March + April – Europe with a Toddler // Recap Post

March + April – Europe with a Toddler // Recap Post

Can you believe it’s May already? It’s amazing the difference just two months can make. When I switched to doing these every other month, I realized there is a bit of wonder in looking back more than 60 days to see how things change so much in such a short time. And spring is such a huge example of that. When we left for Germany in early March, there was still nearly two feet of snow at our house. When I came back, it was more or less all gone, and now we have flowers and real spring!

March – Germany & Italy

1. Flying for us is always a bit weird because we need to be near two different hubs in Germany, to visit family, so we usually pick one and then have to drive/train to the other and it’s a mess. This time we flew in and out of Munich, and while I like it much better, I’m still not a huge fan because Germany won’t let me opt out of the scanners. Ugggh. But, we booked an airport hotel since we got in late and were driving up to the Frankfurt area the next morning. We stayed at this Holiday Inn Express at the airport, which had a pack and play, a decent breakfast spread, and (bonus!) we had a room with a direct view of takeoff and N let me know (every 90 seconds) that a new plane was taking off. Toddler approved.

2. In a super funny coincidence, my family is from about an hour away from where H’s mom grew up. And while we were there, we realized last minute that we had a free afternoon and a rental car, and we drove over to the town my great-grandparents are from. It’s basically a suburb of Frankfurt now, and the weather was all over the place, but it was cool to see. Next time, I’ll plan a little better.

Frankfurt am Main OberRosbach Germany

3. The Airbnb apartment we rented had this great little Winter Gartenwhich is kind of like a sunroom, but this fabulous thing Americans don’t have. Basically, they’re greenhouses attached to your home. Usually not heated, this one had a little space heater and I parked myself out there in the sunshine during naps to enjoy the view…

4. …and to work on a cross stitch. After having N, I really needed a hobby that wasn’t writing to my politicians or reading books, something that was compact, easy to pick up when I had 15 minutes, travel with, and didn’t take up too much space. I tried embroidery and cross stitch and prefer cross stitch for now.

Eltville am Rhein // Modern Cross Stitch

5. A rainbow from the Autobahn. The Autobahn is just as crazy and beautiful as you might think, and I will probably never ever drive in Germany because I find them so overwhelming. But I do find it fascinating that Germans make it quite hard an expensive to get a license, and then trust that their drivers will follow the rules and make the best decisions based on their abilities and their vehicle. It places a lot of trust in drivers. Anyway! I think this was from when we detoured to pick up a cousin of H’s that I’d never met after his flights got messed up and we drove him down to Bavaria with us. Kismet.

6. We barely spent any time in Munich proper for this trip, since we basically camped out in a tiny Bavarian village with family, but we did make it to the aquarium and N was absolutely thrilled. She loved pointing out all the fish and the sharks and basically said ‘yaaaaay’ and clapped her hands the whole time. Win. And since we spent so much time hanging out with family, at the hotel pool, and just relaxing, I didn’t take many photos this time. But it was good and I ate really well.

Germany Autobahn // Munich Aquarium

7. Rome! We went to Germany for Opa’s 90th birthday party, but when H had to fly back for work stuff, N and I took advantage of the fact that tickets were the same price a week later to stay longer. I wasn’t sure what we were doing until about a month before our trip when we made the decision to spend 5 days in Rome. It was lovely, it was strange, and I have mixed feelings.

8. I have no mixed feelings about Roman pizza. It’s amazing. We adored the cold pizza by the kilo during the day (my fave had fresh ricotta and basil with the thinnest schmear of tomato sauce) and never had it hot from the ovens because we were too exhausted to eat dinner out and only tourist places serve hot pizza before like 7:30pm. N adored it, and we adored all the pizza store owners who saw her and handed her a roll or slice of bread. She learned early on to say grazie! with a big smile.

Italy with a Toddler // Italian Pizza

9. This church was near the bus stop by our Airbnb and there was a small fountain and square and N loved it. We would grab gelato or pizza and sometimes sit here while waiting to grab a bus and people watch. Rome is fab for people watching.

10. At a piazza, listening to music, and sitting next to a fountain. And shortly before having gelato or pasta. Seriously, Rome was N’s dream, because everyone loves kids, and N loves the food they have there. We did a lot of walking – I do regret not bringing a stroller because she got heavy after 2-3 miles of carrying her – but she was a champ and I was so proud of her.

