Archive for the ‘isaac’ Category

A little more October in November!  Gosh, I took a lot of photos in October, of pumpkins and costumes and autumn strolls.  Ok, photos of the kids, really, but the backdrops were awfully nice, too.

We tried out a new pumpkin patch this year and found it to be packed with activities (and photo ops…).  Knutson Farms for the win!  Isaac fell asleep in the car on the way there and kept snoozing for a good hour after we parked, so Juliette and I got the lay of the land while Shane sat with him.

Tether balls and corn mazes and rubber duck races and newborn piglets, OH MY.

The corn maze proved to be trickier than anticipated…

Finally, Isaac roused and joined us on our search for the perfect pumpkin.

Look hard, Buddy!

And lift with your legs!

Honestly, this place was just a series of perfect stages for the kids to perch and look adorable.

Once we’d picked our pumpkin, we joined the line for the train ride.  Goodness, to see Isaac hardly walking just a few weeks ago.  Time flies.

The train ride was cheesy and a total hit with both kids.

Isaac wasn’t sure what to make of his cow car until we really got rolling, and then he was all in.  The faster we went, the bigger he smiled.

And Juliette!  Bless your heart for still loving the little things.

Someone was very disappointed when the ride ended.

Would some goats cheer you up, Bud?

Juliette challenged Shane to a race through the pumpkin maze and I hated to let her our of our sight, but we found each other again, eventually.

Ok, this is the last photo of Isaac perched near a truck.

I promise.

For reals!

Juliette and I have a soft spot for ugly pumpkins, so we grabbed a couple of those on our way out.

Whew!  What a journey.

I love a good pumpkin patch, but our (2nd) annual Harry Potter Night is perhaps my favorite October tradition.  Juliette decided to be Hermione Granger for Halloween this year, so she was thrilled to get some extra mileage out of her costume.

We decided that Isaac makes a good Draco Malfoy, with his fair hair and mischievous demeanor.

I was without a witch’s costume, so I showed up as Professor McGonagall in cat form.

Sherbet polyjuice potion and chocolate golden snitches and pretzel wands…wizard treats are fun.

The Rusts showed up in full garb with the evilest of scowls, as Bellatrix and Draco and Crabb and Goyle.

I bought some remote control candles and Shane hid the remote in his pocket, turning the lights on every time Juliette waved her wand and shouted “Lumos!”.  We had the whole party fooled for most the night.  Magic, baby!

The raucous sorting hat ceremony…

And movie time!  Get cozy, friends.

It’s a friendship made in heaven, these two.

October is also good for a simple walk in the woods, away from the Halloween fuss.  We spent a quiet Sunday at Ravenna Park, another one of those places that feels infinitely more accessible now that the West Seattle Bridge is open.

Saturdays were for soccer…

And sometimes Sundays were for coffee shops.  Juliette and I have a new favorite spot and snuck away here a couple of times while our guys were napping.

Soccer and coffee shops are fun, but couch snuggles trump all!

Sometimes snuggles were just because, but sometimes snuggles were because Isaac was sick again.  He’d tote around his thermometer all day and just move from one lap to another.  It was the worst.  But also the sweetest.

But also the tiring-est.  I found this photo on my phone and didn’t even know Shane snapped it – Mama was wiped!

We carved pumpkins on a gray afternoon; Juliette was grossed-out by the guts as always, which only piqued Isaac’s interest.  He was dying to get in there!

And finally, Halloween.  Halloween was good this year.  And also somehow four days long, with festivities Friday through Monday?  There is in fact too much of a good thing, and I think we toed the line!  We started with some small business trick-or-treating at the Admiral Junction, where Juliette donned her witch’s get-up while Isaac tagged along as Crookshanks, Hermione’s fluffy brown cat.

Isaac was a bit confused by it all and stopped every few steps to look up at us with inquiring eyes.

If he knew about the sugar rush that existed inside the paper wrapper, I imagine he would have been much more pumped.

