What a whirlwind the past two weeks have been. Flying solo with young kids alone is no laughing matter–and I am so happy to be home and done with the traveling. If you can imagine, I, with June strapped to my chest, carried an enormous backpack on my back filled with the few valuables I decided to bring, as well as backup clothes for the girls, snacks, coloring books, crayons, two baby dolls, diapers, wipes, water bottles, books, and my laptop. I also had a carry on bag with a portable DVD player and movies to keep the big kid entertained en route to our destination along with my camera and lenses. We were all layered up, because going from our low desert and 70-80 degree weather in California to the high desert of Taos, meant we had had to be prepared. We layered well, and after shedding sweaters in the airport they were tied onto my already overweight backpack. Getting two car seats to our destination was no easy task. A friend lent me her umbrella stroller and showed me how to stack the car seats and bungee chord them to the stroller in order to transport them to the gate to check. We were certainly a site at the airport–and I don’t think I have ever received so many sideways glances, words of encouragement, or all around attention. Oh, and there was the exactly 50 pounds of clothes in an ugly purple rolling duffle that we thankfully deposited promptly upon arriving at the airport.
Whew. I am happy that is all over. Here are a few pictures from our first week out there. Lots of snow, far too much sugar, and lots of FaceTime with daddy.
Well, this isn’t San Diego, is it? Last week the girls and I made our way out to Taos, New Mexico to visit my mom and sister. Two nights prior to our arrival they had a pretty nice snowfall–eight inches! While we have had to do a bit of shopping out here to get them properly attired for the snow, I did knit up this sweet little hooded jacket for June just before we left. The coat is called the Latte Baby Coat, and I am pretty sure it is my favorite thing I have knitted yet. I gave it a nice soak in lanolin right before we left for our vacation and it has kept my sweet girl perfectly warm and dry (with a few layers underneath of course).
We are out here celebrating a slow and small Thanksgiving. My sister is in the hospital, and tomorrow after we eat, we are going to drive out to give her our love. However you are spending your day, I hope it is filled with love, laughter, and lots of thanks. There is so much good.
We are back from an entirely too short, though very relaxing, weekend in Palm Springs. We are so fortunate to have a family member who owns a home there and allows us to go and use it whenever we want. As to be expected, it was hot, very, very hot. We spent most of our days camped out in the AC, watching cable television (such a luxury, since we got rid of ours earlier this year!), swimming in the pool, and dining out.
While we were out there we explored Pioneertown, a fun little town about 45 minutes from where we were staying that was built in the 1940s to be used in Western films. Lucy wasn’t all that interested in it, but Russ and I had fun. We made up for her lack of interest with a giant bowl of mac and cheese from Pappy and Harriets.
A month or two before our trip to Washington, I bought an Audubon field guide to the Pacific North West. Lucy and I sat and flipped through it for many days, we compared and contrasted some of the plants and animals to those in our California book. She asked me for stories about growing up in Washington and what it was like. I told her all about the flora and fauna that I was familiar with.
The one story that stuck with her was one about making huckleberry pie. In the woods behind our house we had a very well producing huckleberry bush. I told her about the year that my brother and sister and I gathered enough berries for our visiting grandmother to make us a huckleberry pie. What I failed to tell her was that it took us many, many hours to gather those tiny sour berries. Needless to say, that story stuck in her head.
Before we left for vacation I asked Lucy what she was most looking forward to on our Washington trip, and she told me multiple times; “picking huckleberries”. Naturally, I was afraid that this might be too tall an order to fill. I repeatedly told her that there was a good chance that we wouldn’t find a huckleberry bush. She insisted though, we absolutely had to pick huckleberries while we were in Washington.
On our first day, and almost every day to follow, we walked down the beach and back up through the forest to get back to our cabin. About two minutes into our first walk through the forest I spotted her, the very meager, but very present huckleberry bush. With only enough berries for one or two each, we were all ecstatic to be able to check this off our to-do list.
Meeting the Wetzel family was one of the highlights of our trip to Washington that I was most looking forward to.
Erin and I became friends through Instagram years ago, when our girls were tiny babies. We have been texting back and forth for ages, Lucy and her daughter Phoebe recently became penpals, and we arranged a meeting late last year–which sadly fell through. So, it felt like a meeting was long overdue.
We invited them up to the cabin for a day of beach combing, grilling, and lots of photo taking (well, I gave them no warning on this one and probably should have, there were 100s of pictures!). Erin was smart enough to bring along s’more fixings and our day was set. The girls jumped into play as if they had known each other for years. They chased each other, shared in make believe games, picked flowers, and spent much time hugging and giggling. Erin and I chatted and got to enjoy each others presence, sitting staring out at the water, learning those things about a person that one could never learn through a purely online friendship. I couldn’t have asked for a more fun or relaxing day–and by the end of it my heart felt so full.
