Monday, November 5, 2018

Field Trip: Star A-Frame Tiny Cabin, Cedar Bloom, OR

On our recent road trip to the California Redwoods and back up the Oregon coast Steve and I had a few special nights planned. We planned to spend a couple of nights camping in his car, then a few nights in some funky spots.  One we were really excited about was in Cave Junction, Oregon with hipcamp

Steve found these incredible little cabins when planning for the trip.  Tiny little A-frame cabins with twin beds and with a roof that tilts up to form an awning.The Star A-Frame Tiny Cabin is located in Cave Junction, Oregon, a little town near the Redwoods. We loved how sweet and snuggly they looked and looked forward to something that seemed a little adventurous. 

We knew we were traveling in the off season so we expected that the many cabins,yurts and tent spots onsite might be vacant. What we didn't expect was to be the only ones there...on 100 acres. We were met by one of the hosts who explained the amenities, then left to our own devices. We hung out in the cabins for a while, enjoying the quiet then took a walk to the river. 

After dinner in town we were back at the cabin snuggled under comforters and woolly blankets enjoying the view of the stars thru the wall. We stayed warm even when the temperature dropped. And though I had to make a bathroom run to the composting toilet it was an easy walk from our cabin. 

The next morning Steve and I had time to relax and enjoy the cabin. Steve ran to get us coffee from Dutch Brothers and we spent time just hanging in bed with the awning up. Then we spent some time in the sauna, before showering in the gorgeous outdoor shower that overlooked the river. 

The only company we had the entire time were there was the two cats that live there. They followed us around everywhere, including the shower! 

Have you tried hipcamp? They have such a huge array of camping options, from tents to cabins to more unusual experiences. I love quick getaways in the Fall and Winter so we are bookmarking cabins as options for the future. If you are interested in trying them, you are welcome to use my code, TAMMYTHIELE to receive ten dollars off.  And let me know what you think! 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Deep Thoughts: Sunday Drives with Steve

 Today Steve and I decided to head down to Mt. Vernon and check out the Valley Made Market and do some goofing around. One of my favorite people, Kari of Render Skincare told us about it so we headed out. 

What started as one stop turned into many, which is what made today magical. We used to drive through this area more when Steve's Mom lived in Oak Harbor and a friend had a cabin in the area. Now it seems we don't get to explore there enough.

Today though we made it a point to stop at little stands on the side of the road. We enjoyed the drive thru the farmlands and the autumn color. We took time to talk and talk and talk. 

 We realized that this is our life now. This freedom to head out the door at will. To stop where we want and eat what we feel like. It feels almost like it did when we were newly married. And it feels good! We worked to make sure that we gave our marriage attention even with the girls at home. We are glad to say that we like each other and are excited for this time together. It feels crazy to say that we saw a movie, went to two markets, went out to drinks and dinner, and still got some things done around here. We feel energized and ready to make some changes. 

This doesn't mean we don't miss Sam. We talk to her daily and are gathering the next bunch of things to send to her at school. It just means we are doing our thing and enjoying it. It means we are happy that we worked to make sure we would be interested in one another when the girls moved out. I'm hoping this feeling lasts, as we are planning a road trip in October which will mean a lot of time together, and some tests (hello trying to give a guy directions!) And though I joked with Steve about our new demographic if we were taking Sunday drives, I think I could really learn to enjoy them. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Deep Thoughts: Ch-ch-changes

Well it finally happened. This past weekend we took Samantha to Central Washington University to start her new life as a college student. It was an easy transition, and a really hard one. Getting on the road was the easy part as she is a pretty organized person. And she didn't balk at me too much for making a vinyl at work to announce our road trip. We figured all we could do to mark the occasion would make it fun. 

The ease was due in part to a facebook board for CWU parents where someone had the suggestion to buy IKEA zipper bags for transferring stuff. They were a huge help in packing and I know they will come in handy when Sam is bringing dirty laundry home! We also brought a bag of treats for the helpers we knew would be helping us unpack and move all her stuff. This is about when I think everything became real for all of us. The nerves hit and all the worries started including wondering if she was bringing too much stuff. 

 As a freshman she had the bonus of having 'movers & shakers' who came to the car in the line up and unloaded everything! We didn't touch a box. They took everything to her room  so all we had to do was check in and get a room key. It's such a smooth process which really helped since this is when the nerves really kicked in. Once all the boxes are in you just get down to it and unpack. Oh, and meet the roommate and realize this is your new "home."

