tuperware drawer

I started writing this post weeks and weeks ago, but never got around to finishing it up until now. We received quite surprising news in December that we are expecting again and quite honestly, I still feel in shock! Of course we feel so lucky to have another little blessing be joining our family late this summer (August). But, for someone who has always been such a planner like me, a surprise like this can really shake things up! I should know better by this point in my life than to think that we are fully in charge of how our paths will unfold. So, I am taking it all day to day and rolling with the punches…or in this instance, the nausea (morning sickness).

Now that I have that announcement out of my system, let’s get into what has been happening around here (aside from the obvious planning for another baby!)


Taking the month of December off from working was such a great joy for me because it is the perfect time of year to have the chance to reconnect with friends and family, and plan a few adventures here and there.

Disclaimer: I apologize in advance for the poor quality of my photos. Ever since Monkey has been on the move, I’ve neglected taking out my good camera since it’s such a commitment to carry around, so I tend to rely on my phone to take my photos.

holiday decor

The start of the holiday season brought Josh’s sister Olivia to town from the east coast. It has been over five years since we last had the chance to catch up with Olivia, so that was a special visit.

olivia and asher

Monkey enjoyed sitting on Auntie Olivia’s lap and sharing his books and toys with her.

We also got to see Josephine and visit with her a bit as well. She started at Portland State at about the same time Monkey was born and between our two schedules, our visits anymore are few and far between and so treasured when they do take place.


The following week was my brother’s birthday. As someone who does SO much for everyone around him, a few of us got together and decided to do something nice for him as well. We threw him an intimate surprise dinner party…which, I later learned may not be the best fit for my dear brother. Doesn’t like surprises??? We must be related!

Sterling is not a fan of cake, unless it is a giant Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup cheesecake, (custom-made by Portland Style Cheesecake), which his lovely lady, Nancy picked up for the party.

I didn’t want to ruin the cake with a bunch of wax dripping all over the chocolate, so I ended up finding these candles instead to throw a little humor in there…

old cake

ster in balloons

Despite his near heart attack as he arrived to what he thought was a babysitting gig with Monkey and saw friends and family jump out instead, I think he calmed down enough to enjoy himself. Though when planning a surprise dinner party, it would probably be best to have the person arriving with him keep him from eating a whole pizza a mere hour before.

About a week after the b-day celebration, I had my very first mama getaway without Monkey. My friend and fellow spa connoissseur, Jessie and I headed up to Mt. Hood to be snow bunnies and spend some time in the hotel spa. We are really good at doing this kind of thing together. In fact, I am not sure why we haven’t started our own spa magazine at this point so we can do it for a living. The questions always crosses our minds.

jessie at timberline

gov camp museum

jessie and keely at timberline

I’ve heard so many mamas talk about how difficult it was for them to head out on their first overnight stay away from their little ones, and of course I missed Monkey dearly, but I received plenty of photos from Papa to ensure things were all fine and dandy at home), so I have to admit that I relaxed into the whole adventure just fine.  Though, I guess 15 months is a while to wait before doing something like this for the first time!

Shortly after my trip to the mountain with Jess, Monkey and I headed for the warmth of Tucson, AZ….or so we thought. It was raining throughout most of our visit but the sun came out long enough for Monkey to become infatuated and engrossed by his shadow (something he hadn’t yet discovered yet while living here in Oregon – no wonder).


Monkey and I got to spend plenty of quality time with Glammy and PacMan…and when the sun finally did come out at the end of our stay, we went on lots of neighborhood walks to enjoy the views of the Tucson and Catalina Mountains.


Upon our return from Arizona, Josh and I had our first ever getaway together (Monkey stayed comfortably at home in Olpa and Bestemore’s care). We headed up to Seattle for an overnight stay at The Edgewater (a beautiful hotel, with a long rock and roll history, situated on the Puget Sound). We had a relaxing time together and got some serious laughs in while catching Louis C.K. at the Paramount Theater.


It was a perfect escape. Olpa and Bestemore were so wonderful to stay with Monkey for the night so we could get away. Good thing the world didn’t end, as our anniversary fell on the Mayan calendar’s ending this year.

aniversary_game of chess

I love that our nightcap was to play a game of chess near the cozy fireplace in the lobby.

anniversary_view seagull

Once back from Seattle, we packed up and headed down to Eugene to spend Christmas with all of Josh’s lovely family (pictures have not been uploaded yet so that will have to come in another post). It was a great end to the fun-filled month but unfortunately, that was about the time my morning sickness kicked in, so I wasn’t feeling at my best.

So that was December, in a nutshell. Then, New Years Eve came and went and we are already into 2013! I can hardly believe how the time has come and gone so quickly.

