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Hiking

Hiking, Layouts, Mount Rainier, Scrapbooking

From Life to Layout: Snow & Bench Lakes

Okay, hike of the year right here. I thought Kelly Butte would stay in the lead, but Snow & Bench Lakes knocked it out of the park.

Snow & Bench Lakes 2018

This was the first time we had hiked this trail since I was 35 weeks pregnant with Nora. Of course I had to take a comparison shot with her four years on the outside! I’ll never get tired of photos like these. Life with kids is a total trip.

35 weeks // 4 years

We’ve reached a really good stage of hiking with the girls, and we’re enjoying the hell out of it while it lasts – Nora packs her own backpack with her lunch, her water, a map, and her best bear, and hikes like a pro.

Snow & Bench Lakes '18

Lily is surprisingly content in the carrier, as long as she gets to escape and trail run like a madwoman from time to time.

Snow & Bench Lakes 2018

(…and work on that microbiome!)

Snow & Bench Lakes 2018

The last time we were here, we didn’t take the little spur trail down to Bench Lake because Fetus Nora had dropped and the trail didn’t look welcoming for my rickety pelvis, but we were so glad we chose to go down there this time. The girls loved splashing in the lake, us adults loved the drop-dead gorgeous reflection of Mount Rainier…

Snow & Bench Lakes 2018

…and then suddenly a garter snake came swimming along!

Snow & Bench Lakes 2018

A snake in a lake is not something I would normally want to see, EVER, but since it was a harmless garter snake, I filed it under the Very Cool Things tab in my brain.

Snow & Bench Lakes 2018

That tab also houses our lunch break – Nora climbed the steep trail up to the turquoise, glimmering Snow Lake, then sat down, unpacked her lunch and her little sit pad, and enjoyed the view like a fully fledged human! When did she get so big??

Snow & Bench Lakes 2018

I haven’t even mentioned the fall colors yet! They were off the charts. Everything about this day just rocked – the kind of high that keeps me going through the low I’m in right now.

Snow & Bench Lakes 2018

I feel like I’ve been dwelling too much on the negative lately, so when I scrapbooked this trip, it felt good to highlight the really positive parts of life right now (prompted by the Seasons Story Kit).

I wanted the fall colors in the photos to really pop (I was writing about both the literal season of autumn and the season of life we are currently in), so I used the digital files in the kit to recolor the ‘so good’ circle and the Anne of Green Gables quote card a nice shade of teal that worked well with the red and orange hues, as well as the color of the lake. The rest of the products are from the physical kit, plus a little bit of this sheet of vellum that I am obsessed with and have used on at least ten layouts so far.

Seasons Story Kit

I ended up cutting the big photo of Nora into a swoop, which felt like a very 2006 move, but also left a good nesting space for the circles.

Oh, and I also used an extra acrylic word for the title, from an old Story Kit called Old + New – I tend to hoard those acrylic words, so I’m always happy when I use them. And this was a twofer!

Seasons Story Kit

I find it really hard to limit the amount of photos (and words, apparently) I include to document a day like this one, so I ended up with a 9×12 layout, a 9×12 pocket page, and a 6×12 insert. Of course I forgot to include the baby bump/4-year old Nora comparison, so I might have to sneak another insert in there too.

Seasons Story Kit

Interestingly, the three enlarged photos – Nora with the map, the yoga pic, and me hugging Nora – were all cell phone photos. I’m getting closer and closer to leaving my big SLR at home…I really only bring it in case we see bears or marmots (or snakes swimming in lakes!) and I have to zoom.

Seasons Story Kit

Speaking of cell phones, JK’s cell phone put together an auto video from the hike and it’s super cute. Scrapbooking is great for thoughts & photos, but it can’t capture wobbly toddler legs quite like video does!

Snow and Bench Lakes, September 2018 from JK & Ingunn on Vimeo.

Hiking, Layouts, Scrapbooking, Top Trips

From Life to Layout // Beaver Lake

I’m unfortunately crawling along down deep in the dumps these days, but I am doing everything I can to climb back up. One of those things is to get outside and move – I think what kicked this depression off was not being able to run after Sun Mountain due to a little injury – I really need to get back into it, because it’s what makes up the difference between Ingunn as a useless lump and Ingunn as a fully functional, content human. Another thing is to be mindful, and to take notice of life around me (versus just counting down the hours until I can go to bed).

