Tag Archives: friends

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!}


{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.}


{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

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.


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! 🙂

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.


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.


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!


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!


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.


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.


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.



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!


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!


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.


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!


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.


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


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.





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.






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.





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.


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.



Ben + Mama Trip to Minnesota

Ben and I embarked on a trip to Minnesota just the two of us to visit friends and family. It’s hard living so far away and managing to make time for everyone back in my homeland, but I knew it was time to make the trek.


I knew the trip would be hard but I didn’t really comprehend in what ways it would be challenging. I take care of Ben solo quite a bit – every Monday and Friday I’m his sole caretaker, but five consecutive days and overnights is a little bit different. I was pleasantly surprised that the trip ended up being easier than I had expected.


Ben had already taken four plane rides by the time we set out for Minnesota. That worked in our favor because we had learned a thing or two about how to be efficient, what to pack and what to expect. I was approaching our plane trips calmly and with the realization that they were an insignificant, but necessary, part of our trip.


Again, much to my surprise, Ben was a rock star traveler on our way to Minnesota. He took two 30-minute naps, he was engaged in one toy for many, many minutes and was completely chill. Typical Ben is a big wiggler – his little legs are in constant motion and he likes to move from one toy to another. I couldn’t believe it when he was focused on my teething necklace for almost the entire plane ride. As it turned out, I did not need to bring a bag full of 20 different toys!


Our first full day in Minnesota was forecast to be gorgeous – low 70s and sunny — a perfect day for a stroll around Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis with my friend Sarah and her daughter Madeline.




Madeline and Ben were due within a day of each other and ended up being born 5 weeks apart. It has been an incredible experience going through my pregnancy and motherhood with my best friend. We exchange probably between 50-100 text messages a day! I was dying to meet Madeline and it was one of the main reasons for my trip.



I knew before Madeline was born that Sarah was going to be an excellent mama. It was wonderful finally having the opportunity to see her in action. Sweet Madeline is lucky to have Sarah as her mama!


In addition to our walk around the lake we planned a gathering with our group of girl friends from high school back at Sarah’s house. Another one of our friends had a baby a week after Ben was born – it has been so fun to share the journey with Sarah and Cammy and hear what their girls’ are up to.



I really enjoyed my time with the girls. The three other girls are mamas to older kids and they were quick to jump in and offer to hold the babies so we could eat or relax. I loved catching up with these girls and so appreciated the time together.



The rest of my trip was mainly spent with family. Sunday I joined my mom and aunt Sarah at the Como Zoo for the afternoon.


I think Ben really enjoyed the zoo. He was interested in the giraffes and waved both of his arms and feet with excitement whenever they moved. He didn’t seem to totally get the concept of the zoo, unsurprisingly, though the bigger animals that were awake and moving around were the ones to grab his attention.




Later that day I stopped over to visit my brother and his girlfriend, Becky, at their place and have dinner together. My brother went above and beyond and put together a terrific meal with Ben in mind. In advance, he asked me if Ben had had some specific cuisines because he wanted to prepare something new that Ben hadn’t tried before.


John prepared vegetable samosas, lentil soup, risotto and roasted vegetables. Everything was delish! I especially liked the risotto and Ben loved the lentil soup. Ben loved crawling around their big, open, carpeted living room too!


My dad got to spend a lot of time in the mornings with Ben while I was pumping and getting ready. It was so sweet to see the two of them together. Ben almost never falls asleep on anyone during the day but he did three times with my dad! I guess he’s got the magic calming touch.




One of the activities we did with my dad was go back to the YMCA that I grew up working at. I hadn’t seen it since the facility underwent a massive renovation. I spent 8 years working as a lifeguard, swim instructor and childcare staff at that YMCA and it was really neat to go back and see it thriving. We took Ben for a quick swim in the pool before heading over to my mom’s for dinner.



My mom and my friend Kelsey have become rather close over the last several years. It’s really nice that they have such a great relationship and my mom can see her “other daughter” more often than her biological one. Kelsey joined us for dinner one night and it was such a treat to see her. Ben was really out of sorts that night so we didn’t get a good chance to catch up or relax much, but I enjoyed the visit, nonetheless.


