Category Archives: Friends

Lodge Life: Fall!

Fall came quickly to the mountains this year and brought abundant sunshine, the most glorious brightly colored leaves, the smell of campfires all around us and perfect crisp and frosty mornings. Our little family spent so many weekends in Leavenworth this fall and it was so fun watching the season evolve.

We planned four long, consecutive weekends at The Lodge this fall, beginning in mid-September. With the exception of one weekend the weather was perfect! Chilly and sunny – just the way we like it. We loved pulling out our cozy layers and switching from iced lattes to hot ones. We found the perfect pumpkin latte in town {and no, it’s not Starbucks!} and I made pumpkin muffins with the kids.

Driving through the Tumwater Canyon on highway 2 was a highlight of the fall for me. The colors and scenery through the canyon are spectacular. As the road winds its way along the Wenatchee River into Leavenworth proper the trees and mountainside become more and more glorious. The rapids in the river seem to always catch the sunlight perfectly and my goodness, the autumn leaves shimmering in the sun were stunning.

I was able to indulge in two long runs around town and next to the river this fall. It was heavenly being out in nature and enjoying such beauty.

As a family we enjoyed our walks along the riverfront, cheering Ben on while he lived his best life on the pump track and watching our kids play outside in the yard. It has been extra special to watch Hannah become more and more sturdy and be able to hold her own. She has been having a blast on the swing set and loves to climb up the ladder all by herself.

Two weekends we spent entertaining some friends of ours. One weekend my friend from Minnesota, Sarah, and her family came to visit. Madeline, their 3-year old, and Ben got to pal around and catch up. We loved seeing them and meeting their new daughter, Emily.

Another weekend our local friends and Octoberfest regulars, Dave and Trish and their two boys, came to stay with us. We always have such a nice time with them and we were blown away by how well Ben and Liam, their 3-year old, played together.

We also have loved that friends and family who have been in Leavenworth on their own trips have come over to our house for a visit. My cousin and his family, along with our old neighbors and my aunt and uncle stopped by our house while they were already in the mountains. Our neighbors, Ross and Erin, brought their drone and took some fun pictures of our house and the surrounding area.

One of the reasons we built The Lodge was to spend more time with friends and family. It brings us so much joy to share our home and our piece of mountain paradise with family and friends. We so loved our time and the opportunity to see our friends and family for a longer stretch.

We are really getting in our groove out there. Now we’re in the midst of a much needed focus on our life and home in Seattle so we’ll be a bit more settled and in one place this month. That said, we are getting set to prepare for winter in the mountains, though, and have a long list of things that need to get done. Alex and I can’t wait to experience our first full winter at The Lodge and we’re already getting excited about the holiday season ahead of us. It’s going to come quickly!

Mountain Day!

Last weekend Alex and I needed to go out to our mountain house to make some decisions, so we made a day out of it and brought both kids AND had some friends meet us out there.

Just like our last big day trip, we had such a fun time. It’s getting harder and harder to want to leave. We’re so so so so so mentally ready to move into that house and just be there. The anticipation is so exciting and infuriating and we just can’t wait. More to come on the progress of the house.

I was a little nervous about the drive. Our first appointment was at 9:30 a.m. in a town 40 minutes past our mountain house – so, a 2 1/2 hour drive. We made it in the car right on time and the drive was a piece of cake. Ben got super bored eventually but managed to hold it together. Hannah has not been excited about being in her car seat lately but she slept the whole way out there. After our meeting we stopped at Anjou Bakery, which I had been dyyying to go to forever and a day.

The weather was picture-perfect again and after our appointments we set up a picnic and a play/climbing structure and let the kiddos run wild in the yard.

After a while we headed out to Lake Wenatchee for a camp fire and s’mores. It was so beautiful and so cold! We had a blast.

It was so special getting to share our piece of heaven with friends – it was like a preview into what life is going to look like so so soon. We can’t wait to share our mountain home with our family and friends and make a lifetime of memories out there. It’s exactly why we decided to get a house out there.

