Seattle Aquarium

We have been to the aquarium many times, but our most recent trip was a lot of fun.

We colored.

We pet animals.

We had our faces painted.

We stuck our heads in painted plywood.

We looked at the jellyfish. (This is the cutest picture ever, by the way!)

We looked at tropical fish.

Then we headed out. We weren’t there very long and only saw a small part of the aquarium. But sometimes a short trip is perfect!

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Rants About Life

Lately I have felt off. Not just kind of off. Really off. I would describe it as a fleeting feeling. Some days it’s there in full force while other days it’s just in the background. I am starting to wonder if something more than just having three kids and general life stresses are the problem.

I worry. A lot. But only to myself. I am not worrying about things that make me helicopter parent my kids, but I have dreams about strange things and when my mind wanders it wanders to things like death and dying and what life would be like either without me or if I were to lose someone close to me. It is in a more general sense, though.

I feel like I just want to shut down and sleep in my room in the dark. Alone. The idea of chores and things are so unappealing. And yes, I know that chores aren’t appealing to most people, but I want to whine like a baby about needing to do the dishes or laundry. There are enough toddlers in this house. Mommy doesn’t need to act like one, too.

I am irritated by the smallest things. I just want to give my kids ipads and tell them to leave me alone. I have no motivation to teach my kids things (writing, reading), doing crafts seems stressful and taking them anywhere just feels like such a hassle.

I understand kids feed off me and my reactions to things. But I find it to be such a challenge to keep my cool. I just feel like I could explode inside if I have to answer the same question 100 more times. Or ask them to do something for the 100th time. It’s exhausting.

There are other random things on my mind, too. Maybe I’m not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom anymore. This freaks me out. I feel like if I don’t stay with Alex a while, I have let him down in some way. I was home with the girls and now, see ya, kid. I’m outta here. And then I worry that I failed at staying home. Some times I think I am really taking the easy way out and staying home and not getting a job. But am I even doing a good enough job with the kids to continue doing this? On the other hand, I love being home with them. I love seeing them everyday and seeing them grow and change. I would miss them like crazy if I didn’t get to deal with their non-sense all day.

Maybe what I need is a job where I can take the bus to and from work and just read a book. Then I freak out about how the kids would be if I’m not with them. Would they be ok in daycare (obviously I know the answer is yes). Or how the house stuff will get done if I’m not home all day. But let’s be real…it’s not getting done and I am home. So that wouldn’t be that big of a deal. And I would be so sad to miss seeing them all day. I love them and I love being home with them.

I always intended to go back to work at some point after staying home with the kids. I wish there was something I was extremely passionate about, though. I have things that might be ok, but then worry and fret about learning something new, being qualified/good enough and just generally scared about the whole process. I don’t feel that good about myself, so how can I go sell myself to someone when I don’t even think that highly of myself? And how will I ever learn something new when all I think about is how bad I’ll be at it or how I’m not smart enough for it.

Then there’s the regrets. I went to college and got a crappy degree. What a waste of thousands of dollars and brain cells. Then I went back to school for a more respectable degree and dropped out. I just didn’t want to be in school anymore. I also didn’t think I could do it (but it has been pointed out to me that that isn’t the case). Either way. If I had stuck with it years ago, I would have been done. I could have years of experience behind me by now and I wouldn’t be in this predicament. I’d have a great degree from a great school. But alas. That is not the case and here is sit with regrets. And the fear of failing and relearning and just fearing it all.

This can’t be healthy. There are a bunch of stresses in our lives right now. And I am sure these are big contributing factors in all of this. But I am worried there are underlying things that I don’t know how to get rid of. I had tried therapy once and hated it. That isn’t something I want to do again. But I don’t really want to pop happy pills everyday, either.

I feel like I’m not as happy as I should be. I mean, my husband has a great job he loves and is amazing at. I have a part time job and three beautiful, smart, healthy kids and the ability to stay home with them. And we have food on our table. Clothes on our backs. More toys than the kids know what to do with. Generally nice things. A beautiful house. Two cars. What the hell is there for me to complain about? I just feel so whiny.

