Category Archives: Family

More Fall Fun!

In preparation for Halloween this week we decided to get Ben dressed up in his adorable monkey costume as many times as possible. We started the weekend at Alex’s work’s family Halloween festival on Friday and ended it at Remlinger Farms pumpkin patch/autumn festival today.

20171027_185004046_iOS

Just getting used to his Halloween costume…

20171027_190611415_iOS

We all seemed to come down with a little stomach bug this week. Thankfully it was fairly short-lived and rather mild. Unfortunately for me, it hit me about 7 minutes after this {above} photo was taken – live, right in the middle of Alex’s work campus. Ugh. We all bounced back quickly and are a-ok now.

20171029_172940797_iOS

Sunday morning we were feeling better and drove out to Carnation, Washington to Remlinger Farms, with Edina, our nanny, to enjoy some fall fun.

20171030_001637385_iOS

20171030_001749478_iOS

20171030_001628476_iOS

Ben ate a whole mini doughnut all in one bite…..

20171029_174023859_iOS

We loved all that Remlinger Farms had to offer, especially this fantastic train! It was a real train that took us for a 15ish minute ride around the farm.

20171029_173330245_iOS

20171029_175913421_iOS

Ben loved the hay bale maze!

20171029_180049353_iOS

20171029_180851234_iOS

20171030_001634293_iOS

And got to try his first amusement park ride!

20171029_191024937_iOS

Ben and Edina! He loves her so so much.

20171030_001758059_iOS

I knew just how to get the giggles out! This little monkey is ready for Halloween! ūüôā

*all of the good photos courtesy of Edina!

Fall Family Fun!

Fall is one of Alex’s and my favorite seasons. I love, love, looooove fall cooking – come August I’m DONE with salads, grilling and light eating and ready to throw on a pot of chili, bake some pumpkin muffins and indulge in rich, hearty dinners. In any case, we’re enjoying the start of fall here in the Pacific Northwest.

20170927_012310420_iOS

We returned from our Midwest trip, where we had perfect summer weather, to 52 degrees and rain! It was an abrupt end to warm days and we loved it. Since we’ve been back, the weather has been perfectly fallish. We’ve been loving the cooler mornings, cozying up in vests and flannel and hearing Ben run around in the crunchy leaves. Oh fall!

20170927_004420185_iOS

Last weekend Alex and I left Ben with his nanny and headed to Gig Harbor to attend Ryan and Anne’s wedding. It was one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever been to. It was over-the-top in an absolutely perfect and sensational way. We were so happy to have been there!

20170924_003302429_iOS

20170924_000329502_iOS

20170923_230558660_iOS

20170924_010614646_iOS

20170924_000249294_iOS

20170924_005820253_iOS

{cinnamon rolls + coffee the next morning!}

{cinnamon rolls + coffee the next morning!}

20170924_160553918_iOS

20170924_160609943_iOS

Edina, our nanny, is such a great photographer. She took a ton of fabulous fall photos of Ben recently and I’m dying to share them with you!

20170927_012321691_iOS

20170927_012313592_iOS

20170927_012308268_iOS

20170927_012254599_iOS

20170927_012251729_iOS

20170927_004423389_iOS

20170927_004426515_iOS

20170927_004416963_iOS

20170922_000855066_iOS

20170922_000843659_iOS

20170922_000846604_iOS

20170922_000840419_iOS

20170922_000837516_iOS

This morning was an absolutely perfect kick-start to our first weekend at home in a while – we headed north to Snohomish and took Ben, along with our friends, to The Farm at Swan’s Trail, a local apple orchard and pumpkin patch. It was¬†awesome!! Alex and I were most excited for apple doughnuts, which were terrific, and we had such a great time.

20170930_175818443_iOS

{August and Oliver, the twins, are behind Ben}

20170930_174103413_iOS

20170930_164921156_iOS

20170930_175659128_iOS

20170930_175427620_iOS

20170930_163953968_iOS

Happy fall! ūüôā

Midwest Tour

Our last big trip of the summer is now behind us. We just returned home from a whirlwind 12-day trip to the Midwest {and Mexico for Alex!}. We covered a lot of ground, including my hometown and family cabin, Alex’s family’s lake home, his parents home and Chicago. It was really nice to spend time with our families and for Ben to get to hang out with his grandparents, aunt, uncles and cousin, as well as quite a few of our friends.