I was able to make up for the visit the following morning with some Ben and Mamie cuddles and time together before Ben and I headed to the airport.


It was really nice to see my family and friends and to see everyone get the opportunity to spend time with Ben. Until he was born I didn’t really consider the grandparent relationship or what it would look like. Alex and I are still honing in on that and working to find a balance that works for all of Ben’s grandparents. Each grandparent is so different and it is hard to meet everyone’s expectations and make sure the grandparents are feeling included and like they get to see Ben enough.


When it came time to head back to Seattle my dad dropped us off at the airport. I approached this flight the same way as I did our flight out to Minneapolis – with a calm demeanor and whatever happens, happens.


I also decided to consolidate and put my handbag inside my suitcase so I only had to carry the diaper bag onto the plane. In doing that, I went against advice I normally followed – I took out my extra outfit and the second extra outfit for Ben. Of course that quickly bit me in the bum – when I went in to change Ben’s diaper before we got on the plane I realized that his diaper leaked all over him, me and the baby carrier! We were all soaked! I did what I could to clean us all up and I got Ben into his one and only change of clothes and then we boarded the plane.


About half of the plane ride heading home was great – Ben was really happy and then fell asleep and was taking a really nice nap. It seemed like something woke him up and he got scared and woke up suddenly and I could tell wasn’t ready to be awake. He was really out of sorts for the rest of the flight and we spent most of it in the galley hanging out with the flight attendants.

{Mid 70s, thunderstorms and snow all in 3 days... only in the Midwest!}

{Mid 70s, thunderstorms and snow all in 3 days… only in the Midwest!}

All in all, I’m really glad I made the trip back. It was empowering to do it by myself and heartwarming see my family and friends with Ben. I’m not in a hurry to solo-parent an infant again for a while, but I’m very pleased with how well the trip went.

Third Annual Holiday Party

Our third annual holiday party is another one for the books! We are so, so glad we decided to carry out the tradition of hosting a holiday party. For a while we were on the fence – life is a lot more complicated these days with worrying about nap times and feeding schedules of an energetic, squirmy 6-month old. Ultimately, we decided to pick a really easy menu and go from there.


As it turned out, this holiday party was both of our favorite yet! There was absolutely no stress going into it – we had the experience of two big parties before and sort of had things dialed in for the most part. Not only did that make it easier now that we’ve got Ben, but it made it more enjoyable and allowed for an event where we felt we could actually spend time with our guests and not worry about anything else.


This year we had right around 30 friends {including 2 family members!} over for the evening. I’d say a solid 2/3 of the crew has kids now and we opted to make this an adults-only affair. We got a lot of really positive feedback from both the parents and the non-parents that they appreciated it was a kid-free evening. Ben was home but we had our nanny downstairs watching him. As it turned out, he slept through the whole dang thing!


Our food and drink spread was pretty similar to previous years with a few minor tweaks. I really enjoy cooking and putting together food to entertain with. I didn’t really stretch my creativity this year, which was probably a good thing! Some tried and true staples were as far as I went.

Ben’s nanny was a huge help – she baked cookies last week during his nap time! I enjoy baking Christmas cookies but always over-do it, so this year she saved me from that {and may have overdone it herself!}. I managed to still bake gingersnaps, peppermint bark and sugar cookies, while she made the most amazing lintzer cookies {omg you have to make them!}, lemon bars and a lemon polenta cake. She is a far better baker than I am!


In addition, I hired a babysitter for the day before the party so I could take the day to get everything organized and prepped. As it turns out, that was a very wise move! The day of the party I put Ben in the baby carrier and had him hang out with me while I got some stuff done. I explained what I was doing and shared with him our holiday party tradition. Alex and I hope to continue this party for many years!


