Max 7-9 months and Harper 3.5

I had to take this picture to document the fact that prior to this I had left him sitting on the floor on the other side of the room. Apparently he can pull himself to standing and push his little play table several feet.

At 9 months, Max is doing a lot of the same things Harper was at that age.


Yup, that was Harper!

He can balance standing up as long as he’s holding onto something.

He really likes to be walked around the house. He doesn’t quite crawl, but he seems close to crab crawling with one leg out the way Harper did.

For a while I had him rigged up in the Jenny Jump Up so that he could stand at the table, but he already doesn’t need it.

We learned the hard way that you can’t leave him on a couch or bed anymore. He will totally roll off (head first, of course).


7 months.


8 months.

It seems strange to say, but the last 3 months have been much harder than the previous 3. I think it’s mostly because of teeth. Max has 6 now, and every time he gets a new one, he is miserable and sleepless.

That picture pretty much sums up how I’ve felt lately — tiiired.

Then a few weeks ago, we all got sick, but Max got it the worst. He had a fever for like 4 days, and he couldn’t sleep for being so stuffed up. And we just could not get his sleep on track after that.


He was so tired he fell asleep playing with toys.

Fortunately, we accomplished a couple of things after that. We got a second car (an electric Leaf!) and I found a daycare for Max. I’m not sure if it’s related to his daycare provider or not, but he’s been sleeping most of the night ever since.

So we have our happy Max back, and it’s great.

The biggest thing that happened over the last 3 months, though, was our vacation to Portland and Seattle. Traveling with two little kids was tough, but they did great on their flights.

The hardest part was lugging around all the stuff (stroller, 2 carseats, luggage, diaper bag, etc.). And then traveling between the two cities, which took WAY longer than we had anticipated.

We did get some family photos, which was nice.


This one, from a Portland breakfast spot, is my favorite.


This one kind of sums up the chaos of our trip.

We stayed at Air BnBs, which worked out great. Plus, I got two blissful days of wandering around Portland while the kids had free daycare from Mike’s conference.


Still dreaming about Blue Star Donuts.


We took a break for a mall carousel.


Max loves playing in the grass.

One of the best things we got to do was meet up with an old friend from Kansas and ride on her family’s boat. They took us around Lake Union in Seattle, which was just unbelievably beautiful.


Harper was a little scared, but she did great.

We tried to do the public market in Seattle, but it was too crazy crowded.

Instead we headed to Discovery Park for a hike.


This picture is so Harper — all dirt and shin bruises.

On our last day we took the kids to Alki Beach and we got some great photos of them playing in the sand together.

They still get along really well. These pictures of them with Harper’s Soccer Shots headband crack me up.

Grammie came to visit for a couple weeks, which was so nice.

We are planning TWO trips to visit family for the holidays, so it will be fun to see everyone we’ve missed.

I’ve been super busy and stressed from all the knitting orders that have come in, but it’s kind of par for the course.

My boss is opening another store in Breckenridge, so I am making a whole bunch of items for that.

We did have a nice respite at a local beach we found. There are so few really quiet places around, so we’ll have to remember this one.

This time with two little kids can be really brutal some days. But I also feel this sense of fulfillment I never have before. It’s not perfect, but I have so many of the things I always wanted. And especially now that we have the house pretty much finished and I’m back to work, it’s easier to appreciate it all.


I love this picture. Oh, to be 3 again.

As Harper gets closer to 4, I think she’s calming down a little. She’s learning how to spell and how to communicate better, and she says the most adorable things like, “mommy, you’re my best friend.”

Harper’s taking yoga and I bought a jogging stroller so I can run. Hopefully if Max keeps sleeping well we can all come out of the haze and feel normal again. I have some new products, including these adorable crowns.

I should have more to share soon!

Make this carrot cake!

Mom wanted a homemade cake for her birthday a few days ago, so I dug out some recipes I had been wanting to try. One of them was for “the BEST carrot cake,” and it sure looked like it. So we decided to give it a try.

Oh man, was that a good cake. I went ahead and made the full recipe even though it made way too much cake and frosting. I added pecans but no raisins or pineapple or anything like that. The layers baked up beautifully and I managed to construct a cake that wasn’t too lopsided.

Normally I like ice cream with cake, but this one didn’t even need it. It was rich, a little spicy, and perfectly spring-ish. I highly recommend giving it a try, maybe for Easter?

What happened

The last time I blogged I sure wasn’t thinking it would be another month before I blogged again. Oops. 

At some point after writing that post I turned on my computer and got nothing but a blank screen. I took it to the Apple store where they told me what I expected to hear: Even though the computer looks like it could be brand new, it’s 7 years old and can’t really handle the operating system anymore. I’m gonna have to buy a new computer. That is the last thing I had time to deal with then, so my computer sat unused while I ordered an external hard drive to store all my data. At least I didn’t lose my files.

