Archive for the ‘Vacation’ Category

being the 4th.



We’re buzzing out of town for the weekend to enjoy our 4th of July with family and friends.

Illegal fireworks. The ocean. Cousins. Likely far too much food. Certainly far too much beer. Maybe a trip to the islands. We’re footloose and fancy-free this weekend and I’ve packed every single pair of underwear that Everett has, so we should be good until Sunday night, if need be.

This was the beginning of my packing list last night. I love making the packing list. I hate doing the actual packing. The fact that I’m still doing the pre-trip laundry and food making has nothing to do with that. (ahem.) Really.

Happy happy 4th, friends! May your Instragram feed be filled with horrible attempts at people trying to make hearts with sparklers!

being our happy place.


I must admit. I having second thoughts about sharing this with you. Because I’m selfish. And want to keep it all to myself.

But, since a million and one people have emailed me today asking about where this little piece of heaven is, I feel obliged to tell you.

You can read all the details about the cabin here on VRBO, but let me tell you what we love about it.

1. It only takes just over an hour to get there and when you have three little ones screaming from the backseat and pinching each other from one carseat to another, you know how valuable that short drive is. It can take longer to get there if the ferry line is long, but you can get out and walk around while you wait.

2. You can only get to the house via golf cart.The kids think this is fantastic and so does Josh. Golf carts = fun. And, our house has its own cart, so you don’t have to wait for someone else to finish

3. There is a long paved path that goes along the beach (it’s actually the golf cart path) that is perfect for riding scooters. The kids can ride their hearts our without having to worry about cars.

4. The house is the best size for our family — there is a room with bunkbeds for the girls and a sweet and comfortable master bedroom for Josh and me. The main living space is one big room — livingroom and kitchen — with a huge, deep sectional couch for watching movies and a big kitchen table for meals.

5. The front porch is straight from my dreams — it’s covered so you can enjoy it any time of year and it’s lined with white rockers and chairs and covered with great rugs. This is the spot where I sit with a book and a cup of coffee while the kids and Josh get a fire going at the beach. Really, I could spend all day sitting on this porch.

6. The picture above is taken from the beach, so you can see that it is just a stone’s throw from the house. The entire stretch of beach is very long, miles in fact, and you can walk the entire thing easily. It’s a sandy beach with lots of driftwood for building forts and rounded stones for chucking in the water (Everett’s favorite activity…). My favorite parts about the beach — the kids can go down there safely while I watch them from the porch and there is grass between the beach and the house, which helps remove the sand from little feet before coming inside.

7. We’ve stayed in quite a few vacation rentals over the years in many different places and more often that not, no matter how much we pay for the house, it’s likely that I don’t want to take off my shoes inside the entire time I’m there. Sometimes rentals just have that grimy feel, like nobody has really cleaned it very well, ever. This is not the case here. The house really felt like a home, rather than a rental. It was immaculately clean and I didn’t get the heebie-jeebies once!

8. They have a full-sized washer and dryer. Mothers of young children — enough said.

9. I don’t have to lug all of our baby gear every time we go up — on request, the house has a pack-n-play for Everett to sleep in, a high chair and even an Exersaucer. This leaves WAY more room in the car for beer and wine.

10. There’s a little corner store, less than 5-minutes away, where you can pick up wine and beer or a latte.

We’re planning on spending a weekend here every single month and a long week in the summer too — this is the type of place where you make those family memories that your kids remember and tell their children about someday and until we own a place of our own on Whidbey (which we hope to), this cabin will be our happy place.

To book your own mini-beach vacation at the house, use the “email owner” form on the right hand side of the VRBO website listing. Be sure to tell them that I sent you and be sure to let me know that you’re going — we know a lot of other fun things to do with kids in the area and are happy to share our favorites!

being our weekend at the beach. via pictures.


Josh celebrated his birthday at the beginning of the month and we celebrated at a little beach house on Whidbey Island, which is our major happy place. It’s that place where we visit and fantasize about leaving our life in the city behind and moving there to live a simple, easy, quiet life. More about the place we stayed this weekend coming soon — because trust me, you want to stay here too — but in the meantime, here’s a peek at our weekend away via pictures. Can’t wait for our trip back next month — I booked it the second we got home.

being 10 things i learned from camping with three children.


