Archive for the ‘seattle’ Category

October!  Much of October felt more summer than Fall this year.  It’s dark by 4:30 pm these days, so it’s hard to believe that just a few weeks ago we were taking post-dinner sunset strolls, Isaac barefoot in his beloved plastic wagon.  But I’ve got the photos to prove it…

As we emerged from our September fog of fevers and coughs, we reveled in spending our weekends at playgrounds and parks.  Lincoln Park is always a hit on a sunny Saturday.

Isaac is less and less content to sit on the swings as he becomes more and more mobile.  Kiddo is everywhere.  Luckily, Juliette keeps up with him well after I’ve lost steam.

The Hiawatha playground is on the way home from Isaac’s daycare, so on a sunny afternoon when I manage to pick him up a little early, why not?

Juliette had a random Friday off from school and so we ventured out of West Seattle to spend a morning romping around Volunteer Park.  This playground was always one of Juliette’s favorites (still is, apparently!) and her brother is following suit.

And the trees!  The kids favor the playground, but the tree-lined path is my Fall happy place.

A quick pop over to Volunteer Park cafe for fizzy drinks and avocado toast…

And then to the tower!

Juliette and I have climbed these stairs many times over, but this was the first time I did it with a baby strapped to my chest.  Wait for me, Jules!

Enjoy the feel of fresh grass between those wee little toes, Isaac – socks and shoes season is coming…

The downside to 2022’s endless summer was the October wildfire smoke – our trip out to Luther Burbank was cut short by scratchy throats and watery eyes.

Bleh – that haze!  Makes me thankful for the rain that drenched Seattle today.

We celebrated my birthday last month with fancy donuts and a tall latte and cozy-time with my munchkins.  I suggested a simple bike ride after Isaac’s morning nap and Shane one-upped my request by loading all our wheels into the Subaru for a drive out to Redmond so that we could bike the Sammamish River Trail to Chateau Ste. Michelle for a picnic lunch.

Made it!

MADE IT!  Mama’s happy.

We spread out on the lawn and ate steak frites and sipped Sauv Blanc while Juliette collected hazelnut husks and Isaac attempted to eat a tangerine with the peel still on.

Tangerine, schmangerine…Isaac was all about the lemon tart once dessert was unveiled – I kept telling him, “last biiiiite…”, but that face!  I’m a sucker.

Oh goodness, Buddy…your joie de vivre…

It was a slow cruise back to the car, with full bellies and a sleeping baby.

We stopped at Westside Park on the way home to check out the playground and the pickleball court.

I laid down on the grass and enjoyed the feeling of the day’s final rays on my face – Isaac crawled over to me and climbed right onto my chest, stretching his little body out on top of mine.  He never stays there for long, but oh, that sweet few seconds when he really nuzzles into me…  A woman passing by said, “Oh, look at how that baby loves his mama!  You’re so lucky!”  You don’t know the half of it, lady.  Happy birthday to me.

And we haven’t even made it to the pumpkin patch yet.

A bit of catching up to do around here, as Fall flies by and winter barrels toward us at lightning speed.  With any luck, I’ll have our Halloween pics up before Christmas!

Juliette is thriving in Third Grade and Shane and I have jumped at the chance to participate in a couple of onsite school activities after over two years of the building being closed to visitors.  Juliette was an all-star tour guide at back-to-school night – we saw her classroom and the library and the gym and the music room and every poster in between.

She’s thrilled on the days Shane picks her up from school on the Rad Wagon, and her friends are thrilled on the days Isaac is there to say hello.

September brought soccer season and so Isaac and I now spend our Saturday mornings cheering on Sister from the sidelines.  The girls named the team Poison Ivy and have grown so much since they started playing together a year ago.  They’re finally doing some legitimate passing and are hustling their hearts out.  These games are often the highlight of my week.

They call Isaac their team mascot and dote on him during halftime.  He eats it up.

More Sunday rides to the library for books and to Good Society for beer…

The West Seattle Bridge reopened in mid-September and suddenly we feel like our world has expanded by 8X.  We can now pop over to SoDo on a whim for Saturday morning coffee and croissants!

