About Me

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Seattle, Washington
topics of concern: Seattle, celebration, husband(Mr. Fleece), clothes, crafts, Jesus.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Sink or Swim

I love the anticipation of jumping into a body of water. Be it pool, pond, or lake - there's something about those moments right before you leap into the air and submerge underwater - especially if you anticipate it being cold! Growing up in Texas, I equate summer with time at the pool. I thoroughly enjoy laying out - soaking up the sun's rays, reading a great book poolside, and dipping in every now and then to cool off and swim around. So when I thought about planning a last "hurrah" summer weekend getaway for me and Mr. Fleece, a pool felt essential.
We ended up at a quaint Airbnb 15 minutes outside of downtown Bellingham - swimming pool included. Their fabulous garden with "harvest as much as you want" produce was an added perk! Escaping the city for a low-key countryside stay was exactly the retreat I wanted. It reminded me a lot of summer days at my Papa's farm in Missouri, even more so because I spent the weekend phone-free.
We ventured into town each morning, but hunkered down at the Airbnb each afternoon and evening and were in bed by 9:30pm every night. Soaking up all the sleep we can get before baby NW arrives and shakes things up. Having our relationship be just the two of us for 11 year now (six years married), it's going to be quite a wild ride welcoming an infant to our family! Thankful for all the opportunities we've had to vacation, explore, and travel together and excited for what that will look like as a family of three! 
Bellingham Favorites:
Saturday Farmer's Market
Village Books
Brunch @ Old Town Cafe
Woods Coffee & Boulevard Park
"Fish Fryday" @ Boundary Bay Brewery's Beer Garden
Fairhaven Village Fish & Chips (didn't go here this time, but it's so delicious!)

Current Reads:
By all accounts our "Bellyingham" babymoon weekend was a success - most significantly since I didn't go into labor on "Labor" Day...at least not yet :) 

- SJW

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

I Do Not Have Abibliophobia

I've been re-exploring the world of children's books, mostly out of curiosity to find new books that weren't around when I was a kid and choose books I want in a family library of our own.

So with library card in hand, over the last few months, I've easily reserved over 60 picture books. I love reading through multiple books in one short sitting - it's quite relaxing. Through this exercise, I've found that I value unique or whimsical illustrations, paired with playful, clever, or educational themes and advanced diction that emphasizes learning, creativity, or imagination. It should favorably answer the one key question "Do I want to pick it up and read it again?"
My hope is to be fairly selective of the books we actually own and continue to use the library as the amazing resource that it is for greater variety and exposure. I am fully aware that children can often be disinterested in reading and go through phrases, but I will never underestimate the importance of reading aloud to a child and introducing them to important topics through literature.

Two of my new favorites are The Loud Book and The Quiet Book, both written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Renata Liwska.
Librarian at heart,

SJW

Monday, August 6, 2018

The Journey of Motherhood

I have watched babies, held babies, sung and read to babies, changed diapers of babies, put babies to sleep, and completed other baby-centric tasks. But I've never birthed a baby, nursed a baby, or most importantly, called a baby mine. In a few months, that will suddenly change! The great switch-over lingers ahead, beyond the horizon, like the first port of call off the cruise ship (yes, nausea & weight gain expected!) of pregnancy.
In Sitka on our Alaskan Cruise (2014)
I've heard the travel tales of other passengers, other parents who have docked and explored the streets of newborn-care and have parenting souvenirs to share. But you just never know how your experience will compare. What will my trip be like? I'll take recommendations of foods to try, places to go, and things to see, but I also want to make my own decisions after reading the guidebooks I've picked out, acknowledging that some of your "must-haves" and "must-dos" may not be essential for me.
One of our most memorable dinners in the San Juan Islands (2016)
I don't want to worry about other people's travel plans (no meds/epidural, hospital/birth center, doula/no-doula, mid-wife/obgyn, breast/formula, cloth diapers/disposables, pacifier/no pacifier, working full time/stay at home). It's helpful to remember that just like people vacation in drastically different ways, people approach childbirth & parenting in different ways too. Some people camp by the river, others ski for two days straight, others visit family in the mid-west, still others stay at a luxury resort. Truth be told, I've done all of these and have fond memories from each. There may be some personal preference toward one choice, but who am I to say that any are better? 
Skiing at Whistler (2018)
Plus, one important factor for every vacation is the weather - something completely outside our control. Similarly, a baby's disposition, demeanor, and DNA play a huge role in indicating their unique needs and level of attention and care. It's the reality of the classic phrase, "every baby's different." What a beautiful and frustrating reality!
Raining in Hawaii (2017)
I don't know yet what kind of mother I'll be - how I'll cope, comfort, or cry alongside my child :) I expect there will be laughter, tears, joy, heartache, pain, discomfort, amazement, and exhaustion. A great mixture of conflicting and confusing emotions. For now, I'm picking out registry provisions, enjoying the views of a larger belly, and experiencing the increasing anticipation before we land!
Windy cruise in the Mediterranean (2017)
Looking forward to meeting our little travel companion, 

