Chiara: 1.5 week photoshoot

I had so much fun photographing our little beauty yesterday. Chiara likes to be very warm, or preferably sweaty hot, so despite the heater pumping away next to her, she wasn’t keen on an undressed, unwrapped state. I was hoping to get a few more newborn body picts- capturing her skinny legs, long feet and narrow belly. Alas, maybe another day! 

…because life isn’t all peaches and cream

 

It’s fall, we went on vacation

Summer has been over for a good month, but it’s really felt like it the last week or so. There’s been a culinary shift. We eat pretty seasonally, since the bulk of our diet is vegetable based. Butternut squash has replaced green beans, applesauce- fresh berries. Today I made a batch of Myrtle’s applesauce. Grandma Myrtle was a dear friend whom we adopted in Cleveland as Scotland’s “Grandma.” She cooked great southern food, including a scrumptious applesauce. I hope I never forget the time we stopped by to visit and, as was the norm, she sat us down at her table to eat. Scotland was just starting on solids, but I gave him a taste of what amounted to apple pie in puree form, sans crust. He downed the whole bowl so fast I hardly got a taste. Myrtle happily supplied me with a large second helping. The next fall I called to ask the secret to her fabulous sauce: “Oh, you just cook down a variety of apples then add butter, sugar, and cinnamon until it tastes good!” Butter! I wouldn’t have come to that on my own. So today, I made a batch of applesauce that even Myrtle would agree “tastes good” with plenty of butter, sugar and Penzies apple pie spice. It’s divine. I think of Myrtle often, I miss her, but I feel closer to her now, that she’s in heaven. I like to think she can hear me when I talk to her, and that she checks in on me, just like she used to. We love you, Grandma Myrtle.

We spent the week in the San Juan Islands, Orcas Island specifically. One of the perks of Tom’s job is that he gets four weeks of vacation. And they can only be taken in two one week chunks and one two week chunk. We can request certain months for vacation, but specific dates are chosen for us, and they are selected in July for the following year. It forces us to plan, and make use of his time, as it is so special. It also means they don’t always coincide with family get togethers. I hate that Tom often misses my family reunions, but we appreciate that it gives us time as a little family to get away and make memories. We rented a small cabin that was right on the water. We spent our three days there playing in the sand, hiking, fishing, cooking over the fire and BBQ, eating outside, driving around the island, and enjoying the resort’s spa. The first day was gorgeous, the second rainy, and the third overcast. We made the most of the weather, hiking despite the rain, and enjoying family time playing games and reading books inside, but we were all thrilled the the rain cleared the third day so we could return to the beach, the pier, and the breathtaking outdoors. I’m really glad that we chose a place on the water, because Orcas Island has very limited public access to the water. The place we stayed West Beach Resort, had a good stretch of beach and a long dock from which to take in the scenery. The boys got drenched and totally sandy a few times each day. I was grateful that a change of clothes was only a few strides away! The ferry ride there is a good fifty minutes of sheer beauty. Islands dot the landscape in layers, with Mount Baker faint as a backdrop.

Now for pictures:

Day 1:

Ferry Ride

I tried hard to capture the beauty of the islands on our way in. But you just can’t capture the expanse. They seem to go on endlessly. It made me reflect on how incredible the human eye is. What a creative masterpiece. Despite my fancy camera, it couldn’t come close to capturing what I could see. 

Scotland was most excited about “discovering secret passage ways” in the ferry. Something he and Tom did last time they rode the ferry together. Tom as always, was willing to indulge his appetite, so the three of them set off to try out every stair well, elevator, and hallway. Leaving me to savor the wind in my hair, and the beauty before me.

I was determined to spot any whales that were had to be spotted. We were rounding the corner from Lopez island to Orcas when there they were two orca whales! We saw them dive in and out of the water several times, just as the captain instructed us all to return to our vehicles. We waited and watched a little longer before a firmer voice repeated the demand. I was tickled pink that my persistence had paid off, my wish granted, and that my two boys saw their first whales in the wild! (Lucky ducks!)

Our cabin- #4.

Beachfront property. Sigh. Scotland suggested we buy a house by the water in the future. I’m right there with you bud. (Well, except for the constant supply of sandy wet laundry!) 