Although we keep coming back to our hometown favorites when we want sun+water…

And then there were the days (upon days) at home.  I don’t think a week went by in September when one of us wasn’t sick – the nights were often rough (Isaac has the hair to prove it!) and the days were often spent just trying to muddle through.

Some days, though, we stayed home just because that’s where we’re happiest.

We hung out at Lowman beach on the last day of September and it felt like a fitting way to bid farewell to summer (though let’s be real – it was hot as heck for the first half of October!).

Bring on the pumpkins.

A few August snapshots that should move from a folder on my desktop into the blogosphere, because first of all…

HAMILTON.  We bought tickets to the show several months ago when we heard it would be in Seattle and surprised Juliette in early August, and my goodness…HAMILTON.  It’s been a long time since we got dressed up and went…anywhere, really, and from the moment we turned onto Pine Street and spotted the billboard, we were swept up in the magic of it all.  Juliette oohed and ahhed over the lobby chandelier and held her dress pinched between thumb and forefinger like a princess making a ballroom entrance as she walked down the Paramount’s stairs to the restroom.  

The lights flickered and we found our seats and the whole place was absolutely electric with excitement.  I was captivated from the moment the first notes sounded, but couldn’t help looking over at Juliette every few minutes, wanting to freeze-frame in the my mind the way that she smiled from ear to ear with a little giggle at, “You are the worst, Burr”, the way she bobbed her head along to “Ooh ooh ooh, I do I do I do I doooo” as Eliza entered the stage.  Such glee and sorrow, such heightened feelings as we fed off the energy that comes with being in a room of thousands.  What an experience.

We left Isaac at home for obvious reasons and enjoyed our baby break, but it felt awfully good to be back home with our boy in our arms!

Hamilton is pretty freaking hard to top, but there were also some very sweet evening walks with my two favorites…

Lots of park time…

Evenings walks and park time as we strolled down to Ercolini…

Ercolini can look like a bit of a junkyard, with its collection of discarded riding toys, but it can also be a kid’s treasure trove.  Juliette and Isaac were pumped when this blue truck showed up on a random weeknight.

Is she too big to sit in this thing?  Probably.  But does she look adorable in it, as she radios for backup?  Totally.

There was a Saturday at the Lincoln Park playground…

Followed by one last Sunday at Coleman pool.  This place will forever epitomize for me the pinnacle of Seattle summer goodness.

There were weekend bike rides to the library, where we stumbled upon a concert in the street…

And a visit from my mom and dad for Isaac’s first birthday.

There were also some long, quiet days at home, when Juliette was on her own while Isaac was at daycare and Shane and I worked.  She’s gotten so good at entertaining herself (Covid gave her no choice!).  Her Barbie hair salon was next level.

Also, girl’s got mad puzzle skills – she put this together in an afternoon!

Way to sleep off those pool days, Juliette.  Summering is hard work.

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.

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!

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.

Winter was made bearable this year with our January getaway to Winthrop and a blissful February week in Maui (more on that later) – snow-breaks and sun-breaks do much to ease the gray-sky doldrums.  And in-between, when we don’t have the luxury of skipping town, we still do our best to get out of the house and catch a breath of fresh air.  Contrary to popular belief, there are actually breaks in the rain around here – I’ve got photos to prove it!

Isaac has been getting well-acquainted with each and every West Seattle playground over these past couple of months.  Though he’s not able to do much more than lean back in the baby swing, Juliette is eager to show him the ropes and will always offer him a lap-ride on the slide if he’s up for it.  Delridge Park has become a new favorite, mainly because there are pickle ball courts there and Shane gets his own form of play-time while we hit the swings.

 

Seahurst Park down in Burien was stunning on a sunny Sunday.

I’m so glad that Juliette still loves the swings.

Isaac is…still getting the hang of it.

Her face when she looks at him is everything.

 

Alki forever!  Juliette and I headed down to the beach for a scooter/walk one afternoon while Isaac was napping, then treated ourselves to boba.

We went back a few days later with brother in tow and hit up Whale Tail playground.

And…more beach boba.  Isaac was feeling very left-out, so I sat in the sand, leaned back on a piece of driftwood, and nursed him while I savored my jasmine milk tea.  Something for everyone.

