It’s been a while, yeah? I’m at a point where I’m not sure if I’ll ever catch up on blogging, and whether this whole blog thing is even worth it? I know I like blogs more than social media, but everything is on IG and FB now. Some of these photos were there too, but I love being able to look back at these posts as journal entries, so I’m blogging them. For me, if not for the rest of you.
Slightly related: I’ve been thinking of just turning off the comments on my blog, since the only ones I get are spam comments? Do people care?
May & June 2019
1. Spring came late this year, and we were able to catch this tree in our neighborhood still blooming in early May. I didn’t get any good photos of my lilac this year.
2. Little miss is a huge fan of the hammock, and when the sun started coming out this spring, she would insist on hanging out in it, even when it was cold enough to be wearing scarves and hats still. She would rather be outside than inside 95% of the time.
3. This spring, I had the genius idea that we were going to redo our veggie garden and swore to my husband that it would only take a couple weeks. It took nearly two months, because it wouldn’t stop raining long enough for us to do the work. Our grass got neglected as a result and Shadow took to hiding and pouncing like a lion.
4. Progress! All the grass removed and we had the ground tamped down and level.
5. Cheering for papa and grandma at Bloomsday this year. We had a fun time hanging out, cheering for them, and petting lots of puppies as we waited for them. We were a bit bummed that they have changed the rules on the bridge, and we couldn’t cross over to see them finish. Maybe next year we’ll bring the bike down so we can get over there faster?
6. First hot spring day and she demanded shorts and a tank top and a visit to the park.
7. Is it even spring if you don’t make at least one batch of lemon bars and eat a couple for lunch? Wait, don’t answer that.
8. We met up with friends out at Discovery Park in the valley. We’ve been past it a bunch, but never stopped. It’s HUGE and we left before we even had a chance to explore the whole place.
9. Our sofa is from IKEA and was worse for the wear after 6 years and a cat who decided the fabric was perfect to use as a scratching post. Grrr. We spent a few months searching for a new sofa, only to realize we didn’t want to spend that much money on something that would just get thrashed again by a small kid and two pets. So instead, I started ordering samples from Comfort Works and Bemz. We went with a cover from Comfort Works…but none of the colors here!
10. Our little home renovation assistant helping papa get lumber at the store.
11. My parents took N for the weekend and we knew we had a limited number of hours to work on the house. First up was a quick trip to Home Depot in the rain, and then we worked and worked and worked all weekend.
12. The bonus of that weekend is that our neighbors sent us a lovely loaf of bread and while we were both so sore we could barely breathe on Monday, we got the garden mostly finished and a few other projects completed too.
13. The completed garden! It was so bare in early May, and then we planted a bunch of seedlings and now it’s overflowing with plants.
14. Since all our time and energy went to rebuilding the garden, we stocked up on 90% of our plants at the local nursery, but the peas were a seed I started inside. Impressively, after a warm couple weeks in June, the weather cooled back down and those peas lasted until late July!
15. & 16. I shot a styled shoot with Red Letter Event Planning at the end of May, and I can’t wait to share it all with you when it goes live in September!!
17. Normally, we are all about our reindeer, but one day, N wanted to take Krtek (he’s Czech) to the library, and then she found this book about a Silly Goose, by a Czech author. A little bit of my home away from home.
18. N and H drove down to Portland, and I stayed behind for a couple meetings. I flew down the next day, and it felt so luxe to fly solo.
19. While in Portland, we met up with friends and went to the zoo, where I snapped exactly two photos, this being one of them. We miss them terribly, so it was SUPER nice to see them again.
20. Also while in Portland, I took photos for one of my 2019 couples! They’re pretty fun to work with, and sometime soon I’ll blog their engagement session. I hope…
21. This summer has been a lot of hanging out with my girl on our mama days and spending the days with her…
22. …and then during nap and after bedtime, hiding in my office and working like crazy to get photos edited and emails answered. Anyone else feel like it’s super hard to balance everything?
23. Checking on our garden and picking snap peas. They rarely make it into the house, and instead end up in her belly before we leave the garden. 100% okay with that.
24. Somehow ended up with a Saturday with no plans and we biked down to the farmer’s market, and then had a picnic lunch in the park. It was a perfect way to end the month, before diving into a crazy crazy month in July.
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.
