Sunday, July 28, 2013

Seattle with the Savages

The rest of my trip in Seattle was so great. We had weather that was TO DIE FOR. For me especially, because the mornings were overcast (which I like) but the afternoons were sunny and warm. They were the types of days to break your heart and make you just pick up and move to Seattle. 

I LOVED hanging out with my good friends Amy and Erik...and their two playful cats Chloe and Poncho.

We did  a lot of walking. We walked to go out to dinner, we walked to go to a park overlooking Puget Sound, we walked to go to a bakery and enjoy some cinnamon rolls...

We took a bus to get to the ferry dock and then walked onto the ferry.



On Bainbridge Island we walked some more. To shops and restaurants and down to a little park on the water. We were unsuccessful in talking the rental company into letting us take a motor boat onto the water. (They offered a canoe. To which I was thinking, 'make it a motorized canoe and you've got yourself a deal!')

Sunday was Amy's baby shower, which was adorable and fun.

(It was a maxi dress kind of day.)

Amy got so many great gifts for her baby we just need to wait 'til mid-September to meet him!

Missing Seattle and the Savages already!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Seattle Start

Last weekend I got to go to Seattle! It was my friend Amy's baby shower and I wasn't going to miss it. We actually talked about making it a family trip but the way things came together, I ended up flying solo. 

I got in in the early afternoon on Friday, which gave me some time to kill before my friends got off work that day. I was so excited to just wander downtown and take in the sights, which included random performances and views.

Then I walked down to Pike Place, where I ate every single sample that was offered to me. Fresh pears, peaches, cherries.


I saw a man walking by with shrimp cocktail where the shrimp were thicker than your thumb. I made noises of longing at them as they passed. Then I found the seafood stand that sold them, and got some shrimp of my own. I walked around in heaven, sucking cocktail off my fingers. Other people made noises of longing at my shrimp, and thus the cycle of Pike Place was completed.

Then I walked over to the Olympic Sculpture Park.

The park was pretty nice, not really a knockout or anything. But I loved sitting in the shade, looking out at Puget Sound and wondering when a tourist was going to get injured trying to climb up on the roof of this fake house:

And then  I walked to the Seattle Center, home of the Space Needle.

I had no idea, but the Bite of Seattle was going on, a huge festival of food trucks and tents and music.

And I spent the rest of the afternoon perched in front of this sight, watching little kids and tourists running in and out of this fountain.

Then Erik, Amy's husband and my childhood friend, texted me that he was off work and ready to meet up. That first afternoon in Seattle was such perfection...the perfect setup to the weekend with Amy and Erik!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tis the (Monsoon) Season!

One of my favorite times of the year!

Despite the fact that it's still sweltering in the 100's during the day, when those big ol' storms come through, I still feel like snuggling under a blanket inside. We've had some big storms roll through, starting with one that hit JUST our little part of town and no where else. There were reports of 60-100 MPH winds and I believe it, because I was out in it right as it hit. 

After getting stranded in my car outside of June's daycare, I finally made the bolt through wind and rain and got my girl. ("It's raining?" June asked. "Yes, baby." "Be careful?" "Yes, I'll be careful.")

I swear, about 1 in every 10 trees was either partially destroyed or entirely down in our neighborhood. 

Here is a couch that a neighbor had put out on the sidewalk for donation. It was originally 4 houses down in the other direction!

Like any good disaster tourist, we went for a walk as soon as it was dry. We got to see all of the neighbors out doing the same thing, checking each other out for damage. Plenty of folks were already chopping apart their trees that had fallen. 

Here is a big wash in our neighborhood that I never thought I'd see full. And another body of water to the left that has never filled up in my memory.

And one last picture of a fallen tree. This mammoth was perched up on the top of the bank and fell down into the street and wash.

These storms are not always as scary as this one, and the ones since have been harmless. I was bummed to miss a few of them when I was out of town in Seattle, but at least I was having tons of my own fun. That's a post for another day though!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Play Dresses

I love dresses.I love dresses because they feel feminine.Because they feel nicer than pants or shorts.

Because I feel like I appear more “put together” with a dress on.I love dresses because they are easy.Because it’s one item equals you're done getting ready instead of trying to pick a top and bottom that goes together.Because they are cool and breezy and comfortable.

Now that I’m a mom, shopping for dresses can be a total chore. It has to be just so long so I feel comfortable sitting cross-legged, or even with my knees tucked to the side. It has so have so much coverage up top since I do so much bending over to play with June. More and more I’m wanting sleeves, not just because my arms look better in sleeves, but also because I’m apparently very old and get chilly everywhere. (I shake my fist at you, All of Arizona, for your need to pump Arctic Blast into every building when it’s summer time.)

So I’m really pulling for a company that my friend's (Remi) sister (Whitney) started. It's called Sonnet James and she has a Kickstarter going on right now (RIGHT HERE). The whole premise of her designs is to create play dresses for playful moms, who want to look great, feel comfortable and be able to roll around on the ground with their kids. 

And crazy story! When I went to Jacob and Allegra’s wedding outside of San Francisco, I spotted a woman running around in a Sonnet James dress! I don’t know the specifics, but there couldn’t have been more than a few hundred of these puppies in existence at the time! Isn’t that wild? (It just happens to be the dress I pine over, the Doutzen.) I ran up to her and asked her if it was Sonnet James, and she said yes. I asked her if she knew Whitney, the creator, and she said no! So it was even more of a coincidence.