IMG_20170915_095114

The trip started on a Thursday – Alex flew to San Diego as a staging area to head to Mexico the following day while Ben and I headed to Minnesota just 15 minutes ahead of Alex. Alex spent a long weekend down in Ensenada, Mexico, which is in Baja, to attend the wedding of our friends Justin and Tania. He said it was absolutely gorgeous!

20170909_141038801_iOS

20170909_141035199_iOS

Our flight was a piece of cake, with the exception of a very rude Delta flight attendant {this was a good reminder of why we fly Alaska!}, and Ben was a rock star. He slept for about half of the flight and the other half he was completely content with snacking and doing some activities.

20170918_231227417_iOS

For most of our time in Minnesota we stayed with my mom. Ben loved her “kitty cat” and the pool in her backyard, naturally. We spent a lot of time checking out different playgrounds, experiencing the farmers market and going to the beach. Ben and I enjoyed a nice dinner on the deck of my brother’s new house – it was really nice to get to see his new place and spend time with John and his girlfriend, Becky.

20170908_145504249_iOS

20170908_151253910_iOS

20170908_151812991_iOS

20170908_180813447_iOS

20170909_190943709_iOS

I had some of my friends from high school and their families come over for an afternoon in the pool one day. It’s so fun to see all the kids together – between six of us we have 9 kids altogether with another on the way!

20170909_214329881_iOS

20170910_013751000_iOS

Another highlight of our time in Minnesota was our trip up to my dad’s family cabin. The cabin has been in his family since the 1930s and holds a lot of memories! It was so fun taking Ben up there and watching him cruise around, explore and play with my brother’s old Tonka trucks. He even got to go for a dip in the lake and take a couple of paddle boat rides with me.

20170911_131655755_iOS

20170910_205649443_iOS

20170910_220702123_iOS

20170911_230927913_iOS

20170911_232919754_iOS20170910_214045323_iOS20170911_190151514_iOS

20170911_150555057_iOS

After a really fun time in Mexico, Alex came and met us in Minnesota late Monday night, five days into our trip. We spent our last day in Minnesota together with my family before hitting the road for the 5-hour drive to Alex’s parents lake home in southern Wisconsin.

20170912_145922200_iOS

20170912_234939190_iOS

20170912_234924382_iOS

20170908_194431283_iOS

It was so relaxing being at the lake – Ben loved some fun new toys that Grammy and Grandpa had for him to play with, and he loved seeing his cousin Nico, who is 6 months younger than he is. We went for boat rides, Ben played in the kiddie pool and we all enjoyed our time together. To top it off, it was absolutely perfect summer lake weather.

20170914_152345596_iOS

20170914_153654579_iOS

Throughout the trip Ben continued to impress me with his ability to adapt to new situations and new people. While he didn’t sleep very well the whole trip {who can blame him!?}, he continued to remain his normal sweet, friendly self during the day and loved spending more time with his extended family. While we were on the trip his first molar¬†started to poke through and he got a cold. Despite the recipe for disaster he managed to hold¬†it together and was such a happy camper the whole trip.

20170913_213301032_iOS

20170913_204343748_iOS

20170914_223002407_iOS

20170914_152303088_iOS

20170915_135918653_iOS

20170915_143352977_iOS

20170916_215757446_iOS

20170915_141215655_iOS

IMG_20170915_091518

IMG_20170915_092152

On Friday afternoon Alex and I headed to Chicago, leaving Ben in Wisconsin with Alex’s parents.¬†We had a wedding in the city to attend, where Alex was a groomsman. We stayed right downtown in the Loop in a great location and a beautiful hotel and had a really nice time catching up with many of Alex’s friends from high school.

20170917_025313671_iOS

Alex was occupied on Saturday with wedding stuff, so I met up with Alina and Nico for a leisurely stroll through Restoration Hardware, followed by a wonderful lunch in their courtyard restaurant. We took a nice walk through part of the city before I headed to the wedding.