Camano Island Getaway

Living in the Puget Sound area we are blessed to be a short drive away from some incredible spots, one of which is Camano Island. Some of our best friends, Carrie and Patrick, recently moved up there and invited us to come spend the day with them at their home. It’s also possible we invited ourselves up. I can’t remember. In any case, we spent the day on Camano Island on Saturday and it felt like such a getaway.

Our friends have a fantastic setup – a great open floor plan, perfect for the kids, with a sprawling and private 2+ acre backyard, plus a beautiful and sunny back deck overlooking the yard. They’ve got everything we needed for a kids play day and for the adults to kick back a little bit when we weren’t busy parenting.

{Grass for days! Ben LOVED pushing and riding in Roslyn’s little coupe.}

We loved spending the day up on the island and it was so fun to have Dave, Trish and little Liam up there, too. Liam, Roslyn and Ben were all born within 3.5 months of each other, so now, as 2-year olds {or almost 2!} they’re all moving at pretty much the same pace. I mean, except for Ben because he never slows down, but you get what I mean… The three tots played really well together and it was so fun to see how different their personalities and interests are.

{Liam turned 2 in February.}

{Roslyn just turned two at the end of April. She and Ben are almost exactly a month apart in age.}

{The youngest in the pack…. little Ben turns 2 in 10 days!}

Most of the day was spent at the house; however most of my photos were taken down at the beach, a 15 minute walk from their house. It’s a very rocky beach lined with driftwood and cooooold water with a nice view of Whidbey Island.

{“Dada take my picture!”}

We had such a nice day – wonderful company, a beautiful landscape, delicious food and so many memories! We can’t wait to invite ourselves/be invited back 😉

Girls Weekend!

For the first time since Ben was born {let’s be real, I think it was since Sarah’s bachelorette party FIVE years ago!} I took off for a girls trip. I met my girlfriends from high school back in Minnesota for a weekend up north to catch up and enjoy some girl time.

My weekend away was super quick and entailed not much more than a weekend – I was in super late on Thursday and left on Sunday evening. The time in between was primarily spent up north at my friend Sarah’s parents cabin near Brainard. I managed to squeeze in a very fast morning split between my dad, mom and brother before the girls weekend kicked off.

I’ve been friends with this group of girls since middle school and some of them have been friends since very early elementary school. It is so remarkable that we’ve managed to stay connected through the ups and downs of life; going to college at different schools across several different states; going through various stages of life – marriage, life after college, having kids {I’m working on baby #10 for our group!}, the loss of a parent, divorce, starting our careers, all while living in different areas. All of the other girls still live in Minnesota but are pretty spread out across the Twin Cities.

I really enjoyed getting caught back up with the girls – normally when I’m in town for a visit, our get togethers are only a couple hours long and typically include husbands and/or children, which makes it a little harder for us to dive deep into conversation. We can easily pick back up where we left off though and we never run out of things to talk about.

Our weekend was super low-key and very enjoyable. We mixed in going out for meals with cooking back at the cabin, we did some shopping and played a couple games. Most of all, we relaxed and chatted. I thoroughly enjoyed flying by myself and was so very happy to return to my little family!

Wintertime

This winter has been rather different than I expected. When I pictured the winter I imagined we’d be heading up to the mountains most weekends and spending a lot of time in the snow. I expected the winter to fly by, as it always seems to do for us. Oftentimes the winter months are the busiest of the whole year for Alex and me.

Winter is nearing the end and we’ve hardly been up to the mountains. We’ve gone cross country skiing twice {both times in the rain} and every other time we’ve wanted to go it was raining so we made other plans. It has been an exceptionally rainy January in Seattle so we have been a little cooped up. Thankfully now that we’re into February, the weather has started to turn.

We have been creative this season with getting out and doing things with friends, going to the pool, the zoo or the aquarium, or even embracing the rain and putting Ben’s rain boots on so he can go jump in the puddles. Puddle jumping brings Ben so much joy – and sadly, I don’t have any pictures to memorialize it! We’ve even been creative with our activities at home – Alex filled up the sink with water, bubbles and silicone muffin cup liners and Ben was entertained for quite a while. We’ve been doing art projects, baking and teaching Ben how to vacuum…

Most of our toddler parent friends are also going a little stir crazy, but we all enjoyed some reprieve from the rain this weekend when the sun finally came out! Alex and Ben spent Saturday with three other tots and their dads and enjoyed a tour of a fire station. We met my cousin and his family up at the playground this morning and camped out there, watching the three kids eat sand, play with trucks and giggle their way down the slide.