Still, though.  Cutest kitty-cub ever.

We met up with some friends on Saturday evening for a small carnival at a neighborhood church.

Roar, Buddy, ROAR!

We walked over to Juliette’s school one evening for the annual Monster Mash.

It was wonderful to see the tradition revived after a Covid hiatus, to watch the kids run wild together.  But it was also overwhelming – even Juliette, my social butterfly, tugged on my sleeve and asked to head home after an hour.

We reveled in the quiet walk home and then settled in for our annual viewing of E.T.  

Finally, Halloween evening, which felt like a long time coming at this point!  I rushed home from work to get the kids into their costumes and then we headed out to snap a few porch pics and let Isaac ring the doorbell of a few favorite neighbors.

This sweet woman scooped chocolate into the kids’ buckets until they were half-full.

I think Isaac was getting the hang of it?

Finally, his bucket was plenty full and he was ready to call it a night.

Juliette was just getting started, though – she met up with some school friends and we gallivanted around the neighborhood with them until our fingers were freezing and we wanted nothing more than some cozy time on the couch with fuzzy blankets and hot tea.  And some mini Snickers.  Halloween was a smashing success.

And that, friends, was October.  Traditions lived large, with a decent amount of hunker-down time in between.  November, though?  Give me all the hunkering!

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.

Oh, baby.  Baby, baby, baby.  Fourteen months old and definitely verging on toddler-hood, though clinging to a few vestiges of his younger days.  Like the bottle.  Buddy loves his bottle (and won’t turn down a chance to nurse, either, though I’m afraid I don’t have much left to offer anymore).  His pediatrician recommended moving from bottle to sippy cup, and we’ll get there soon, but right now he’s not ready (ok, Mama’s not ready!).

I mean, the only waking time that he’s mellow enough for a snuggle session is with a bottle in hand.  Juliette takes full advantage.

Isaac also sleeps more like a baby than a toddler, still waking once (maybe twice) in the night and always nuzzling in deep for a chair nap when Shane and I are feeling soft.

He’s gotten a bit better about going to sleep on his own at bedtime without copious amounts of rocking, but sometimes I throw him a little bone…

Wakeup time!  Still a ray of sunshine.

Kiddo was sick a lot in September, and I can see it here in his flushed cheeks and crusty eyelashes.  Gosh, that was a tough few weeks.  These photos are a little deceiving – I mean sure, he still flashed his contagious smiles, but the sick kid / working parents juggling act is no joke.

This is the doctor’s visit where he was diagnosed with a double ear infection after four straight days of fever.  You’re a good sport, Isaac.

Feeling better!  And playing cars, which continue to be his favorite toys.

He loves the book Little Blue Truck and there’s a line in it that reads,  “Honk!” yelled a dump truck!  “Coming through!  I’ve big important things to do!”  That’s Isaac to a T.

He still darts into Juliette’s room when left to his own devices so that he can bang on her keyboard.

Her daily practice is like a siren song – he can’t help himself!

I bought this rocking pony at the neighborhood consignment store and it was very popular for a couple of weeks, until he stood up on it and flipped over the front, landing on his head.  Make better choices, Isaac.

He’s not really into TV and pays very little attention when it’s on, except when he hears the theme song for Bluey, at which point he drops whatever he’s doing, starts clapping excitedly, and then tries to scale the credenza.

He’s opting more and more for ordinary objects over his bucket of toys and loves brushing his hair and pointing an old unfunctioning remote at the TV.  There was a week when he hardly let go of our thermometer, toting it with him everywhere and occasionally swiping it over his forehead.  Toys are for chumps, huh, Buddy?

And oh, the kitchen cabinet carnage.  Eighty percent of the fun seems to be in just pulling things out of drawers and throwing them on the floor.  The remaining twenty percent of the fun is found in stirring an empty bowl with a plastic spoon.  Whatever keeps him occupied, I guess?

