Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring Time Adventures {Evans Creek Preserve}


It's still a bit drizzly and chilly outside here in the Pacific Northwest. But we've had a taste of blue skies sunshine here and there. And it is making me super antsy to get outside and explore.

This fun list of family friendly hikes was making its round on Facebook last week giving me some inspiration to bundle up a bit and head out. The weather did cooperate for us and we saw glimpses of  sunshine and not a rain drop fell on us. (I'm a fair weather gal for sure!!)

This was our first time to Evans Creek Preserve in Redmond and we all gave it a two thumbs up. Lots of beautiful scenery and tons of fun bridges/boardwalks to walk on.


Shane loved all the stumps and trees to climb on.





Adalyn is doing a lot better with her walking/hiking skills. Though those little legs need some breaks and piggy-back rides now and then. She is powered through most of the walking on her own on this adventure. 



"Take my picture, Mommy!

We've been to 7 out of 10 of the places on the list. We've got our eyes on #6, #8 and #9 as the months get warmer and warmer!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Fireplace Remodel

One thing I really really wanted in a house when we were looking to buy 5 years ago, was a mantel. Well, we got a fireplace (actually two), but the mantel area was lacking.


Technically, there was some small bumpy brick area to use for decor, but it wasn't really very functional or what I had in mind when I dreamed of a home with a mantel. On top of that fact, the whole brick area above the fireplace was just plain odd.

After many years of dreaming, wondering and conceptualizing what we could do with the space above the fireplace, a plan was conceived. We got to work

We knew that we wanted a rustic mantel piece. We did a lot of searching and finally discovered the perfect piece at an antique like store in Mount Vernon. It was a part of a 70+ year old telephone pole.







Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Conversations With Shane



Prior to today, Shane has loudly proclaimed his desire to NEVER get married and to live in a RV with a German Shepard as his dog. We have heard this proclamation over and over again for the past couple years.

After school today:

Shane: Mommy, can you get married and not have kids.

Me: Oh, sure. People do that. Marriage doesn't mean you have to have kids. That is between you and your wife to decide.

Shane: I'm going to marry someone!

Me: Who are you going to marry?

Shane: I'll tell you later...I'm busy making my book store in my room.

Me: Oh, Ok!

A couple hours later in the car:

Shane: I forgot to tell you who I was going to marry.

Me: Oh, yes. Who?!

Shane: Megan. We've got it all planned out.

Me: I thought you were going to live in a RV with your dog and not get married. What about kids?

Shane: I'm still going to have an RV and a dog, but I'm going to marry Megan now. She is okay with the RV and a dog. We have it all planned out. Megan is okay with not having kids.

Me: When are you going to get married?

Shane: In 23 years.

Me: How old will you be then?

Shane: (doing some calculations) 29...no 30. I'll be 30.

Me: Yep, you'll be 30. That is a long time away. Do you think you might change your mind over the next 30 years.

Shane: No. It will be hard if we aren't in the same class next year. I really need her to be in the same class as me. But we still can get married even if she isn't. We have a really good start, too, because we were in toddler group together. 

This conversation continued for a good 5 more minutes until we got to our destination. We discussed long distance relationships (in case she isn't in his class next year). We chatted about kissing (and how that doesn't happen until after you are 18...thought I'd throw it in there just for good measure). How he said in high school you can kiss during recess. He then didn't believe me when I said there was no recess in high school. Blew his mind away. We talked about how old Kenny and I were when we got married (28) and that you can't get married until you are 18. 

He continued to tell me that Megan and he had it "planned out". That they need to wear fancy wedding clothes to get married in. That they need to plan out where they are going to live tomorrow.

I listened the whole time with out laughing, with out judging and with out telling him the reality of his "plans". I wanted to remember every word he said. I wanted to laugh at his innocence at it all. I wanted to scream stop...stop...you are only 7....stop this nonsense. In the end really it was a very sweet conversation.

A bit of history on this marriage stuff...last week his 1st grade teacher announced her engagement to Mr. Frost. Shane came home to tell me all the details about her ring and all the "jewels and crystals" in it and how shiny it was. How her name would change to Mrs. Frost. He was insanely excited about this announcement. More then I could ever imagine he would be. He told me they saw Mr. Frost today at school. His eyes just light up. He was in the parking lot during lunch recess talking to his teacher.

Ah, the life of a 1st grader.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween {2014}

The kids had a pretty awesome Halloween week!

Adalyn had a fall party at preschool on Thursday were she practiced her trick or treating and ate some yummy food. I had fun seeing her in her preschool world. She also got to spend Halloween day at Sarah's house were they got some afternoon trick or treating in at Park Place in Kirkland, did some art projects and made cookies.

Shane had a Halloween party on Friday. I was able to organize it, but I wasn't able to be there. Which was a bummer for both of us. I did mange to arrive in time for the school costume parade and surprised him with that.