Rome Churches and Fountains with a Toddler

11. A little action shot of how carrying her went most days. I usually used a ring sling because she would want to rest for a bit, and then I had a purse or my backpack to wear as well. A couple times when we just popped out for groceries or to grab take away pasta or gelato, I would back carry her in our Tula. But usually I used the ring sling and a backpack. It was not easy. I think we averaged about 6 miles a day while in Rome.

12. And then, after she went to bed at night, I would power through 2-3 hours of work on my laptop at the tiny table in the kitchen. Because of the poor internet connection at the Munich hotel, I played catch up and had to do a lot more work while we were in Italy. But it was worth it. A couple times we took it easy and I would come back with her for naps to work while she slept.

Wildbird Ring Sling Rome // Working Remotely

13. Gelato face! This was good gelato, but not our favorite. We had gelato every single day, and even had some at the airport on our way back to Munich. N would pick one flavor, and I would pick the second. Usually, she wanted a berry flavor or chocolate. Once she got a mint flavor, and then decided my nutella was better and ate most of mine.

14. We make it to the Pantheon, but didn’t make it inside. Instead, we played in the fountain, charmed a bunch of French school kids with our strawberry hat, and watched all the people.

Best Gelato in Rome // Traveling with a Kid

15. Rome, like Athens, had a lot of beautiful tile and stone work. One of the greatest parts about going at “toddler speed” is that you often have to stop and look at things more often. It takes longer, and sometimes it can be frustrating, but other times it means you notice this beautiful tile work in a building nearby and check it out.

16. I booked us tickets on a Big Bus tour and we rode around for two days hopping on and off. N loved waving to people, seeing all the ‘vest-pass’ drive by, and pointing out all the oranges on the trees. I don’t know if it was the best way to see Rome, but it was fun and she loved it and I at least got to see a few things and we got the lay of the land.

Pretty tile // Tour buses in Rome and Orange Trees

17. The craziest day we had was when we went to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. It was nuts. We got conned into a tour which at the Colosseum was meh, but the guide for the Forum and Palatine Hill was amazing. We walked at least 8 miles that day, and N did probably half of them on her own. She powered through nap time, played with rocks at the Roman Forum and climbed the stairs at the Colosseum. At the end of the day, she told me that she loved ‘playing in the dirt in the old plays with the towers’.

The Roman Forum and Colosseum

18. On our last full day in Rome, we spent the morning at St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. I knew that we wouldn’t be able to handle the Vatican Museums, but I really wanted to see the Pieta, which is at St. Peter’s. We were able to skip the line when a kind security guard took pity on us, and N had a blast finding all the stars on the floor of the Basilica, told me the mama looked sad in the Pieta, and giggled when the bells rang. We picked out postcards and mailed them. Then we ate chips after leaving the square and giggled at the pigeons.

19. This was a side street near our Airbnb. My regret is that I also had put off seeing a couple of the more touristy sites – Trevi fountain and the Spanish Steps – and they were a zoo on a Friday night. I would take the advice to see them early in the day, and frankly, I didn’t think they were that great (but I hate crowds). We did wander through Piazza Navona again (from the fountain up above) and there was a great quartet playing music, tourists dancing as the sun set, and N loved that more.

Visiting the Vatican // Back Streets of Rome

20. We schlepped ourselves back to the train station at a leisurely pace (pro tip: always leave early with kids, it’s easier to go slow than to rush). Then we had this train station pasta which was still 100x better than most pasta in the US (that’s burrata cheese, not eggs) to fuel us on the first leg of so many to get home. We then flew to Munich to spend the night with family, before flying back home.

21. Due to a super delayed flight out of Philly, we had to overnight in Seattle, but the view of the mountain, which N delights in pointing out, almost made up for it. And like that, March was more or less over, we were home from Europe and it was time to slow down, a little, maybe, in April.

Rome Train Station // I Fly Alaska

 

April – Hustling, Gardening, Growing Things

1. We came back from our trip and I spent a couple hours doing a deep dive into the next couple months. I really love working at Rockwood Bakery because their food is amazing and they have no wifi! Which is super super helpful when I’m trying to sort through or organize things and don’t want to get distracted by social media.

2. We’ve been talking about overhauling our veggie garden (taking a cue from one of the home bloggers I follow, I’m going to call it my potager garden when it’s done) for years, and this year, we decided to pull the trigger. Of course, then our schedule got crazy and it rained and rained and rained, so it’s been a race against time and energy to get it done in time for growing season. Adventures in home renovation.

