Archive for the ‘seattle’ Category

There were a series of Fridays in the Spring when work crept into my “day off”, as I was asked to come into the office for a quick meeting or dial in for a call; I often found myself volunteering to check in around lunchtime and then getting sucked into a mid-day email vortex.  The reality is that architecture isn’t incredibly well-suited to a four-day work week.  But dang it, there’s summertime fun to be had with my favorite three year old, so I reset some boundaries and have recommitted to Mama-Jules time.  We’re painting this town red!

We kicked off Fun-Only Fridays in early June with a trip down to the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma.  Juliette grabbed a map and planned our route:  fish, tigers, polar bears, goats.

Dory, Mama!  DORY!!!

The tiger was my favorite – such a striking, beautiful animal.

But a little scary, too – he’s got his eye on her!

The goats were our last stop and I expected we’d breeze by there, as Juliette and I were both a little beat by this point, and I mean, they’re just goats.  Turns out they were adorable goats.  Hungry goats.  And there was a food dispenser.  We were here for awhile.

That poor guy in the back was insatiable!

Ok, buddy.  ONE MORE.

I finally coaxed Juliette away from her livestock friends and we hit the road back to Seattle.  Lucky kid:

Lucky me!

We spent a much grayer Friday a couple of weeks ago at the Pacific Science Center, making use of the membership that we purchased on a stormy weekend in January.  First, though, pancakes and coffee at Five Spot.

The Pacific Science Center, like many children’s museums, feels a little worn-out (this place takes a beating!), but the butterflies are beautiful.

Juliette was quite distressed when she saw the large-scale chessboard in total disarray and got right to work fixing it up.

Legos for days.  Sometimes it’s nice to sit still…

Shane’s work schedule permits him to join us from time to time on our Friday shenanigans and the three of us spent the last Friday of June at Rattlesnake Lake, paddle-boarding and picnicking.

I don’t know if it’s the ball cap or the khaki-colored shorts or the way he’s leaning in with his hand on Juliette’s back, but Shane has never looked more Dad to me than he does in this photo…

I got out for a long solo paddle while Shane and Juliette ate their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the shore.  Now this is a form of exercise I can get on board with!

We checked berry-picking off our list yesterday, as we made the trek out to Carnation to scour the raspberry vines.  We stopped at Sandy’s on the way there for fuel in the form of coffee and muffins, enjoying their sunny little patio.

The pickin’ was good yesterday, with plenty of huge, sweet berries hanging from the vines.  For each one Juliette put in her bucket, she put one in her mouth.

Seriously, I felt like we should slip the guy at the register a few extra dollars…

This photo needs a little thought bubble in the upper right corner saying, “Life is GOOD”.

For all the fun we had, Juliette took her harvesting very seriously.

Seven pounds of sheer joy in that crate right there!

Work schmerk.  Thank Goodness for Fridays.

Memorial Day weekend was long and sunny and filled with good times with the gang – dare I say that summer has come a little early this year???

Juliette and I heralded the arrival of 80-plus temps with a Mama-Jules Friday at Gene Coulon Beach.

She rides a little lower every time she gets in that boat, but somehow, it still floats!

I’m so looking forward to a summer of Fridays with this kid…

After leaving the beach, we stopped by Target for paper towels and walked out with an inflatable pool, because, I mean, 82 degrees, people!  We just lived through Seattle’s coldest winter in 32 years!

We dusted off the paddle board on Saturday morning for a jaunt around Lake Washington…

And then set up camp on the lawn with our peeps.  It was a long, lazy morning of mimosas and baseball and water bazookas.

We celebrated N’s fourth birthday that evening with a dinosaur egg hunt and generously frosted cupcakes.

It was like Easter in May!  Brilliant party planning, La Verne…

Happiest of birthdays to this sweet boy!

Jules and N haven’t seen a whole lot of each other this past few weeks and seemed quite happy to be reunited again.