Per our Halloween tradition, we started out trick or treating in downtown Kirkland. Visiting the stores and restaurants in the daylight is so much fun. They get lots of attention and really enjoy it.

Shane was a knight/gladiator. He picked this costume over the big fuzzy bear one that he was considering as well. This was a big costume transition year for him from cute animal to mean warrior.

Adalyn went as a pumpkin. That was what she requested in September and that is what she stuck to all along. The funniest part was she had to have a headband with her pumpkin costume, but then of course wore it a whole 5 minutes.


Mr. Knight was struggling to have fun at first. Big event days like this make him a bit more up and down with his moods. He warmed up after 5 minutes or so of trick or treating.


I worked on Halloween and decided last minute that I needed to participate in the costume arena for my little toddlers and my own kiddos. I grabbed my cat tail, some eye liner and made myself some cat ears and voila...a black cat I was. Adalyn was impressed. Shane wasn't.

Look Mommy, I got candy!!

Ah, he is happy now!

The famous Kirkland cow and coyote all dressed up.

Shane lost his first tooth last year while eating a sandwich from Jimmy Johns. He was determined to have it happen again this year. But to no avail, it didn't...even with 4 loose teeth.


After all of our fun in Kirkland, we came home to do some neighborhood trick or treating.


Our pumpkins: the top one is Kenny's, middle is Shane's and the bottom is mine and Adalyn's. Shane won for his 3rd year in a row for best tradition pumpkin at the pumpkin carvin' party at Dahlia's house this year. He is the big champion and he does NOT take that title lightly at all!!

Kenny's Halloween project. This pair of legs has been scaring me for weeks!

We came home to put Adalyn to bed and Shane instantly started in on sorting his candy. He was going to go back out with Kenny, but decided not to so he could just sort it.


The next morning they were back at the sorting again. 


Finally, by Saturday they were ready to buy it back from them. They got to pick 10 pieces and then I give them $5 each for the rest of it. Then Shane takes it to school and may just win a pizza party if his class has the most candy brought in! After that the candy makes its way overseas to soldiers.

The best part is they didn't even ask for a piece of candy all day today!

39 Acts of Kindness

At the beginning of this year, a friend of mine asked people to join her in completing 39 acts of kindness for her final year of being in her 30's.

My first 10 are here.

I don't want this post to be boastful. That isn't my intent at all. I've really enjoyed breaking out of my box and finding ways, which are often very small, to be kind.

11. I got gas for Kenny in his car. Getting gas is one of my least favorite "chores", making this act of kindness even more of a big deal.

12. I loaned our dog crate to a family that we don't know that was looking for an extra dog crate for their dog that had hip surgery. They had our crate for 3 months. It was a total leap of faith since I had no outside connections to this family. The crate was returned with out any issues.

13. I loaned our small/extra tent out to another couple that I didn't know. They were looking to go camping for the weekend, but didn't have a tent and normally sleep in their car. I loved that our tent was getting out and being used. They ended up repaying my kindness with a 6 pack of hard cider and chocolate! That was totally unexpected.

14., 15. and 16. I helped along with other friends preparing a meal at Ronald McDonald's house for families that have kiddos in Children's Hospital. Serving up food to these families was really humbling and you find yourself so grateful for healthy kiddos.

17., 18., 19., 20., and 21. I sent 5 cards to 5 special people in my life.

22. I baked some muffins and gave a couple to a friend.

23. I delivered a cupcake to a friend for Mother's Day.

24. I delivered a cupcake to Adalyn's speech teacher for Teacher Appreciation Day.

25. I delivered a cupcake to my new co-worker that I had never meet on Teacher Appreciation Day.

26. Our family participated in helping to make hundreds of "blessing bags" at our church.

27. - 35. We purchased 10 of these blessing bags and have been handing them out to people we see on the corner in need. We handed out 8 out of 10 of them so far. It feels really good to know when you pull up to someone in need you have a way to help them.

36. I loaned someone, that I don't know, my two ceramic tea pots for a tea party they were attending.

37. I made a necklace and gifted it to a friend, just to show her how special she is.

38. I wrote a card to our Pastor to express my gratitude in his dedication and commitment to our church.

39. I passed on clothes that Adalyn had outgrown to a friend.

40. I picked up a free pair a jeans that I saw that I thought a friend of mine's daughter would like to have.

41. I paid for someones order at Starbucks.

42. I shut the door of a car for a little girl who has having problems closing it behind her in the car line at school.

43. I took some banana bread to Shane's teacher at the end of the 1st day of school.

44. Shane and I volunteered at Food Lifeline and bagged up granola and coffee beans to be given out to families in need.

45. We delivered cookies to our new neighbors when they moved in.

46.+ I joined a Facebook group called "Buy Nothing Kirkland". The Buy Nothing Project started on Bainbridge Island over a year ago as a way to gift your neighbors items that you don't need or want any more. This group has been amazing. I've gifted over 20+ quality items to my neighbors. Things that we don't need any more, but others do. It goes directly to someone living in my community and saves these items from the landfill or moving out of our community. In turn, I've been gifted amazing things as well. This summer all of us were able to bike ride together because we were gifted a bike for Kenny, a new helmet for myself and Adalyn. That just is the tip of the iceberg in the BNK world. There are over 150 Buy Nothing Projects. There may just be one in your neighborhood!

