Valentine's Day with a little one is a game changer. Typically, it falls during the week which makes getting a babysitter a challenge. Going to fancy restaurants with an active toddler is not as appealing as it once was with a sweet little infant who slept through the entire meal. Early bedtimes often make for quiet evenings spent at home. So instead I have made it a goal to go on a date with my Valentine some time in the coming month.
This past Summer, we enjoyed a spectacular meal at Hama Hama Oysters with Outstanding in the Field. The meal was one of the highlights of our Summer and we were privileged to enjoy Sea Wolf Bakers bread right before their brick and mortar opened. Seven months later, we finally paid a visit to their retail shop and enjoyed a few tasty treats on a slow Saturday.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a floral arranging class where I learned the art of the hand bouquet from Cozbi Hultz, floral Designer and Owner of CJP&CO. I learned how to use my hands to create a bouquet of appropriate scale, proportion and beauty. I have always had a strong affinity for gorgeous blooms so being able to work with them for an evening was a real treat for me. There is nothing more fun than learning from an expert and walking away bursting with inspiration.
One of my new year's resolutions was to spend more time photographing the everyday moments. I typically reminder to bring along my camera when we go on an adventure, but I want to do a better job at capturing some of our quiet moments at home. These are the days I will fondly reflect on when I am old and I want to have a photographic record of some of these times spent tougher.
With a young child it is easy to get caught up in the cycle of meals, laundry, errands, cleaning repeat. This year, I wanted to make it a point to break the daily grind and really celebrate those moments where we don't just spend time together, but really connect. Baking has been one of those moments for us and it has been so rewarding to see Jasper's growth and confidence in the kitchen. He is always ready to get right in there, get his hands dirty and act like he 100% knows what he is doing. I am in such awe of his confidence and self love. Being around him makes me feel like I can conquer the unfamiliar and unknown one day at time.
Well it happened, we finally got a real bonafide, school was canceled, more than three inches of snow fell snow storm. Whenever we see snow in the forecast we first get excited and then usually become skeptical because the white stuff never seems to show up. This time it wasn't really talked about or expected and then bam, Monday morning we woke up to a Winter Wonderland.
On a rainy afternoon, I made my way over to Cafe Trophy to participate in the first ever Trophy Workshop presented by Marabou Design. It was a delightful afternoon filled with sweet treats from Cafe Trophy, the opportunity to learn a new skill and a chance to meet a few creative ladies who live in the area. I have always wanted to learn how to do modern calligraphy, so I jumped at the chance when I saw Brandy would be teaching a class in such a fun and intimate setting.
As my friends have spread out across the globe I find myself wanting to send little surprise packages to them in the mail every now and again. Although distance permits us from seeing each other often, I want them to know I am still thinking of them. For Valentine's Day I thought it would be fun to put together a few packages to send to some of my favorite ladies. I like to think there is nothing more exciting then receiving an unexpected package in the mail and I hope these ladies feel the same way.
The North Cascades are my happy place. The moment I set foot in that valley or hike through those mountains I feel calm and at peace. It is the place I look most forward to visiting year after year and the place I most often find myself day dreaming about. When Cameron mentioned he wanted to go there for his birthday this past month I was eager for the day of our trip to arrive. Unfortunately, good health has alluded us so far this year so Cameron had the privilege of celebrating his birthday instead with two "sickies".
In my opinion, each day should consist of six things: fresh air, inspiration, exercise, creativity, meaning and play. When a day feels off it is usually because it is lacking in one of these categories. It had been a long time since we last visited the Olympic Sculpture Park and during our couple hour visit I was reminded why it is such a fantastic place- especially for children. At the Olympic Sculpture Park you will find large scale art pieces to interact with, sweeping vistas of the city, mountains and water and most importantly, for this little two year old hills to run up and plenty of space to run free. The train tracks which run parallel to the park and the constant air traffic overhead provide additional entertainment.
If one thing is for certain I have a little guy who loves to bake. Now every day while I am fixing his breakfast or lunch he goes to our bookshelf, finds my Martha Stewart Baking Handbook, gently takes off the jacket and brings it to me in the kitchen. He looks up at me with his large doe eyes and says "ginger ba ba" which means "gingerbread" which translates to " Can we please make some cookies?" Most days, I can resist his pleas to bake by distracting him with the mail truck outside or asking him if he would like to help me with the laundry instead. However, on this particular day I was feeling in the mood to bake myself and so Valentine sugar cookies it was.