3. The Airbnb apartment we rented had this great little Winter Garten, which 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
I know how lucky we are to travel as much as we do. We’ve been able to make decisions that have helped us pay down debt, and we make choices every single day that allow us to travel fairly regularly. A lot of our travel is to visit family, or is tagged on to a work trip for one of us, but we try to get in one good vacation each year. A few years ago, we realized that the best way to survive the long, dark, and cold winters in Spokane was to get away for a warm weather break. So, when I was pregnant with little miss and we knew we wouldn’t be going anywhere that winter (and it was a rough, rough, winter), H promised me we would finally go to Hawaii the next winter.
Maui was a dream, you guys. I’ve traveled all over and been to tropical islands before, but Maui is like living on a different planet. It was the most beautiful kind of place, and I left a little piece of my heart there. That said, it wasn’t the easiest vacation by any means. N was recently mobile, is a 100% winter baby who prefers snow and cold weather to hot weather and sand, and we made some key mistakes. Oh, and it rained half the time we were there. It was weird. But these photos don’t show that.
— We stayed near baby beach in Lahaina and really loved it. We walked into town a couple times and also drove in once or twice as well.
— Places we loved: Down the Hatch, Frida’s Mexican, Maui Brewing Company, the Pride of Maui Snorkeling Tour, the Maui Ocean Center.
— Baby beach was shallow and perfect for littles, but a little tame for our more adventurous swimmers. It’s nice and flat, which I loved. 100% would go back there, and there’s a decent amount of parking by it too.
— Please wear reef safe sunscreen anytime you’re in the ocean. Save the fishes.
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!
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]
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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Hey all! Now that we’re skating on into February, I think I’ve got a minute to give you a short little November and December Recap. When I went through the photos, I ended up pulling a lot of them out, because as N gets older, I’m trying to be more mindful of what we share about her life on the internet. She doesn’t need to have her entire life broadcast everywhere, and so except to see a little less of her face, and I’ll probably keep her details even more vague for a while.
That said, we tried to keep the holidays really low key this year, and in the end, I’m really glad we did. N had some unexpected health issues in December, and we ended up spending quite a bit of time at the hospital and at doctor’s appointments. Now, nearly two months later, I’m so happy to say that she’s healthy and it looks like it was just a total one off thing, but I’m so glad we keep things pretty chill for the holidays and tried to focus on spending time together.
1. N loves our piano. I’ve been playing piano for a long time, but I’m a true dabbler at it. I can play scales, read simple music, and plunk out a few tunes. In the past few months, H has started learning more, which has lead to N wanting to play quite a bit too. She had a blast, and I’m so glad that we are raising her with music in her life. I’m also glad that this piano (which we inherited from H’s family, and the brought over during their move from Germany) is electric and has a headphone jack. That may come in useful in later years. 😉
2. We had an early snow in November and N was so excited. Shadow was probably more excited, which is why I don’t have any photos of him, since he was running all over like a crazy pup. We thought it’d be the first of many many snow days, but it looks like it was one of the few we’ve had so far. I’ve got my fingers crossed for a bit more snow in February before spring comes along in March. [Let’s be honest: a March snowstorm is not unheard of here in Spokane, so I wouldn’t be surprised by that either.]
3. My in laws hosted Thanksgiving this year and my job was to take care of dessert (as usual). I always make a pecan pie, even though I can’t stand the idea of a pie made of corn syrup and nuts. Why? Because H loves pecan pie. Mine is based off this Pioneer Woman recipe, but I’ve tweaked it quite a bit over the years so it’s not quite the same.
4. At the last minute, we decided to make a pumpkin pie as well (this one from Smitten Kitchen) and HOLY SMOKES. First off, I love any recipe that my toddler can help me with, and this one was pretty simple (she doesn’t stir on the stove yet, but she’s aces as mixing on the counter and helping add ingredients), and it uses heavy cream (a staple in our house) instead of sweetened condensed or evaporated milk. Second, it was possibly the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had. Even my poor husband, who dislikes pumpkin pie, had a slice. Winner winner, this one got saved to our cooking binder.
5. N’s second birthday was in December and we celebrated it…in the ER. It was a really rough week, with us going to urgent care first and being told that she was fine, to ending up in the ER after a couple of rough days and nights. We are so so thankful for the amazing people at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, who let us snuggle her close during all the scary stuff and found out what was wrong with her.
6. Oh, and then we went back two days later to find out that she wasn’t getting worse, but had also caught a really nasty stomach bug (which she shared with me). She got her first ultrasound (and xray, and then a second ultrasound at a follow up.) and she did a pretty good job, but we were so so tired. And oh man, you guys, I’m so thankful for good insurance as we’ve been getting the bills for all these appointments. Ouch.
