Christmas Ships 2014

Over the past nine years we have made it an annual tradition to go on the Argosy Christmas ships. This was not only the first year for Jasper, but the first year we invited friends along. I will be the first to admit it was a little more challenging having a baby along this year however most of the evening's highlights included him. Some of the highlights of the evening include Jasper meeting Santa for the first time, clear skies and unseasonably warm temperatures which made being outside on the deck of the ship quite lovely and Jasper wearing the cutest little Santa hat and down suit looking like he just arrived from the North Pole. 

Since the seawall is under construction we weren't able to take off from the downtown waterfront like usual.  Instead we departed from Smith cove near Palisades and slowly made our way over to Manchester State Park in Port Orchard. Once at Manchester State Park the choir did their first performance. Following their performance there was a small fireworks show and then we headed over to Salty's on Alki for their final performance. The Christmas Ships are a fun tradition that the whole family can enjoy. There is music, trivia, festive hats to purchase and hot drinks to enjoy. Listening to Christmas music while enjoying the lights of the city against the dark night sky and cool, crisp air always gets me in the mood for Christmas. 

Blessing day

Blessing day

An important day in the life of Jasper was his blessing day. Baby blessings although not considered life saving ordinances, allow the father to give the child a name by which he will be known on the records of the church along with a blessing for their life. On Jasper's blessing day, we were fortunate to have both sets of grandparents present along with some of our friends. For the past month I have agonized over what to dress Jasper in but ultimately I decided to put him in something sentimental and festive for the season. When I was pregnant with Asher, Cameron's parents purchase an adorable outfit for him. For Jasper's blessing day I was able to dress Jasper in both the pants and the shoes they had purchased. Although no one had any idea the sentiment behind the clothing, it was my little way of including and honoring Asher on our family's special day. We are grateful for all the many people who were so supportive during this pregnancy. Jasper is more than we could have ever asked for and we are feeling blessed beyond measure this holiday season. 

Read More

Lake Union Park

Lake Union Park

With mild temperatures much of the year, Seattle is the perfect place to live if you enjoy spending time outdoors. The South Lake Union neighborhood has seen rapid growth in the past few years, one of our favorite places being Lake Union Park. The park provides easy access to both green space and the water from the downtown core and celebrates the cultural, maritime, and industrial heritage of the city and region. Included within Lake Union Park is the Center for Wooden Boats,MOHAI, a boat launch, a picnic area, a splash area in the Summer and a pond for sailing miniature wooden boats.

Read More

A season of thanksgiving

A season of thanksgiving

While this year I have felt particularly blessed there have been times in my life when gratitude and feelings of Thanksgiving have been harder to come by. When life is going well it is easy to feel grateful, but when life throws you a couple curveballs that is when your true test sets in. During a particularly hard time in my life when nothing seemed to be going right I started to feel a bit hopeless. One day I got the idea to document five things which were going right in my life; some were big things like having a healthy body and a strong faith in God, but equally important were the small things.  Over the next couple of months I continually read through the list and clung to these things which were going right. 

Read More

Christmas Tree Shopping

Christmas Tree Shopping

Since Jasper joined our family we have experienced a resurgence in Christmas cheer. As many of you know Asher's due date was Christmas day, so the past couple of Christmases have been downright hard. It has been easy to allow disappointment and sadness to linger throughout the season instead of peace and joy. Now that we have another little one in our family, we thought it was high time to get back into the swing of things. The funny thing with grief is how it bubbles up in the form of sadness, frustration, jealousy or anger especially during the holidays. After taking the past couple of years off this year we had our tree purchased and decorated the day before Thanksgiving. Although I am not one to typically rush Thanksgiving out, it just happened to work best with our schedule. 

Read More

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday

In elementary school my class went on a field trip to my Dad's office. I cannot ever remember feeling prouder that my Dad was his own boss than the day my class visited him. Most of my friend's parents sat in cubicles, did obscure jobs and most importantly worked for other people. All the while my Dad worked for himself, set his own schedule and made his own rules. As a free spirit and one who disliked being told what to do I found this option for work rather appealing.   

Read More

Tis the season

Tis the season

When I placed the order for Jasper's stocking I thought nothing of all the wonderful possibilities of its use as a prop. However, once it arrived in the mail I realized he might just be able to fit inside of it. To my surprise he was a perfect fit and an impromptu photo shoot ensued.

Tis the season to create priceless photos of your child in which you can later use to entertain or embarrass your child. 

Read More

Leavenworth in the off season

Leavenworth in the off season

One of my favorite times to visit Leavenworth is after Oktoberfest and before the holidays. During this time, crowds are relatively low and you actually have room to shop around stores like Kris Kringl. A few must sees are on our list include lunch in Cashmere at Country Boy's BBQ, browsing the shops and squeezing in a day hike. Although Jasper was too young for a hike this time we did enjoy strolling around town and stumbling upon Schocolat. Schocolat is a good example of how it doesn't matter how many times you have visited a place there is always something new to explore or find. Schocolat is a handmade chocolate shop tucked in the back of Ganz Klasse, a home furnishing boutique. Aside from the assorted handmade chocolates they sell they also make the most delicious pear caramel sauce. For the holidays I love shopping local and sending items such as this to send to family and friends. Especially for those who have it all, food is always the perfect gift to send.

Read More

Life lately

Life lately

As a family we have been enjoying our days together. At the end of the day we often look at each other in bewilderment wondering where the day went. We seldom seem to make it out of the house before 1pm except on the days we have doctor appointments or concrete plans. Otherwise our days consist of afternoon walks, late lunches out, running errands, and lots of baby cuddles and feeding time.

