Archive for the ‘Summer’ Category

being the 30 parks of summer. {park #3} golden gardens.



This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Neighborhood: Ballard

Finding it: 8498 Seaview Place NW, Seattle, WA 98107 // If you know how to get to Market Street in Ballard, you can easily find Golden Gardens. Basically, keep going west. Follow Market all the way past the Locks, Ray’s and the marina and you’ll essentially dead end yourself into the park. There are signs along the way, in case you need some hand holding.

Parking Situation: Let’s have an honest moment here. Parking at Golden Gardens is horrible. Really, really awfully horrible. There are physically dozens of spots, but it just isn’t enough. Here’s the good news — with so many people at Golden Gardens at any time of day, there is high turnaround. Slow down and look for people who are headed to their cars from the beach… then follow them. Turn on your blinker and hold your ground. It might take them 15-minutes to get all of the sand off their feet and their gear in the car, but it’s worth it for that spot. If you have more than on adult in the car, unload the kiddos with one of the grownups, and some of the gear, in the little pull-off section before the playground, while the other grownup goes parking spot hunting.

What the kids loved: The playground is super cool and shouldn’t be passed up — we recommend hitting the playground right when you get there and again on the way back to the car (it will help get some of the sand off of their little bodies!). Our kids loved just being on the beach — we were close enough to the water that they could go explore on their own and of course, being able to have a bonfire, right there in the sand, was such a hit. 

What I loved: For me, it was just such a moment. Despite the fact that Golden Gardens is packed to the gills with people most of the time, there’s something undeniable about it. People were friendly, kids were enjoying themselves and the sunset in the background was beyond gorgeous. Sure, you have to overlook some of Golden Garden’s less than desirable qualities to truly enjoy yourself, but it’s worth it. I’m pretty sure the last time I’d been to Golden Gardens was in college and I think that I enjoyed it even more last weekend, even despite the fact that I had three disgustingly dirty children to wash when we got home.

Bring it: Planning on doing an entire beach day? Here’s what you’ll need at Golden Gardens: Food, drinks (um, no alcohol allowed, ahem, wink, wink, WINK.), lots of extra water, at least one blanket to sit on (two is better), stuff to dig in the sand, a paper bag for garbage, BABY WIPES for cleaning gross hands, firewood (one of those bundles from the grocery store is the perfect amount), something to light the fire with, and more food. Wear: Clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty/wet, flipflops that everyone can easily shake the sand out of, sunglasses for that pretty sunset, SUNSCREEN.

Leave it: Don’t bother with a stroller, unless you have a little one who might take a snooze in it as the day goes by. Otherwise, it’s just a hassle to push in the sand when your arms are already loaded with gear. It’s likely that you’re going to have to park pretty far away from where you set up camp, so if you can’t carry it all in one trip, don’t bother bringing it. And, don’t count on your kids to help — they’re going to be beat by the time you leave.

The verdict: Spending the day at Golden Gardens is like a right of passage for Seattle families in the summer. It must be done. Sure, it takes some prep, some planning and leaving your OCD tendencies at the door, but it’s so completely worth it. A couple of notes… Your kids are going to be really really filthy when you leave the beach and so are you. The firewood ashes have mixed with the sand for so long at Golden Gardens, that it’s practically black (not in that amazing, black sand beach in Hawaii way) and your skin is going to covered the instant you set foot on the beach. Let your kids know that baths are mandatory when you get home… hose showers in the backyard would really be best.

Second, it’s so crowded at Golden Gardens that keeping an eye on your little ones as the sun goes down can get tricky. Give them boundaries. When we were there, a mom had lost her three-year old and it was very scary,to say the least, considering the parking lot is so close, as is the water. My hero of a neighbor, Sara, found him, after scouring the beach for what seemed like the longest time. Also, can we chat about how we should help others look when they’ve lost their child? Just do it, please.

When was the last time you went to Golden Gardens with your kids? 

Find more on The 30 Parks of Summer on the Being5 homepage by clicking on the 30 Parks logo.
Park #1. Park #2.

being as easy as…



From the looks of it, Janie is kicking summer’s ass. First, she conquers swimming and now, this.

Josh and I have known that she could ride a bike since last summer, if not earlier, but, she refused to try.