Top: Taylor & Jacob // Middle: Janie & Treven // Bottom: Taran & Meg // Missing: Tessa & Everett

This past weekend, Josh and I took the kids camping in Leavenworth, a little mountain town a few hours away from Seattle. I will disclaim that although we were tent camping, we had met Josh’s sisters there and they both had kick-ass trailers, so in actuality, we were only camping-ish.

But, that being said, we did learn a few things from taking three kids under the age of seven camping for a weekend. Let me share.


1. Bring liquor.

2. Trying to put a 17-month old to sleep in a tent that is right next to everyone making dinner/playing/laughing and having a good time doesn’t work. Not only will he not go to sleep, but you will get pissed that everyone else is having fun and you are not. Don’t bother trying to take him for a walk in the Baby Bjorn (where you’ll be worried about running into a bear the entire time) or strapping him in his carseat and sitting in the front seat playing Words with Friends in complete silence while hoping that he clonks out. Just move the fucking Pack n’ Play into the nearest sister-in-law’s trailer from the get-go. He’ll fall asleep in less than a minute and you can go back to “camping.”

3. Stop trying to keep your kids clean. It’s pointless and you’ll be annoyed when they get dirty again the MINUTE after getting them clean. Just hose them down in the campground showers before you leave in the morning and put them straight into the car to head home. Don’t even bother with clothes.

4. If you have six kids playing on the dirt hill above your tent, zip up the windows. Or, at least remember to rinse off your toothbrush before you use it.

5. Things you can leave at home: Your Kindle. Perfume. Any white clothing. Your sanity. The crazy ass idea that you may get 10-minutes to sit and relax on this trip.

6. Two adults and two kids sleeping on one air mattress is never a good idea. Who give a fuck that the other air mattress isn’t inflated properly? Stick your kids on it anyway.

7. Pack a LOT of bribery snacks and toys for the trip home  because your kids are going to be pissed that you’re leaving. They were pretty sure that the campsite was their new home. Don’t even try telling them that you’re going to make them take a bath and wash their hair the minute you get home, either. Fuel to the fire.

8. Have a husband who snores? Make him sleep in the car.

9. Morning breath is at its worst in a tent filled with five people. Make sure everyone brushes before bedtime and have Listerine ready for first thing in the morning. Put it in the baby’s bottle if you have to.

10. Your infant son is going to want to sit and put dirt all over himself the entire time you are there. Come to terms with it.

Josh & Everett. This is pre-dirt bath.

i know it’s lame that you have to register, but just use a fake name and vote for me in the parents best blog awards. go HERE to vote. xoxo.

Montana Roadtrip!


We actually went to Montana in early August, but I haven’t finished this post until now. Opps! Better late than never I suppose!

Josh’s mom just moved to Montana and we’ve been well overdue to visit Josh’s grandparents and extended family, so we packed up the girls and hit the road. We had been planning to leave early Saturday morning, before 10am was our goal, but Josh and I went out to sushi with friends the night before and got to bed a little later than expected, so we actually got on the road around 12:30pm.

Our first pit stop was at the horse monument in Vantage, Washington, just across the river. Josh and I have stopped here before to stretch our legs, but never even considered hiking up to see the actual horses. But with Janie being obsessed with horses all of a sudden, we really had no choice.

Can you even see the people hiking up this huge hill? Probably not because they are tiny in comparison! At first it was fine. Josh carried Meg and I held Janie’s hand. The trail had all these great chunky pieces of rock for the first little bit and then it turned into dust- not even dirt- dust. Slowly but surely, we made it up to see the horses and somehow, made it back down too.

Now, when we hit the road, Meg was long past due for her nap time and we were expecting her to crash in the car the minute we hit the road. But no. The girl was wide awake all the way through Washington and Idaho and Montana.