7. We kept our Christmas decor pretty simple this year and stuck to a zillion lights and a tree that N was completely enthralled with. Thankfully, my mom passed down her collection of non-breakable ornaments and we used those on the bottom of the tree, and saved a few super precious ones for the top. Our pets have always been pretty good about the tree, although Lola (the cat) has been known to knock some of the stuffed ones off the tree when we’re not around!
8. A couple days after our trips to the ER, we were both feeling better and I bribed her with park time in exchange for a trip to the grocery store for provisions. The park was dead. Totally dead. No worries, we had a lot of fun until I dragged her to the store where she ate like three samples of zucchini (thanks, Trader Joe’s) and got a zillion stickers.
9. H had a work party that happened after hours at the Carousel, which was basically N’s idea of a dream come true. Since we first rode the Carousel last spring, N has been asking for a return trip. She rode it over and over and over with each of us until we dragged her out for dinner and then bedtime.
10. We have the world’s most patient dog and I really just needed to share that with you. Shadow is a saint, and he will put up with so much insanity. But then when she’s done giving him pretties, he shakes them off and gives me sad faces. Love you, puppy!
11. One of our family holiday traditions is that we have a class Bavarian breakfast on Christmas morning. Well, the German Deli in town (Alpine Deli, it’s amazing) is no longer able to get the same pretzels that they’ve been getting for the past few years. So, instead of sourcing them from another bakery or whatever, I decided to make them from scratch. Which includes using lye (a “very nasty” chemical) to get the crunch. I used a couple different recipes, and while they still need some work, I was pretty impressed. I made three rounds of them over the holidays before tossing out my lye solution and seeing this photo has me itching to make them again.
12. All the heavy eating of the holidays makes me crave my favorite simple foods, like fried rice. It’s my favorite of all the ‘clean out the fridge’ meals and it only takes a few minutes to whip up so I can even make a single serving for lunch.
13. This year, we had a fancy Davenport Hotel brunch with our in laws while they were visiting in December and now N insists that the Davenport is their house. Haha! When we arrived, N climbed up on this chair and then proceeded to point out every tree in the lobby, which saying hello to everyone who looked by. This is the second time we’ve taken N to the Davenport for a Sunday brunch, and both times the staff have been amazing. Brunch buffets are a great place to take a toddler, because there is going to always be something they like. I can’t remember what she ate this time, except that she stole all my strawberries (the usual) and last time we went, they had this adorable smoothie shooter and she drank like 5 of them. Pro tip: snag a dessert plate for your kiddo or bring one from home if your kiddo can’t handle actual silverware and plates. We’ve done both things.
14. Found this little art while wandering downtown and it made me smile. Love this city we live in!
15. Every year we exchange an ornament, and this year I lost my freaking mind and decided to design and make a custom cross stitched ornament. Here’s the first part I did, in November.
16. I then procrastinated (because I can only work when everyone is busy elsewhere) and had to rush to finish it. And somehow only have this one, kinda crappy, photo that I snapped. It’s a suitcase with flags for each of the countries we visited (Czechia, Germany, and Austria), as well as a pineapple for our new state of Hawaii. This will be a one of a kind thing because it was hard and tedious and I’m not doing it again.
17. Winter walks and I love how pretty our neighborhood is. South Perry District, I’m so glad we live here.
18. Half of N’s Christmas gifts this year helped get her outside, and her two faves are from small shops! She’s rocking a Skida hat that is her new favorite, even over her fave wool beanie from Everlane. These pajamas are made from merino wool, so super soft, and N wants to wear them 24/7. I’m already planning to buy another pair from Simply Merino. And these gloves she insisted we pick up in Germany are huge but she loves singing us baby shark while wearing them. [Socks are smartwool, boots are Kamik]
19. We closed out the year with a trip to the hospital for some follow up lab work, and she did such a good job even if it was hard for both of us to handle. All these hospital appointments were hard, but we’re down to just one follow up and I’m so thankful my boo is healthy again! I have a lot of respect for families with chronically ill kids, because it is hard to watch your babies go through hard stuff and not be able to make it better. Lastly, a huge thank you to all the wonderful people at Sacred Heart. N had to get her first blood draw, and the techs let her stay in the sling so I could comfort her, and were so gentle with her afterwards.
Whew! And that was that. A (somewhat forced) low key holidays and too many doctors visits and we’re head on into the tornado twos.
When I made the (very long) list of all the posts I wanted to catch up on for the blog, I almost crossed off these monthly recaps. They’re not the most popular posts on the blog, they don’t bring in much traffic, and they’re kind of a pain to put together. But I love them so very much, and I really enjoy looking back on these for my own sake so here goes. Trying to catch up though, means I’m hoping to blog two long posts for September + October and November + December all in January. Or maybe I’ll make these a two month thing for 2019?
1. We had family in town for parts of Labor Day weekend (and did some actual work on the house then too), which means we made sure to take time in the evenings for fire pits and s’mores on the patio. Looking back at this summer and fall, I think we actually got a good amount of patio time in. I’m advocating for a patio heater for 2019 so that we can use that space for even more time. Anyone have one and love it?
2. We used to travel almost every year during Labor Day weekend but I put my foot down and insisted that we stay in town this year and go to Pig Out in the Park. It was a little crazy because of the construction, but it was really fun to try all the different foods and have N try them too. She had a blast and loved people watching.
3. We went out for a family dinner as well, and went to Clinkerdagger. Bonus points to them because we always love their view and they have good food on their kid’s menu (N had salmon) instead of just chicken nuggets and plain pasta. My kid would rather eat artichoke dip than chicken nuggets.
4. Running errands in the fall and getting some wrap snuggles in.
5 + 6. We always try to squeeze in extra time in the Methow Valley, and when we went up for Jessi + Tim‘s wedding, we managed to get lots of hiking in. We took a short stroll on one of the cross country trails by the river, then while I shot the wedding, the other two did a hike near Winthrop. Both of these photos are from our short toddler stroll.
7. Our last family hike in the Methow Valley before we headed out to drive home was to Cutthroat Lake. This was a beautiful hike and I was really bummed that, unlike the other family we ran into up there, we did not pack a picnic lunch to enjoy by the lake. Next time we’ll plan ahead!
8. After getting home from Mazama, we enjoyed a fairly low key family dinner out to celebrate our SEVEN YEAR anniversary. I feel like it was just yesterday that we got married, and I’m so shocked it’s been seven years (and more than a decade together). We’re taking a kid free trip later this month as a gift to ourselves so that will be nice. 🙂
9. Sometimes working from home with a toddler is easy. She naps and plays independently and it’s great. Other times she doesn’t nap and then crashes on you as you’re trying to make dinner.
10. Or, she insists on you sitting in her room while she plays with you and you try to work. Toddlers are funny creatures that I will never begin to understand.
11. When I drove down to Tekoa for Katie + Seth‘s beautiful wedding, the winds were howling. But they calmed down right as the ceremony started and rewarded us with a beautiful sunset that this panorama does not do justice.
12. N has been super into helping us in the kitchen lately. It’s been messy, but she loves to stir whenever we are cooking or baking things. She asked to help us make pumpkin muffins, and so H and N made them while I was working one evening.
13. September sunsets are stunning and here’s another one just from my backyard. I miss fall.
14. Sometimes, you end up near Gonzaga on a crazy morning when you haven’t had breakfast so you can have a fasting blood draw and you snag a bagel from Ultimate Bagel and bring it home and it’s the best fuel for a long day of editing.
15. We bought an old dresser that had some really tarnished hardware and I used <science> to clean it off. Looks like it’s brass, but sadly, there aren’t enough handles for all the drawers. Much to my husband’s annoyance, I’ll probably keep them for some mythical future project.
16. Cooler fall days meant the AC was finally off and this girl has gone blanket crazy. She was running all over with this one, giggling while we made lunch one day. Shadow was unimpressed.
17. Some days, when she wakes up from a nap, she asks for snuggles and keeps me company while I answer emails.
18. Early October was insane, but I took a morning to do some self care and got a haircut and did a few things that helped me stay sane through most of the busy month. By the end of the month, that morning felt like a long lost dream.
19. I got to shoot an event at Gonzaga in October and help a bunch of their students get great new head shots. It was fantastic to do, and so fun to be back at my alma mater. I remembered why I loved campus so much too. It’s strange, because I thought when we moved back to Spokane five years ago, we would spend more time there, but we don’t spend much time on campus. Maybe now that the bridge is open we will ride our bikes over there!
20. The view from my last wedding of the year, Sonja + Phil‘s day at Badger Mountain. The clouds went away and the sun came out later and it was an absolutely perfect fall day.
21. How do you manage a dog and a toddler at the vet? Very, very carefully. It isn’t always easy, but somehow we all survived.
22. Right before we flew off to visit family in Germany, we went to this small pumpkin patch in Spokane Valley. There were no hay rides or pumpkin donuts, but there was also no traffic and it was easy to park. We found our pumpkins and did it all without (major) tears. [Minor tears due to falling down and getting dirt on our hands – the horror!]
23. Once we got home, someone delighted in pointing out her tiny pumpkin to us over and over and over.
24. The last time we flew long haul with N was in March, when we went to Prague. We flew British then and had the bassinet and so this was essentially our only true lap infant trip in her two years. We got lucky on our flights to Hawaii, and scored an extra seat for our lap infant, if you remember from February. It wasn’t easy and the seats on Condor are small. But she still got a good amount of sleep in. More than both her parents.
25. She was so tired though, that she completely passed out in my arms before we arrived in Munich, and I handed her to H, put the ring sling on, and got her in it without her waking up. It was hilarous. She woke up just as we were heading out to get the rental car.
26 & 27. We spent most of our time in Munich with H’s family, although we did go into the city a couple times (and we took a last minute trip to Innsbruck). N’s favorite thing was this forested area near his grandparent’s house, and the awesome playground that I forgot to photograph in the neighborhood. She keeps asking to go back there and play more!
28. We did escape Munich for a short weekend trip to Innsbruck, and stayed at a lovely Airbnb in Oberperfuss, a village like 15 minutes from the city center. The view of the mountains was amazing, and they even brought us fresh eggs and milk in the morning. I would 100% recommend this Airbnb for families. They had a small play structure, a pack and play we could use, and if the other apartments are anything like the one we stayed in, they’re perfect for families. Uh, don’t ask me how good their English is, we spoke all in German.
29. We decided on this last minute trip to Innsbruck because I wanted to see the alps. So we went up the Nordkette, which was very cool but also…foggy. Dang it. However, the cable cars were a blast for all of us, the restaurant was pretty good, there was an awesome Tyrolean band playing (because it was Saturday), and N loved listening to the music. This was the trip where we really learned our lesson about ordering kids food. See, we ordered her this typical German kids’ meal (Frankfurter und Pomme Frittes – Hot dogs and french fries, because she loves both these things) but she took one look at H’s Kaesespaetzle and demanded some of it. Which is what she’s eating in this photo.
30. Downtown Innsbruck was adorable, we strolled through the beautiful buildings and tiny side streets and fell completely in love with the little city. It’s smaller than Spokane, and we loved all the mountains and the river. Bonus: it’s only 2 hours from Munich in good traffic (ha!). We’re dreaming of heading back soon.
31. More food with this kid. On one of our last days we were in the city center doing some shopping and meeting up with old friends (H), and I didn’t want to eat in one of the cheesy tourist trap “German” restaurants around Marienplatz. So we found this adorable little Italian restaurant, La Valle, tucked away on a side street. N was in love with H’s pasta and the waiter who quickly switched from German to Italian to English and back again. I had some amazing ravioli that I’m still dreaming about.
32. Obligatory Rathaus photo to prove that we did in fact visit Munich proper and see something touristy.
33. The drive to the airport was far too stunning and it made me wish I’d spent more time demanding we drive around and just pull over for me to take pictures of the fields and the perfect Bavarian blue-white skies on this trip. The weather was mostly amazing and beautiful with a few rain showers, and we were feeling bittersweet about heading home.
34. On the way home, N decided that she didn’t want to sleep across both our laps, but instead wanted to use me as a pillow and steal H’s seat. So he stood for about 6 hours on our flight. We had a long, late layover in Seattle and we were thrilled to be home and sleeping in our own beds by the time we got back to Spokane.
35. A little out of order, but N’s hair was long enough while we were in Munich for me to french braid it one day. She sat still while papa distracted her and it lasted all of an hour before slipping out. It was fun to practice on her, although it’s been years since I’ve done French braids regularly.
36. N decided she would help me with my overflowing inbox when we got home and answer all my emails. Thankfully, no emails were sent on my behalf – this time. 😉
37. This silly girl! She wanted to be a superhero in her car and borrowed my scarf. She was zooming all over and the light was pretty so I took a picture.
38. With travel right before Halloween, we didn’t have much energy for costumes. We threw together these Rosie the Riveter outfits for a quick walk around the neighborhood and reused last years’ snow owl costume for a trunk or treat at her daycare.
And then boom! It was November and we were off running towards the end of the year. Hopefully I’ll get all caught up with these soon!!