While the littler kids played with their eggs, G and Z did dare-devil stunts with scooters and riding toys down the Chens’ steep driveway.  Rough and tumble, these two…

Shane scored a big-kids bike on Craigslist on Saturday and gave Juliette her first pedal lesson on Sunday.  She’s got a ways to go before she’s cruising around this thing on her own, but biking lessons seem like a perfect father-daughter summer project.

I, on the other hand, am quite comfortable with my new wheels and loved our Sunday afternoon ride down to the lake and around Seward Park.  Check us out!  We’re a biking family!


We ran into the Chens down on the Boulevard and biked with them for awhile.

Juliette was such a good sport on our 14-mile trek that we let her maximize her pre-bed playtime by eating dinner in her new swimming pool.  Copper River salmon has never tasted so good!

Tempted as I was to lay super-low on Monday, Shane was gunning for another family ride, so we strapped our bikes to the Forester and drove over to Marymoor Park for a Redhook Ride.

I have to say, the Brewery payoff felt slightly out of proportion with the meager seven miles we rode to get there…  But hey!  It was a holiday!

We capped off our weekend o’ sun back at Seward Park, where I laid on the grass while the kids splashed in the lake.

And with that, May Madness is a wrap.

Seattle’s fleeting cherry blossoms come in two waves every year, and I feared we had missed the second wave of bright pink pom-poms while we were down in Los Angeles.  Turns out we made it back just in time!

I picked up Juliette a little early from school one day last week and when I saw her apropos ultra-pink outfit set against clear blue skies, I figured we should jet down to Lake Washington to check out the scene.  I mean, this tree branch was just begging to be sat upon by a girl in a pink tutu!


I miss those evening golden hours back at Santa Monica beach, but “pink hour” along Lake Washington is also pretty magical.


Shane and I tag-team parented much of last weekend due to some work stuff and a church meeting, but we did set aside Saturday morning for some quality family time.  We hit the trail to Coal Creek Falls at Cougar Mountain mid-morning – Juliette has outgrown the hiking backpack but assured us she could make it all the way on her own.

So much promise in these woods – this path feels like it’s on the verge of exploding with all shades of green.

Ahhhh, green, green, green!

Oh, and about Jules making it all the way “on her own”…

Thanks, Dad…

The sound of rushing water grew louder, then fainter, then louder again, and just when we all started to wonder if we’d ever get there…

Found it.

One of the advantages of hiking on a gray April day?  You get an oasis like this all to yourself.

This kid could have spent all day fishing for special rocks in the shallow water.  I told her she could pick three to take home with her and after carefully considering her options, she slipped a brown one, a black one, and a striped one into her pocket.  She gave each of them very dramatic names like “The Waterfall of the Sea” and “The Seasons of the Grass”.  I’m guessing her teachers have been reading her fairy tales at school?

I know, Jules, I know – it’s so thrilling to see leaves on the trees!  Cheers to a Spring and Summer of gettin’ outside.

Psalm 118:24 was read aloud several times over at church on Sunday morning and rattled around in my head throughout the day:

This is the day that the Lord hath made.

We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Indeed, it was a weekend full of rejoicing.  Because…Easter!  And sunshine!  And this sweet kid’s 7th birthday!

We spent Saturday morning at the Rusts’, ringing in Isaiah’s 7th.  There were lawn games and presents and pizza and popsicles.  And smiles.  This! Boy’s! Smiles!

Happy birthday, Bups!

Post-party, Shane and Juliette went on a 1.5-hour bike ride while I wandered the aisles of Target in blissful solitude.  I expected Juliette to be antsy and tugging at her bike helmet by the time they got back as she’s never spent more than 30 minutes in the bike seat, but this girl was such a good sport.  It seems she’s cherishing Daddy-Jules time more than ever.