20170916_173951544_iOS

20170916_185114219_iOS

On Sunday morning Alex and I had a little time together to take a walk to Millennium Park and be tourists for a few minutes. Then we headed to his parents home to spend the afternoon with Alex’s family before we had to leave to get back to Seattle the next day. We got to see Nana, Alex’s grandma {and our only surviving grandparent}, and spend more time with his parents, Alina, Alberto and Nico, as well as Alex’s uncle Mike.

20170917_155840977_iOS

20170917_160044730_iOS

20170917_204244852_iOS

20170917_205510835_iOS

20170917_210426437_iOS

All in all, our trip was really, really nice. We loved seeing our families and getting to spend so much time with them. It’s so fun watching Ben in new spaces and getting to know his grandparents and other family members. It’s such a fun time right now and it was so special sharing that with our family and friends.

Summer Time!

This has been one of my most memorable summers ever. Our little family filled it up with hours upon hours at the playground, trips to the beach, Friday strolls through the farmers market, walks with the dog, regional travel {and bigger trips for Alex} and a whole slew of new experiences. When you step back and look at it, many of the experiences with Ben were pretty standard and low-key, and even so, they were so memorable for me. We kicked off summer with a bang out in Leavenworth where we celebrated Ben’s first birthday over Memorial Day weekend.

20170527_200811693_iOS

One of my favorite summer Friday traditions became going to Madison Park, the neighborhood just to the north of ours, and either hitting the beach or the playground {often both!}, stopping at the bakery for mama’s coffee and to grab some pastries for Saturday morning. Then we’d go down to the farmers market in the afternoon and pick up some produce and gorgeous flowers.

20170818_172215254_iOS

20170818_171546838_iOS

20170702_193404177_iOS

20170602_234707442_iOS

20170818_225314579_iOS

When summer started, Ben was a pro-crawler who loved going in the swings at the park. Quickly he warmed up to the sandbox and grew to love playing in the sand and observing the big trucks or other older kids.

20170610_195958801_iOS

BenAllen1Year2017-002

BenAllen1Year2017-008

By the end of the summer Ben knew how to walk so he was able to cruise around independently at the park. He began to climb the play structures, push around the dump trucks or the tricycle, and still has a soft spot for the swing. We continuously say that the playground has become our second home. We spent close to 2 hours per day there – we are so grateful to have such a nice playground so close to our house.

20170811_163958257_iOS

20170808_162940924_iOS

20170903_202536892_iOS

20170803_201850025_iOS

20170821_230402547_iOS

20170825_160656041_iOS

20170827_162909039_iOS

His favorite park past time, though, still remains playing with the wood chips… And yes, he is generally without one shoe. I don’t understand how he can get his shoe off so quickly. One time I counted that I put it back on 13 times before I gave up.

20170821_233150132_iOS

We didn’t make it out on too many hikes this summer, but the ones we did get on were great! We love our new hiking backpack and look forward to getting plenty of use out of it.

20170611_193907081_iOS

20170819_213924085_iOS

Per usual, we squeezed in some travel. Alex attended three bachelor parties and had some travel for work, so he wins the award for the most summer trips. Ben and I met Alex up in Vancouver for a night, which was a real highlight for me. Otherwise, Alex and I took a trip just the two of us to Sonoma, then we had a family trip to Seabrook, Washington.

20170622_230442717_iOS

20170623_234844121_iOS

{Enjoying a walk through Vancouver!}

{Enjoying a walk through Vancouver!}

{Vancouver highlight: the pool at the Fairmont!}

{Vancouver highlight: the pool at the Fairmont!}

{Seabrook on the Washington coast}

{Seabrook on the Washington coast}

20170723_194121061_iOS

Ben became quite fond of water over the summer. We spent many a day on the beach, at an outdoor pool or a kids wading pool or in our backyard playing with the kiddie pool or splash pad. Ben loves to splash around and appears to be fearless. I’m hoping to get him into a swimming program this fall.

Ben_Madison Park

20170807_190124408_iOS

20170807_225647292_iOS

20170903_203614028_iOS

20170903_204453290_iOS

20170812_232400109_iOS

Ben also got to go on his first boat ride this summer! He seemed to really enjoy it and everyone who was there agreed we had never seen him be so still.

