Tag Archives: Leavenworth

Best Day Ever?

There are so many moments and experiences in my life that stand out as some of the best moments I’ve experienced – when both of my kids were born, Ben meeting Hannah for the first time and some dates and meals stand out, for sure. When it comes to best days ever, though, the list is shorter. Our wedding and some trips absolutely make the cut. I’m so happy to say I have a new “best day” to add to my list of favorites.

It was just one of those days that was so very special. We didn’t really¬†do a whole lot, but then again, we did everything. It was as darn close to perfect a day as they come.

Alex and I had been chomping at the bit to get back out to The Lodge to see the drywall and siding. We knew the weather looked really nice so we planned a day trip on a recent Saturday with the kids. For some reason the day started with all of us sleeping in until 6:30 {yes, that’s sleeping in in our house – thank you Benjamin!} when Ben woke up and came and cuddled with us. That’s how all of the best days start: family cuddles!

We had a calm morning at home getting ready for the day {mind you, we packed up the car and were prepared to get on the road the night before} and we were in the car ready to go before 9:30 which is a feat in itself. The drive was a highlight, too. Goodness gracious these mountains we are surrounded by. I can’t even. They’re just so majestic themselves but then you add in the fall colors and I’m basically speechless. The drive was absolutely stunning.

It’s a solid 2-hour drive from our house in Seattle to The Lodge and we made great time. Both kiddos were completely content in the car too, which is no small feat. Pulling up to The Lodge and seeing the siding, the front door and the fireplace stone just took our breath away a bit. We are just beside ourselves with excitement for what this house means for our family.

We spent a few hours checking things out around the house, having a picnic and just watching Ben play a bit. As the story goes with toddlers, he had zero interest in the toys we brought for him {we carted his trampoline all the way over there – partially so we could leave it there and get it out of our house} and just wanted to play in the dirt and run around the construction zone.

{My cozy little bear!}

It’s just so fun making memories with our kids at The Lodge while we’re building it. I’m so glad that they’re both around for the process. It makes it extra special.

After a while we headed to Lake Wenatchee State Park, which is about 5-7 minutes from our house. On any day of the year, Lake Wenatchee is gorgeous. That day it was sheer perfection. Absolutely stunning and truly one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen.

The water was like glass. The autumn leaves were at their peak. There was a thin layer of fog clinging to the lake. The sun was shining down on the lake just perfectly. And of course, the mountains in the background set the picture just right. It was absolutely breathtaking.

We ended up spending several hours there. Ben couldn’t get enough of the lake. He ran right in with his pants and shirt and got completely soaked. He and Alex took turns skipping rocks in the lake and enjoyed some time at the playground just up from the beach.

We took a short family hike to give Ben a little downtime and allow Alex and me the opportunity to scope out some more of the area.

Hannah and I had some fun playtime on the picnic blanket at the beach. She was having so much fun all day.

The day just kept going and going and we decided to stay until dinner and head back closer to bedtime so the kids could fall asleep in the car.

It was a very memorable and special day for Alex and me. We loved the time we spent with our kids and I think it was so special because we can really start to picture our new life with so much time being spent in the mountains. We cannot wait for what The Lodge will do for our family and the time we have together.

Building the Lodge: Siding + Drywall Started

I made a trip out to check on The Lodge just over a week ago and was so excited to see some big updates! My dad, a home builder and inspector, was here visiting, and I couldn’t not bring him out to see the house. Even more recently, Alex and I just made a spontaneous trip out to stake out where the hot tub will be located.

{Siding is up halfway!}

{A full wall of siding complete! This will be the final siding color. as well as the trim color.}

Here’s what’s going on at The Lodge:

  • The septic system was installed
  • Siding has begun – I think they’re close to halfway done
  • Trim around the exterior windows was completed
  • Soffit {wood under the roof overhang} installation has been completed
  • Drywall has begun – all of the drywall has been hung – next up: taping and mudding!
  • Fireplace waterproofing and prep for stone on the outside is complete, inside is just beginning
  • The heat is on!!!!