I’ve been waking up early for about 5 weeks now. I get up before anyone else is awake and I shower, do some yoga, sit in the dark in the quiet of the morning. Sometimes I light a candle. It’s so peaceful. I had hopes this would set the tone for my day. And I would be peaceful and happy. Instead, I look at the clock and think I should have gotten up earlier because the time was too short. Wonder how it can be morning already and why my kids need to wake up so early. Why is it that I’m not over-the-moon excited that they are running to me with messy hair and open arms for morning snuggles? Then I run through the day thinking about when will it be their rest time? How long until it’s their bedtime? Then the days just go on repeat. That can’t be normal. Or healthy.

There’s my rant in a nutshell. A feelings-dump. I am not actually looking for answers. I just wanted to put it out there. It feels like I can maybe tackle or overcome some of these things if I actually say them. I can’t avoid them as much this way. These stressful days will pass. I know that. I just want to enjoy them and look back with happy memories and not wonder if I gave the kids enough love and laughs when they were little and needed it the most.

Blah. Or maybe I’m just getting my period.


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Best Breakfast Potatoes Ever

I was looking for a good potatoes and veggies meal and I came across this recipe from The Pioneer Woman for the “Best Breakfast Potatoes Ever”. And they don’t disappoint. I would be surprised if any of the food she made wasn’t delicious.

I have made this a number of times and I love it more every time. It’s really simple and you can add/eliminate anything you want. I’ll admit I add WAY too much food, but who cares if there are more peppers and onions mixed in? Chuck and I won’t complain. Smile

You literally chop up the peppers, onions and potatoes, throw some butter, olive oil and seasonings in a bowl, mix, dump on a pan and throw it in the oven.


That was with purple potatoes, a small Yukon Gold potato (because it needed to be eaten), a red onion, two medium yellow onions and I think 4 small-ish bell peppers. That picture was before I put it all in the oven. It cooks for about 30 minutes. This was a HUGE batch so it didn’t get quite as browned/crispy as other, smaller batches have gotten, but there were no complaints.

Here is the meal after it is cooked. It doesn’t last long on my plate. Chuck likes to add cheese to his.


Back when we first started dating and neither of ate any vegetables, we used to make something similar on the stove top with chicken and potatoes. I commented to Chuck one night when we were eating this that I couldn’t believe we ate the chicken and potatoes meal before without peppers and onions. It just seemed wrong. He laughed and told me I had come a long way. Smile He is right, and I am happy about that.

Definitely give this one a try. You won’t be disappointed!


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Exit Strategy


Our September Book Club book was Exit Strategy by Kelley Armstrong. If I haven’t mentioned it, the way we are picking books this year is from a long list of random book topics, subjects and general fun book stuff. I randomly pick three from the list below each month and we try to fill 1-3 of the topics to pick a book (this month it was 1, 2, and 10). This book happened to fill 2 of them. A friend in book club found this list online somewhere and it has been a really fun way to find a variety of books we may not have found otherwise. This list was a little more fun than just picking a book from a certain genre, too.

1. A book with more than 500 pages
2. A classic romance
3. A book that became a movie
4. A book published this year
5. A book with a number in the title
6. A book written by someone under 30
7. A book with paranormal characters
8. A funny book
9. A book recommended by an author
10. A romantic mystery/suspense/thriller
11. A book with a one word title
12. A book of short stories
13. A book set in a different country
14. A nonfiction book
15. A popular author’s first book
16. A book from an author you love but haven’t read yet
17. A book a friend recommended
18. A NY Times bestseller
19. A re-adaptation of a popular story
20. A freebie you’ve downloaded
21. A book that hits close to home
22. A book you can finish in a day
23. A book with antonyms in the title
24. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to go
25. A book that came out the year you graduated college
26. A book with bad reviews
27. A trilogy
28. A book about childhood friends
29. A book with a love triangle
30. A dystopian book
31. A book set in high school
32. A book with a color in the title
33. A book that made you cry
34. A book with magic
35. A book by a male author
36. A book by an author you’ve never heard of
37. A book you own but have never read
38. A book that takes place in your hometown
39. A book published during a year that is significant to you
40. A book set during winter

Here is a little about the book:

From the author of the acclaimed Women of the Otherworld series comes an exciting new heroine whose most secret identity is both lucrative…and lethal.

Regulars at Nadia’s nature lodge don’t ask what she does in the off-season. And that’s a good thing. If she told them, she’d have to kill them. She’s a hit woman for a Mafia family. Tough and self-sufficient, Nadia doesn’t owe anyone any explanations. But that doesn’t mean she always works alone. One of her contacts has recruited her in the hunt for a ruthlessly efficient serial killer cutting a swath of terror across the country. The assassin is far too skilled to be an amateur—and the precision of the killings is bringing the Feds much too close to the hit man community for comfort.

