Turning 30!

That’s right. I am now in my third decade. I didn’t think much of turning 20, but 30 hits a little harder. You look back on the past ten years and see how far you have come and consider all the next ten have in store (with a little more clarity then that of 20). And there is so much to look forward to.

I am grateful and blessed to have great family and friends who made my 30th birthday a real celebration. My in-laws came to town on Saturday.

We spent the afternoon at Penny Playground in Chehalis, first time Zach was able to explore and enjoy the swings, slides and climbing up and around. You are never too old to enjoy a well designed playground with the children in your life.

Then to cool off we went to Fiddlers for coffee. We then came home and almost everyone decided it was time for nap. After an afternoon snooze we had a late BBQ dinner: Teriyaki Kebabs and Corn.

The next day was my birthday party! We met a few friends at a local coffee shop: Station Coffee for a Paint and Sip event put on by Merlot Canvas. We got a back room of the coffee shop all to ourselves. After talking, ordering drinks and settling in we began our group painting class. Our painting was of a misty forest at sunset.

We all did the same painting with instructions from our host. But it was amazing to see how each of our own personalities and styles came out. Everyone’s paintings turned out great and unique.

After this, we went out to dinner and came home to check in on the in-laws and Zach. We put Zach to bed then had ice cream and root-beer floats.

On my actual birthday. I got my free Dutch Bros coffee and went to the park to enjoy it while Zach was in a swing. That night we went out to eat for dinner, then went to a MOPs ice cream social at the church with our friends.

At the social my friends spoiled me with a giant chocolate cupcake filled with cream cheese and beautiful summer flowers. That night before Zach went to bed Luke gave me birthday presents including a new black fossil purse and a jewelry box.

Not a bad way to celebrate 30 years. Thank you to everyone who made it special.

Birthday Fun

On Zachary’s birthday we were blessed to be invited to the Hands on Children’s Museum in Olympia. If you remember we went with our MOPs group in February. For more see Zachary: 9 months This time we went with one of our friends, her son, nephew, and niece.  During lunch in the café the kids sang happy birthday to Zach. He seemed confused that everyone knew the song except him, but he enjoyed it.

Zach loved “snug harbor”: throwing balls and carrying stuffed animals around.

He saw the bigger kids climb the tree jungle gym and decided to do the same. Now, we don’t have stairs at our house, but that didn’t seem to matter.

Zach crawled up the landings and pulled himself to standing to look out the top. Then without hesitation he walked right over to the slide and sat down. Fortunately I was at the top of the gym. So down the slide he went, for the first time by himself.

At the bottom he was grinning widely, very pleased with himself. My friend Rebecca asked if he wanted to do it again. Immediately he stood up, reach for her hand, and with her help walked back over to the landing to do it all over again. It was a good day.

On Saturday we celebrated Zach’s first birthday with a Very Hungry Caterpillar front yard Picnic. It was beautiful, sunny, and we were excited for friends and family to eat, play and have fun!

We started with a picnic of: PBnJs or cold cut sandwiches, chips, goldfish crackers, and a few fruits and snacks featured in the storybook. The red gingham tables were decorated with clear plastic pails filled with rocks and pictures of food from the story sticking up out of the plastic grass.

After lunch it was play time!  Several large picnic quilts each had a basket full of activities: bubbles, bouncy balls, hungry caterpillar color pages and crayons, sidewalk chalk, and more.

Zach had also just been given a water/sand table. I filled it with plastic caterpillars and butterflies hidden among plastic Easter grass. The kids used plastic cups and bowls to hunt for the bugs. It was quite the hit.

After some outdoor fun it was time for cake.  Zach’s smash cake was so cute with a big hungry caterpillar colorful candy dots and of course a candle with the number 1. To go with, everyone else enjoyed matching cupcakes featuring dot sprinkles and white chocolate green leaves with a hole through them, just like in the book.

Zachary was hesitant but with encouragement from mom and dad he soon dug in. Not long after his highchair, body, and the balloons tied to the back of his highchair, were covered in cake.

Zach was definitely more interested in tissue paper then his presents. But more than that, of all of the celebration he enjoyed balloons most of all.

For weeks after his birthday he played with the mylar balloons -I’d say favorite toy of the month.

Thank you everyone for a great first birthday and party. Zach had a great day full of fun, family, and friends.

Zachary: One year old!

Well it’s hard to believe, but our little man is now a year old! This will be my last monthly update on his growth, changes, exploration, and adventures. Don’t worry there will still be plenty of blogs and pictures of our adventures as a family (just not monthly ones of Zach).

This month Zachary loved the spring and summer weather. He points outside and says “outside” or “swing” to let us know he want to play in the front yard. He also still loves going on walks with his Dad through the property and throwing rocks (gravel) around Dad’s Tractor projects.

Zachary has also gotten taller this month. We had to adjust his swing and car seat. He can no longer stand under tables and chairs without bumping his head, which is frustrating for him. We also have to be careful about the tops of tables and counters- on tip toes he can grab anything close to the edge.