Rockwood Bakery // Potager Garden Remake

3. I took my Think Tank camera bag apart and we used it as one of our carry on suitcases for our trip. It’s a bit tedious to do that, so I don’t do it very often, but it’s also nice because I have to clean it out. When I was putting all my gear back in it, my little assistant decided that I needed a couple friends to keep my lenses company for a few minutes.

4. When our home is chaos and we’re up to our eyeballs in renovation stuff, I try to find pretty little corners and enjoy them. This spot in our living room, with flowers on the piano, makes me very happy. I love having flowers in our home, and after we finish our potager garden, I’m going to start sketching out our front garden plans and slowly start working on them. One of my dreams is to plant a bunch of flowers for a cutting garden, because I adore having fresh flowers in our home.

Think Tank Camera Bag // Tulips in Spring

5. I guess I was on a French kick last month, because I also finally got around to making Smitten Kitchen’s updated French Onion Soup and then ate it for like a week. I probably didn’t cook it long enough, but it was better the next day (and the next) and I’m game to try it again – when soup season starts back up.

6. I cut way back on weddings this year, and I’ve been shooting more families, head shots, and working with small businesses. It’s been fantastic. I love weddings and I am going to write more about this choice later, but I needed to breathe and try new things too. This was from when I was waiting to meet with a new client.

Smitten Kitchen French Onion Soup

7. My husband has been traveling a LOT this month, which means a lot of juggling too. The dog isn’t always well behaved enough to handle him on a walk and keep an eye on little miss, so she got some mama snuggles and the dog got a walk and everyone was happy. Remember the pregnancy photo of me from this same window? It’s a good then and now.

8. We went over to Gonzaga for an Easter Egg hunt, and after getting eggs, N made a beeline for Hughes Hall. Maybe I’ve got a future paleontologist on my hands? She does love dinosaurs!

South Perry District Life // Gonzaga Easter Egg Hunt

9 & 10: Snuggling up with my girl before heading out to work at Confetti Spokane. This season of being a parent, and a small business owner, has really challenged me in so many ways. I’m juggling the hustle and learning how to be present with her and present with my business and not feel the mama guilt. I want her to see me do something that empowers me and others, to build a business that I’m proud of, to do a job that brings joy to people. And sometimes that means I have to leave, I have to put myself and my work before her. But I know we’ve built a good network of daycare and family who care for her and love her. And she love them all too. Which helps on those long days.

Mom Boss Style // Confetti Spokane

11. One of my favorite things from Confetti was meeting the delightful Tia, who runs In Bloom Flower Farm and is a local florist. She was helping all the lovely ladies make these beautiful flower crowns and made me a gorgeous one to wear. I had such fun and my husband got a good laugh out of it when I got home.

12. Toddler style is the best. This jacket is still huge on her, but she is in love with it and wants to wear it all the time now. I look at her sometimes, and I can see hints of what she’ll be like when she grows up, and it makes my heart ache in so many ways. This stage of life has been exhausting. She is a whirlwind of pure energy, but it’s also been so full of joy. To see her explore and experience new things. To see her find her voice and her confidence.

Flowers in my hair // toddler fashion

13. Last spring, we planted a plum tree and a peach tree in our back yard. We had to remove our backyard maple tree a few years back because we found out during the windstorm in 2015 that there was some serious rot in the limbs (one almost fell on our garage and missed the garage and me by inches). As sad as that was, it was the perfect chance for us to plant a couple fruit trees. We ordered these two tree last year, and this year, the peach tree bloomed! They’ve still got at least another year before they’ll fruit, but I’m so excited about them.

14. The lack of a garden and the cold weather has kept me from actually buying any plants, but it didn’t keep us from scoping them out and dreaming of what we’ll put in the front garden as well as our potager garden.

Urban gardening // Liberty Park Florist

15. Surprise flowers from H, which he sent to both of us girls because he missed us. N has been telling us that the pink and white ones are for mama, but the purple ones are for her. And papa sent them for us from the airplane. :)

16. Omi and Opi have this sweet little desk/chair set in Germany, and so we made our own version so that N can “work with mama” in my office. It still needs to be painted, but she’s been loving having a dedicated coloring space. Because these are modular, they can both be chairs or desks.