While our baby sleeps we like to watch him, talk about him or look at pictures of him. We are completely and utterly obsessed and in love with him and we would not have it any other way. Even though Jasper will not remember these first few weeks together as a family, to me they have been a dream come true and will always hold a special place in my heart. 

Read More

Bella Baby Photography

Bella Baby Photography

When you are exhausted after delivering your baby, but love the idea of having professional photos taken of your new little bundle Bella Baby Photography is the perfect alternative. The best thing about Bella Baby is they are a photography service offered through the hospital so there is no need to plan ahead. A photographer will simply stop by your room and offer their services which means the ultimate in flexibility for both you and your baby. For our session the photographer came by just as our baby was hungry, so she happily popped back in once he was done feeding. The other selling point for me is how they are able to capture a handful of great shots in roughly fifteen minutes. No fuss and a few priceless shots of the newest addition to our family makes for one happy mama. 

Read More

Walking around Greenlake

Walking around Greenlake

These past few weeks since Jasper was born have been a blur. Between the enormous departure from our previous schedules and sleep deprivation it is easy for each day to blur into the other. "What did we do yesterday?" is a common question around our house these days.  While we have been out and about people usually inquire about how old our child is. Once they realize how young he is, they usually exclaim how they are surprised we are out and about.

As we adjust to our new life, one thing we have tried to do every single day is leave the house. Some days it might just be a run to Target or the grocery store while other days it could be going out to lunch, going on a walk or visiting a friend. Something I realized early on is how much work is associated with leaving the house with a newborn, but also how much better I feel when I make the effort and leave the house. 

Read More

Jasper's first Halloween

Jasper's first Halloween

Since we were uncertain how old Jasper would be on Halloween we decided to forgo purchasing him an elaborate costume this year. Thank heavens for thoughtful grandparents who saved the day and showed up to the hospital with a Halloween costume for him to wear in the coming days. Despite Jasper's parents being completely brain dead and forgetting half his costume at home, he was still able to be the hit of the day when we paid a visit to Cameron's work. 

Read More

Our first family outing

Our first family outing

When Jasper was a mere four days old we were feeling a little restless and decided to go on a sunset walk along Alki. Before our walk, we briefly met up with some of Cameron's coworkers to introduce them to our little fella. Even though we were deliriously tired at this point, I am delighted I asked one of them to snap a few photos of our first family outing.

As we made our way back to the car there was a special feeling in the air as the sky became a blaze of pinks, purples and oranges. Gorgeous sunsets this time of year are rare, so I could not help but feel it was Asher's way of letting us know he was with us in spirit and as excited for Jasper as we were. Life is a combination of bitter and sweet, highs and lows. I am grateful for the sweetness Jasper has already brought into our lives. Every glance, smirk, yawn and smile I grow increasingly smitten by him and everything he does. 

Read More

Jasper's first photo shoot

Jasper's first photo shoot

When Jasper was just a mere three days old, we had a little time on our hands at the hospital so we set up a mini photo shoot. I have longed for such a sweet subject and had the best time photographing him until my little heart was content. He was a dream to work with and a real natural in front of the camera. I foresee a lot more photo shoots in his future. 

Read More

Matt's in the Market

Matt's in the Market

I realize I am probably the last person in Seattle to dine at Matt's in the Market, but in the event there are others of you out there might I convince you it is worth the hype. On my birthday after work we went to Matt's in the Market for an early dinner. I really enjoy getting to a restaurant once they open or being able to get an early seating time because there is nothing I despise more than going somewhere nice and not being able to hear my handsome date talk to me. 

We started the meal with beet salads and then enjoyed seafood stew and halibut. The seafood stew had a ginger based broth and I simply raved about the unique flavor combination throughout the rest of the meal. We ended dinner with dessert which is something we rarely ever do and enjoyed an inventive candy bar square. There is something so satisfying about delicious food and wonderful company, it is the perfect combination for any occasion. 

Read More

Welcome home Jasper!

Welcome home Jasper!

On a dark, stormy and wild night, as the electricity intermittently flickered at the hospital Jasper Crew McKinley was born Saturday, October 25th at 10:57pm weighing 9 lbs 3.3 ounces and 21 1/2 inches long. From the moment we found out we were expecting, we knew his arrival would not only be the highlight of our year, but our life. Even before he was born he was the center of our universe and we continuously felt the outpouring of love our friends and family felt for him. 

Once he was born and took one look at us with those dark, steely gray blue eyes it felt like we have known and loved him forever. The continuous worry of the past nine months immediately melted away. He is our everything and we are honored to be his parents. 

Read More

A Children's Library

A Children's Library

With a new little one in our midst we are eager to build a wonderful and inspiring children's library. Some of my fondest memories from childhood were being read to before bed time, circling every book I wanted from our monthly book order and then eagerly anticipating their arrival and spending many a long Summer day reading the afternoon away on our deck. In an effort to teach our child to love reading at an early age and to create an environment where books are more interesting than video games and television with the help of family and friends we have been busily building our children's library. 

What are some of your favorite children's books?

Read More

Totokaelo

Totokaelo

There are some spaces so fresh, organized and calming you desire to stay in them all day, Totokaelo is one of those spaces. I find when shopping if you want to stop, touch and pick up everything then chances are you have found a store which speaks to you. From their housewares to their shoe wall I could envision owning most of what was in their store. Unfortunately, on the day I was visiting my feet were a bit swollen from being pregnant and none of the shoes were fitting to my liking. Venturing back here post baby is high up on my to do list. 

Read More