REPOST // oh baby :: cash the early bird

we are celebrating 5 years of cash, TODAY! he is such a sweet treasure, and we love him to pieces.

here is a look back on the day we welcomed him into the world...

a birth story.  

i had always planned on writing down my birth stories but never did.  why would i want to?  so i can share them with my children, and so i can remember them myself.  especially since each one was so different.
and can you believe that i'm writing cash's birth story as i'm pregnant.  again?1?  i wonder how this 4th baby's birth experience will be like, especially since all 3 have been unique in their own way...there is no routine in the childbirth process.  each one is special. 
our peanut.

our 3rd born.

baby cash was due on march 10, 2011.  based on the arrival time of his older siblings, we guessed he'd be making his appearance a week before then.

with this pregnancy, i got to forgo the usual prenatal bloodwork that comes along during your 1st trimester of pregnancy.  that made me happy (did i mention my dislike for non-tattoo needles?) and our pocketbook happy.  plus, it didn't make any sense in doing those tests if nothing had changed in the 2 years since my last pregnancy. 

with my last pregnancy, i was diagnosed with GBS so we were going under the assumption that i will test positive for it again this time around.  after eating lots of yogurt and using raw garlic 2 weeks or so before the test, i tested negative. 

things were moving along, though at 35 weeks pregnant we didn't have everything fully prepared at home for receiving our new baby.  i was still teaching dance and planned to go all the way through february before taking any time off.  little did i know that i wasn't going to make it that far.

8 days before his arrival.
i had started my day on february 11, finishing up this post and went about my day with business as usual.  nothing really felt out of the ordinary.  i did manage to do a nice load of laundry full of newborn/baby clothes, which gave some sense of preparedness for the new arrival.

as evening approached, i don't recall anything out of the ordinary except for when we began bedtime round-up for the kiddos.  you know those braxton hicks contractions you get during the late part of your pregnancy.  well, 7:00 p.m. rolls around and those braxton hicks no longer felt like braxton hicks.  i had to stop and actually breathe through a contraction.  how was that possible?  i was only 36 weeks pregnant.  aaron shooed me to bed and finished up with the kiddos bedtime activities.

after that little spell, i didn't have anymore contractions.  as my husband prepared to leave for a show that night, we decided it was best if i just stayed in bed for the rest of the evening.  surely with a little bed rest things will be back to normal.  after all, i have another month to go.

at 11:30 p.m. i finally decided to get some shut eye.

at 1:10 a.m. i woke up to a surprise.  water was everywhere and at first i had no idea what was happening.  as it turns out my water just broke.  this had never happened before with my other two so having my water break before labor began was a new experience for me.  at first i kind of ran around like a chicken with its head cut off, not knowing what to do first.  after getting over the shock of realizing that my water just broke (and i wasn't due for another month), i finally got things squared away.

the first thing i did was go on the internet to look up how long i was allowed to safely go after my water breaking before i had to go to the hospital since i hadn't started labor yet (you'd think that calling my midwife would be the first thing i do).

at around 1:30 a.m., i sent aaron a text telling him that my water just broke. no response.  i tried to call him a few times shortly after the text but no answer.  of course!  he was at a show. 

at this point, i was trying to think through what i should do next.  we didn't have a plan in place for this type of situation. i knew aaron was 30 minutes away and i had no clue what time he was coming back since i hadn't heard from him.  i wanted to touch base with him first before i called colleen just in case she told me to come in.  my biggest concern was the fact that i was at 36 weeks.  that's considered a premature birth.  i had done very little research on premature births since i didn't think i was at risk for that.

as 2:00 a.m. approached i heard aaron pull in the driveway.  relieved, i decided to start packing the hospital bag while i waited for him to come up to the room.  it was almost 2:30 by the time he made it upstairs...he sure was taking his sweet time!  i discovered that he hadn't checked his phone at all, and when he realized what had happened i think panic mode kind of set in for him (like i said, we weren't prepared for this type of situation).