Rose & Blossom bouquet // modular children's furniture

January + February – The Big Snow // Recap Post

January + February – The Big Snow // Recap Post

I brought a whole folder full of work to do while I was out of town earlier this month, with the thought that between visiting family, adventuring with little miss, and flying here and there and everywhere with a toddler, I would be able to blog like 10 posts. That obviously didn’t happen. Being an entrepreneur means I’m constantly trying to carve out a few more minutes of work time, but honestly, it was fantastic to just be present with our family and I’m so glad I did. I barely took any photos, between chasing the toddler and catching up. It was a good trip!

So, let’s talk about January and February! They are slow, cold months up here. We fought off a couple nasty colds and shoveled tons of snow. I was a vendor at Bride’s Night at Barrister in January, and then did some fun work at the Convention Center in February, but I mainly tried to catch up on a lot of behind the scenes stuff and spent time with my family. Now that spring is on it’s way, I’m ready to look back at the photos of all that snow!

January:

1. I kicked off the month with some DIY projects to get ready for Bride’s Night at Barrister. I haven’t done a wedding show since before N was born and I was kinda nervous and totally had to make a last minute trip to the store and a buy a bunch of stuff and somehow I survived!

2. My booth/table! It went really well and I had a blast. This show was so much more fun and less overwhelming than the big wedding show that happens at the Convention Center. I really prefer the small shows because they allow me more one on one time with people. I’ll also be at Confetti Spokane on April 18th, so if you’re engaged or if you know someone who is, please stop by and chat with me.

3. We went out to breakfast at the Satellite (best eggs Benny in town) and N got this absolutely adorable pig pancake for her breakfast! She surprised us by eating all her eggs and sausage, and most of the pancake on her own.

4. You know you do a lot of DIY when your kiddo has her own tool set and insists on fixing things around the house. She brings it out to work on stuff all the time and always wants to help us.

5. One of the best things we ever did was get an annual pass to Mobius. This year we upgraded to the Childrens + Science Museum, and I love taking N there for a couple hours to play. She loves all the fun toys and exhibits.

6. Fighting off a cold and needed some ring sling snuggles for her nap. She is pretty outspoken about which ‘uppie’ she uses, and demanded her blue ring sling for these snuggles (and for the trip we just took). I was planning to sell it, because we hadn’t been using it, but now it’s a favorite again.

7. We spent a bunch of Alaska miles and went to Mexico without the kiddo for a long weekend AND we flew first class. I took next to no photos because we mostly just spent hours catching up and talking and lounging in the warm weather by the pool, but this was my first time flying first class and it was SO nice. I really enjoyed having a few days without our kiddo to reconnect with my spouse.

8. While we were waiting to take off in Spokane, we saw the most beautiful winter sunrise and watched the fog burn off. I am not really a morning person, so sunrise isn’t something I see very often but I do love to see them when I can.

9.  This was my first time flying through San Diego, and we are dreaming of going back with N to explore. We’ve heard great things and it was a super quick little flight from Spokane.

10. A quick selfie after a fancy dinner out where we drank wine and didn’t talk about our kid – but did talk about our house. Hahaha! We had a blast in Puerto Vallarta and even though we didn’t do much exploring, with just a couple short days there, we enjoyed the parts of the city that we did see, and managed to pick up a few new things for our home too.

11. I love lasagna, but it’s such a pain to make, so when I do, I double the batch and make some freezer meals too. I made one full pan of lasagna, two half pans, and this sweet little lunch sized one. We froze these three and ate the full one (again and again).

12. N insisted on having her own fork and knife to eat, and often does now. I’m endlessly impressed by what they pick up from watching adults, and how kids learn to use utensils. Still working on our grip though! [Sources: Milk cup, plate, baking cup as a bowl, 360 cup, silverware]

 

February:

13. We kicked February off with a little ‘happy birthday’ party to our house. We closed on it five years ago! It’s been a crazy, wild, ride, and we love this place so much but it’s also been a lot slower than we expected. This year we are really hoping to do more work on the house, which means less travel, since we only have so much time and so much money. Boo! But for some reason, I was feeling super nostalgic and started an Instagram account for our house and travels. Come find us at @wenzel.haus and see more personal stuff there.

14. This sweet kitty of ours has been slowing down. I’m endlessly impressed by how she handles little miss snuggling her all the time. She gets less love and attention than she used to, but she’s still my snuggle baby and curls up next to me in the evenings or when I’m working at my computer.

15. The sass in this one. Our little miss would play out in the snow all day every day if we let her. I shared some of our winter layering tips on my Wenzel Haus Instagram account, and I have to say, we’ve been out for nearly an hour in 20F weather and she is still toasty warm when we come in. It’s been a learning process over the last two years, and it does require a bit of investing to get good stuff, but there’s tons of secondhand gear out there!