SJW

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Summer Plans | 2018

The joy of summer in Seattle is a real thing. The city bursts with energy with its packed out parks, lakes, and daylight hours. Having booked our major vacations in spring, we're left with a pretty open calendar for July, August, and September, with multiple open weekends in a row! That can be a rarity in general, but especially in the summer where camping trips, weddings, and visitors, can quickly take over. I still value my day trips and planned out weekends, but Mr. Fleece has shown me the art of cherishing days in town where we can take things easy and decide what we want to do the day of. That's definitely more his style :)
With that in mind, I'm looking forward to the following "calendared" things...

* Celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary
* Hosting my sister-in-law
* Hosting my in-laws
* Babymooning in Bellingham for Labor Day weekend

but also made a list of fungible things I'd love to do when we're looking to fill an open afternoon or evening...

* Date in Greenlake neighborhood
* Date in Madison Valley
* Hike Mount Catherine
* Swim in Lake Union
* Take friends sailing
* Puyallup State Fair
* Go fruit picking
* Hammock in a new spot
* Bake something
* Grill with friends
* Enjoy low tide
* See a movie in theaters
Seattle Pops at the Seattle Street Food Fest in SLU!
Here's to an unhurried summer,

-SJW

Monday, July 9, 2018

No Salt No Sharks No Worries

Earlier this summer Mr. Fleece and I ventured east to Minnesota to visit my aunt, uncle, and grandmother - affectionately known as "Framma." When I was young, I couldn't pronounce my "g"s (along with a slew of other letters) and the nickname just stuck.
My parents rented a lake house in Duluth along the shore of Lake Superior as a home base for all of us to gather, hang out, play games, and enjoy homemade dinners. The mid-century-mod house with large lawn, huge deck, and private beach access was dreamy. Mr. Fleece and I had the chance to go paddle-boarding, kayaking, and swimming in the cold waters of Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world! We saw the fury of the lake firsthand, experiencing a quick shift from calm tranquil waters to crazy wind and waves in the matter of minutes - one of the highlights of our stay!
This trip was a great kick-off to summer, complete with lawn games, bananagrams, dominoes, beach-combing, walks through Canal Park, and plenty of lounging.
The boat tour of the 22 Apostle Islands (somewhat similar to the feel of the San Juan Islands) was also really special! Sea caves for the win.
Grateful for time to goof off and explore new places with family,
- SJW

Friday, July 6, 2018

Colorado Vacation | Grand Lake & Rocky Mountain

To round out our trip we met back up with our close friends who recently moved from Seattle to Denver, the same ones who graciously let us borrow their camping gear for the week! We plopped ourselves down in their beautiful family cabin near Grand Lake, just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park for Memorial Day weekend. Having time to simply relax, play, and chat with K, B, O, and M was such a treat - the gorgeous backdrop was an added bonus :)

Day 6-8 | Grand Lake and Rocky Mountain National Park
- Lounging and playing Mastermind, Splendor, and boggle on the deck
- Splurging on a brunch buffet at the Grand Lake Lodge
- Scouting for (and seeing!) moose
- Testing out the four-wheeler and BB gun
- Eating Whole 30 based meals for the weekend :)
- Playing cars and trucks with O
- Walking through Grand Lake and bumping into other family friends who were also vacationing
On Monday we took the long route back to the Denver Airport, through Rocky Mountain National Park. We stopped a few times, but mostly just enjoyed the scenic views and the feeling like we were on top of the world!
 Looking forward to more joint vacations like these!
- SJW

Colorado Vacation | Black Canyon of the Gunnison

When planning this road trip, I emailed our vacation timeline to my childhood best friend who lives in Albuquerque, realizing she'd be in driving distance of us with the hopes that she'd want to meet up. She replied back, "God must love our friendship more than we do" because they were already planning to be in Gunnison, Coloardo celebrating their babymoon on the same day that we'd be camping in the park. What a sweet and unexpected surprise to get to meet up! For a National Park that few have heard of, it was pretty great - enjoyed seeing the profile of the deepest, steepest, narrowest canyon.

Day 5 | Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
- Driving along the south rim checking out all the view points
- Finding the perfect picnic table in the shade
- Playing Coup down by the river
- Learning about the adventurous few that first navigated the dangerous Gunnison
- Trying to catch the canyon swifts in the frame of our binocs and camera lens
Having now explored two canyons together, including the Grand Canyon a few years back, we are looking forward to the next canyon trip to take together :) I vote Zion Canyon in Utah or Waimea Canyon in Hawaii!
Canyon friends,