March 20, 2017

capture

I was looking through some photos from my fabulous friend, Kelsey, and I love this one of me and the boys so much. It perfectly captures their personalities. I was working with a client the other day who wanted to incorporate some personal art into her home. Now, I know that some people have opinions about family pictures being a design "faux pas" but seriously? We live here!

Anyway, this client had grown children and had NEVER had professional family pictures taken. She has the means but never got around to it. I encouraged her to get some pictures taken before her youngest high schoolers graduated and moved out. I'm so grateful that I've had many wonderful photographers to capture moments and seasons in my family's life. Even if you can't afford to get them professionally taken, I suggest setting up a camera and taking a family picture every once in a while. One where the parents are IN THEM. I hope my children cherish these photos with us, kissing their faces. Smiling along side them. Loving them. These photos are a gift that I'll always be grateful for.
2016 - Kelsey Henry
2015 - Danica Kimball

2014 - Ashley Nielson

2013 - Brittany LeSueur
2013 - Blue Lily
2010 - Lori Hull

March 15, 2017

new phase on the horizon

I've been thinking a lot about how I'm entering a new phase of life. I really don't have a baby anymore (contrary to what Louisa believes - "I'n a baby! Not big gwirw!") That's a hard realization but it's also exciting. I'm excited for what lies ahead with science projects, playing games, talking about deeper topics, laughing at crushes. Life is short and I've never been more sure of how I want to appreciate each day. Louisa has one more year at home before I'm going to put her in preschool a couple of days a week. I hope to relish this time.

Here are a few pictures from my iPhone that never made it to Instagram that I want to document. Just random tidbits of the growing up of my children the last few months.
He can still fall asleep anywhere and still sucks his thumb.
She loves having tea parties with her animals. She fills the teapot up with water from the bathroom sink and spills it everywhere so I designated this towel as her "tea party" towel. It works.
Swinging is still her favorite. She was especially cold this day and I had to wrap her up in a fuzzy blanket I had from the car while she swung. I love her little face.
On one of our best snow days, Fritz marveled at how beautiful our yard was covered in a blanket of white. This was right before we all geared up in our snow clothes and headed down the trail to the big hill. Fritz was the only one brave enough to do it! He really got going!
The Seattle Zoo has a great carousel that the kids loved riding on. Those are some happy faces right there!
This is a quintessential childhood picture of my kids. Fritz in jammies. Lulu in her tutu and crown with her fingertips covered in black olives. What a great life.
I was walking down our stairs the other day to put in a load of laundry and almost stepped on this booby trap the boys had made from watching Home Alone too many times. Haha! Let's hope they don't try the hot door handle trick.

March 13, 2017

snow day

We've had quite a few snow days this year, which is somewhat unusual for the Seattle area! On one of the first snows we had, we drove up to the mountains on a Saturday where there was the most snow. We brought a sled, hot cocoa in a thermos and some sandwiches.
We found a secluded spot by a closed bridge and walked down to the river and used the sled a few times before we walked over to the frozen river and threw snowballs on it to watch them break apart. Hearing the giggles of my children, watching David pull them fast on the sled, snuggling with Lulu before she fell asleep were those moments when I stopped in the sunlight and closed my eyes to really feel present in the moment.
I love this family of mine. We love the Pacific Northwest too. I hope we never leave.

March 9, 2017

adventure to the sun

We took a trip down south a couple of weeks ago and after spending 60 hours in the car, I finally feel ready to talk about it. :) We had a few snags in the trip, and I really didn't take very many pictures, but please indulge me.
prettiest camellias in Sacramento
On Friday we packed up and headed to Sacramento, where David's sister lives. We drove through the night and arrived early Saturday morning. The kids played around in their backyard and we enjoyed some beautiful California weather while I picked a camellia and marveled at its beauty. Did you know that Sacramento is amazing? More on that later... One of our first stops as soon as we arrived in California... In-N-Out. Duh.
Anyway, after a few hours of sleep for David (since he had driven all night long), we headed down to San Diego. We met up with our friends for dinner that night and it was so great to see them. I miss my San Diego families! It was fun to see how much their kids have grown and watch them interact with my kids. 

