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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.

Cabin Trip, Running, Top Trips

Oregon Coast 30K

I had signed up for two big races this fall, Whistler Alpine Meadows 25K (which is an absolutely stunning mountain course with over 5000 feet of gain) and Oregon Coast 30K. A week before the Whistler race, we were still not getting much sleep and even just our everyday life felt completely overwhelming and chaotic, so JK and I decided that we didn’t have the energy we needed to drive all the way to Whistler with the kids and stay in a not-babyproofed rental house. Once we had made the decision to cancel, I felt so relieved, which is a pretty good sign that it was the right choice…still, I had some serious FOMO going on when the race photos started hitting instagram (even though the course was apparently full of wasps). Hopefully I’ll get to run it someday.

Yachats Long Weekend

A couple weeks later, life was looking much less bleak, so we packed up the kids and drove down to the Oregon Coast. The drive down was made bearable only by a lunch stop in Portland (mmm veggie bowls at Canteen) and an unfortunately way-too-short visit with friends in Albany. The kids did exceptionally well considering how long we spent in the car, but uuuugh. I never want to drive that stretch of I5 south of Portland ever again.

Yachats vacation

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

We arrived in the little coastal town of Yachats just in time for sunset, and I could feel the stress start to melt away. Our rental house was perfect – mid-century modern decor, huge windows overlooking the beach, very kid-friendly. Nora was super excited to sleep in a bunk bed in the kid room and kept asking us to put Lily in the top bunk so they could sleep together. Hmmm. (Squeee, I can’t wait until Lily is old enough to graduate to a big bed so they can share a room! That’s going to be the cutest thing ever.)

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

Lily has an unfortunate tendency to sleep horribly when we’re on these trips – we figure she’s either overtired from traveling or overly excited about sharing a room with us, but we also timed the last two trips with teeth erupting, so maybe it’s just bad luck. Anyhoo, one of the best things about Rainshadow Running’s races is that they start late, so at least we didn’t have to get up earlier than the kids dictated. My race started at 10, and Nora’s first 1K kids’ trail race started at 9:15. The coastal fog lifted just in time for Nora’s race debut!

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

Oregon Coast Kids 1K

JK tagged along for her race, but she covered the entire distance on her own two little feet. She was so proud!

As for my own race, I was so nervous at the starting line. Just a couple days before, I had pulled something(?) in my back that radiated painfully down toward my knee – it’s still not quite healed as I write this several months later – and between that and just generally not having trained enough, I was convinced I was going to have to drop out of the race at one of the aid stations. And of course, race director James warned us that the course was full of – of course – wasps. I had just had two wasp stings in one week that swelled up like the dickens, and I had no interest in seeing where a third sting would take me. Oh, and a fellow runner warned me that the course was actually over 20 miles long, not 18.5. Oof.

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

But it turned out this was one of those times when having low expectations worked in my favor. I started running and it felt so good. No back pain. No knee pain. No wasp stings, even though the aid station was swarming with them. Just beautiful forest trails and dramatic coastline views. As a bonus, the course went right past our rental house, so I got lots of encouragement from JK and Nora along the way. I wasn’t fast (I am never fast), but I had fun, which is why I do these things.

Yachats Long Weekend

Oregon Coast 30K

Lily was still napping when I finished (at 4:49:26 – it seems crazy to me now that I was out there for almost five hours, I remember it going by in a flash), so when I got to the finish line, I grabbed some (gluten-free! vegan!) pizza and then kind of just collapsed on the grass. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to walk if I stood up again, so I just stayed in one place, enjoying the live music and the food while Jeremy and Tisha (my old TNAB companions) kept me company and JK and the girls eventually arrived.

Yachats Long Weekend Yachats Long Weekend

Eventually I had to get up, and much to my surprise I was actually able to walk. Huzzah! I don’t really remember the rest of the day except for the part when the girls were in bed for the night and I watched the sunset with a glass of wine in my hand.

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

The next day we explored Yachats and Cape Perpetua – I showed JK and the girls the overlook that I had run past in the race, we went for a hike, JK went for a run, we hit the beach (Pacific Northwest style, wearing all our layers) and then we had dinner at the brewery. We really liked this little town and we totes want to go back to explore the tide pools with the kids.

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

The following morning, we knew we had a long journey ahead of us, so we were super efficient with packing and breakfast and getting the girls and our stuff into the car…and then the car wouldn’t start. Gaah. Luckily our very nice next-door neighbor had jumper cables. Even with the now late start, we couldn’t face the idea of driving I5 through Oregon again, so we drove up along the coast instead. At one point we had to pull over because I spotted three whales from our car!

We stopped for lunch and a leg-stretcher in Cannon Beach, which the girls loved almost as much as we do. I was nursing Lily while watching Nora climb on a piece of driftwood, and I had one of those “damn, my life is wonderful” moments.

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

All in all the girls did incredibly well on the looong drive home. I was so proud of them, and so proud of myself for running 20 miles. The only other time I have covered 20 miles on foot in a day was on our Enchantments hike, which was four years and two kids ago.

I’m also just really thankful for these little mini vacations we’ve built around my races. We were too scurred to fly to Norway with a baby and a 3-year old this year, but these long weekends to Yachats and Sun Mountain were the perfect getaways with little kids.

Yachats Long Weekend