16. During the big snow storm, N insisted on going out and helping me shovel. She also ‘made tracks’ just like her favorite book character, Peter, from A Snowy Day.

17. Shadow is such a snow loving dog that even towards the end of the month, when the snow was so high we were all over it, he was still thrilled. Cold temps, on the other hand? He is not a fan of. He’ll put off going outside all day for freezing temps, but if it’s above freezing and snowing, he’s out there, playing around.

18. My chiropractor has some fun toys for kiddos to play with if they come in with you, which is great, since N comes with me pretty regularly. I try to schedule my appointments for when she’s at daycare, but that doesn’t always work, and I’m super thankful they’re so kid friendly at the chiro! She’s been coming with me since she was just a couple months old.

19. We’ve been doing another round of swim lessons this winter for my two fishes (H and N) and N thought that it was hilarious to wear her papa’s swim goggles around the house. She has loved swim, and it’s been so good to get her more accustomed to the water from an early age.

20. Last fall I picked up an old dresser for N’s room. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with it, but I stripped all the grime off the hardware that was left and bought a few replica pieces to match it for the handles that were missing. It took a lot of work and I might still need to do some more, but for now, it’s living in my office until the weather warms up and I can take it outside for paint and sanding.

21. Miss Lola went in for her annual check up and she was less than impressed with the vet, as usual. We love our vet and their beautiful building here in the Perry District. Cat parents – the Cat’s Meow is pretty amazing and we love them so much.

22. Rocking red lips while working. I’ve been super thrilled to be working with Gonzaga to offer headshots for their students at career fairs over the past few months. I’ve got to update my portfolios in April, but if you’re a small business in need of headshots, or if you’re looking to get some new photos of your business, contact me today.

23. We had a day that went completely sideways and ended up at The Shop for a cupcake and some dino time a few weeks ago. N had a blast putting all the dinos together with their friends and playing with all the toys. Super lucky to have such a kid friendly coffeeshop in our neighborhood.

24. We went to the Spokane Potter’s Guild’s chili feed in February, and N picked out this bowl as her own. She’s getting much much better with normal utensils and I’m grateful to be slowly leaving the era of bringing dishware when we travel because our kid can’t handle anything but plastic. It’s the little things!

And just like that, we flew through February and into March! We spent most of March traveling, so when I finally get around to recapping March and April, you know there will be some pretty travel photos!!

 


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August Recap – Flying Solo with a Toddler // Behind the Scenes

August Recap – Flying Solo with a Toddler // Behind the Scenes

August. The month of smoke, blistering hot days, and more smoke. Oof. I pitched taking our big vacation next year in August, even though I know that doesn’t work with my business, because I didn’t want to deal with another smokey summer. It’s so bad!

Because of the nasty weather, we spent a lot of time indoors and I had a pretty cranky kiddo on my hands. We could not have survived the month without babywearing, and I wore her A LOT.

1. I finally figured out how to back carry in a ring sling and N thinks it’s the best. It’s not my favorite back carry, but in a pinch, it’s nice to know that I can easily give her front snuggles or toss her up on my back.

2. Babywearing is the only way we survive, especially when someone skips her nap because she’s too excited about going to grandma and grandpa’s house.

How to travel solo with a toddler // Adventures in Parenting

3. On the days when it was hot – but not yet smokey – we spent a lot of time hanging out on our patio in the evenings after N went to bed. I’d curl up in the hammock and we’d stare at the stars. I also found out that I can do longer exposures on my phone, which was fun. Still perfecting them, but I was pleased with this first attempt.

4. More babywearing, in a new sling, after a trip to Mobius. We would NOT have survived smokey days without Mobius. Best money we’ve ever spent.

How to travel solo with a toddler // Adventures in Parenting

5. Tomato haul. We had some good producers this year, and we also ended up with a glut of tomatoes while house sitting for a neighbor. One day, I picked nearly two pounds of just cherry tomatoes! And then I did it again the next day…! Most of them were made into tomato sauce, which will be amazing on cold winter days.

6. Very very rarely does this girl need me for naps anymore, but after a busy morning, she woke up from her short nap only to cuddle me up and pass out again. I decided to soak up the snuggles because when did she get so big?!?! Aaaaaahhh.