20170826_172330241_iOS

20170826_180623806_iOS

Summer is unofficially ending today… I will always look back so, so fondly on the many memories our little family created together. This was a summer to remember forever.

20170903_231509847_iOS

Ben is 15 Months Old!

My baby is really not a baby anymore. Last weekend he turned into a toddler before my eyes and today he is 15 months old. This little boy is making leaps and bounds right now – I can’t keep up with all of the changes. Ben is the light of our life and we absolutely adore how sweet and friendly he is, what an inquisitive personality he has and how independent and determined he is becoming.

20170825_155007335_iOS

We won’t have his 15 month checkup until the end of September so I don’t have an updated weight or height. He’s probably somewhere between 21 and 22 pounds and I’m guessing 29 or 30 inches tall.

20170823_175119263_iOS

Developmentally, Ben is on-point! We had an evaluation with an occupational therapist {this is a really incredible benefit we receive because he was a preemie – I wish everyone would take advantage of seeing an OT for their babe!} and learned that Ben is right where he is supposed to be, developmentally, which is always a concern with a premature baby. We got some great tips for how to keep helping him thrive.

20170812_161742361_iOS

Over the last month the biggest change we have seen in Ben is his ability to walk. We made the call that he was a walker at the¬†very end of 13 months and as a 14 month old he has really started to master it. Watching Ben learn how to walk was one of the coolest things I’ve experienced.

20170825_160520021_iOS

It was so much different than seeing him learn how to crawl or roll over or sit up. It took so much determination and he was SO proud of himself when he would progress. He has been practicing different falling techniques and we could tell that he was trying to figure out how to turn by doing it over and over and over. Today, as an official 15 month old, he is really sturdy on his feet and is able to navigate transitions {i.e. rugs, steps up or down} really well.

20170825_160528392_iOS

Independence has been a huge change recently, too. We’re now able to leave him in his room for several minutes to play by himself while we do something else and most of the time he stays fully engaged in whatever he was doing. He has been loving looking at books with one picture per page {great for vocabulary development!}, playing with his dump truck or anything with music.

20170827_204831807_iOS

We sort of caved and let him play on the iPad. The bigger “cave” was getting the gigantic “tot proof” iPad case. It’s ridiculous, but I think he could throw it out the window and it would survive. He really likes to listen to music and he loves touching things on the screen, so one day last week I let him mess around on a baby app. We’re certainly not intending on this being a regular thing yet, but the iPad will definitely come on our upcoming plane ride!

20170820_144647170_iOS

Communication has been so cool over the last few months. Ben’s vocabulary in actual words {not just sign language} is increasing – his favorite words are: pasta, cracker and kitty and he not only can say the word, but he says it correctly in context. It is so neat to watch him figure things out and to see that he can understand what I’m saying.

20170812_144102646_iOS

One day recently I told him to sit down while he was in the bath tub and before I could help him sit down, he sat down. It’s moments like that that I have to sort of take a step back and realize how much this kid can understand and how much he’s growing up {insert mama tear here!}.

20170813_162322619_iOS

Ben has transitioned over the last month to having only one nap a day, which has been fantastic. That means more time to take longer trips up to the playground! How Ben plays at the playground seems to change on a weekly basis. His favorite things are playing in the wood chips or the sand, playing with the dump trucks or the tricycle. He also loves watching the big kids play.

20170819_164339432_iOS

Ben has really become a water baby! I’m starting to wonder if he’s part fish – he is so comfortable in water and he loves splashing his hands and kicking his feet. We’ve had a lot of fun with the kiddie pool and splash pad in our backyard, wading pools and outdoor pools around the city and going to the beach. Oh, and the bath, but he’s getting bored in the bathtub, so we’ve got to step it up, I guess.

20170827_214041921_iOS

Over the last month, sleep has been a big focus for us. One of our goals was to get Ben to totally put himself to sleep. We absolutely achieved that goal, and it happened much easier and faster than we expected. So, now Ben is putting himself to sleep independently and has been sleeping basically better than ever.