He loves playing with doors and once I got over my extreme fear of him pinching his fingers, I just let him go for it.  It makes for a pretty sweet game of peek-a-boo.

He still doesn’t say much – there’s a lot of nonsensical chatter, but no real words yet.  Lots of pointing at random objects and exclaiming / questioning, “Dah?!  Dah?!”

Most notably, Isaac is walking!  A few weeks ago, on a quiet Friday at home together, Isaac let go of the edge of the couch where he was cruising, turned to me with his arms outstretched, and toddled right to me, stumbling into my chest.  I squealed in delight, wrapping him in the tightest of hugs as I shouted to Shane, who was working downstairs, “HE JUST WALKED!  Isaac just walked!”  I pulled him away from me for a moment to look at his face, and oh, the pride.  Parenting a baby can be exceedingly tedious, but gosh, the bursts of excitement…  He stumbled through a couple of steps at a time for a couple of weeks, and then in mid-October it really clicked.  He came home from daycare one afternoon and suddenly was spending way more time on his feet than on his hands and knees.

Today I don’t know that I saw him crawl at all!  Courting toddler status, I tell you…

Finally, a heavy dose of brother-sister love…

Isaac generally prefers my lap when looking for a place to sit, but no one is funnier than his sister.  Once Juliette gets him going, she’ll stop at nothing to keep the giggle train running.

More sweet and simple moments at home…

The extended summer temps were a Godsend when we were cooped up with fevers but just needed a backyard dose of Vitamin D.

 

And that’s a wrap!  Get your rest, Isaac.  You’ve got more walkin’ to do tomorrow.

I took the morning shift on Sunday and popped Isaac in the car for a drive into town – Mama needed coffee.

We walked along Walker’s mini Main Street and then went down to the waterfront.

Isaac likes lake life as much as I do!

Back at the cabin, the kids cozied up while Shane and I pulled our things together for a day out on the boat.

Sometimes, when you’re trying to get things done, you just gotta put the baby in a basket.

We eventually pulled ourselves together, stopped by the lodge where Aunt Tiff treated Juliette to a sweet new hat, and got settled on the pontoon.  Make yourselves at home, girls!

Oh, Isaac.  While sister contentedly stretched out in the sun, Isaac crawled circles around us all.  We should have brought that laundry basket…

Shane and I did our best to manage his mayhem, but that kid is just uncontainable sometimes.  Snack, Ergo, drive the boat, snack, Ergo…

…and SLEEP!  Finally.

We pulled into the Marina to hop out for a bit and grab some goodies at the general store.

Juliette picked up a book of Mad Libs which made for some afternoon silliness…

So easily entertained – I love her!

And now look who’s awake…

We docked again at a small stretch of beach so the kids (kid, really) could swim.  Get it, Jules!

Isaac seemed undecided about getting in the water, but eventually I stripped him down and let him just go for it.

Water?  Two thumbs up.  Sandy hands?  Not a fan.

Once Juliette got her swim fix, we all hopped back in the boat and motored over to another beach to do some exploring.

I know, Isaac, I KNOW!  Lake life, right?!

By the time we pulled ashore, Buddy was ready for another doze.  I put him in the Ergo and quietly sang You Are My Sunshine about 80 times while the water lapped at my feet.  Naps are hard-fought sometimes, but the effort involved isn’t always so bad.

While I worked on naptime, Shane worked on frog-catching.  When he was kid, he and a friend caught 100 frogs in a single afternoon, put them in a bucket, and put up a sign on the street corner hoping to sell them to passing fishermen.  100 frogs!  A sympathetic old soul stopped by and gave them five bucks for the lot.  Juliette and I have heard this story several times and figured Shane could easily snag a critter for Juliette to hold.  It took a few minutes, but finally he delivered, in the form of a little brown toad.

Juliette wasn’t so sure she wanted to hold it after all, but since Shane went to all that effort…  Check out the play-by-play!

A little green frog, though?  He somehow seemed much less icky.