How to travel solo with a toddler // Adventures in Parenting

7 and 8: N and I took a day trip to Seattle to visit a friend of mine who was in town from Czechia. He was passing through on his way to run a relay race, and so we decided to fly over for the day and hang out. This is me on the way to the airport, and on the way home. It was a looooooong day, but it was also a really good day. She didn’t nap well, but she was still a pretty good kiddo for me. We’re planning on doing more mother-daughter solo travel next year, and this gives me hope that I can do it all!

How to travel solo with a toddler // Adventures in Parenting

9: While in Seattle, we decided to visit the aquarium. N is absolutely obsessed with fish and anything in the water. She was in heaven, and I had the hardest time keeping up with her. She flat out ran from tank to tank to point out all the fish, adored the sea lions and the otters, and then properly collapsed in my arms on the train back to the airport – where we of course ate some mac & cheese while waiting for our (delayed) flight home.

10. We tried to put in one of those in wall tunnels for our tv cables, but ya’ll, old homes are strange and we ran into some obstructions in the wall. In order to properly skim the patches, I decided to skim the whole area. It’s now painted and I even moved the TV over above the piano (we don’t watch TV that much). I need to get an updated photo, because we’ve hung a bunch of art up on the walls now, and it’s looking so good!!

How to travel solo with a toddler // Adventures in Parenting

11. We had one morning where it maybe dropped into the 60s? And N insisted on wearing her boots, jacket, and wool beanie when we went out to pick the garden. She’s been my little garden assistant this summer, helping me pick all of our produce, and I can’t wait to have her help me plant the garden next spring! [Also: one of our trees! That one is a peach tree]

12. One of the varieties of tomatoes we planted this year ended up growing HUGE tomatoes. This wasn’t even the largest one we picked, but here it is against a toddler for scale. It’s basically a pumpkin, haha! The variety is an Italian Heirloom, if you’re interested. We liked them, they were good to eat and didn’t have too many seeds, which I love since we mainly harvest our large tomatoes for making sauce for the winter.

How to travel solo with a toddler // Adventures in Parenting

13. Another cool morning, another use for a sweater (knit by my grandma for my cousins when we were kiddos) and her hat. She only wanted to walk, so we did and she had a blast watching all the trash trucks come through the neighborhood before playing on the slide and swings.

14. Helping me unpack some new memory cards. This girl is my big assistant in my office, and while that sometimes means I can’t find what I’m looking for, I love that she comes in and plays so that I can get a bit of work done while I’m home with her!

How to travel solo with a toddler // Adventures in Parenting

Whew! And that was that. August was a bit of a slower work month for me, which was nice because I had a bunch to catch up on from July and now September and October are really busy too. I can’t believe it’s almost the end of the month and it’s FALL!!

July Recap — Summer Living // Personal Post

July Recap — Summer Living // Personal Post

I was pulling all the photos together for July’s post, and I kept saying to myself, there’s no way we did all these things in July! And, wait, did I not get photos of XYZ thing either??? Haha, I guess it was a busy month. It feels like just a couple days ago, we were in Portland at the end of June, but now it’s the almost the end of August and summer is basically over. This is a long post, because it was SUCH a busy month. Not sorry!

If there is any downside to my job, it’s that summer is my busiest season and I don’t have enough time to enjoy every minute of the summer. But, as you’ll see, I managed to squeeze in a little hammock time last month.

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1. I got these adorable glow stick ears at the conference in Portland, and little miss wanted to wear them around. Of course, she won’t ever wear a headband…

2. Walks with the family. With it being light so late, we try to get out for a walk and sometimes a little playground time after dinner and before little miss goes to bed. Sometimes we just play in the garden, but basically we’re doing everything we can to soak up every ounce of sunshine this summer.

Living in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a House

3. We made it up to Greenbluff for a family day and picked a load of blueberries! Someone had a blast picking them and shoving them in her mouth, and we even convinced her to put a few in the bucket. However, I think the highlight was getting bounced around in the wagon. She kept squealing with glee.

4. An inflatable pool, the greatest swimsuit ever (thank you, baby Gap), and a sunhat have brought us hours of fun this hot summer. She loves splashing around in the pool, and then running throughout the yard to dry off a bit before hopping back in. Maybe next time we visit the ocean, she won’t be so against going in?

Living in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a House

5-8. The biggest thing we did in July was get the floors refinished upstairs. It’s something we’ve dreamed of since moving in and finding out that two of the three bedrooms had original hardwood underneath, but we met with a contractor a while ago who told us it wasn’t worth doing, and then never sent us a quote. So, thank you to our friends who had some work done on their house recently and recommended I reach out to their floor guys. I would 100% recommend them, and if you’re looking for someone in Spokane, drop me a message and I’ll get you their info! They were fast, kind, and let me hop up to take photos as much as I wanted (which was a lot).