It wasn't until the next day when we were about to leave that emotions really hit. This is when things became hard. There were lots and lots of tears and questions. It's hard watching your kid struggle, especially when you know they are doing the right thing. We just comforted her the best we could. There are two pieces of advice that I left her with and I have to say Steve and I are applying them to ourselves as well. 

The first is to be vulnerable. I often find other people will share with me once I start the conversation. She will definitely not be the only one fighting homesickness or struggling with this new normal. And talking about it can only make it feel easier. 

The second is to take it one day at a time. Thankfully CWU has a program where there are a lot of mandatory sessions freshman have to attend and a lot of fun things they can choose to. So far she has taken part in a color rave (where they basically spray paint on you while you dance!), attended a volleyball game, and is on a dodgeball team! 

The surprise has been Steve's response. He has been hit hard by her being gone, and is a bit off his game. I have been doing okay so far, but I know it will really hit me in the coming weeks. I have been fortunate to have great friends checking in, and will make sure to take my own advice and take things one day at a time. And soon enough this will feel like our new normal. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Deep Thoughts: Tracking Time

I know it's been quiet around here. I have been trying to figure out what to say about what has been going on. It's been a little bit of preparing, a little big of goofing around, a little bit of crying. Sam moves to college in two weeks and it's starting to feel real, yet still feel dreamlike. 

We've spent the summer trying to fit all the fun things in...swimming in the lake, visiting Seattle, hitting IKEA for random little things, and spending as much time together as a family as possible. 

And I thought it would be the big things that would be memorable. I thought I would be telling you it was the evening spent at the drive in that was amazing. Or the day Sam and I spent in Seattle at a Korea Beauty pop up. But it's actually been the in between times that have stuck in my mind. It's been listening to Sam and Kate talking and laughing upstairs. It's been random times in the car, all of us chatting and talking together. A spontaneous breakfast, or a random time of us all sitting together sharing a funny youtube video or story. 

I have been trying to stay fully present in the moment and stave off the sadness that I know is on the fringes. It seems that Steve and I have wandered thru parenthood making it up as we go along. We have no idea what things will look like going forward. Yes, I am really excited for Sam and all that college will mean to her. I am at the same time mourning a moment in our family that is coming to an end, much as I mourned the moment we realized our time of having babies was over. They are all too quick, these moments. 

So I try and stay present and let the emotions roll thru me. And if I'm quiet in this space it's because I am trying to get my bearings. I will be back. Steve and I have some adventures planned and I will talk about what life looks like when I have the words for it. In the meantime you will find me soaking up the good stuff and the last of summer. 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Field Trip: Gato Verde Sunset Cruise

 Some time ago our book group had the chance to have our meeting aboard the Gato Verde, and as you can imagine little talking about the book took place. Ever since then Steve and I have been talking about booking a sunset cruise and finally made that happen recently. 

The sunset cruise is a 1.5 hour cruise aboard the first plug in diesel electric hybrid charter boat on the West Coast. Thankfully, we had plenty of wind on our night out to see Todd, our captain work his magic with the sails, and soon we were under way out into the bay. We were paired with four other wonderful people and with plenty of room on the boat you could choose to be social or not. 

Steve and I spent a lot of time either in the seat he was pictured in earlier, in the nets, or a combo of both. There is something so peaceful about sitting in the nets, suspended over the water, with the occasional spray hitting you. Being on the water makes you feel incredibly removed from everything, though it's just a bit of time out of your day in the middle of the week. 

 The Gato, being a 42 foot long catamaran makes for a smooth ride with just a bit of fun when you hit the waves. Steve caught a bit of spray when he was sitting in the front, though  Todd seemed to be able to predict when we would hit and give us fair warning. 

And as far as the sunset part? It was timed out perfectly to see it! Steve and I moved to the back of the boat to chat with Todd and see the beginning of it. But he was sure to maneuver the boat in such a way that we had a perfect view of it from the front as he brought the boat in. 

The sunset is the perfect ending to a relaxing trip. We are now thinking we may need to make it a summer tradition. The cost is reasonable enough that we would even consider bringing our girls. They offer many different types of trips if you are looking for something more. And if not I highly suggest booking your sunset cruise here

Monday, August 6, 2018

Field Trip: Zootunes with Psychedelic Furs & X

Recently I had the good fortune to receive tickets from my friends Diane & Perry to see the Psychedelic Furs & X at the Zootunes concert series at the Woodland Park Zoo. I hadn't been to a concert there since my 20's and was excited to experience it again with friends from college and our daughter Kate (who was given a ticket from Pam! We are so lucky with generous friends!) We brought Sue, my roommate from college down with us so we were ready to reminisce. 