I hated to spend the day’s last few sun rays indoors, so Juliette and I took a stroll through the Greenbelt before dinner – this little patch of woods has become our go-to when we want a nature-fix.

The birds seemed particularly exuberant that evening – one jay (?) had Juliette a bit spooked with his extra-loud calls.

Eh…no worries!

There are times when I open up a photo I’ve taken and my stomach flip-flops at the sight of how grown-up and lovely this girl has become.  Hard to believe she’s only three.  And yet hard to believe she’s already three!

We ushered in Easter Sunday with pastries at Cafe Besalu, sensing God’s goodness in the form of buttery croissants and rich coffee.

After church, we headed over to Discovery Park to do some exploring with the Rusts.

The woods were bursting with bright, bright green, poignantly heralding signs of new life.

After a few wrong turns, we finally landed down at the beach, where we muddied our shoes and flipped over rocks in search of crabs.

Jules and I hung tight in this driftwood fort while Shane trekked back uphill to get the car.

We all snoozed through much of the afternoon and then woke up rearing to go again.  I hid a few eggs out back for Juliette to find and loved watching her react like she’d won the jackpot every time she cracked one open.

She quickly amassed all 15 jelly beans, looking into her bucket with bright-eyed wonder and exclaiming, “I think I have a thousand jelly beans, Mommy!”.  I put together a grander basket this year as the ultimate prize, stuffing it with art supplies and a new doll.

We headed over the Rusts’ again that evening for an egg hunt with the bigger kids.  I was glad Juliette had gotten her own private hunt at home, because she didn’t stand a chance against these rascals!

The boys were actually pretty great about sticking to their 10-egg limit and leaving the easy-to-find ones for their kid sister.

We feasted on roast chicken and then let the kids run off their jelly bean high.  Isaiah was kind enough to share his birthday walkie-talkies with Juliette, who spent 15 straight minutes jabbering into the thing without letting him get a word in edgewise.

Sometimes rejoicing comes so very naturally – my heart is full.  Thanks be to God.

Springtime in Seattle!  It’s when all of those gray, rainy winter months pay off in the form of beautiful new blooms.  And man, the blooms were hard-fought this year, as we’re coming off a particularly dark and stormy season (please tell me we’re finally coming off this dark and stormy season!).  We usually kick off our Spring-soaking with a trip to UW to visit the cherry blossoms – Jules and I headed out there on a sunny(ish) Friday a couple of weeks ago to take in all the pink and white.

20170331 uw cherry blossoms1 sm

20170331 uw cherry blossoms2 sm

The quad was packed with other petal-peepers, but we managed to get in a few laps.

20170331 uw cherry blossoms4 sm

20170331 uw cherry blossoms5 sm

20170331 uw cherry blossoms6 sm

20170331 uw cherry blossoms7 sm

Even on cool and cloudy days, the flowers beckon – we spent a gray Saturday romping through our favorite spots at the Arboretum.

This little magnolia grove is some kinda magic…

“I’m freeeeee!  And it feels so good!”

And then, one more post-church trek over to UW, since we missed having Dad with us the first time around.

Not to project too far into the future, but this kid looks good on this campus, doesn’t she?

There are other signs of Spring around here – like the reappearance of the trusty bike seat!  This is by far Juliette’s favorite way to commute to school.

20170411 bikers sm

And flower-filled murals gracing the walls of our church – Emily and I spent an evening last week chalk-arting in the kids’ ministry area.  I forgot how fun it is to doodle!

20170405 quest sm

Jules and I have taken some epic walks together lately, marching up and down the hills of Montlake at Interlaken Park…

20170331 interlaken park sm

And logging over five miles on the Chief Sealth Trail near our house (there was a boba stop somewhere in the middle there, for sustenance, of course).

20170409 chief sealth1 sm

We’ve been hitting the Spring birthday circuit pretty hard – this party at the gymnastics academy was a hit.