I asked to take a picture with her, but I really wish I could have gotten one later. During the reception, at one point I glanced out the window and saw her walking hunched over – after her little daughter. The daughter was drenched from playing in a fountain and was heading straight for a mud puddle, and the woman was smiling and chasing after her. And that was the moment that really captured the nature of Whitney’s company, I think. That desire that moms have to feel attractive, yes, but to feel comfortable, and to be present with your children above all.

(Pardon us and our direct-sunlight shot. I felt that me, an absolute stranger, asking to take a picture with her, was creepy enough. No need to try to lure her to the grove of redwoods where a more natural light was available.)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sea World

I have to say - with some small embarrassment - that I was psyched out of my mind to be going to Sea World. Between us, Michael and I debated where we wanted our big outing to be - Sea World or the Zoo. We told June we were going to California/"the ocean" and one time she said, "See dolphin and whales!" Michael gave me the side-eye and accused me of putting June up to siding with me to tip the voting scales. 

(I swear I didn't.)

(But only because I hadn't thought about it yet.)

So it was decided. We were going to see Shamu.

We got there about 15 minutes before it opened. Knowing that June usually naps in the middle of the day, we didn't know how long we'd make it before she started crashing. To make the most of our time, we got there 15 minutes before the park opens at 9.

It was perfect. First of all, it was overcast and just a tad chilly, which felt wonderful to our parched Arizona skin. It was also empty! For the first hour and a half, it seemed like we were some of the only people in the park!

In contrast, look what it was like around 2:00 pm when we were about ready to leave:

Since June is so little, we didn't go on any of the rides (other than the Skyride/gondola), which are the big attractions. That saved us a lot of time, and gave us extra time to check out all the animals.

You can't see much here, but the pool behind us is the dolphin encounter, and a dolphin is just chillin' over our left shoulders.

There were three shows I wanted to get to. We sat in the Soak Zone all three times, but towards the top, so we never actually got wet. (I did nerd-out and bring garbage bags to put all of our belongings in...not needed in the end, I guess, but I'd recommend it for EVERYONE sitting further down!)

June wasn't exactly shrieking in delight the whole time, but she was certainly captivated. I think it was just a lot to take in, you know? We had birds flying, people doing tricks while suspended over the water, dolphins jumping in formation... Of course I asked her what her favorite part of the whole thing was, and she said it was when the "girl came out of the door." In the first moment of the show, a door rose up out of the ground and a girl stepped out.

So...that was the show stopper for our daughter.

The show I might have skipped, but attended because of seeing such rave reviews online, was the pet show. It was all sorts of dogs and cats and ducks and birds and other random animals (kangaroo, emu, pig) doing tricks. It was SUCH a hit with June, with plenty of clever jokes that kept us adults laughing too.

The last show we needed to see was Shamu, of course. This was tons of fun, especially since half the show is all about the whales splashing the crowd. June kept talking about how silly the whales were for splashing, and doing the Shamu hand signal to call for more splash action. 

We were some of the last people to leave the stadium, and the trainers had the whales come out and do some last-minute tricks for the few of us left. So June got an up-close look, as in this picture below:

It was getting pretty hot and sunny by then, and we were all pretty tired. We made a run to the gondola ride, enjoyed an ice cream bar and then headed home.

But not without a stop at the gift shop, of course. Because we're suckers. And love spending $22.95 on items that June simply cannot live without. She had her sunglassed-eyes set on a penguin that converts into a purple pillow and it was a love that could not be denied. 

She and her new soulmate were napping within 30 seconds of starting the car, which signals a day well-spent.

Ugh. My heart's contentedness at this day. To even have a conversation with June about "The whale might get us wet, okay? Do you want the whale to splash us?" made (and continues to make) me so happy.

We had such a lovely time, and now I can't wait to come back in a few years when she's big enough to ride the big rides...and sit in the REAL Soak Zone.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Beach Days

We had two beach days in San Diego, which were filled with the usual beachy things: snacks and sunscreen and shells, and sand, sand everywhere.

June just loves the beach and has since asked to go to it. (No place feels farther from the beach than our little patch of desert.)

Our second beach day was overcast, which some people were bummed about. I actually liked it, even if it wasn't quite as warm as would be perfect. It was nice, and I bet the beach was a little less crowded than it would have been had it been sunny.

We brought food down from some of the shops. While we were down at the water, some seagulls snatched an entire burrito. From inside a wrapper. From inside our plastic bags.

Yeah. Not their first rodeo.

Our group was about 10 people total, and we rented two paddle boards between us, so we took turns taking them out on the water. It was really fun and surprisingly not too difficult. Without a doubt the hardest part was riding parallel to the waves (they would rock you) and coming back in to shore.

I managed to not fall at all and was planning on casually coming back to the group with completely dry hair as my honor badge. Then, as I was riding back in, when I was in about two feet of water, a wave came up and got me. As Russell pointed out, if I had just jumped off I would have just landed in water up to my knees. Instead I did a strange tuck-and-roll move that ended up face-planting me into the water.

So long, honor badge.

Michael's beach landing was much more graceful.

June didn't take a spin on the paddle boards but did love running out into the waves and running back to shore. And lining up her toys. And eating endless Goldfish crackers.

This really made us wish we lived in a place with a beach, where an entire day's worth of fun could be had whenever we felt like it. Maybe one day!