Summertime Sadness

I love back to school time. The fresh loose-leaf paper, the clean binders, and dividers just waiting to be marked with each class subject – all used to excite me far more than the actual act of going back to school.

I loved full and part-time homeschooling the kids. Setting up an area of the house for our work together was fun. Middle school is a different season, as is coming out of covid schooling. Both are liking aspects of their new school, for which I am very grateful. We’ve been fortunate with amazing teachers despite our living and moving all over. At 3 weeks in, we are all settling into new routines and so far – so good. There’s been one issue though….between the late dismissal at the old school, the move/unpacking, and the mid-August return at the new school, it’s left us all feeling a little robbed of a proper long summer where we actually have a chance to get bored.

It’s still 90-100 degrees outside, so even though the calendar says September, the weather is screaming July. Violently. With the heat, none of us has any appetite for pumpkin anything, let alone any sort of fall comfort foods, so baking and cooking has been minimal. Fresh fruit salads, lots of crisp, juicy melons, cool salads – anything that doesn’t require an oven or long times standing over a stove. After this heat wave, I’m looking forward to fall for a bit of relief from this heat and humidity. In this case, relief is spelled, o-c-e-a-n.

Luckily for us, fall and winter will bring cooler temps, but we can always get a taste of summer whenever we need it!














~ none of these are cancelled.

The frivolous extra is.

Formal clothing, a building, hats, matching shoes, baskets, colored eggs, the have to’s, the should’s, the busy and unnecessary are all stripped away.

Essentials only.

Spring is not cancelled

The Church is not a building.

Easter is not cancelled.

The Tomb is empty.


Deep Images….with Jack Handy

You know that SNL sketch where the verbiage of a “deep thought” with the Jack Handy voice over lays out a bunch of nonsense? That plays out in my brain in real life whenever I am on a solo bike ride or run or walk with the dogs. I think my best deep thoughts while in my head doing physical activity – a sort of moving mediation. More often than not much of it is gibberish and/or forgotten once off the trail.

In an effort to recapture some of the thoughts, I brought my phone along and captured some images. I took about a bazillion photos and since this isn’t an amateur photography blog nor a living room where people are subjected to torturous hours of viewing Aunt Linda’s vacation slides, I will spare you all of them. Still, there are a lot of photos, so you are forewarned. Just know that I did make an effort to not include them all to bore you endlessly. **(Although, if you are reading this within a week or two of it being published, you have nothing better to do because you are quarantined with your family and need an escape. You. are. welcome.)

To change up our routine, I walked with Hippo solo today while the hubby took care of the littles. If you are new the blog – we have three dogs. (Correction: we have two dogs and a Hippo (the middle photo) and if you knew him you’d understand.)

The Hippo is a giant goober. I love him to pieces. Today was the first time he’d walked a long walk with me since his 2 knee replacement surgeries over a year ago. (He’s now Titanium Hippo!) We took it nice and slow and sniffed all the things and ate lots of clumps of freshly mown grass despite the fact that I told him not to. He pretended not to hear me.

“What? Did you say something? I was busy sniffing.” Uh. huh.

Walking or running around this area one must always be on the lookout for deer (there are tons!) or eagles (they fly all around and low!) and even whales have been spotted in our little inlet (haven’t seen them myself but I keep trying)! We didn’t see any eagles, but did see tons of seagulls and this guy:

He flew right over our heads and it was AMAZING. After looking it up (because president of the Audubon society I am not) I learned that he is a Great Blue Heron. Super common apparently. What is not common is to be ready with the camera at the same time as the launch of a flyover. Nature and wild life are amazing and I always come away grateful for the universe winks.

We saw (and smelled) loads of evidence of spring. The colors were vibrant and gorgeous and the cloudy day made for nice photography. I love seeing little flowers and daffodils and the Indian paintbrush native to this area bloom. Spring is always the season of hope, and this year the need for it is amplified.

Maylor Point trail is stunning and a quick escape from my house while ensuring social distancing. From my doorstep, down the trail and back was 4.5 miles of nature and solitude for which my heart and head were in desperate need.

Dog photography is not for the faint of heart. I don’t carry treats much (mostly because I forget) so I have to be quick when the shot presents itself! Luckily today Hippo was (mostly) cooperative. Except for that one selfie, which made me giggle because SQUIRREL.