20170408 gymnast1 sm

And last but certainly not least, hellooooo GIANTS!  Baseball season is upon us, and though our guys are hardly off to a rip-roaring start, tuning into the games together is still a favorite weekend and evening pastime.

20170401 giants sm

Inspired by the likes of Buster Posey and Hunter Pence, this little slugger has been working on her swing.

20170409 t-ball1 sm

This face, though!  Breathe through your swing, Jules!

I’m cherishing this age when good sportsmanship comes naturally, when swinging and missing is no less enjoyable than hitting a homer.

Welcome, Spring.  We’re thrilled you’re here.

It’s been a dark and stormy month – when I went in at 7:00 yesterday morning to wake up Juliette, she rubbed her eyes and sleepily asked, “Is it still night time?”, confused by the sun-less sky out her window.  October has been full of wind and rain and only a handful of sun breaks.  But man, when that golden sun breaks


The clouds cleared as we were leaving church a couple of Sundays ago, so we popped over to Ravenna Park for a stroll.  It actually started drizzling again once we’d wound our way down to the trail, but I insisted we press on.  These leaves won’t be around much longer!








I know, Jules!  So lovely, right?!






Shane had last Friday off, so the three of us headed over to Bellevue Botanical Gardens to take a deep breath after a very traumatic dentist appointment (just a check-up, but you’d think our girl was getting a root canal!).


Run free, kiddo!





We spent awhile bouncing our way back and forth across the suspension bridge, stopping every lap or two to toss leaves into the creek below.








And then a rousing game of hide-and-go-seek in the woods.



THIS.  This is why I’m so thankful that my work week ends on Thursday.







Saturday was perfectly rain-free, so we seized the day and drove up to Snohomish for a day at The Farm at Swan’s Trail, on a quest for the perfect pumpkin.




So many to choose from!









We loaded up our wheelbarrow with three pumpkins and one three year old and called it good.


Ok, ok, one more!


We jetted down to Lincoln Park after the pumpkin patch to watch the Rust boys show off their fancy footwork on the soccer field.  Get it, Gryff!



Shane had to work most of the day on Sunday, but we squeezed in a family romp through Kubota Gardens before he clocked in.  This place is most definitely at its autumn peak.







I spy…






Ok, so apparently October wasn’t so gloomy after all!  (Typed as the rain patters against our living room window.)

OCTOBER, you trickster, you…always arriving before I’m quite ready for you, making me melancholy over the passage of summer but then wooing me with your color and crispness.  These first couple weeks of Fall have been good to us, with plenty of sun and just enough rain to save me from having to water the plants.

I’m afraid paddle board Sundays are a thing of the past, but bike rides are lovelier than ever.




And gosh, these arboretum strolls…on a sunny evening, this place is magic.



The kids harvested (inedible) berries one Sunday evening while the grown-ups cracked open a bottle of Sauv Blanc.






MY WORD, kids!  Lay it on thick!





It’s been a few months since I’ve had a work-free, kid-free day to myself, so I called in tired one day last week and headed out to Twin Falls for a little refresh.






These gorgeous gushing falls are just 45 minutes from Seattle, and on this cloudy Tuesday, I had them nearly to myself.








The sun peeked out as I was heading back to the car and the forest positively glowed.


So I stretched out on a big smooth rock and read for awhile, savoring that rare feeling of taking my own sweet time.









Me-days are grand, but Mama-Jules days have their own charm.  We spent past Friday at Volunteer Park, romping in the sun and taking in the view from the Observatory.






Jules was having some…digestive… issues yesterday, so we stayed close to home, but by 4 pm we were all climbing the walls, so we headed over to Kubota Gardens for our annual leaf-fest.




We were a bit early for full-on reds and golds, but hey, green is good, too.



This girl was thrilled to be free!








Oh, and how ’bout them GIANTS?!  Sunday afternoon baseball tea parties are a thing in our house now.  And October baseball is the very best kind of baseball, so don’t let us down on Wednesday, boys!