i finally called colleen at 2:30 a.m.  i felt bad having to wake her up (with gibson i had her up at 3:30 a.m.), but as it turns out she was getting ready to go to the hospital for a delivery anyway.  i still hadn't started labor, and i hoped in my heart that i didn't have to come in.  i didn't want to be induced, because i knew the increased risks of all the other medical interventions that would come along with that.

i was SO relieved when colleen told me to go back to sleep!  i had 24 hours before i had to actually check-in to the hospital, so there was no need to do anything at this point except wait for labor to start on its own.  she suspected that since this wasn't my first rodeo, i would most likely start labor within the 24 hour period.  she told me to call her at noon if i hadn't started labor yet, so that we could discuss some natural ways to start the laboring process.  silly me for even thinking that she would want me in the hospital so soon!  i am so glad that we are on the same page.

after aaron and i finished up our packing and decompressing, we headed to our bed for some shut-eye.  it was 3:00 a.m. when my head touched the pillow.

4:00 a.m. and i was abruptly awoken to pains in my abdomen that were oh so familiar.  so much for rest.  here. we. go.

aaron was still fast asleep.  the contractions weren't painful (more wave-like if anything) and still about 10-15 minutes apart but they were enough of a presence to keep me from going back to sleep.  this went on for 2 hours...spaced out the same amount of time, but as if the "wave" was growing more intense with each hour that passed by.

by 6:00 a.m. the contractions had increased in frequency (5-6 minutes apart) and intensity.  i remember it still feeling like waves (but think more along the lines of tidal waves), except they weren't spaced very far apart anymore.  this time around, it felt as if the baby was moving lower and lower with each contraction.

i don't remember when i finally woke aaron up, i think it must have been when my contractions were 5 minutes apart.  corrie came to the rescue to watch the kiddos as we prepared for our journey to the hospital (and the oh so fun experience of laboring in the car...please note sarcasm).

7:30 a.m. and we were out the door, in our car and zipping along the freeway to the hospital.  i called colleen to let her know we were on our way there.  poor lady!  she was on her way home from the hospital after doing a delivery.  oops!  i guess i should have called her a little sooner.

once we arrived, i stopped paying attention to the time as much and tried to get "settled" into our room.  unfortunately, i was unable to use the birthing center because it was taken by someone else.  it wouldn't have mattered anyway since you have to be at least 37 weeks to use the space.  there was also no waterbirth experience for me (again) since i was technically delivering a premature baby.

the attending nurse did the usual check-in routine.  colleen was there shortly after we checked in, and so was her student, ashley (she was awesome too).  much like emma's experience, i had no pokes with a needle in my arm (or anywhere else for that matter), and the EFM didn't stick around my belly for too long.  it was nice not feeling "tied down."  being the funny man he is, aaron thought the baby's heartbeat sounded like the tune of bonanza.  ha.  he's good at keeping me distracted. 

ashley set up the aromatherapy in the room while colleen dimmed the lights and brought in her oils.  the sweet nurse brought in the iPod player and we attempted to select some nice background music to labor to.  after a short laugh, we decided to nix the rave/aerobic-like musical option on there and settled on good ol' frank sinatra.

side note that i have to add in: the attending nurse during this labor was SO awesome.  i wish i had remembered her name.  she has 10 kids and 4 out of those ten were birthed naturally at home.  she totally understood our birth philosophy, and was so supportive and low-key about everything.  she really stood out to me compared to the other nurses that have attended my birth (not saying that the other nurses were horrible or anything).  how amazing is it that i had her with me for my labor and delivery?  i am hoping that with this baby she will be the one attending my birth.

okay, back to pushing the baby out.  things were going smoothly.  my beloved birth ball was brought in for me to labor on for a while until i was ready to push.  we laughed, joked and chatted between contractions while frankie crooned in the background.  the nurse checked the baby's heart rate with a good old fashioned stethoscope, and i can honestly say that i can't recall anything unpleasant about the experience.  i really felt like all parties present honored our birth plan to a T.  i didn't have to re-iterate anything which enabled me to focus my full attention and energy to meeting our sweet boy for the first time.