Freshly sanded – the first coat going on – after the first or second coat dried – all done and furniture starting to come back in (before we put the rug back down).

Living in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a HouseLiving in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a House

9. THIS rarely happens anymore, but getting your floors refinished is hard work and sometimes you just wanna nap on mama. I’m trying to enjoy these moments instead of stressing out about all the things I needed to do while she napped. I know before I know it, she’ll be off to school and I won’t have these snuggles anymore.

10. I stopped by the beautiful library at UW after a meeting and had to snap a photo of this bookshelf. Remember: divided we fall. We are stronger together, we are a common people who should all want the same things – life, liberty, and equality.

Living in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a House

11. The stairs at the library at UW are so good. This building is beautiful and it almost makes me wish I had actually transferred to UW. Almost. #gozags

12. The green was gorgeous on such a beautiful July day, and it was calm and fairly tour free (the same could not be said for other areas of campus). College campuses just fill me with so much hope and energy. And make me want to buy school supplies – haha!

Living in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a House

13. One of the strange perks of my job is getting to do crazy things, like climbing up on a rooftop to photograph the street fair. It was both exciting and terrifying, climbing up a ladder to a roof with my camera in my hands, and then making sure I wasn’t too close to the edge. I could even see my house from the roof (not pictured).

14. Hammock time to recover from shooting street fair and then an event in the same day. I was exhausted, but hey, this little lady was around to keep me company and play peek a boo while I recovered.

Living in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a House

15. I’m super thankful for a sweet husband who says ‘you go alone to pick berries, we’ll do stuff at home’ and then I can pick tons of berries for us to make jam and freeze them because our toddler is a blueberry monster and we go through so many of them every week.

16. Out of focus and I really don’t care. She’s gone through a phase again where she’s not a fan of babywearing, but that day she wanted up with me. And then proceeded to blow raspberries on my back and giggle while we made lunch. That dimple gets me right in the feels.

Living in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a House

17. I shot an elopement up at Mt. Spokane and it was so dang pretty! Right after I packed all my gear into my car, it started raining! And it was only like 72 out. By the time I got back to my house an hour later, it was 93 and sunny. So crazy that it’s so much cooler up at Mt Spokane!

18. If you’ve ever wondered what the best thing you can buy for your kid/spouse/yard/house is, it’s a hammock and a hammock stand. We use ours nearly every day from May-October, and the since it’s been so smokey and we’ve been inside more, we’re all a bit cranky. I’ve napped in it, read stories in there, and snuggled this silly kid (and my husband).

Living in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a House

19. Remember those blueberries I bought? Yup. Getting ready to freeze them with my favorite kitchen assistant. Who’s wearing an apron that once belonged to my grandma or great-grandma.

20. And…boom. It was a busy month and sometimes you just gotta crash out in the back of the car with your bunny.

Living in Spokane with a Toddler and Renovating a House

May & June – Living in Spokane // Behind the Scenes Recap Post

May & June – Living in Spokane // Behind the Scenes Recap Post

I got taken out by a late spring cold in early June, and I just haven’t been able to catch up. Life is completely bonkers right now, but as my blogging backlog just grows and grows, I know I need to try and catch up a little bit!

It’s funny to look at this photo first photo, because it’s so dang hot out right now, but I do remember that May started off cool. I really miss those 50 and 60 degree days now! This spring, little miss has been a lot more insistent on going outside. We spend a lot of time out in the yard now.

In early May, we were able to get out and go to Cirque du Soleil‘s Crystal, which is Cirque on Ice. It’s been a dream of mine for ages, so I was thrilled when my husband surprised me with tickets. My mom came to watch the kiddo, and we go to go out for a nice dinner beforehand too. It was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen! I wish I could have gone twice!!

Cirque Du Soleil in Spokane on Ice

We did another round of swim lessons in the spring (and we’re doing another round this summer too!) and little miss was one of the best swimmers in her class. I can’t be surprised, because she takes after her dad, who is totally a swimmer too. She was aces at jumping into the pool with him.

H, my mom, and a few of our friends ran Bloomsday again this year. We missed it last year, because we were in Germany, so it was great to see everyone running again this year. H didn’t have the best time this year, but he’d been dealing with some injuries and wasn’t able to run as much as usual in the spring. Little miss had a blast watching everyone and cheering as they ran by!

