26 June 2014

Throw Back Thursday

I'm back for another #tbt to remember where we were two years ago...

I'd been having "different" contractions throughout the day, the day before my due date. Right around bedtime, the pattern became clear and the intensity was such that I finally admitted I was in labor. I told George to snap a few last pregnancy shots and then go to bed to get some rest ahead of the real excitement.

The next night, around the same time, Madeleine was born, and our lives were forever changed. Tomorrow, we celebrate the second birthday of this sweet and nurturing, climbing and fearless, chatty girl. It hardly seems possible that it has been that long...yet that it has only been that long.

24 June 2014

Baby Brunch

On Saturday, my dear friends Misha and Kelly threw me a baby brunch at one of my favorite spots in Seattle: Steelhead Diner. The weather was fabulous and the traffic was fierce on a day with major road closures due to construction and local events, but ten fine ladies came out to celebrate baby boy.

I'd asked that the gathering be kept small and simple with the emphasis on spending a few hours with the ladies, just enjoying ourselves without having to worry about the outside pressures of our families and other commitments, and they totally delivered.

The table was set with kraft paper runner, fresh flowers, succulent favors, and "wishes for baby" cards.

The side table, overlooking the patio and Elliott Bay, was decorated with tiny onesies hung on a burlap string, clipped on with tiny washi tape-covered clothes pins. So cute!

We guessed the number of candies in the jar (just over 100!), and guests used their thumbprints to make a darling piece of art for the nursery.

By the time it was all over, I certainly felt special and loved. Thank you, ladies!

Misha & Amanda

Kelly & Amanda

20 June 2014

Summer Bucket List

Summer officially arrives this weekend, and, in celebration, I thought I'd share my bucket list for our summer.

  • Go to the zoo
  • Check out the Kids Discovery Museum on Bainbridge Island
  • Spend a rainy day bouncing at our local trampoline park
  • Help Madeleine master counting 0-10
  • Celebrate five years of marriage
  • Do a photoshoot of Madeleine at our local lavender farm during its peak
  • Walk our local trail farther than we have in the past
  • Camp out with Madeleine in our backyard (maybe this night)
  • Take a refreshing night away to re-charge before the next chapter of our family's life begins
  • Bake a peach pie (and probably a peach-berry pie for my love)
  • Have a baby
  • Finish the baby's nursery (hopefully before the baby arrives)
  • Stock our freezer full of food (again, hopefully before the baby arrives)
  • Take Madeleine downtown on the bus
  • Arrange for Madeleine to meet a horse up close
  • Have at least one weekend without any plans
  • Visit at least three different farmers markets (and hopefully lots more)

As you might imagine, some of these are already in the works and others are merely aspirational. I'll try to keep you posted on how I do at accomplishing them because - you know - I need a few more things to add to my to-do list. 

What's on your summer bucket list? 

19 June 2014

More May Weekends

Here we are...more than halfway through June...and I still haven't shared the rest of our fun May weekends. The first weekend, Denaye, David, and Nico visited from Texas, and the second weekend, Pierre visited from New Zealand.

The third weekend, Robyn and Andrew visited us on their way through North America. Madeleine did her standard hazing ritual, which is to demand that guests read to her almost continuously...sometimes the same book on repeat. They were good sports and even shared their tablet with Madeleine, which she thought was fantastic. As a result, Madeleine joined us in being sad to say goodbye.

The following weekend, we celebrated Memorial Day with a trip to the Willamette Valley. It was great fun to spend vacation time with "Cooper's family" even though George and I were zombies after Madeleine turned into a sleeping nightmare. Let's just say that we won't be sharing a room with her ever again. But...at least we all enjoyed our daytime fun!

A trip to Willamette Valley isn't complete without a visit to our favorite, Eyrie Vineyards. This time, Madeleine got to join in on the tasting with her very first juice box. What a treat!

We also carried on our tradition of snapping a photo of a growing Madeleine next to barrel #78. Compare with last November and last May, when she wasn't even walking yet. 

As you can tell, May was a packed month for us..but oh so fun!

13 June 2014

Kauai, Hawaii

We were so taken with Maui when we visited that we decided to take our last vacation as a family of three to another Hawaiian island: Kauai. In hind sight, Maui is more approachable (at least as far as beaches are concerned) for young kids, but Kauai has a lot to offer as well and provided us with a terrific vacation.