The frog was set free and we decided we’d had our fill of water and sun and would head back to the cabin.  But…wait!  One more dip.  These girls can’t stop, won’t stop!

We did make it back eventually, Isaac still snoozing as we disembarked.  Don’t mind if I grab a few Z’s of my own…

We gathered that evening at Grandma and Grandpa’s for a late first birthday celebration for Isaac and an early ninth for Juliette.

Hayden was heading back home that evening and we hated to see her go!  Such a fun couple of days with this girl.

Know what goes well with birthday cake?  MARGARITAS.

Isaac loved the ice cream cake so much that he bit a tine off his plastic fork!  Making a mental note to use real silverware next time this kid gets dessert.

Juliette got over her toad aversion…

And then Shanay taught her the Boot Scootin’ Boogie.  All in a day’s work!

There were some Funky Chicken lessons…

And gifts for the luckiest kids in all the land.  What a perfect Minnesotan day…

We laid pretty low on Monday.  Shane went out in the side-by-side with his dad while the kids and I bopped around camp.  Isaac had been eying the small playground and sandbox on our walks to and from Denny and Pat’s and finally I caved – get dirty, kid!

Meanwhile, my clean kid…

Can I still hold her on my hip?  Why, yes I can!

We went to dinner in Dorset that evening, making a quick pitstop in Akeley to say hello to Paul Bunyan.  If this isn’t midwestern, I don’t know what is!

We said goodbye to Tiff and Shanay after dinner, as they needed to get home for work.  Tiff had taken such good care of us that week, stocking our cabin with groceries and cooking us breakfast each morning and goodness, the way she and Shanay loved on our kids…  We missed them the moment they pulled away.

Back at camp, we settled back into the porch and tried to snag a family pic.  Look this way, Isaac!

Or…don’t.

Denny offered to take Juliette and me out for a sunset fishing session that evening and we jumped at the chance.  It seemed a perfect way to round out a week on the lake.

Juliette quickly got the hang of watching her bobber and reeling in any slack on her line.

Success!  One sweet little perch.  He was tiny, but I hooted and hollered like she’d just snagged a 10-pound bass.

And then a second one to boot.  It was thrilling, really.

We motored back to camp as the sun dipped below the horizon, Juliette’s hair whipping in the wind, Denny smiling ear to ear with his favorite first mate at his side.

The best dockside welcome wagon!

I took Isaac in for bed while Juliette drove her Grandpa back to his camper.  Peas in a pod, these two.

Tuesday was go-day, which meant one last round of grandparent snaps and then some drawn-out, tearful good-byes.

Oh, good-byes are hard.  Like, really hard.

And the long trek home…again, Isaac reveled in the thrill of take-off, turning back to Shane with a grin like, “Can you even believe this, Dad?”  But the thrill quickly wore off and we did a lot of baby-juggling the rest of the flight.

Meanwhile, Juliette had a window seat in the row behind us and lived her best life, with unlimited iPad time and double Sprites.  You deserve it, Kiddo.

It felt awfully good to walk in our front door, but it wasn’t without a tinge of those post-vaycay blues.  We’re holding close a boatload of special family memories in that Minnesotan wonderland.

Our early-September trip to Minnesota already feels like a distant memory, but I’ve still got the warm family fuzzies from our few days there.  The Schnell love is strong!  Totally worth the four-plus hours on the plane and the four hours in the car.

Isaac did alright with the travel, though not without plenty of effort from Shane and I to keep him entertained.  He was thrilled by the sound and speed of take-off and quickly settled in for an hour-long nap, but at wake-up we were left with at least half the flight to fill.

Bring on the snacks.  And more snacks.  Sit in Dad’s lap.  Sit in Sister’s lap.  Play with the ice left over from my ginger ale.  Play with the thermometer I tucked into the diaper bag.  JUST BE STILL!

Juliette, on the other hand, was an A+ seat buddy.

When the flight attendant asked us to prepare for landing, I thought, “what do you think I’ve been doing for the last two hours?!”.