We are about to start week six with our au pair. It took us quite a while to get into a good rhythm amidst the childcare transition, but I think we’re about there. There ended up being a lot more hands-on training than we had anticipated, and the language barrier is quite prevalent. But! The other day, Ben was counting in Spanish. It was one of the coolest parenting experiences I’ve had yet – he was counting in Spanish. All by himself. I was floored. I still am floored!

All in all, we are having a very memorable winter and we are making the most of these rainy Seattle days with our rambunctious toddler {and looking forward to sunshine in the forecast this week!}.

Fourth Annual Holiday Party

Hosting our holiday party has become quite a fun tradition we look forward to every year. We’ve learned a lot over the last few years and definitely had it dialed in this year. We tried a few new foods and continued our same laid-back approach to the soiree and it was wonderful.

{not our best family photo, but the best of the bunch!}

{not our best family photo, but the best of the bunch!}

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{this year's spread included: a beautiful and bountiful cheese board; crudite platter; chicken skewers; caramelized onion, mushroom and gruyere puffs; brie and apple puffs; Christmas pinwheels;  dips from our local Greek restaurant, paired with their pita; and a big plate of cookies.}

{This year’s spread included: a beautiful and bountiful cheese board; crudite platter; chicken skewers; caramelized onion, mushroom and gruyere puffs; brie and apple puffs; Christmas pinwheels; dips from our local Greek restaurant, paired with their pita; and a big plate of cookies.}

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{Having fun with the "portrait" mode on our new phone!}

{Having fun with the “portrait” mode on our new phone!}

{The chef!}

{The chef!}

{This year's signature drink was Bee Keeper Punch.}

{This year’s signature drink was Bee Keeper Punch.}

{Plenty of bubbly and sparkling rose to go around.}

{Plenty of bubbly and sparkling rose to go around.}

{The Millers arrived a little early to help taste-test :) }

{The Millers arrived a little early to help taste-test 🙂 }

I had so much fun looking back on the last three parties – my oh my how life has changed. We have a really great time putting together these parties and are so grateful to have so many friends in Seattle to enjoy the holidays with.

Third annual party

Second annual party

First annual party

Sixth Annual Octoberfest Trip

Our sixth annual Octoberfest trip has now come and gone. This is a trip that Alex and I look forward to all year long. We take off for a weekend in the mountains outside of Leavenworth with several other families. We relax, drink wine, play adult board games, eat sausage and sauerbraten and enjoy our time in the mountains. This year was extra special because our little ones are all so close in age and they were playing together and were more on the same level now that they’re a bit older than last year.

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Altogether this year there were 8 adults, 5 toddlers and 3 dogs. The tots range in age from 16 months {Ben} to 22 months {August and Oliver}, with Roslyn at 17 months and Liam at 20 months. It’s pretty remarkable that all of our kids are so close in age. The adults in the group are Ryan and Mary, parents of August and Oliver; Dave and Trish, parents of Liam; and Carrie and Patrick, parents of Roslyn.

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The weather this year, like many other years, couldn’t have been more perfect. It was very crisp and clear and made our trip that much better.

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We kicked off the weekend by heading into the town of Leavenworth on Saturday morning for a stroll, some coffee and gingerbread cookies and, of course, sausage. Ben loved the parade that rolled through town and kept neighing at the horses. It was pretty cute!

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On Sunday morning the guys ventured off on their own to take advantage of their Father’s Day gifts — a fly fishing lesson! It sounds like they really enjoyed learning how to fish and I know at least one of them intends on returning and giving it another try.

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While the dads were off fishing the moms packed up the littles and drove to Lake Wenatchee State Park, a few miles up the road. We were most interested in the playground but ended up being captivated by the beach and the breathtaking views that we hardly spent any time on the jungle gym with the kids. Our trip, though, was pretty short lived, as it was extremely windy and very chilly.