{The kitchen before drywall!}

{The kitchen after drywall! I cannot get over how GORGEOUS the beams are!}

{The drywall really, really changes things on the inside. We love how much the black windows pop! You may notice there is no drywall on the ceiling – all of the ceilings on the roof line will be cedar.}

Unless I’m missing anything the only big decisions we have left to make are the floors, interior paint color(s) and the furniture. Here is a link to my Pinterest board if you’re curious to see some of the furniture we’re going with {note: the colors that show up on the Pinterest board are not necessarily the colors we have selected} or are interested in.

{Lots happening at the house!}

{Can’t get over how beautiful the soffits are!}

We did learn from the builder that we won’t be in until sometime in January. We were disappointed to hear that we’re not able to be there for Christmas, but at least we know now. It’s so fun to see everything happening and see it start to take shape. Alex and I have been lamenting on how we’ve started imagining and picturing ourselves in the house and it is SO fun.

{Front of the house on 10.1.18 – no siding, soffits just beginning – window trim done.}

{Front of the house 10.8.18 – siding is started and soffits are done!}

{Our job for our most recent visit was to select the location for the hot tub slab. Here it is!}

{This will be the view from the hot tub on a cloudy day.}

 

Building the Lodge: Windows & Insulation

On our recent weekend in Leavenworth we got to check out the exciting progress that had been made on our house. The windows and insulation are in!

We opted for a modern black window frame inside and out and it looks so sharp! The exterior window trim is in progress and it is stained to match the color of the siding. {Yes, there is a window that’s missing – it was damaged during shipping and has since been installed.}

The house also got insulated since we were there last. I could really tell the scale of the house by seeing the wall-to-wall insulation. I guess our builder’s standard is to insulate between the interior rooms and the insulation contractors needed to come back to finish that.

It was incredible hearing how quiet the house was now that it has windows and insulation. It really changed the feeling in there!

Before our trip to see the house we had a big meeting with our designer to discuss furniture selection and placement. We’ve started narrowing some of the bigger ticket items down, like a sofa, dining table and beds. We did some measuring of the pieces inside the house and refined our needs quite a bit.

We’ve been getting out to The Lodge quite often lately. It seems like more and more decisions need to be made and work needs to be checked and confirmed. I am heading out there in about 10 days to see the progress and give my dad a tour while he’s out visiting. The photos in this post are about 2 weeks old, so we are expecting to see some drywall {or maybe the whole house will be drywalled!} in our next trip.

Weekend in Leavenworth

Alex’s parents were here for an extended visit to spend time with Ben and Hannah. We were excited to plan a weekend trip to Leavenworth and stay nextdoor to The Lodge so we could marvel at the landscape and the progress on our new vacation house. The weather was really nice and the company was even better.

It was a relaxing long weekend with few activities planned and lots of quality family time spent.

One of the big highlights for me was our trip to the apple orchard. I was so excited to take Ben to his first orchard. He loved picking apples!

Ben picked the apples right off of the tree and even climbed up the ladder to get some high up in the trees.

We ended up with 10 pounds of apples! Now if only I could get Ben to eat them…. I think we’ll make some applesauce this weekend {he’ll eat that!}. I’ve been enjoying the apples all week – they are delicious! I hope we can make an annual trip to an orchard with our kiddos.

After our trip to the orchard we went into Leavenworth to have lunch and walk around. Naturally we ate at Cured, our favorite sausage restaurant.

It’s hard to come into town and not get a sausage! I’m excited to be able to spend longer stretches of time in Leavenworth so we can start exploring more restaurants instead of coming back to the same one over and over again.

We’re starting to really find our favorite spots in town. I found my new favorite coffee shop, we found a free parking lot and we are exploring the different ice cream shops, too! Next time we’re out there we have a new one to try.

Much of our trip was spent at the rental house. Ben loved playing with his grandparents. They got to play with his new toy cars and his pretend house. He ran around, played baseball with Grammy {he’s really getting good at throwing a ball!}, rode his bike and read some books.

Sleep was a very major challenge for all of us while we were away. The first night Ben went right to bed in his little tot cot. He woke up around 11 and wanted to come in bed with Alex and me, which we usually allow when we’re traveling. Somehow he got a very big burst of energy and stayed awake, literally running up and down the room, bouncing on the bed and being extremely rambunctious, until 2:30 when he finally fell asleep.

