Hiking around Mount Rainier

In the Summer, there is one Saturday I look forward to more than all the others- it is the day we go hiking around Mount Rainier. Typically, we visit Paradise in August when the wildflowers are in full force and our chance of having a clear day is at its greatest. So far this ultra scientific method for picking what day to visit has worked out. Over the past several years we have enjoyed a spectacular day on the mountain. 

This year, Jasper was keen on stacking rocks, throwing rocks and waving to all the other hikers. When we stopped for lunch, he practiced walking with the hiking poles and otherwise charmed the pants off of everyone he met. I always feel a great sense of pride as we watch my little man develop a love for nature. While we were hiking we came across this family who was celebrating their grandmother's 80th birthday with a day of hiking around Mount Rainier. Oh how I hope Jasper's love and interest in hiking can be a life long endeavor he can enjoy with his own family one day.  

The majesty of God's creations surround us when we hike. I completely understand how people prefer to go hiking instead of attend church. Enjoying what God has created is indeed a form of worship in my book. 

Being a photographer gives me a certain perspective on the world, being a visual storyteller gives me another and being a mother has heightened my senses even more. I notice every plane flying overhead, every bird flying by, and which kind of rocks are good for throwing or stacking. Jasper has a laser focus on whatever task he is doing and I try to emulate that sense of purpose in the time I spend with him. 

Lunch with a million dollar view! For those of you who do not like to hike or who think you are not a hiker, let this photo represent what you are missing out on. The beauty of hiking is this: you can go at your own pace and see as much or as little as you like. I have seen people with physical impairments, elderly people and very young children hiking around. Once you take your first hike, you will crave more. There is peace to be found in the mountains, there is time and space to think, be and just enjoy. 

Past trips to Mount Rainier include: snow in 2008, camping with our friends in 2011, while pregnant with Asher in 2012 , 2013 , and pregnant with Jasper in 2014

South Lake Union Block Party

For the past several years we have made it a point to stop by the South Lake Union Block Party for burgers, sunshine and an all around good time. This year we had an eager toddler in tow who was ready to get in on the action himself. Most notably during the block party, he played a little chess, chased bubbles, grabbed more than a few bananas from the free Banana stand, chowed down on burgers and picked up his first library card accompanied by a temporary tattoo of the downtown Seattle library. After the Block Party we made our way down to South Lake Union Park for a little splashing around in the water to cap off our night. 

Don't let this photo deceive you, Jasper was having a great time, he just does not have time for photos when there is water to be played in. 

Hands down the best part of Summer is its long days. Come Fall, I will miss the late nights out eating ice cream and frolicking in the warm air. 

As We Grow

One of my favorite parts of having a little one is being able to dress him each day. If you know me, then you know a whole lot of thought and effort goes into building and maintaining Jasper's wardrobe. I find it very important for him to be dressed appropriately either for the weather or the outing we are going on. My first priority always is for him to be comfortable, but I also want him to be able to easily wear a variety of clothes.

While visiting Iceland many years ago I was introduced to a brand called As We Grow. As soon as I saw their beautiful clothing I was eager to dress my future children in their brand. As We Grow is an Icelandic design company which not only focuses on dressing children in beautiful, quality goods, but in giving families heirlooms they can pass between siblings, friends and eventually generations to come. As We Grow takes inspiration from its roots, combining classic nordic design elements with chic modernity. For example, this mountain sweater is a playful and whimsical take on a classic Icelandic sweater design. 

At As We Grow, they execute slow fashion, creating quality clothing that lasts. Their timeless pieces are designed to grow with the child. From the beginning, they have believed in designing products that offer real value to their users. This means, offering garments which last over generations, as well as always being mindful of the environment and the communities. Each As We Grow piece is fair trade for the benefit of all people.

It is tempting to get in the rut of picking up whatever is on sale when you are out running errands,  but I love the idea of making memories in clothing I know are going to last for many years to come. As avid hikers and outdoorsmen I was particularly drawn to this Mountain sweater. This way, whether at the beach, the park or at home; mountains can be close to his heart and reflective of where Jasper spends the majority of his time. I love the mountain sweater paired with this baby hat which keeps his head warm without the bulk and this adorable little kid's scarf. Seattle is such a temperate climate these are pieces I can easily work into his wardrobe ten months out of the year. 