This month we also started swim class. Aqua play at the kiddie pool at our Gym introduces the water and water safety basics to little ones like blowing bubbles and floating and putting their faces in the water. So far Zach has had to warm up to the idea but loves it when Dad swings him around through the water. Last week he floated on his back (with support) putting the back of his head and ears in the water.

This month our final front tooth came through on the bottom. And then to our surprise we discovered Zach was also working on his top first molars early! So right now the teeth count is 8 but will soon be 10!

Zachary enjoys feeling more independent and helpful. He is able to brush his own teeth and drinks out of non-handled sippy cup. He helps Mama around the house by turning on and off light switches, pulling or pushing doors or drawers, and he loves pulling clothes out of the dryer and pushing the dryer or washer “on” button.

For play time Zach loves  a soccer bounce ball NaiNai got for him and is beginning to pretend play with the tractors and dump trucks he got for Christmas. Zach will hold things up to us and ask what it is or to show us what he had and is playing with. He will also hand Mama books when he wants to read and cuddle.

Zach is confidently standing on his own. He is not sure yet about walking without help. With encouragement he will to take a few steps from one person to another. When he is holding onto his walker or the couch he will stomp his feet and sway, dancing to music.

We are looking forward to celebrating Zachary’s birthday with family and friends this weekend.


April Travel: Gaslamp District and USS Midway

This is the last blog of four about our travel to California in April. For more see: April Travel: San Diego Old Town and Zoo or April Travel: Downtown LA and April Travel: Baby Shower and First Flight

Sunday we took the morning slower, met with Luke when his conference ended, had lunch with family and then said good bye to my parents. We spent the rest of the day enjoying downtown San Diego.

Luke showed me where his conference was all weekend and we got frozen yogurt then took a stroll along the park near the port.

In the evening we went to Spaghetti Factory right by our hotel. It was familiar and kid friendly. Zach loves noodles, and got mac and cheese and applesauce. He also enjoyed the eclectic lamps and other decorations.

The next day we packed then went down to the pool. Zach was unsure at first but after a slow ease in started to enjoy himself. When he got cold so we moved over to the “not so warm” hot tub and turned on the bubbles. By the end of the half hour, Zach actually went underwater three times.

That afternoon, we checked out of the hotel, left our bags at the front desk and took the light rail to the USS Midway for a tour of the aircraft carrier. Luke loved exploring the fighter planes and helicopters, hearing about their take off and landing procedures.

The top deck was impressive, and it gave a great view of the ocean, even though it was very windy. I found the museum below deck more interesting, seeing the culture and everyday life of such a large vessel was fascinating to me. Everything from laundry, to meal service, entertainment, sleeping quarters, and a jail-it was a lot to take in.

They said it takes about three hours to see it all we took all that time for sure. There were definitely a few restrictions having a kid with us, as well as for a stroller, but it was still worth it.

After this we got on the light rail back to the hotel just in time to get all our luggage from the front desk and into our shuttle to the airport. Our flight was delayed so we were able to eat dinner before going through security.

We had a late flight back to Oregon, fortunately we had a gracious person sitting next to us who had her own kids and with Luke’s help we kept Zach entertained. We got home very late and went straight to bed. It took a good week or more to re-organize and adjust from the trip but it was all so worth it.

April Travel: San Diego Old Town and Zoo

Again, this is the third part of my blogs on our April travel adventures for more see April Travel: Downtown LA and April Travel: Baby Shower and First Flight.

We met up with Luke on Friday night in San Diego. My parents took us to Casa De Reyes which has become their favorite stop for food in Old Town. It was a beautiful balmy day and we sat outside in the courtyard taking in the sun before it set eating amazing Mexican food (the prawn enchiladas were amazing).

Zach was very happy to spend time with his Dad after being away for almost a week. We walked around the shops, enjoying the evening entertainment. When it got dark we exchanged a few items, said goodnight, and took the lighttrail to our hotel in the Gaslamp District.

The next day Luke at his conference all day so my Mom, Dad, and I took Zach to the San Diego Zoo. This Zoo holds a lot of memories for our family. I went there several times as a child and Luke and I went to this zoo as our last date right before our wedding.

We started our Zoo adventure with the tram ride and saw what was new since we’d been last (Africa Rocks). Then we explored the aviaries and rainforest trails on our way down to our lunch stop. Zach loved the spider monkeys and colorful birds. The waterfalls also caught his attention, hopefully he will see some REAL ones soon.

Zach took a nap while we explored the reptiles and reptile house after lunch.

Then later in the afternoon when he woke up we saw the big animals starting with the Hippo and baby Hippo, which Zach really didn’t see all he could see were the fish.

We looped around to end the day looking at the Elephants and Lions, then took the Kangaroos tram down to the Giraffes and Kangaroos.

But Zach’s favorite: the Zebra. He noticed the Zebra all the way from the tram ride so we went back to let him see him again. Whether it was the black and white stripes, or the fact that it’s the only animal that starts with the same letter as his name, he loved the Zebra.