I’ve been thinking about my theme words for 2013 (a tradition I started a few years back after being inspired by my friend, Cinda).

Last year they were JOY and ABUNDANCE. The year prior was BELIEVE and CREATE. All were so fitting for the journey I embarked on each year.

In 2013, my theme words are:


TRUST because at any big decision or new journey I’ve made up until now,  I have sometimes second guessed myself or second guessed how the universe will come through to help me move forward. But, it always works out. And I need to trust that to be the case.

SUPPORT because I feel so incredibly blessed to have such an amazing support system around me, and have felt so very grateful to everyone who has offered us their support in so many different ways over the past years. But, I do know that an area of weakness for me is having difficulty asking for help when it comes to personal things. I know it is important for me to grow in this regard and allow that support system to be there for me in times of need.

So, there you have it! A whole lot of information for one blog, isn’t it!? What will your theme words be for 2013?

A Collective Vision Board

Over these past few years, I have put together a few Vision Boards, including my personal visions for the new year, along with the aspirations of others I know who could use some extra prayers and good intentions for something they wanted to have come to pass in the new year as well. I placed cut outs for the depictions of these intentions in a location where I could see them daily and at the end of my morning meditations (something I’ve dropped in the last year after having Monkey and would really like to start up again), I would also go through a map in my mind of all of the people I know that I wanted to send my love to. As my friend Jules taught me, I would literally picture the Earth in my mind and slowly begin making my way around it, stopping off at the various destinations to give my love and good intentions to those people in my life who are both near and very far.

I’ve long been a fan of the power of intention and feel that great things can and have taken place through collective thought. Over the past year, I have witnessed so many wonderful things unfold (large and small triumphs that are equally important to the different people in my life – each which had begun with a focused thought). And with that, I am all about championing not only our own visions, but also those of the people we love!

I am sharing this story with you in hopes to inspire you to get together with friends and family and build Collective Vision Boards together! Here are some simple instructions:

1) Start by putting together your own Vision Board for the new year either by cutting out images in magazines or pasting some of your own photography to a poster board. You can even do this on Pinterest, which makes things fun and simple.

2) Next, select one picture that you think really wraps together the bulk of your overall vision for the new year.

3) Copy that image and share it with your friends and family who are participating in forming a Collective Vision Board – everyone’s Collective Vision Board will be a little different depending upon the network of people in each person’s individual lives who will be participating.

4) Each person participating will them have two boards – one Personal Vision Board, and one Collective Vision Board with people’s names or photos next to each corresponding image.

5) Finally, you will hang the boards you’ve created in a location where you can see it every day and send your intentions out to both your dreams and those of the people you love! If you’ve created your boards on Pinterest, print the boards to hang so you actually look at them daily. 

Happy dreaming dreamers!

What Makes You Different, Is What Makes You Special! What Makes You Weird, Is What Makes You Cool!

The crisp chill of Fall is in there air here and winter will soon be upon us. But the winter gloom isn’t sneaking in at all. There has just been too much to celebrate and to be grateful for!

We’ve recently shared in the celebrations of some big life moments of those we care so much about!  Several friends of ours have welcomed new arrivals into their families, which is always such an exciting time. The addition of one sweet baby girl in particular brought tears of joy to so many who know and love our dear friends Andy & Alicia. We are just beyond thrilled for them!

After our Monkey recently turned one, we can truly appreciate how big a deal that first birthday can be and so I wanted to share our experience attending Hattie Ham’s birthday party a few weeks ago! This whole spread was put together by event planner, Hanna Kane from Everybody’s Invitedwhom I’d gotten to know after she helped me with the  “On the Hunt with Charlie” Scavenger Hunt this year.

Celeste, Craig, and Hattie on Hattie’s First B-day {Photo courtesy of Everybody’s Invited}

As a fellow event planner, I so appreciated the many details that Hanna and her team put together! Seriously! They even had a ham cake. It was fantastic!

A “Ham” cake for Hattie Ham’s 1st B-day {Photo courtesy of Everybody’s Invited website}

Hattie’s daddy, Craig Dennis, who is a long-time friend and has also been a long-time musician with a theatrical background wrote this sweet song for Hattie (in the video below), and performed it at the party.  As a side note, I’ve always thought he’d make a great cast member on SNL.  His wife, Celeste, and I have been scheming a way to get him into the Kindie Rock scene! Here is his bid debut!

Pretty sweet, isn’t it? And, I love the message!

Happy Thanksgiving week everyone! I am so grateful for having fantastic friends and a wonderful family!