Swim lessons and watching bloomsday // Spokane with Kids

With all the construction downtown this year, we had to take a slightly longer walk around to the finish line this year. The bonus was that we got a great view of the falls!

Last spring, we had to cut down the huge maple tree in our back yard. It was a total bummer, especially because it left us without half of our hammock “stand”. After a year of debating what to do for a stand, I snagged this one on sale at Lowe’s. It’s the favorite place in our yard. N will sign “please” and ask ‘ammock? ‘ammock? Up?! because she wants to get in.

Hammock Stands and Spring Adventures // Spokane with Kids

We’re still doing monthly photos each month, although I’m not as good at getting them right on the 8th each month. Oops. In May, I finished up, and turned around to find her checking out my camera. I also find a lot of random, blurry, photos and selfies on my phone!

Little miss is currently not a huge fan of being worn right now. With as hot as it has been, I don’t really blame her. But I do feel a bit bummed when I see these photos. Please let me snuggle you again soon, kiddo!

I have to laugh looking at this photo, because back in May, we were planning to plan paint the floors. A while back, we’d had a contractor out who said they weren’t worth sanding and refinishing. But, if you follow me on Instagram, you know that we met with another contractor who said it wouldn’t be an issue and they’ve been sanded and refinished and are currently ready to have furniture put back on them.

If you’re planning a wedding, you need to chat with the lovely ladies at Nic Nac Nell’s! They’ve got the most adorable collection of vintage things that will take your wedding from ordinary to extraordinary. Look, I’m a huge huge fan of DIY, but there’s also something to be said for letting someone else doing the hard work, and you’ll still have plenty of variety to choose from at their showroom.

Painting hardwood floors and touring Nic Nac Nells

We finished off the month of May with a Memorial Day hike with this crazy crew. We’ve been trying to get out more, and while we were originally planning to go to Bowl & Pitcher, we’d heard there were a bunch of mosquitos, so instead, we went over to Post Falls and Q’emiln Park. In Wenzel family tradition, we grabbed donuts on the way home.

I’m pretty sure I’ve posted similar images before, but our dog is seriously the most chill dog when it comes to our toddler. She is constantly sitting or climbing on him, and he never complains. But he is also super protective of her and any other kiddos who come to visit us.

Hiking in Post Falls with Dogs and Babies // Spokane with kids

I’ve been trying to grow radishes for nearly every year we’ve lived in this house, and I’ve had a terrible time of it. Every year it’s been something different. One year, the slugs got to them, another year I planted them too late and they bolted. This year, they were beautiful. Finally.

I picked up some rhubarb at the farmer’s market in early June and whipped up this Rhubarb Cake from my favorite German Baking Book. It was tangy and sweet and paired perfectly with whipped cream.

Little miss is the best shopping assistant, and she was helping me get some photobooth supplies in June for Pride in Perry. She had a blast waving the flags around, and then had even more fun hanging out at the booth during the event.

We’ve reached a stage where N is quite stubborn about what she wants. She picked out this outfit, and then insisted on boots, even when it was 80 degrees out. [Oh, do you see those trees in the back??? They are peach and plum trees. I’m so excited!] I had to hide her boots so she wouldn’t try to wear them this week when it’s 90+.

Little snuggles with my girl are the best, even if they’re usually happening when she’s tired and cranky.

I am so so thankful for family who watch our girl so that we can sneak off on dates. H’s mom came to town for a few days, and we got to see a movie together.

Road tripping to Portland with this girl and we packed up our snack pack to fit all the fruit and veggies in it. This girl is all about her produce. Fingers crossed it stays that way, although, I may need to have a bigger garden soon!

We went to Portland so that I could attend WDS for the third time, and it was wonderful to see old friends, to hear some fantastic speakers, and to run into people I wouldn’t have expected to see, like my friend Sachin, who is a wedding photographer out of Vancouver, BC. I am endlessly thankful to WDS for giving me the courage to step out and live the life I have now. I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it back next year, but I really hope it works out!

Whew! And that’s that. Technically, that last photo was taken on July 1st, but whatever. Next time I do a recap, I’ll get to share my new floors! I might drop down to doing these every other month and doing two posts? What would you all prefer? I know these are mostly for myself, but a lot of you love these posts. WDS has given me some great ideas, and I’m trying to carve out time to develop them and share them with the world.