Scotter and I had a blast building a “fish trap” on the beach the first afternoon, while the two other boys slept. I found that waterproof pants, boots, and rubber gloves made for a much more pleasant beach experience for me. Then I was willing to get “into it” just as much as Scotland, without getting squeamish about the bugs jumping out of the sand, or wet pants. I’d wished I would have sprung for waterproof pants for Scotland before this trip. He may be getting thigh-high waders for Christmas!

Our first night, we were treated to a beautiful sunset. A real treat since we didn’t see the sun the rest of the time we were there. We had tin foil dinners and s’mores for dinner the first night- note my boys there around the fire in the bottom right. (The tin foil dinners were a huge success- They had precooked and marinated BBQ chicken, diced baked potato, corn and onion slices. The BBQ flavored everything and the fire gave it all a delicious smoked flavor. The fact that everything was pre-cooked was key- it was just a matter of heating it up!)Day 2:

The second day it rained all day. But we were determined to make the most of it, so we set off in the morning to explore Moran State Park.

All started well. Anders and I were fully suited up- totally rain proof. Tom and Scotland were only covered on top, and had water proof shoes.

We chose the mountain lake loop, and stopped to play at the lake about a fourth a mile in. A poor decision. Scotland was thrilled to play in the water, as always, but fell in not longer after getting there. Which didn’t deter him from having a fabulous time at the lake, but did result in a less than happy camper once we hit the trail again. Let’s just say we didn’t make it the full four miles.

The boys would have happily played by the lake the whole day, throwing rocks, building boats, and being boys.

Note Ander’s rock!

After a long play session at the lake we set off again from the trail. But what followed was a good half hour of whining and crying from Scotland, negotiating/pleading/demanding from Tom and I, until finally I grabbed his hand and started skipping along belting out such greats as “Do you Ears Hang Low” and “Shinnamerinkadinkadink!” which lessened his displeasure, but didn’t completely stop it until I made him the soloist of “The Wheels on the Bus-” “The baby on the bus says: motioning to him” He immediately grew silent, laughing as over and over I sang the prompt “The baby on the bus says Scotter, that’s your part!” He thought it was hilarious and requested I sing that song the rest of the way back. Despite the emotional duress Scotland’s cold, wet state brought upon all of us we still enjoyed a beautiful, though brief hike.

Thanks to Anders rain suit. He was happy as a clam!

On our way home we saw a bunch of deer and then a huge bullfrog hoping across the road! I HAD to pull over. It’s not everyday a boy gets to see a frog that big. Of course I had to catch it, because well, that’s what you do when you see a frog right?!

The rest of the day was spent working on the Snap Circuit, reading, and goofing off in the cabin. We did head out before dinner to buy a fresh salmon to grill up, which was fabulous! Tom and I enjoyed seeing more of the island. We at dinner on the patio, listening to the rain pitter pater as we enjoyed grilled cheese and tomato soup, and salmon.

Day 3:

Anders and I were up first so we sneaked out to enjoy the early morning quiet so the other two could sleep.

We were rewarded with a bald eagle site-ing as well as fish, crabs, a starfish and of course lots of sea birds. With the rain cleared Anders enjoyed his breakfast out next to the water, and Scotter enjoyed a pre-breakfast sand session.

After breakfast, I took Scotland fishing. We rented a pole and tried our luck with hotdogs at the end of the dock. (As was recommended.) He had several tiny fish bite, and several larger fish sniff, but no takers. I was proud of his patience, and persistence, but after a good half hour lacking in excitement, he decided to move on to other things. I was surprised at my desire to teach him to fish, to show him the joys of fishing, the thrill of teasing the fish, the art of imitating the fly, worm, etc. I don’t think of myself as a fisherman, but I fished every summer growing up on our family backpacking trips, and I can appreciate the thrill of taking in a fish! I’ll admit I was disappointed that I didn’t have a license, and couldn’t try my own hand at snagging those whoppers down below.

We visited Eastsound that afternoon, it’s a charming tiny little town with a couple streets full of darling shops and restaurants. I’m always a sucker for the beautiful potted flowers tourist towns such as these support.