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I think we all were really pleasantly surprised about a lot with the kids – they all got along really well and there weren’t any issues and the chaos was extremely minimal. Another big surprise was that they all went to sleep in the evenings very well which allowed for some adult time. The nap times for the kids were sort of well organized, too.

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It was so fun to see the kids playing together and having the opportunity for all of us to engage with the other tots and really get to know them a little better. All of our schedules are so busy and we don’t get together nearly as often as we used to or would like to. These weekends are extra special now that we’ve got kiddos.

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This year we stayed in a different house for Octoberfest than we had in the past. We stayed in the same house that our family rented for Ben’s birthday back in May. Conveniently, this house is located literally right next door to our piece of property. It was really fun being so close to our lot so we could walk over there and check out the view. Alex and I cannot wait to wake up to that!!

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Before heading back to Seattle on Monday, Alex and I, along with the Millers, stopped at Lake Wenatchee State Park. Alex was bummed he missed out on going the day before while he was fishing and wanted to enjoy the view. Luckily for us all, the wind was still and the weather was perfect.

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I’m pretty impressed with our group that we are still taking our annual trip to Leavenworth together. These trips have really changed over the years – it was so fun to look back on photos from last year’s Octoberfest trip, which was the first one where we all had kiddos! If you’re curious – here is the evolution of our trips {I hadn’t started our blog quite yet for our first annual trip}:

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.

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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!

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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!

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{cinnamon rolls + coffee the next morning!}

{cinnamon rolls + coffee the next morning!}

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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!

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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.

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

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Happy fall! 🙂

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.

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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! 🙂

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Baby Madeline’s Visit

Baby Madeline and her parents, Sarah and Mike, came to visit us this past weekend from Minnesota. It was so fun to have another baby in our house for Ben to play with all weekend long. Both babes did well and really hammed it up for us! Madeline has the sweetest cheesy smile. I couldn’t get enough of it!

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Sarah and I grew up together and have been friends for a very long time. Somehow it happened that we got to go through pregnancy and now the stages of motherhood together – Ben and Madeline were due a day apart last summer.

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Both babies were born before their due dates and are 5 weeks apart. It was really neat to see how different of babies Ben and Madeline are. They are both super sweet and cuddly, and the biggest difference I noticed is that Madeline sits still!

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Alex and I were so shocked at the fact that they could just plop Madeline down anywhere and she’d stay still and take in her surroundings. Even as young as 3 or 4 months, Ben’s little legs and feet or arms would be moving and shaking. He’s really never sat still and always wanted to be moving.

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The weather held out for their trip pretty well, surprisingly. We managed to squeeze in quite a few activities during the long weekend.

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Sarah and I strolled through the arboretum with the babes on Friday while Mike was spending time with his friend. Coincidentally the best man from their wedding also lives in Seattle {I was their matron of honor}. The weather was gorgeous and it made it a perfect afternoon to spend outside.

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The clouds rolled in on Saturday and we headed slightly east to Woodinville for lunch and to do some wine tasting. We tried some new wines and had a great time.

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We ended the evening with a trip to Westland Distillery, a whiskey distillery in the SODO neighborhood. Sarah and Mike {and Alex too} really like whiskey so it was a fun place to stop off.

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The babies did so well on the outing! It was really fun to get out with them and see, at least for Alex and me, how well Ben did on a full-day adventure.

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Our true adventure happened on Sunday. We braved the weather and headed for the mountains to do a hike at Twin Falls. Aside from a few minutes where it was sunny, it was lightly sprinkling throughout most of the hike. That didn’t stop us from lacing up our boots and hitting the trails. It was extremely gorgeous – the hike was fairly easy and followed a roaring river and winded through furry green trees. There were some beautiful views of the falls at the end. It didn’t disappoint.

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After a really nice visit, Sarah, Mike and Madeline headed home on Monday. We loved having them here to play with Ben and to spend time together. We’re grateful for technology so that we can keep each other up-to-date with lots of photos and even FaceTime on occasion.

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