Monday, July 9, 2018

Deep Thoughts: How Do You Summer?

A couple of years ago my friend Elizabeth brought up the subject about being intentional about summer. She and other friends had spent many a September bemoaning the fact that summer had gotten away from them and there was so much that they had not done or experienced that meant summer to them. Ever since then we have paid attention to all those things and tried to get to them to make sure that time doesn't get away from us. With work, grocery, housework, etc. we still want to embrace summer and all it has to offer! Sometimes it's something big, sometimes it's small. Here's what we've been up to...

The Bellingham Saturday Market    Some time ago Steve decided this would be an easy Saturday date for us that we could make happen on a regular basis. It would be a way for us to pick up some groceries and some treats while spending some quality time just us. It's a win-win on so many levels! It's also been a fun way to support some of our favorite vendors, like Gathered Confections with her delicious treats, and Samish Bay Cheese with Steve's favorite cheeses to snack on. 

Berry Picking      Sam and I had the fun of getting to pick strawberries and raspberries in the same day. There is something about the taste of fresh berries that says summer to me. It only takes a few hours, some time to prepare them for the freezer, and you can have that taste all year. We head to Boxx Berry Farm which we find easy to navigate and we can end with a strawberry shortcake if you choose! We are thinking we may head back there again for blueberries. Having all the berries available for smoothie bowls makes the entire family so happy. 

Mural Walk          Something new that we have been doing is searching out murals when we are in new areas. I'm not sure if it's a summer thing, but the mural we found above certainly feels fun and summery! There's something so fun about public art and it's an easy (and free!) thing to do a search for it in the summer weather! 

Bellingham Bells Baseball       This is a favorite of Steve's summer activities! He loves taking in a game on a warm summer evening. Sam will run if she sees that mascot, but Kate is game for a good photo! I'm not hugely into baseball, but enjoy a bratwurst, beer, peanuts and people watching! And It's easy getting into these games involving minor league players. 

Slurpee         Sometimes all you need, or all you have time for is just a taste of something that makes it feel like summer. Most times that means a s'more for me, but for something a little less involved there is a good old slurpee. I prefer mine with cola on the bottom, something cherry on top. It has the added bonus of reminding me of childhood. How do you you slurpee? 

Hit a Park      Sometimes all you need is to just get yourself to a park and either take a picnic, a slurpee or a drink of your choice or just your favorite person and relax. The above photo was taken at a park in Seattle waiting for sunset but we have plenty of parks here in Bellingham. There are parks on the water, one's that have concerts, and even the new one that is still in progress. While writing this I found a printable map of all the parks of Bellingham that I link here

This is just what we have been up to so far! We still have a few things that we have in mind to do before summer is over. We are talking about going to Canada to play mini golf at a park Kate has found. And Steve and I are getting ready to book an evening cruise on Gato  Verde which we have talked about for a couple of summers! There is swimming in the lake still to do, another trip to the drive in and I am sure there are a few other things for us to come up with! 

Is there anything that you are planning on that really says summer for you? What are you most excited about? 


Monday, July 2, 2018

Deep Thoughts: When the Party is Over...

We have just come off the very busy time of Sam's Graduation and party and all of a sudden things feel very quiet. This is the time when I typically feel blue and can even catch a cold or some other type of sickness. When everything comes to a full stop it can be difficult for me to get my bearings and shift down. In the past this would have come with a freak out and worry that it would lead to a full drop into a depression. Instead I have found that this is just a time of collecting energy, creativity and regrouping before we tackle the next big thing. There are a couple of things I have learned to do in this time to take care of myself. 

1. Eat Well. Steve is very sweet to me when I am down and sweetly takes care of breakfast on the weekends. He is the creator of the gorgeous bowl above. I don't ascribe to any special diets, I just try to listen to my body and what it needs. Which might mean chocolate, or it might mean a bowl full of fruit! Snacks are always kept on hand!

2. Get Outside. Getting outside and disconnecting from social media is almost always a good idea! When I'm feeling low I don't always feel generous when I see all the good things happening with others. So it's a good attitude adjustment to just get out and do our own thing. Sam and I did some berry picking in the rain and it was dirty, fun and just what I needed! 

3. Do what you Love. This weekend our whole family took a little trip to Value Village and did some thrifting which is something we all enjoy. There I found a pair of clean, fun, polka dot Vans for a steal and they just make me happy to look at! Shopping is something that I used to turn to to make me happy in the past. While this is shopping, we consider it more of a hunt. It's usually full of laughs as we charge each other to try on the most outrageous things we can find! A few hours later we leave after spending less than thirty dollars! 