Juliette turned to me when we were walking home from lightrail the other evening and said, “Mommy?  I’m sad because the leaves are coming off the trees.”  I feel ya, kiddo…it was indeed one heck of a summer.  In addition to the camping trips and the family vacations through the mid- and north-wests and that fun impromptu getaway at the coast, there was much savoring of summertime in Seattle as we made sun-soaking part of our weekend routine.

After years of insisting that I am not comfortable on two wheels, family bike rides became a new favorite pastime.  We did Lake Washington Boulevard and the Sammamish River Trail and the Burke Gilman and, on one gorgeous Sunday, a 6-mile stretch of the Green River Trail.  One of the advantages of hauling Jules in the bike trailer is that we can also load it up with a picnic lunch for a mid-ride break!






Friday family dinners with the Rusts have become a mainstay in our calendar, rain or shine.  Shine is extra-good, though, when we can pick up BBQ and eat outside.


Jefferson Spray Park continues to be the perfect place for a close-to-home cool-off.


And oh, those evenings at Lake Washington…those are what I’ll miss most as the weather cools.  We’ve always loved the lake, but since we bought our paddle board, we’re enjoying it all the more.  This girl looks good in a life jacket!







THIS.  I want more of this!


But alas, seasons change and daylight wanes, so we’ll find new ways to fill our weekends.  Frisbee golf shows some promise as an autumn hobby – the three of us ventured out to Lakewood a couple of weeks ago and while I usually play the part of the observer so as not to embarrass myself, I took some pointers from Shane and after a few holes, my discs were consistently traveling in the forward direction!


Still, I have nowhere near the power of this animal…




After frisbee golf that day, we all headed over to Pioneer Square to check out some of the early happenings at the Seattle Design Festival.  I was perplexed when Shane said he really wanted to see the 10-ton ice cube, but I’ll admit, it was cool.  Ice cool.  I so appreciate this guy’s knack for finding out-of-the-ordinary ways for us to get out together.




And now, all ten tons of that ice have melted and we’ve started wearing jackets when we leave the house.  Sayonara, summer 2016.  You were dope.


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.

20160603 gold creek pond1 sm

20160603 gold creek pond2 sm

20160603 gold creek pond5 sm

20160603 gold creek pond6 sm

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

20160603 gold creek pond7 sm

20160603 gold creek pond8 sm

20160603 gold creek pond9 sm

20160603 gold creek pond10 sm

20160603 gold creek pond11 sm

20160603 gold creek pond12 sm

20160603 gold creek pond13 sm

20160603 gold creek pond14 sm

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.

20160603 gold creek pond17 sm

20160603 gold creek pond15 sm

20160603 gold creek pond18 sm

I love baseball cap weather…

20160603 gold creek pond19 sm

20160603 gold creek pond20 sm

20160603 gold creek pond21 sm

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

20160603 dru bru1 sm

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:

20160603 jefferson1 sm

20160603 jefferson2 sm

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).

20160604 lake washington1 sm

20160604 lake washington2 sm

20160604 lake washington4 sm

20160604 lake washington3 sm

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

20160605 franklin falls1 sm

20160605 franklin falls2 sm

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!

20160605 franklin falls3 sm

20160605 franklin falls4 sm

20160605 franklin falls5 sm

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.

20160605 franklin falls6 sm

20160605 franklin falls7 sm

20160605 franklin falls8 sm

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…

20160605 franklin falls9 sm

20160605 franklin falls10 sm

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.

20160605 franklin falls11 sm

20160605 franklin falls12 sm

20160605 franklin falls13 sm

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.

20160605 lake washington1 sm

20160605 lake washington2 sm

20160605 lake washington3 sm

20160605 lake washington9 sm

20160605 lake washington4 sm

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

20160605 lake washington5 sm

20160605 lake washington6 sm

20160605 lake washington7 sm

20160605 lake washington8 sm

Ahhhh…June.  So far, so good!

