Sunday, June 25, 2017

Memories in Port Townsend

My family has been taking trips to Port Townsend, Washington since before I was born. In fact, we still own the property near North Beach where my Grandpa was born. It's one of my favorite places in the world, a charming, memory-filled place that's just perfect for weekend getaways.

A long time ago, we planned a trip there to celebrate my Grandpa's 83rd birthday. It seems like just yesterday that I was there with baby Ryder for Grandpa's 80th birthday. But even though he's since gone on to bigger and better things, we still wanted to spend the weekend together in Port Townsend, maybe his very favorite place in the world, to remember and celebrate his life.

Gosh, I sure do miss him. 

But it felt good to be together for a weekend of memories and healing.

My parents got an awesome camp site right on the beach at historic Fort Worden, and it was an absolutely perfect weekend to spend on the Olympic Peninsula. Temperatures were well into the high 90s at home, but in Port Townsend we enjoyed breezy low 80s and lovely sunshine.

Ryder loved going for scooter rides around the campground.

Lounging at the camp site.

Hanging out with Aunt Erin.

Extended family hanging out after a birthday dinner for Grandpa.

Kiley spent a fair amount of time napping in the RV.

She also got in some cuddle time with Papa.

Ryder loves the beach.

I mean seriously, if we didn't actually force him to leave, I think he'd stay there until the end of time. 

Digging, throwing rocks, looking at various creatures, building sand castles, helping search for sea glass... He never runs out of fun activities. He never gets tired, or hot, or cold, or hungry.

It's his happy place.

As for Kiley, she's pretty much just along for the ride and game for anything. We just post her up in the shade and she's good to go.

Nana is happy to play at the beach with Ryder for hours and hours.

Ryder catching a ride with Uncle AJ.

Just like I did when I was a kid, Ryder loved exploring Fort Worden. 

Originally designed as a military base during World War II to protect the Puget Sound, the original coastal artillery batteries are perfect for climbing and exploring.

One thing that we never miss in Port Townsend is getting ice cream at Nifty Fiftys Soda Fountain downtown. 

Stew and Ryder always choose bubble gum ice cream. 

Like father, like son.

Thanks to my wonderful, amazing grandparents, Port Townsend has been our family's home away from home for more than 30 years. I was Kiley's age when I first started going there. And even though, for the first time, my grandparents weren't physically present on this trip, the memories they spent a lifetime creating will live on through the generations of people they left behind.

I think that's pretty special.

And I can't wait for my children to experience their own lifetime of memories in this incredible place.

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

To the Father of My Children

Dear Stewart, 

I say so many things to you, but I rarely say the ones that matter. I ask you to put on his shoes, or warm up her bottle, or give him a bath, or change her diaper. I ask you to unload the dishwasher, or install new toilet seats, or just keep them occupied for five more minutes, please. 

Since the moment our first child was born, you've sacrificed pieces of yourself in order to make us happy.

You've stepped up in incredible ways that I never could have imagined. It's never been easy, and more often than not it's involved some sort of bodily fluid. But every single day, you do the best that you possibly can, and it is always more than enough.

As I've watched you become a dad I've fallen, impossibly, more in love with you. I know I don't always show it, through the stress and the sleep deprivation and the frustration, but I do see you. I watch as you continually bend over backward for our kids. I listen and smile as you make believe with our son, and as you coax a big, gummy grin from our daughter.

Your support and love help make me a better mom. Thank you for being on the same team as me, and for learning and growing and changing with me as we've built this family together. You are my rock.

I know I don't have to thank you for loving our children. But still... thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You are our son's first hero and our daughter's first love. I'm so grateful to be raising these amazing tiny humans with you.

And if I had to choose again, I'd still choose you.

Happy Father's Day.

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Saturday, June 17, 2017


My little brother is having a baby!

It seems like he just got married (because he did), but by August he and his lovely wife, Morgan, will be welcoming their firstborn daughter.

I'm so excited!

My sister Nichole and I wanted to throw our new sister-in-law a lovely shower to celebrate Baby Kinley's impending arrival, but we also wanted to include my brother, AJ, in the festivities. So, going against tradition, we planned a co-ed, casual, backyard barbecue type of baby shower that included everyone in the family.

It was a blast!

The only drawback was the fact that my mom came down with a horrible stomach flu just a few days before the shower. We were planning on hosting the party at her house, but since we didn't want to be responsible for exposing elderly and pregnant guests to the flu, we had to move everything to my Grandma Sally's house. Mom was so disappointed to miss out on celebrating her fifth grandchild. She understood, but we sure did miss her though!

My sister Nichole is a master party planner, so it was so much fun coordinating everything with her. 

We had a delicious menu filled with "baby" themed backyard barbecue foods.

And after stuffing ourselves with all the delicious eats (and a few beers, of course!) there were tons of yummy treats. 

We decided not to do any silly traditional shower games, and instead only planned one casual guessing activity.

Congratulations to our cousin Courtney, who won the grand prize!

Sophia helped with the decorations, which turned out great!

AJ and Morgan are obviously very loved by our family, and it showed, because we had a great turnout. 

AJ and Morgan received lots of awesome gifts for Baby Kinley.

Nichole and I were so happy to be able to spoil our lovely sister-in-law.

I seriously adore my baby brother and his wife, and I just can't even imagine how much I am going to love their sweet baby girl.

Just a few more weeks to go!

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