Day 4:

We headed back to the mainland around noon. After eating a scrumptious brunch at the Island Skillet. Fortunately the clouds had blown off and it was, again, a gorgeous clear ferry ride. We wrapped up our trip with a visit to Mt. Erie in Anacortes. The view was beyond breathtaking. Almost unworldly. Pictures can’t come close:

For future reference here’s my brief review of the vacation: We were really grateful we chose to rent a cabin instead of tent it. For one it was really wet, and we all appreciated our sleep. We had more struggles than we would have liked with Scotland. (I’m really appreciating our spacious house after our tiny cabin.) If we go again I’ll be sure to supply Scotland with water-proof gear, so he can go out whenever he wants without getting chilled. Next time I’ll plan it more thoroughly. There was a lot of “So what do we do now?” The indecision was hard on all of us. I liked having a kitchen, even though we did eat primarily pre-prepared foods. While it was nice to be there on the shoulder season because of it being quieter, and a little cheaper. I think we’ll go when the weather is more reliably nice in the future. We made the best of it, but we ended up in the cabin more than any of us would have liked. All in all we had a wonderful time, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to leave behind the projects, stresses, and distractions of our home for some wonderful family time in a gorgeous place!

Zion’s National Park

After our wonderful day at Bryce we headed to Zion’s National Park. We started our visit with the Canyon Overlook trail, which was a real winner- a perfect way to be introduced to the grandeur of the park. Scotland got his taste of 4-year-old “high adventure” aka rock climbing, and trails running alongside steep drop offs.

Scotter is like his Mom in his preference for unpaved, rugged paths. He LOVED this trail with it’s natural rock steps and abundance of boulders to climb. (He always chooses the path least traveled.)

“Look Mom, I’m a rock climber!”

Anders was SO happy being outdoors all day. He enjoyed the pack, even taking a long nap the second day. Though he was always thrilled when we got him out to hike, play in the water or red sand.

We all played in the sand at the top for a good hour. Gotta love a nature vacation for teaching you to slow down and enjoy the simple things.

We swung by to see the popular “Weeping Rock,” It was, unfortunately, less impressive that time of year, being void of the fern and flowers its known for. Though the boys liked running through the dripping water. After our stunning drive to the park and a couple of fun hikes we headed to St. George to connect with Tom’s folks at the condo we rented together. The next day we spent exploring St. George and the Red Rocks Recreational area.

St. George Temple

We visited the St. George temple- which must have been recently painted because it was blindingly white. I’ve always wanted to visit the Nauvoo temple and have regretted we didn’t make the trip while we lived in Cleveland. So it was fun to see the St. George temple since the design is the same. Tom’s Dad told us a story about his grandparents. They traveled a good distance to be married in the St. George temple, and at that time there were rooms at the top of the temple where honeymooners could stay the first night after they were sealed! Apparently that small circle near the top, is the window of the room!

We felt so lucky that it worked out last minute to connect with Pam and Stan. They are such adoring grandparents and the boys always soak up their attention.

We spent a bit of time in the visitor’s center. I had a really sweet experience with Scotland. Talking about the Christus and walking through the room with artwork portraying the life of the Savior. He’s a spiritual curious and sensitive boy. And I love getting to share this beautiful side of existence with him.

We visited several of the church history sites there such as the above, Brigham Young’s winter home.

His actual bed and cane.

Brigham was quite ill much of the time while he lived here, he did most of his business in this upstairs room. Just outside of the room at the top of the stairs was a window that he would often stand at and look out- as he could see the progress on both the tabernacle and the temple from there. It was moving to think of the great man with extraordinary vision who lived in these quarters.

Red Cliffs recreational area

The colors were so beautiful- with the bright spring green of the cottonwood trees, the brilliant blue sky and the orangish-red rock.

Playing in the sand with Poppa. I always appreciate how willing my father-in-law is to get down and play with my boys. (Notice that he and Anders are matching. Blue jeans and a gray polo! It wasn’t intentional, but certainly cute.)

Boys in ball caps. A favorite.

We had so much fun exploring this place. Scotland crawled up one hole and proclaimed: “I just POPPED right out of the ground!”

 

Hiking is one of my favorite activities with the boys. I feel like we’re both in our element and we connect better. Sometimes at home I don’t feel like the “fun one” because I get focused on keeping things clean, teaching, and keeping the household running. But outdoors I’m all about adventure, energy and exploration.  I’m realizing that I really need to plan at least a monthly hike with the boys. We all love it, and we live in the perfect area for it. We finished the day off with pizza, milkshakes, and a movie at the Condo. Mmmm!

The next day we headed back to Zions, this time with Pam and Stan. We started off with the Riverside walk.

