meeting my newest seattle friend

I made a quick trip to Seattle last month to see my dear friend Megan and meet her 5-week old baby boy.

As cheesy as it sounds, Seattle clings tight to a piece of my heart. As soon as the plane landed on the tarmac, surrounded by clouds and drizzle, tears came to my eyes. I was there less than 48 hours, but we packed a lot in. Most importantly, I spent a lot of quality time with Megan, her husband Sean, and the cute newcomer to their family.

img_4981^^after touching down at seatac, i took the light rail (for just $2.75!) downtown, and then walked up to capitol hill. i had to hit up my favorite coffee shop, victrola, before uber-ing to megan’s ‘hood: madison park.^^

img_4997^^baby william! so happy to meet him! what expressions he has at such a young age. no surprise, though, given how cool and animated his parents are.^^

img_4985^^baby william, his parents, our friend shannon, and i all went to anchovies & olives for a delicious dinner, and then ended the night with dessert, conversation, and baby bouncing at cupcake royale.^^

img_4988^^gorgeous saturday morning light in madison park.^^

img_4999^^beautiful new mama rocking the best baby carrier eva.^^

img_5017

img_5005^^obviously, going to mighty-o donuts was a must. conveniently, they’ve open a new shop in ballard, which was another spot i wanted to visit. we spent saturday afternoon walking around and checking out new and old spots, happily full of donuts.^^

img_5013^^had to stop at golden gardens for a quick walk along the beach. // as the sun set, we went back to madison park and cooked salmon and vegetables for dinner. we talked parenting and baby carriers and life. we reminisced about the fun we had as twenty-somethings in fremont and capitol hill. we were too busy talking to take any pictures. it was just lovely.^^

img_5030^^a quick shot after a great breakfast at geraldine’s before i headed back to the airport. thank you SO MUCH for the wonderful weekend, megan!^^

Advertisements

summer in denver :: highlights

The weather recently has still been too hot for my liking, but there are sure signs of fall all around. Leaves are changing, and the mornings are full of crisp air.

I did a terrible job blogging about our summer adventures…I probably have one more post to do about our trip to Vermont, but until I can get around to doing that, I wanted to post some miscellaneous pictures from the summer months.

img_3586^^homemade ice cream; delicious.^^

img_3610^^many of our summer days looked like this.^^

img_3472^^bocce and pizza in the park!^^

img_3681

img_3686^^summer haircut + pizza afterwards.^^

img_3727

img_3728^^denver chalk art festival.^^

img_3723
img_3726^^few things are more fun than the fountains at union station.^^

img_3757

dsc01483

dsc01493

dsc01515^^willa’s 4th birthday!^^

img_3785^^bbqs at my sister’s house are always fun + yay for a rare family photo!^^

img_3814^^willa asked for a kite for her birthday. windy days aren’t frequent, but we’ve gotten it up in the air a few times!^^

dsc01434^^fun with nana!^^

img_3820

img_3993

img_4398^^we hit the pools pretty hard this summer.^^

img_4493

img_4480^^summer nights.^^

img_4292^^friends. thank goodness for friends. and park picnic playdates.^^

img_4545

img_4547

img_4549^^the color run. super fun.^^

img_4764

img_4779

img_4782^^the day we biked to cherry creek to buy a deep fryer.^^

img_4783^^the donuts we made with the fryer.^^

dsc01940^^and just like that, summer was over. back to school!^^

toronto, oconto, and cottage country

Earlier this summer, I was thrilled to have the chance to travel east to rendez-vous with my two dearest Canadian friends. We all went to summer camp together back in the day, and although we’ve stayed close as life has taken us in different directions, it’s been a long time since we’ve all been in the same place at the same time. So, when we saw an opportunity for a visit, we did not pencil it in. We BOOKED IT. There were Google invites and calendar dates and it was HAPPENING.

2016-06-23 14.29.17

I flew to Toronto gloriously solo, and then spent the night with Carolyn and her husband Marcel (who I was so delighted to finally meet!). The next morning, we jumped on VIA Rail to Kingston where Cat picked us up. We hit up the LCBO and Farm Boy before devouring legit cheese curds and dill pickle chips en route to Carolyn’s family cottage on Big Rideau Lake.