{B discovered the Nest camera when he woke up! I thought this screen shot was hilarious!}

{I thought this screen shot of Ben discovering the Nest camera was hilarious!}

Last weekend when Alex was out of town, Ben “officially” became a toddler. Everyone always says it’s a game changer when the tot starts walking – while I knew things would change I really didn’t expect it to be any different in terms of how fast Ben would be. Yeah, that was naive. Ben was a super fast crawler but now I literally can turn my back and not actually know where he is 2 seconds later.

20170818_235625578_iOS

He’s vertical now and at eye level with our wine glasses hanging up in the hutch in the dining room, which he likes to touch. From there, he goes to the dog’s water dish and throws something {half the time, my keys} into it. Then he runs in the bathroom and opens the locked cabinet door, and then pushes open the toilet seat, then pulls the toilet paper from the roll and dumps out the trash before opening all one of the drawers and then tries to close the bathroom door and accidentally runs it over his toes or closes it on his fingers. And then he’s off to our bedroom where he pulls open a drawer so fast it sends him flying backwards. And then he’s in his room trying to open the diaper pail {not hard to figure out!}. Now¬†he’s on the other side of the house playing ball with Jackson. From there, he’s in the kitchen pulling open the pots and pans cupboard and taking all of the lids out and clangs them together like cymbals. And that’s over the span of 2 minutes. Yes, I am perpetually exhausted these days.

20170815_141016210_iOS

We are really looking forward to starting Ben’s cooperative preschool in a few weeks. It’s a play-based school program and I’m excited to get some new ideas of things to do with him and have the opportunity to observe him playing with other kids. I think he’s going to love the social time – he is so friendly and seems to love being around other people.

20170811_170316404_iOS

One of the bittersweet parts of Ben turning 15 months old is that we have decided, per the pediatrician’s suggestion, to be done giving him a bottle. It was really sad knowing that it was the last bottle we’ll ever give him, but it’s also exciting knowing that he’s growing up and turning into a little boy. He¬†doesn’t need the bottle anymore and he is eating better than ever, loves food and is nailing it at restaurants lately.

20170901_021002232_iOS (1)

It still blows my mind how rapidly Ben is changing and how every month I keep saying it is still getting better and better. I really can’t imagine what changes are coming next for Ben, but everyone keeps saying it really does keep getting more and more fun.

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Holy cats! August is shaping up to be NUTS for us. We have SO much going on this month it’s going to be hard to keep up! I even started writing in our calendar who is taking which car on what days so that we can manage everything right down to the nitty gritty details.

20170803_201809252_iOS

We started off the month by buying a piece of land over in Leavenworth, a quaint mountain town about 2 hours from Seattle that we spend a lot of time visiting. We’ve been looking for a vacation home in the mountains to share with Alex’s parents for more than a year and recently decided to change course and build a house.

{The view from our new property!}

{The view from our new property that overlooks a field with a giant rock wall and mountains in the background.}

{This is where we expect the house to go.}

{This is where we expect the house to go.}

20170729_193230862_iOS

We’re elated to have found a beautiful, flat 3.1 acre property to call our own! We expect to close at the end of the month and will likely start building next summer. We had hoped to break ground this fall if possible, but it seems like holding off until next year makes more sense. We don’t want to rush into it too much.¬†That means, though, that we might be spending Christmas 2018 in our new mountain house! More on this to come later, I’m sure.

{Holding up his computer after signing the offer we made on the lot! We were so excited!}

{Holding up his computer after signing the offer we made on the lot! We were so excited!}

In other news, lately Alex has been suggesting that we should get Ben some more socialization with other kids during the day. While he gets out to the playground most days¬†and story time at least once a week and a play date most weeks he doesn’t have the same social experiences that he would have if he went to daycare.