Anders thought it was a severe injustice that Scotland could walk in the river and he couldn’t.  (I finally bought him rain boots today!) In my opinion kids should live in rain boots. They just lend themselves to so much more fun. (You wouldn’t believe how many people commented on how lucky Scotland was to be wearing rainboots! He takes FULL advantage of them.)

We hiked up to the narrows and were lucky enough to see six deer make a river crossing. There were a bunch of people geared up to hike the narrows. I was seriously tempted to do it, since I knew Tom’s parents could have watched the boys. But if just didn’t seem like the right time. We’ll go back in ten years when we can do it with the boys. I can’t imagine a more thrilling trip with teenagers!

This rock was so fun, we both slid down it several times on our bums.

There are more beautiful times to visit Zions, but as Pam said, going this time of year, before the trees have leafed out, allowed us to see more. (I love how Pam finds the positive!)

Running under the waterfall on the Emerald Pools trail.

The sun was so intense, I kept getting white washed pictures. Oh well, I”ll take the sun anyday!

I planned this trip. And and read tons of blogs and trail journals about people’s favorite parts of Zions. As a result I really wanted to experience the slot canyons. Most of them require three to five miles of hiking, which I knew wasn’t feasible with the boys. So I spoke with one ranger about possibilities to see slot canyons without much hiking and she told me about this one. There was no marked trail. I never wouldn’t have thought I could just go wondering off into the park, had two rangers not told me I could. Tom, Scotland and I all climbed under a bridge and down a series of boulders until we dropped down into this. Scotter even got to experience quick sand for the first time! I must add my in-laws were so sweet to make this happen. I felt rather selfish on this trip. I had all these high hopes of what we’d see and do, even though I braced myself for the reality of traveling with kiddos. We’d had a full day and everyone was pretty tired, so I stayed quiet regarding my hope to still try to find a slot canyon, but my father-in-law, remembering my earlier enthusiasm, determined that “We’ve got to get Kjirsti her slot canyon before we go!” We drove across the park, partially so they could experience the Mount Carmel Tunnel- which is SUCH a thrill, and so that I could get the tiniest taste of canyoneering.

Mount Carmel Tunnel

It’s a gorgeous park, with such interesting terrain. I really got the high adventure bug researching this trip. I feel more alive in nature, I feel stronger, more capable. Perhaps it reminds me of hard backpacking trips, carrying WAY more weight than I should have because I was determined to carry more than my petite sister. Or perhaps its that Petersen blood- we love our land. Regardless, those feelings surged as we spent these three days entirely outside and I loved it!

Christmas photo shoot

I dragged out my “big camera” today. It’s been far too long since I used it and I was surprised at how comforting and rewarding it was. Dipping back into aperture and shutter speed was surprisingly fulfilling. Perhaps its time to pick up photography again!

Because we’re waiting for Tom to be off work, we’re not celebrating Christmas until January 1st this year. I figured I’d take advantage of the extra time to do a Christmas photo shoot today. It’s been a long time since I got any quality shots of Scotland, and I need an updated on for my new gallery wall. It turned out to be more successful than I thought. Though, my standard for success, you will see, has lowered.

It started out like this, blurry, blurry blurry. Anders is at such a difficult age to photograph because he’s in constant motion. This is Scotland’s favorite brother poise. As you can tell, Anders’ isn’t as big of a fan.

A day in the life. . .

This is about as good as it got for a brothers shot. It’s too bad that Anders is always super smiley when I take shots of just him, but as soon  as Scotland enters the picture he gets grumpy. (I wonder why.) Regardless, I love how this captures Anders’ beautiful eyes, and his full lips, and Scotland’s sweetness.

By the end of the shoot the boys were having a blast bonking heads. Figures. They were both laughing, so. . .

Scotland’s cheesy grin

Scotland was surprisingly accommodating. Perhaps it was my begging: “Please. This is all I want for Christmas!”

But of course it wasn’t long until it turned into this. He’d poise, make a face, then run back and want to see it in the camera.

But this here is the keeper. This is Scotland through and through. How I adore this darling little boy. I hope I never forget his morning routine of climbing up on the piano bench. Taking off that day’s advent baggy. Then counting the remaining bags, turning and announcing: “Eight days until Christmas!”

Cousins, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles

Here’s a pictographic depiction of the rest of our trip;

The day after the wedding was Mother’s Day and we got together with the Harrison side of my family to celebrate. We got to gather around and hear stories from and ask questions to the matriarch of the family: Dorothy Ruth Chambers Harrison. How I love this woman. In response to the question: “What advice do you have for us young Moms?” She said- “You can’t change your husband. You needn’t try.”

