Seth turned 5 two weeks ago. FIVE! We celebrated his birthday with a bacon breakfast, LEGO cake lunch and burgers for dinner — that kid loves meat and sweets. We played LEGO most of the morning, and spent the afternoon at the park/playground and Christmas Eve service at church. He is a passionate, energetic, joyful, spirited, thoughtful kid, and we are so blessed to be his parents.

birthday boy meet the mammals asleep train engineer

We managed to get a few more adventures in before school started…

Jetty Island! Todd had somehow never been before, so we were able to bring him, and meet with up with the rest of Todd’s family too :)




A trip to Mt Rainier! None of us had ever been, and it was a blast. We visited one visitor’s center, went on two hikes, and saw a few different creatures, all in one day.

great wheel
this was at Recycled Spirits of Iron sculpture park, on our way to Mt Rainier – worth the stop


bear grass
bear grass – which we were all excited to see in person, as we have read about it in O is for Orca

tree huggers
giving a hug to one of the many trees on the “Grove of the Patriarchs” hike

And one more camping trip, complete with a ferry ride to get to the campground!

ferry goblin

mosquito repellant

Back when summer started, we made a “Summer Fun List,” inspired by this Mudpie Mamas post. Here’s our list:

summer fun list
(click on the picture to go to what is hopefully a readable version on flickr)

With one week until preschool starts back up again, we only have one item left to accomplish…Mt Rainier, which is where we are headed *sometime* within the next 10 days. In the meantime, we have made some wonderful summer memories, both on and off-list:

leopard piano
these pianos were part of a public art & music project in a nearby city

kangaroo cuddles
visiting the kangaroo farm

jetty island
enjoying Jetty Island with friends

rock candy
making (and eating!!) rock candy

growing a sunflower

Seth’s birth-grandma, Gale, got ordained on Pentecost, so we figured it was the perfect opportunity for a visit!

voodoo doughnuts
After food truck lunch in Eugene, we somehow found room for dessert at Voodoo doughnuts

Half of our reason for driving down was so we could stop at Crater Lake for the benefit of our young volcanologist. Little did we realize that there would still be a bunch of snow in mid-May, and that we could only gaze at the lake from afar. It still got a big thumbs up, though:

crater lake

klamath falls
We stayed the night in Klamath Falls, after enjoying the street fair that just happened to be held that night. Our dinner was lame, but breakfast at A Leap of Taste was super yummy.

After two days of driving, we arrived at Aria’s house. Being there was so, so lovely.

magic school bus

park picnic
Hanging out with Ethan’s parents (we missed Ethan by a week – doh!)


curly hair twins

Gale's ordination
Gale’s ordination to Christian ministry – yaaaaay!


Seth had a great time playing with his uncles

On the way back, Todd and I talked up Paul Bunyan at the Trees of Mystery, which Seth has been playing since then. We also stayed the night in a yurt, which was super handy since it started pouring rain in the middle of the night.

on paul bunyan's boot
Lives up to the hype

oregon coast
The Pacific Ocean: also pretty rad, even in the rain

tillamook cheese van
The Tillamook cheese factory: not worth it

Overall, a wonderful trip to see some of our favorite people.

open adoption gets two thumbs up
Open adoption gets two thumbs up!

We wrapped up 2012 with a muddy (which was our intention) hike on a trail next to Lake Washington:

big finn hill hike

tree house

Sylvia, the biggest tree in King Co
Sylvia, the biggest tree in King county

Sylvia, the biggest tree in King Co
hugging Sylvia

@ Lake Washington
Seth’s default photo face

Happy new year to you!

When we asked Seth what he wanted to eat on his birthday, he told us “Eat dinner at the Space Needle!” so we ran with that. Todd made reservations for lunch on Christmas Eve, and we had a blast:

elevator ride
riding the elevator to the top

While we ate lunch (which was very tasty, if also very expensive), Seth had a hard time staying seated for any amount of time. Because the restaurant revolves, the view was constantly changing, and people send notes along the windowsill. We had to of course read every one, and add our answer to questions like “What’s your favorite color?” and “what did you ask Santa for?”

the birthday boy

lunar orbiter
eating the Lunar Orbiter dessert – an ice cream sundae that comes served over a bowl of dry ice

the view from the Space Needle
checking out the view from the observation deck

lunch @ the Space Needle
happy family atop the Space Needle

the International Fountain

orca ride
an orca ride

a random pile of snow to play in – no idea why it was there, as Seattle has gotten no more than a dusting all season

Happy birthday, four year old!

You might be one of the millions who have already read “The Mom Stays in the Picture.” If not, read it here.

Here’s our most recent photo booth picture:

photo booth

We have been making the most of these last few weeks of summer before Seth starts preschool on Monday (!!!). We went to Remlinger Farms with Grandma & Grandpa. It was a great place, as the price of admission includes unlimited rides, and Seth was the right size for all but one.

park ride
Teacup-style spinning ride (also, look closely at the front of Seth’s hair to see where his friend gave him a haircut while I wasn’t looking…)

whirly bird
Whirly Bird

fun with Grandpa
On the steam train

Then only four days later, we went to the state fair:

first cotton candy
First taste of cotton candy


axe throwing
Lumberjack demonstration


Then last weekend we spent the afternoon at some friends’ cabin. It was a lovely, relaxing time.

First time innertubing – Seth really enjoyed it!

lake swimming

big man, little life jacket
These life jackets are one size fits all, right?

You should also head over to Gram’s blog to see pictures of Seth joining them for Papa’s company picnic, and our annual trip to Jetty Island (Part 1 & Part 2).

Last weekend we went on a trip down to Mount St Helens. None of us had been, and given that *someone* is a big fan of volcanoes, it seemed like the perfect mini-vacation.

Seth flew us down there in a helicopter – 3 1/2 isn’t too early to get one’s pilot license, right?

helicopter ride

There are many visitor centers and lookout points on the highway out to Mount St Helens. We stopped at the Forest Learning Center and the Johnston Ridge Observatory. FLC was free, and had a lot more to look at than JRO, including a hands-on room, where you could see how pumice floats, touch animal pelts and footprint casts, etc.

elk face

Mt St Helens
It really was awesome (and I have to admit, a little scary) to see Mount St Helens up close.

Mt St Helens

Then we got back in the car and drove down to Portland. The idea was to eat from food carts while down there, and eat we did. We had dinner at the D Street Noshery set of carts, including mini pies, Guamanian, Venezuelan and Indian food. For breakfast we ate at the Egg Carton and Seth played his first game of (modified) Apples to Apples.

food cart brekkie

After breakfast, we went to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.



Notice Seth’s ever-appropiate shirt :)

For lunch we ate wood-fired pizza at Pyro Pizza, two ice cream sundaes at Sugarcube, and an amazing porchetta sandwich at Lardo (which is now a restaurant but started out as a food cart). The drive home was super long and annoying because half the people of Washington were on I-5 that day, but that meant we got to eat dinner and, yes, more dessert, in Seattle with friends. In general, a really fun weekend.

At the end of last month, we celebrated Seth’s half-birthday with a volcano-themed party. After a build-your-own tacos lunch, we headed out to the backyard for a game of lava tag. It was basically freeze tag, and having to avoid the “lava” (big pieces of cardboard painted red scattered around the yard). The times Seth was It, he chose to hang out on the lava instead of trying to tag other people:

lava tag

Todd demonstrated how putting a mentos candy in a bottle of Diet Coke makes it “erupt,” then all the kids got to do it with their own bottles.

mentos eruption!

We then rinsed out the Diet Coke bottles, and made lava lamps. Pour in an inch or two of vegetable oil, add water almost to the top, color it with food coloring. Half of an Alka Seltzer activates the lava lamp effect.

diy lava lamp

diy lava lamp

We then came back inside for a piece of volcano cake, complete with dry ice vapor action. I made a double batch of vanilla bean birthday cake and baked it in four separate layers using two sizes of round casserole dishes. The centers got punched out, a tall glass baby bottle fit down the middle, and was filed with water and dry ice chunks. It certainly wouldn’t win any decorating contests, but the kids thought it was cool.

volcano cake

We had a great time celebrating! And now, every time people ask Seth how old he is, he says, “Three AND A HALF.”

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