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Archive for the ‘get outside!’ Category

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Summer is in full swing here and, so far, it has been superb.

The days have been hot, the evenings have been warm, especially within the walls of our non-air conditioned home.

Bed time has been pushed way back, making mornings a little hard to wake up for.

Faces are sticky with ice cream and melted s’mores.

Jack’s skin constantly smells of sunscreen.

The backyard smells of charcoal mixed with the aroma wafting from a lightly brushed basil plant. And, you will be hard-pressed to find us eating a meal indoors.

I often struggle with life in Seattle. The endless gray and drizzle for much of the year can feel very monotonous.

But in the summer, all of that goes away.

Summer shines in Seattle like nowhere else; there is no place I’d rather be.

We are extending our days with the sun, excited to soak it all up.

Hope you are doing the same.

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Jack played t-ball for the first time last month. In fact, it was his first team sports experience outside of school. I won’t say it was all fun and games…there was one night where we both left crying after a long and completely frustrating protest of t-ball playing. It was one of those moments that leaves you, as a parent, wondering why you are even doing said activity in the first place. It drove me to read parenting articles and blogs, which led me to a clearer perspective of my goals and a plan to use in navigating this obstacle moving forward.

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And, I’m relieved to say that, aside from that one night, we all 3 had a blast meeting new friends and Jack loved being part of a team and learning something new. He was quite serious about it at times- check out that look of pure determination when he’s running the bases with his tongue sticking out, just as his Auntie used to do- and there were moments where he was completely the opposite of serious- when he twirled around in the field with his glove atop his head or when he sat on the base cones and pretended they were horses. In other words, he acted just a t-ball player should.
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This week Jack starts a new t-ball league, with actual games, that lasts through August. We are looking forward to more fun, more new friends, and more mastery of skills. And, of course, the most exciting things- trophies and end of the season parties (with baseball cupcakes)!

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It’s hard to believe that Jack and I have been home from our Pensacola trip for nearly three weeks now! My, oh, my, really where does the time go?! I just finished uploading and editing the photos from our two week vacation and, to no one’s surprise, there are quite a few pictures despite my best attempt at choosing only the best to include. There are also moments missing from these photos that I wish I had captured (like more with my parents, David’s parents, Mimi, and Martha…)- I guess we will have to make another trip there again soon!
Anyway, here are some of the highlights:

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We spent the first part of the trip at my parent’s house playing outside, going to the Naval Aviation Mueseum, discovering all of the fun, new food trucks and restaurants Pensacola now boasts, and pretending to swim in the pool (it was still quite chilly in the water).

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Easter was celebrated with a very early visit from the Easter Bunny, sunrise service, a large family lunch, and an egg hunt, before we headed out to the beach condo for our second week there.

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At the beach, we played in the sand, collected shells, found hermit crabs, swam in the Gulf water (!!!), took beach walks, flew the dragon kite, woke up doing barefoot beach runs with Jessica that included quite a few stops for shell hunting, and ended our day with the gorgeous sunset. We also shared plenty of laughs, like good families do. The story of Martha, Jessica, and my parents adventure at Red Bones in TN was hilarious! And, sorry for the inside joke, but Dad, so happy you got to have your bread pudding!

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One day, a great friend took us on a boat tour of the area. This was one of my favorite parts of the vacation. There is something so magical about viewing the land you know from the water. And, to be boat riding while holding Jack’s hand, well, that’s even better!

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Another highlight of our trip was Jacquelyn and Landon’s wedding! It was so gorgeous in the backyard bayou home of my aunt and uncle and, it’s always a great time having the whole family together to celebrate! Jack, per typical wedding behavior, danced his little booty off, even stealing a dance with the bride. After dancing for about four hours non-stop and telling us from the dance floor that when we get back to the condo, we are going to have another dance party (!), he passed out in my sister’s arms on the dock! Reminded me of a drunk and fun loving adult trapped in a four year old body! When we got home, Dad made us all (aside from sleeping Jack) a midnight breakfast of sausage and egg biscuits! The best!

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It was hard to leave such a comfortable place and loving family, but good to get back to David! Pensacola, you are in my blood and bones, we will be back soon! xxo

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A few more photos from our snowy weekend…

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The snowflakes actually began falling on Saturday night when David and I were sitting along the window at Mkt. enjoying a pre-dinner date night cocktail. The snow created a novel and unexpected romantic backdrop to our night out.

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We spent Sunday morning playing in the backyard and building a small snowman with a carrot nose and chocolate covered almond eyes.

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Sadie was interested in this new method of food offering…!

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And, Jack loved his snowman!

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A few weekends back, we took our first hike of the year- Twin Falls. It was the first official hike that Jack did all by himself (no carrying required) and it was kind of a tricky walk in the woods- steep in some spots, icy mud where the trees gave a lot of shade, and 3 miles long. Even Miss Sadie made the hike with us…but, she suffered from the exercise later on in the week when she had a sprain in her right shoulder which made getting around a big challenge for her- poor old girl.

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Despite a few bouts of whining from Jack that he was tired, I think we all had a lot of fun. It felt so good to be outside, taking big breaths of crisp and fresh Pacific Northwest air, and enjoying each other and the day away from distractions.

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Already excited to do our next one and so happy that I have made this a priority of ours this year!

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Cheers to a fun and picture-worthy 2013! May 2014 be filled with people you love and unimaginable adventures!

Happy New Year! xxo!

PS I posted a similar (shorter) video on Instagram a few days ago…maybe you saw it there; if not, follow me over there!: stephaniebrowngoat.

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It’s difficult to find words to describe the elation and comfort of being surrounded by family. There’s even greater elation and, thus, a greater challenge in describing the feeling, when surrounded by said family whom normally reside over 2400 miles away!

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We felt lucky. I know that much for sure. Spending our weekend in a beautiful cabin rented by Dad in Cle Elum, playing at Suncadia Resort’s Harvest Festival, running through the mountain trails, soaking in the sunshine and the views, and enjoying drinks and good times.

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I love each of these people. So happy that I can call them mine…and, over the moon that they came to visit! Thank you Aunt Diane, Uncle Wayne, Martha, Jessica, Mom, and Dad for a fantastic Autumn weekend!

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Blue skies, moderately warm temperatures, endless sun, ice cream (more on this addiction later…let’s just say it’s a bit out of control!), beach days, wading pools, flip flops, skirts, shorts, picnics…and BERRIES! So many plump, delicious berries growing in fields all over the northwest right now just waiting to be plucked from their bushes.

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My absolute favorite fruit is raspberries (in actuality, it’s probably in my top five favorite foods list if I were to create one) so I was one very happy girl yesterday when we went berry picking with some friends at Biringer Farms and discovered that the raspberries were at their peak! We only spent an hour or so in the fields, only picking from a few rows, but we got such a wonderful bounty of huge, red, juicy raspberries!

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We are trying to enjoy them in their pure form as quickly as possible since no amount of sugar or even buttery crust could possibly make them better, but I do plan to make at least one berry crumble pie later this week with some of the smashed ones.

Summer is just delightful, no?!!

P.S. Our berry picking adventure 2 years ago, just a few months after moving here— look how little Jack was!!!…sigh.

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Just wanted to stop by and say hello! I haven’t forgotten about this space (on the contrary, I actually have many ideas for new posts), but summer life takes on a direction of its own and before I know it, our calendars are overbooked with activities that have us playing in the sun, visiting more with friends, and lingering longer over meals since the sun doesn’t disappear from the clear Seattle sky until after 10pm. It’s a glorious time of the year!
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I plan to pop back in soon with some recipes and to share photos of our summer time fun, but right now I’m just going to kick my feet up and sip an iced coffee on my sun-drenched deck.

PS I just chopped about 9 or 10 inches off my hair (you can see it in the bottoms photo)! It feels good to have shorter, bouncier locks for summer!

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Recently, we spent a week at Lake Chelan sharing a vacation home with our dear friends- Amy, Phil, Johanna, and Britta. It was nothing short of gorgeous and immensely fun! The glacier-fed lake, which is nearly 55 miles long and located in northwestern Washington in the Cascade Mountain range, looks like the Caribbean Ocean with both turquoise, greens, and dark blues coloring its clear water. And, the surrounding hillside reminds me of Tuscany- gently rolling hills dotted with homes, villas, the occasional tree- ponderosa pines, vines of grapes, a patchwork of lush green orchards, and many wineries. One afternoon, I took a walk and was able to get to a height above an apple orchard- it was especially pretty looking down on the neat rows of apple trees leading to the Caribbean blue waters with the Tuscan-looking hills in the background. Off in the distance, the mountain peaks still held snow, making the landscape even that much more rich and stunning. What an insanely beautiful place!

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We hit several of Lake Chelan’s wineries while we were visiting- there are more than two dozen wineries surrounding both the north and south shores of the lake. Our first tasting was at Wapato Point Cellars and the bonus here was that it is family friendly and has a small play area on the grounds. This means the kids were well entertained while the grownups tasted wine!

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Both couples enjoyed a date morning (sans kids) where we did something active as a couple and then enjoyed a wine tasting at the Lake Chelan Winery. This winery had my favorite wine of the trip, a white Syrah, which went perfectly with our grilled vegetable and mozzarella pasta dinner.20130508-055700.jpg

We also did a girls only outing to Vin du Lac , a charming French inspired winery (note the Eiffel tower in the second photo) with amazing views! The weather was perfect and we indulged in a few wine flights on their lovely patio and then ended with a glass of sweet and florally Gewurtztraminer.20130508-040110.jpg

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One morning, we hiked at Echo Ridge…it was fun to see a different part of the area and to try to picture what the cross country skiing would be like around there, but the older kids weren’t that into walking so the dads ended up carrying them and, of course, baby Britta was carried, which left me as the only parent free of carrying extra kid weight! We saw a few deer on the hike, lots of pretty yellow Baslamroot flowers, and great views! The kids had fun looking for bugs- we found a cool lizard- and building a “bird nest”.

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We spent a lot of time playing on the beach and just really trying to soak in the views! Jack looked at us from time to time while involved in play and said, “it’s really pretty here, right?”. “Yes, baby, it is,” I always replied with a smile and a happy little sigh.

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This was really a perfect trip to do with friends! The area is so relaxed…it was a joy to be able to spend so much time with our great friends with no real agenda. We ate fantastic meals, soaked in the hot tub for hours, indulged in many tropical drinks and local wine, and were able to comfortably spend lots of quality time with each other without rushing home for naps or bedtime! Our rental house, Lazy Creek, was the perfect find (thanks to Amy!) with a pool, hot tub, multiple outdoor seating areas, great views, and lots of space to claim as your own.

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Jack and Johanna “got married” several times during the week which looked like lots of hugging and tumbling and spinning around…clearly, they are quite fond of one another!
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On our last day, just the three of us visited Blueberry Hills Farm where we had brunch. It’s a few miles outside of town. Looking out from the restaurant’s elevated back deck, you see rows and rows of blueberry bushes which we explored after our meal. They smelled wonderful as they were in full bloom…too bad we weren’t there during the picking season! On our way out of town, we made one last stop to Lake View Drive-In. We weren’t overly impressed with our lunch there earlier in the week, but, man, their milkshakes are delicious- we had to have another one for the drive! My favorite was peanut butter hot fudge, which had a rich peanut butter flavor and a ribbon of thick hot fudge marbled evenly throughout…mmm!

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I also found a home that I’m pining for right on the north shore of the lake!…I took pictures of the home and will do a separate post next week. Oh, house dreaming is fun!

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