Beaver Lake Autumn 2018

The new Story Kit, Learn, prompted me to combine these two things. We were going on a family hike – nothing big, just wandering as far as we felt like on the PCT south from Snoqualmie Pass (we turned around at Beaver Lake instead of hiking all the way to Mexico), and I decided to actively seek out life lessons from the day.

Beaver Lake Autumn 2018

Nora came prepared with her very own map, and she would stop at regular intervals to check said map and make sure we were in the right place. I love this kid.

Beaver Lake Autumn 2018

She is just wonderful in general. See, it’s so frustrating to go through depression as a parent – not only is it difficult because I can’t just take a mental health day off, but there’s also this guilt that comes along with objectively seeing how amazing my life is and how lucky I am, yet here I am not wanting to get out of bed in the morning.

Beaver Lake Autumn 2018

Luckily, depression doesn’t mean that I can’t feel happiness – this day was so good. These ups keep me going through the downs.

Beaver Lake Autumn 2018

Oh, and here’s a bonus life lesson that didn’t make it onto my scrapbook page: all this rain comes with a silver lining – mushrooms! Nora found her first king bolete! She was so proud.

Beaver Lake Autumn 2018

And just like rain brings with it delicious mushrooms, these gloomy times of mine have silver linings as well – mindfulness, intense empathy, and deep appreciation of the good, little things in life.

Beaver Lake Autumn 2018

I scrapbooked this using the Learn Story Kit, of course, since that was the prompt of this little experiment. I love, love, love the photo of me and Nora, so I enlarged it and added one of the digital stamps from the kit as my title.

I kept all my journaling on page two, divided into the different life lessons:

Everything is a phase // I’ve always tended toward all-or-nothing thinking, so when things change for the worse, I immediately assume that OHMIGOD LIFE WILL BE LIKE THIS FOREVER. But parenthood has taught me that life is full of transitory stages that feel endless when you’re in them (morning sickness, inconsolable newborns, tantruming toddlers), and that they do in fact end and life goes back to being pretty damn awesome. The tantrumorama of this morning did not, as I immediately feared, ruin the day. This too shall pass, and that includes this current phase of life where depression is doing its damnedest to take hold again.

Just get outside // Hiking is my number one antidepressant, but it’s hard to take your meds when you’re in the thick of things. But it’s pretty clear that everyone, young and old, feels better outside. Troubles melt away and bodies relax. Wifi is replaced with mountain views and fall colors and family songs. Muscles warm up and lungs fill with fresh air and endorphins course through our bloodstreams, leaving us high on life and blissfully tired.

Skills are built, not born // Nora has been working on finding her trail legs since she first hit Tiger Mountain at ten days old. There have been a lot of stumbles and missteps, but she gets back up and keeps on going. (At one point today, she stopped and said “last time I fell off a rock here and started crying and threw my sunglasses!” – that was a year ago! How does she even remember that?) You can’t keep harping on your kids to keep practicing yet tell yourself that you are useless and untalented and uncreative because you lack certain skills. You just need the courage to work on those skills.

Be true to yourself // Nora’s hiking fashion picks of today included unicorn pants, a rainbow tutu, and a badge from a tech conference in 2016, and she wore it all with pride. Don’t worry that you are not fitting into someone else’s narrow view of what life should look like. Do what works for you and your family.

The journey matters more than the destination // Today we didn’t even have a destination! We just set off south-bound on the PCT and moseyed along, picking mushrooms and berries and enjoying each other’s company. Nora found her first porcini and she was so proud. Be present. Be mindful. Don’t let life pass you by while you struggle to find the summit.

Learn Story Kit

I used embossed number stamps along the side, then gelatos to create little watercolor blobs around them. (I used too much water around number one and kind of messed it up, but whatevs.)

I added a 6×12 photo pocket in the middle with four extra photos. In the center pocket I attached that great wood veneer “life lessons” piece to some vellum, and on the back I put some lyrics from a song that was stuck in my head during the hike: Springa by Ane Brun. (It’s from a new movie about Astrid Lindgren that I am just dying to see!)