We are back from a beautiful, though entirely too short vacation on the Puget Sound in Washington. We stayed in a lovely cottage in the southern sound region, about an hours drive from where I spent the entirety of my childhood.
It had been 18 years since I moved away and 17 since I last visited. This trip was long overdue. It was impossible to cram all the things I wanted to do and see into one very, very short week, but I sure tried. We had an incredible visit with friends I hadn’t seen in over 20 years, we walked along the beach daily and through the woods. We saw more wildlife than I even thought possible in such a short visit. We stayed up late watching sunsets and stuffed ourselves silly on fresh food with friends.
There were many tears shed as the trip was drawing to a close and upon arriving home. This beautiful place in the world is so special to me, I am glad I finally got a chance to show a very small piece of it to Russ and the girls–and I am hoping we will be back up there very soon.
Last weekend we went for an early morning picnic with some friends in one of our favorite spots. It was quiet and relaxing. The kids played for hours and us mamas got to wander around slowly behind and chat.
I have made it no secret that I don’t really love where I live. I grew up in a beautiful spot in the country surrounded by the crystal waters of the Puget Sound. Everywhere we looked, nature was there. State parks everywhere. Hikes. Boats. Swimming holes. Rope swings. Cabins. Old farmhouses. Beautiful, gorgeous, amazing pine trees. And oh, the smell!
While there are some spots here and there filled with the beauty and serenity I seek, I have always felt that for the most part, fun costs money here. I have been desperately itching to return to the area that I spent entirety of my childhood, to breath that fresh air and see those gorgeous green tree covered mountains. It has been 18 years since I left and 17 years since I visited–and this summer I am going back!
One day I hope to move back up there, but for now we are planning a week long vacation, right on the water, just a few lots down from a 100 acre state park. It sounds like pure heaven, and I will surely be daydreaming about it until the time arrives to hop the plane.
I post pictures pretty regular from our visits to summer’s past farm. It is one of our favorite spots in San Diego, beautiful gardens, grass that stretches on and on to play (or lounge) on, and it is a very quick drive from our house, which is an obvious plus. We like to picnic here once a week or so.
One of the things I miss most about living in the country is the ability to walk out your front door and see all this. Living in the city just doesn’t provide the serenity I am after. We spend the majority of our days outside the home, searching for little pockets of nature wherever we can find them. I am a nature girl at heart and I really hope to pass that on to my kids, whether or not we ever get out of the city.
These past few weeks have been a doozy. Very little sleep has been happening around here, which then leads to very grouchy days. I try my best to be chipper, but the amount of grump coming out of myself has been overwhelming. Last week when a dear friend suggested an all day mountain excursion all I could think was yes, yes, yes, YES. So we did it.
We spent a beautiful day in the mountain town of Julian. We picnicked. We wandered around town, popping into shops that caught our eye. We stopped for coffee. We wandered over to a small park for the kids to run around. We stopped for pie on our way back out of town. It was the most perfect of days, and one that really helped clear my mind.
A few weekends back we packed into the car and drove a little way out for a picnic in a beautiful and somewhat secluded park. We had a few hours of playtime amongst the trees looking for fairies, collecting pine cones, and climbing up rocks and trees. About an hour or so into our little outing Russ and I noticed a few sporadic raindrops coming down. The forecast hadn’t predicted rain, but there it was. In this very, very dry climate of Southern California, every little droplet that comes from the sky matters. We walked on with a few random and very welcome droplets on our faces, climbing up rocks, picking up magic wands (sticks), and singing the latest kid tunes from the Burl Ives children’s music Pandora radio station. It was all a lot of fun.
Then, about ten minutes after those few sporadic raindrops began, the drops started coming more frequently and much more heavily. Having followed a trail quite a ways from the main part of the park and any structure with a roof, we decided it was time to seek cover. So, I, carrying June who doesn’t much like baby wearing (much to my sadness), wrapped her up like a little burrito in the gorgeous wrap lent to me by a friend, Russ picked up Lucy who put the hood on her sweater over her head as we ran from tree to tree, practically hugging the trunks to avoid the increasingly heavy downpour. Finally we made it up to the main part of the park and found cover under the awning of the bathroom, though there wasn’t a lot of it. The rain continued to come down, even heavier than before. We made a quick decision to go a little further in the rain to seek cover under a large gazebo. We ran, holding the girls tight in our arms, and I laughing in glee over this situation. We made it to safety, where I handed the baby off to Russ and Lucy and I danced around merrily, singing the Sound of Music songs on the top of our lungs and pretending to ice skate. Lucy would daringly run out into the pouring rain then come back in laughing hysterically.
To say it was a good day would be an understatement. It was one of my favorite moments we have had as a family of four so far. It was unexpected, wet, messy, and more than anything made me think of being a child, when running out in the pouring rain was considered exciting and daring.
I want more days like these.