One of my favorite parts about our holiday party tradition is bringing our many groups of friends together. Alex and I feel so fortunate to have so many friends in Seattle and we’ve really made this city our home, in part because of the friendships we have here. I was having such a good time on Saturday night that I forgot to take any photos during the party! Oops! I guess there’s always next year…

Fifth Annual Leavenworth Trip

One of Alex and my favorite weekends all year is our annual trip to Leavenworth with some of our friends. Each year our trip looks a little different – typically we perfect something we learned the year before. This year’s trip wins for the most changes from last year — babies and a new house to stay in. Before I start, holy cow, it took me 5 hours to pack up the car by myself. It is a whole new life trying to leave town with an infant. Especially one who was adamant that he be carried around all day {and yes, I did put him in the carrier, but that only made it slightly easier to load the car…}.



This year’s house was the best one yet! The property was fabulous – it had two acres of fenced in yard — perfect for the dogs to run around in. There was a hot tub, several sitting areas and a great fire pit, which we enjoyed making s’mores in.



Our group of adults was a little smaller this year, but we nearly doubled our group with the addition of four babies – Mary and Ryan and their 10-month old twin boys, August and Oliver, along with Carrie and Patrick and their 5-month old girl, Roslyn, joined us for our trip. Sadly we didn’t get any group photos with all of us!

{The Buffs!}

{The Buffs!}

{The Millers!}

{The Millers!}

This year we also added another day onto the trip – we opted to head back to Seattle on Monday. It has always felt a little rushed to get up there Friday afternoon or evening and then pack up and leave early Sunday morning. It was so much more relaxing to have an extra day.



The babies all did really well. Oliver and August are on the move now and Roslyn and Ben hung out on the mat together a little bit. It was so fun to see the boys eating real food and be able to entertain themselves. It’s not too long before Ben starts doing that!


{Me with Roslyn}

{Me with Roslyn}

{Could I pass for a twin mom!? Definitely not one with as much grace as these boys' mama!}

{Could I pass for a twin mom!? Definitely not one with as much grace as these boys’ mama!}

{Ryan is a pro!}

{Ryan is a pro!}

{Ben and Roslyn hanging out on the mat together.}

{Ben and Roslyn hanging out on the mat together.}

Our weekend was really low-key. We hung out at the house on Friday night and then attempted to head to town on Saturday. Once we entered downtown Leavenworth we realized there was a parade and it turned out to be even busier than the Octoberfest weekends. We planned our trip for September to try and avoid the Octoberfest crowds throughout the month of October. Oops!


No worries, though – Patrick came up with a backup plan to go to the Sleeping Lady, which is a little resort that Alex and I have stayed at a couple times. We had a wonderful lunch there and took a little tour of the grounds.

{A bottle for mama and a bottle for Ben!}

{A bottle for mama and a bottle for Ben!}


Mary made Sauerbraten, our staple Octoberfest meal, for dinner on Saturday night. We were able to enjoy our evenings relatively kid-free, which was great. All of the babies cooperated pretty well and allowed us to have some adult time.


Because of Carrie’s new job {she’s a nurse now!!}, the Buff’s couldn’t stay on Sunday night and had to head back home that morning. Her new schedule is actually really great and allows for her to have weekends free, she just needs to be back on Sunday night. Later that day, the Millers headed into Leavenworth with us, as we figured the crowds would have gone home after the big parade the day before. We had some sausages, pretzels and did a little shopping and wine tasting before retreating back to our little mountain home.






Our plan for Sunday night was a pizza, PJs and movie party night but only the pizza and PJs ended up happening. We opted for a fire and s’mores plus a dip in the hot tub instead!


The last day of our weekends is always a sad and chaotic one. It was SO nice to have had the extra day added onto our trip. It made that 5 hour packing session on Friday that much more worthwhile. We are already counting down until our next Leavenworth trip!


Summer Recap

We have had such a fun, memorable summer! I can’t even begin to believe that it’s Labor Day weekend already. Right now we are preparing to have yet another new normal, and this one we are expecting to stick. Our new normal will be our new reality now that Alex is headed back to work on Tuesday and then I’ll follow him two weeks later. While it will be sad to not have so much time at home together, both of us love our jobs and we’re looking forward to a somewhat consistent schedule.