As We Grow only uses natural, renewable, sustainable materials which emphasize conservation and lead to environmentally sound products. Their alpaca wool is a fiber that does not come at the expense of the environment or the animal. Every stage of their production is ethical. For all their hand knits they partner with indigenous women to create a sustainable flow of income for them. 

Whether going to church, the park, meeting up with friends, going to the museum or simply hanging out at home Jasper can look pulled together and stylish in his As We Grow pieces. A few of the things I like best about As We Grow clothing is first and foremost, the beautiful quality of the pieces, but also how many of them are gender neutral. I love putting Jasper in a variety of colors and patterns so shopping at most major retailers can oftentimes feel limiting. 

This post was sponsored by As We Grow

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. 

Snow Lake in the Summer

Snow Lake in the Summer

Snow Lake is one of our favorite hikes to do year round. The drive to the trailhead isn't too far, the distance on the trail isn't too great and we always know it is going to be beautiful once we reach the top. In early Summer, there are streams which zig zag the trail and waterfalls in the distance. In late Summer, there are wildflowers dotting the trail and in early Fall the colors of the foliage are spectacular. 

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South Lake Union Park

South Lake Union Park

This Summer we have discovered a new favorite place to hang out- South Lake Union Park. Although we have always liked this place, we just recently discovered the joys of it on a hot Summer day. For cooling off we love the epic splash pad, when we get hungry we like the healthy and convenient made to order lunches they serve at the MOHAI and the best part of all is the constant buzz of air traffic overhead and boat traffic on the water. 

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Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Although we have done a fair amount of traveling I always feel like we have just scratched the surface. There is so much to see and do in our neck of the woods there really is no need to venture too far unless we are in the mood for a change of scenery. On our way back from Pemberton last month, we stopped at the Sea to Sky Gondola. We rode the gondola up, ate lunch and then walked along a few of their trails and rode it back down. Next time, we plan to hike up and then ride the gondola down. Had we not been pressed for time we would have done so this time. 

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Outstanding in the Field at North Arm Farm

Outstanding in the Field at North Arm Farm

In Pemberton, BC there exists a place so beautiful it just begs to be shared. North Arm Farm is a family run business that was started by Jordan and Trish Sturdy in 1995. Since then, it has been developed into forty five acres of vegetables and fruit. One July morning, we made the trek from our home in Seattle to their farm in Pemberton. What ensued was an evening of stunning food, inspiring conversations and endless beauty. My only wish is that this farm was located closer to Seattle because I would like to spend as much time as possible in this idyllic setting. 

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Melakwa Lake

Melakwa Lake

Saturdays could easily turn into just another day in the week. We could spend our time cleaning, doing projects around the house and running errands, but instead Saturdays have become our day to invest in our most important priority-our family. On a typical Saturday, we try to leave the house early and head for the mountains. Depending on a variety of factors; the weather, our energy levels etc. we set out on a hike for the day. On this particular day, we hiked a total of nine miles. We hiked to a beautiful alpine lake called Melakwa. On our way up, while Jasper took a nap, I took time to document just a few of the wildflowers we saw. Once he was awake, amidst cascading waterfalls and scenic vistas we practiced his animal sounds. 

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Our long weekend in Victoria, B.C.

Our long weekend in Victoria, B.C.

The biggest perk of catching the early ferry is you can hit the ground running once you are in Victoria. When traveling with a toddler two of the most important factors are food and speed. During our boat ride we were able to eat breakfast and then spend the rest of the time checking out all the boats and beautiful scenery out our window and chatting with the interesting people on board. Once in Victoria we took a short taxi ride to our hotel and without much fuss we were able to be settled into our room and get a bite to eat all before noon. Since it was so early in the day, we then had the rest of the day to explore Victoria at our leisure. We had such a long list of things we wanted to do we really appreciated being able to get up to Victoria so fast and with such ease on the Victoria Clipper

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Granite Mountain with a toddler

Granite Mountain with a toddler

A few weekends ago we decided to tackle Granite Mountain. Our schedule has been jam packed with travel these past few months, so we have not been able to get out hiking as often as we would've liked to. Hiking Granite Mountain is one of our favorite things to do in the Summer and early Fall. And it never feels like Summer until we have tackled a handful of our favorite hikes. 