This summer, I pulled out the big guns and threatened, yes, threatened, that if she didn’t learn to ride her bike, she couldn’t go camping with her cousins this summer. Total bitch move? Maybe. Nurturing parenting? Not really. Effective? Yes. Janie’s a kid who needs a little push past her comfort zone at times and it took less than five minutes for her to be off and riding last night.

And, here’s video proof, for those who need it…

Up next on the summer kid achievement checklist?

Getting Meg up on two-wheels. (wish us luck.)

being the 30 parks of summer. {park #2} magnolia park.




Neighborhood: Magnolia

Finding it: 1461 Magnolia Boulevard West, Seattle, WA 98199 // Take the Magnolia Bridge into Magnolia, then follow the road past the first curve to the right. You’ll see the park first, parking lot next.

Parking Situation: Another park with a great parking lot! It’s a city mom’s dream come true! The parking lot entrance on your left, near the intersection of Magnolia Boulevard West and West Howe Street. There are typically plenty of spots open, although they do hold events here on the weekends, causing the long, skinny lot to fill up. Don’t be afraid to park opposite of the nose-in spots, parallel parking style… just don’t block access to the mailbox!

Park stats: This is not a park with a lot of bells and whistles… and we like it that way. Magnolia Park is meant for chilling out. There’s a huge picnic area with a covered place to entertain, if you’re looking for a birthday party locale. Otherwise, the star attractions at Magnolia Park are the huge madrona trees that offer plenty of shade on hot days, the old school swings, the lush grass that was made for laying in and the perfect summer breeze.

What the kids loved: Even though there were only two of them and they were likely installed in 1983, the kids loved the swings and even climbing on the legs of the swing set itself and using the border as a balance beam. There was a ton of space for them to run around and play whatever crazy imaginary game they had come up with that afternoon (I think there were ninjas involved?) and since there were only two other people in the entire park, they practically had the place to themselves!

What I loved: This is truly one of my favorite little hidden gems in the entire city and I love popping down in the late afternoon when it’s too hot to be in the house, but not quite time for dinner yet. The park is far off of the street, so I don’t feel like I need to have my eagle mama eyes on the kids at every moment and I am always so amused with what their imagination comes up with when there is just grass, a couple of swings and the smell of the ocean to fuel it.

Bring it: There’s a ton of room at Magnolia Park for throwing the Frisbee around and even a cool, long, paved hill to ride scooters down, if you’re feeling like you need a bit more to do while you’re here. Otherwise, bring a big, soft blanket to lay on, books to read (we stopped by the library first, for this trip!) and some snacks to keep you fueled. Even on warm days, it can be pretty breezy at Magnolia Park, so it wouldn’t hurt to throw an extra layer in the car for everyone.

Leave it: With so much space at Magnolia Park, you could literally bring your entire house, kitchen sink included, and still have plenty of room to roam. There isn’t much by way of facilities nearby, so if you feel like you’ll need it, bring it.

The verdict: While this certainly isn’t the park that you’re going to pack it up and spend hours exploring, it’s the perfect in-between park for when you need to get the kids out of the house pre-nap time or bed time to burn off some energy, or if you have some time to kill between play dates or appointments. Keep it simple. Enjoy the peace and quiet. Make your kids put their creativity to work to have a good time. Bring your book or that stack of magazines that have been collecting since January or that girlfriend that you can’t quite seem to catch for a phone call and soak up the Seattle sun through those pretty, pretty trees.

Have you ever been to Magnolia Park? 

Find more on The 30 Parks of Summer on the Being5 homepage by clicking on the 30 Parks logo.

being the 30 parks of summer. {park #1} carkeek park.



psst! click on the first image above to get to the gallery!


Neighborhood: North Ballard

Finding it: 950 NW Carkeek Park Road, Seattle, WA 98177 // It is quite the windy road down to Carkeek, so take it slow… Follow the signs down to the park from the main street.

Parking Situation: There is a parking lot next to the playgrounds, which had plenty of spots on the day we visited, but I’m pretty sure that on a sunny weekend or summer afternoon, would get packed quickly. There does seem to be overflow parking closer to the trails, but it would be a trek back to the playground with little ones. Long story short, don’t be afraid to stalk people who are leaving to secure a good spot. All is fair in love and parking, after all.

