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This past Sunday, we made our annual trip up to Bellewood Acres for apple picking with dear friends. The weather was perfect- sunny and warm in the sun, cool in the shade.  The children loved playing on the old tires and in the wagons as much, or maybe more, than picking apples.  We chose to walk out to the orchards this year rather than ride in the tractor and Rigby appreciated the stroll as a chance to fall sleep.

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We picked twenty pounds of apples.  I have already made plans for about half of them (hopefully the recipes will be yummy enough to share…stay tuned), but I have equally ambitious plans to enjoy many without alteration, aside from a big scoop of peanut butter for dipping them into.

Oh, and I keep dreaming of the frozen boozy cocktail I enjoyed post apple picking- apple cider blended with Bellewood Distilling gin and served in a mason jar.  So delicious and refreshing.  I may have to make one more trip up there just to grab a bottle of apple gin or brandy for our home bar.




P.S. Our trip to Bellewood Acres from 2013.

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Five Months




5 months old?!  It’s really hard to believe.  Even Jack who heard me tell someone that Rigby turned 5 months old over the weekend said, “Five months, already?!”

Rigby is a bright-eyed, flirtatious 5 month old babe with rosy apple cheeks and blue eyes that are full of expression.  He continues to be loud and has no qualms letting you know that he is tired or hungry.  He has also learned how to squeal this month and it is equally as loud as his cries.

This month was full of many marked events among which was a power outage from a wind storm that lasted for 50 hours!, a delay in the start to Jack’s school year due to a teacher strike, his first night away from home, a trip to the zoo, becoming the youngest supporter of Jack’s soccer team, the Yellow Jackets, and going to his first college football game.

Night time sleeping is going very well, yet we did experience the highly discussed 19-20 week old sleep regression in which Rigby work up several times throughout the night.  It coincided with his first cold, so it was all around a difficult few days, but we are on the other side of that and he is back to sleeping long night stretches.  His routine of late is an early bedtime of 6:30p (in actuality, he is ready for bed by 6:00p, but we are not quite ready to put him down then) and an early morning wake up of 6:00a.  He is still waking one time during the very early morning (lately around 5:00a) to eat and usually goes back to sleep with no trouble. Despite the great sleep, he still wants nothing to do with his crib and sleeps pretty much the whole night in the Rock and Play.  Not certain what we will do once he outgrows it.

Day time naps are so-so.  His morning is the most unstructured time of the day as we are still working to find our rhythm with Jack’s school schedule.  We walk Jack to school each morning and Rigby tends to cat nap both before and after this walk with, unfortunately, lots of crying as he tries to help himself fall asleep.  Afternoon naps are much better and longer, yet not without their share of tears before he gives in to his sleepiness.

When he’s sleepy and being changed into his pajamas, he stares very intently into my eyes without moving a muscle aside from the occasional smirk that he lets slip. He hangs onto my every word and I just might fall more in love each time.  He also might be the only person who enjoys my singing, but man is he a fan!  We have been singing Better Than Ezra’s “Something “Bout This Time of Year” and Frente!’s “Accidentally Kelly Street” a lot lately.

Rigby is definitely playing and interacting more these days.  He sits in his Bumbo chair several times throughout the day and is getting stronger supporting himself, which is good since solid foods are right around the corner (perhaps that is why he sheds buckets of drool all day long)!  He also enjoys jumping in the Jumperoo and has a particular affinity for the music and lights.  If ever on his back or in the carseat, he loves to grab ahold of his feet and sort of rock or place them into his mouth- reminds me of a little turtle that got flipped over on his shell. The highlight of his world, however, continues to be big brother Jack.  His eyes sparkle and his whole face lights up whenever Jack is within view.

We have started more purposeful reading to Rigby, realizing just a few days ago that his book time was with Jack’s books and his board books were essentially being ignored.  He enjoys listening and looking at the pictures if you can get him positioned just right in your lap, but he is also eager to grab at our arms and the book during story time.  He loves to try to close the book and stick the corner into his mouth.

Rigby is quite ticklish and I can hardly get through a diaper change without a laughing spell.  I continue to be completely addicted to it!  I just love his laughter.  We are starting to do sign language with him and he is an attentive observer.  His new trick is the beginning of a hand wave hello.  But, I have to be careful to praise as my excitement can be startling to him and he will pout out his bottom lip while tears swell in his eyes.

We love you so much sweet plum!

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Jack has been very involved for several years in choosing his clothes.  And, while he occasionally needs some gentle redirecting away from clothes with characters, for the most part his style is pretty rad in my opinion. I thought I would share what he chose to wear for the first few days of Kindergarten.

Meet Your Teacher Day:


Shirt: Gap Kids, Gray Skinny Jeans: Old Navy, Shoes, Star Wars Darth Vader Vans: Nordstrom

First Day: 


Shirt: Bear Vader, a gift from Nona and Pops from Alaska; Gray Skinny Jeans: Old Navy, Shoes, Chuck Taylor Party High Top Sneakers: Nordstrom

Second Day: 

Shirt: Star Wars Sweatshirt, H&M, Pants: Skinny Jeans, Old Navy

Third Day:


Shirt: Gap Kids, Pants: Gray Twill, H&M, Shoes: Pumas, J. Crew Kids, Backpack: Jack Skellington, Amazon

Fourth Day:


Shirt: Sweatshirt, H&M, Shorts: Old Navy, Socks: Camp Socks, Gap Kids

Some things of interest this week:

Do you ever feel as overwhelmed as I do about the stack of unread New Yorkers growing in your living room?  Well, this might be just what you need.  I have used it for a few weeks now and have found it really useful!

Rigby turns five months this weekend…gulp!  I have been making plans for his introduction to solid foods for a while now and am getting so excited to use my Baby Breeza to make some yummy things for him to try!

I’m pining for a pair of glerups! They are a bit pricey for slippers, but I practically live in my Minnetonka slippers now that my work is at home.

We made this deliciously indulgent pumpkin desert on Wednesday to welcome Fall.  I recommend that you try it at least one time this season, it’s yummy!

There are a lot of restaurants in Seattle that are on my list to visit and Manolin falls near the top if only to see the gorgeous open kitchen, the beautiful bar with the dreamy turquoise brick walls, and the particularly attractive staff.  Check out the slide show in Bon Appetit.

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A Quick Way to Fitness

My fitness routine has been pretty much nonexistent since getting pregnant with Rigby.  I never felt energetic or well enough during the pregnancy to do much more than walking.  And, even walking was painful if it wasn’t slow enough.  And, now that I have two children who I have been at home with full-time since June, finding the time to build in regular exercise has been a bit of a challenge.

I savor the mornings when I can squeeze in a run.  Over Labor Day weekend, I was able to run around Green Lake alone and it was revitalizing.  It was also the only twenty-six minutes that I had spent without my boys since July!  So, time is precious to me these days.

With Jack finally starting Kindergarten, I am hoping to build in a regular exercise routine, but I will still need to find a routine that has the most impact in the smallest amount of time.  I also need to find something that I look forward to doing, or I will find multiple excuses not to.  A recent study led by Jens Bangsbo from University of Copenhagen in Denmark illustrated that a program they call 30-20-10 can not only make you faster, but can also improve your blood pressure and other markers of health.

The concept of 30-20-10 is to do cardiovascular exercise like running, biking, or rowing at a moderate pace for 30 seconds, a slightly more intense pace for 20 seconds, and a full out sprint for 10 seconds, repeating the cycle 5 times to produce one continuous 5 minute repeat.  The study suggests doing two cycles of the 5 minute repeat with a 1 minute warm-up and cool-down, totaling just 12 minutes of exercise.

I love this idea and know from prior race training experience that high intensity exercise makes a big impact.  What is so great about this particular approach to intense exercise is that the numbers are so easy and it only require a full out sprint for 10 seconds as compared to some programs that suggest 30 seconds or more.  I plan to start doing a few workouts like this each week…it will be interesting to see how it works with a running stroller!

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Jack is scheduled to begin Kindergarten this week (he was actually supposed to begin today, but the teachers in Seattle have voted to strike regarding some wage disagreements, so the exact start date is unknown). But. KINDERGARTEN.  REAL school.  Yesterday, we had orientation.  We met his teacher and his classmates and explored in his classroom.


IMG_0665IMG_0657IMG_0659In some sense, it seems perfectly fitting. He’s ready for this.  Yet, in another, I cannot actually believe we are exiting the early childhood chapter of his life and moving on to the next. It would be exhausting, of course, to remain in the baby stage, or the toddler stage, or any stage at all for that matter, but to be entering the school days stage with Jack is hard to wrap my mind around. How have we already arrived at this?


A few days ago, I found myself watching a video of him taken on the day after we moved to Seattle, he was 19 months old.  I had to turn it off.  My eyes burned from trying not to cry.  My heart was swirling with so many emotions.  Last week we received an email introduction from his Kindergarten teacher and I read it aloud to him.  This time, my tears couldn’t be stopped.  As they were slowing welling up and trickling down my cheeks and I was stuttering on the words, Jack just sort of stared and then asked me if I was crying.  I told him how much I love him and how sometimes watching him grow so big makes me cry.  He gave me a kiss and a cuddle and told me “it’s okay” and I know, somewhere deep down, that it really is.


I also know how lucky I am. How blessed my life is.  I am so grateful that I hold so many things so dearly that time has become something of an enemy.  It sure is hard to let go and to move on, but I can only imagine the joy and laughter and memories that the school days will bring to our lives.  It is time for our next chapter to begin.  And, maybe I am ready.

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End of Summer Pasta


It’s funny. While I think that I feel ready for fall, my actions show that I’m still holding onto summer.  At Trader Joe’s this week, the kind cashier pointed out that a large component of my groceries were ice cream, coffee, and wine with a good smattering of summer vegetables to round things out and to make life balanced. I laughed when he noticed and then examined my items more closely noting that all the wines I chose were whites and roses, that I had 3 pounds of tomatoes, 4 pounds of peaches, and not yet one item purchased for the lunch box lunches that will commence after Labor Day.


It seems that there is something that I’m trying to hold onto. Maybe it’s the non-scheduled days, the shorts and tank tops, my silver Birkenstocks sandals, the wonderful produce…or, perhaps I’m not ready for the first full season of my baby’s young life to come to an end. Maybe I’m not actually ready to say goodbye to the crazy days of Mama, Jack, and Rigby trying to find their way in their new roles of stay-at-home Mama of TWO, big brother, and new human

Although I feel ready and excited for Jack to begin his school journey and for the routine it will bring to our lives, maybe I do just need a few more days to hold onto the longer, warmer days of summer and, a few more dinners celebrating the season with a glass of chilled white wine.  Because, while I can’t hold onto summer, I also don’t have to rush it away.


This is a very good, very simple pasta dish that I find impossible to eat just one bowl of.  The flavors marinade nicely so that when you are ready to combine the pasta with the tomatoes, the garlic has imparted its flavor in a mellow, earthy way and the crushed red peppers provide a nice little kick of spice that is almost unnoticeable.

End of Summer Pasta


1 1/2 pounds grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup olive oil

6 cloves of garlic

20 basil leaves, julienned

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound capellini pasta

Plenty of grated Parmesan cheese


Combine the grape tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Cover the bowl and set aside on the counter for about 4 hours.

Just before you’re ready to eat, bring a large pot of water with a splash of olive oil and salt to a boil and add the pasta. Cook al dente according to the directions on the package, only about 3-4 minutes. Drain the pasta well and add to the bowl with the tomatoes. Serve in bowls and top each pasta serving with plenty of Parmesan cheese.

recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa

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 I was searching for articles discussing laughter and babies and stumbled upon this…

“We start laughing around 3.5 to 4 months old; Scientists believe it is a way to build relationships, not necessarily as a response to something funny.”

This makes a lot of sense if you stop to think about laughter in relation to babies.  We acquire the ability to laugh long before we acquire the capacity to speak words.  Therefore, laughter serves as a means of communication and a bonding activity between a baby and its parent or, in cases like ours, its sibling.  A parent gets a baby to laugh and then continues to do the behavior that illicits the laughter. In turn, the baby carries on laughing at the antics of the parent almost as a means of positive reinforcement.

The laughter of babies and what it might portray about the workings of babies’ brains is being studied by Birkbeck Babylab, a London based research group.  The most popular post on their Baby Laughter project blog is the discussion of “should we tickle babies”.  When it comes to tickling, something to consider is that the idea of tickling is not necessarily a pleasant experience for everyone.  In fact, many adults do not enjoy being tickled and because babies cannot defend themselves, perhaps they shouldn’t be tickled. One theory about why we are ticklish is so that we are sensitive to bugs and small parasites that might crawl on our skin while we are asleep.  A pretty creepy thought, I must say, but it certainly does help to explain the reason we wiggle and squirm away from the tickling.  The researchers believe that babies, for the most part, do enjoy being tickled and actually probably see tickling as a game they can play with their favorite people.  The researchers go on to suggest that babies can tell you by crying or squirming away when they have had enough. So, as long as we pay attention to their cues, tickling can be a fun way to trigger a baby’s laughter and reinforce that bond between parent and child.

Rigby sure does seem to enjoy it and, as I mentioned in his four month update, I find it to be one of the cutest things I’ve ever witnessed!

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