4. Look for the Beauty.  I make fairly regular trips to our public library and noticed this gorgeous mural in process the other day. Unexpected color like this makes me so happy. Somehow the effect from seeing it lingers. When I posted on my instagram stories it became clear I'm not the only one thats moved by things like this. A sweet friend found the artist for me. Her name is Gretchen Leggitt and her instagram can be found here

I hope this is some benefit to you. I know now that this is just a phase for me and that I soon will be back to 100% and ready to tackle the next thing. There are two things actually. Getting Sam ready for college. And Steve and I have decided to go on a road trip for our 25th wedding anniversary which will probably include some sort of car camping. There's nothing like a bit of research, planning and anticipation to get things going again. (Thankfully I have a very loving husband keeping an eye on me so that things don't get out of hand!) How do you deal with the ups and downs in your emotions? Any tips? 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Setting the Scene: Grad Party/Pool Party

Whew! We did it! We are officially done with Graduation season and feel like we finished it with a flash of color and fun! With friends and family in our little backyard we were able to celebrate Sam! There were some fun little details that went into it that I thought I would share here. 

When Sam and I started talking about her party we started with a theme and a few elements to build it on. One of the first things we pulled was this funny little mug her Grandmother had sent, then thrifted a few more for arrangements around the food tables. Some salads, a bucket of cheese popcorn and a five pound bag of gummy worms that we scattered around (and completely went through!) and we were set for snacks. (one of the salads that everyone loved is this Grilled Mexican Corn Salad from food blogger Freutcake!) 

The next idea we landed on was one of a pool party since we have a group of pool floats that we thought would be fun for decor. Steve and I bought a small pool, filled it with drinks and ice, and voila! And can I tell you how excited I was to find a rose named Pool Boy?!  We attached a bottle opener to the flamingo keeping watch in the background and we were set there! 

The next thing I was pretty set on was fun ice cream treats. We ended up flagging down our sweet ice cream "lady" and bought some treats directly from her that we couldn't find at our local grocery stores and then mixed them with the usual suspects. Steve came up with the funny idea of just placing our small extra freezer in the backyard for a help yourself situation witch was so much fun we have joked that we will keep it there all summer! 

The last element that I really wanted was a Tattly tattoo station. We have included Tattly's in most of our recent parties and they were just as much a hit at this one as others. It's always a great mixer, and we love seeing what people pick. We are thinking of sending Sam to college with a mix of them so that she can set them out in her dorm for an easy talking point!

What else does a party need? Just friends. Friends that are ready to relax, mix and mingle, and just celebrate with you. It was amazing to have friends here that have been with Sam since preschool! 

And for me its was wonderful to have friends there from college, from baby group, and from my work. If we didn't have people to share this crazy ride it just wouldn't have been the same. And it's what makes party planning so fun. 

Yes, we were celebrating Sam. We were also celebrating all those that have been there supporting us, figuring out things with us, and helping us get there. That is what made all this so much fun! 


Monday, June 18, 2018

Field Trip: Rage Industry

I don't know about you, but life has been a bit crazy for us over here! With Sam graduating, Kate moving back, Steve's family in town, a party to plan, and other things we have a lot going on. You are left with a pair of two completely stressed out people. It used to be that I could put on a sappy movie, cry my eyes out and feel better. This time around I wanted something a little more active that would really work out some of these feelings I have been either holding back, or that have been simmering right below the surface.

That's where Rage Industry comes in. Steve and I read about it some months ago, and were recently reminded of it when they did something similar on an episode of the Bachelorette. We figured this would be just the ticket for a fun date that would help us both work through some extreme emotions. We booked the Double Trouble service and headed down to Seattle for some fun! 

We were greeted by Leslie, the owner and found that they have been open about a year (since April 2017). She said that things have been going well, as we would imagine since there are so many things to be angry or frustrated about these days. We were shown the wall where you chose your items (we were allocated 36 for our scheduled time) and got down to business.

Steve and I each had a crate to fill and got down to business. We chose a mix of beer, wine and other items to break. I found a couple of heavy ashtrays (that were amazing to go after with a sledgehammer!) and we ended up adding a couple of large vases from a dollar pile that were very satisfying to smash. 

Before you head back to the room where you go crazy you are given safety gear and a locker to store your things. You are encouraged to make a playlist that you can synch to a waiting speaker that they thankfully set up for you since you are a bit goofy with all the gear. There is a wall of "weapons" that you can choose from that ranges from sledgehammers, golf clubs, bats and a crowbar. Once they start the timer you get to it!

There are a couple of surfaces available to "rage" on, including a stack of tires that you can use to stack items on or just go crazy on! It was crazy to see what broke easily, what would shatter allover the room, and how quickly the time went and how sweaty and spent we were in the time allotted. 

This is us straight after. Can you see the steam in my glasses? We are unhurt and feeling like we left it in the Rage room. I would say it was better for me at this time than a sad movie as far as working through some emotions. It was a great date for us at this stage in our marriage and I think it would be an incredible way to learn about someone early in a relationship! I may also send Steve back for some time there alone to just go crazy by himself when work stress is getting to him. And I can think of all sorts of occasions to give a give certificate from there. What do you think? Would you try it? 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Deep Thoughts: Beauty and Terror

Like many of you I have been doing a lot of reading following the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. I could say I have been struggling to understand, but as someone that has experienced depression and is familiar with mental health issues I sadly find it not to much of a reach. 