At the end of July I flew to Kansas to help my mom sell most of the stuff in her house and prep it for renters so she could move in with us. It was a tough trip, emotionally and physically. We had this Herculean task to complete in just a few days, and although we received a ton of support from family and friends, it seemed like the only people who believed we could do it were mom and I. And even we didn’t believe it at times. But we did it. A dead car battery just about did us in one day, but we rallied from that (feeling grateful that we discovered it while the car was in the driveway and not in the middle of Nevada). Then we packed the Rav and headed west. 

Three days later we arrived in California. Mike was still working on the workshop construction, so it took a few days to complete that, then get all of my stuff moved into the workshop. Then we had to buy new furniture for mom’s room, clean up all our construction trash, and start to get organized as a 4-person household. 

Needless to say, I haven’t had a lot of free time lately. And even if I had time, I had no computer! So that’s what’s been going on. I also found out that the Goodsmiths blog is suspending paid posts, so I guess that gig is over. On the plus side, it means I can share more recipes and projects here, and I intend to! Now that mom’s here I can have a regular work schedule again. I’m still playing catch-up, but I look forward to having some uninterrupted time for blogging here pretty soon. 

Thanks to those still hanging in there. You’re the best!

Road trips recap

I was just watching this show about fun not-so-touristy things to do in San Francisco (note to self: book sunset kayaking tour), and it made me think I should gather up all the posts I wrote about our road trips in California. Summer isn’t really the best time weather-wise here, so sometimes I forget that it’s still the main tourist season. But regardless of when you come, these are all road trips I would recommend taking at some point.

Close to San Francisco:

Angel Island
Take the ferry from Tiburon in Marin County for a day trip or overnight camping. Lots of history and beautiful views of the city, bay and bridges. 

Point Bonita Lighthouse and Crissy Field
Great places to escape the crowded city and take photos, especially at sunset. 

Rockaway Beach/Pacifica
Not far from the city you can really escape to this little beach on the ocean. 

Point Reyes
One of our favorite places to relax is Limantour Beach, and it is just one of many cool places to explore in Point Reyes.

Wine country:

Coppola Winery
Frances Ford Coppola’s winery is really worth a visit up north. It has a museum about his cinematic roots plus a swimming pool and restaurant. And of course, wine!

Sonoma
Napa’s less-snooty sister, Sonoma is a really relaxing getaway less than an hour from our house.

North of SF:

Bodega Bay and Eureka
Bodega Bay for fresh crab sandwiches and spectacular ocean views. Eureka for the Avenue of the Giants, which better be on your bucket list.

Reno/Lake Tahoe
Reno is much more than slot machines (wild horses!). Don’t miss the Awful Awful burger.

And Lake Tahoe is one pretty place I intend to visit much more.

South of SF:

Los Angeles
I loved LA much more than I expected to. The hipster food culture doesn’t hurt. And there’s so much to explore in all the different neighborhoods.

San Diego
One word: tacos. Actually two words: al pastor.

Catalina Island
This is a really beautiful side trip if you can swing it. Touristy, yes, but you can also escape the crowds and go for a hike.

Palm Springs
Palm Springs is hot as hell and super quirky, but we really loved it. Don’t miss the Ace Hotel and the crazy mountain tram.

Full-on nature:

Sequoia National Forest, part I and part II
Unfortunately, this trip always makes me think of being 8 weeks pregnant and super nauseous. But man, was it spectacular. I highly recommend you explore the giant sequoias and King’s Canyon if you get a chance.

Mono Hot Springs
Will I ever make the extreme journey to Mono Hot Springs again? I don’t know. But I’m glad I went once. It was beautiful, peaceful and endearingly weird.

Monterey and Big Sur
In this case, I definitely saved the best for last. The drive along the Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur is absolutely incredible. It’s right out of a movie. And when you get to Big Sur, the redwood forest is equally amazing. Airstream glamping there is on my life list.

Putting together this post has made me realize how much we need to get back in the car and start traveling again! As many places as we’ve been, we still have many more to see (thinking of Joshua Tree and Yosemite, for starters). Anywhere else we should go?

New look

I decided my old, unsupported WordPress theme was not cutting it anymore, so the blog is getting a new look. There may be some slowdowns or strange looking things as I finish working out the kinks. As always, thanks for reading!

Goals for 2014

Maybe if I put them here I’ll be more likely to remember them!

It would be pretty hard to top 2013. Unless my only goal was to get more sleep, which would be hard not to do.

I’d like to…

• Think a little more about self care and maybe an occasional ladies night.

• Wean Harper when we’re both ready.