It takes a bit of time to list and gift these items, but that extra step and time truly is the point of acts of kindness.

It may just take an extra second or two to complete an act of kindness. Sometimes it takes longer. But in the end that act of kindness blossoms and blooms and becomes this wonderful thing floating and shifting in the world. The lines are blurred on really how much or how far an act of kindness can go. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Back To School {September 2014}


I'm a month or so behind, but the kids are back to school! We've settled in nicely to our new school routine and schedule. I must say the schedule this year is fabulous and it is only going to get better from here on out!


Shane has transitioned into full day 1st grade. He jumped back to school loving it, but then realized that he didn't have as much time to play any more. Weeks 2 and 3 were quite a bit harder. He reverted back to crying before school and not wanting to go. By week 4 he was back to loving school and no tears, which makes my life so much easier! We just had conferences last week and he is doing great. Math comes pretty naturally and easy for him. He is working on his reading and writing, but right where he is suppose to be. We are doing a lot around here to make reading fun and something he'll enjoy doing. Writing is his least favorite thing to do, but he has great ideas, it is just getting him to get them down on paper.


Adalyn has started her 1st year of preschool and is loving it! She goes two days a week for just a little over 2 hours each time. Days that she doesn't go she is upset and wants to go more. She is 100% the opposite of her brother at this stage in life. It is so refreshing to drop her off at school when she has a big smile on her face and can't wait to go.

I work on Fridays from 9-2pm as a Parenting Educator at Lake Washington Toddler Group. Moving my work schedule from Saturday to Friday has been really awesome. I didn't expect the day change to effect me so much, but it really has.

Between having Shane in school full time, Adalyn in school a tiny tiny bit and my work schedule things seem to be flowing nicely. On Friday's, while I work, Adalyn goes to a friends house just minutes from where we leave. She gets to spend the day with an awesome Mommy and her daughter who is roughly the same age as Adalyn. I feel super duper blessed to have had this childcare fall into my lap.

Here's to an awesome school year!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

First Real Soccer Season

It happened...Shane asked to play soccer.

After his dislike for it when he was a toddler I thought we might just skip over the whole soccer thing. But then he started to play it at recess at school. Then he started to talk about soccer non-stop (in the middle of baseball season). Then he wanted to play soccer at home. Finally, he asked if he could join a team. Ok, Ok, we'll let you give soccer a second try. And darn it, he likes it a lot and he is actually even pretty darn good at it, too.

He plays on a U-8 soccer team called the Juanita Lightning. They haven't won a single game. But they are getting better and better each game and it is a lot of fun to see the boys improve each week.

This particular game they played a super super good team. Shane also played a whole half as goalie for the first time. I don't think goalie is his favorite position, although he played it really hard and intensely.






One of the funniest things about Shane playing soccer is how right in the middle of everything he is. After living with this kid who has had major anxiety and is super sensitive and hated soccer when he was 3 years old because the kids were to close to him and there was too much movement. He is now right smack in the middle of it all. It amazes me every time I see him play. It is a huge reminder of how far he has come.





Cheering his team on from the sidelines. Another awesome thing about this soccer season is that we've yet to play or practice in the rain! I'll be a soccer Mom any day in the sunshine. It's that cold, rain and mud that gets me. 


Today after practice he asked me if he could play next season, too. I think we may have ourselves a soccer player. Shhhh....Don't tell him that there is a such thing as indoor soccer. I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Jetty Island

For years I've wanted to go to Jetty Island up north in Everett. It takes a little planning and a non-napper. This year we made it happen.

You take literally a 3 minute "ferry" ride from the marina to the island. 
That dock/little marina behind the boat is where we were headed.

Riding over. Smiles 'cause we got on the very first ferry on opening day! 


Tide was out...time to explore.


My favorite new beach item...our shade tent. So easy to put up and take down. 
Makes days at the beach awesome and I can't wait to take it camping. 
Some day I just know I'll need it for a rainy day while watching sports. 


Bubble catching is their new favorite beach activity.


We took a short walk around a bit of the island. 
There is a total of 4 miles of walking trails. 
A very cool place to explore.

You can see the tip of the island behind them.
Where we were at there were tons of people, 
but just a little walk down there was no one in sight.

She sat on this bucket and sang songs for the longest time.

Shane called this paradise (except for where all the people were at).

A fun adventure. Sadly, the blue skies that started the day out with us, turned cloudy half the way through. We hope to come back again and explore and play more next summer.