it was a bit after 10:00 a.m. and i was feeling ready to push.  i had my cervix checked, but i was only 6 cm dilated.  usually, you have to wait until the cervix is 10 cm dilated before you start pushing the baby out, since that is when the opening will be at the widest point (this had been the case for my past 2 deliveries).  but the desire to push was happening already.  colleen, being the super midwife she is, said to go ahead and start pushing if my body was telling me to push.  so i did.  we later found out from our sweet nurse that there has been evidence that it did no harm to the cervix if a woman pushed based on when her body tells her to push rather than wait until the 10 cm indicator, especially if the cervix is very stretchy.  interesting. i wonder if she had any personal experience with that since she did birth 10 kids.

i felt like i was at the pushing stage forever (later our nurse said it was really only about 15 minutes or so) and thinking that this was the longest pushing stage i've had to endure.  pushing is probably the most physically and mentally demanding part of the childbirth process, at least for me.  on the one hand, i was excited to meet our sweet babe, but on the other hand i was frustrated that my body wasn't doing what it was supposed to do to get to that point (this last part is an untrue assumption of course, because your body is doing what it needs to do...sometimes it just takes more time).  i could feel my endurance wavering.  i wanted to stop.  take a coffee break.  take a nap.  resume later.  my body was tired.  my brain was tired. but there was no stopping the process now.  we. were. so. close.

at 10:29 a.m. our baby boy finally made his appearance.  he was born with his left arm over his face, much like his ultrasound picture. no wonder it was taking forever to push him out.  they immediately placed him on my chest, skin to skin and it was glorious.  beautiful baby smell.  beautiful baby skin.  amazing.

they suctioned him and cleaned him up while he was still resting peacefully on me.  nothing else was done for what seemed like an eternity.  they waited until the cord stopped pulsing before it was clamped and cut (i had read up on this, but had forgotten to put it in the birth plan...glad colleen read my mind).  he wasn't even weighed until an hour after birth...after mom and baby had their time together.

8 lbs. for a preemie was quite a surprise for everyone.  can you imagine what he would have weighed if he was full-term?  probably bigger than gibson!  our nurse (the same one from the beginning) said that he did seem premature by the amount of vernix he still had on his skin.  but aside from that, there were no other complications that came attached to birthing a premature babe (praise God!).  

oh how sweet it was to be able to hold our little cash in my arms.  and even sweeter that we got to meet him earlier than expected.


with each birth, it seems that i know more and more what my body is capable of.  and with each birth, i feel as if God has a handle on the whole situation (which of course he does) and that all i need to do is give it over to him and trust my instincts.  the ease with being able to do that has been easier with each childbirth experience, and it's sometimes indescribable when i realize how he has used those times to mold and shape me and to strengthen my faith in him.

tis so sweet to trust in jesus. and to take him at his word.  and to rest upon his promise and to know thus says the lord.


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local adventures: snoqualmie

i don't know about you, but some days just beckon for outings. you know those days. days when you should be responsible, tackling that long to-do list, getting things done...but instead, you blow it off for some fun. well, that was totally yesterday. the sun was out, the day was warm, and i felt like doing a little adventuring. i figured math, writing, and all the usual table work can wait another day. it was time for a field trip.

i was trying to think of a place we haven't been to before (or been to in a while), but that also wouldn't require us to spend a whole lot of money. i had a few places in mind, but many required admission of some sorts. not quite what i had in mind for my impromptu field trip. so, 50 minutes later, we ended up in snoqualmie. the last time we were there, we only made it to the falls, before the projectile incident (a.k.a. kid throwing up in the middle of the people bridge on the way back to the car). needless to say, we never got a chance to explore the rest of the area. i'm so glad no one got sick this time around! we were able to spend some time exploring the falls again, and then had enough time after to stop by the northwest railway museum, just 1 mile south of the falls.

january 2015 was the last and first time we were at snoqualmie falls. we went on a day shortly after some massive rains in the area, and the falls were huge! the roaring water sounded like constant thunder, and there was so much spray coming from the waterfall, that it felt like you were getting rained on when we were at the lower lookout point (even though it wasn't rainy at all).

yesterday's falls experience felt so different. the sun was out, we weren't shivering or getting soaked from the sprays of water, and the falls seemed tiny in comparison to the last time we saw it. we spent a little more time reading the signs, talking about the falls, observing, and practicing our nature knowledge of the plants we saw along the nature trail.