This was the first time most of my family had seen Anders. He was greatly adored by everyone, but especially his three year old girl cousins. Here he is with Claire.

Anders and his 3 months older cousin Miles.

With his eldest cousin, Brecklyn

Anders with his great grandmother. (I’m so frustrated that I didn’t get a four generation shot while I had the chance. grrr.)

And his great grandpa: Ronald Deane Harrison. We got to spend the morning visiting with Grandma and Grandpa Harrison. It was lovely to be in their home again and feel their strong resilient spirits. Both are struggling with major health issues, and yet both continue to serve in their community, to stay involved in the lives of their six children and many grand and great-grandchildren, to attend the temple, and to work on family history. The above pictures brings tears to my eyes. My grandfather has Parkinson’s disease and it has hit him hard lately. As we walked down the street to see some of his horses he spoke of the difficulty and frustration of his condition, then he said with strength, “But we must ENDURE!” And considering that smile, he is enduring well. Grandma and Grandpa you’re an inspiration to us all.

Taking time with Scotland.

It struck me this time around that while my Grandfather is very self sacrificing, he still takes some time and money for things he enjoys all for himself, like his horses. It seemed a prime example of balance.

Scotland is on a real flower-picking kick. He was holding a dandelion about 60% of the time we were in Utah. And that’s probably not an exaggeration. The endless amount of his beloved fleur in the pastures of my grandpa kept him focused for hours. He brought in bouquet after bouquet. I love his picture because it’s pretty true to life. Rhyse and Brielle are best friends, and it took Scotland a while to enter their tight-knit friendship. Both girls are quite fiery and definitely exposed Scotland to a new level of intensity. Their time together was rift with many fights but also many sweet times. It’s amazing how people bring out the worst in us. I’m never more aware of my son’s behavioral issues than when he’s playing with other children. (Which I could say as easily about myself!)  Looking back I think I wasn’t patient enough with Scotland. We throw these cousins together that only see each other a few times a year and expect them to be immediate friends. I’ll be honest I was shocked at the meanness and aggression that was sometimes displayed amongst them. I suppose it’s my “first time, controlling Mom” status but I still feel a great desire to protect my child against such behavior, and yet it was family, what was I to do. I wonder If I should have been involved more at the beginning, helped them navigate their friendship in the early stages. Or was it better to just leave them to their primal ways- beating their chests and screaming in order to establish a social order? I’m not sure. However, by the end of their time together the sweet moments were far exceeding the ugly ones, and moments like this made it all worth it.

note the flower

note the flower

I wanted to catch this moment on my phone because it really warmed my heart. My two older brothers took the time to sit down and chat with Scotland for a while. He was thrilled by their attention- chatting confidently about who knows what. I love these big brothers of mine, and the fact that they take the time to love my children means the world to me.

I wanted to capture my sister in this mode. Brigette became passionate about the idea of educating her children last fall. As is her style, she immediate went into overdrive purchasing and making materials and creating a space in her home to serve as their pre-school. Watching her in action was truly inspirational. Seeing her children respond was even sweeter. They were so thrilled by her instruction, desirous to learn, attentive and focused. I’ll admit to feeling envious of her energy, her determination, her “nothing is impossible” attitude.

We went up and spent a few days with Sabina and her family. We spent Saturday afternoon in the Logan canyon, having a picnic, scooping for bugs, making boats and climbing trees.

My sister Sabina has really made a point of immersing herself in the activities of the children. She was usually the first to join the kids crossing the river on the fallen tree, or scooping for bugs. Here she is with the boat she help construct with Rhyse, Brielle and Keiton. She was really in her element up in the mountains. Sabina loves all things physical, active and outdoorsy. She’s suited for a simpler, more carefree life than she currently has. We have a lot in common, and I’ve often used her as a lens of how I might be in nine years. Seeing her up in the mountains, so happy, and at ease, I made note. And yet this frolic in the hills was only made possibly because she forwent the endless list of chores and upkeep at home. All things that she would have to attend to later in the week or live with. I returned from her house with many questions about life. I know my current carefree life isn’t sustainable. (In fact I see it fading out by the day) and yet I feel it is really important to the happiness of my family and marriage. . .  but I digress, I need to flesh this out more before I can discuss it.