IMG_3904

DSC01541

We packed a lot into two days at the cottage (and to rest up in between days, we slept on that beautiful porch!):

2016-06-24 18.05.32

2016-06-24 18.06.00-1

2016-06-24 18.25.02-1^^we canoed. deep talks on lake. and solid paddling. we all have our basic D canoeing certification after all. j-strokes all day.^^

2016-06-24 19.58.15

DSC01535^^we ate good food and drank good libations. i mean, pamplemousse radlers!? oui, s’il vous plait, canada.^^

DSC01585

DSC01588

DSC01586^^there was lots of swimming. including a long (LONG!) distance swim to one of those islands in the distance. i was a reticent participant, but we made it there and back safely and i only suffered slight neck pain, ear pain, and muscle fatigue as a result. friends, man, they push you to try new things!^^

DSC01551

2016-06-24 18.57.30

DSC01597^^we of course took lots of group photos amidst all the activities.^^

2016-06-24 21.03.04
2016-06-24 20.41.22^^there were lots of hugs, lots of laughs, and lots of conversations. these girls love me for who i am, and encourage me to be exactly that. it is so comforting to be around friends who have known you forever. friends with whom you can pick up exactly where you left off. like you never left off.^^

2016-06-25 14.10.22

DSC01628

2016-06-25 13.51.18

2016-06-25 14.04.22

DSC01626

2016-06-25 13.52.18^^on our drive back to toronto from the cottage, we went by the camp where we all met. cat and i were campers together at age 12 and at the swim test on the first day i remember thinking she was going to be my new best friend. carolyn came to camp a few years later, and we were counselors together until after high school. it was unreal to visit camp; i hadn’t been there since a reunion in 2005. lisa, the director, welcomed us with open arms (and lunch!) and we got to skip around the dining hall (a camp tradition for visitors and birthday girls) to the cheers of current staff. it was truly special to be back for a visit.^^

2016-06-25 20.39.52^^back in toronto, we grabbed our other dear camp friend jenn, and hit the city scene for a delicious dinner at DaiLo. it was the perfect end to a perfect visit.^^

So much love to ALL my camp girls, and huge thanks for all those back home who helped make my trip happen!

 

memorial day in kansas city

How is it August already? Didn’t summer just begin? What is it about summer that makes us all so busy? The nice weather and conceptualized “break” from the routine of the “school year” seems to be engrained in me, even though it’s been a long time since the academic year dictated my life. Although, Willa is now wedded to the school calendar, so summer has brought a lot of freedom with her schedule. A lot of bonding time for us.

As soon as school finished, we hit the road as a family and headed due East. Some tornado warnings slowed our initial progress, but once the skies cleared we made good time and were delighted to spend a weekend with Dan’s mom and other extended family. There was lots of pool time, good food, and a baseball game. Most importantly, there was family bonding and the road trip was totally tolerable. The kids rocked it.

Photo highlights:

DSC01325^^shortly after we arrived, we went to check out the pool. the kids couldn’t contain their excitement and started to climb in, clothes and all (and helmet!).^^

DSC01333^^memorial day weekend marked willa’s discovery of her love of the pool! she had been really timid up until that time, but she realized how well her floaties would hold her up, and she then spent hours swimming around the deep end. it was the beginning of a summer of swimming willa!^^

DSC01372

DSC01384^^frozen treats at grandma’s house!^^

DSC01315

DSC01388^^humidity = green!^^

DSC01355^^cousins!^^

IMG_3635^^yay family and yay KC royals.^^

our willa bean is 4

DSC01273

It’s late (almost 10pm!) and it’s been a long but wonderful day of celebrating our dear Willa. We planned to keep it low-key this year but somehow it felt anything but that, but in all the right celebratory ways. Willa was thrilled.

We had a birthday party in the park yesterday with cupcakes and donuts and a bubble maker and a Minnie Mouse piñata. And for the first time ever, her scrooge mother didn’t write “no gifts please” on the invitation so she got a boatload of amazing gifts, several of them of the Frozen variety. Princess Elsa 4eva.

And her Nana’s in town.

Her Uncle got her a stuffed skunk with pink sparkly eyes. She loves skunks. Almost as much as Elsa. Sometimes more. Depends on the day.

And today we took a trip to her favorite park and she didn’t even care that the train and petting zoo were closed or that a thunderstorm rolled in after 20 minutes of playing in the stream.

After that we went to see chickens and get fresh eggs at Auntie Al’s work.

Once home, she and her brother ate a whole pint of raspberries in the backyard and then she watched The Cat and the Hat on the couch in minimal clothing.

We made pizza for dinner and she squealed when daddy threw the dough high up in the air. She got more presents.

I made her a “pink lady” cake with strawberries and as soon as she saw the strawberries smashed to the sides she ran over with arms spread wide and gave me a huge hug and told me it was the best cake ever.