The next night Hannah was cold and woke up seeeeveral times throughout the night.

Finally, the third night, Alex and I got to sleep, but Jackson had an upset stomach in the middle of the night and kept his grandparents awake for half the night {sorry!!}.

Ben was not interested in napping while we were at the rental house. The first day he fought it for a solid 2 hours before Alex loaded him in the car with his mom and drove to the grocery store 25 minutes away. He circled town while Donna was shopping and in the end Ben got about a 90 minute nap! We strategically planned our apple orchard trip the next day to allow him to snooze in the car on the way there, then I made the drive home extra long to add some nap time for Ben.

It’s so fun to stay nextdoor to our vacation house. I’ll do a separate post about it, but here’s an updated photo!

We ended our trip with a quick and chilly picnic on the shores of Lake Wenatchee. It was SO windy so we ate quickly then let Ben run around on the beach and do a quick stop at the playground before we piled into the car and headed home.

It gets harder and harder to leave our little piece of mountain paradise every time we go out there. We’re starting to feel so connected to the community and we can’t wait to spend even more time there.

Building the Lodge: Design Inspiration

We have been dreaming about what our mountain house will look like for what feels like an eternity. Before we found our piece of property we had been scouring the real estate listings in the area and only growing more disappointed when we didn’t find anything. Eventually we decided to build our house so we could create our dream vacation home from scratch. It’s been a long process so far – it’s been over a year since we bought our lot – and we’ve still got several more months to go {fingers crossed we can be in by Christmas!}. I thought I’d share a bit about the inspiration behind the design of our house.

{here’s the shell of our house!}

The overall “look” we’ve been going for is sort of our definition of mountain modern. We want the house to have a lot of modern elements and finishes with rustic touches throughout. We don’t want it to feel too “cabiny” but we also don’t want it to feel like a house, so hopefully when we’re all done it’ll feel just right – like a mountain modern lodge.

The exterior finish ideas came from some houses we found on Houzz – our siding is a dark gray with some blue hues, accented with orangy/brown trim, a lighter gray roof, brown deck and black windows. The trim around the windows will be the same color as the siding so that the windows will pop and be more of the focal point, rather than the trim. The deck railing will have black metal posts/railing, then the center will be made of cables to avoid obstructing our view. Here’s a house with similar exterior colors that inspired us:

{similar siding color to this house, very similar stain color.}

Moving inside, we wanted to create big, open gathering spaces for friends and family to hang out while they come visit us. It was important to us to capture the view of the river bluff as much as possible, so we designed a wall of windows with a double sliding glass door right in the middle. The slider will lead out to the deck.

{we’ll have a big floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace with wood ceilings in the great room.}

The house has five bedrooms, including a bunk room so the kids can pile in and get cozy. The bedrooms are modest/small in size so that the bulk of the space in the house can be in the living areas.

{we’ll have two sets of bunk beds in the bunk room and maybe some fun bean bags or kids chairs – I’m super excited about the bunk room!}

I’m so, so excited to see what the great room/kitchen/dining room will look like when they’re complete. It is a very tall, open space with a lot of beautiful natural light coming in. There’s a lot of possibilities here, as well as a lot of challenges working with so much height.

Here are some photos we’ve used for inspiration with the kitchen:

{we love the open shelves with white subway tile + dark grout on the walls.}

{this is a very similar layout to our kitchen – complete with the subway tile + open shelves. we also love the waterfall edge of the counter top on the island and the wood on the front of the island.}

{Alex is obsessed with these dark green cabinets. We think they’ll look great against the white subway tile back splash and a beautiful gray quartz counter. I also love the floors in this house.}

And our master bathroom will be based off of this design, with similar finishes in the other two bathrooms:

{we fell in love with this bathroom design – we have selected a fun patterned floor tile for the master bathroom and a complimentary tile for the main floor bathroom and plan to pull in some similar design elements. we’ll use a light gray penny tile in the shower floor with white subway tile in the master, then a fun white tile in the main floor bathroom above the tub. the basement bathroom will have a beautiful “crushed stone” looking floor tile and white subway tile above the tub. all three bathrooms will have a beautiful dark gray quartz counter. the vanities will be knotty cherry, a wood local to the Pacific Northwest, and a light stain.}

We haven’t chosen floors yet; however, we love, love, love this wide plank, lighter wood floor:

{Alex is also obsessed with the leather chair featured in this photo – I think it’s safe to expect it to end up in our living room?}

Storage is a big deal to me. We’ve got a lot of outdoor gear and I have a feeling our gear collection is only going to grow and keep growing as our kids get bigger. We’re using some fun design elements to create a custom “boot bench” on one side of the front entry, then there will be a big open closet on the other side. We also have two large storage rooms down in the basement.

The basement will be the kid zone and sort of the hangout area. We’re planning on having some cozy seating, a big TV and a wet bar, along with a kids corner. Maybe after the kids get older we’ll put in some kind of a game table {Foosball? pool table? shuffleboard?}.

We have a lot of decisions to make still, including furniture and decor selection and landscaping {!!!}, and I think we have some fun ideas and inspiration to draw from to pull everything together. We can hardly wait to see the finished product!

Building the Lodge: The Guts

We’ve hit an exciting milestone – most of the “guts” of our mountain house are complete! We have plumbing, HVAC and electrical! It’s really cool walking through the house seeing what hides behind the walls.

Two days before baby Hannah was born Alex and I made a day trip out to the house to do an electrical walk through with the electrician and pick the spot where all of the outlets and switches go – it was a very long day but a really cool process getting to make so many big decisions about the electrical.

The house is basically all framed – they’re finishing up the fireplace framing now and that’s pretty much it. We are really starting to be able to picture the finished home.

Alex and his mom were out at the Lodge during her recent trip out here and were surprised to see that the floor of the deck had already been installed. They loved sitting out on the deck, enjoying a beer, and imagining the future of relaxing and lounging out there. The deck begins off of the great room, looks out over the river bluff and the valley, then wraps almost halfway around the house. There will be two stairways – one off the front/big sliding doors, and the other off of the kitchen door/outdoor eating area, which will lead down to the hot tub.

We chose a medium/dark brown Trex decking for the floor, then there will be a cable railing with black metal framing/supports. It gets SO HOT out there in the summer that we opted to have a covered portion of the deck to give us some reprieve from the heat in the summer, or from the rain/snow in the winter. We’ll install a ceiling fan and some heaters, too.

Alex and I made an unexpected trip out to the house last weekend to approve the electrical locations and meet with our cabinet maker to design the kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities. It was so fun to see the deck – we brought some camp chairs and had lunch out there and we got to bring Hannah to the house for the first time.

All of the exterior finishes have been selected and many of the interior finishes have been chosen. We’re working with our designer to make the final decisions and start to really pull everything together. It’s been really fun to see the finishing touches and imagine what everything will look like when it’s complete. We still have a lot of decisions to make but it feels like we’re making tremendous progress!

Building the Lodge: Framing Update

While we were camping over the weekend we made a couple trips over to The Lodge to check out how the framing progress was coming. It turns out they’re almost done with framing and it looks absolutely fantastic! It looks like a house, complete with a roof!

It is so cool to see the building process and watch the house come together, literally from nothing. Now that the shell is there and the rooms inside are all framed out we can really start to picture it. I think once they start building the deck it will really give a full picture of what the finished house will look like.

We have been so pleased with our builder and he is moving so fast we can hardly keep up. Thankfully our designer is taking away a lot of the stress of the decision making process. She has been so helpful for us to narrow down our options which saves an enormous amount of time. The style of the house is a mountain/modern feel, which is so contrary to the style I typically gravitate towards. I absolutely love how we’re pulling in unique materials and colors to incorporate both rustic and modern touches.

So far we’ve been focused mostly on exterior decisions – siding, windows, doors, roof, the fireplace and decking. We’re just starting to move inside now and we’re looking at interior window and trim finishes, kitchen cabinet design and layout, plumbing fixtures, doors and electrical. I expected that process to be completely overwhelming and stressful, but so far I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s so fun to see the house come together.

We cannot get over how stunning some of the beams are – like this ridge beam at the roof line. Alex and I will be making another trip out in about a week and a half. I can’t wait to see how much it has changed in that amount of time!

Our First Family Camping Trip

I’m not sure if we were crazy or just really optimistic when we booked our camping trip six months ago. In any case, we gave it a shot!

We’ve been to Lake Wenatchee State Park several times and camped here once before. It’s a very family-friendly campground and we chose it in part because of the flushable toilets, running water, showers, proximity to a beach and playground and a few other fun amenities. So, it’s car camping at its finest…

Not long after we got our tent set up the sky opened up and it started to rain. We were not the slightest bit prepared for rain, since there was zero chance of it in the forecast. We quickly huddled under the little overhang of the tent to stay dry and get attacked by mosquitoes! Thankfully the rain didn’t last long and we were able to get a fire and some s’mores going.

Mid-storm my brother and his girlfriend, Becky, arrived! Ben hasn’t seen Uncle John or Becky in nearly a year but seemed to remember them right away and made several requests for Uncle John to pick him up. He really enjoyed spending time with Uncle John and Becky. They were great sports to have spent 24 hours with a toddler.

It turns out it can be rather difficult to get a 2-year old to settle down and go to sleep when there are kids running around, car alarms going off, it’s extremely light out, adults are partying and talking loudly and really when you’re in a new setting. So! Ben fell asleep at about 10:00 p.m., despite our best efforts to get him to cuddle up with us in front of the fire and fall asleep. Once he fell asleep, though, he passed out until 7:15 in the morning, so that was great!

Despite Ben sleeping well {once he fell asleep} neither Alex or I got much sleep. I forgot how uncomfortable air mattresses can be, and it turns out it wasn’t just the preggo who was miserable – Alex had similar complaints. Given the lack of sleep we decided we’d head home a night early. Needless to say, the coffee tasted extra, extra good on Saturday morning.

Side note: how cool are these coffee mugs?! They were a favor at a beautiful wedding we attended last fall.

Milk + camp chair + campfire + super cool Patagonia fleece = happy Ben!

Ben seemed to love all of the time we spent outside on our camping trip. He is such a little explorer and entertainer. We had fun playing in the tent, walking down to the water and playing at the playground. I think we have ourselves a beach baby!

By mid-afternoon on Saturday our campsite was packed up and Ben was snoozing in my lap by the fire {at least we had one success with getting him to fall asleep!}. We decided to run into “town” and grab some coffee from Plain Hardware then go and have a little picnic at our house before going into Leavenworth to show John and Becky around.

Ben was mostly over the idea of sitting still by the time we got out of the car when we arrived in Leavenworth. We managed to have a little time to sit at Cured, our favorite sausage haus, to enjoy a pretzel, bratwurst and beer before we appeased the toddler and went swimming!

Swimming with Ben, in particular at this perfect-for-tots pool, was one of the highlights of my weekend. The pool had a zero-depth entry and a huge section that was 2 feet deep or less. It had a little toddler water slide that was made just for Ben. Ben was wading around in the pool, paddling his arms and jumping up and down – I think he was watching other people swim and trying to figure out how to do it himself! It was so fun to watch.

Before we made the drive home we stopped at the Heidlberger Drive In for some great cheeseburgers and fries. Alex and I love a good diner and this one didn’t disappoint.

All in all, we had a wonderful time on our camping trip. We’re not going to be in a hurry to sleep in a tent again for a few years, I don’t think, but it was such a fun experience to provide for Ben. We are very, very glad we came home after one night, for a number of reasons, but most importantly, Ben ended up coming down with a nasty case of croup on Saturday night/Sunday and we spent the afternoon in urgent care. Poor kiddo was miserable! Hopefully we’re done with the summer illnesses after this one.

Building the Lodge: Framing!

The forecast for the weekend looked pretty chilly and wet. We decided to push potty training back a week {sunshine works better for us} and ultimately do a quick impromptu day trip out to Leavenworth to check out the progress on our house and seek out better weather.

We had a nice Saturday hanging out around our neighborhood and mostly staying dry, then Sunday morning, packed up the car after breakfast and headed towards the mountains. It’s pretty amazing how different the weather can be on one side of the mountains from the other – driving through Stevens Pass it was 39 degrees and pouring with a fresh snowline a bit above us, then as we descended {and nervously checked the weather because we were grossly unprepared for rain} the mountains the rain dried up and the skies cleared. It was a picture-perfect day in Leavenworth.

We scoped out the house, walked around the property and had a perfect picnic in our yard. It was a very memorable day, for sure.

Things over at The Lodge are really taking shape! Since we were there for Ben’s birthday two weeks ago, half of the first floor was framed and most of the second floor {a half story/loft} was framed. They need to frame the two-story great room on the main level and a few more things upstairs on the second level.

We’ve been making tremendous progress over the last few weeks with making decisions. It’s unbelievable the number of decisions we need to make. Thankfully it’s less overwhelming than I expected at this point.

Our builder broke ground and started framing about a month earlier than we expected so I feel like we’re still playing catch up with all of the decisions we need to make. It’s been so fun to see things come together and really start to imagine what the house will look like when it’s done.

The best part, though, is imagining our family and the memories we’ll be able to make at The Lodge.

Ben’s Second Birthday Celebration

For the second year in a row we headed out to Leavenworth for Memorial Day weekend with Ben’s grandparents to celebrate his birthday. It was such a special weekend for us and we’re so grateful that his grandparents were able to join us this year.

The whole weekend was all about Ben! We had a blast celebrating him and enjoying Ben-themed activities.

Just down the block from our house is the fire station and they were hosting a Memorial Day family open house again this year. Ben loved seeing the fire trucks and ambulances and even got to watch a medical helicopter land. Grammy dressed up as a fire fighter and Ben got to sit up in the fire truck.

We had a wonderful time exploring the beach at Lake Wenatchee State Park and shared a picnic and some time walking the beach and playing on the playground. Lake Wenatchee is absolutely stunning!

When we arrived to our rental house, which is conveniently located next door to our property, we couldn’t wait to run over to our lot to check on the construction progress. Framing has begun – they had just finished up framing the basement and were working on the first wall on the main floor. It was so special to see the house being built and get to share that with Ben. Grandpa Fred brought some sunflower seeds for us to plant over on the lot, so we found the perfect spot and will be excited to see them grow this summer.

There were a couple of times we went into town for a change of pace – we had some sausage and pretzels, took a stroll through Leavenworth and got to savor some mid-afternoon treats at the coffee shop.

We opted to celebrate Ben’s birthday on Sunday after Ben’s nap. He opened some really fun presents and we had birthday cake. For dinner, my dad made his famous burgers and potato salad again this year. I ordered the same Bavarian black forest cake for Ben again this year and thankfully he loved and devoured it. He hadn’t really experienced cake last year before his birthday but this year he was a pro.

Ben is very close to outgrowing the pack & play travel crib and made it clear that he was not happy to be sleeping in it while we were traveling. Similarly to when we were in Arizona a couple months ago, Ben woke up in the middle of the night {extremely unusual for him} each night and requested to come in bed with Alex and me. We happily cozied up with him and savored these rare middle-of-the-night cuddles.

Unsurprisingly, the sleeping change resulted in veeerrryyyyy early wakeups in the morning. Holy cow. Alex was nice enough to let me sleep in a bit later while he played with Ben and Jackson. Nap time was all over the place, given the early wake-ups and new environment. After the second day of no naps I decided to lay down and snooze with Ben with the hope that it would result in a longer nap for him. Thankfully it did!

There were so many sweet moments throughout the weekend. One of my favorites was seeing Ben recognize that there was a special celebration just for him – he sang “Happy Birthday to Ben” all weekend long.

Alex and I had the best time exploring the area we’ll soon be calling our second home and seeing Ben experience life out there. We’re so grateful that Ben has grandparents who adore him so much and who he can bond with, despite the distance. It was a very special weekend for us.