I love playing with filters, color, and black and white photography. Partly because of the COVID19 quarantine, and due to the weather, it is eerily quiet. The old buildings, rundown tennis court, and not-oft used recreation areas on the military base make for great apocolyptic-esque subjects.

What an accurate photo for our current slower pace of life. We actually have SO. MUCH. TIME. Quarantine or not, it’s the same 24 hours each day. What we do with those hours makes all the difference.

There is a large number of deer that roam this little peninsula. The come out like clockwork and while not tame, are very used to people. They nibble and watch us take photos of them, probably wondering why we are so odd. Hippo still thinks they smell weird and would love to investigate further, but they are bigger than him so he is secretly glad I make him stay on leash.

For the folks who have never been to the Puget Sound, this would constitute a “beach”, albeit somewhat loosely defined. The white things stuck all over the rock on the left are barnacles. Barnacles are little arthropods (related to crustaceans) and they are abundant here! They also hurt bare feet so no kicking off the flip flops. (Not that you’d want to wear flips because brrr cold.) The thing you won’t see in abundance here is sand. Rocks are however everywhere and really, aren’t they just larger grains of sand? Technically I guess we can let it be called a beach even though you won’t find many people in bathing suits rushing to take a dip.

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

Author disputed, but credited to Mary Stevenson 1939

There is no question that a dog can carry us through hard times. It is often said that it’s no coincidence that dog is God spelled backward. While I don’t worship my dogs, they are exquisite examples of unconditional love and acceptance, patience, and understanding. This is my visual take on the poem, Footprints in the Sand. (You can read it in its entirely here:

This concludes the tour of random deep (and not so) thoughts. Thank you for coming. Please gather your belongings and watch your step as you exit.

And don’t forget to wash your hands. ❤️

Red Flags

We survived spring break!

We didn’t do much, more of a stay-cation really – but it was nice to have no where we HAD to be. The kids, of course, not wanting to miss a minute of the nothingness, continued their pattern of “up at o’dark thirty”. That was until this morning when it was time for back to school! Go figure.

When they returned from school this afternoon, I was greeted by a Texas-sized huge spider right by my front door. Luckily my daughter shares none of my arachnophobia, and she proceeded to exterminate the vermin. (YAY!)

Later we ventured out to a nearby trail with the intention of heading to the beach down below. It’s a little inlet by a nature preserve, so I thought great! We’ll get outside, get some exercise and the kids can play in the sand without having to drive 40 minutes to the beach we normally frequent.

This was what we call in our family “mando-fun”. It’s mandatory. We are getting out of the house and doing something active!

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Along the trail entrance, there were these lovely purple and blue flowers. It definitely feels like spring here!


The minions however were not exactly excited. (Well, one wasn’t!) To quote my dear son, “This was not the kind of ‘adventure’ I was expecting.”

Yes, even the picture shows a nasty spider. UGH.

This little sign should have been a red flag. We walk along the trail. I have run this trail dozens of times, but they must have just put up these signs, because I have never seen them, nor the images they depict. I should take red flags more seriously. Like when we walked a few feet beyond this sign and a fellow trail blazer mentioned that we should be alert, you know, because he had just seen a rattlesnake up around the bend. Hmmm. Okay. I’m sure with all the sunshine and foot traffic, there’s no way it’ll still be there by the time we get up that way.

I make a mental note to stick to the middle of the trail and suspiciously eye rogue branches that seem to move just out of my field of vision. Paranoid from the foreboding warning as well as my earlier arachnid invasion, I press on anyway lest the minions fully realize the extent to which their mother is a pansy. 

Another sojourner on the trail passes by with a smile and a wave. “Oh, by the way, we just saw a HUGE rattler just up this trail…” Gulp.

“Thanks for the warning! We’re going this way anyway…” And we head off in the opposite direction. You know, because the cactus and sage brush and weeds on this side of the trail are somehow snake- and other scary critter-proof.

We proceed to the ‘beach’ where it’s marshy, mucky and salty goo. Not the puffy sand that my now sad daughter was requesting. We attempt, and fail miserably, at jumping over really deep spots, but all three of us end up with mud up to our ankles. The water’s edge is covered in green slime. There is broken glass shards all over the place, so no taking off shoes. (Not that we wanted to at that point.)