We checked into our hotel and that was one of the highlights of the trip for the kids. They thought it was so fun to stay in a hotel. I secretly love it too. The next morning, David met up with some old co-workers for lunch while the kids and I headed to the pool. It was still February so it wasn't busy and the pool was slightly cold, so we mostly stayed in the hot tub. Will did swim a little in the big pool (which reminded me that he really needs lessons) and I swam some laps (which reminded me that I should exercise more). Louisa was exhausted and fell asleep all wrapped up in a towel. She looked so sweet and beautiful. I love this little girl. 
That night, we met up with our friends again at Moonlight Beach with pizza from Urbn. It was so fun to chat some more and put my toes in the sand and breathe the salty air. Sometimes I really miss California. 
Then we packed up the car again and headed over the mountains to El Centro to stay with David's family for a couple of days. The kids had lots of fun making crafts, flying Star Wars kites, watching the turtles (particularly Lulu) and William and my MIL put together "Sweetie's Sweets Shop", which was a closet in the kitchen that they converted into a shop complete with all kinds of candy that you could buy for a penny. William was the employee and they had a lot of fun.

After a few days there, we drove to Arizona to see my family. We ate our weight in AZ citrus and just enjoyed talking to our families. It was really nice to just talk to everyone and be a part of the gathering. The day before we left, David went in my parents' backyard with the boys. We were planning on going on a date that night since my parents said they'd babysit (WOO HOO!). I was inside talking to my sister and brother-in-law. William came inside and said very timidly, "Um, my dad got hurt." No one heard him so he said it again a little more loudly, "My dad got hurt!" My brother-in-law heard him say it that time, so he went outside to find David trying to drag himself across the lawn into the house from the trampoline. Apparently the kids had asked him to jump with them and the middle of the trampoline must have had a small rip, because he fell right through and caught his ankle on the way down. Within a couple of minutes, his ankle had swelled up to the size of one of the many grapefruit we had been devouring. 
We immediately immersed it in a bucket of ice water but once we saw how badly bruised and swollen it was, our date night to get tacos turned into a date night at Urgent Care to get an X-ray. It wasn't broken but he has a really bad sprain. Poor David was in a lot of pain, and he still has trouble walking on it. Hopefully he'll be able to recover quickly and fully. This experience has made me appreciate more fully how involved David is in keeping our home and family together (I do recognize it often but this magnified his hard work). I don't know how I'd handle everything if I didn't have him as my partner. 

We had dinner with my family before we left town and my sister-in-law snagged this picture right before we got back in the car (hence the pajamas on Will and Fritz). I can't believe these boys are this old! Seems like yesterday this picture was taken. William and the twins, Hank and George, are only ten days apart. The years have flown by. They're all as cute as ever!
The next day was our drive home and since we'd be in the car for 30 hours, we wanted David to be able to elevate his leg as much as possible so he didn't get a clot. I ended up driving for a good chunk of the trip but once I got too sleepy, we had to switch. We stopped in Sacramento one more day with David's sister and she gave us a tour of Sacramento and I love it there! If we could afford a Fab 40 house, I could love to live there!

I know. This is a travel log, but it's still something I want to remember. It's nice to be home but we enjoyed our ten days in the sun!

January 26, 2017

BUTTERNUT SQUASH + SWEET POTATO GINGER SOUP WITH HERB PARMESAN CROUTONS

All good things in that title! This is a great soup that looks and tastes really luxurious. The richness is deceptively healthy because of pureed squash and sweet potatoes. I add a tiny drizzle of cream on top but other than that, the richness is already very sufficient on its own. The herbed croutons are the other best part of this soup. The flavors and textures together really create a glorious concoction that is the perfect way to warm up any day!
BUTTERNUT SQUASH, SWEET POTATO + GINGER SOUP WITH BACON AND HERB PARMESAN CROUTONS
3 strips of bacon, chopped in 1/2" pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1(2 - 3 pound) butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and diced
2 large garnet yams / sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
7 cups chicken stock
Heavy cream, for drizzling garnish
Herb Parmesan Croutons, for garnish (recipe below)

Heat a large Dutch oven or pot over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until rendered and you have a good amount of bacon grease. Remove bacon from pot and place on paper towels. Keep grease in the pot and add the chopped onion. Saute the onion for 6-7 minutes until translucent. Add fresh ginger and saute another minute. Stir in fresh thyme and saute another minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in butternut squash, all the potatoes and the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and season with salt. Let cook over a medium simmer (roughly 30 minutes) until the squash and potatoes are soft.

Using an immersion blender (alternatively, very carefully, transfer to a blender) and blend until very smooth. Return to pot (if you transferred to a blender) and stir to remove any lumps and season with salt and pepper, as needed. Serve with a group of croutons (recipe below), a drizzle of heavy cream, and the reserved chopped bacon.

CROUTONS:
1 loaf of french bread, baguette or rolls (any stale rustic bread will work), cut into 1" cubes
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 Tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan
Salt + Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until fully coated (you may need a little more olive oil if you feel the croutons aren't evenly coated). Pour onto a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before topping on soup.