after a little lunch break, we packed up and made our way to the northwest railway museum. the museum is located in snoqualmie's historic downtown. just a look down the main street makes you feel like you just stepped back in time. restaurants, boutiques, and other shops make their home in historic buildings lined up and down one side of railroad avenue and the area around the museum. the depot at the museum also adds to that feeling of nostalgia and charm.

admission to the museum grounds and the depot are free. you can also get guided tours and train rides for additional fees, and they have a few train-centric events going on at the museum like railroad days, day out with thomas, and the santa train. the kids were happy to just roam the grounds. they loved being able to run along the tracks, hopping the rails, climbing up on the trains, and having time to just play.

we popped into the freight room, where we learned about some of the railroad's history, and the kids got to fiddle around with an old cast iron stove and an old machine showing the diagram of the tracks and signals.

i would have loved to stay a little longer to explore the shops (and snack on kettle corn), but i knew better than to stick around longer than i should and risk getting caught in traffic. side note: this here is my go-to site before we travel anywhere requiring a trip on the freeway. if there's a back-up, we know to take the back ways!

snoqualmie is an easy drive from seattle, so i'm pretty sure we'll make it back there again soon for another daytime adventure. i'm so glad we decided to take a break from our usual weekday grind. it definitely hit the spot!



hey darling boy,

first off, i'm sorry that this is being published 2 and a half weeks after your actual birthday. we have been so slammed with different things going on, and i haven't had a chance to write something proper about you and turning six.

six years old.

can you believe you're six years old? what a sweet pleasure to be able to watch you grow and be a part of your life.

you accomplished some pretty awesome milestones this past year, from being an official reader to a two wheeled bike rider and shoe-lace tie-r (i know, that's not even a word)...we are so proud of you!

you have also grown into a more responsible young person, who is helpful, kind-hearted, and loving. even though you can be full energy most times, you still have a sensitive and timid nature - which is totally okay!

you know mommy and daddy love you for who you are, and will always be here to support you, teach you and guide you so that you can continue to flourish and grow as the unique individual that God has made you to be.

we hope you felt loved and celebrated on your birthday, because we all love you so very much!

may six years old be a time of continued growth, learning and adventures for you. you are one of a kind, and we are so very thankful that God gave us you to be a part of our family.

we love you, gibson!

mommy and daddy.


fun with food: grain-free/gluten-free crepes

crepes are a hot item in our house.  every member in our family loves crepes.  my kids pretty much just inhale them.  for real. no joke.

we've been making crepes since emma was a wee baby.  before we started on our traditional/WAPF diet, we would make them with regular white flour.  then i started doing sourdough crepes (made with spelt flour), although i think aaron is still partial to the white flour variety.  the kids and i like the sourdough crepes, and they're super quick and easy to whip up, as long as you have enough sourdough starter around.  since our kids gobble them up like no other, i often have to double the recipe, which means i have to feed the starter enough flour so that i can actually double the recipe.  i'm usually pretty good at planning ahead for that, but i do have days where i'm totally not prepared (okay, i may have those days a lot more than usual).

so, these grain-free crepes are totally yummy and awesome when i don't have sourdough starter around.  seriously, we've made them three times in the past week and a half.  maybe we need a crepe intervention.  they're easy to make and actually don't taste much different than the regular white flour crepes.

why bother with grain-free crepes when you could just make it with white flour?  well, white flour isn't exactly healthy for you, since they're a pretty refined product (even though nothing beats using white flour in chocolate chip cookies or crusty french bread...cheat days keep our family sane).  and whole grains are kind of a funny thing for your tummy. they are difficult to digest, so if you do use a whole wheat type of flour then you need to either soak, sprout or ferment (sourdough) it to make it easier for your body to digest.  i'm not going to go into the details of that in this post, but if you want to know more about how and why to properly prepare grains i recommend checking out the weston a. price foundation website or the healthy home economist for more information.

okay. let's bring it back to these crepes, guys! i'm officially making this my go-to crepe recipe when i'm not making sourdough crepes (or when aaron's not making crepes, because you know he'll just use the white flour...haha).  i found the recipe here, but made some small changes. this is a very flexible recipe that can also easily be dairy-free, if you or a family member has a dairy allergy. i've tried making them using coconut oil, butter, regular milk, and yogurt (though you have to add a little extra water to thin out the batter a bit). i haven't tried using coconut milk yet, but i'm pretty sure it will taste just as good.

you should give it a try. and suddenly, everyday will be crepe day.

:: grain-free/gluten-free crepes ::

adapted from healthnutnation.com

yields: approx. 24 6 inch crepes

3/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 tsp. aluminum free baking powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
4 eggs
2 Tbs. coconut oil (or ghee or butter) and some extra for cooking
1 tsp. honey (optional)

1. Mix ingredients together until well blended.
2. Heat your pan at medium heat, and add a small amount of oil or butter and swirl around. You may have to only do this once, but if you find that you're crepes are sticking to the pan, then you may have to add a bit of oil before each crepe is made.
3. If you're using a small, 6 inch pan (like an omelette pan), pour about 2-3 Tbs. of the batter onto the pan and gently swirl it until batter covers the bottom of the pan.
4. Once the batter is set, flip the crepe over and cook on the other side (about 2-3 seconds).
5. Take cooked crepe off the pan and put on a plate.  I usually just cook and stack them on one plate, or you can serve it directly.
6. Fill crepes with your preferred fillings...sweet, salty, what have you!

**If you double this recipe you can keep some extra in the fridge to eat for another time.  You can also make these ahead of time, although nothing beats freshly made crepes.


rediscovering seattle: cherry blossom and japanese cultural festival

this past weekend, we decided to head over to the seattle center to check out the 40th annual cherry blossom and japanese cultural festival. the cherry blossom festival is part of seattle center's festal, which is a year-long series of cultural festivals all held at the seattle center.  there's quite a variety, and it's a great opportunity for the kids to get a taste of different cultures without necessarily having to travel the world (at least not yet, right?? *sigh* someday...). plus, an added bonus: i can totally count this for school!  can you say geography + social studies + history + art + music + science + whatever else you want to add?  oh yeah!

so, i was a little apprehensive about going at first, because festival type events that we've experienced in seattle before have always been packed.  i remember going to bite of seattle years ago, and feeling SO crowded, i wasn't really sure i wanted to deal with that.  but we decided to give it a go anyway.  we've never been to this festival, and wouldn't know how crowded it would be until we tried.  if it didn't end up turning out well, then we'll know for next year.

as it turned out, it wasn't overly crowded at all. parking was a little more full than usual around the seattle center, but not so bad that we had to park blocks and blocks away.  we also got there around 11 a.m., which was an hour after they started, so there weren't too many people there yet.  we noticed that when we left at around 1 p.m., there was quite a bit more people, but it was still a manageable crowd to navigate through.

the festival was held in three locations at the seattle center: the seattle center pavillion, the armory, and the fisher pavillion (along with the outdoor space right outside). the event itself is free, and the only thing you have to pay for is parking and food. i can't believe that this event has been around for 40 years, and we've just now heard about it?? where have i been (besides the 8 years we were out of state...ha!)?

we really liked getting there on the earlier end of the festival, because it allowed us to explore and try things out without having to deal with much of a line.  there were a few booths/stations set up in each of the buildings, with the bulk of the booths set up in the fisher pavillion. the older kids also picked up a "passport" shortly after we arrived, which they took around to various spots to get stamps.  while they didn't get all their boxes stamped, it was a great way for them (and us) to participate in some of the activities and learn new things about japan.  you can check out this year's schedule here to get an idea of what events and activities were offered.

we discovered the seattle kobe sister city association booth on the second floor of the armory, which hosted a kimono/yukata dress up. the girls were immediately drawn to it, and got a chance to try one on.  they had some for men and boys too, but our boys didn't seem too keen on trying one on.