“This is NOT the beach we had in mind!”

After about 10 minutes, we declare our mando-fun a big fat fail and decide to head back. We discuss options for a beach make up day tomorrow after school. Going back up the way we came to the main trail, I see about 3 feet from my right foot the largest snake I’ve ever seen outside of a zoo.

Oh holy hell, do not panic. DO NOT PANIC!


I back up and tell the kids to follow me now. I’m sure they realize from my guttural tone of voice that mommy means business and they both quickly follow me back down out of the trail, spotting exactly why I was freaking out.

We all nervously breath a sigh of relief as we look back to see the monster slither back into the weeds. I smile at the kids and assure them that backing up and not crossing paths with a rattlesnake is totally what you are supposed to do and that we would find another trail back to our car. Like I know what the heck to do with a rattlesnake!

Needless to say, the minute we return home, we hose off the now-caked and dried salt-mud off our feet and call it game over. Tomorrow is a new day. We will go to our regular beach complete with puffy sand, lots of clean ocean waves and NO RATTLESNAKES!

Perhaps I should leave the orchestration of mandatory family fun to my husband!

Make My Tummy Go Gooey! (Aka the post with 1000 pictures)

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a fear of heights. I remember climbing along rooftops with my father as he was building houses when I was really young, but since about 4 or 5 years old, heights and I do not get along. As a kid, we went to carnivals when they came to town and have been on roller coasters at Disneyland and never had a problem as long as we didn’t go on anything that went upside down. Upon having minions, however, I get the gooey-tummy syndrome whenever they get up on something too high. In our house, the kiddos love to climb on some crazy playground structure, find me, then holler, “Hey mom! Is your tummy gooey when I do this?!” Meanwhile they are balancing on one leg, faking they are falling, or otherwise tempting fate and trying to plummet to their demise! My shudder and having to look away makes everyone just roll with laughter.

Before the tummy gooey fun, we had a preschool field trip to the sea lab at Fort Casey:

“Pirate” Keith showing the kids the random sea creatures….this was a sea cucumber that “spits out of it’s bum”. When he described this, the kids roared with laughter. Gotta love anything toilet humor related.

Hannah touches a sea star. She was a little more hesitant the bigger the creatures got!

I can’t remember what this thing was called, but the longer he held it, the 50+ legs kept clinging tighter and tighter to his hand! Yikes!

The sea urchin wasn’t quite as pokey as she thought it would be!

Jake was not touching ANY of it! Ha! I don’t blame him! This particular creature was a spiny crab…and let’s face it, crabs are just spiders of the sea. Just say no to spiders; sea or otherwise!

After the preschool adventure, the kids decide they want to return to the beach and do some more exploring. So after a quick lunch at home – we head back to Ft. Casey!

By the big gun. Hannah kept wondering if it was going to shoot bullets.

Running all over the fort

Here’s where the gooey tummy starts….It’s about an 8 foot drop. To my stomach, it might as well have been a 50 ft. drop! I must have said, “Back up from the ledge” in a strained voice about 100 times!

Ooh look Mom! A place where I can plummet to my death! Shall I jump?

Follow Jake the leader. He’s never been here before, but he’s showing us the ropes!

This place is just cool. Had to take some randoms

Please mom! Let me fall down and break my face!

OOH! Let’s explore these dark and cavernous spaces! I bet they have spiders to creep mom out! Yay!


Is it just me or is it a mom thing? All I can picture is him falling off the side of those dang stairs?!

I really don’t need to ever buy these kids toys. They were so content for HOURS out here just climbing and exploring.

King of the world!

Squeamy tummy continues….at least this time she’s holding a hand rail!

Yeah, you can get down now. Really. Now.

I don’t want to pass my fears on to my kiddos. I don’t tell them what I’m really thinking and feeling (My hands get clammy, I start to sweat, feel the need to pee, all combined with a deep gut-churning nausea.) What I do say is, “Watch your step!” “Ooh, that is cool!” and “Where to next?!” praying that they are ready to climb down.

Eventually we made our way to the beach. Ahhh, sea level. That’s my kind of “height”!



I’m sure it’s true for many people, but it’s astonishing to me the effect the ocean has on my kids. The minute we get near the ocean, they just get calm. They mellow. They don’t fight. We all just relax….

Checking out the seagulls….taking it all in.