Park stats: Carkeek Park has a little bit of everything… and plenty of room for it all. There are a few different play areas, including a tall play structure with slides, a separate area with swings, a cool little hideout that reminds me of the play area near the meerkats at the zoo and, of course, the famous salmon slide. Add in a huge grassy playfield, plenty of tables for picnics and the beach and Carkeek was certainly a sweet spot to kick off this project.

What the kids loved: Um, the salmon slide. And, then, the salmon slide. Did I mention the salmon slide? I had heard of this slide before and featured it in various Red Tricycle articles over the past few years, but I had no idea how epic it really was. The kids loved it — it was fast, semi-spooky and perfectly positioned in the shade. The beach was also a favorite for Janie, Meg and Ev, and we could have easily spent all afternoon throwing rocks in the water and building sand castles.

What I loved: Carkeek got major mama points from me for having so much to do, but having everything close enough together that I could keep an eye on all three kids, even if they were all doing something different at the park. I dread playgrounds where the swings are so far away from the play structure, because Meg always wants to swing and it’s impossible to make sure Ev isn’t launching himself off of the slide at the same time. The beach was pure heaven too — I wish that I’d planned better and brought the hard-core beach supplies (like, um, sunscreen, maybe?) so that we could have stayed through the afternoon.

Bring it: If you’re going to head down to the beach and plan on staying for a while, bring all of your beach goodies, including sand toys and a place for you to sit (blanket, beach towel, folding chair, whatever…) while your kiddos explore. This is totally a Crocs moment — the walk down the stairs to the beach is kind of treacherous and that sand is h-o-t. If you’re simply looking for some playground fun, bring the usuals — snacks for them, an iced coffee for you.

Leave it: No need for a stroller at Carkeek, so don’t bother. The stairs to the beach are way to insane to carry or even to bump one down and unless you have an infant along, you won’t need one at the playground area.

The verdict: This is likely our new favorite place to play in Seattle and I’m feeling insanely jealous of Ballard-ites for getting to call it their own! We were there late-morning and I suspect that during the weekend it turns into Golden Gardens-esque craziness, which I’d tend to shy away from. My best advice — don’t plan on making a quick visit to Carkeek Park. You’ll need at least a couple of hours to enjoy it and if you try to zip in and out, you’ll likely be carrying a screaming three-year old to the car at the end of your visit. Your own three-year old, I mean. Not someone else’s. Obviously.

Share what you love about Carkeek Park and your little tips for making the best of it! We hear that there are awesome kid-friendly trails and a little stream as well? Dish it, Ballard friends!

being scenes from our weekend. omg. it’s hot out.


And, another summer weekend on the books. This one was a little hot. Like, nearly 90 degrees out hot, which I will gladly bitch about because we do not have air conditioning and my upper lip is sweating.

Besides trying our best to stay cool, we hit up Monsters University (cute movie, but a little long…), played in the backyard with a new baby pool and Slip N’ Slide, did a Target run, had breakfast at our favorite spot on the water, did a lot of housework and a little yard work and even squeezed in a nap or two somewhere along the way.

Here’s to another fun-filled summer week! We are finishing up swim lessons and have plans to visit some parks this week… finally!

being scenes from our weekend. hello, summer.


Well, that was a busy weekend. We had a very full, very fun weekend… and we’re all exhausted and the house is a disaster to prove it. Cousin Taran’s lacrosse tournament on Friday night (they took 2nd place this weekend!). Wild Waves on Saturday. Dinner at Etta’s for our anniversary on Saturday night. John Prine concert at the Zoo on Sunday. Can you hear me yawning through the screen? What did you do this weekend? (click through on the pictures to see them better.)

being the last couple of weeks of summer.


I have no idea how this happened, but suddenly, we’re in the last days of Summer 2012.

As you can tell by my lack of blogging, we’ve been having a lot of fun. The kids are at great ages to do some local traveling, exploring in the city and having fun at home and I’ve tried my hardest to stay off of my beloved laptop as much as possible. It’s been good.

