Hikes of the Year, Hiking

Favorite Hikes | 2017

I definitely focused on running rather than hiking this year. There were many many trips to Tiger, Cougar, the Watershed, and St. Edwards. It’s hard to pick a favorite here, but my first time back on the Cable Line after Lily was born got me the biggest endorphin high on my life. I don’t have a good photo of that one, so here’s one of me meeting up with Nora and the rest of the gang after running the Shy Bear loop instead.

The winter of 2017 was very special since JK was home on paternal leave the entire time. So it was special, but also exhausting, because newborn. Getting everyone bundled up and into the car to go on adventures was kind of a production at this point (okay, it’s still kind of a production, honestly), but one of our favorite things to do to get a sense of adventure was to drive into Seattle, pick up food to go at Veggie Grill, and then have a picnic in Discovery Park.

20170319_134912 Discovery Park

I was so proud that we were able to get out for a family snowshoe on Mount Rainier in February. It was so chaotic (and loud) getting there, but once everyone calmed down and I could enjoy the sun on my face (that must have been our only day of sunshine all winter, surely?) and that big volcano? So worth it.

Last year I entered the Nutritarian Women’s Health Study, and found out that Dr. Joel Fuhrman was going to have a talk in Port Townsend. We rented a house on the peninsula and spent a couple of days exploring the area, including our first visit ever to Hurricane Ridge. We couldn’t see a thing, but we had so much fun playing with Nora in the snow.

Paradise Weekend in Sequim

In May, we took another family trip to Winthrop so I could run the Sun Mountain 25K. The morning after the race, we went for a family hike on the trails next to Sun Mountain Lodge, and that night I went for a solo run on Mount Patterson in the golden hour. Best run of my life! Being out there in the sun felt like our prize after getting through the rainiest Seattle winter/spring on record.

Sun Mountain Long Weekend 2017 Patterson Mountain run

My second favorite run this year? The Melakwa loop! I hadn’t run this since before getting pregnant with Nora. Turns out it’s even more fun when you’re in good (for me) shape.

We went back to Paradise in summer to look for marmots. It was so much less hectic than our winter outing. Nora hiked most of the little loop herself, we saw tons of adorable marmots, and we just had pure fun – that’s not always a given when you adventure with a three-year old and a baby. These are the days I want to remember forever.

Melakwa - Pratt Loop 2017 Nora's Marmot Quest '17

In August, JK took a random afternoon off and we took Lily for a hike to Poo Poo Point while Nora was in preschool. Shh, don’t tell her! As much as we love those family outings, sometimes it’s nice to be able to hike and actually talk about adult things.

…which is exactly what we got to do when my parents came to visit and we joined our first outing with the Thursday Night Afterburners in forever! As luck would have it, the hike that was scheduled for the one day we were able to go was my favorite TNAB destination: Rampart Ridge. It was perfect in every way.

Poo Poo with Lil' Lil Date night

While my parents were here, we also got to celebrate Nora’s birthday on the Naches Peak Loop! We brought cake, balloons, and party hats. It rocked. I made the whole family fill out little interview tags for my December Daily album this year, and both JK and Nora said that this was their favorite memory from 2017.

As summer turned to fall, we went to Twin Lakes with some friends. I didn’t expect anything special from this one, but hot damn it was gorgeous. Sunny and crisp, gorgeous fall colors, mountain views and a really pretty little lake. All good things.

Nora turns three! Twin Lakes

In October, I ran the Oregon Coast 30K with very low expectations and ended up loving every bit of it. Yet another excellent family getaway.

Back in Washington, autumn never seemed to end – best October ever. We hiked up the ski slope on the PCT at Snoqualmie Pass to Beaver Lake, and Nora impressed us with her hiking legs.

Oregon Coast 30K Beaver Lake

We also visited the Middle Fork for the first time. I was not expecting these kinds of views from this little riverside trail.

After Nora’s fabulous mountain birthday, Lily deserved something equally pretty – a snowshoe celebration at Gold Creek Pond! It was a great way to take advantage of the strange drought we had this December.

Middle Fork Lily's First Birthday

In December I also ran the Deception Pass 25K – I could not have asked for better weather. I’ll write more about this one soon.

I know people love to hate the Cable Line, but whaddya know, it ended up twice on my favorites list this year. My parents came back again for Christmas, and JK and I took advantage of the babysitter time to go running together. Our snowy trip to Tiger Mountain was absolutely fabulous. We’re going to try to make room for more runs together in 2018.

Deception Pass 25K Cable Line Loop Date

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

Layouts, Scrapbooking

Favorite Layouts // 2017

I’m forever trying to get back into blogging (yay resolutions season might help with that), so I figured a quick post about my ten favorite scrapbook pages this year would be a good way to ease into it. But now of course I’m having a hard time whittling it down to ten. It’s not that I think these are masterpieces or anything, it’s just that I reconnected with scrapbooking in a big way this year (thank you Ali Edwards and Story Camp!) and therefore have warm, fuzzy feelings about lots of my pages. I’ve also just scrapbooked way more than I ever have before.