Drawing in the sand.

There’s always room for everyone at the beach!

This was one of my favorite pictures of the day. She’s mellow, exploring, and completely enamored by the rocks and waves.

Back up the hill to the lighthouse!

The lighthouse….here’s where my worst fears come alive!

There it is! But we must climb rocks first!

Every. Single. Rock.

The lighthouse! Oooh! Stairs. I bet these will make her tummy flip flop!

The last portion is more of a ladder and less of a staircase. Wearing flip-flops, she fell right after I snapped this shot. I dropped everything and caught her. I thought I was going to die.

(While reviewing all these pictures, they just don’t do the reality justice. Not only did the ocean seem more vibrant, the sky bluer, the water sparkled, etc. than the photos show, the heights were definitely higher.)

Basically I think that when we give birth, they must install some kind of protective-freak-out-device that OVER-reacts when any possibility of danger arises. Even the slightest chance that someone may stub a toe and a little warning bell goes off. Ladders in lighthouses make me feel like a national emergency alert system is going off in my body!

Despite the heights and my physical reactions of their impending doom, the day was simply magnificent. The weather was perfect, they were great, and we were all up for an adventure. I consider myself lucky that as antsy as the hubs and I are, these two crazies love exploring the world with us!



If writing for a fitness blog has taught me anything, it’s that I have to practice what I “preach”.

After writing a post about making exercise work with kids, I really had no excuse. So I found this:


It’s a playground next to the track! There is absolutely NO reason I couldn’t get out there! As you can see there was a huge rain cloud sitting directly over us, but it blew over eventually. (We live in Washington. If we waited for dry weather to do anything, we’d never leave the house!) I was excited to do some speed work and actually surprised myself with a 8:22 min mile! As usual, I’m faster than I think! I do have to mention – I love this track because it’s asphalt so the kids can ride their bikes and I “chase” them. What really kills me is how FAST Jake is on his bike! I really have to work to try to catch up to him!

Next, we headed out to Seaview trail – kids still on bikes and me giving “boosts” up the hills, picking up fallen bikes, kissing boo-booed knees, and a quick detour down to the beach!


I LOVE the ocean more than I could ever express. Good thing I happen to be married to a sailor!

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As we walked down to the water, the salty-sea air hit me and I just felt joyful and content. Yeah, perhaps it was the endorphin high, but it was still joy.

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We saw some pretty good waves, reminding us of Hawaii…


but one look at Hannah’s coat reminded us where we really were!

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On this trail they have random driftwood art  – so appropriate!

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Sea Serpent and Fish!

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Joy is everywhere. Even on the hard days. Even on deployment groundhog days.

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Joy is everywhere – we just have to be looking for it!

Wonderful Wednesday: No Agenda Days

I love perfect days.

Days like today. We had no plans. No where we had to be. No agenda, no expectations, just woke up to see what the day would bring us.

After a yummy breakfast and some creamy Kona in my cup, I put on my workout clothes and thought about the lonely treadmill. I wasn’t feeling it and decided to leave her lonely. The sun was shining and thought instead about hitting the beach. My body was craving some endorphins, so I decided to tackle the dang air compressor, (my nemesis), pump up the tires on the bike, the trailer, and hit the beach! Nothing like rolling on two wheels instead of four. I will admit, the looks I got while climbing the hills with the 75+ lbs of kid/trailer behind me was awesome for my ego! I am Curlymama! Hear me roar! Ha!


We hit the lovely beach park to play play play the day away!


Pea gravel + sand toys + beach + driftwood = heaven for kidlets!


Sadly, we did incur one casualty: a plastic toy boat that came with our $5 Walmart set of sand toys. Jake let it set sail, the current carried it off on it’s maiden voyage, much to his dismay. I did attempt to grab it back, barefoot in that icy Puget Sound water, but it floated out past where I was willing to get wet…and there was slimy seaweed and sharp shells. So much for my roaring!

I was a bit shocked when Jake sat next to me and started to softly cry when he could no longer see the boat and the realization hit that he wasn’t going to be able to get it back. Poor kid. Sometimes the thing I don’t even see coming is the thing that means the most to him. We sat for a bit and said goodbye to the boat and decided that the seagulls would probably take good care of it.

Then we heard the familiar “ting-a-ling-a-ling” sound of the Good Humor man! (In our case it was Sno-Cone Joe!)


