Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hikes - Lund’s Gulch (Lynnwood, WA)

We decided to shake things up a bit and explore to a new outdoor locale. Unwilling to drive up Highway 2, we instead headed for Lynnwood.

Lynnwood, you say? The heart of Suburbia?

Yes. And this tiny urban trail, while busy, is a nice little gem of a park, complete with forests, streams, a spooky tunnel, train tracks, and a beautiful little beach on Puget Sound.

All in, it’s about 2.5 miles roundtrip. Here are some additional details, including current trip reports and driving directions. 

Morning fog. I was going to title this ‘early morning fog’ but that would be bending the truth significantly: we never make it anywhere before 10 am these days... such is life with kids. 

Passing under the train tracks in the ’spooky tunnel’ according to Ben. It’s made slightly complicated by the fact that the river also runs in the same tunnel.

At last! The beach.

 And trains. A toddler-pleasing slam dunk.

Whoohoo trains!!! (never mind that this one was a much-disputed coal train). 

Baby Emma wasn’t so impressed with the trains.

Rocks? My Favorite!

 Flora! Fauna! Hooray for banana slugs.

Give ‘em a lick and your tongue will go numb (unsubstantiated). Anybody ever tried this? Ten points for you. Hmm. Shall we add it to the bucket list?

The leaves, they are a changing’, my dears. Fall is upon us.

Much love, 


If You Go:

Lund’s Gulch at Meadowdale Beach Park

Rating: Easy. 
Distance: 2.5 Miles, roundtrip.
Elevation Gain: 400 feet
Highlights: A beautiful beach, babbling brook, and massive stumps leftover from settler days. 
Dislikes: Fairly busy on a Sunday morning.


  • Parking is free but the lot does fill up (by 11:30 there were cars waiting for our spot). There is an additional lot down by the ranger’s house (close to the beach) that is also accessible if you’re not interested in the hiking bit.
  • You could do this trail with an adventurous-type stroller (BOB) as it’s smooth and wide (with few tree roots), but the uphill return trip would be a slog. I’d recommend the baby backpack route.
  • The trail splits near the bottom of the hill; choose either route as both lead to the beach. 
  • Save a bit of water (and energy) for the last mile home; it’s almost all up hill out of the gulch. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Halloween Sneak Peek

Ben still hasn't decided on his costume. So far I've given the go-ahead to a circus master, a yeti, and a space explorer. I nixed superman (although he hasn't realized it yet). So since Ben is mulling over his options, I began work on Emma's costume. Here is a work in progress shot. 

And no, it's not Piglet (despite being awfully appropriate!). 

More to come later. 



Saturday, September 20, 2014

Out and About in SeaTown

North Seattle Friends,

There are only two weeks left of the Lake City Farmer’s Market. We had dinner there on Thursday, admired the beautiful bouquets of dahlias (only $5) and made off with some end-of-season berries. We also ran into three friends; it’s a great little community market. As residents of a big city, it’s easy to get lost in the massive, face-less mob of humanity. The market is a nice reminder that we live in a great neighborhood, filled with fantastic people.

A few weeks ago my friend A told me about an acquaintance that dresses her children exclusively in neon colors. This was as I was desperately trying to spot Ben in a sea of other kids at the playground. She’s totally onto something. I’ve often thought about attaching a helium balloon to my kid...or buying him this. Knowing Ben, he’d probably dig it.

Today we went to a birthday party for one of Ben’s buddies. The theme? A BOX party. It was rad; each kid came with a cardboard box that they added to the massive collection. They built with them. Made mazes. Hid in them. Constructed a massive fort.

Here’s the aftermath:

Cardboard boxes: the world’s most under-appreciated toy.

And hey! They make great baby corrals, too.

One last note: I took a few pictures as the birthday boy (not shown) was blowing out the candles. My boy is in the blue plaid shirt. Do you see what he’s doing? He’s got his finger in his mouth, like he’s tasting something.

Now why on earth would he be doing that?!

The birthday boy’s mama is pointing at Ben. I’d imagine she’s saying something like: “Dude, BEN, hands off the cake until we’ve at least blown out the candles!”

Enjoy the last of this sunny weather, my dears.



Friday, September 19, 2014



Happy Friday!

This week in a rather strange combination of movie genres, we watched Waking Ned Devine (1998) and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966).

Chris commented that he watched WND with his parents when it was first released. He reported that as a sixteen-year-old,  he didn’t much care for the movie but his parents loved it. This time around we both thought it was hilarious. So moral of the story: we’re now old enough to appreciate dry adult humor. Win?

As for GBU, it’s gorgeous, long, and sloooow. I’m convinced that Clint Eastwood’s only role is to stand around and look beautiful. He doesn’t really say much, just gallops across the desert and shoots bad guys. Randomly, I think he looks like a cross between David Beckham and Hugh Jackman. Or I suppose it’s the other way around, given that his heartthrob career predates them by forty years.

