Moving through, not moving on

After we lost our son, Asher, the conversation quickly changed from "how are you doing?" to "when are you going to have another child?" This change in topics was quick, sudden and happened far sooner than I expected. However innocent the questions were, the one of when we would have more children infuriated me to no end. I would always leave the conversation feeling like if Asher were around they would not have the audacity to ask me such questions. I left the conversation feeling sad, hurt and with the realization that one of the most important people in my life meant very little to anyone else around me. With time I discovered, other people were eager for me to be pregnant again so they could feel more comfortable about our situation. No one likes to think about infant death, let alone talk about it. If people allowed themselves to talk about it, it was almost as if they were admitting it could happen to them too. 

Looking back, I am grateful we did not quickly jump into growing our family again. Our hearts needed time and more importantly my body needed a rest. Once I found out I was expecting again I was desirous to keep it amongst ourselves. Even at almost twenty eight weeks I have just recently told several friends who live far away. Is it because I am cautious? disgustingly happy? scared? hesitant of people's reactions? fearful? excited? enjoying this sacred and private journey alone? Yes, to all of the above. 

What people don't realize is choosing to never have another child would have been the easier, albeit fear based decision to make. Being pregnant again has made me feel both very vulnerable and incredibly grateful. I realize what a lot of women would give for the opportunity to have one child, let alone two and everyday I feel blessed beyond words. Being pregnant has brought to the surface every irrational fear I can conjure as well as every wonderful memory I was able to experience with Asher. Which include: seeing our baby for the first time, the first time we heard his little heartbeat, telling our friends and family we were expecting, our gender reveal party, giving my parents their first grandson, the first maternity photos Cameron took of me, watching in awe at our 20 week ultrasound and ultimately holding our baby for the first time. 

Being pregnant again makes me miss Asher more, not less. Being pregnant a second time feels sacred and is a profoundly life changing experience for both me and my husband. Each week I hear my baby's heartbeat, every milestone of development my baby reaches transports me back to every precious moment I was able to spend with our first son. Because of Asher our hearts grew and the love we feel for him motivated us to have another child. After we lost Asher I thought my heart would never be the same. The truth is my heart will never be and I am grateful for that because it is a part of him I will carry wherever I go.

I am proud to be a mother to my own little angel. Asher will always be my one of the favorite people in the entire world and there is power in that. 

Seafair weekend

Seafair weekend is quickly upon us, which means this week is Fleet week. Fleet week is the week all the large military ships come to Seattle and are docked for a few days downtown at the waterfront. The general public has the unique opportunity to climb aboard many of these fine vessels and tour them. A couple years ago I had the opportunity to tour a couple and I would highly recommend it for adults and children alike

Our favorite thing about Seafair is not the hydros or the ship, but the Blue Angels show. We have made it a point to watch it the past several years. Last year due to budget cuts the Blue Angels did not come to town, so this year people are as excited as ever for their return. 

Seafair photos from years past: 20082011 and 2012

Ballard Kayak Locks Tour

This Summer I have made it a point to try new things. I have taken a scenic flight of the city, attended a French cooking school and learned how to use a vintage letterpress machine. When I noticed Ballard Kayak offered a Ballard Locks Tour I knew I had to try it out. Over the years, I have visited the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks numerous times, but I have never been through them before in a kayak. Before the tour I was both anxious and excited to see how navigating a kayak through the Locks would be. 

Upon meeting our tour guides, Cooper and Nick, I was immediately put at ease and knew we would be in good hands. We launched our kayaks off the shore of Golden Gardens and paddled our way into Shilshole Bay. As we paddled our guides pointed out local wildlife which included two different types of jelly fish: lion's mane and egg yolk jellyfish, a mother harbor seal teaching her baby how to swim, a heron, baby seagulls and salmon jumping in the bay. In a short period of time we were able to witness a wide variety of wildlife and I immediately felt both a fascination and a sense of pride for this beautiful place we are lucky enough to call home. 