20170730_205527553_iOS

I’ve got no qualms about daycare, it simply works better for our schedules to have the flexibility of a nanny. So, after scouring the Internet and polling some of my mama friends, we have enrolled Ben in a preschool co-op that starts in September. This preschool has “classes” for one year olds where it’s basically unstructured play time together {they have more formal classes for 2, 3 and 4-year olds). The class meets twice a week for 90 minutes each day. Not too big of a commitment. I’m really looking forward to starting – because it’s a co-op, all families have to get involved to help run the school, so I’m excited to meet other parents in the area and get Ben some time with other kids. Buuttttt that also means that each family has a “job” {I’m the designated “worker” in our family} sooooo you’re looking at either the new Halloween party planner, spring picnic party planner or sunshine chair!

20170803_201807585_iOS

Another child care note worth mentioning is that our nanny has left us¬†for a three week trip. We’ve got backup care scheduled, but you never know how that will turn out. I have a feeling it’ll be a mama + Ben month.

20170731_205640174_iOS

Nearly a year ago, now, we started going to our parents group, called PEPS {Program for Early Parent Support}, which met once a week for 12 weeks. We built a really nice community with other families close by who have babies the same age as Ben. The PEPS organization asked if I’d be interested in facilitating a new group and because we didn’t have enough going on, I said yes! Despite our crazy schedules I’m really, really looking forward to leading a PEPS group, which starts in a couple weeks. It will be one evening per week where I get to facilitate a meeting between 8 families with newborns. It will be so fun to think back to those crazy days with a newborn!

20170729_200919859_iOS

Alex has two bachelor parties to attend this month – one in Whistler and one down in Portland. So, it’s really going to be a mama + Ben month!

20170731_202228801_iOS

The weather has been hot, hot, hot lately. We’ve had this really weird smog clouding the region the last 10 days¬†from wildfires up in British Columbia. I heard that our air quality right now is worse than Beijing! We can’t hardly see across the lake and you can literally see the smoke clinging to sights off in the distance. It’s really strange. That being said, I haven’t gone for any runs in the last week and Alex hasn’t ridden his bike, so we’re ready for the heat wave to break and the smoke to clear! I’m ready for fall!

20170804_195439177_iOS

Family Vacation to Seabrook, Washington

For our big family summer vacation this year we headed west to Seabrook, Washington, a very small town on the Washington coast. This was our second vacation as a little family of three and it was everything I had hoped it would be and more.

20170723_152256238_iOS

Seabrook is a really funny little town. It’s very new and was created with a master development plan about 10 years ago. It was modeled after the Truman Show and Pleasantville, so it has that “everything is perfect” look and feel. The houses and the town are¬†so cute – the style is similar to a Cape Cod or Nantucket home. It oozes with east coast charm.

20170721_234031410_iOS

20170723_200344320_iOS

Perhaps the best part of the town is the location – it’s situated up high on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the Washington coast. The beach goes on forever!

20170723_152445379_iOS

Our trip started mid-day Friday with our sloooowwwwww drive to the coast. It’s been a while since we had ventured south on I-5 on a Friday in the summer and boy did we regret waiting until noon to leave the house. Thankfully Ben has turned into a little trooper in the car and he hung in there right along with us.

20170723_155746833_iOS

We got all of our glitches out of the way for the whole trip upon check-in. Our house wasn’t ready when we arrived – they needed extra time to clean it. Then, once we could finally check in, the code on the lock wouldn’t work. By some miracle we found a slightly open window and Alex was able to enter the house. It was a little bit of a stressful start to the vacation, but thankfully all the kinks were worked out once we got inside.

20170722_142552405_iOS

Over the years Alex and I have stayed in a ton of vacation rentals. Usually the photos make them look nicer than they are in reality. Much to my relief, the house was even better than the pictures! It was by far the nicest vacation rental we’ve ever stayed in. It was fantastic!!

20170722_004819588_iOS

We were so enamored with the town that we spent most of the afternoon and evening exploring and getting settled in. I couldn’t get enough of the houses in the town!

20170723_002251269_iOS

Coincidentally, our friends Kara and Jake and their daughter Maya, were in Seabrook the same weekend. Even more of a coincidence –¬†the house they rented was across the park {about 30 feet} from our house – essentially our front porches overlooked each others! We loved being able to spend some good time with them the first evening by the campfire and then getting Maya and Ben to play together in the grass the next day.