 

Lincoln Park on a sunny day can’t really be beat.

Also, Lincoln Park’s baseball diamonds are the perfect place for Juliette to field some grounders in preparation for her Spring softball kick-off.

 

Hiwatha is great for the variety of playground equipment.  And the proximity to coffee / hot chocolate at Met Market.  Juliette and I have our priorities!

Her big grin and his little tongue.

…and Hiwatha today, while Shane and Juliette watched a Little League game at the ball field.

 

Westcrest is a playground we’d forgotten about until I started aimlessly scrolling the map of West Seattle looking for green spaces.  We met the Rusts there on a Saturday afternoon and climbed, zip-lined, swung, and played catch.

How many photos do I have of her pushing him in a swing?  Probably two hundred.

And counting.

 

We went to the Walt Hundley Playfield in Highpoint yesterday, again lured by Shane’s pickle ball obsession.  A group of little girls invited Juliette to play with them and they did a few rounds of hide and seek together, but in the end, she just wanted to push Isaac on the swing.

 

Shane and Juliette ventured to the mountains a few weeks ago for a bluebird day at Snoqualmie.  I stayed home with Isaac (and took him to the playground!) but loved getting pics of these two living their best ski life.

 

We’re still settling into Isaac’s nap schedule and often find that he needs a short doze around 5pm to get him through to bedtime.  I often need to get out of the house around 5pm to make up for a day of sitting in the rocking chair with little buddy.  Cue the evening stroller nap!

(I can see the days getting longer – hallelujah!)

 

Though we’re making a solid effort to embrace the outdoors, we still spend most of our time cozied up inside, watching pickle ball tournaments (I’ve stopped fighting it), reading books, and listening to the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat (we’re about seven years late to the game, but Juliette and I are obsessed).

Juliette and I look for little ways to make the long days special, like chocolate-covered strawberries and the sweetest table scape on Valentines.  On Friday nights we do face masks and watch a movie or an episode of Queer Eye.  Yesterday she dressed to the nines to go get a haircut.  She’s so great at making her own magic.

Cheers to being over the winter hump!  We’ll be seeing cherry blossoms in no time.

I’ve found it!  The antidote to the post-Christmas blues!  It’s a fresh dumping of fluffy white snow.  We were thrilled to roll into our driveway after our Portland trip to find our neighborhood blanketed in a couple of inches of powder – kids were out with their inner tubes and sleds, the occasional cross-country skier was passing by on the sidewalk, and the air was thick with that particular brand of PNW snow-day giddiness.  We unloaded the car in record time and then Juliette was back out the door to tube with the neighbors.

Christmas lights and freshly fallen snow are two of my favorite things.

We spent one afternoon at the Rusts’ neighborhood, sledding down the somewhat treacherous hill near their house and then cozying up inside for card games and snacks.

I trekked with the kids to Starbucks one morning while Shane ran some errands.  This was some hard-earned hot chocolate!

I picked up some discounted Christmas decor from the art store during our outing and ended up with my hands fuller than expected, but I managed the mile-walk home.

Isaac, though, was exhausted by my efforts…

And…more sledding!  So much sledding.  Shane was off work that full week after Christmas and so we had beaucoup playtime.  We didn’t throw Isaac down any big hills, but he liked sitting in Juliette’s lap for a gentle skid along the sidewalk.

This girl, though, has a need for speed.

We spent one morning with Juliette’s best school buddies, cruising down the street in front of their house.

And then a cocoa elf appeared with a tray full of drinks for the kids (and me!).

I walked home with Isaac while Shane hung back per Juliette’s request to please do just a few more runs.  Teddy bear was tuckered, again.

Our neighbors passed off this baby sled when they were cleaning out their garage over the summer and we discovered that with a thick enough snow suit, Isaac could be wedged in there to stay fairly upright.

More snow toys emerged from the garage as the week went on…

More sledding fun was had…

There were snow angels…

And family walks…

And then a whole lot of lounging by the fireplace.

I don’t know that we’ve ever rested so well as a family – it became difficult to figure out what day of the week it was.  And it was amazing.