Our summer started with the birth of Benjamin the day after Memorial Day {the unofficial start to summer 😉 } and then Alex went back to work while I spent my days in the NICU. We enjoyed a few summer moments during that time, but mostly were in survival mode.

{33 weeks pregnant here... 2 days before I met Ben!}

{33 weeks pregnant here… 2 days before I met Ben!}


{It's really hard going back through the pictures from when Ben was in the NICU. It is amazing how quickly we forgot about it all...}

{It’s really hard going back through the pictures from when Ben was in the NICU. It is amazing how quickly we forgot about it all…}

Alex’s parents and my mom got to meet Ben soon after he was born.




{This is a perfect photo summing up my days in the NICU, except not all of them were spent with a smile on my face - I sure did try!}

{This is a perfect photo summing up my days in the NICU, except not all of them were spent with a smile on my face – I sure did try!}

Once Ben came home the tables turned {as did the weather!} and we really got to enjoy ourselves again as we adjusted to life with a newborn.

{SO ready to come home!!!!!!!}

{SO ready to come home!!!!!!!}



His first few weeks home we were in absolute bliss – we went for walks every day, we took Ben out to restaurants and wineries and hardly missed a beat!





{Yesterday I tried out one of my baby carriers for our evening walk. It was so cool carrying Ben in this little wrap!}






My dad came out to meet Ben in mid-July. We kept things pretty low-key and close to home, but we still managed to get out to Bottlehouse, go for a walk around Seward Park and cruise through the farmer’s market.


Throughout the summer Ben’s development has really started to change and grow. It has been so fun watching him figure things out!








The month of August was spent with Alex’s parents, as well as his sister, who joined us all in mid-August.





We also took a trip to Lake Chelan to close out their visit.


Just last weekend my brother and his girlfriend, Becky, came out to meet Ben and hang out in Seattle. I hadn’t met Becky yet, so it was great to finally get that chance.




Since early July we have been interviewing design/build firms to select one to lead us down a very long road of a major renovation in our house. It has taken a surprising amount of time to research companies, figure out what we want and then meet with them. We’re awaiting our final proposal from one of the companies and then I guess the next step is to choose one {oh, and figure out how we will pay for it!}.



Another summer project that kept us busy was hiring a nanny. After refining our scope we finally found a nanny who we think is a great fit for our family. She’ll be starting the week after Alex goes back to work. I’ll still be off that week but I’ll be able to spend time with her and show her the ropes before I go back the week after. I will be working part-time – about 24 hours per week, mainly spread out over three days, and primarily from home.


We have had such a fabulous summer together as a family and are so grateful for the time and memories we had. Life is going to look a little bit different now with us going back to work, so there will be some major adjustments, certainly, but we are looking forward to getting back to reality!


Minnesota Trip

Realizing this would probably be my last shot to go to Minnesota and see friends and family before baby Allen arrives, I decided to take a little trip back to my hometown this past weekend. My visits back to Minnesota lately have been jam packed full of weddings and/or events, but this one was on my terms and I set my own schedule, which made it feel more relaxing and more like it was my own trip.

{I unintentionally started a "Minnesota book" theme for the kiddo while I was back...}

{I unintentionally started a “Minnesota book” theme for the kiddo while I was back…}

I arrived on Wednesday evening after an uneventful travel day. The weather in Minnesota was wonderful and slated to be better as each day passed. Spring was just arriving there so it was not quite as green and lush as the town I left. For my first evening I enjoyed hors d’oeuvres on my mom’s deck with my brother and my friend Kelsey. Eventually we made our way inside for dinner once the sun went down. As has been the case for many, many years, Kelsey is an extension of my family and my mom fondly refers to her as her “other” daughter. Kelsey and I were on the diving team together in high school and our friendship goes way back to middle school. She fits in quite well with my family, too. She’s hilarious and extremely genuine and I wish I could spend more time with her, and I wish I would have thought to get a photo together!

Thursday came early and I was able to sneak in a quick breakfast with my brother before he set off on his busy day and before I headed over to my dad’s house for our day together. It’s quite convenient – my parents live 2 blocks from each other so I can easily bounce between their houses when I come to town. My dad and I had a nice leisurely afternoon together – we had lunch in White Bear Lake, then took a long walk along the lake. I accompanied him on an errand and then we eventually went out to dinner. He is undergoing a whole house renovation and it was fun to see the progress he had made since my last visit. I only wish I could have spent more time with him during my stay!

