July Twenty Thirteen

July started with a trip home to California, then back home to Washington to celebrate Laine turning two and enjoy the beautiful summer weather. Washington actually feels like home but I’m not sure when one stops calling where they’re from home?! So we left home to go home, then came back home. Makes perfect sense. On to California…

Fourteen Hours Later

Usually we fly. This time we drove. We hadn’t driven down since Blaise was four-months-old and we had just found out Laine would be joining us (we vowed we’d never drive again). This time driving was easier. Longer, but easier. Flying itself is easy; the kiddos do well on the plane. It’s just all the preparation of what to take, how many bags (and how many we should plan on bringing home), getting the pups/cats/house taken care of while we’re gone, and the logistics of getting from our garage to the gate, mainly that it takes forever—drive from home to the parking lot, take the shuttle to the terminal, check bags, get kiddos checked in, deal with security while juggling kiddos and electronics (and the damn shoe removal), then having to get water for the kiddos behind the gate…

Back to our visit. All the drives we’ve made since living in Washington have started between 3-5am per Brian’s request. He likes to get the drive started early and over with while it still feels like there is time left in the day when we arrive. I always went along with it because I didn’t really care. This time, I wasn’t interested in getting up and rushing out early with two kiddos and two pups. We ended up leaving around noon and arrived around 2am Sunday morning. For 14 hours, it was a great drive. The kiddos did AMAZING. I thought for sure we’d have some meltdowns or several requests to get out (Blaise had a few). We planned it well. It’s painful to drive in Oregon so we stopped mid-state around dinner time and found an elementary school with a playground for the kids and open space for the pups. We stayed about an hour before hitting the road again. We stopped two more times, once around bedtime to change the kiddos into their pajamas and another time for gas. Three if you count stopping—rather slowing and being waved through without question—at the California border check to make sure we weren’t bringing any invasive species to the state (what a waste of state money). Fourteen hours later, we made it to my mom’s with both kids and both pups.

Our trip was all about visiting family. The kids are getting to an age where they are starting to remember family members and ask about them so it’s important to us that they get to visit them at least once a year (and thanks to FaceTime between visits). We spent time with their cousins and my sister; Brian’s dad and his side of the family; a few visits with friends; my grandmother; and of course with my mom. We spent the whole time visiting family. We didn’t leave the kiddos once even though we likely had people eager for us to ask. The time flew by fast and before we knew it we were in the van driving (13 hours this time) back to Washington (with more than we came with). Some highlights in pictures:


Cousins! Blaise and Owen taken by me, while on me.


The Cousins, watching something between causing havoc.

Train Museum with Papa.

California State Railroad Museum with Papa.

Train museum with Papa.

California State Railroad Museum with Papa.

Lucky for Laine, Blaise was more interested in his new toy trains than eating ice cream.

Luckily for Laine, Blaise was more interested in his new toy trains than eating ice cream.




“Hop on, Laine!”

Swimmer Blaise.

Swimmer Blaise.

Wader Laine.

Swimmer Laine preferred wading.

Road Trip Mayah.

Road Trip Mayah.

Road Trip Leilah.

Home Again, Home Again

It was July 10 when we made the drive back, and we were back into the swing of things July 11. Brian took two weeks off so he was able to enjoy a few weekdays home before heading back to work July 15. The kiddos and I keep busy during the weeks, which includes several weekday-only activities such as open gym at Seattle Gymnastics Academy and sand play at Sandbox Sports. Brian always gets to hear about and see pictures from our outings so it was nice for him to get to experience a few (though Sandbox closed their little diggers for July). After enjoying family time at home, Brian was back to work and the kiddos and I were back to our usual routine. We filled the rest of July with park visits, hikes, berry picking (eating for Laine), making art, playing out back… most of our July was spent outside, soaking up the amazing weather that we’re still having. We also celebrated Laine’s second birthday July 19, complete with a Dora the Explorer cake. It was a great month.


Laine turns two! We now have two two-year-olds until September.


Watching Herbert, one of the bunnies at Farrel-McWhirter.




Hugging hikers.


Berry picker (err, eater) Laine.


Blackberry murderess.


Hiker Blaise leads the way on Cougar Mountain.


Hiking Cougar Mountain with friends (Blaise and Laine are the top two left specks).


Water play on a hot day with friends. We LOVE Farrel-McWhirter.


Tree climber Blaise.




Playing hide-and-seek from friends in a tree.


Backyard Blaise.


Hiker Laine found a mushroom at the Redmond Watershed.


Rock climbers at the Redmond Watershed.


Dandelions and flowers, oh my.


Park play in Marymoor.

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