No spring day would be complete without a little ice cream!


Not quite sure how she managed to get the dot of ice cream on her nose!

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YAY ice cream!


It was just one of those perfect weather and easy breezy kind of days. With a workout!

Wild Hairs and Crazy Ideas

Waking up this morning at o’dark thirty to a screaming, fit throwing, apparently possessed Hannah, I got the wild hair to get the workout done today before anything else. As I contemplated a run, (location, should I bring Jacob’s bike, just the stroller, decisions, decisions….) I got the genius idea to go for a bike ride with the kidlets in the bike trailer.
“Yeah, that sounds good. Just got the bike back from her tune up – she’ll be good to go!”
We dressed and were out the door by 7:15. I thought riding from my house to my sister’s coffee shop couldn’t be that far. I could do it. Probably only take me a half hour or so. It’s only like 7-10 miles, at most. I biked to bootcamp on Ford Island from Honolulu and discovered it was only about 5 miles. If I could do that, surely I could do this.
Yeah, took me an hour to get to the coffee shop. Let’s not forget I have to ride all the way back! We stopped and had coffee (milk of course for the kids) a treat and a fun little visit with Uncle Dan at the roastery before hitting the road for the LOOONNG trek home. And of course I had forgotten to set the GPS before I left, so even if I had gotten a ride back home – I wouldn’t have wanted it because I was dying to know just how far it was (and how BADLY I had misjudged the distance)! So when I got home – I discovered, to my shock, that it was about 26 miles round trip.
Yeah – that’s a marathon.
And what’s even more ridiculous, is that elite marathon runners actually RUN (on legs) the same milage in the same time it took me to BIKE it! HA!
The kids were such troopers. I still can’t believe they rode that long in the trailer (mom fail!)  Here are some pictures from the ride:
I let them out of the trailer to walk over the bridge…..amazing views! And a good break to get out and stretch their little legs!
Looks like they are in jail!
The view back home…..
The direction we were heading – to Moka Joe! This part was pretty daunting. Just like in life’s obstacles – “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” Or pedaling.
This is looking out over Swinomish channel
Me! The Crazy Idea Girl!
Driving cars along the “track”!
Beautiful morning views that I usually don’t get to appreciate much as I am usually driving over this bridge.
Funny little side note: I had texted my sister and let her know where I was headed. You know, back when I thought it wouldn’t be more than about 10 miles! If I hadn’t texted her my plan, I SO would have turned around and gone back to the house before I’d even gone 5 miles. That just goes to show the power of accountability! There was NO way I was going to quit what I set out to do, after I had “announced” it to someone else! Accountability partners are KEY!
FINALLY we make it back home. And did I mention yesterday’s leg workout day was, to quote my workout partners, “gnarly”!? Yeah, I was feeling the “weakness leaving my body”! I don’t know that I’ve ever been so happy to turn down my street and see home!
After a much needed rest and down time at home, we (I) then get the crazy idea to go to Washington Park! There’s a playgorund, the beach and a 3 mile loop road with spectacular views of the ocean, with trails that are simply stunning. I actually used to walk the loop often when we lived here before and when I was pregnant with Jake.
After riding 26 miles pulling 70 lbs, what better way to relax and recover than to walk a couple of miles herding kids on bikes and trikes while I push a double jogger in the fairly predictable chance that one or both of them is going to get tired and not want to ride/walk anymore!?
Down to the water we go!
Washington Park is one of my favorite places on the planet!
Looking for critters in the tide pools – no luck today…maybe next time! And notice the coats and long sleeves. In August. Really Washington? This is summer? Sheesh!
What a cutie!
Needless to say – they crashed early tonight. I think my wild hairs and crazy ideas wore them out! (I don’t think we’ll be leaving the house tomorrow!)


I realized two days ago that I better head out to the Ko’Olina lagoons if I wanted to make one last trip out there….time is running out!
So my friend and her kiddos and me with Jake and Hannah all headed out for what will be our last trip the the lagoons. So beautiful, so peaceful – a great way to spend a Saturday morning!



I know we may come back someday but it was definitely a reminder just how blessed we have been to live in such an amazing place. I know they won’t remember much about living here, but I sure wish they could. It’s been an INCREDIBLE three years.
Here’s to our last week in paradise!!
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