To put an end to the murders, Nadia will have to turn herself from predator to prey as she employs every trick she knows to find the killer. Before the killer finds her…

When I first found this book, I read some reviews and found that it was considered a romantic thriller. After reading the book, I don’t think that was the case at all. There were a couple possible love interests, but aside from a pretty innocent kissing (and slight groping scene) there wasn’t a lot of romance. Maybe some romantic tension, but that may come out in the following books (this was book 1 of 3).

I was weary that I wouldn’t be able to finish the book in time (since I started reading midway into the month) because it was over 500 pages on my Kindle. I also don’t consider myself a very fast reader. But I think because there was a lot of dialogue I was able to read it quite quickly. I was actually surprised it only took me a few days to get through. I also didn’t want to put it down. I was intrigued by the author writing some chapters from the perspective of the victims. Very chilling and fascinating.

It was a pretty exciting book since I haven’t read much about hit-men (or hit-women) before. Although I think there were a few parts of the story that were lengthy and a bit dull, the overall story was quite entertaining. I am not sure I will be rushing out to read the next books in the series, but this one was a pleasant surprise.

Happy reading, friends.


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The Fishers Visit

It has been ages since I have blogged about something other than books or Alex’s monthly updates.

Last week/weekend, my friend Trisha came out here with her daughter, Chelsea. They arrived on Thursday and left Sunday morning. We had a fun-filled weekend!


After they arrived on Thursday, we headed to Starbucks and then I drove them by a few things before heading back to our house to hang out and get them settled in. Trisha brought gifts! She brought me a sweatshirt from Bluefin Bay and a really yummy soap! Chelsea brought handmade necklaces for the girls. It was so sweet and thoughtful of them.


That night we went to Red Robin and thankfully the kids were happy because we had the WORST service ever! We waited 45 minutes for our food and we arrived before 5:00. It was nuts! Then they didn’t bring drink refills or extra fries. I was not pleased I didn’t get more fries!!! But everyone survived and we headed back home to get the kids calmed down and ready for bed. Then we sat around on the couch and Trisha and I did some coloring. Smile Yep. We are dorks.





Friday morning we went to a mall to let the kids play because it was a rainy day here. I had hoped to take them to St. Edwards State Park, but the weather wasn’t having that. So we went early and let the kids play at the play area. Then we went to The Disney Store and then the LEGO store for a while. We walked around a little then had lunch at McDonald’s. Then headed back to get Alex down for his nap.






I made pasta for dinner (Pasta from our food box we get weekly) and then we headed down to the farmer’s market down the road to hang out and play at the park. This was the last farmer’s market of the season, so some of the vendors were giving kids goodies away. The kids were really excited about this! Then we walked back home and got the kids ready for bed.




Saturday was the day we really packed full of stuff. We left early and parked downtown and walked to the Space Needle. We spent some time there (and even got a peek of the mountain before the clouds rolled in) and then walked to Pike Place Market. It was a little chilly at first, but it warmed up into a gorgeous morning! We looked around a little bit before heading back home for Alex’s second nap. He slept in the carrier while we were walking around. He loves that.











Chuck took all the girls outside to play in the yard with balls and bubbles while Alex was sleeping. He even picked some roses from the garden on his way in. We decided to go out for Mexican food Saturday night and I was so giddy! Fajitas and Margaritas are my favorite! The kids were really good and the service was AMAZING. I thanked them for their quick service with the kids after we had such a horrible experience eating out Thursday night. After dinner it was time to head home and get the kids ready for bed again. We sat around and as was the theme each night after bed…chatting, cocktails and coloring. Smile 







Sunday morning we brought them to the airport and said our goodbyes. It was sad to have them go, but it was so nice to have a taste of Minnesota here. We missed them and can’t wait until we can hang out again. Thanks for coming all the way out to see our crazy little family! You are welcome anytime!


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Alex * 10 Months Old

Our baby is 10 months old and quickly becoming, well, not a baby.