20170722_224513695_iOS

Our first trip to the beach happened on Saturday morning. I strapped Ben to my back {he’s officially too heavy to wear in the carrier on my front!}, Alex hooked Jackson up to his leash and we headed out to the beach.

20170723_151106204_iOS

20170723_151116202_iOS

The Washington and Oregon coasts are known for some pretty extreme fog and Saturday was no exception. There is something eerily comforting about the dense fog along the coast – it’s really calming and relaxing. Maybe that’s the Seattleite in me talking? We weren’t turned off by the light drizzle – it was surprisingly pleasant.

20170722_161549609_iOS

Once we got down to the beach we realized how unbelievably expansive it was. I don’t even know how to describe the scope other than to say from the moment we hit the edge¬†of the beach until we got to the water it was a solid 10 minute walk across the sand. The beach went on and on and on and on – it was by far the biggest beach I’ve ever been to. You could have walked for hours in either direction.

20170722_162326752_iOS

When we got closer to the water we could see crabs washed up on shore. There were clams and sand dollars, too! It was weirdly beautiful in its own way.

20170722_162112747_iOS

The water was absolutely frigid – no swimming for us! Jackson didn’t think twice about the chilly temperature, though, and he charged right into the waves after his ball.

20170723_153121538_iOS

One of our favorite moments happened on Saturday. We hit the town to check out the little Saturday market and happened upon a quaint little wine bar. Naturally we stopped in for a flight and a cheese board. We shared the cheese and sopressata with Ben {and kept the wine to ourselves} and he ate almost the entire thing on his own. Somewhere in the last month or two he has become such a stellar eater! It is an absolute blast watching him explore the world of food.

20170722_185141955_iOS

Later in the day, the skies cleared and then when we woke up on Sunday morning we were delighted to see the bright blue skies were still there and the sun was out.

20170723_152558790_iOS

20170723_152655744_iOS

20170723_152702893_iOS

While the sun was out in full force on Sunday, so was the wind. It was slightly bothersome up in town and at our house but when we got down to the beach it felt like the wind was blowing at gale force! We were¬†so looking forward to hanging out on the beach and we weren’t about to let a mini hurricane stop us from setting up shop, even if it was only for about 15 minutes.

20170723_193235711_iOS

20170723_194038523_iOS

20170723_194153249_iOS

Before our trip, we bought a little beach tent that was supposed to withstand a lot of wind. We were pleasantly surprised at both how easy it was to set up and the fact that it stayed up, given the wind. We hunkered down and let Ben play in the sand for a short while before taking a little walk on the beach.

20170723_192747843_iOS

20170723_192728832_iOS

We were all absolutely covered in sand – I can still feel it in my pores. Ben had a goth look going on because his face was all drooly and then it got muddy from the sand. It was pretty funny! He couldn’t have cared less about the sand – it had to have been all up in his eyes too. He was having a blast nonetheless.

20170723_193532185_iOS

20170723_194121061_iOS

20170723_194029885_iOS

20170723_194010069_iOS

Our last full day in Seabrook was very relaxing and largely spent outside.

20170723_230159899_iOS

20170723_230210262_iOS

I will be forever grateful for this long weekend together in Seabrook. Family vacations are so important to us. It gives us a chance to spend time together, reconnect and be present and removed from the distractions of everyday life. This trip was perfect in every way and I really wouldn’t change a thing.

Fourth of July Weekend

Much to my surprise we had a four day weekend at home together. I had no idea Alex had Monday off until late last week. After having a few busy weekends in a row it was nice to have a low-key weekend just the three of us. The icing on the cake was the weather – it was basically perfect all weekend long.

4th of July

My weekend kicked off a day early – Ben and I had a really fun Friday hanging out in Madison Park, the neighborhood just north of us. It has a much bigger downtown than our neighborhood and it’s got a great beach and a really nice park. Ben and I started at the beach, stopped at the swings and then grabbed a bite to eat at the deli.

20170630_182109685_iOS

Not surprisingly, Ben loved the beach! He loved playing in the sand and sitting in the water, feeling the waves crash on his little legs. He was all smiles! ūüôā

Ben_Madison Park

We had a laid-back day on Saturday and somehow Alex and I managed to make it to yoga at the gym. It was so nice to start the weekend with a relaxing yoga class! Alex took Ben to the pool afterwards, too, so they had some fun in the water together.