• Get back to a lot of the healthy habits that worked for me before. Firing up the Nutribullet I got for Christmas, for starters. Taking more walks, etc.

• Reorganize my wardrobe (currently a huge mess) so that I have a cute daily uniform that does not include yoga pants. 

• Work on overcoming my fear of flying, which always makes travel so uncomfortable. Our last trip was better. I want to believe this is possible.

• Pursue buying a house. We’ve already gotten started on this one.

• Pay off as much debt as we can. We got a bit derailed in 2013 when we added a third person to our house.

• Find a daycare provider so I can work part-time some days. 

• Plan some more nights out and trips with Mike.

• Have my products available in more local venues. Already making some progress on this one.

• Continue working to simplify my product line to make it more cost-effective with the limited time I have.

• Design new products using super thick wool and my own wool cord. Most excited for this!

And finally, I am going to rework my blog a little. I have to pick a new design because my WordPress theme is no longer supported. With that I think I will pare down posting a little since I have very limited free time anyway. I still want to post recipes, thoughts on motherhood, and information about my business. But instead of double posting all my travel photos here and on Facebook, I think I will just post them there for friends and family. For DIY projects I will continue posting on the Goodsmiths blog. And I’m thinking about pursuing some other freelance work if it fits in the picture. 

I’m sure it’s the same for everyone, but the year you have your first baby sort of knocks you off your foundation and you have to wobble your way back to a steady self. Life with a toddler and a baby business is hard, but it’s good, and it’s a little easier everyday. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2014 to all of you!

Saying goodbye

Tomorrow is the funeral for Mike’s grandmother, Catherine. She was an amazing lady — a nurse, a master gardener, even a pilot (as a teenager!). She will be missed.

33


My peanut butter birthday cake. 

I never had that freakout you’re supposed to have at 30. So many exciting things were happening in my life at that time — getting married, moving to California, turning my focus to the business — that it didn’t seem like there was anything to worry about. I felt the same at 31 and 32. But this birthday feels a little different.

I’m sure it’s the becoming-a-parent thing. But it really gives you this sense of closing one door and opening another. Like I’m finally accepting that one era of my life is over and I will never have it again. You certainly are never the same once you have kids. And that’s a good thing, but there is definitely some mourning for all the good things about being young(er) and carefree.

In the past year I’ve put my body through hell physically, so there’s also a bit of the ‘it ain’t what it used to be’ going on there. I’m so impressed with my body for being able to grow a human, but all the stretching and weight gain/loss and sleepless nights take their toll. I’m not saying I feel old. I just feel different. I think I have to figure out who I am in this new identity. Because although I’ve always wanted to be a mom, I’m so many things I never thought I would be — a business owner, a Californian, a person who is very far outside of her comfort zone. Maybe that’s what 33 will be. Finding out who I am now that I’ve opened that other door and stepped on through.

Lighter pumpkin bread

I had some extra canned pumpkin leftover from making pumpkin muffins and I really wanted to make pumpkin bread. But it’s not exactly the healthiest recipe, so I thought I would try to adjust it a little.

I used all whole-wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour and left out 1 cup of sugar. I also used organic cane sugar, which is a little less refined than the white stuff. And because wheat flour tends to dry out recipes a little, I added an extra 1/4 cup of pumpkin.

It turned out awesome! Certainly not as sweet as the original, but pretty darn good. I put it in the fridge so it’s nice and cold when you eat it. I think because pumpkin has so much moisture it really masks the wheat flour. You would never know that’s what I used.

The recipe makes two loaves, so you could also cut it in half or make mini loaves.

Getting rid of cable

We finally decided to bite the bullet and get rid of our cable TV. We had DirecTV, then AT&T with DVR, but after years of talking about it we agreed it was time to make a change. Even with adding a couple new services we are still saving around $80 a month. (yeesh!)

Our main TV is hooked up to a Mac Mini, so we can watch shows via Internet streaming. We bought a Roku, which I really like, to connect to the other services. We also have an antenna that gets pretty good reception on the main networks and 3 local PBS stations. We have subscriptions to Netflix and HuluPlus. We might get another Roku for our bedroom TV, but lately we are so tired when we go to bed that we don’t even use that one.

There are a few shows I might miss, but I think generally I was mostly just watching crap to fill the time. I think Netflix’s instant offerings are still pretty pathetic, so we’ll keep getting the DVDs for a while. The only thing we’ll really miss is sports. Mike watched a lot of soccer and me a lot of college basketball. But those offerings are getting better online all the time. Or we can always go to a sports bar to watch big games.

There’s some good advice on how to make this leap at disablemycable.com. So far I haven’t missed our old TV at all. I’ve barely even thought about it, so I think we made the right choice.