Category Archives: The Lodge

Lodge Life: Reflections on our First Year

To say this has been a big year for us would be a gross understatement.

As we are at the year mark on having moved into The Lodge I’ve found myself thinking back on this most special time so fondly. Our children are growing up partially in the mountains, they’re having “firsts” out here in our paradise and they’re simply free to run and roam in ways they’re not able to in the city. The air is so fresh and cleansing and rejuvenating and the spirit out in the mountains renews us.

I’m not sure what it is but when we’re at The Lodge our to do lists go to the wayside and our priorities shift. The most important matters on the docket are spending time with family, Alex and me enjoying an evening together and getting outside in nature. Everything else gets pushed aside.

We’ve begun to become part of a new community and now have two places we call home. We’re meeting neighbors and other community members in Leavenworth and forming new relationships.

Now that we’ve seen all four seasons in Leavenworth we have our favorites list and really understand the annual cycle of the tourist town and the beauty surrounding it. We’ve found some fantastic family-friendly hikes, two ice skating rinks, the most gorgeous views and the best coffee in town. We also know when to avoid coming into town for fear of having an hour wait for a table at dinner time. We’re really getting acquainted with the area and it feels like home.

It’s so nice to have somewhere to go to get a break from the city. Don’t get me wrong, we absolutely love living in Seattle, it’s just nice to go spend time where life moves a little slower and things are a little simpler. We relish in the space, both inside the house and outside.

The best part, though, is the time we’ve been able to spend with each other, our extended family and our friends. We’re bursting at the seams in our tiny house in Seattle and we love being able to host multiple families here at The Lodge. That’s the biggest reason we did this.

We absolutely love the time that our kids have been able to spend with their grandparents out here. It brings Alex and me so much joy to sit back and watch our kids play with their grandparents and make what we hope is a lifetime of memories. I always want our kids to think back on their childhood and recall spending precious time playing with their family here at The Lodge.

Our two nephews {and their parents and grandparents} are visiting for the first time in a few weeks and Alex and I are just over the moon with excitement for Ben and Hannah to show Nico and Marco around the mountains. We are so hopeful they’ll come back every year {hint, hint!}.

This winter we had the true pleasure of celebrating our first holiday season at The Lodge. Cutting down our Christmas tree from our property was so special. I sit in front of the glass doors every time it starts snowing and just watch it turn into a snow globe outside. Winter is so magical here.

Now, with all of these great pleasures we’re enjoying there surely have been tremendous challenges and sacrifices. It is extremely difficult to manage two households with two very young toddlers – Hannah was only 6 months old when we moved in and literally screamed for half of the car ride until she was over one.

Going back and forth between two houses with two little ones is exhausting to say the least. For at least the first six months or so neither kid would sleep through the night here and it put a big damper on Hannah’s overnight sleep in Seattle, as well. One thing our kids are learning is to be adaptable to continued change and unpredictability.

Managing the ebbs and flows of the two houses is a little tricky. Do we have eggs in Leavenworth, or do I need to bring them? What about mayonnaise? Wait, was there bacon in the freezer, or are we out? I’m eternally grateful for our amazing and well-stocked pantry and the fantastic freezer we have at The Lodge – it makes the management of food so much easier. I loathe the grocery stores available nearby so I bring most of our food from Seattle. I do a big stock-up on food about once a month or two and replenish our staples, so generally I only have to bring dairy and produce.

Our house in Seattle is severely neglected. Particularly in the winter when it’s dark for all hours of the day when Alex is home, it’s been very hard to keep up on outdoor projects. Mowing the lawn last summer was really tough to squeeze in with being gone every weekend and having a baby who went to bed at 7:00. We realized we need at least one weekend a month in Seattle to focus on taking care of house projects. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to help out more with projects now that our kids will be a little older this summer.

The weeks go by¬†so quickly when we’re back and forth every weekend, as we are now. Living in one city for 3 days, then another for 4 is quite an experience. I feel like I’m constantly needing to think ahead and order groceries for the next house we’ll be at, or needing to do laundry so I’m not returning to a heap of it. And then there’s the cleaning. For some reason The Lodge seems to be significantly easier to keep clean, so that’s icing on the cake.

It’s no surprise that the benefits significantly outweigh the challenges of having two homes. Our kids absolutely love the “mountain house” and they are so happy and so comfortable there. At three and a half I have already seen that Ben’s vocabulary and experiences are different than they would be if we didn’t have this life. He knows his way around Leavenworth just as well as he knows his way around our neighborhood in Seattle. He talks about the mountain pass and is able to describe what “avalanche control” is, he’ll educate you on what a pump track is and will happily share with you that one of his most favorite things to do is go ice skating.

My gratitude for this privilege of having a mountain home is so abundant. We are so grateful to have been able to build this home so early in our kids’ lives. It is everything we had hoped for and so, so much more. Cheers to our first year at The Lodge!

P.S. In case you’re curious, the kids and I spent 159 days and we all spent 36 weekends at The Lodge in our first year!

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!