Tuesday, August 14, 2018

It's a bit o' honey life

These early school starts mess with my head. Why do kids (and their teachers) go back to school in the middle of summer? It makes August feel so much less summery, don't you think?

Well it's still summer in my book and I've got the houseguests to prove it. My sister and her family are visiting and since they live up north it's still summer in their book too. Also, summer doesn't officially end for another month. More actually, so why must we always be in a hurry to get to the next good thing? Let's smell the roses here today, k?

Somebody celebrated a birthday while we were visiting the Evergreen State. Y'all. He is the sweetest little boy I've ever known and we absolutely could not love him more. He walks and talks and smiles all the live long day. He reaches up his arms for me to pick him up and our current favorite thing is when hubs says, "Rock n' Roll!" and the mancub does a little dance that is too cute for words.

Daughter1 planned a sweet little celebration with a few friends and the sun shone and he enjoyed his party. She wrote all about the party on her own blog (here) but I will mention this adorable banner she hung across her fireplace mantle.

His picture each month of this first year of his life. So precious!

While my daughter and her hubs were traveling hubs and I manned the store so to speak. We tried to take a little outing every day because busy busy busy one year old baby boys need a little outing every day. Whew!

One of our favorites was to a nearby nature preserve on a crystal clear afternoon. As an aside, the PNW is not known for its fabulous weather EXCEPT summertime.

Visit in the summertime and you find yourself thinking 'wow, I should live here'.

It rained buckets in sunny South Carolina while we were away but not a drop fell in Olympia which is where this little gem is situated. We walked the trail around the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge and what a pretty spot!

We stopped to watch some heron play Go Fish...

We peeked through a duck blind...

We attempted binoculars which was really more about how they tasted than what you could see, but still...

Grandparenting helps me remember what it was like to be a young mom. 

Answer me this-why is a one year old better at the art of selfie taking than a grown woman? He is giving me a thumbs up here though. It's like he's saying, 'Yay Nana! We're both in the picture and that's something. Next time we'll work on your ridiculous facial expression and where to put your head in relation to the camera so it's not ginormous, but yay Nana!'

Of course before leaving town we did what all good grandparents do...

We gave him his very first taste of ice cream. If these pictures had sound you would hear mm-mm-mmm!

 Life is full of sweet things baby boy-

You most of all.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Trip Before This Trip

It has been a little nuttier than normal here this summer in terms of people coming and going and when I say people that includes us. We have had a lot of company, but we've also been company. Which is more fun? Hmmm...

I have another post or two about our trip to Washington, and while it might make sense to finish that up I feel like switching gears so strap in.

Let's bring everyone up to speed...hubs took a two week course all day/every day in mid-July and the day after that wrapped up Daughter2's future in-laws came to the lake for a visit. Also to handle some wedding details, but mostly just to visit. We had a wonderful time and are so grateful for the loving parents who raised our soon-to-be son-in-law. We're all just a little bit excited for spring to roll around, but first! Kentucky-

The day after our guests left we drove to Kentucky to spend a few days with friends who have a lake house there. Yes, we left our lake house and went to their lake house, but that's what friends do.

Lake living y'all. Go get you some.

Anyway these friends only live part time at the lake and that part time is summer so that's when we needed to visit. Plus there was bourbon.

I don't particularly care for bourbon, but hubs is a fan and I like a road trip, seeing old friends,  and learning new things so win win.

We had a pretty day of driving through some lovely countryside and arrived at their house late afternoon. We used to eat Indian food together back when we all lived in the UK, so the Mr. had prepared for us the most delicious curry which made us feel a teensy bit nostalgic for English village life.

We had picture perfect weather and struck out for our first stop on the 'Bourbon Trail' the next morning. I don't know what I was expecting, but I don't think I realized how enormous these operations are.

We started at Wild Turkey where we hopped on a little bus for a tour of their operating facilities. So interesting! Plus, our tour guide was a retired Marine Corps Drill Sergeant who had not lost his voice and was a lot of fun.

Once the tour ended we were returned to the visitors center for a tasting and some shopping and a photograph of this famous bridge that people bungee off of 'for fun'. Pass the bourbon please.

The company that runs it is appropriately named Vertigo. This bridge is 240 feet above the Kentucky River and the highest bridge in North America you can 'legally' jump from. I guess there are people illegally jumping from higher bridges?

Let's get back on the Bourbon Trail.