We are just two months away from his first birthday. I have already started planning a small joint party for him and Dannie. (It’s going to be so cute!!) Ok, I’m off topic. And this was a picture for Maddie’s school and the best picture we could get of all of us. Smile


Alex has started to actually crawl instead of army crawling. He also does this funny sideways scoot. It’s weird. But he is happy that he can get places more quickly. He is also working on standing and pulling up on things. Since Alex has learned to stand, he has started pulling up in his bed and only once kind of got himself stuck there and forgot how to sit down. He was so mad! But mostly he’s just happy with his new skill.


IMG_9780 IMG_9781



His favorite game is crawling all over me. Some days I just want to sit on the couch a minute and watch them play. But Alex does not like that game at all. He will sit at my feet and cry. Once he forgets why he is crying, I’ll go sit on the floor (because I don’t reward the kids for crying at me when they want things). Then I’m just a huge jungle gym and climbing (and eating) toy.





And if I am lucky, I’ll get a snuggle. But mostly it’s very short lived because this kid does not sit still unless he is sleeping. And he is still a great sleeper!!


With Alex being good and mobile, he has gotten himself into a couple funny places. Last night he crawled into a box. Then he put his head in another box and got stuck. It was hilarious! He also crawled under the jumper and I thought he was stuck. So I went to take a look. Nope. Happy as can be and crawled right out. Ha! Goofball!





Alex has been eating just about everything we eat at meals. He had grilled cheese and peaches last night and I think he thought he was in heaven. But, still no sign of teeth. That certainly hasn’t slowed him down eating at all. And if you put your finger in his mouth, you know he could chomp anything…ouch! He loves loves loves squeeze food. He sucks those things down faster than I think should be possible. And I got him a new straw cup and he loves being able to drink whenever he wants by himself.





He has also gotten really good at holding his own bottle. I mostly put him on the boppy to keep him in one place. If I am getting the girls’ breakfast ready, he can lay there and feed himself. It is so nice and I think he enjoys doing it. He seems quite proud of himself.


The girls are very in love with him. Maddie loves playing with him and sometimes has to be reminded to be a little more gentle with him. But she means well, she just thinks Alex is her own baby. Dannie loves to help him with things and bring him toys. Every once in a while I will get a rare, sweet moment when all three of them are playing together.







Alex loves playing with his friend, Brayden (who is 3 weeks younger than Alex). They are buddies. Brayden is such a teeny little guy. I about throw him in the air when I pick him up. Smile They follow each other around looking for toys and snacks their sisters have dropped on the floor.


We took the kids to a park one weekend and they all love swinging. Alex giggled (and snorted) the whole time. He is also obsessed with sticking out his tongue these days. It’s the funniest thing.




We have been working on sign language and I have caught him signing for a drink a few times. The other ones I am working on are “more” and “all done”. They are so very helpful! He can also do a few other tricks (except he never does them on command when I’m trying to show someone he can do it). He does “so big” (with his hands in the air), he will clap when you sing “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and “tick tock” (he will tip his head side to side, although lately he just does “tick” and looks a little silly)…that’s all I can think of right now.


He has been talking (babbling) more. I have heard “dada”, “nana”, “baba”, “mama” and a couple other silly noises on occasion. Still nothing incredibly consistent. “Dada” is pretty clear on command and he usually yells/cries “mama” as he is crawling to me when it’s time for a bottle.


He has been loving books and toys with lots of buttons to press. There’s one toy that is a pretend cd player and he could sit and open and close that thing ALL DAY LONG. And everything is still going in his mouth. Maybe that will calm down if he ever gets some teeth. We are still waiting on the first one to pop through.

Other than that, he’s an extremely happy baby. He laughs and giggles all the time. We love him to pieces!


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Big Little Lies


I think this was my favorite Liane Moriarty book I have read thus far. “Big Little Lies” was so fun to read. First, here’s what the book is about:

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal.

A murder…A tragic accident…Or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny, biting, and passionate; she remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare but she is paying a price for the illusion of perfection. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for a nanny. She comes with a mysterious past and a sadness beyond her years. These three women are at different crossroads, but they will all wind up in the same shocking place.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

There was something that was so realistic about this book and I felt like I could run into any of these people. Some moms stayed home, some worked from home, all were trying to find their way with their children in school. My oldest is only in preschool, but I can imagine all the school strife and drama that goes on with moms (probably dads, too, but mostly moms).

The bullying was so sad and such a real topic that kids (and adults) face. And the characters were all hiding (or not sharing) various aspects of their lives that were just eating away at them. It was so real, sad and touching. This book made me think about what people might be hiding or if they are just putting on a façade as a cover for something. 