Mid-cake eating we realized there was a rainbow in front of the house. Not a mini one, but a real-deal all the way across the sky one. She jumped up and down and said she “just knew” there’d be one on her birthday. Later she said it was the best gift she received for her birthday.

She used her newfound four-year-old strength to drag her mini trampoline upstairs and bounced on it for a good hour to burn off pizza and cake and present-induced excitement.

She got to stay up until 9pm. Wearing a glow bracelet from Nana and Bobo.

She makes us laugh and smile and sigh and scream and I can’t imagine what our life would be like without the joy she brings to it each and every day. Happy birthday, Willa!

while i was snapping…

I’ve been given a hard time lately for a dearth of Instagram photos. I used to post at least once a day, but in recent months I’ve waned. Mostly, my aging phone has been to blame. Every picture I took was blurry and not Instagram-able. But, also, I must admit, Snapchat has been dominating my social media time. I really like Snapchat. It’s fun. And quick.

However, Snaps do indeed disappear unless manually saved, so I best post some pictures on this here blog lest we forget everything we’ve been up to lately. Here’s a roundup of pictures from the past month or so!

IMG_3352^^spring has been coming and going, but i think the nice weather is finally here to stay!^^

IMG_2775^^biker cam! we’ve been biking a lot more, but the two kids are pretty heavy in the trailer, so when the whole family bikes, we put one of them on the back of dan’s bike.^^

IMG_3405^^one of those bad shots i referenced from a roller-skating birthday party!^^

IMG_2825^^flowers on our cherry tree!^^

IMG_2783

IMG_2804

IMG_2838

IMG_2870

IMG_3439^^that montage is called: “eating out with kids is fun…”^^

DSC01173^^so much magna tile fun with grandpa!^^

IMG_2843

IMG_2848^^yay for backyard time!^^IMG_2891^^celebrating A&J’s birthday!^^

DSC01238-001^^girls’ spa day in boulder for our dear friend sara’s baby sprinkle!^^

IMG_2896^^mother’s day lunch at taste of thailand. SOOOOO GOOD!^^

IMG_2899^^her “celebration of learning” at school. she was so excited to show us what they’d been working on but mostly she was thrilled to “be in charge” all night. ;)^^

IMG_3520^^pizza delivery race at her school’s field day!^^

tulum, mexico :: places we went

Just one more post about Tulum. We gotta talk a few deets: Places to go! Things to see!

It was our first visit, and we were only there a week, so we are obviously the farthest people from experts on the area. Nevertheless, there were several places we really enjoyed during our trip, and I want to share them. Some are places I found before our trip through online research, while others we stumbled upon while there.

DSC00948

PLAYA MAMBO ECO CABAÑAS
There are lots of hotels in Tulum, and all of them are small and locally-owned. No big resorts. But there are lots of choices. We wanted to be right on the beach, and somewhere that was more rustic, so Playa Mambo sounded like a good choice from what I’d read online. It was.

We reserved through booking.com and rented a bungalow with ocean view. There are two of these available. Both have the beach and ocean as their front yard. They are also a bit bigger than “cottage” options because they have a sleeping loft. I thought this would be a good option for the kids. It was a small loft with a window, accessible by ladder. It worked out well for Cameron; he slept up there in his travel crib and it was good for naps because we could go in and out of the cabana without disturbing him. Willa was freaked out. She slept on a mattress by our bed.

DSC00958

Pros:

  • Location. Playa Mambo’s beach was beautiful. They had a small number of beach chairs/beds with umbrellas. There were several good restaurants nearby, as well as a mini-mart just outside the gate for cheaper beers and other snacks.
  • The hotel provided breakfast to guests. Coffee, fruit, and pastries. Eggs and such were available at an additional cost.
  • The staff were efficient and friendly. Our room was cleaned daily. The staff offered the kids beach toys on our first day.
  • Overall, Playa Mambo had a great vibe. It was laid back and casual while still being stylish and well kept. It seemed to attract friendly people; we enjoyed interacting with many of the other guests staying there at the same time.

DSC00960

IMG_3194

Cons:

  • No fridge. No cold drinks. No way to store perishable food.
  • Breakfast. We wanted to enjoy it because it was part what we were paying for, but it wasn’t quite enough. It was our first breakfast and then we’d go find a second breakfast.
  • Cash only. I alluded to this in a previous post. It is absurd that a place that charges what Playa Mambo does per night would not take a credit card. Or at least PayPal or some other electronic option. This was really to their detriment though; we would have bought many more piña coladas if we could have paid with plastic.
  • Value. While we really enjoyed our stay at Playa Mambo, it didn’t feel like a great deal. It was “eco-chic” which, in some ways, just meant “budget.” There was no air conditioning. The shower was a trickle. We only got new towels every few days. All of this was totally fine for us, but I’m not sure it matched the price point.

DSC00917

//

RINCÓN POBLANO
I didn’t want to spend a week in Tulum and only be at the beach. (However, the beach was really nice!) We ventured into town one of our first days to check things out. The town definitely had a less tourist-focused vibe.

DSC00825

My favorite thing to do when I travel is to do everyday activities like locals would, so it was nice to just walk into this random restaurant off the main street and have lunch. It ended up being a great choice. It was relatively empty; just us and one Mexican family eating lunch. The man working was quite friendly and the food was delicious. We ordered taquitos and a mole. And beers. And a smoothie. Willa got quite into smoothies on vacation!

DSC00813

DSC00817

DSC00811

DSC00818

//

LA OÑDA
A few doors down from Playa Mambo, this place advertised “Best Pizza on Earth.” Now, I’d have to disagree with that bold statement, but the pizza really was quite good. The service was friendly and the beers were cold.

DSC00923

DSC00939

//

BOLAS DE POSTRE (Balls of Dessert)
Being on vacation was no different than real life; the words “if you X, you can have ice cream” somehow at some point were uttered by some parent. That was much easier said than done however. On Tulum’s beach road, everything is run by generator, so freezers are few and far between. Willa was a good sport about it, but we did feel compelled to find ice cream at least once during the week.

DSC01083

We’d seen an ice cream cart when we were driving to and from town, so on one of our last afternoons, we finally decided to walk down the road to find it. It was a bit of a walk; Willa was asleep in the stroller by the time we arrived, but it was so worth it!

DSC01089

DSC01087

DSC01086

They called it “superfood ice cream” and all the flavors we tasted were divine. The Vegan Papaya Almond Bliss was my favorite, but the Cacao was also good and the Tamarind Jamaica was really delightful and refreshing. Willa initially said “yucky” when the chocolate came out (3 year olds!) but I think she was just thrown off by the nuts and other textures. She ended up devouring it. As did Cam.

DSC01104

There were no real cons about this place for us, but my only somewhat negative thought was that all the soymilk they were using might not fly in a trendy American city, but that was no problem for me (tofu foreva!).

//

ZAMAS
The New York Times told me to go to Zamas in the morning for the view and the huevos rancheros. So that’s what we did. And, unsurprisingly, NYT was right. The service was great, the food delicious, and the location on the beach was fantastic. This breakfast is a really happy memory for me; I’m so glad we went. (Notably, Cam cried through most of the meal. See, another vote for traveling with kids! Even when they cry it’s still a happy memory!)

DSC00847

DSC00846

DSC00857

//

LA EUFEMIA
While Tulum was overall a great travel destination, and we really enjoyed our time there, there’s no getting around the fact it’s quite touristy. Perhaps it was once off the beaten path, but beach road is now the path. It’s full of folks from Brooklyn or London (or Denver), looking for some tasty tacos. Luckily, just a few places down from our hotel, was La Eufemia. It ticked all the boxes for me: casual, fun, delicious food, good drinks, reasonable prices, and an authentic vibe. It was the only place we went twice. It was also the only place we spotted the young, hip staff from our hotel eating after they clocked out.

DSC00986

DSC00964

They had a 2×1 drink special the first night we were there, and we didn’t really think it through before Dan ordered a piña colada and I ordered a mojito. So when 4 drinks came to the table, we were like, “hey, I guess we’re having a big night!” The second time we went, we were ready and just ordered one piña colada. Although I don’t judge anyone who enjoys multiple. They were good!

DSC01143

DSC01159

//

LAGUANA KAAN LUUM
The morning I did my paddle boarding + yoga outing, they took us to this public lagoon. SUP Tulum has their own private lagoon, but it was quite windy that day, and Kaan Luum was smaller therefore less wind.

IMG_3235

It was beautiful. When we arrived at 9:45am we were the first ones there. By the time our class was over, around 11:30, there were probably 20-30 locals there swimming. The sandy bottom of the lagoon was pretty squishy, which took some getting used to, but the water was gorgeous and a perfect temperature.

//

SOL
Not a place, but I feel compelled to note that while on the beach, the refreshing taste of Sol made it my preferred cerveza.

DSC00756

Salud, amigos!