16-miles into Montana, we had to make a stop at the 50,000 Silver $ store, which used to be the 10,000 Silver $ store. I guess they’ve increased their selection since the last time we stopped. They have all sorts of lovely Montana keepsakes- both girls settled on a little horse and a beaded necklace.

About 20-miles out of Missoula, where we’d planned to stop for the night, Meg finally fell asleep. And then of course she woke back up when we took her into the hotel, so the girls had a little snack from the vending machine and watched a movie before going to bed. Total drive time for day 1: 8 hours.

There were only a few hours to drive from Missoula to Great Falls the next morning and we decided to take the scenic route, which conveniently also took us past the best beef jerky store in the world. Again, Meg fell asleep about 20 minutes out from our final destination.

We made it to Great Falls on Sunday afternoon. Josh’s sister, Julie, and her kiddos were also visiting and it was so fun to all be together in Montana. Sunday evening, we went to dinner at Dan’s (our future step-father/father-in-law) daughter’s home and then crashed! The girls and I had come down with colds and all four of us were completely exhausted from driving for two days. We spent a few evenings at Allie’s house over the week and Meg mastered the big-girl swings…

On Monday, we drove about an hour north to Conrad and Brady where Josh’s grandparents and aunt and uncle live. We had lunch with Grandpa Bill at his favorite lunch spot where Janie fell in love with his stories about riding real horses. That plus the candy stash Grandpa kept in his shirt pocket made he and Janie fast friends. After lunch we got to spend some time with Josh’s Grandma too and then headed to the farm to visit with the Fagans.

Tuesday we went back up to the farm to see the Fagans and Grandpa again. By Wednesday and Thursday, Janie and Meg were beat from all of the visiting and travelling, so we spent a couple quiet days hanging out at Nana & Dan’s, eating boxes and boxes of popsicles and exploring Great Falls a bit. Nana took us up to Great Springs, a natural hot spring. It was amazingly gorgeous and the water was so perfectly clear. Plus, it is the shortest recorded river in the world- from where it bubbles up from below ground (in the picture below) and then feeds into the Missouri River is about 300 feet.

On Friday morning, we packed up early and hit the road towards Spokane, approximately another eight hours. Meg fell asleep about 20 minutes out from the hotel again, so we needed to get some energy out at the hotel before bedtime- where else can you jump on the bed but a hotel?

Early Saturday morning, we loaded the girls up, grabbed some coffee and headed towards home (actually towards Bellingham for my 10-year high school reunion). Since we had the entire day, we thought it would be fun to take the scenic route home, so from Spokane, we headed north-east to the Grand Coulee Dam.

We continued heading northeast, planning on stopping for lunch in the Winthrop, a very cool cowboy town, but just before we got there, both girls fell asleep for the first time in the entire trip and there was no way we were waking them up. So Josh and I plowed on. We didn’t really mind though- I think this was the most gorgeous route I’ve ever taken- apple orchards for miles and miles over the hillsides, beautiful clear steams and rivers twisting alongside the highway, and cool houses tucked up in little private properties along the way. Eventually, we started
to head up high into the Cascades, which became an entirely new sight for the eyes and a little nerve-wracking too with it’s super twisty road, no guardrails, and a husband who loves speed!

The girls slept through most of the end of the trip, but by the time we were about an hour out of Bellingham, they woke up and were done. Meg and Janie both cried most of that last hour and even Josh and I were getting on each others last nerves. We were all very thankful to finally reach the end of our time on the road and get out of the car to eat and stretch!
It was a really special trip overall. We got to spend some quality time with lots of family, and time together as our little family of four. The girls had some fun adventures and it was nice to see where Nana was living now (she and Dan are getting married on November 7th!). But as always, it was nice to be home too!

Being PDX-Bound.




I doubt I’ll be hanging my tootsies out the window this weekend, considering it’s suppose to snow,  but nonetheless, we’re Portland-bound for the weekend.  Just a quick trip, but after this busy week, I’m ready for some time trapped in the car with nothing to do but listen to the girls chatter, play some music on the iPod and stare out the window. 

See you Sunday night.  


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 102 other followers

%d bloggers like this: