where the day takes you

February 21, 2013 § 1 Comment

This past Monday was the only day my girls’ mid-winter breaks aligned, so I decided to make the most of it by heading out on a little road trip with my brother. I feel so lucky that he moved out west and now lives only 15 minutes away from us, much to his nieces’ delight. We had no plan for the day but decided on a whim to try to find a fantastic little hole-in-the-wall restaurant we’d been to once before on a road trip when I first moved out here and he’d come to visit. We couldn’t even remember how long ago it was, except that my now eight year old was in a baby car seat.

Jason thought the restaurant had the word “anchor” in the name or there was some sort of nautical theme – that and the fact that we remembered it being in one of the small waterfront towns near a ferry port north of Seattle was pretty much all we had to go on. It was fun taking off for the day and retracing the steps of our past adventures. And as soon as we hit the little town of Anacortes, with its quaint historic downtown, it all came back. We’d obviously been there several times since along with Adrift (the restaurant we’d remembered with the most amazing burgers and shelves filled with old books), we also came across a pizza place and a country-style restaurant that we remembered going to.

After our lunch, we continued road tripping to the amazing – but terrifying – Deception Pass bridge. Heights like that freak me out, especially since having children, and I wouldn’t even let my girls go all the way out to the middle. Yikes!! But we parked and had a cool little hike down to the beach below. The girls had fun being outdoors and hanging with my bro, and I gathered a few more of the beautiful colored rocks that you can only find out here on the beaches of the Pacific Northwest. Not a bad way to spend the day!

girls weekends

February 4, 2013 § 3 Comments

cheers

Today I’m feeling tired but refreshed, having just come back from a fun girls weekend with two of my besties from college. I flew from Seattle and Jean from D.C. to help our friend Jen celebrate her birthday in Chicago. This is the year that we – girlfriends since 18 – each turn 40, and it seemed the perfect reason to spend some time together catching up. In our 20s, we made more of a habit of these little getaways, staying connected by flying to each other’s cities for weekend trips. But life gets in the way, and it had been more than 7 years since all three of us were together. The day-to-day grind of family and work and responsibilities can make it hard to take time for ourselves. For me, just the prep that goes into making arrangements to leave my world for a bit can leave me frazzled before I even go. It wasn’t easy, but I’m thrilled we finally made it happen again.ice skating

It was a perfect weekend! We shopped, saw a movie, ate yummy food, toasted with some fun drinks, went ice skating downtown, and partied with Jen’s local friends. We discussed our careers, our families, our love lives. We spent a slightly embarrassing amount of time chatting about the minutiae that is Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest and my new obsession: Picfx (thanks girls). We took lots of pictures (including a few of Jean’s favorite feet pix) and had fun editing and sharing them. We giggled our way through the weekend.

skater girls

The thing is, life-long friends are few and far between – making the time to stay connected to these women, who I love so much and who have known me so long is important. These friends love me for me and, no matter where I am, their friendship is a given. When life gets crazy, friends keep you sane. I’m a lucky girl to have these friends in my corner rooting for me, and I’m so grateful to have had this time away with them to remember it.

chihuly glass

December 29, 2012 § 2 Comments

I don’t think blown glass was something I’d given much thought to before we moved to Seattle. But here in the backyard of the famous glass blower Dale Chihuly, you can’t help but take notice. With my mom who’s in town visiting, we went to check out the newest addition to the downtown Seattle scene: Chihuly Garden and Glass – a comprehensive collection of Chihuly’s work displayed through indoor halls, a glasshouse and an outdoor garden. The size and scope of some of the pieces were so impressive that a lot of the conversation by the admirers was about the sheer logistics of making, transporting and installing work of this nature. I think I was most impressed by the colors – every one on the color wheel everywhere you looked. We went in the evening and the lights gave the garden a truly magical quality, but the daylight view is supposed to be equally stunning. Guess I’ll have to make plans for a return visit.

The work of Chihuly is known and admired around the world. Two years ago when we were in Venice, we went on a glass blowing tour on the island of Murano. When the man in the studio heard we were from Seattle, he excitedly told us in broken English that Chihuly has visited them there to work and collaborate on projects. There in gorgeous and impressive Venice, I was proud to be from gorgeous and impressive Seattle. It’s just another little thing that makes this a cool place to live.

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.

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.

bottled memories

July 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

On vacation, we love to pick up souvenirs – nothing fancy, just little trinkets for us and the children in our close-knit friend group. It feels good to bottle some of our fun vacation vibe and share it with those we love. And as for me, my favorite home decor is the bits of nature – shells, driftwood, etc. – I’ve gathered from our adventures. So from this, our first trip to Maui, we found cool shell necklaces for all the kiddos, and I collected sand; displayed in glass spice jars from Cost Plus World Market, these new bottled memories make me happy.

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.

summer notebooks

June 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Like I’m not crazy busy with a million little things already: school finally wrapping up, my Sophie’s birthday luau on Sunday, dance recitals, teachers’ gifts, etc – but for some reason, once I got this latest craft idea into my head, I couldn’t let it go. So for the last couple of nights, I’ve stayed up late putting together Summer 2012 notebooks for all the kiddos in my life. I found the blank books at Ben Franklin and “Modge Podged” on some great summer-colored papers. I used the Cubicle 12×12 Take Note paper from Studio Calico, stamped with my title, for the covers. They were so simple and, once I got going, I was able to put them together quickly assembly line-style. Now they look perfect, wrapped up in baker’s twine and ready to be given away.

I always loved blank books and journals when I was a little girl and, even today, a new notebook gets me giddy – I always keep a couple in my purse for when inspiration strikes. I am happy knowing that the little ones in our life (my girls and all their friends) will have their own special books to document this summer. Life moves fast, and I don’t want them to forget a moment.

a day at the arboretum

June 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Father’s Day is coming up this weekend and, since I know it will be impossible to top our Mother’s Day, we’ll just have to enjoy more of the same. For my special day this year, I wanted to do one of my favorite things: spend a day having an adventure and feeling lost in the world with my family. One of the best warm weather day trips right here in our own backyard is a trip to the Washington Park Arboretum. We love to rent canoes from the University of Washington and, once you make it through the cut and past all the big boats cruising Lake Washington (which if you are not careful can result in a spill – just ask my Bella about the time Daddy almost tipped the boat), you find yourself meandering under the 520 bridge and through the canals of the arboretum. Even more than the canoeing, my girls love to park the canoe on one of the banks and play catch, eat lunch and just relax by the lake. So that’s just what we did, and this happy Mommy got to do another of my other favorite things: sit around and take pictures of this family that I love so much! I can’t wait to see where we find ourselves this weekend.

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