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As we made our approach into the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, Cooper was confident and eager to show us the ropes. We patiently waited our turn to enter into the Locks and made certain to yield to any boat larger than us. Once we were called up we quickly paddled into the Locks and did as we were directed. As we held on tightly to the grips we watched in amazement as the water level and our kayaks started to rise higher and higher.

Experiencing the thrill of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks is something everyone ought to experience from the seat of a kayak. Cooper and Nick gave us both the tools and knowledge necessary to feel confident going through the Locks in the future on our own.

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If you are looking for a fun date night, an exciting adventure with friends or a memorable experience for out of town guests then Ballard Kayak is the perfect outfitter for you. In addition to kayaking tours, they offer kayak and SUP rentals and sailing tours. Parking is ample even during the Summer around Golden Gardens, the scenery is spectacular and the guides are top notch. 

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.  All opinions stated here are my own and I was under no obligation to write anything other than my personal experience. I will never write about anything I did not enjoy or find to be a valuable experience. 

Annual Ice Cream Social

Every Summer for the past several years we have hosted an ice cream social. Usually it coincides with my nieces visiting from Tennessee, which inevitably means our guests will be privileged to witness their ever increasing magic skills. I like to think the ice cream is the hit of the party, but I would be lying if I said it wasn't in fact the magic. 

Growing up I never was into magic, but my younger brother was. As a child I never learned to juggle and I cannot perform any magic tricks of my own, so I am delighted to see my nieces talent along with their self confidence improve each year. There is nothing better to mark the passage of time then to watch a child grow before your very eyes. Cameron and I started dating shortly before my eldest niece was born, so I love the fact that she is a walking representation of the passage of time of our relationship. 

Since we had just hosted our big gender reveal party I was having second thoughts about hosting two parties so close together. At dinner one evening my father was discussing possible venues for my niece's magic tricks. After a little thought I decided I could keep the party simple and the stress low. In keeping with the theme of ease I focused my attention on a wide array of toppings, quality ice cream and an eclectic guest list. 

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In the end, there were no fancy decorations, take home treats or homemade lemonade. In its place there was a relaxed Summer vibe and an excellent turn out. Most importantly, I overheard my niece mention to another guest how this party "was all for them" Oh how my heart beamed that my niece recognized my efforts and could feel my love. 

Seattle Bloggers Unite: Letterpress Night with Farewell Paperie

Seattle Bloggers Unite: Letterpress Night with Farewell Paperie

On a warm Summer evening, a group of us Seattle bloggers descended on Farewell Paperie's studio to learn the art of letterpress and to try our hand at making our own set of stationery. I have long since been a fan of letterpress and I loveFarewell Paperie's inventive take on finding just the perfect thing to say in a card. 

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Hiking up Granite Mountain and staying active during pregnancy

Hiking up Granite Mountain and staying active during pregnancy

Granite Mountain is one of our favorite Summer hikes for its sweeping views, glorious wildflowers and challenging terrain. Granite Mountain is 8.6 miles roundtrip with 3800 feet elevation gain putting you at around 5600 feet at the top. I realized taking a hike like this while 25 weeks pregnant might seem like a crazy idea to some of you. The fact is, staying in shape particularly while being pregnant is very important to me. I know I am lugging a lot of extra weight up the mountain, but it makes reaching the top feel even more triumphant. We decided to take this hike on a ninety degree day and even though we started out early in the morning the heat started to feel really oppressive on the way up. Once you pass the first two miles the trail is fairly exposed the rest of the way up. 

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Argosy Locks Cruise

Argosy Locks Cruise

In the past, we have taken an Argosy Lakes Cruise and a Harbor Cruise, so this time we thought it would be fun to take anArgosy Locks Cruise. The Locks Cruise is a unique tour in the fact that you take off from one place and end up in another, rather than going roundtrip from one point. With the Locks Cruise you start off at Pier 56 and then eventually dock Lake Union to be shuttled back to Pier 56 by bus. In between you cruise along the Puget Sound while you pass Magnolia and Discovery Park. Then you enter Shilshole Bay, pass through the Hiram Chittenden Locks, go up the Lake Washington Ship Canal, pass by Gasworks Park and then arrive at your final destination, Lake Union. 