20170630_192556268_iOS

Lately we have been loving taking Ben up to the park in our neighborhood and setting out the picnic blanket and just hanging out. He has been practicing standing on his own and for some reason seems to be more comfortable in the grass. While we were at the park over the weekend he stood up from a seated position all on his own without holding onto anything! Since then we’ve seen him do it several more times but it seems like he’s still realizing that he can do it.

20170702_142826271_iOS

Since I had so much fun taking Ben to the beach on Friday we decided go together over the weekend too. Ben was practicing standing on the picnic blanket at the beach too and is really getting the hang of it. He had so much fun!

20170702_191748423_iOS

We¬†made an impromptu trip over the mountains to Leavenworth on Monday. It was super spontaneous and last minute and we had a great time. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky which made for a spectacular drive over the mountain pass. We are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful state!

20170703_002451108_iOS

One of our favorite things to do with Ben is to share foods that we love with him. Thankfully he has similar tastes to us so usually he enjoys them. While we were in Leavenworth we stopped at one of our favorite sausage shops and got some sausages and a pretzel. Since it was 90 degrees and a fun, bonus day we treated ourselves to some gelato before we made the drive back home.

20170704_013604744_iOS

All weekend long we had been looking forward to our plans for the fourth – we headed up to our friends’ Carrie and Patrick’s new house on Camano Island. Camano Island is located a little over an hour northwest of Seattle and is an island, connected by a bridge, out in Puget Sound. Carrie and Patrick moved into their new house two weeks ago and we couldn’t wait to see their new place.

20170704_181905645_iOS

Our friends Ryan and Mary joined us up north with their 19 month-old twin boys, August and Oliver, and Carrie and Patrick have a 14 month-old daughter named Roslyn. It was so fun to have all four babies together for the day. We loved Carrie and Patrick’s new house and hope to spend a lot of time up there with all of our kiddos.

20170704_230348999_iOS

20170704_230134308_iOS

It was sad to see such a nice long weekend come to an end, but we’ve got a short work week and another weekend at home coming up. I love July – it seems like such a nice, relaxing family month. This year anyway!

20170701_232215451_iOS

Mondays and Fridays

Right now I work on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, which leaves me home with Ben on Mondays and Fridays. I absolutely love my days at home with him.

{Oops! Accidental twinning!}

{Oops! Accidental twinning!}

I usually plan something to get us out of the house every afternoon, and conveniently, I have a lot of friends who don’t work on either Mondays or Fridays which makes it easy for play dates.

20170619_192708657_iOS

I am SO excited for our summer. The weather in Seattle over the summer is basically perfect and our options are endless. This week we met my cousin’s wife, Heidi, and their daughter, Claire, down at a park on the lake for a leisurely walk and to catch up. Ben and I had a few extra minutes so we set up our handy dandy picnic blanket {I’ve started keeping one in the car!} and watched the great blue herons, the ducks, the boats and the beautiful mountain and just hung out.

20170619_192457317_iOS

This fall my work hours are going to increase so I’ll only be home with Ben on Fridays. The change will only be for the school year, then I’ll drop back down to three days per week in the summer. I had gotten to a point with only working three days per week that I wasn’t feeling very effective at my job and it was leaving me overwhelmed and with too many things left undone at the end of every week.

20170616_223343343_iOS

It was a really hard decision – I was strongly considering stopping working altogether, but I really love my job and I do want to work. I¬†¬†want to be effective and make my time away from Ben worthwhile. Also, it’s nice to have a break and have someone else take over for a little while.¬† I think it will be a good transition for us. Our nanny will be able to be more full-time with our family instead of bouncing between two families each week. I think it will be a positive change for us and I look forward to feeling like I’m making a more meaningful impact at work.

{Ben with his nanny - they were twinning too!}

{Ben with his nanny – they were twinning too!}

Until the fall, I am looking forward to taking Ben to the beach, having more time on our picnic blanket. spending time at the park, going for long walks and goofing around with him. He’s the best kid we could have asked for.

20170604_183104012_iOS