A Crafty Halloween

Time has seemed ever so much more precious and valuable after having our son. Productive free time also seems to be rare anymore between our work schedules and time with Monkey. Not that our time spent with him isn’t productive…it is just productive in an entirely different way ;-) Often times, by the end of my work days or days at home with Monkey, all I want to do is sit in front of the television and veg out. And, for those of you who know me, this is definitely not part of my usual M.O. I have never before been big on television watching on a regular basis, and I hope to be able to change this again.

So, that is my excuse for such a long delay here on the blog. Lack of time.

I have, however, somehow managed to carve out a few little windows here and there to craft some Pinterest finds. One in particular is Monkey’s dinosaur tail for his Halloween costume.

We will be answering the door for Trick or Treaters as dinosaurs tomorrow, which should be fun for him to experience and for us to take in.


It is really adorable to see him walking around with his tail on. He seems to enjoy wearing the thing.

Have a fun and safe Halloween everyone! We will be looking forward to seeing some of your photos and costume ideas.

And, I will try to get on here more than once a month too!



Salishan Getaway & Evergreen Aviation Museum

I accidentally posted a teaser picture from my phone of our trip to Salishan last weekend during Glammy and PacMan’s visit to Oregon. Some people emailed me a bit confused. So, here is a full posting of our visit together this past week.

Although traveling with a little one isn’t always easy, we still love being able to get away when we can, and this time around we were able to head out to the coast for a stay at Salishan, which is such a lovely place.

On our first day there, we got out onto their complimentary putting course for a little family fun. Perhaps Monkey found his new favorite sport…

…or at least he enjoyed tending the flags as we putt the course. But then there was the Sand Volleyball court…

…and the Basketaball Court!

Something tells me this boy got his dad’s jeans when it comes to interests in all things sports related. Is it too early to tell at 11 months?

We had absolutely gorgeous coast weather during our stay with clear skies, warm days, sunsets, and starry nights. And one of the greatest gifts is that Josh and I got to have a few hours together each evening while Glammy got Monkey to bed and monitored him through the open door to their adjoining room. What a treat!

It meant an evening cocktail, sliders and truffle fries in the lounge before they closed each night (I am not a french fry person, but those truffle fries were darn good!)

I love when resorts plan their architecture and interior design to blend and compliment the natural and historical beauty of an area. The dark wood of the lodge and rooms allow you to fully take in the landscape. This nautical art was everywhere, along with beautiful wooden sculptures, which I enjoyed.

A room with a view. And a great one at that!

A few days after our stay at Gleneden Beach, Glammy and PacMan came through Portland for a few nights. It was humorous to me that there were two things PacMan wanted to check out while in Oregon. One being an Animal House tour while in Eugene on the University of Oregon campus, which my In-Laws happily took them on, and the other to check out Evergreen Aviation Museum while in Portland…with enough time to get home for the Packers vs. Bears game (hence, his nickname PacMan).
I hadn’t been to the Evergreen Aviation Museum in quite some time. At least, not since they built their water park (Wings and Waves), where you can “jump out of” a 747 located on the roof into their biggest slide, which you can see in the picture below. One of these days, when Monkey is a little older, we will head there. Especially now that he has completed his Angelfish Swim Classes this summer through Portland Parks & Recreation. The great thing for Oregon is that the waterpark is indoor so open year-round!

I like this slightly eerie view of the Wings and Waves 747 taken through the Evergreen Vineyard. Yes. The museum also has a vineyard and my mom and I made sure to enjoy a glass of wine out in the courtyard while PacMan checked out the second building of the museum since he was driving us home.

Have you seen the Spruce Goose, built during World War II by Howard Hughes? That is one BIG BIRD! I can see how it only made it into the air for a mere minute. But, it is definitely a sight to see! Monkey certainly enjoyed checking it out along with the many other planes:

Look at how tiny the tale of that other plane looks up against the nose of the Goose!

Self Guided Toddler Tour

Now that monkey is walking and running everywhere I have my hands full so we probably spent about 2/3 of our time visiting the museum flying a paper plane in the grassy area in front of the main building, which he liked very much!

I cannot believe it but I don’t have one single picture of him with Glammy since I spend much of my focus on the little Monkey!

It was a visit that was short and sweet and I didn’t get the dates right on my calendar so Josh and I didn’t have the days off that we had planned for, but we had a great time when we were all together and I am sure that my mom enjoyed the toddle age with Monkey.

Last Days of Summer

It has been absolutely beautiful out during these past few months. We make a point to get outside daily, but our time together as a full family is often limited due to the way we have had to schedule our respective work calendars so that one of us is always with Little Monkey.

I covet our days as a family of three when we get to explore the world together…

Fitting Monkey into the seat.

Our friends, Ali and Holly, recently gifted us their son’s infant bike seat now that he has outgrown it — the ibert.  Since the time we picked it up last week, we have been anxious to give it a test drive…

Making a few final adjustments before heading out the back gate.

It took some messing around with to make it work with one of Josh’s bikes (needing new handle bars and such), but the minute it was put onto the frame, he took Monkey for a spin up and down our street while I stood on the sidelines  as a proud mama, waving and shouting cheers as they rolled by each time…back and forth, back and forth, up and down the block.

Our trusty sidekick Jelani kept Monkey entertained on the ride as he towed his remote control truck behind his own bicycle. It made me smile and think of the funny random things that Monkey will do like that one day too.

It may have only been a quick test drive, but I have a hunch Monkey is going to enjoy bike rides.

11 Months – exploration activities

Over the last few months, I have taken notice of Monkey beginning to explore his surroundings in ways that are much more thorough than ever before. While he is moving quickly from place to place with new walking skills, he is also slowing down and taking notice of the many details, both large and small, all around him.

As these changes have occurred, I’ve found myself searching for more meaningful and helpful activities to encourage this explorative time. Please chime into comments and share other activities if you have them!

1) Walks: When we go for walks now, Monkey tends to be outside of the stroller for a good portion – practicing walking; sitting on the ground to pick up seeds that have dropped from a tree; touching flowers and leaves, etc.  I am sharing this video below of us walking together this week. I’ve noticed that Monkey seems to feel more confident when carrying some sort of toy or has a pull toy along for the stroll:

2) Sound makers: He is so intrigued with anything he can create music or sounds with. Our music player has been on the fritz for a while, but we have been putting out instruments for him to play with lately and I it is obvious he enjoys this immensely!

Music Activities: I love this idea! Since he was a tiny little guy, we have brought Monkey out to the back yard to explore the various wind chimes hanging up.

3) Reading: Monkey has loved books and being read to right from the start and this hasn’t changed a bit. He will sit and look through board books on his own or will gladly curl up in our laps to read him a short story.

It troubles me that so many children in this day and age are not at all interested in reading and I know that reading to your children plays an important role in influencing a like for reading so it is something that is important to Josh and myself to do.  When I hear a child or even an adult say that they don’t enjoy reading, I will usually follow up by asking if they read with their family growing up. The answer is usually no.  The list of benefits for childhood reading is long and impressive – it helps with speech development; enhances vocabulary; provides the opportunity to bond; and teaches children that reading is fun.

4) Talking and Sharing Information: Aside from reading, the other thing I keep reminding myself to do daily is to talk to Monkey as I do even the most mundane of daily chores when we are together. As I recently read through these suggestions below posted on the How We Montessori blog to aid in encourage language development, I was reminded that even the most basic everyday actions can turn into learning lessons:

  • name body parts when dressing and washing
  • name foods as we prepare and eat them
  • name other objects as we use them (clothes, tools, toys)
  • name people and places
  • read through our photo book and name our friends and family
  • name objects that he brings to me such as “flower” or “stick”
  • name our experiences like “rain” and “wet”
  • describing actions, what we are doing or about to do
  • ask questions, give commands
  • encourage him to interact and converse with a wide range of people.

5) Opening & Closing: Click on the link to see this simple, wonderful activity that I am looking forward to putting together for Monkey to explore very soon!

I have been finding so many fun things to start introducing to Monkey when the time is right. Since I don’t often have the time to put together a full blog post, I have been saving quite a bit of these on my Pinterest board “for the kiddos.”

I hope you will check them out and share any other ideas with me here!

they grow up so fast!

I can hardly believe we are at that stage where we can now look back in disbelief that our little monkey has reached so many milestones over the past 10.5 months since he was born. It feels like only a few short months ago that we brought him home from the hospital.

People said it to us all of the time – “They grow up so fast. Too fast.”

I’ve realized this past year that most of the cliche parent comments came about because they are true.

Since he was born, he has experienced many firsts and reached many milestones: rolling over, crawling, and now…(gasp)…walking and even saying real deal words!

I find myself scratching my head, wondering where the time went. As we play and spend time with him, Josh and I notice how capable Monkey is of doing so many things on his own already. All this time, he has been soaking up his surroundings to show us that he is beginning to understand how things work. I have mixed emotions of feeling so joyous to be discovering his blossoming personality, yet sad that those firsts are behind us now.

But, life is about discovery and this is literally just the beginning.

Playing with his new buddy Julien in the tunnel!

In just over a month, it will be Monkey’s 1st birthday. And as parents, we know a small part of what we will be celebrating is that we made it!

It’s our own milestone.