My Friday was a bit busy – I had lunch in downtown Stillwater with my aunt Sarah and we did a little bit of shopping as well. From there I had time to squeeze in a quick walk with my mom before getting picked up by a friend. I met up with my girlfriends from high school to go out to dinner, but a couple of us stopped by Sarah’s parent’s house for a quick visit with her mom, and of course to enjoy some of her famous blue ribbon cookies.

{The three preggos!}

{The three preggos!}

We went out to dinner in Stillwater, which is the town next to where I grew up, and had a great time catching up. Three of the seven of us girls are pregnant right now and we’re due within five weeks of each other, so it’s a lot of fun to go through that together. As always, it was really fun to catch up with the girls.

{Friends since middle school - or longer in some cases!}

{Friends since middle school – or longer in some cases!}

Saturday was my day with my mom. We headed into White Bear mid-morning to go get my nails done and have some lunch. From there we did some shopping in St. Paul and took a nice walk together. My mom got me the “original” princess torte cake that I grew up having on my birthday, so it was fun to have some birthday cake and compare the cake that Alex just found out here. There are some subtle differences but both cakes are delicious! We had a great evening chatting back at her place and before I knew it, my trip was coming to an end.

{The "original" princess torte cake from Wuollett's bakery in Minnesota.}

{The “original” princess torte cake from Wuollet Bakery in Minnesota.}

I flew out early Sunday morning and made it back to Seattle with plenty of time to enjoy the absolutely gorgeous day, as well as pick up Jackson and get settled in for the week ahead. My trip went by so fast, as it always does, but I know I’ll look back on the time I was able to spend with my family and friends and remember this “last trip before baby” quite fondly. Oh, and I apologize, family, for my lack of photos with you! 🙁

Sarah’s Seattle Trip

My longtime friend Sarah was out for an impromptu visit last weekend. This trip in particular was a bit more special and unusual than her typical visits, as we are both pregnant right now {and due a day apart!}. While we talk multiple times every day, we hadn’t seen each other yet since finding out {on the same day} that we were both going to be mamas, so it was extra fun to catch up and see each other in person.


We really didn’t do a whole lot during Sarah’s visit – we ended up going to prenatal yoga dressed nearly identically {oops!}, and we enjoyed some delicious restaurants and took a few walks. One of the things I’ve learned is that whenever Sarah comes to Seattle, the weather is going to be miserable, and boy did that hold true.


Going through our pregnancy together has been really exciting – our due dates are a day apart, so we’re experiencing a lot of the same pregnancy symptoms at the same time. But either way, we’re both at the same point in our pregnancy and it’s an incredible experience to go through that with your best friend.


Sarah and I have known each other and been friends since the summer before 6th grade. I moved to Mahtomedi that year and we were in the same swimming lessons class that summer. She was one of my first friends at my new school! Since the days of middle school, our group of friends has changed a little bit, but remained constant at the core.


We endured the challenges and drama of being teenagers and got to grow up together. I am very fortunate for Sarah’s friendship, but also for my whole group of girl friends from high school. Most of us are still really close today. Throughout high school, Sarah and I were on the swim team together {though I was a diver}, we taught swimming lessons at the YMCA and then eventually worked at the golf course together in college.


Graduating from high school and selecting different colleges was the beginning of our long-distance friendship, which has now survived more than 11 years. Sarah was always really good at coming down to visit me in Ames, which was about a 2ish hour drive from her school in St. Peter, Minnesota. We both changed a lot in college and had really different experiences and built whole new networks of friends, but we were able to maintain our close friendship and chat as often as possible.

{Selfies before selfies were a thing ;) }

{Selfies before selfies were a thing 😉 }

Summers were the best for us, though, because we saw each other most days, if I recall correctly, particularly when we were working at the golf course together. At some point, I want to say at the golf course, we were introducing ourselves to someone and they decided to combine our names into “Sali” and somehow that stuck.