I was gushing over the amazing scenery in the movie (long desert vistas!, beautiful cacti!, old western towns!, etc) since we’re going to take a trip down to SW...until I realized it was filmed almost exclusively in SPAIN. Fail.

Anything you’ve seen lately that we should add to our movie list? Any oldies but goodies?

Have a great weekend. We’re spending time with family, finishing up some trim work, and enjoying these last few days of gorgeous weather.

So, as Ben says:

‘Goodnight, my darlings!!



photo: IMBD

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Day In The Life of Baby Emma


I have a few fun events to show you from the past few weeks (hikes, Remlinger Farm, and Alaska!) but I’m stumbling around like a drunken sailor these days due to a baby that's on a sleep strike.

Not cool, Emma, not cool. 

So these little play-by-plays of Emma’s newest antics are about all I’m capable of these days.

A Day In The Life of Baby Emma

Oh, hey guys, what’s up? Wanna see my new trick? I’ve been practicing all morning.

Check it out:

Uggghh. Can you see how hard I’m working here? I’m grunting like crazy. That means I’m giving my very best effort. Picture those guys in the gym with the giant weights and you’ll get the idea. Grrrrr.

Oh heyyy, there’s a piece of banana on the floor. Excuse me for a minute while I have a mid-morning snack. I’m on the hobbit meal plan. 

And I’m back!

No, I’m not. Time for quick nap.

Nope. I’m back again. Annnnnd up! Good thing my thighs are the size of tree trunks; I’m as solid as a rock.

Are you paying close attention? This is the tricky part. 

The bad part about this new skill? I can’t get back down. So it’s either go all the way up or fall down. I’m telling you, it’s really nerve-wracking.

Damn, damn, damn. That was not supposed to happen. Thankfully I just filled up my diaper so it’s like an extra squishy pillow for the bum.


Welcome to babyhood; it’s all about the liquids.

But I’m ok. Can’t keep a good baby down. Let’s just delete that last photo, mkay?

‘Cause this is what you need to focus in on.


And for the grand finale:

Whoa. A little wobble.

But that ain’t no thang, it’s cool, peeps. I’m gonna stick this landing.

TA DA!!!! I am up! The one, the only, the amazing, BAAAAAABBBBY EMMA!!! 

I’m here all week, folks. 

Ahem. Can you tell how we spend our days ‘round here? Between Ben’s water balloon obsession and Emma’s crawling adventures, life is definitely keeping us on our toes.



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

From the Blog O Sphere

I suggested this morning to Ben that he should be a shark for Halloween so Emma could be this cute scuba diver... but I don’t think he’s going to ‘bite’.

Currently the leading contender is Superman. He’s never actually seen Superman so I’m not sure where the idea came but that what his heart is set on for today. Check back tomorrow as I’m sure it’ll be something different.

Speaking of comics, did you hear that Marvel came out with a new Spider Woman? Have a look. Also, thanks be to god for The Oatmeal.

How breastfeeding is viewed around the world. 

What would you do if you saw this mutant spider dog hurtling toward you in the dark? I would freak, for sure. (Thanks, A!). The video (below) is hilariously spooky.

One Woman, Many Surprises: Pacifist Muslim, British Spy, World War II Hero
This woman sounds amazing. Here is more about her life.  (Thanks, L!)

Here’s a lovely, social idea: Friday Night Meatballs: How to Change Your Life with Pasta

33 Things To Do Before Climate Change Ruins Everything. Nevermind that doing many of these things doesn’t help a changing climate.

We’ve been talking a lot about mental illness in our house this month as a few nearby North Seattle neighborhoods have been terrorized by a homeless man that screams, kicks cars, and tries to stuff people into his sleeping bag. He also has an unusual habit of turning on outdoor water faucets in the middle of the night, causing hefty water bills and swampy front yards. I was reminded of him as I was perusing this article this morning: It’s All Connected: What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.

48 Unexpected Views of Famous Events

I’ve been digging some of the articles on The Atlantic lately. Here are a few interesting ones:

  • Living Simply In A Dumpster [One professor left his home for a 36-square-foot open-air box, and he is happier for it. How much does a person really need?]

Poultry Firms Systematically Feed Low-Dose Antibiotics to Flocks. Ick. Just opened up a package of Foster Farms chicken about ten minutes ago.

And last but not least, my favorite of the bunch : Reclusive Deity Hasn’t Written A New Book in 2,000 Years.

Hailed by critics as one of the most important authors in recent millennia, the eccentric divinity is said to have long ago retreated from the public eye, eschewing a life of celebrity for one of solitude and quiet. To this day, experts confirmed, His artistic reputation rests exclusively upon His bestselling and highly acclaimed first work, the Bible.

The Onion wins the internet today, folks.



Monday, September 15, 2014

Halloween is very serious business 'round here

Ben has been in a bit of a tizzy this week over Halloween. He simply cannot decide upon a suitable costume.