Beaver Lake Autumn 2018

I didn’t include the photo of Nora with the bolete, because it occurred to me that I’ve never scrapbooked about the fact that we love to forage for mushrooms! So I’m saving that photo for a future page full of…fungal fun. I can sneak my silver-lining-of-rain life lesson onto that page instead.

Hiking, Layouts, Mount Rainier, Scrapbooking, Top Trips

From Life to Layout // A Weekend in Paradise

A Weekend in Paradise

Back in July, I was able to join the Alpine Trails Book Club for a night of camping in Mount Rainier National Park! The premise is so simple but genius – pick a book to read, then gather to discuss the book in a place that is somewhat related to the book. In June, we read Dirt Work and joined a trail work party with Washington Trails Association. This time, the book was A Year in Paradise by Floyd Schmoe…so naturally, this amazing, impressive, bad-ass group of women met in Paradise on Mount Rainier.

A Weekend in Paradise

We stood together underneath Comet Falls, the spray a very welcome shower on a hot day, in awe of the sheer majesticness of it all. I’m not usually a waterfall person, but this place? This place was cool.

A Weekend in Paradise

We traipsed together through blankets of avalanche lilies in Van Trump Park.

A Weekend in Paradise

We saw the sunset together from Pinnacle Saddle.

A Weekend in Paradise

We camped together in the Cougar Rock Campground, sharing food and stories and gear.

For me, the camping was the biggest part – it meant that I spent my first night ever away from Nora and Lily. A bittersweet but oh so important rite of passage of motherhood.

A Weekend in Paradise

On Sunday morning, we headed out on the main event – hiking around Paradise while stalking marmots discussing our book.

A Weekend in Paradise

I had read A Year in Paradise over ten years ago, back when I first started hiking. This was during a period when I was binge-reading anything I could get my hands on about hiking or mountaineering in the Pacific Northwest, so I couldn’t really remember many details. Rereading it, I was surprised by what a charming, inspiring book it really is – maybe I am just able to enjoy it more now that I am old and grizzled. Walking around in Floyd Schmoe’s old stomping grounds while discussing his book with fellow outdoorsy bibliophiles was nothing short of magical.

A Weekend in Paradise

This weekend meant a lot to me, so I wanted to give it lots of real estate in my scrapbook – I absolutely did not want to whittle down my photos too much, because looking at them brings me lots of happy feels!

Book Club Camping Weekend

There’s a lot going on in the photos, so I didn’t want to detract from them by using lots of embellishments. I made the opening page with the Adventure Story Kit from Ali Edwards, and for the rest of the pages I just used photos, typed journaling, stamps, and handdrawn lines. (In case you’re wondering – why yes, I did in fact attempt to draw those lines straight. #talentedartist)

Book Club Camping Weekend

The stamp set I used is Roam from Kelly Purkey. I knew I wanted to use it for this trip even before I left, because the “widen your boundaries” sentiment worked perfectly for my mom’s weekend away.

Book Club Camping Weekend

I collected some memorabilia, but didn’t feel like doing anything more creative with it than stuffing it in a page protector. S’fine.

Book Club Camping Weekend

…and I was pretty stoked to be able to legitimately use the bears from the stamp set because we actually did see a bear! I haven’t seen a bear in the wild since a couple of weeks before Nora was born, so I’m happy that my ursine drought is over.

Book Club Camping Weekend

We stopped by the Paradise Inn, of course, the place where Floyd Schmoe and his wife, Ruth, spent the winter essentially snowed in (picture The Shining, but with adorable, adventurous honeymooners). I picked up a plush marmot for the girls (okay, so really it’s for me, because…I collect plush marmots) in the gift shop – I managed to make it back before bedtime, and Nora and I decided that Schmoe would be the perfect name for this particular marmot.

Loved the book, loved the places we went, loved the companionship of other women, loved the widening of my boundaries.

