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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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?

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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. 

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Paternity leave survival kit

Paternity leave survival kit

Aside from counting down the days until our baby arrives, I am also eagerly counting down the days until Cameron is home on paternity leave. It will be such a joyous occasion to spend my days with two of my favorite boys by my side. In celebration of this special time in our lives, I thought it would be fun to put together a simple, but thoughtful little paternity survival kit for Cameron.

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Learning to slow down

Learning to slow down

Pregnancy and motherhood have taught me a lot about myself. They have forced me to look inside myself, tested my faith, my patience and taught me how much I yearned to be a mother. Like most women I assumed children would naturally come. Once I decided I was ready to have them then nine months later they would be safely placed in my arms. Looking back, I realize how naive this notion was. After unexpectedly loosing our first child I constantly feared I would not be able to have another child. I feared this not for any medical or logical reason, but more out of not understanding how my life was going to look. 

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Oddfellows Cafe + Bar, Seattle WA

Oddfellows Cafe + Bar, Seattle WA

On my birthday I hoped for two things: I wanted there to be sunshine at some point in the day and I wanted to have brunch somewhere I had never been. I am happy to report, both of these things came to pass and were the perfect start to my special day. I decided to meet my friend, Kristi, at Oddfellows for brunch because I continuously hear good things about it. The weather that morning was so bright and sunny we were able to sit outside and enjoy our brunch al fresco. Sunshine and seventy degree weather in the middle of October is pretty much the best birthday present I could possibly ask for. 

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Birthdays

Birthdays

Growing up my parents knew how to make birthdays feel special. On your birthday you were given the thing you wanted most as a child- control. On your birthday you were given the opportunity to decide what we had for dinner and what kind of cake you wanted. Like clockwork the dining room would be decorated with streamers and balloons and a small pile of presents would be awaiting you. Dinner was enjoyed on a red plate and you were made to feel like a V.I.P.  As I have gotten older these traditions have continued. My Mom still wants to know what I want for dinner, what kind of cake I would like to eat and some suggestions for gifts are always appreciated. My parents have a talent for being able to make you feel special, on your birthday or any other day of the week. 

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Mamnoon

Mamnoon

Last year, Seattle Met voted Mamnoon the best restaurant in Seattle. Ever since we read the reviews we have been meaning to head over and check it out. Mamnoon summarizes its food as a modern union of middle eastern cuisines.  A year later we finally made it and all I can say is WOW! The flavor combinations were dynamite and the food left you feeling satisfied, but not overly stuffed. 

One of my absolute favorite things to do is try new restaurants where the food created is stuff I would never think to make on my own. Pair the adventure of a new place with an evening out with friends and you have yourself the perfect night out in my book.  

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Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden

The Seattle Japanese Garden is a wonderful place this time of year. The maple trees have started to turn from green to fiery oranges and reds. The large pond in the center of the garden, is a fun place to spend some time watching the koi fish and turtles laze about. When planning your visit to the Japanese Garden, if you go early in the day you can have the place to yourselves even on the weekends. 

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Honest diaper cake

Honest diaper cake

Over the past couple of months we have been showered with many lovely and thoughtful gifts from friends and family for our baby. Today I wanted to share one of the most practical gifts we received- an Honest diaper cake. What is a diaper cake some of you might ask? A diaper cake is a clever way to present an essential, expensive, but not necessarily the most exciting baby need out there- diapers. Along with almost one hundred diapers inside the cake there is non toxic nursery essentials like laundry detergent, baby wipes, face and body lotion, bubble bath, and healing balm. 

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An afternoon with Mom

An afternoon with Mom

Last week, I headed back to Carpinito Brothers with my mother to buy a whole bunch of produce to make soup and a few pumpkins and gourds for her home. I loved how my mom's classic black and white outfit looked against all the orange so I sneakily snapped a few photos of our time together. Between the mild weather, the gorgeous colors outside and all the impending excitement of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas this truly is my favorite time of year. 

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