I suggested an owl, or a fish, or a monkey, but they weren't quite exotic enough for his taste. This kid likes a grand entrance. 

On Saturday we went hiking on the Iron Goat Trail (deep, dark woods, the perfect home for a strange forest creature) and he decided to be a yeti. " A scary yeti, mom. "

On Sunday he went to Remlinger Farms, rode a pony, and decided to be a cowboy. 

And today he saw a picture of a circus master, decided he liked the smart red jacket, and decided that would be his final costume. Emma would be the lion. 

But I have a feeling that he'll have a few more ideas when he gets home from preschool so don't count on the ringmaster being the final selection. 

At some point we're going to have to cut him off so we have ample time to make or acquire his costume. The only constant thus far is that he'd really, really like an Elmo trick or treat bag for which to store his loot. Perhaps he should be a pirate. 

Yo ho, yo ho, it's off to trick or treat we go...

[That’s Ben at his first halloween. Cluck!]

Friday, September 12, 2014

Benjamin’s Book Of Songs (Bedtime Songs for Toddlers)

Editor’s Note: I posted this a year ago but I was fixing a typo and it go bumped to the front of the blog queue. 

Back when Ben was going through the worst of his toddler angst stage (which is ongoing, I might add), he pulled off his diaper and left the pee-soaked article smack dab on top of his song book.

When I discovered this present sometime later, the pages had taken on a rather unpleasant eau de urine.

Time for a new Bedtime Book of Songs:

This is a Shutterfly photo album - sans pictures. I was originally worried about the process of importing a large amount of text into a template that is primarily for photos, but the process was surprisingly easy and straight forward.

We've modified the song list a bit but the core members remain unchanged. Hard to go wrong with Twinkle, Twinkle and You are my Sunshine.

I typically bypass the additional stickers and badges, preferring a more modern (sparse) look to my albums, but given the amount of text, it was fun to add occasional colorful elements throughout the album.

Huggie Boo is the song we always sing when all the other songs and books are done for the day. Ben was really offended that BaileyDog wasn't included in the list of family members so the pup has since been added although it he didn't make it into the book. Maybe for the third edition. Although I'm hoping that this version lasts longer than the first one.

Shutterfly needs to come out with a water/pee-resistant product, clearly. 

Here is the full song list:

A Little Drop of Rain
Baa, Baa, Black Sheep
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Grand Old Duke of York
Baby Mine (from Dumbo)
You Are My Sunshine
Star Spangled Banner (Go ‘Merica!)
Power of Two - by the Indigo Girls (my personal favorite)
I’m A Little Teapot
Row Row Row Your Boat
Wimoweh (In the Jungle) (Chris’ personal favorite)
This Old Town - by Nanci Griffith
The Going To Bed Book - by Sandra Boynton
Edelweiss - from the Sound of Music
Turn Around (Where are you going my little one?)
Wabash Cannonball
Angel From Montgomery - by Bonnie Raitt
Roll On Columbia - WA’s state folk song - by Woody Guthrie
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Puff The Magic Dragon
Amazing Grace
Swing Low Sweet Chariot
My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean
Silent Night (yay Christmas music!)
Working on the Railroad
Low Bridge, Everybody Down (Ben’s current favorite)
You Can Close Your Eyes
Hickory Dickory Dock (The Cat Ran Up the Clock)
Good Morning Song (see lyrics below)
Frere Jacques (I butcher the french every time)
Morningtown Ride
Tender Shepard (My mom sang this to me a lot as a wee tyke)
This Old Man (He played knick nack on my thumb..)
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
I’ll Love You Forever (I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be)
Rock A Bye Baby
The Hippopotamus Song
Golden Slumbers
Huggie Boo (Ohhhh, I love you - this is from preschool - we’ve modified it slightly)



This is the song that parents and kids would sing during circle time at Ben’s little preschool last year. It was a really neat routine: kids would arrive, we’d sing the song together, and then parents would depart while the kids dived into their activity of the day. Obviously, it’s not a bedtime song but I was afraid I’d forget the lyrics so included them in the book:  

The Good Morning Song

Morning has come
Night is away
Rise of the sun 
And welcome the day

Morning has come
Night is away
Rise of the sun 
And welcome the day

Good morning dear sun, 
Good morning dear earth, 
Good morning great wide world

The earth is firm beneath my feet
The shun shines bright above
And here I stand so straight and tall
All things to know and love

Good morning dear Benjamin

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Emma and the Great Outdoor Adventure

Hey Guys. I’m just out here enjoying a little fresh air on the lawn. 

Going to attempt a little off-roading; trying out my crawling skills.

Ready? Here I go. Downhill first.



Bum over teakettle! Abort the mission!

Huh. How embarrassing.

Do you think anybody saw that?

No? Ok good.

Here goes Round 2. I am a determined little baby.

Again?! WTH, hillside? No love for a little baby.

That’s it. I’m done with down-hill. I’m off to go see if there are any snacks in the kitchen. This off-roading stuff stinks.