Book Club Camping Weekend

Hiking, Layouts, Mount Rainier, Scrapbooking, Top Trips

From Life to Layout // Kelly Butte

One of my favorite things about having kids is how everything feels like an adventure now. Ever since my pregnancy with Nora, we have explored lots of trails that our previous snooty selves looked down on because they were “too short”. We didn’t think they were worth the drive. Well, whatever, Former Self, these trails rock. Especially this one: Kelly Butte. 3.4 miles, 1100 feet of elevation gain. Oh, and at the top, you’ll find a fire lookout with a view straight to Mount Rainier (Rainier was hiding a bit this time, but that just gives us an excuse to go back).

Kelly Butte Father's Day 2018 Kelly Butte Father's Day 2018

But even cooler than the lookout was the trail up through the rocks to get there – steep, rocky switchbacks climbing between rock spires that gave me massive Picnic at Hanging Rock vibes (aka the creepiest movie in the history of mankind and the reason why hearing even one note of pan flute music gives me the shivers).

Kelly Butte Father's Day 2018

I was worried about how Nora would do and almost considered turning back, but I’m telling you, that trail made her come alive. She loved it. On the flat trail out of the parking lot, we had to bribe her with crackers and sing songs to keep her moving, but on this rocky stuff she turned into a little mountain goat who was living her best life. It was so cool to see.

Kelly Butte Father's Day 2018

So these days, a 3.4 mile hike is not a too-short, hour-long jaunt. It’s a full-day adventure, filled with mind-blowing experiences for the girls and memories I will try to hold on to forever. This one is definitely in the running for best hike of the year.

Father's Day at Kelly Butte Father's Day at Kelly Butte

Speaking of trying to hold on to memories – of course I scrapbooked this. My favorite way to document things like this right now – because it’s fast and it allows me to include lots of photos – is the ol’ regular layout + pocket page combo. This time I ended up with two 9×12 pages in order to have room for all the words as well, plus enlargements of my favorite photos. I used the Adventure Story Kit from Ali Edwards – the adventure/outdoor theme combined with pink was a really refreshing change from the typical grungy greens you usually get with outdoorsy scrapbook products.

Adventure Story Kit

Adventure Story Kit

Hiking, Hiking with baby, Mount Rainier, Top Trips

Another Day in Paradise

Can you believe that when I first started hiking, I couldn’t understand why people would hike the same trails over and over again when we have an endless supply to choose from here in WA? Lololol. These days we mostly do the same hikes every year, and life doesn’t seem complete without them.

One of those hikes is our annual winter/spring outing to Paradise on Mount Rainier. I’m proud that we’ve kept that tradition going as we’ve had kids, especially last year when the combination of newborn + toddler made it a special kind of chaos.

Paradise 2018 Paradise Snowshoe 2018

This year, we’ve graduated to toddler + preschooler, and we ended up having the kind of day I used to dream about before we had kids.

Paradise Snowshoe 2018

There were definitely some mini meltdowns, but we are three and a half years into this parenting biz now and can hold our own against the fleeting wrath of a young’un.

Paradise Snowshoe 2018 Paradise Snowshoe 2018

Mostly, it was just so much fun. Nora snowshoed up the first hill all by herself (thank you for the Tubbs kids’ snowshoes, Moosefish!) and she was so proud of herself. Everyone we passed told her how awesome she was doing, and she was just glowing with confidence. She chose to ride the rest of the way in the dad-powered sled, like royalty, but still. Seeing your kids mastering new skills never gets old.

Paradise Snowshoe 2018 Paradise Snowshoe 2018

Lily wants to do everything big sister does, so she wasn’t happy until she got to ride in the sled too.

Paradise Snowshoe 2018

Paradise Snowshoe 2018

We sat down for lunch in our usual spot, just past the Alta Vista knob, and soaked up the sun for a while. While the kids were busy with their sandwiches, I took the time to enjoy the views. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to this side of the mountain now, but I never tire of it. That big, beautiful volcano, the jagged peaks of the Tatoosh. Yes it’s crowded down by the parking lot, but most of the people stay down there. Walk 15 minutes and you lose most of the crowds.

Paradise Snowshoe 2018

Paradise Snowshoe 2018

…and sometimes encountering other hikers isn’t a bad thing, especially when they offer to take your photo and you end up with a snapshot of your all four of you together in a beautiful place at a very happy moment in time.

Paradise Snowshoe 2018

Thank you, Paradise, for living up to your name once again.