Here’s what’s still on our to-do lists before September 5th rears its ugly head…

For fun:

Go to Whidbey Island, Ride the Ducks, ride the SLUT downtown to meet Josh for dinner after work, a family day at the zoo, evenings playing with neighbors in the backyard, eat every last strawberry before the birds get to them, go to Menchie’s 18 more times, find out who Janie’s teacher is, visit the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, drive in movie theater night, movie marathon night at home.

For preparation:

School supply shopping and school clothes shopping, clean out and organize that damn hall closet once and for all (which includes a trip to Ikea), clean out and scrub the insides of the kitchen cupboards, set up school day details including childcare, schedules and such, get a home office set up downstairs, an epic back-to-school Costco trip to stock the pantry and supply closets, weed the front yard for the millionth time, sort through the huge stack of papers in our entry from the past year, clean out and organize all the toys in the house that have been misplaced and destroyed all summer long.

What’s on your fun list and  your must-do list for the last few days of summer vacation?

being summer 2012. {week 3}


This was a bit of a slow week — some post-camping recovery time, if you will. Plus, we left for vacation the following weekend, so it was both camping recovery and vacation prep. In other words, I spent a lot of time doing laundry, packing and making lists. Don’t worry, I didn’t take many pictures.

However, a few noteworthy things did happen during Week 3 of Summer 2012.

1. The kids got along with each other

Why is it that when there are only two kids, they seem to behave better, listen more and are generally more kind and loving to each other? But throw in that third kid, no matter which sibling it is, and all hell breaks loose. I was trying to remember why Ev and Meg were looking so cute in this picture and then in dawned on me… Janie was at dance camp all week.

2. Oliver arrived

More about that HERE, if you need a quick baby fix.

3. We faux camped in West Seattle

I needed to grab some pictures of Seattle’s only campground, Camp Long, which is in West Seattle, so I took Ev and Meg and we did a little mock-camping trip photo shoot. Because everyone camps in maxi-dresses and Saltwater Sandals, right? (Full article on Red Tricycle HERE — check it out. It’s a pretty cool place!)

4. I had four children in the car eating Slurpees WITH NO LIDS and nobody spilled

I’ve decided to put this on my resume, because it was a major parenting moment for me. We picked up Janie from dance camp (with Neighbor Henry in tow) and it happened to be July 11th, National Slurpee Day, so we made a quick stop at the 7-11 on the top of Queen Anne to get our fix… and to expose Henry to the joys of Slurpees (you’re welcome, Sara and Dave). Anyway, we go inside and I start filling the little free Slurpee cups that are available, which are a perfect size for the kiddos, but I quickly realize that the typical small-sized cup lid DO NOT FIT THESE CUPS. So, now I have four children, three of which are under the age of five, each with a cherry red Slurpee in hand, with no lid. I had to do everything in my might to put on a Happy Mommy face and encourage them to not spill a drop in the car, if they could help it, as I was really having a major internal panic attack and wondering where the closest Xanax fix was (oh yeah, I’m on Queen Anne, which means the purse of ANY MOTHER PUSHING A STROLLER). But, nobody spilled… expect me, as I got in the car and spilled my own Slurpee down the front of my windshield.

5. Left my kids in the car while it poured

In other awesome, award-winning parenting moves this week, we had a day of some serious downpours. I’m not talking about rain. I’m talking about when it’s pouring so hard that you think it can not possibly pour any harder… and then it does. The kids and I happened to be grabbing some stuff at Trader Joe’s during this little weather episode and just as I got home and took a load of stuff in, it got insane. See that car? My kids are still in it because I’m waiting for the rain to let up a bit before I go get them. Don’t worry. I took the keys with me. And the machetes. They were perfectly safe.

6. Because he’s adorable…

Nothing much to say here, other than Ev seemed to grow out of both his pairs of shoes at the exact same time. (Yes, he only has two pairs of shoes… well, and a pair of rain boots, I suppose. Shocking, isn’t it?) We thought we should grab him a new pair before we headed out of town, so to the Mothership (AKA Nordstrom) we went! Trying to get a 2-1/2-year old boy to try on shoes is like… well, trying to get a 2-1/2-year old boy to try on shoes. We pretty much grabbed a pair of Crocs that seemed like they fit well enough, paid as quickly as humanly possible and ran.