This year we opted to stay in a cabin at the lakefront resort where Shane’s parents and sister have campers rather than staying at their house in Alexandria.  Shane’s dad was at the main road waiting for us to arrive and Juliette was opening her car door to get to him before we’d even rolled to a stop.  See what I said about the Schnell love?!

We settled into our cabin that afternoon and spent the evening hanging out on Denny and Pat’s porch drinking hard-earned beer while Isaac pushed trucks around underfoot.

I walked Isaac back to our cabin around sunset, enjoying the warm evening and the pastel sky.

This was going to do just fine.

Isaac was up early and Friday (and also half the night on Thursday, little rascal…), so Shane took him out for a long morning run while Juliette and I grabbed extra Z’s.  BUDDY.  You can be something of a monster in the night, but in the light of day, you’re so forgivable.

We quickly settled into the week’s routine, convening at Tiff’s porch for hot coffee and home-cooked breakfast.

Isaac did some very sweet lap-sitting, but more often than not, he was diving out of our arms so that he could go play on the stairs or tip over chairs or make other sorts of mischief.  Never a dull moment.

Juliette became a Skipbo Queen…

While Pat introduced Isaac to all the sweet old neighbor ladies.

By noon on our second day there, Juliette had taken over the driver’s seat in Grandpa’s golf cart.  She wasn’t quite ready for the gas pedal, but her steering game was strong.

Afternoon swimming…

And a pre-dinner Corn Hole tournament.

There was so much room to roam – Isaac covered a lot of ground on this wide-open lawn!

Beverage break.

And back at it.  Gosh, this boy loves to climb.

Denny fried several pounds of fresh-caught Walleye for dinner and some neighbors sauntered over to partake.  There was a quick trip out on Grandpa’s boat, a moonrise stroll with Buddy, a little time around the campfire, and we were spent.  I wish I could say we slept like logs that night, but ISAAAAAC!!!

We were up and at it early again on Saturday.  There was a bottle in bed, another father-son morning walk, and a few quiet minutes out on the dock to enjoy the glassy water.

Time for breakfast at Auntie Tiff’s!

Things Juliette is thankful for:  1) Uncles that run to the neighborhood store to buy her a jump rope so that she can show off her new tricks.  2) Cousins that can braid!

After breakfast, Juliette and I joined Denny and some of his buddies for a trail ride.  I’d never been in a side-by-side, but when in Minnesota!

We climbed through birch groves and a grouse skittered across the path in front of us.  Grandpa reached out the window and picked wild violets for Juliette.  We bumped slowly through mud puddles and Juliette thought it was thrilling when we went through a puddle so deep that mud covered the side-by-side’s floor.

We rolled back into the resort and were greeted by the friendliest little welcome wagon.  Next year, Isaac, your turn!

You know what’s perfect after a dusty morning in the woods?  POOL TIME!

We joined most the neighborhood that night for a potluck at the main shelter.  Jello salads of every color in the rainbow!  It was sweet, the feeling of community among the crowded rows of picnic tables.

My word, these cousins.

That evening brought more Corn Hole (played one-handed as I struggled to keep Isaac from nose-diving off the stairs…),

More Skipbo…

And some Hayden-Jules shenanigans as they dropped acorns near where Denny sat down at the firepit.  He didn’t notice a thing.

S’mores!

And a sunset to boot.

Nighty-night…

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.

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.

Welp, he did it.  Baby Boy turned one last month.  I’ll spare you the “he’s growing too fast” spiel, because it’s nothing I haven’t written in my previous 11 months worth of Isaac posts (and in so many posts about baby Jules before that).  I’ll just say…he’s changing at warp speed, and there are things about his early baby days that I miss dearly, but there’s so much joy in this current phase we’re in.  I’m seeing more of his personality shine, understanding better what makes him tick.  And I like who he is a whole, whole lot.

He’s happiest when he’s on the move and continues to favor toys with wheels over anything else.  This rolling red helicopter goes with us everywhere.  