after dress up time was over, emma was set on getting her first stamp so we stopped over at the seattle go center station, where she learned (and mommy and daddy too) how to play the ancient game of go and got a stamp in her passport. i've never heard of the game, but we thought it was very interesting, despite its seemingly simple appearance.  there's quite a bit of strategy involved once you really get the hang of playing, but the game itself is simple enough to learn that the kids would enjoy playing it.  i can see this being a fun family game night.  we just have to get the boards and stones (or make some temporary ones in the interim).  if you are interested in finding out more about go, you can check out the american go association.

using our handy-dandy festival map, we decided to head over to the fisher pavillion to check out the goings on there, and get more stamps of course.  by this time, there were more people at the event, so it was starting to get a little tricky to navigate through with all four kids.  side note: typically, i would wear the youngest kid (backpack style) for events like this one, but i spaced out on bringing my mei-tai for some reason.  i hate taking strollers to any event that draws a crowd, because it makes it so much more difficult to get around, so i've always worn the littlest. add on 2 or 3 additional kids to keep an eye on, and wearing the youngest really does simplify things (i think lani has ridden in a stroller twice in her lifetime just because it was always easier to wear her). anyway, back to the cherry blossom festival and the fisher pavillion...we made our way there and were taken by the outdoor bujutsu demonstration.  there were swords involved, and this particularly had gibson quite captivated.  especially since he's currently taking tae kwon do. i think watching the demo gave him a little inspiration.

more stamps were needed in the kids' passports, so we finally made it inside the fisher pavillion for a stop at the origami booth.  emma has recently taken an interest in origami, so having the origami booth at the festival was perfect timing.  and mommy also enjoys doing a little origami so that was a bonus for me!

as it neared the lunch hour (as indicated by the mass of little hands digging in the bag for snacks and any form of edible yummies), our plan was to make our way outside to finish the snacks we packed, and let the kids kind of run around in the grass before heading home. but we couldn't just head straight outside, because there still many things going on inside that drew our attention.  so, the next stop as we tried to make our way out of the building was a booth on traditional japanese toys. this one was a fun one for all the kids, and the people at the booth were so sweet and patient with them. i love that the toys were all wooden and simply designed but engaging at the same time...my favorite kinds of toys.

after prying our kids away from the toy booth, we tried to re-direct everyone (including the parents) towards the exit, but another activity caught our eye.  there was a sword sharpening demonstration right across from the toy booth, and we spent some time observing the gentleman as he began the process.

and once we made it outside, we were entertained by some awesome music by a taiko performing group.  this group was unique (at least to me), because i noticed a couple of its members were quite young, close to emma's age it seems. i thought that was pretty neat, and loved that the kids got to observe other kids participating in unique activities (and not just sports...nothing against sports, mind you).

we had a great experience at this festival, even though we only stayed for 2 hours (the parking meter said it was time to go, and we kinda didn't want to pay $10 for parking), and the whole thing was very budget friendly for our family of 6. there were a few other booths and stations we stopped at that were not mentioned here.  and certainly more things we wanted to try out but didn't have time for like the kite making, the paper airplane contest, and i kind of wanted to try the japanese calligraphy. but it's a good thing they have this event every year, because i think this is one we'll probably come back to again next year.


rediscovering seattle: olympic sculpture park

since moving back to seattle over a year ago, we have had fun exploring and rediscovering the city. while there are many aspects of seattle that have remained the same, there have also been plenty of changes in the 7.5 years we were gone. and of course, this time we are back with a whole crew, so our experience of the emerald city feels new.

much like we did in cleveland, we enjoy spending our weekends going out and about as a family, and experiencing what the city has to offer (and it has to offer so much!). tourists in your own town, so to speak. i've noticed that there is a sense of appreciation and love that comes from really getting to know the city when we take the time to explore, whether it's a place we've been to many times, or a place we visit only a few times a year. familiar sights bring a taste of nostalgia, new discoveries bring excitement, but they all bring delight and a time to reconnect as a family.

we've had plenty of local adventures since we've moved back, and it's hard to pick just one, but i'm gonna have to so I can avoid an obscenely long post. I guess this means i'll have to do multiple posts for our other local adventures...maybe this will get me back to posting on a more regular basis!

i'll start with one we just went to today.