Most days when I take Jasper on an adventure I have a series of events planned out in mind. There are certain elements of the day I am certain will excite him and then I leave all the rest to chance. However, most days the memorable moments typically happen during the in between periods, the pit stop at the park before nap time where we are almost mauled with kisses from an adorable new puppy or on the walk to the car when we encounter a road construction crew. Time and time again I am shown there is wonder and awe in the mundane as much as the majestic. So when we took Jasper to Northwest Trek this Fall I thought he would be really excited about the tram ride, but in actuality he was equally pumped about the information signs on the walking paths, pine needles and being a rebel by not walking on the pavement. Kids these days, they are just so easy to please!
In all my visits to San Francisco I have never visited Land's End before. From the moment I laid eyes on this place I loved it. From the fresh sea air, to the window blown trees, and the beautifully rugged landscape. I can only imagine how spectacular it was to have a swimming pool right here. If I lived in San Francisco these trails would become woven into the fabric of my life.
We are fortunate to live near hundreds of islands, but the thought has never really occurred to me to go island hopping for the day. Usually, we have a destination in mind and the ferry is the means to get there, this time we decided to try something we had never done before and go island hopping. We knew we could head to Vashon Island and then hop on over to Tacoma but we have never done so. We live so close to the Vashon Island ferry within minutes we were cruising across the water and heading toward our island adventure. No traffic, no waits, perfection on a sunny Saturday with an antsy toddler in the back seat.
It is easy to forget about places like Pike Place Market when it is cold outside and rainy days become the norm. However, Pike Place Market is still a vibrant, thriving market place even when the thermometer drops. The biggest appeal once the crowds thin are you can easily find a parking space and you are no longer elbow to elbow with tourists. In between appointments we made a quick pit stop at Pike Place Market for the essentials: Ellenos yogurt, a bag of fresh green grapes, a couple apples and a bouquet of fresh flowers. Most importantly, amidst the fresh produce and tchotchkes I was able to find a little hope of Spring. Often when I think about heading downtown I can talk myself out of it. However, these type of spontaneous trips remind me how much richer life is when we approach life with a little bit of wonder and fill each day with adventures that make our heart sing.
After a tough day of snowshoeing with Jasper a couple weeks ago we both felt like throwing in the towel on future trips this Winter. However, later that week we were able to take him and have such a fun time. At the spot where we took our break Jasper insisted on me lifting him high in the sky over and over again. All while telling Cameron "one more cheese" meaning take another photo please. There are so many highs and lows when it comes to parenting, a happy day on the trail is such a high for me! One of my New Year's Resolutions is to get out from behind the camera more often and these photos of Jasper and I are such treasures to me.
When we go on a city vacations the food is always what gets us the most excited to get out of bed in the morning. The best part of traveling to a world class city like San Francisco is there are always more places we want to eat than meals in a day. Especially now that we have a perpetually hungry toddler, our city vacations go a little something like this: walk, eat, sleep, repeat.
Last year I came to the realization of how wonderful Volunteer Park is for little ones. Volunteer park is diverse and spacious with plenty of room to run around, things to look at (from the sculptures to the water tower) and spots to picnic at. One of my favorite places in Volunteer Park is the children's playground which we often find empty and has a designated area for little ones. Between the Volunteer Park Conservatory, the open spaces, the playground and Volunteer Park Cafe nearby it makes for the perfect morning out with your little one, best friend or mother.
I always appreciate hearing different point of views on parenting because usually that means I can find something which resonates with me. Traveling with kids was one of those big question marks for my husband and I. We had traveled extensively before having children and we weren't certain how it would be after having them. It wasn't until my son was 1.5 years old that we took the leap of faith and brought him on his first flight. However, in his first year and a half of life we did a lot of traveling starting when he was just shy of two months old. I remember the first time we packed the car with baby stuff and we were like. "Wow, this is a lot of stuff for one tiny person!" In that first year and a half of his life we went to the coast, the mountains, the city and everywhere in between. Although we did not fly anywhere we took him on a ton of road trips and learned loads about how to keep a baby and then eventual toddler entertained while in the car.