But a Birkenstock will do in a pinch when he needs something with a little more slide-ability than his often-sticky hands.

He’s a climber and has graduated from trying to crawl up onto our low fireplace mantle to trying to climb up onto the couch or the chairs or even onto our beds.  Daily I walk into the living room to find his arms scrabbling to take hold of the couch cushions, his legs kicking wildly in the air as he tries to swing them up.  We generally keep the basement door closed, but if I’m coming in from the garage with him, I’ll set him at the bottom of the stairs and let him crawl up ahead of me – he’s like Spiderman scaling a building, his arms and legs taking each step in ultra-quick succession.  The only problem is his stubborn desire to head back down the stairs after reaching the top, so that he can do it again and again and again.

When he’s not scooting circles around the kitchen with one of his cars our doing his best to summit the couch, he’s often perched at the windowsill, watching the world go by.  He loves watching the sprinklers run; if Shane or Juliette are outside, he’ll bang on the window excitedly before dropping to his knees and crawling to the door, begging to go out.  He’s part puppy, this kid.

Occasionally he’ll sit still, if he’s strapped into his high chair with a tray of food in front of him, or if he’s tucked into the swing on one of our morning playground visits.

Or if he’s snuggled against my chest in…the gray chair!  God bless the gray chair.

He’s still not consistently sleeping through the night, which certainly isn’t ideal, but I don’t mind getting up once with him if it’s short and sweet.  It’s the mornings that he’s up for the day at 5am that really slay me.  TOO EARLY, Bud.  Too early.  If only he understood how much better he feels when he waits to wake until the sun’s fully up!

He’s doing alright in his new daycare, but comes home a little worse for the wear some days – eating and sleeping in the midst of several other babies is an acquired skill.  Sometimes he looks so rough by 5:30 pm that it’s all I can do not to laugh…does he not pose a striking resemblance to Boris Johnson here?

Ah, bath time.  There’s my cute kid. 

On the good days, he’ll get a second wind after bath and play happily till bedtime at 7:00.

He was especially giddy at bedtime on the eve of his birthday, wiggling and giggling as I rocked him.  I reveled in the silliness, laughing at his laughing, which made him laugh more, which made me laugh more, which made Juliette call out, “What’s going on in there?!”, at which point she came in and yukked it up with us for a couple of minutes.

The party was relatively short-lived, though.

Good night, sweet boy.  See you when you’re ONE!

Isaac doesn’t have the luxury of several other baby buddies like his sister did, so his party the next evening was low-key.  My mom and dad were in town and we invited the Rusts over for a back yard dinner.

More wheels!  Yippee!

And hot dogs…his most favorite meal.

And watermelon.  Also a fan favorite, evidenced by the fact that he tray was licked clean before I even snapped a pic!

Isaac was a little befuddled by all the fuss, by the presents and the singing and the cupcakes, but his sister had great fun with it!

Sweet girl – not an ounce of sibling envy in her.

Ok, but seriously, Isaac – can you at least pretend to be interested?

It took a few minutes for him to figure out what to do with his cupcake, but once the buttercream frosting hit his tongue, he got it.

Cupcake remnants wiped from his face, frosting washed from his hair, and freshly jammied, we snapped a few final birthday pics.

It took all night, but finally he was feeling that birthday groove.

We opened the last of his gifts the next morning, bopped around with his birthday balloons, and then started the business of settling into waddler-hood.

Isaac Henry, you’ve brought such light and laughter to this house.  We’ve known for years that we wanted you, but we never imagined just how wonderfully you’d complete our family.  Juliette asked at dinner one night how we would describe you in a single word and while there were several front-runners thrown about, like charming, lovable, rascally, and messy (it was dinner time and the blueberry carnage was intense), none of them fully captured your essence.  I think I’ve got it though, looking at your cheesy grin and chubby thighs.  You are delight, through and through.  

Happy Birthday, Rascal.  You are loved.

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.