We had a “girls” day on Monday after the wedding. These are all my sisters, two sisters-in-law, and eldest niece. Unfortunately, my Mom is missing in this picture. (Sorry Audrey and Getti for the less than favorable shot- it’s the only one we got.) I love these women, and crave their friendship.

We rounded out our trip back at Brigette’s house. Scotland was so thrilled to have friends to play with all day long. Whenever I’d call him in for a nap or bedtime he’d proclaim: “But I want to play with my friends!” How I wish we lived closer so he could play with these sweet cousin friends more often, and under less stressful conditions. (Few of us are on our best behavior when we’re sleeping in foreign beds, without our regular structure.)

It was a jam-packed week and a half. We returned exhausted and suddenly aware of how peaceful our life is. I prayed for angels to assist me on my flight home alone with the boys and was blessed with two, and skycap. While we’re enjoying the quiet of our home, we’re already looking forward to our family gathering with the Foutz side of the family in June and another family reunion with the Petersen side of the family in August.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Today was as perfect a day as a day can be. In my previous post I mentioned I wanted to work on having more “family” time. Well check, check for me! Today fulfilled that desire in every way. It was near perfection: relaxed morning all together, walking in puddles with Scotter, wearing Anders in the ErgoBaby amongst great beauty, holding hands with Tom, longs chats in the car, good food, and flowers, flowers, flowers.  I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story:

I was there for the tulips, Scotter was there for the puddles.

I’ll admit I thought many times today- I don’t want to ever move from this place. In other wards, maybe Tom will get his way, and we’ll stay in Seattle permanently. (Note: The sun was shining brightly today.)

I also told Tom that maybe he ought to just be a general pediatrician so we could move to Skagit Valley across from these fields.

Tom took me to see the Butchart Gardens on our honeymoon. It’s probably the last time I’ve seen this many flowers in bloom and brought back many flashbacks to that lovely week. Babe, I feel a little deeper in love with you today!

Sigh! May I stand and take this in for eternity.

Something about those straight clean rows spoke to the organizer in me and brought such peace.

Local and Organic fare at Seeds Cafe in La Conner- may have been the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten.

My boys on La Conner boardwalk

Our newest little traveler!

Okay, is it just me, or was that one AMAZING day trip? This is what continues to shock me about Seattle- day trips as breathtaking as this abound! Our outing totaled six hours and I returned feeling like I’d spent a week in Europe. Oh Seattle, you’re pulling me in! (Devin, wish you’d chosen Seattle as your honeymoon spot now? (wink, wink!)

(We realized the camera battery was dead when we first arrived so these are all Iphone pictures. Tom got some other lovely ones, but I don’t have access to them- he’s at the hospital. Forgive me now, if I post more pictures of this loveliness later. As you can tell, I CAN’T. GET. ENOUGH!)

Wanna go for a walk?

Today was a gorgeous, sunny, spring day. I went out to take a couple of photographs around the yard and then was enticed across the street, down the block, for a walk. Camera in tow, I decided to try to capture some of Spring’s beauty in its abundance. Seattle is a gorgeous place to live, especially when the sun comes out. The thing I find intriguing about Seattle is that it has this rustic au naturale charm. Yards are much less manicured than their Shaker Heights equivalents, houses often look older and more worn due to the prevalence of moss and mold. Nature wins out here. One of the things I love about photography is that it allows you to crop life down to the most beautiful things and leave out the rest. I think it’s a powerful exercise that can be applied to other areas of life.

Come on a walk with me, will you? We’ll start in the yard. . .

Daffodils blooming through my Aucuba Japonica (I think) bush in the back yard 

A variety of narcissus blooming in front of the rock wall in the back yard.

Forsythia in the side yard- yellow’s the color of the year!

Front step beauty in the making (hosta and primrose). (Still hoping my corkscrew plant will revive- I think it needs to be repotted, and pruned?)

Rhubarb coming up beautifully! (I transplanted this to my garden bed last fall, so I was super excited to see it took to its new home so happily.)

Strawberries from Sister Maringer popping up through the ground

Now we’ll move across the street:

Red buds and blossoms cover this tree across the street, creating a gorgeous contrast between the surrounding evergreens.

Also, proof that the sky can be blue in Seattle. (Though Scotland once said, “Look Mom! The sky is blue!” – It had been a while!)