What is a visit to Kauai without roosters? When Madeleine spotted one, we'd typically hear the following: "Ooooh, rooster! I chase it! I kiss it! I cuddle it!"

We had a lot of rain the first day on Kauai, so when the clouds parted, we took advantage of swollen rivers and visited Opaeka'a Falls and Wailua Falls, which both appeared to be running particularly high. 

Another day, we were pleasantly surprised by the beauty, scale, and magnificence of the Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It is truly immense and very impressive...and has inspired us to consider attempting the real Grand Canyon again after it didn't quite work out last time

Madeleine was less taken with the scenery and very keen on watching the nearby mountain goats scramble along the cliff.

From the canyon viewpoint, we continued as far as the road would take us in order to catch a glimpse at the Na Pali coast, specifically the Kalalau Valley. It was every bit as beautiful as we were told, and I imagine our family returning with older children who can do a bit of hiking and/or cope with a few hours on a boat so that we can see more of it. 

Another day, we headed to the Kilohana Plantation to take Madeleine on their 40-minute train ride. I admit that I was skeptical about her ability to sit for that long, but it was the perfect length for her toddler attention span. The train traveled through the property's orchards, forest, and pastures. About halfway through, it stopped for everyone to get out and feed sheep, pigs, chickens (of course!), and goats. Madeleine thought the train was spectacular and had no hesitation in feeding the sheep straight from her hand. Why would she? She had already declared, "ohh, sheep! I kiss it!"

Another day, we headed north to check out the Kilauea Lighthouse, which happens to be near an island that is a bird sanctuary. While George enjoyed chasing birds with the camera and long lens, Madeleine wanted to spend her day knocking on the front door of the lighthouse. When I thought she'd done enough photobombing, we moved to the side, where Miss M discovered a little platform where she and another toddler spent a half hour taking turns jumping. 

Frigate and Red Footed Boobie

With a sleeping Madeleine, George and I drove the northern coast of the island until it ended at Ke'e Beach, but we didn't stop for any longer than it took to take a mental picture so as not to wake our exhausted kiddo. On the way back, we did stop at Hanalei and then at the lookout over Hanalei Valley.

All-in-all, we didn't get as much beach time as we would have liked due in part to rain and in part to less than child-friendly beaches. We did enjoy Lydgate Beach Park, which is widely regarded as the place to take kids to swim. Madeleine liked the water but was even more taken with sand this trip than our last - fortunately for playing rather than eating. She took her shovel work quite seriously! 

Even though we couldn't spend a lot of time in the ocean, we did take full advantage of the condo complex's pool, including the water slide. Madeleine would have ridden it from sun up to sun down if we would have let her. 

Madeleine was also a big fan of the Sunday and Thursday morning koi feedings at the complex's koi pond. "I feed fishies! Yum!" 

However, even with all that excitement, her favorite part of the complex was probably the "elegator" where she got to push the button. 

There were times when our little girl made it clear that our plans were cramping her style. 

There were other times when she found her own way to entertain herself while we were being boring adults. 

As a whole, I am grateful to have gotten to spend some dedicated time together as a family of three and, even though each one is another sign that our baby is growing into a little girl, it was fun to see Madeleine reach a few more milestones during our trip. Mahalo for the memories, Hawaii! 

11 June 2014

Second Birthday Party

Photo Credit: Eric W.

Like last year, we celebrated Madeleine's birthday along with the birthdays of her PEPS friends. Unlike last year, this year's festivities were low key. We hung out in the yard, played on the play structure, and ate delicious food that everyone brought. It was fabulous!

Of course, we snapped more than a few photos along the way. A friend of another family came along to take some fancier shots for us - thanks, Eric!

Photo Credit: Eric W.

Photo Credit: Eric W.

Eric took our annual (we can call it that after two years in a row, right?) whole group photo. We've gained three new smiles!

Photo Credit: Eric W.

Last year, we lined up the kiddos with a single balloon behind them and a cake in front of them.

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

We did a similar thing this year with two balloons per kiddo and yummy cupcakes made by Jill.

Our babies are well on their way to being full blown kiddos, and it's so fun to watch! Happy 2nd birthday!