When I went to this Zoo for the first time my parent’s got me a small stuffed giraffe because there was a baby giraffe then and I really enjoyed it. So we got Zach a small stuffed Zebra before we left, and he loves it.

We got back in time for Luke, Zach, and I to go out for dinner, we ended up going to Rockin Baja Lobster which was great. They had a salsa and chip bar and the three of us enjoyed a lobster bucket for two (Zach ate the chicken and beef that came with it). It was a great celebration meal for our first spring vacation as a family.

April Travel: downtown LA

This is my second blog in a series about our travels this past month. For more see : April Travel: Baby Shower and First Flight  and zachary 11 months. 

On Wednesday of our week in California, my Mom and I decided to take on a big adventure-chauffeuring Zach around downtown LA.

We took the newly expanded Gold line from Azusa all the way to Central Station in LA.

Zach loved riding the metro the starts and stops, the huge windows to look out of, and of course all the people. Once we got to LA we transferred lines and rode again all the way to Universal City.

For there we took the tram up the hill to Universal City Walk where we finally took a break and had lunch in the food court overlooking the Hard Rock café.

Mom and I enjoyed Pinks, who now has a burrito dog so I was able to have some carbs. Zach ate a few of my Mom’s fries and food we brought for him.

He loved being in the little umbrella stroller where he could see everything. Surprisingly he kept his bucket hat on but didn’t like the sunglasses.

We knew Zach would enjoy the lights, signs, and music of the City Walk. His eye were wide taking in the sights.

At the center of city walk there is a concrete pad with floor lights and water fountains that shoot up to music playing in the background. Kids love to play in the fountain and our welcome to do so.

We thought Zachary would really enjoy the dancing fountains. We were wrong. I think the cold, the fact that they were un-predictable, and much taller than him, made him very unsure. By the end he would step in the puddles if they were not on, but it took some warming up to get there.

Since my last time to City Walk they took out the wave maker at the Billabong store and to access the Universal fountain you have to go through security for the studio park. We were wondering if part of that was because they film Extra at the fountain daily. From a long distance we saw Mario Lopez trying on sunglasses for a show he was filming later in the day.

By this time, Zach was pretty tired, so tired that when the bucket hat slipped over his face he decided to take advantage of it and take a nap, right in the middle of the Ben and Jerry ice cream store. He slept all the way to Menchies where I got some yogurt and woke up just in time to try some no sugar added strawberry yogurt.

We took our time traveling back with the normal commuting crowd and got home just in time for dinner. It was a lot of work to haul a kid in a stroller around LA but the memories were as they say priceless.

April Travel: Baby Shower and First Flight

It’s taken a while to re-group from our long April travels. As Zach’s 11 month blog hinted, there were many new experiences for Zachary this month. So, in the next week or two I will be posting on our April adventures.

The Friday before my sister-in-law’s baby shower, my grandmother and mother flew in and Zach and I drove down to meet them. When we got back we settled in for the evening and worked on our travel plans for the next day. Zach had not met his great-grandma yet, and loved spending time with her, that night she read him a book and fed him his bottle.

The next day, Zach played with three generations of women while we packed everything for the weekend. That afternoon we drove up to the Poulsbo area. Zach was a trooper with the mini road trip, he slept a good portion of the time. We went downtown for a short break to stretch our legs and got a snack at the Danish bakery and some coffee. After a short stretch break down town, this we drove to the hotel, checked in, and met my dad’s parents for dinner.

Sunday morning all the family got together for breakfast. We got to spend a few minutes with Matt and Stina before the shower while everyone at her parent’s place were preparing and decorating.

At the shower Zach loved all the attention from the many moms and grandmas there. He discovered he loved balloons. He also wanted so badly to explore the presents, both before and after they were opened.

That night we drove back to our house and packed for a flight to LA. The next morning, very early, Luke dropped us off at the airport. We went through security, got breakfast, Zachary got out of his PJS and we were ready for our flight.

Zach loved the airport, the decorations, the huge windows, and watching the planes take off. He also did great on his first flight. It helped we were in the very back row, so less people to bother, and the stewardess was flirting with him the whole flight. He slept a little and enjoyed looking out the window, playing with the seat tray and eating snacks.

When in California we ate lunch with my grandmother then went to my parent’s house to regroup. It felt strange to share my childhood home with my child. Showing him my bedroom, having him take a bath where I took a bath growing up, but it was also fun.

My parents had trekked some of his toys from our house down back during spring break, so he had some familiar items. They also got a kiddy pool to use in the backyard along with a late Easter basket including a bucket, shovel, some pool toys, and a swimsuit. Zachary was a little unsure about the kiddy pool but learned to enjoy it after a little while as long as I was with him.

Also during that week Zach had his first hair cut. He was scratching and pulling at his ears because the hair was so long around them that it was tickling him. So we took him to the same person that cut my hair when I was little. He did great.

And that was the first part of our trip. More of our adventures to come.