We had lunch at a cute little place in the town of Lawrenceburg called Heavens To Betsy, then drove out to Woodford Reserve. We rode through some really pretty countryside, past several horse farms, and then onto the gorgeous property that is Woodford.

Again we hopped on a little bus for their tour and while there was some overlap in the information each tour also taught us a little something new too. I enjoyed seeing the bottling in action here-

There are restrictions as to how much they can serve you in a tasting and I was more about the chocolate anyway, but still it was such an interesting day. Of course the weather was perfection which always helps.

We had dinner at the lake house and afterward the guys went fishing. Hubs caught a nice sized fish which was the perfect ending to a pretty perfect day.

We were up and at 'em early the next morning for Day 2 on the trail...next stop-Buffalo Trace.

This was my favorite because they are doing a lot of renovations and we got something like a backlot tour here and saw some different things.

Buffalo Trace is the oldest continually operating Distillery in America, and even remained open for 'medicinal' purposes during Prohibition.

After the tour there was the tasting and the shopping and then on to lunch. We ate at a tiny spot in Frankfort called Rick's White Light Diner which has been featured on the show Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.

The food is Cajun and delicious and we sat in the little courtyard outside to eat our lunch. Rick came out towards the end of our meal and talked with us for a long while which was interesting. Then it was back to the lake where we girls floated while the guys went and shot clay pigeons or skeet or some such thing.

We were on the road bright and early Thursday morning and got home in time to do a little laundry, unpack our suitcases then repack our suitcases, and head to the airport really really early Friday morning for our flight to Seattle.

As summer rolls along I'm thankful for family and friends who come to us, for friends who say hey, come to us. For blue skies, sunshine, rolling hills, tall trees, lake life, city life, new experiences, old friends, planes, boats and automobiles, and the hubs by my side who makes me laugh and lets me nap when he senses I might teeter from all the things.

It has been a crazy beautiful busy summer and we're not done yet.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

My Favorite Mountain

Although most of our time this trip was all about the boy any trip to Washington State is also always a little bit about the rugged beauty of the Pacific Northwest. 

Before Daughter1 and her hubs went out of town we managed a day trip to my favorite mountain. 

I'd never been to the Evergreen State before my daughter got married and moved cross country, but from the very first trip we made here I knew I'd need to see this mountain up close and in person one day.

Mt. Rainier is the highest peak in the Cascade Range and somehow those enormous mountains manage to look dinky when viewed beside THE mountain.

 Even baby boy can't believe its size.

We set out for a hike with daughter1 toting her son on her back. Did I mention the trail here is steep? Very! And he's half her height and nearly a third her weight when you factor in the carrier, but she was a trooper and so was he, all comfy cozy in the pack.

So comfy cozy in fact he dozed off on the way back down.

Everybody stopped for a minute to watch this hoary marmot scamper across the path. Apparently they're found in abundance here but we only saw one.

There's a nice Visitors Center where you catch the trail and you'll find restrooms here along with visitor information and a cafe. We brought our lunch in a cooler and there are plenty of picnic tables too.

There's also a charming inn (Paradise Inn) with a restaurant and lovely gift shop where we browsed and bought Christmas ornaments because we always do when we travel anywhere new. The Inn is currently under renovation but according to their website has some limited availability during the process.

The day was warm and crystal clear which is important if you want to see the mountain. Not so much the warm part, but the clear part definitely matters. Daughter1 had been to the park with her husband in mid-June and the trails were still covered in snow and the skies so hazy they couldn't see the mountain top. Hard to imagine but true.

It feels a bit like you're in Europe here, maybe Austria or Switzerland. Just stunning!

There are a number of stopping points on the drive up through the park, hiking trails, waterfalls, and scenic overlooks (what's not scenic here???) and on the way back down we stopped to see one of the most photographed spots in Rainier-Reflection Lake. Named I think because at certain times of day the mountain is perfectly reflected in the alpine waters of this crystal clear beauty.

We stopped to take a peek at a couple of waterfalls too, but didn't linger long as we had a one year old with us, it was hot, and we'd already had a pretty full day. Hubs would love to go back one day and hike up to the base camp and spend the night. We'll see if maybe he can make that happen.

We could not have asked for a nicer day and if you're in the Seattle area I highly recommend you spend some time here.

 She's a beauty from a distance, but up close is truly spectacular.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

A Day In The Life

I have about a hundred and seventy five things to blog about but I think I'll start with today and work backwards. Where else better to begin than with the cutest baby boy in the world?