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Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge

Typically after we have spent a couple of days camping on the beach we head straight to Port Angeles for lunch. After lunch we take the short scenic drive up to Hurricane Ridge for wildflower viewing and wildlife spotting. We can usually count on at minimum seeing several deer, maybe a bear and sometimes a marmot or two. We are always saddened when we see a large crowd of people surrounding an animal and worst yet when they try to feed them a Cheeto or two.

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Scenic flight on Kenmore Air

Scenic flight on Kenmore Air

Growing up in Seattle, float planes have always been an integral part of the city. Since Seattle is surrounded by several bodies of water, floatplanes are constantly both seen and heard flying overhead and landing in the water. Every time I'm kayaking out on Lake Union I am able to witness half a dozen planes taking off or landing.  This week I was given the fantastic opportunity to go on a scenic flight with Kenmore Air and see my city from a bird's eye perspective. 

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Let me introduce you to the "Smookie"

Let me introduce you to the "Smookie"

For our gender reveal party I wanted to make something new. I have a bad habit of thinking it is a brilliant idea to try something new the morning of a party and then serve it to all my friends and family without hesitation. I suppose my cooking style is best described as fearless, but I know deep down inside if something doesn't turn out I can always make an old standby. I saw this recipe of S'mores Cookies from Downtown Cookies Co. and automatically deemed it the perfect treat to make. Once the guests arrived at the party it was obvious to see the "smookies" were a grand success and might even eventually make their way in as an old standby. 

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Camping on the Washington coast

Camping on the Washington coast

A highlight of our Summer is spending a long weekend camping on the Washington coast. It is rural, rugged and teaming with both sea and wildlife. Many an afternoon may be spent watching bald eagles fly overhead or exploring tide pools. Summer is such a fantastic time to live in Washington state that we try to limit all our out of state travel during those precious several months of Summer. In the Summer there is nowhere we would rather be than hiking familiar trails and camping amongst the starry clear skies. 

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The art of spending time alone

The art of spending time alone

When I was a teenager I enjoyed constantly being surrounded by my friends. As I have gotten older I have discovered the wonderful regenerative feeling which comes from spending  quality time alone. Whether it be a hike, a run or shopping I have come to appreciate and understand the benefits of investing in quality time with myself. This time alone allows me the ability to think, reflect and most importantly learn to be comfortable in my own skin.

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Sailing in Seattle

Sailing in Seattle

If I kept a list of all things I would like to buy a sailboat would pretty much top any list I could create. When the temperature rises around here, there is no place I would rather be than on the water. Over the past couple of years we have made it an annual tradition to go sailing with Let's Go Sailing at the start of every Summer. It is a fun, convenient, inexpensive and easy way to get out on the Puget Sound. They offer both day and sunset cruises and are unique in that they allow you to bring your own food and drink aboard for your enjoyment. 

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Remembering my Grandma

Remembering my Grandma

Last week the world lost a good woman. My grandmother, Elizabeth Jean, after living a long and vibrant life passed away in her sleep. Upon hearing of her passing so many memories flooded my mind. As the only grandchildren on my mother's side, we were given the rare opportunity to be spoiled, visited, and loved like crazy. My grandparents made the effort to be present for almost every milestone in my life and when they could not be they would phone to see how it was or went. We always knew we were top priority in their lives. As I grew older and got married I was delighted when my grandparents came to love my husband as dearly too. 

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A Summer wedding reception

A Summer wedding reception

This year, on the Summer solstice we were in Utah celebrating the wedding of Cameron's cousin. I can think of no better way to kick start Summer then by attending an outdoor wedding reception. The evening was a quintessential Summer soiree, including warm weather, a festive atmosphere and relaxed environment. A color palette of whites and green dotted the backyard where there was enough food and entertainment to keep even the most discerning guest happy. 

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