Life is hard. It's a struggle and it can be scary and difficult at times. When I have been in the midst of depression it's like a big cloud descends and I feel nothing. No joy, no light. Just grey. And once that hits it's hard to reach out. You know what you should do, but you just don't have the energy or frankly the will to do those things. 

I can't even tell you what prompts me to tend to myself in these moments. I do know that having touched the depths, I feel like I can appreciate the highs a bit more. Much like the ease of water when you are thirsty. I wouldn't wish depression on anyone, but I understand it makes me who I am.

I think I appreciate most the posts that encourage us to pay attention to others. Not just the ones that appear to be in pain, but to all we hold dear. I was first diagnosed by a therapist that suggested that I laughed far too much in a way that seemed false. He was right. It was a front that I has found easy to put up. 

I don't have much to add to the conversation. Just that I will be watching my friends and hugging more freely, and hope you will too. I found the following quote in one of the many discussions and thought it was fitting. 

Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final. 

-Rainer Maria Rilke 

Monday, June 4, 2018

On My Rader: A Modern Take on Class Jewelry by GLDN

During this year a lot of information came home with regards to graduation. When the packet came home with all the deets for Sam's graduation gown and cap it also came with an order form for class rings. Sam was not impressed with what was on offer, though we both thought it would be nice to have a piece of jewelry to mark the occasion. 

During a conversation with my lovely friend Emma that works at GLDN we both realized that there were pieces they offer that would be perfect as a modern take on class jewelry. Rings and necklaces that you would want to wear everyday rather than just bring out for reunions. We found there were quite a few pieces that would lend themselves perfectly to commemorate ones graduation while still be modern enough to wear every day. 

So GLDN kindly gifted Sam with a couple of pieces which I thought I would share here! She is so excited she hasn't taken them off since she opened the box! The first piece she chose was the Personalized Memoire Ring. She is able to have a subtle piece that celebrates her graduation that she can wear anytime. And if her reaction to it is any indication she will be wearing it daily!

The next piece Sam chose was the Personalized Marseille Pendant Necklace. This time she decided to have 2018 set in Roman numerals and it turned out so beautifully. My photo doesn't do it justice. Again, it's one that she can wear anytime and feel cool. And I like that these pieces feel like the start of a jewelry wardrobe. Pieces that you can collect over time and wear forever. 

A friend overheard our planning and decided to order a couple of pieces for her daughter. She also chose the Personalized Memoire Ring but decided to do it in a different finish, font, and use Roman numerals. I love that while they are both subtle they have a very personal feel to both. (Again my photo doesn't do this ring justice!)

My friend ordered a second piece for her daughter as well. We were talking about all the feelings we are having about our girls leaving for college and she decided she wanted a piece that would remind her daughter that she was always with her. So she decided on the Mila Disk Bracelet with a simple heart design.

Sam is considering the Kissy Face Friendship Set as a graduation gift for a friend that she will be away from when she leaves for college. It would be a modern and cool update on the "best friends" necklace from junior high!

This idea turned out even better than I could imagine. Everything is made in La Conner by hand and all the pieces come on a card signed by the maker. And the fun part? GLDN has extended an offer of $5 off any order (expires July 1st). Just include the promo code GRAD2018. Let me know if you decide to try them! 


Monday, May 28, 2018

Deep Thoughts: Being a Mother of Girls

We are fast approaching the graduation of our youngest daughter and it feels like a marker in our journey as parents. This part of our journey as their guides is over, and a new one begins.  Just like that they are practically adults and it's time to relate to them in a different way. We have grown along with them in ways I would have never predicted. I have been stretched. I have been tested and challenged. And it's all been incredibly worth it. 

Steve and I always knew we would like to have two kids. And that they were both girls was a bonus for me as I grew up with a sister. Sure they fight. Sure they drive each other crazy. But in the end they have each other and I can't think of a better gift. No one else can relate to the stories they can tell of growing up in our crazy household. No one else can commiserate about their parents trying to keep things equal but not always succeeding. 

And hopefully we have done well by these two women. And will continue to do so. Our relationship doesn't end, it just changes considerably. I love talking with them honestly about things I would discuss with my girlfriends and not having to censor myself. They are smart, they are honest and they are funny. We are proud of who they are and that they are ours. We are also proud that they are their own people who are learning to navigate in the world on their own. They are figuring things out and trying things on. 

 We are happy to release them to the world, knowing they always have a landing place with us. That they will never have to worry about being out there in the world alone. That family is where they started and where they end. We love these humans that we are proud to know and call ours. And we are excited to see where their adventures take them. This adventure is only beginning. For them and for us.