volunteer park

November 11, 2012 § 3 Comments

One of our favorite places to spend a beautiful summer day is Volunteer Park – a 48-acre retreat at the top of Seattle’s Capital Hill neighborhood – playing softball and relaxing in the big grassy field, climbing to the top of the old water tower with one of the most spectacular views of the city, and wandering through its amazing conservatory. For now, the weather has turned, and it’s too rainy and chilly to hang outdoors. But as we headed over there again today to take pictures at a place I’d scouted out for our Christmas card, I was reminded of how much I love spending time in this beautiful oasis in our city. Even though I’m not much of a green thumb, even I can appreciate fabulous flora when I see it, and there’s a lot of it to be seen in the Volunteer Park Conservatory. It’s just another little place I love.

picking blackberries

September 1, 2012 § 2 Comments

Right now, all the blackberry bushes around here are covered with ripe berries, and the whole town it seems comes out to gather a few. Last year we were able to pick berries from the bushes in our neighborhood all the way through the fall; it was so much fun for the girls, and I loved all the sweet pictures I got. Today my dad and brother are visiting so we went on a nature walk and picked some berries along the way. I’m looking forward to making a berry crisp tomorrow after a day of sightseeing – just another little thing to love!

the september issues

August 27, 2012 § 2 Comments

This is a nice time of year when the weather starts to cool, kids head back to school and the happy holiday season is right around the corner. Some of my favorite reminders, the September fashion magazines, are currently weighing down my mailbox and grocery basket. I love everything about the September issues – especially their heft – and feel with their size as if I’m getting a bargain (never mind that 90% of the issue is ads, because I actually love the artsy high-fashion advertisements in these magazines). They remind me of why I have loved fall fashion ever since I was a little girl back-to-school shopping with my mom and the joyful anticipation I feel every year during this season.

Although I am not much of a trend follower and prefer to stick to things that fit my style and personality, it’s fun to feel “in the know.” I’m happy to report that fall fashionistas and Versace wearers will be sporting studded leather this season; I will probably pass but may take a stab at the new full skirt or winter white trend. And while big hair and a mermaid dress might be a good choice for Lady Gaga on the cover of this month’s Vogue, I myself will choose to just be inspired by her boldness and perhaps try something a little out of my own personal comfort zone – I’m thinking red. Happy fall!!

a new chapter

August 22, 2012 § 2 Comments

I want to hold onto my girls’ childhoods as long as possible, but I know it’s important to embrace each milestone as it comes. We are hitting a big one this week as Bella starts Middle School. I can’t believe that my baby – who it seems just yesterday eagerly started preschool – is now eagerly anticipating this next phase. It’s a time of change for her as Bella also got her first pair of glasses this summer. I hate to see the baby go, but it’s so cool to see the big girl emerge. Time flies (something people always told me when the girls were little, but now I finally realize is absolutely true), and I want to savor each moment.

Bella is excited by the big new world she is experiencing, and she is handling both the glasses and the start of middle school with her own signature grace and style. I feel lucky just to be here, to take it all in, as my precious girls grow and find their path in this life. Today, I paused to document the moment with the girlies (now 5th and 3rd graders) styled up in some of our fall favorites from Crewcuts. Looking at these pictures, I can’t believe how big the girls look and how much of their sweet baby faces are still there smiling back at me. This amazing new chapter in our lives is definitely worth capturing.

happy feet

August 6, 2012 § 3 Comments

We’ve just returned from a quick getaway with a couple of families to Sunriver, Oregon. It’s a wonderful vacation spot, and I loved seeing my children happy and carefree, having fun with their friends. They’ve spent the past few days swimming, biking and generally just running around together. I kept looking for a break in the action – a good time to tear them away from their play and sit them down together for a group photo. But it can be tricky to get seven crazy children to sit still for a perfect shot. So instead I decided to steal a quick moment, scoot them together on the front porch of the rental house where we’d gathered, point the camera down to their feet and click.

My college friend Jean has been taking these kind of feet pictures ever since I’ve known her. She says it was something she and her friends just started doing in high school, and she never stopped. I’ve been out and about many times with Jean over the years and had fun posing with our group, toes together, for one of her shots. I’d never thought much about it, but now it makes perfect sense to me.

I’m sure that Jean’s collection of feet pictures over the last more than 20 years does the same for her as anyone else’s favorite photos does for them: reminds her of the important moments in her life – events both big and small shared with the people she loves. I realize that it’s not the actual images in the picture that always matters as much as the time taken to get the shot, the brief pause in the action to take note of the occasion; that photo, like a bookmark in your life, captures the moment and helps to preserve it. Having pictures is nice, but the memories are so much more valuable.

From Jean and her fun feet pics, I’m reminded to take notice of all of life’s precious moments (even if I don’t get the perfect shot) and to enjoy and remember life as it comes. I could take a hundred photos of my girls and their friends with their sweet smiling faces – and believe me, I have – but this picture of their happy feet is really all I need to remind me of our summer trip to Sunriver, of these beautiful children and of the memories we’ve made together.

stripes

July 30, 2012 § 1 Comment

I would be remiss to talk about my love of polka dots in my last post without mentioning my other love: stripes. What can I say? I’m an equal opportunity pattern lover! In picking up new clothes this summer for myself and my daughters, my friend Erin and I both noticed how many beautiful stripes were out there this year – I don’t think they ever go out of style actually. Here are some of the stripes my girls and I have been rocking this summer (from favorites JCrew, Crewcuts, Madewell and Anthropologie) plus a Chevron stripe from JCrew I’m obsessing about for fall:


letting go

July 27, 2012 § 1 Comment

In the battle between pack rats and purgers, I fall somewhere in the middle. Sure, I hold onto things a little too long – almost always for sentimental reasons – and there are certain things I’m certain never to part with. However, when I feel the time is right, I do get to work and get rid of the stuff – but not without pausing to say goodbye. My girls are enjoying a few weeks of camp this month, and I’m using the downtime without my favorite companions and usual school commitments to clean up and organize my house. My biggest challenge: to downsize our toys and part with the rest of the baby gear.

I have loved all the precious little girl things that filled our house for the last 10 years; I had so much fun with the baby gadgets, carefully choosing and loving our Baby Bjorn carrier, Morigeau Lepine nursery furniture and Jacadi Paris crib bedding. We created so many memories with the girls and their favorite toys like the ride-on pink racing car and stuffed lamb rocker and dollhouse. Giving away the baby things takes time for me because it’s hard not to take the loss personally, to feel like I’m losing a bit of my girls’ childhoods. But I know that we can’t keep the things forever, and time moves on regardless.

I used to wonder why my mom let me get rid of some of my favorite toys like my Strawberry Shortcake or Barbie dolls (I sold most of my old playthings to make money for new obsessions). I asked her the question, and she said, “because you wanted to.” As a kid I think I had it right; children don’t dwell on the past, but live in the present and look to the future. Now I try to do the same and think like my younger self. Because holding onto the past and the old stuff doesn’t make my babies little again. There are some of my girls’ things I don’t think I’ll ever be able to part with like the Madeline and Madame Alexander dolls and some of the their beautiful clothes, which I plan to make into quilts. Some of the goodbyes have been tragic –  like my treasured Mountain Buggy double stroller, which we took on countless family adventures. But time marches on, and a garage once filled with strollers and car seats and wagons has given way to a garage filled with scooters and bicycles and skis.

So this week, as I’ve pieced through our house and purged the stuff we no longer need or use, I’ve enjoyed the time spent remembering all the joy we’ve had with our things. No one in the house is sad to see the annoyingly loud Lucky Ducky game go, but I’m a little emotional at the loss of Candy Land and Pretty Pretty Princess. And parting with the Disney Princess castle, which has been replaced by the Harry Potter Lego castle, is bittersweet. Goodbye Fisher Price Little People and My Little Ponies and Groovy Girls – I will never forget you. As each stage of my children’s lives pass (and all the stuff that comes with it), I will remember what perfect babies they were, what amazing girls they are now and what unbelievable women I know they will become. That makes me excited and happy to look to the future!

surfer dreams

July 14, 2012 § 5 Comments

For some reason, everything clicked for my youngest when we visited Hawaii for the first time last year. She immediately felt the island spirit; she loved everything: the music, the culture, the beach… And ever since, she has continued to be interested in all things Hawaii. She asked Santa for a ukulele, had a luau-themed birthday party and talks about moving to the islands when she grows up. Surfing has also captured her imagination. She loved the movie “Soul Surfer” about a Hawaiian surfer who survives and then thrives after a brutal shark attack (the scary shark part didn’t even faze my surfer wannabe).

So this time, when we returned to Hawaii, we made sure to sign the girls up for a surf lesson. It turned out to be harder than Sophie thought, and I think she was a little too small – the paddling out over and over on a very long board is not easy for a little body. But Bella got up quite a few times, and both girls enjoyed checking something off the bucket list. And I wonder if Sophie will give it a try again the next time we go – I sure hope so. I tried to capture the moment myself from the shore, but my surfers got too far out. Luckily, the surf school had a photographer in the water to fully document these precious moments.

relaxation

July 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

relaxation The act of relaxing or the state of being relaxed. Refreshment of body or mind; recreation.

chillaxin’ Way-far laid back. Chillin’ & relaxin’ at the same time. An extreme state of contentedness. Good vibes.

We are back from our week’s vacation in Hawaii and, even though we had a few adventures, just being together was definitely the highlight. Somehow, away from the rest of the world and in the security of our own family space, we relaxed into ourselves. Already amazing everyday, on vacation my girls seemed somehow sillier, spunkier and happier – making me love them even more, which I didn’t think possible. Together as a family, we perfected the fine art of chillaxin’. It’s a busy world, and time seems to get away from us; a little bit of relaxation is so important and so much fun!

time for play

June 25, 2012 § 1 Comment

Today was finally the last day of school for my girlies. Because of our crazy snow week in January, we had a lot of make-up days tacked on to the end of our regular school calendar. But we made it, and everyone is so excited – especially me! I have missed my girls and love that special summer time when we get to spend our days playing together. I realize how fast time is going and, though I can’t believe that they are already 10 and 8, I intend to soak up every moment I get with them.

As a little end of school/start of summer present, I gave my girls each a kendama this morning tied up with ribbon and a note that said: “Welcome to Summer, I’ve been waiting for you. Love, Mom.” If you don’t know, a kendama is a Japanese toy – a fancy cup and ball-type game – and it’s all the rage. Like yoyos and jump ropes and cat’s cradles, these kendamas make me smile and remember the joy of just being a kid. So this summer, that’s what I’m going to enjoy and celebrate: even though it’s going fast, for now, my girls are still kids, and they’ve got lots of playtime in front of them.

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