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Outstanding in the Field at Hama Hama Oysters

Outstanding in the Field at Hama Hama Oysters

There is something utterly romantic about taking a mid week break from every day life, boarding a ferry and heading to a beautiful place to have a wonderful meal. Outstanding in the Field isn't about just food, it is about bringing people from all walks of life together. I really relished the opportunity to have an evening set aside to meet the makers, break bread with the farmers and celebrate some of the best things in life.

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Westcott Bay Shellfish Company

Westcott Bay Shellfish Company

It all started with a visit to the San Juan Island Farmer's Market. As we were browsing the various booths and navigating through the crowds some barbecued oysters caught our eye. After we partook of the most delicious and gigantic oysters we have ever eaten we made a metal note we should visit Westcott Bay Shellfish Co. in the coming days while we were on the island. 

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Wolf in the Fog

Wolf in the Fog

Some times you eat and other times you feast. Our recent anniversary dinner at Wolf in the Fog in Tofino was definitely the latter. Aside from the jaw dropping scenery from the top deck, the friendly and attentive staff and innovative dishes being pumped out of the kitchen Wolf in the Fog is a place whose food lingers in your mind. From the Potato Crusted Oyster to the Bamfield Seaweed Salad to the Moroccan Spiced Octopus to the Shellfish and Chicken Laksa each dish was a delight to all senses. 

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Beach day

Beach day

It never quite feels like Summer until we spend a day at the beach. We met our friends on the first day of Summer for an epic day of surf, sand and togetherness. I am grateful for my friends who were brave and ventured into motherhood at a young age. For us it means we have a whole slew of potential babysitters at our disposal and so many sweet children eager to teach Jasper all sorts of cool things. 

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Duck Soup Inn

Duck Soup Inn

At the end of an unassuming gravel road on San Juan Island there exists a place unlike anywhere else. A quiet, unpretentious place which delights your sense, satisfies your belly, sparks your creativity and challenges you to rethink how you present food at your own home.  Duck Soup Inn is home to Kyle Nicholson, an amazing chef, who is known throughout the island and beyond as a food pioneer. Before taking the reigns at Duck Soup Inn Kyle has been the Executive Chef at the Friday Harbor House. After meeting Kyle I was impressed by his quiet strength and his calm presence. Throughout the island he is thought of as a creative force and I firmly believe he is on his way to making Duck Soup Inn a destination.  

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Picking our way through Summer

Picking our way through Summer

Jasper is just as crazy about eating berries as I am, so we have made an agreement to pick as many berries as humanly possible this Summer. So far we went strawberry picking twice, raspberry picking once and now blueberry picking twice. Jasper and I both love to be outside and it would not feel like Summer without spending ample time in the sunshine popping warm berries into our mouths. Picking berries will always be something I remember fondly from my own childhood and being able to carry on that tradition with my own child is pretty special.  

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Black Rock Resort

Black Rock Resort

Earlier this year, we decided it was high time we returned to where we spent our honeymoon- Ucluelet, B.C. For our eleventh wedding anniversary we spent a relaxing four days at Black Rock Resort as we celebrated each other and the awesome life we have created together. Although many people have never heard of Ucluelet, it is a ruggedly beautiful place located on Vancouver Island about four hours west of Victoria, B.C.

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Friday Harbor Farmer's Market

Friday Harbor Farmer's Market

One of my favorite things to do when I am visiting a place is to attend the local Farmer's market. Not only is it a good way to get a sense of the local cuisine, and interact with locals, but also gives you an opportunity to sample some local food you might not be able to try any other way. On our visit to Friday Harbor's Farmer's Market we were able to try our very first barbecued oyster which resulted in a subsequent trip to Wescott Bay Oyster Farm, sampled some of the first raspberries of the season and picked up some beet and radish seeds to fill the space in our garden once we pulled out the peas. In reality, I wanted to try almost everything and all the color and variety of the market made me very excited for the bounty which we call Summer.

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