A bonus for us is the doors open around 4:30 and the show starts around 6, with everything being over by 8:30. This was a Sunday show which made it completely doable for us in Bellingham to get to and home in time to get ready for the week. There are a few more shows before the summer is out including Pink Martini which would be a perfect way to end the season. 

You can bring in your own chairs, blankets, and picnics. It's a relaxed atmosphere which for my friends meant two of them watched the Furs show from right by the stage! The rest of us enjoyed dancing in our seats mixed with standing and dancing. 

And really, when they sang 'Love my Way' there was no choice but to stand! It is so crazy to me how music can really transport you to a place in time and the Furs take me back to my time in college and directly after in a way few bands do. They make up a large part of my soundtrack to that time.  Not to diminish X, who made me so happy when they sang 'Breathless!' 

All this music and time with friends from college made me a bit nostalgic. With Sam leaving for college, and Kate hitting her twenties, it also made me realize I have a wish for them. A wish that they will find a group of people that will push them and help them find out new things about themselves that they wouldn't find out otherwise.

 Diane pictured in the photo above with me exposed me to new music, art and ways to thrift that made my life so much richer. She was also the first to really show me what it looked like to live with a real vision of what you were about and I loved it. She was curated from her room, to her wardrobe and it's incredible. 

Pam has been always completely and honestly herself. She has given me nothing but true, heartfelt friendship and I will never feel completely worthy of it. In college we had some hard, deep conversation and we continue to do so. I will never feel judged by Pam and hope she feels the same.

Can you tell by the photo above that Sue has been nothing but trouble from the get go? She was the one behind most of the jokes, pranks, and the funnest times I have ever had in my life.  With those sweet good looks she rarely got in trouble for it! Sue is still one of my closest friends and continues to be know as trouble! 

I hope for our girls that they can find and grow friend groups that challenge them and make them consider new ideas. I know that Sam has a strong group of friends here and I hope they are able to stretch with her as she heads off to college. And that she develops new ones. I will be curious to see what her soundtrack is while she is making those friends. 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Field Trip: Moorea Seal, El Borracho, SoDo Murals, Oh My!

When Kate found out Moorea Seal was gearing up for a Five year Anniversary Party she requested the two of us take a day and spend it in Seattle together. It had been some time since we had hung out just the two of us so it was long overdue. We grabbed some hot drinks, some CD's and hit the road. Though traffic was a brute (the Bite of Seattle among other things was going on) it was worth it once we dumped the car and hit all the spots on our wish list! 

The main reason we went of course was to shop at Moorea Seal's party and wish her well! I met Moorea some years back at an Urban Craft Uprising where she was doing a book signing...I believe for her first book. She has never failed to be kind, warm and a whole lot of fun! Kate had never met her and spent an evening shopping, drinking and winning a prize after being warmly greeted. It was worth braving the crowd to see Moorea so happy and celebrating! 

After running around downtown we needed some sustenance and boy did we find it at El Borracho in Pike Place Market. Kate is eating vegan and can you believe that plate of nachos is vegan? It was mind blowing and according to her delicious! Meanwhile I was perfectly happy with my caesar salad and guacamole. And sitting outside on a summer night really can't be beat. 

On the way out of town we were able to find something we were both really excited to see. It's called SODO Track, a 2 mile long corridor of murals along a transit way between Royal Brougham Way and Spokane Street. We were able to park near the Sodo Transit station and walk around to see a few of them. The one above is by DALeast, an artist from China. I was drawn to the movement and the color, and imagine that it translates well even from the moving buses and trains. 

Kate was drawn to this piece by Paola Delfin, an artist from Mexico City. The artist said she was inspired by the tracks theme of "movement and progression" and applied it to her subject. 

And probably my absolute favorite from the ones we could see is this piece by Jillian Evelyn, an artist living in LA that paints females that express themselves with eyerolls and cigarettes. She's someone that I'm now following and completely in love with her art. 

Having a day with Kate was wonderful on so many levels. Seeing her out and about in Seattle as an adult is so different from when she was a little girl afraid of the crowds. She is confident, fun and ready to search out all the cool experiences. Having her ask me to spend the day with her was a sweet surprise and made me realize it was time for me to make more dates like this. Maybe next time will find us on a bus searching out the rest of these murals. 

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!