Who is officially a whole year old! but let's come back to that in another post because I'm determined not to jam all one hundred and seventy five things into this post. What you need to know today is our favorite boy has been left in our care for a few days while his mom and dad are away. 

Y'all. It has been a long time since I've been in charge of a busy busy busy one year old baby boy and while it all comes back to you I think it does take a day or so to get your rhythm. Hubs and I tag team him and so far so good. I mean it's still Day 1, but he's sleeping snug as a bug upstairs right now so go us! 

We were up and caffeinated before he awoke and will not deviate from that strategy going forward. I slipped into his still dark room quietly, hoping he'd be as happy to see me as he was the day before when his mama and daddy were in the house. No worries, he greets me with his million dollar smile and we go downstairs and he greets hubs the same way and then we all sit on the floor and 'play'. 

We read a few pages of five or six books and we make animal sounds that match the animals in his brand new puzzle and we watch him take steps and we stack a lot of blocks. Or we try anyway...he does not let a stacked block stand. 

We take an early morning walk in the stroller, mostly because the dog needs to get out and run, but also because there are many minutes in an hour and they all must be filled. 

Back home hubs juggles and makes funny faces while I fix breakfast because I wasn't kidding when I said we're a team. 

Shoutout to my daughter1 who has this boy on a very manageable schedule and bless the babies who sleep like teenagers because grandparents need a minute to get the house picked up and laundry started and ourselves showered and ready for the day. 

Once he's up from his nap we do not mess around. We get in the car so we can run the errand that needs running and hit Chick-fil-A for lunch because he loves him some grilled nuggets and people watching. 

I'm toting my purse and a diaper bag (because I didn't think that through) and the baby of course, so hubs gets in the queue for the food because I was once a young mom of two, surely I can manage the whole get the highchair to the table, stick the plastic placemat on the table (thanks Chick-fil-a!), get his 'side dishes' out of the diaper bag, buckle him in, re-stick the placemat because I'm not on top of my game yet and forgot he would want to pull that up as soon as it was down. Whew. 

Is hubs ordering me a coffee because I think I might need coffee?

Our little mancub loooves him some chicken with a side of strawberries so lunch is a delight. Plus did I mention he's the cutest baby boy in the world? 

Hubs and I also eat I think? and and then we move on to pick up a few things in the nearby supermarket before heading home. We play some more and then it's back to bed for an afternoon nap. His too. Ha! Once he's up we roll the ball and push the truck and read a few more pages of ten different books and we drop the tiny basketball through the tiny hoop and then we load up for some fresh air and sunshine.

My daughter's neighborhood has all kinds of wonderful walking trails amidst beautiful scenery and it never gets old to me. When you were a kid did you have a playground in the tall tall trees like our little guy does? Sunlight in a Jurassic Park pine is magical. 

Baby boy is content and we're content and the sun is soft as we walk back home. Hubs is a man of a million tricks, voices, impressions, faces and has no trouble keeping the man cub happy while I make dinner. It's not my best effort but there's chicken so somebody enjoys every morsel. 

Then there are dishes to wash and a baby to wash so we do our best to give him a bath and then it's time for snuggles and milk and bed. 

Hubs and I contemplate also calling it a day at 7:30 PM but I blog instead. 

                                                              photo credit: Chris Klas 

And marvel at my girl, who does this all day every day while her hubs works long hard hours. I say a little prayer she loves every minute of her time away and comes home feeling refreshed, recharged, and ready for year two with the sweetest baby boy in the world. 

Friday, July 27, 2018


Dear Little Man Cub,

Today you are one.

When you were born something shifted in our universe. You might think I'm just saying that because you're ours, but I think if we surveyed grandparents around the world they would agree.

Even before you're born we know we're going to love you, but we're a little bit shocked by how quickly and completely that happens.

It has been my great great joy to watch you grow and change this year.

To watch you become more you.

Your mama and daddy are wonderful parents and I'm thankful every day God made you a family. I'm grateful too for technology that allows me to 'see' you from so many miles away. You know more and more with every passing day and it's thrilling to watch as you explore and discover this great big world around you.

Did you know that while you're growing and learning we're growing and learning too?  Since you came along and stole my heart I know what the songwriter means when he sings of  sunshine on a cloudy day.

I also know for certain now a smile is contagious.

I've learned too, that when the world feels harsh and off kilter one toothless gummy grin can set it spinning right again.

Happy birthday baby boy.

 You are so very precious and your Nana loves you deep and wide.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He make straight your paths. " Proverbs 3:5-6