Week three of summer down! Now, on to vacation…

being summer 2012. {week 2}


Okay, so we’re, like, many many weeks into summer now. Obviously I’m having too good of a time to blog about what we’re doing… something like that.

I’ll try to narrow down all the great pics I’ve been taking (and keeping them OFF Instagram, so that they’re fresh and new for you!) and get you up to speed on what we’ve been up to.

Week two. Here we go.


We kind of kicked off this week with a bang and jumped right out of bed on Monday morning to head to The Great Wheel of Seattle, which had just opened a few days earlier. I needed to write an article about the opening for Red Tricycle (you can see the article HERE)  and although I wasn’t sure what we’d find when we got down to the pier, we braved it. Surprisingly, it was Meg who was most nervous (although, I was pretty freaked out too) and it took a while to relax in the gondola. But, the view was amazing, for sure and I’m glad that we went. The kids are adamant that w go back with Josh… and at night, so we might need to squeeze in another visit this summer. (Side note: What’s the etiquette when you’re stuck in a tiny gondola with people you don’t know? Is small chat necessary? Awkward moments.)


Now here’s some summer excitement for you! Tuesday, I spent the afternoon at the Orthopedic Surgeon’s office, checking on my knees. I spent about six-weeks this spring trying to find my inner runner again, which I did, but I also found my horribly horrible knees. They’re hereditary. It’s not my fault. (I’m looking at you, Dannenholds.) Although my knees have never felt great, even when not running, this time, it was so severe that it took a solid week of icing to get the pain and comfort to a manageable level. I feel like someone pulled down on my foot, twisted my leg around at my knee a few times, then put it back on. It’s weird and it hurts. X-rays didn’t show much. MRI coming soon. Physical therapy prescribed for in the meantime. At least I got to wear those super hot paper shorts (they’re totally in this year) and check out the gorgeous view from First Hill…


I can’t remember exactly what we did today, but I do have this picture of one of our pretty sugar snap peas that we grew in our backyard. We actually planted a few things this year, but the sugar snap peas were some of the only survivors. I think our soil is too sandy. And our son is too keen on soaking every inch of dirt in our backyard with the hose so that he can play in the mud. Bad combination, I suppose.


I think we spent most of today in the backyard. The girls got new bathing suits and they wore them all day long… maybe even to bed, because it’s summer and mommy doesn’t give a damn if you put on pajamas or not! Everyone wins! I had picked up a Slip-n-Slide on clearance at the neighborhood drug store and let me just tell you, these things have come a long way since my days of Slip-n-Sliding. Not only is there a cute little pool at the end for them to splash in/to catch them so that they don’t run into a rock wall or something, like we used to in the good old days, but there is a tube that you hook the hose into that sprinkles water right onto the slide! Brilliant! Mostly, the kids just run down the slide, trying not to slip, or Everett drives his truck down it like a car wash. A good  $8 spent, if you ask me.


We try to join Josh’s sisters on a camping trip at least once during the summer and this year, we were able to make it work, squeezing in a weekend trip to Leavenworth. Now, although we call this “camping,” technically, we usually stay in a cabin or these cute hotel-style rooms that they have at the campground. Josh’s sisters both have trailers and while they’re generous with letting us make ourselves at home, it’s nice to have a place of our own when we’re camping… especially with three kids in tow.

In other words, all of you who sent me sympathetic emails and comments about taking three kids camping… You don’t need to feel THAT bad for me. Trust me — there’s still a camping feel about all this and we still get (semi) down and dirty doing camping activities… just with a nice, clean place to come back and take a shower at the end of the day. Oh, and there may be a pool there too. And a latte stand. God, I love to camp.

I didn’t actually participate much in this year’s camping trip. I gave myself the name Nap Nanny, because Ev took a terribly long morning nap the first day we were there, then Meg fell asleep while we were getting ready to head back out in the afternoon, so I pretty much hung out on the deck of our room all weekend while Josh and the other kiddos explored. It wasn’t all bad — I was in the thick of a very addicting book (THIS ONE, in case you’re looking for something to read. I highly recommend it… and I’m not even a sci-fi chick. At all.)