(If you want to read the journaling on any of these, just click to embiggen. I’m far too lazy to write down the products I used for each of these, so if you’re wondering about anything in particular, just ask in the comments. Most of the products are from Ali Edwards since I am on her creative team.)

I haven’t shared much from this album yet, but I’m making a 12×12 mixed page size scrapbook that documents all the “cabin trips” we’ve gone on since Nora was born. 12×12 is still new to me and I don’t feel like I have a handle on it yet, but it’s been fun to play. Almost every cabin trip section starts with an opening page like this one that gives an overview of the trip.

Yachats opening page

Here’s the opener for the Sun Mountain trip:

Sun Mountain

Here’s one from the Packwood section of the book. Two big drawbacks with 12×12: it’s HUGE, and double spreads are damn near impossible to photograph. Everything is just too big. As much as I like this album, I’ve decided that from 2018, the cabin trips will go in our regular family album.

Naches Peak Loop

Due to spreading out in so many different albums this year (cabin trip! Nora’s album! Lily’s album! autumn album!), the family album was a little neglected. It has lots of little stories, but it doesn’t really reflect the whirlwind of a year we’ve had. Next year EVERYTHING is going in there. Except for December Daily.

It’s a mix of 6×8, like this one about JK…

Focus on what's important

…and 8.5×11, like this one about my continuing adventures in solo mountain travel.

Solo

I’m using my scrapbook pages more and more as a journal, and I love that.

Lens

It lets me make sense of the upsy-downsy feelings of the everyday.

Endings are beginnings

It lets me remember loved ones.

Remembering always

It lets me capture the vibe of the different seasons of our life. This one takes me right back to JK’s paternal leave last winter and spring, which was such a special family bonding time.

J-K + Nora (Ali Edwards Bond Story Kit)

There’s no pressure to stay “caught up” – in the summer of 2016 (oops the journaling says 2017 – must fix), I was too down in the dumps to scrapbook, but I’ve captured lots of little important moments and the general vibe here on one little layout.

Summer stories 2016

I use the same technique in my vacation album – the one where I make one two-page spread for every big vacation we’ve taken. I gather the photos that are most descriptive of the trip, and write down the highlights. Even if I never get around to making a separate album for these vacations, the spreads in this album will spark lots of good memories. Here’s one where I puked my way around St. John:

St. John 2014

This one from our honeymoon to India was just really fun to make. I wanted it to reflect the style I used when I made our honeymoon album which I started in 2006, so I flipped through that album, found my old Quickutz Squeeze alphabets, Fancy Pants rubons (they worked perfectly even though they’re from 2007), and Rouge de Garance papers (look at that perfectly placed Taj Mahal!). It also felt good to be a little honest in my journaling a decade on – it was a big trip that I will never forget, but I was so depressed that I spent far too much time in hotel bedrooms…in hindsight that whole trip has a kind of “missed opportunity” feel to it. I really want to finish this whole vacation spread album in 2018 – yay for completed projects! I think I’ll focus on one album per month to finish up.

India

….starting with December Daily 2017 – I’ll devote January to that. I’m about halfway done, and I’m looking forward to spending those cold, dark, January evenings reliving Christmas memories.

Here’s my favorite spread so far, just one giant photo of Lily digging into her birthday cake in the snow. Love love love.

December Daily 2017 Day 5

I’m still not finished with December Daily from 2016, but I think I’ll save that for November, when the December Daily stoke will be off the charts. Of course this page had to make the favorites list, with that super cool spinning circle idea from Pam Baldwin’s section of the December Daily Product Play class.

December Daily 2016

December Daily 2016

And of course I want to finish up the girls’ baby albums. Lily’s is almost done, I made a very simple 6×8 album with monthly spreads and some extras like her birth story.

Lily

Nora’s album still has a ways to go, but at least I managed to get some pregnancy photos in there this year.

Ready for the next chapter

I love this page that I made about her baby outfits.

Nora style

And finally, this spread about the autumn before her little sister arrived. I think this is my favorite kind of scrapbooking – two-page spread, lots of photos, lots of words.

Breathe in the change of seasons

If you made it all the way through this, thank you for indulging me in my little trip down memory lane! I hope you all have a very happy 2018. I’ll be getting my resolutions on, so I will be back here soon (with album catch-ups! best of 2017 hiking list! missed trip reports! goals! all the things!). I will I will I will.

Hiking, Hiking with baby, Top Trips

A Tale of Two Birthdays

Lily turned one (what??) on Black Friday, but she was so miserable with four molars coming in that frankly none of us were in the mood to celebrate quite yet. Our baby deserved to actually be able to enjoy her cake, dagnabbit!

Fast-forward to yesterday, when Lily was back to her happy, normal self, the sun decided to make a mysterious December appearance in Washington, and JK was able to take some time to give our little girl the birthday she deserved.

Lily's First Birthday

Of course we had to go to the mountains. Man, even the drive was gorgeous.

Lily's First Birthday Lily's First Birthday
Lily's First Birthday Lily's First Birthday

We hiked the two minutes (for reals) to Gold Creek Pond, our trusty old destination for when we desperately want views but have no idea how long the preschooler will last.

Lily's First Birthday

Lily definitely enjoyed her cake, both as a meal and as a face mask.

Lily's First Birthday

I cannot believe she is already one. I thought Nora’s first year flew by, but that was nothing compared to this. I could have used some more sleep, but it has been such an honor, a privilege, a joy to get to know this affectionate, smart, hilarious, easygoing girl.

Lily's First Birthday

And of course Nora hit the big sis jackpot with cake and a ride in the sled.

Lily's First Birthday

This might have to be her main transportation on snowy hikes this season).

Lily's First Birthday Lily's First Birthday

Nora had her own mountain birthday this year when she turned three!

Nora turns three!

This was back in early September, when it was hotter than the dickens and we wore swimsuits instead of snowshoes.

Nora turns three! Nora turns three!

My parents were visiting, and we packed the car full of cake and balloons and headed to Naches Peak Loop, another short-but-glorious family favorite.

Nora turns three!

Nora’s favorite part was swimming in the little tarn, of course.

Nora turns three!

I can’t believe Lily is one, and I definitely can’t believe Nora is three (except I kind of can, whenever that whole threenager thing rears its ugly head). This girl is feisty and hilarious, so smart, and fully bilingual at this point. She speaks English with a thick Norwegian accent, which is just about the cutest thing ever when it comes out of the mouth of a three-year old.

Nora turns three!

Nora and Lily, I love you both so much. Thank you so much for happily indulging us in our mountain baby fantasies – hopefully this brainwashing will work long-term.

Albums, Scrapbooking

Autumn Album

This year I decided to make an autumn album. I ended summer in a really stressed out, sleep-deprived place, and I wanted to use the album to help me really focus on some of the beautiful moments that life has to offer that time of year. It definitely served its purpose – I love having a little project like this to work on, an album with a beginning and an end but no other constraints. It’s like December Daily but without the time crunch issues!

I opened the album with this quote because it’s one I’ve always loved, and felt even more true than usual this fall. I used this free printable.

Autumn 2017 album

I mention this later in the album, but our weather this fall was absolutely gorgeous. I didn’t expect to have many photos to work with, but I ended up with an overabundance of autumny pics…so I ended up printing a whole bunch of little 2×2 versions and just putting them in this pocket page next to an intentions page.

Autumn 2017 album

Our farmers market runs through October, so thanks to our glorious weather, I was able to continue my Saturday ritual of having a giant salad with fresh salsa from the market for lunch on the deck.

Autumn 2017 album

Brené Brown had a special Q&A at Microsoft and I got to go!

Autumn 2017 album

We went on a surprisingly beautiful hike to Twin Lakes with some friends that I came *this* close to bailing on, which is always a life lesson for this introverted homebody.

Autumn 2017 album

Hiking through fall colors, staring at a big volcano, baby snoozing away on my chest…this is bliss.

Autumn 2017 album

That baby and I had lots of fun weekday adventures while big sis was in preschool. She’s such a big girl now.

Autumn 2017 album

Autumn 2017 album

This is from one of those really good days at the market…

Autumn 2017 album

…and with the market came tomatoes, which inevitably ended up as roasted tomato soup, one of our favorite meals this fall. I wrote the recipe on that little card that’s tucked into the pocket.

Autumn 2017 album

This one is basically me just rambling and trying to make sense of my anxiety around the shootings this fall.

Autumn 2017 album

And here I’m just 100% proud of myself after running the Oregon Coast 30K.

Autumn 2017 album

All year long I’ve cycled between feeling super energetic and super exhausted, so here’s some word vomit on that. I have a feeling it’s going to last until Lily weans.

Autumn 2017 album

Another hike, another life lesson.

Autumn 2017 album

These photos are all from one absolutely gorgeous day in October. I cannot believe the weather we had, for reals.

Autumn 2017 album

I slipped a 3×8 gratitude list in the middle using an Ali Edwards digital journaling card – the card was originally 3×4, so I used Photoshop to elongate it to fit my writing. (I later noticed that I had forgotten to close that parenthesis. Gaah! Normally it wouldn’t bother me – there are sooo many typos in my scrapbooks – but something about this was so annoying that I ended up reprinting it today.)

Autumn album

Autumn 2017 album

Our pumpkin photos get cuter and cuter every year. And of course I had to write an ode to the weather.

Autumn 2017 album

Thanksgiving deserved its own spread, of course.

Autumn 2017 album

The album was missing a back page, so just quickly added a digital stamp to a family photo and glued it to some paper.

Autumn 2017 album

Tada! I still have some things I can add later: our date night when we went to the Susanne Sundfør concert in Seattle, the night I went to see Where Dreams Go to Die with a friend and JK was in charge of bedtime for the girls (he sent me the CUTEST photo of Nora giving Lily a bottle), Halloween!!!, the freak snow we got in early November…but this was never meant to be a comprehensive album for documenting everything that happened this fall, it’s really just a collection of moments. For now, I’m calling it good and done(ish) so I can turn my focus to December Daily.

(Most of the stuff I used is from Ali Edwards, plus a couple of papers from my local scrapbook store, including this beautiful cut-apart sheet. The album is 6×8. Don’t hesitate to leave me a comment if there’s anything else you’re wondering about!)