The emergence of leaf and flower buds is one of my favorite things to watch for in spring.

I can’t wait to see what this huge bud becomes!

And down the street:

The evergreen candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) is blooming prolifically everywhere. 

One of the things that Seattle excels at, is the layering of different textures of and shades of green.

I’m unsure of the name of this bush, but it has been adorned with this stunning red berries all winter long. 

Laurels grow everywhere here. Their glossy green leaves lend such a manicured “clean” look to roadsides and empty lots.

The amazing thing about Seattle is that you get to enjoy these intricate beauties all year round! I wish I knew the names of each of these evergreens. In time!

Our neighborhood is very hilly. Many of the homes are placed deep down below the street level. I love the wood railing and staircase leading down to this particular home.

And across the street, a wall made of, what looks to be, recycled cement slabs is beautified with this dainty frilled ground cover.

This heavy chain adds character and charm to this rusticated fence. This is the quirky side of Seattle it’s famous for.

Haphazard mailboxes- the norm.

An artist displays their work in their front yard- a series of bicycles spray painted white. There is a lot of art and sculpture in Seattle, even in suburb neighborhoods.

I wasn’t the only one out enjoying the Sunday morning splendor. 

Isn’t the world lovely?! There are few things that can uplift my spirits and bring me as much joy, as a cheerful romp on a crisp spring morning. It felt like the perfect sabbath day activity. Photography is a lovely way to worship God and thank Him for his gorgeous creations!

Anders: 11 day old pictures

I’ve been itching to write on the blog. Somehow with my newly acquired job of nursing eight hours a day I’m struggling to find the time. It’s hard to believe it has been nearly a week since I took these pictures. The thing I love, and hate, about newborns is that they change so much each day. Anders already looks much different from this. But alas, here he is eleven days after birth!

Notice the size of his hands- this kid is going to be a baller!

I struggled to capture a very good full body shot. A combination of my inability to crawl and crouch as needful and his lack of interest in any position but lying on his back, makes this my best attempt. I guess I just felt the need to document what a “good sized” kid he is. The interesting thing is, though they look pretty rolly in the above picture, he actually has really skinny legs and arms. I keep wondering where he’s hiding all his weight, and then I see the size of that gut! (He’s already stretching out of his 0-3 month outfits.)

We’re loving this little guy. It’s been such a blessing to have my Mom and now Tom’s Mom here because it’s given me the opportunity to just sit and enjoy him. I love the way he nestles his head under my chin; the way he pushes off my chest with his arms and swings his head from side to side with big alert eyes; and the way he frantically shakes his head when he’s ready to nurse. I love his dramatic cries of exasperation and his coos of contentment.

Nursing is going SO much better than it did with Scotland. After two weeks I can say it is actually comfortable, something I couldn’t have said after two months with Scotland.

Scotter seems to be adjusting okay. Mostly he doesn’t show much interest in Anders, but then from time to time I’ll see him go over to his swing and tuck him in, or give him a stuffed animal. I realized today, that Scotland hasn’t had much opportunity to really be involved with Anders. As usually Anders’s being held. It’s when Anders is laying in his swing, or laying on the floor that Scotland will quietly come over and give him a hug, or sing to him. He loves to turn the music on when Anders is swinging. He certainly hasn’t shown any dislike or anger towards Anders. He seems to be the most disturbed by the change in the amount of time we spend together. He’s taken to calling me Kjirsti, which most of the time I tell myself is a result of having Tom and the Grandmas here all day calling me the same. But in my quiet, hormonal, moments I cry, wondering if he’s stopped calling me Mom because he doesn’t feel like I’ve been much of a mom to him as of late. I hate that I have to keep saying “Sorry Scotland, I can’t do that right now. I will be able to do that in a few weeks when I’m all healed.” I miss playing cars on the floor, picking him up to wash his face, and tickle matches on his bed. All in time, I tell myself.

Today, for the first time I felt myself- able to get around, without pain and discomfort. (We’ll see how I feel tomorrow!) I put on the ergo baby and helped Scotter make sugar cookies, I nursed under a cover while Scotland played at the gym. It was my first day-long attempt to truly mother two.   Granted, Pam was here and helped a ton- holding Anders here, playing with Scotland there. I’m not sure what I’m going to do when there’s no one to back me up and fill in the blanks. But today I felt empowered (maybe my iron levels are back to normal). I can do this. Bring it on!