But, Josh and the kids had plenty of fun without me. There was swimming and driving up a huge mountain to shoot guns and cousin silliness and a hike with Everett in the backpack that made Josh insist that we put that thing on Craigslist asap because he is way too heavy for it… especially when hiking up a vertical hill.

Nearly a family picture…

being summer 2012. {week 1}



Once upon a time, I was a scrapbooker… a pretty good one, if I do say so myself! But, then I became a mom to two kids and scrapbooking fell by the wayside (along with my sanity). All of my supplies have been tucked away in our basement since — moving with us from house to house over the years — left untouched in hopes that I’d jump back on the scrapbooking bandwagon again someday. Since I’ve pretty much resigned to the fact that it’s not going to happen (and that I’ll likely make scrapbooks online from here on out if I do), I thought it would be fun to pull it all out for the kids to play with.

Little did I realize that I had SO. MUCH. STUFF. So, as they played and created, I started to organize — tossing used pieces of paper and duplicate photos, putting stickers in like piles and cleaning out the old tower that was literally filthy from sitting in a closet for so long. But, everything is neatly organized and filed away now, ready for the girls to use at a whim. And the best part is that I can enjoy seeing them use it, rather than harbor the guilt over no longer being a scrapbooker. Well, the extra closet space downstairs isn’t so bad either. Day one of summer — a crafting success!


Despite the rain, we headed to the zoo today, because dammit, it was Zoo Day and we weren’t going to let a little rain hold us back. It turns out that rainy days are actually great days to visit the zoo — yes, you may come home with kids who have soaked pant legs from jumping in puddles and you have to juggle coats and hats and other rain accessories, but rainy days keep the tourists away! We spent most of the time playing with the penguins and eating lunch with the meerkats… and hanging out with our neighbors and some new friends too.


The sun is finally shining and we met Whit and Baby Mason at Green Lake this morning. The girl rode scooters (Janie nearly got in a collision with a very speedy rollerblader) and despite a bit of whining and a toddler who didn’t like being in the stroller, we made it all three-miles around the lake. The reward? Slurpees on the way home!


I had to work today, so our nanny took over baking day with the kids. They made this recipe, found on Pinterest, of course, and I have to say that it turned out very very yummy. I may or may not have hidden an extra one in the cupboard before dinner so that I could eat it after the kids went to bed. I have no regrets about doing so. YUM. Also, Nanny K, which I will call her here as not to reveal her name unnecessarily so that you can’t steal my children, cleaned up after the baking project. I totally love baking when someone else cleans up.


Friday was a quiet day — we were all tired and I hit up some housework while the kids relaxed. Josh was brewing in the evening, so I took the kids to U.Village for dinner, to pick up a couple of gifts and to run off some energy before bedtime… and to get out of Josh’s hair. I fully admit that I love Fridays that are on the quiet side and I think that they make for better weekends — the kids kick off the weekend rested, instead of exhausted and spending Friday at home usually means I am more caught up on housework and work, which always makes things better!


We threw together a little last-minute BBQ on Saturday with some dear friends and some dear neighbors (as seen above, climbing over the fence, which is how we get to each others homes). Josh made sliders on his new charcoal grill, the kids played their hearts out, there was a campfire-style Nirvana sing-a-long around our little fire pit, someone busted out the moonshine and we all poured ourselves into bed in the wee hours of the morning. Love those nights. And, from the looks of my kitchen and our backyard in the morning (I found a hatchet lodged in my flower garden…), I think we had a good time.


After we all finally recovered from Saturday night’s fun (well, nearly recovered, at least), we packed up and headed to our neighborhood swimming pool. We’re lucky enough to live only a few blocks away from one of Seattle’s two outdoor swimming pools and we love sneaking over there on Sunday evenings to swim. But, we were 30-minutes early, so what’s a family to do? Get ice cream, of course! The pool session wasn’t too bad either — we had to drag the kids out at the end of the evening, Janie went down the big slide for the first time, Meg can finally touch in the little pool and Ev went from holding on to me like a baby monkey to jumping off the side into the pool by the time we left.

Whew! What a first week! Think we can keep this pace up all summer long??? Tell me what you did last week…


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 102 other followers

%d bloggers like this: