poke and a frosty pina colada, sipped with one of my favorite ladies.  We haven’t gotten out much these past couple of years, but ooff…what a way to re-emerge.

By Sunday we’d already fallen into a sweet little routine – I was up early with Isaac for coffee and a stroll, Shane and Juliette dozed for an extra hour or two, and then we rendezvoused at the beach to claim our chairs and soak up those morning not-too-hot hours of sun.  I came to love my sunrise walks with the baby, when the beach paths were quiet and the ocean was calm.  Traveling with a human alarm clock isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Now, onto the business of playing!  Let’s get to it!

Juliette and Nico bobbed in the waves and built sand castles and lounged on the beach chairs until the ocean called them back in again.

Freckle weather!  My favorite.

Ta-da!!!  A sand village, where all are welcome.

Meanwhile, Isaac intently watched it all go down.  He wasn’t quite ready to sit up in the sand on his own and spent all of his beach time in my or Shane’s arms.  My back was a little worse for the wear by the end of the week, but when I remembered how Juliette would dart straight into the ocean as a toddler when we visited Santa Monica, I relished the ability to keep Isaac close.

Isaac’s face here…  “Watch out for those waves, Mom!”

We found ourselves needing a sun-break by 11am and headed back to our room.  But since the pools are on the way, Juliette took a quick dip.  Swim life 4-ever.

We made the short drive up to Kihei for lunch at Kihei Cafe and then hopped over to Ululani’s for shave ice, which hits the spot like nothing else on a hot afternoon.

I’ll give you one guess as to how we spent our afternoon…

We found that our pools started to clear out around 4pm and so we took advantage of the mellow vibe and lingered until dinnertime.

While Isaac didn’t love the pool like his sister did, he’d tolerate bobbing around in Shane’s or my arms.  We’ll make a fish out of you yet, Buddy.

I recall this evening as one of our favorites – good moods all around, no plans to speak of, plenty of just soaking in the joy of the moment.

Sunset from our room…

And the sweetest silhouette.

Jazz hands for another stellar day.

We mixed it up on Monday morning – Shane got out for some pickle ball while Juliette and Nico took a ukulele lesson at the hotel.  First, though, ACAI!

While the kids worked on chords, I walked with Isaac.  I must have gone up and down this beach path a dozen times in our few days there, but it never got old.

I thought maybe we would leave the resort that day, but…nah.

The waterslides stopped running at 4pm, so Juliette and I darted to the topmost slide at 3:50 and managed to hit 9 out of 10 slides in 10 minutes.  We were quite proud of ourselves.

5pm beach rendezvous…

And a picnic dinner from Island Market at our favorite spot.

Something about a good sunset just makes you want to put your arms around the people you love.

I took Isaac back to the room while the rest of the gang went out for ice cream and while it was hard to bid farewell to our friends at 6:30, I can’t imagine a sweeter place to nurse a sun-kissed baby to sleep.