Snow day!

Monday


Snow Day!

Well, not really. If you live here in the Pacific Northwest then you already know that we are pretty short on snow - and if you don't ski or hike, you're not likely to see snow this year. Sadly, our kids LOVE the snow. We all do. It's magical and because we rarely see much of it, when it does snow we all lose our minds and scramble out the door to enjoy it before it disappears.

This year, we had to get proactive and go find the snow.

Here's a photo journal of our amazing snow day at Lake Kachess!


So, so cool to see the snowballs floating around instead of melting. Also slightly harrowing to keep this toddler from landing in the lake! All we heard from our non-talker was "more! more! more!"


Happy, happy kids. 

If you have a great place to take smaller children to enjoy the limited supply of snow, please share! We are always excited for a new adventure.

Just park it

Monday

Sometimes my little man and I just decide to park it for the day. And by 'park it', I mean we drive right past the playgrounds, past the mall with the indoor play structure and we head to the park.

The dog park.
One catch...we don't own a dog.

The real reason we go however is because of its vast amount of running space, there are stairs to climb, nature to experience and it's sooooo quiet. There aren't a lot of dogs running around during the day (because most people are at work, hence nobody is out walking their dogs), and the people who take their dogs to the dog park are usually the kind of people who pick up their poo. It's really a no-brainer. It's the best park around, a hidden treasure to us.

What toddler wouldn't love the chance to walk this wall like a boss?
What parent wouldn't love a view of the lake, bald eagles above and wide open spaces to let loose some free range children?

It may seem like an odd choice, but sometimes the idea of thwarting the inevitable falls from the jungle gyms and gently negotiating truces between irrational toddlers makes my eye twitch.

In short, our walking and climbing and curious discoveries are some of my favorite moments together, at the dog park.

Do you have a favorite spot where you like to connect with your little one(s)? I'd love to hear about it!

Through a child's eyes

Monday

Like many parents, I love trying to teach my kids the things that I'm passionate about, secretly hoping that maybe they will be passionate about it too one day. I hope that we will have something to enjoy together beyond genetics.

When our littlest one was to be baptized a few months ago, everybody that I trusted to capture the moment was out of town! I told myself not to worry, that it's not the end of the world. But I was really deflated. It was such a special day, a day that we had been preparing for at church and had been sharing the journey with our older children. I really wanted to capture this moment with our last child, to get just one nice photo that spoke to the innocence of our son, and that celebrated the holy sacrament of his baptism.

So, I did the only thing I could. I gave my camera to our oldest. He's 10, and he has practiced photography with me many times.

The church was pretty dark, so I put the 50mm lens on and told him that the focal point was set to center. He shot all of these images in manual mode. No kidding. Like a little hummingbird, he quietly fluttered around us, careful not to interrupt the ceremony.

When I finally got the chance to look through his photos, they took my breath away. They are heavenly. His composition puzzled me at first, until I realized that this was what his brother's baptism looked like to him.

This is what it looked like through a child's eyes.
I had only the hope to get a single photo from the day. 

Instead, our son gave us the priceless gift of seeing his brothers baptism through a child's eyes.



Clarity in the fog

Friday


Winter weather in the Pacific Northwest is in some ways predictable, and in a lot of ways, not. Maybe consistent is the word - as in, consistently unpredictable. This morning was one of those mornings. It was exceptionally chilly and the fog was really, really thick. 

I forced myself out for a morning walk (some days are harder than others) but today the fog made my outing a little more fun than I expected. It seemed to have a way of drowning out the noise, making me forget the tasks and timelines that sometimes steal away my ability to simply enjoy the moment. My little guy was strapped into his stroller inside a cozy sleeping bag as usual, enjoying a bottle and smooth ride that is the comfort of the BOB. 
Everywhere I looked seemed peaceful and worth a quiet gaze. Ducks, seagulls, a very calm Lake Washington and the absolutely pristine air that I take for granted here in the Pacific Northwest. 

So many thoughts flew across my mind in an unusual moment of gratitude and clarity right then. 

Life is good, and I am lucky. I am very, very lucky.


As fast as it came, there it went.

My peaceful moment of clarity was ear piercingly shattered by an excited squeal and wild thrashing coming from my stroller. I snapped back into reality like a rubber band to the wrist.

Maaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!


Once I let my "little dear" out of his harness, I spent the next hour chasing him, catching him and basically all things relating to keeping a toddler amused but alive at the lake. 

It was fun and it was exhausting, but I am grateful to have had that moment of clarity this morning, however fast it came and went. 

Yep, life is good. And I am lucky.

Coastal fun at Seabrook

Wednesday


I had heard rumors that Seabrook was a gorgeous place to visit along the Washington coast and I always had a tiny twinge of envy whenever I saw someone proudly wearing a Seabrook sweatshirt or a little playdate pal mentioning that they had a weekend getaway at this mythical place. I had made a mental note to try to get there, to see for myself if it truly lived up to its fast growing reputation. Finally! We were able to take our family on a little get away and it was my pick for the destination. Little did I know, the Seabrook community of beach cabins was absolutely picturesque!

We scored huge by renting a petite little cabin on a sort-of 'beach cul-de-sac'. All of the cabins wore weathered wood shingles, each with its own distinct door color and cabin name. Ours was named the "Beach Wave". It was adorable!  I was pumped when I saw our bright aqua door and adirondack chair on the front porch. It was a small space mind you, but a very smart layout complete with new appliances, firm beds with cozy comforters and fresh linens. There was a queen size in the master, two twin beds up in the loft and a pull out couch. But the best was yet to come as we opened the back door...

To our surprise, every cabin had its own deck (privacy screened) and a hot tub! Clothes went flying. That's all I'm going to say. 

As if that wasn't enough, after we settled in we realized that our cul-de-sac included a bonfire pit, dry cut wood and surround seating for all at the "beach camp".
Even after a long drive to get here, just the sight of this quaint little beach town and the smell of the salt water seemed to wash away all the stress of the weeks past. It sounds corny, but its true. It felt like we were worlds away from all the schedules, rushing around, chore lists and all the other things that make us feel bogged down. I had found my little slice of heaven and I finally can say that Seabrook actually lives up to the hype. 

Surprisingly, the community had a ton more amenities than I had even realized. There was a huge pool, shuffle boards, scheduled games, kids arts center, bike rentals, 'the salty dog' for pets, a town grocery store *with espresso* and even a restaurant that can deliver! Ha. 

Best of all however, was this piece of expansive beach. We breathed deep, soaked it all in and in the end, we bought the sweatshirt - and I wear it with pride, because now I am part of that group of people that knows that, Seabrook, is no myth. 
Seabrook, Washington
* (this is not a paid endorsement, just a worthwhile share) *


Happy New Year!

Thursday

Out of the ordinary for us, we decided to host a New Years Eve get together....scary. It's not our style at all because it always sounds too stressful - expectations, decorations, what food to serve and how to put it out so that it looks like we tried. Ughhhhh.
 
However, as we discovered after we finished whining and worrying was that if we just acted like adults for a second it really didn't have to be stressful. The recipe for success as we all know is two fold: good food & great friends. And a few other little details to make it 'look good'.
 
We stuck to an oldie but goody for our late night menu: meat and cheese and a few fun snacks. Salami, prosciutto, rosemary crackers, specialty olives and fruit did the trick. We kept it really simple and served up smores for dessert.

The 'Plaid Feast' as our son named it.
 
We pulled this look together with patterns, textures and odds and ends that everybody has laying around their house and I'm not afraid to toot our own horn and say I think it turned out awesome!
 
An ill-fitting table cloth and a remnant of flannel fabric thrown on the table and adorned with fresh green branches cut straight from our yard (in frigid weather and carefully selected by our kids). A few inexpensive votives snuggled up to some glassware created a really romantic and inviting look too. We added a couple of unexpected elements like the vintage suitcase to showcase the wine bottles and a few old frames to hold New Years suggestions that turned out to be conversation starters.
 
In the background there is a wood wall - or is there? Ha! Nope. Two sheets of thin wood staple gunned to the wall made it look like we were truly at the cabin for New Years. Thanks Heather at Real Card Studio!
 
It was a lot of fun transforming our house and filling it with great friends, good food, laughs and a ton of little kids trying to stay awake until midnight!
 
 
Happy 2015!

by mlekoshi