Moving 1500 miles away from Sarah after graduating from college hasn’t put a damper on our friendship, either! Sarah has come to visit or we’ve met somewhere just about every year since I moved to Seattle. Somehow she keeps coming even though the weather is never nice! Sarah does owe me a big one, though, because while on her way to come visit me in 2010, she ended up meeting the man who is now her husband and baby daddy. They were seated next to each other on the plane and hit it off!


1381590_10101444174634420_1735318024_nWe were each other’s maid of honor in our weddings.


And since then, not much has changed, except for the fact that we’re both preparing to be mamas. While it would still be special to simply be pregnant, it makes it all the more fun to go through it all with my other half of Sali.


Here’s to starting the next chapter of our friendship as mamas…

Winter Break!

For the first year ever, Alex took off the two weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years and we stayed home with no plans or agenda. It was wonderful and so perfect.


One of the biggest highlights was sleeping in, popping some cinnamon rolls in the oven, lighting a fire and hanging out in the living room all day for most of the first week off. Our living room is an underused room in our house, but it’s probably our favorite because of our fireplace, and now our leather chairs. It was so nice to spend so much time in front of the fire these last two weeks.


Another major highlight was skiing. The whole west coast got a really big Christmas present in the form of a gigantic snowstorm. It snowed so much here that one of the ski resorts couldn’t keep up with it and couldn’t open {they got 96 inches of snow in 3 days!!}. We skied four days during the two-week break.

{After the snow storm the temps dropped and the sun came out! It made for a couple of chilly days with sensational views.}

{After the snow storm the temps dropped and the sun came out! It made for a couple of chilly days with sensational views.}


{Jackson had the best day ever when he got to come with us to the mountains and play in the snow.}

{Jackson had the best day ever when he got to come with us to the mountains and play in the snow.}

{Yesterday we braved the chilly weather {12 degrees with -2 windchill}  and embarked on our first backcountry ski tour together. The avalanche danger was very low and our trek was super mild. It was really fun to get out and explore and get some exercise together.}

{Yesterday we braved the chilly weather {12 degrees with -2 windchill, which is about as cold as it gets here} and embarked on our first backcountry ski tour together. The avalanche danger was very low and our trek was super mild. It was really fun to get out and explore and get some exercise together.}

{Skinning up through the trees on a very well-traveled trail...}

{Skinning up through the trees on a very well-traveled trail…}

{Didn't do too much skiing down, but we made a few turns.}

{Didn’t do too much skiing down, but we managed to find a spot to make a few turns.}

We spent some quality time with lots of our friends, too. Alex’s friend Brian was here visiting for a few days, so Alex got to catch up with him. We also spent a day skiing with Nigel, and another day skiing with Patrick. We spent a rainy morning at the dog park with Ali, Tyler and their two kiddos {and then warmed up with some hot chocolate and grilled cheese for lunch!}. Ryan and Mary brought their babies over to our house one day, and we met them up at Carrie and Patrick’s new house another day. It has been so nice to be able to spend this much time with friends, too!

{Oliver and August at 4 weeks old!}

{Oliver and August at 4 weeks old!}

Henry seemed to love having both of us home during the days – probably because he got to bug us both to let him outside all the time!


Jackson on the other hand was completely thrown off his kilter with Alex being home and our change of schedule. Towards the end of our break he seemed to be adjusting a little bit to the temporary normal, but I’m sure once we go back to work tomorrow he’ll be happy to have some consistency.

{Hopefully giving Jackson a cheeseburger as a treat on our way home from skiing made up for him being off his schedule. And no, this is not a normal occurrence for Jackson!}

{Hopefully giving Jackson a cheeseburger as a treat on our way home from skiing made up for him being off his schedule. And no, this is not a normal occurrence for Jackson!}

Our vacation was so relaxing and on the one hand I feel like we did absolutely nothing, but then when I look back at what we did do and realize that’s not quite the case. I am so thankful for this break and for the time we spent together. Who knows when the next time we’ll have two weeks off at home by ourselves will be!