the olympic sculpture park is an outdoor art "museum" of sorts, and is part of the seattle art museum. it is one of our family's favorite, go-to outdoor spaces in the city. it's easy to get to from our house, free (except for parking), outside, and offers some amazing views.  we've been here a lot since we've moved back (you'll notice some of the pictures are from a while ago). the park has quite a few permanent outdoor art displays that our kids have learned to recognize and remember by name.

occasionally, the park has also had temporary art installations. i think the temporary ones we've seen have all encouraged participation from people as part of the art itself.  those ones are our favorite.

on sunny days, we like to pack a lunch so that we can hang out for a good chunk of the day. there's a quiet, little pocket beach that's kind of tucked away from the main part of the park, and that's been our lunch spot lately. plus the kids have some time to play by the water (which the always love).

we have our usual route when we go here, mostly because we always park on the same street (sometimes we'll score free parking if we go early enough on a weekday, but we pretty much always pay for parking if we go on a weekend). i love that the kids easily settle into our regular route through the park. the familiarity and routine of the visit feels kind of comforting.

another reason we like this park is that we can still be down by the pier during tourist season, but avoid most of the crowd since many of the tourists stay closer to the piers offering the aquarium, the great wheel, and other more tourist-like attractions.  we kind of avoid that area for most of the summer, but it's not really a big deal since we live here.

we really appreciate finding outdoor spaces in the city that are fun and engaging for the whole family, and love the freedom this park has to offer for us.


birthday week extravaganza v.4.2

my dearest husband,

i'm sorry that it has taken me a month to share with the world your week-long birthday celebration.  i know.  it's not fair that cash got his birthday post shortly after his actual birthday.  but a birthday week celebration takes a little bit more time to put together on in a post.  wouldn't you agree? [what's that? you're not buying that excuse? well, i think it's legit. ahem...] 

so, here's a recap of your annual birthday week extravaganza.  we really loved having you home for a whole week of adventuring and relaxing. we hope you enjoyed your birthday week, and glad that this year you were able to celebrate it in its entirety!  happy birthday, my love!


we spent quite a bit of time by the water during the first half of the week, while aaron's mom was here visiting. it was the first the time we've seen her since our move back, and we were glad she was able to come out and hang with us for a bit.  the kids LOVE having visitors, and having gram around was so fun for them.

we took a chilly, morning visit to alki beach earlier in the week, which we totally under-dressed for.  it was so sunny, that i didn't even think about the wind being a chill factor.  it was a gorgeous, gorgeous day, but BRRRR!

then for aaron's actual birthday, we spent the day down by the pier visiting the aquarium followed by a very filling birthday lunch/dinner at the crab pot.  we even had ty play hookie for the day so he could join us in the birthday celebration.

day ended with the "happy birthday" song, after candles were lit on a pair of pecan pies.  that's right.  pecan pies in lieu of cake.  because it's his favorite pie, ever.  and because his mom was here, and she's a pro at making pecan pie.

photo credit: ty
the rest of the week was full of excursions (i'll just share some highlights here).  on the last full day aaron's mom was here, we planned trip to vashon, where we spent the morning at the point robinson lighthouse, and lunch at our favorite vashon island restaurant, the hardware store.  i'll have to save the lighthouse visit for a separate post, but this place was so awesome.  and the weather was perfectly pleasant.  the kids loved being by the water (big surprise there - please note sarcasm), and it was hard to pry them away.

another day, we spent the morning bumming around capitol hill, with lunch at one of our favorite spots in seattle, oddfellows cafe.  we love going there.  the food is tasty, and the people there friendly, and always make us feel welcome.  also, that place always brings a bit of nostalgia for me since i used to work and perform in the odfellows building back in the day.  it's fun being able to bring the kids to places where i used to frequent before they were born.  they're still at an age where they think it's pretty cool, and i get to pretend i'm young again.

and bonus!  we managed to squeeze in a date night (thanks, gram!) too.  we had the best time enjoying a delicious meal at another one of our favorite eating spots, and then ending it with a night cap, a photo booth sesh, and some people watching at the cha cha lounge.

we were having so much fun, we didn't want the week to end. it's always a treasure to have daddy home for a whole week, and we are so happy we can be a part of his birthday celebration.

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