We ended 2021 in the same way we ended 2020, with a quiet evening at home.  We played some games, watched the ball drop, and toasted our glasses of sparkling cider.

One last sleepover…

And then we awoke on Saturday to a fresh new year!  Shane’s all about starting the year with a shock to the senses, so he was all in for the annual Alki Polar Plunge.  Juliette heard that a couple of her friends would be doing it with their mom and decided that she wanted to join in the fun, too.  I thought there was about a 55 percent chance that she would bail once she got to the beach and felt how cold it was, but she was quickly swept up in the adrenaline of the crowd and peeled off her coat with the rest of them once the countdown began.  No turning back now, baby girl!

Dunk, Jules, dunk!

And done!  I was so stinking proud of her.

“I can’t believe I just did that!”

Polar Bears:  The Next Generation…

Jason and Jordan also plunged and we found them down the beach afterward.

The gang convened at our house for hot chocolate and coffee cake.

And then there was an intense snowball battle in the backyard, during which Jason grabbed a shovel and just started pitching scoops of snow toward the opposing team.

We said our good-byes and cozied back up at our respective houses.

The snow turned to rain on Sunday morning and so Juliette took advantage of the super-sticky conditions to build a quick snow-lady with a neighbor friend.

They named her Angel and she lived a sweet-but-very-short life.

By Monday morning most of the snow had melted, Shane was back at work, and school was (almost) back in session.  Juliette and I took down the Christmas tree and we shelved our holiday music and movie playlists.  BAM.  The holidays were decidedly over and it was back to business as usual.  Which for me, for at least a few more weeks, means rocking chair naps with my boy, Project Runway afternoons with my girl, and regular family dinners (those I’m not giving up, ever).  January, I’m here for you.

While life with an infant isn’t easy, per se, maternity leave feels slow and quiet and like a much-needed respite from the work-life hustle. We stay close to home and I spend long, lazy mornings in the rocking chair with Isaac, often the only thing on my calendar being pickup at Juliette’s school at 2:25. Sometimes that walk to and from school is the only time the baby and I leave the house, and that’s OK. I love the afternoons that Juliette and I spend on the couch, watching Project Runway and sipping hot cider while Isaac naps or nurses or makes imaginary snow angels on the floor nearby. THESE ARE THE DAYS.

But sometimes we get a little stir-crazy and so I head out with the kids for an after-school adventure (and I use the term “adventure” very generously). An hour at a park followed by a visit to a coffee shop is really all I need to tide me over for a few more days of hunkering down.

Camp Long was extra-lovely in early November, the ground a carpet of orange and yellow. Juliette scrambled on the climbing wall and Isaac dozed in his stroller and I snapped a hundred photos.

Isaac is not in his most photogenic phase, but no matter, Buddy.  Jules and I think you’re adorable.

And…Lincoln Park for the win. This place shines year-round, but the upper loop in on a late fall afternoon is my favorite.

(He’s awake!)

We’ve been doing the West Seattle coffee shop circuit post-park and have decided Cupcake Royale has the best balance of being cozy while still having space to spread out and maneuver a stroller with a napping baby in it. Isaac usually wakes up before Jules and I are ready to go, so he’ll join us for a word search or a little reading.

Somebody give this sweet boy a cupcake! (Ok, don’t, but it’s tempting!)

We try to get out together as a family on the weekends, but Saturday mornings are often spent like this (after Shane slips out for some early pickle ball)…

And Sunday afternoons are often spent like this (televised pickle ball makes me want to snooze too, Isaac)…

Sunday evenings are for dinner with friends…

And I’m already missing soccer Saturdays!  The season ended last month and Juliette learned a ton from the experience, not just about getting the ball in the net, but about teamwork and perseverance and shaking off the occasional bump or bruise.

Things have felt a bit busier with the onset of the holiday season (again, I use the term “busy” quite generously!), but we’re still finding time for plenty of this:

And this.  By the end of the day I can be a bit “touched-out” after so many hours of baby-holding, but when your three-month old falls asleep on your chest and your eight-year old has had a tough evening and really needs a bedtime snuggle, you lean in.

These slow, uneventful, long-but-too-short days. These are most definitely the days.