A smorgasboard of photos from the past couple of weeks:

One of my very favorite kids turned six last week and we celebrated with pizza and popsicles at the park.  I remember when this sweet boy was just a little roly-poly of a thing – now he’s SIX, all grown-up and super-cool.

20160416 zebo birthday1 sm

Still awfully sweet, though…

20160416 zebo birthday2 sm

20160416 zebo birthday3 sm

Most of the attendees were boys in the 6-10 year range and Jules couldn’t quite keep up, but she was pretty thrilled to watch from the sidelines and get a glimpse of future shenanigans.

20160416 zebo birthday11 sm

20160416 zebo birthday5 sm

20160416 zebo birthday7 sm

Don’t even think about it, kiddo!  Too high, too high!

20160416 zebo birthday6 sm

Best to stick with frolicking in the grass with her pint-sized buddy!

20160416 zebo birthday10 sm

20160416 zebo birthday8 sm

20160416 zebo birthday9 sm

Love you, Z!  It’s such a pleasure to watch you grow.

20160416 zebo birthday4 sm


Shane, Jules, and I spent a sunny Sunday morning hanging out at Lake Union, watching the boats and sea planes go by.

20160417 lake union1 sm

20160417 lake union2 sm

20160417 lake union3 sm

Girl knows how to accessorize!

20160417 lake union4 sm

20160417 lake union5 sm

20160417 lake union6 sm

And then a sunny Sunday evening at Seward Park – suddenly beach weather is upon us!

20160417 seward park1 sm

20160417 seward park2 sm

20160417 seward park3 sm

20160417 seward park4 sm

20160417 seward park5 sm

20160417 seward park6 sm

These two were giddy with the promise of summer on the horizon (it’s a distant horizon, but still very exciting!).

20160417 seward park7 sm

20160417 seward park8 sm

20160417 seward park9 sm


I’m loving these longer daylight hours – we can push Juliette’s bedtime back a bit on the evenings we want to take a spin around the block after dinner.  She’s slowly getting the hang of her balance bike, although it seems she usually decides she’s done riding once we’ve reached the farthest point from home.  Of course.

20160420 biker sm


We checked out Montlake Playground on Friday with our buddies – Juliette was quick to set up shop in the “kitchen” and make me a sausage with chocolate.

20160422 montlake1 sm

20160422 montlake3 sm

20160422 montlake6 sm

20160422 montlake7 sm

This.  Kid’s.  Smile.

20160422 montlake8 sm

20160422 montlake9 sm

20160422 montlake10 sm


Little O turns three tomorrow and we celebrated with him on Saturday morning at a Top Pot Caspar Babypants concert.  He is Caspar’s biggest fan and bopped along to every single song.

20160422 oli birthday2 sm

Jules was not so impressed with the music, but the donut with sprinkles was a major hit.  Points to Shane for not complaining once through the whole thing – this is decidedly not his scene!

20160422 oli birthday3 sm


Shane is bound and determined to make a biking family out of us, so he borrowed Nancy’s bike for me on Saturday afternoon and corralled Jules and me over to Seward Park for a short ride.  Truth be told, I would have preferred to tuck myself into the bike trailer with Juliette and her books, but still, it was fun.

20160423 bike ride1 sm

The mid-ride stop for snacks by the water was a plus.

20160423 bike ride2 sm


Yesterday was rainy and gray – we spent a lot of time cuddled up inside with hot tea and Finding Nemo.  Juliette and I did venture out for a quick run up to Jefferson Park – I haven’t jogged with the stroller in awhile and barely made it up the hill with old bag of books.  As I huffed and puffed, she called back, “What’s wrong, Mommy?”  I said, “You’re so heavy, baby!”  She sighed dramatically and said, “I know!  I’m so tired!”  Life is rough, huh, kid?

20160424 joggers sm