This one hit the closest to home for me and I flew through this book. I think if you read one of her books, this would be my pick (then “Three Wishes” and then a tie with “The Husband’s Secret” and “What Alice Forgot”).

Happy reading.


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The Husband’s Secret


Here is another of my recently read books by Liane Moriarty. “The Husband’s Secret” was SO good! I loved this book through and through. Here’s a little about the book:

My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died. . .

Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .

Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

This book had me hooked from the very beginning. I loved the characters and their personalities and I loved how they were all tied together by the end. I don’t think that I can say very much about this book without giving too much away. So my advice….go read it! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

I just can’t say enough good things about Moriarty’s books and the way she writes. She has a way of entangling all the characters in a magical way. The last few chapters of the book always bring everything together so quickly. Yet somehow, the rest of the story never dragged or was boring. but the endings…wow!

I have one more of her books to write about that I finished (unsurprising spoiler…I loved that one, too) and I have started another one. They keep coming available at the library and I can’t help myself! Smile 

Happy reading!


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Every Time I Think Of You

I've read all of Tracey Garvis Graves' books, and this book was one of the most recent ones I read. This was a very different story than other ones she has written. But it was just as wonderfully written and as fun to read as the others. Here's a bit about the book:

Thirty-year-old Daisy DiStefano has two people she holds dear: the grandmother who raised her, and her three-year-old son, Elliott. But when Daisy’s grandmother is killed in a seemingly random act of violence, Daisy must take steps to protect herself and her child.

Despite a thriving career in San Francisco, thirty-six-year-old Brooks McClain has returned home to spend what little time his mother has left before she succumbs to the deadly disease that is ravaging her. The seasoned investigative reporter has taken a position with the local newspaper and been on the job less than twenty-four hours when he’s summoned to cover the death of Pauline Thorpe.

Brooks is all business, but the more time he spends with Daisy DiStefano, the more invested he becomes; there’s something about a single mother, a defenseless child, and an unsolved crime that has stirred Brooks’s protective instincts like nothing ever has before.

And when the unthinkable happens, Brooks will do whatever it takes to clear the name of the woman he’s fallen for and the child he’ll protect at any cost.

Romantic and suspenseful, Every Time I Think of You shows how far two people will go to fight for the ones they love, and the life they’ve always imagined.

This was a touching story and heart wrenching right from the start. The main characters were just perfectly written and the whole story was made so much more compelling to read with a young child thrown into the mix. Possibly because I have three young kids, but also because the story was so well written. There were twists and turns, but her books always have a happy ending. I love that about her books!
You should definitely add this one to your reading list. And yes, I have loved a bunch of books lately, but I have intentionally been reading books I thought I would like by authors I love. :) I don't think it's a bad thing to enjoy the books you are choosing to read in your spare time.
Happy reading!
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Three Wishes

I’m on my 4th Liane Moriarty book, and I think “Three Wishes” might be my favorite so far. This one had all the twists and turns of a book by her, but with a little more humor. Here’s a bit about the book:
Lyn, Cat, and Gemma Kettle, beautiful thirty-three-year-old triplets, seem to attract attention everywhere they go. Together, laughter, drama, and mayhem seem to follow them. But apart, each is dealing with her own share of ups and downs. Lyn has organized her life into one big checklist, Cat has just learned a startling secret about her marriage, and Gemma, who bolts every time a relationship hits the six-month mark, holds out hope for lasting love. In this wise, witty, and hilarious novel, we follow the Kettle sisters through their tumultuous thirty-third year as they deal with sibling rivalry and secrets, revelations and relationships, unfaithful husbands and unthinkable decisions, and the fabulous, frustrating life of forever being part of a trio.

I read this book right after “What Alice Forgot” And it was much funnier. This was the book our book club had picked (I may have begged to read it because I really wanted to read another one of her books). I kept loving and hating each of th remain characters throughout the book. But maybe that just means they were good characters and more like real people.

So far I think this may have been my favorite of her books. It was a little more lighthearted and I loved the ending of this one. I loved the way it started, too. It was so creative. And I loved that each of the sisters really figured out who they were by the end of the book.

Overall, I might suggest this one first if you haven’t read any of her books. It gives you a feel for her writing without pulling on so many heartstrings at the same time. But honestly, I doubt you will regret reading any of her books.

Happy reading!

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