spring flings

summer is here and who could be happier than seattlites? i mean, it's still cloudy and breezy and i have seen the word "junuary" thrown out a few times by pnw-ers, but the calendar says it's summer. so we're happy. i am, at least.

everything is exciting this summer: new jobs, new trips, new homes, and likely even a new hairstyle for me (watch out, world). even in just this first week of official summer, everything is in flux for the better. i am beyond exciting to share the news, but first, i want to pay homage to spring 2017.

cloudy as it was (and really it was), it held so many bright, special moments after a winter that could only be described as genuine hell on earth. spring rocked. here are some of the shiniest moments (and times i actually remembered to take pictures): 

march 5th | we returned from a giant big adventure to scandinavia (someday i will share photos), which was beautiful but very cold, and so rainy seattle really did feel like spring!

april 24th | my golden birthday! we spent a magical few days in the world's cutest airbnb on vashon island. there was a view of the sound, a wood burning stove, and chickens and horses roaming free. there was no view of rainier, because clouds, but there was cake, which was better.

may 8th | an unforgettable flight up to roche harbor with rohan. 

may 20th | attended my first mariner's game, in celebration of our friend bryn's birthday. later realized it was not in fact my first mariner's game (?). still a blast. 

memorial day | a long weekend getaway to tucson and bisbee, arizona! inbetween all of the amazing meals we ate and drinks we drank, there was swimming, antique shopping, even mine touring (semi-freaky). ethan's mommas are the best. 

june 13th | a hot, sunny tuesday and my first time sailing this season. aka, i panicked when the boat heeled too much. ethan laughed. life doesn't get better than this. 

june 17th | i read an entire book before noon! then we whisked up to a sweet little camp spot at camano island. we watched the sun set and rise, and a lil seal dood playing in the sound. who has it better than pnw residents? no one. 

june 22nd | we took the day off and went to explore bellingham on a whim. e bought me a joy of cooking (a 1984 edition, relax), and we drank so much kombucha that we burped uncomfortably the entire way home. 

and some photos, unedited and in no particular order:

up in the air

we are unbelievably fortunate to have a good friend with a pilot's license. he's brilliant, thorough, and easy-going—just a joy to go up in the air with. he's taken us a couple of times and it's been the sweetest kickoff to summer. 

aside from those with a crippling fear of heights, how can anyone not feel romantic about flight? it's peaceful, nearly otherworldly, and, though i fly with two boeing engineers who assure me it is not magic, i feel like a tiny bit of it has to be just that. c'mon guys. 

the sheer joy in taking to the skies doesn't need a reason or history, but my story has one. my grandfather, who passed away last year, loved flying. he owned his own plane—an always-shiny ercoupe. he flew it to the beach, and with friends, and with strangers, right up until the end. he loved seattle, too, and would have so enjoyed the time we've been so fortunate to spend in the sky here. there are so many ways to feel close to people. for me, this is one of them. 

flight time with rohan has included breakfast on whidbey island, buzzing the hikers at rattlesnake ridge, following scenic highway 2 into the cascades, and full moon trips over the sound. below, a few too many photos from a sunday evening sunset trip to roche harbor for dinner, a few weeks ago. you can also view the collective folder.

gold creek

i adore winter. 

my family, we're winter people. we've talked about this before

of course, moving to seattle two calendar changes ago brought rainy winters. cloudy decembers and gusty januarys, punctuated by off and on rainstorms. there's really no predicting the weather in the winter here. it's gray until it's wet, and the rain just comes and goes as it pleases. 

i'm possibly magnesium deficient but i really don't mind the mild weather winter. it gives me good reason to stay inside under blankets or in cookbooks. to own 4 rain jackets. to never bother straightening my curls. but sometimes, amidst the contentedness and between the downpours, i miss real winter.

we're lucky that even in seattle, it isn't far away. if you climb to a hill high enough, you can see both mountain ranges that bookend king county. the olympics and the cascades — just an hour away. winter is right there. so close that, sometimes, you can see it through the rain.  

we bought season passes to stevens and booked ski trips to montana to get our fix of alpine. and even on the busiest of days on the slopes, the mountain air still felt crisp and wild. you never get tired of that feeling.

but to really experience the winter i know from a midwest upbringing, i had to find a different way to get out there. and so when my mom gave me snowshoes for christmas, i got a chance to slow down and savor the cold.

snowshoeing in the mountains can be a pretty epic adventure depending on where you roam, but since i have a string of bad luck strong enough to summon an avalanche or wake a hibernating bear, i play it safe snowshoeing. i stay low in the valleys and i don't want to go very far.

in washington, you don't have to in order to see something really spectacular.

and so my favorite place to snowshoe became gold creek. because if you got up early enough, before everyone else with the same idea, you were alone with the lakes and creeks and lost cabins for a while. alone with some really nice winter air, and a soundtrack of crunching snow. in different company and different conditions, it always remained lovely and somehow new. 

summer will be splendid and i am so excited to climb and swim and sleep outside without fear of freezing my toes off.

but, mr. winter, i really love you. this season we just shared — it was a good one. until next time.

here are a few photos from one trip to gold creek in early february. 

whitefish, again

there's something to be said for picking up where you left off. this post isn't exactly the case, but our trip back to montana this year did seem like a fitting reason to come back to this blog.

in this little world, it's the last thing that happened. and yet posts that will remain unpublished tell the tales of the confusion and disappointment actually that carried me back to this moment. oh, it was not a good year. january was not a good month. 

but it is still a good life, and there are so many blissful moments waiting in the darkest shadows ahead. so many rosy pink sunrises and new favorite songs, juicy oranges and untouched ski runs where the snow is still falling. 

and, thankfully, this beacon of a vacation was full of them. here are a few:

we skied for three days in montana, a late christmas gift and a timely distraction. the snow was crisp and fast, and midweek skiing meant it was so empty on the mountain. a blissful stillness. 

on our day off the slopes, we drove through a quiet glacier national park, taking in the views from lake mcdonald and walking around its historic lodge. everything was so closed up and snowed in that it was hard to imagine that just half a year would see this place in full swing. don't tell, but i think it was a little more magical this way.

we skated on the ice of whitefish lake with the oldest leather skates i've ever seen, and lay by the fireplace sipping something warm every night. i understood how people arrive here and never leave. once upon a time, my parents. we drove by their a-frame, strangely seeming untouched since they left it in 1982. 

wishing you all so many tiny and beautiful moments in this still-new year. 

whitefish, montana

when i left rhinelander after christmas, there was an undeniable sadness in the three of us not knowing when we would see each other again. would i come back to wisconsin? would they come back out to seattle? you move across the country and even though planes fly fast and jobs are flexible, it isn’t so easy as a quick car ride and stay at my grandma’s house to see each other. so when would we see each other again? 

that was how our trip to montana happened.

“maybe we could meet in the middle!” i threw out there. eager to ski (or rather, make use of the skis i was about to lug across the country) and eager to get more white out of winter, it was the perfect spot for us to spend a weekend. 

and because my parents love: a. skiing b. montana and c. me (but we won’t say what the most), a trip was quickly booked for the end of january. i went back to seattle (ski bag and all) and just 3 weeks later, i was boarding an amtrak from seattle to whitefish, montana.

still with the ski bag. woof. 

also, for 15 hours. WOOF.

to be fair, the train was cheap and convenient and easy and i would do it again. i got on at 5 pm, rode along the coast until it got dark, very slowly ate a granola bar, and as we turned east i caught up on podcasts and much needed sleep. i woke up a few times in the night as we stopped or jolted, but mostly slept soundly against the window, alone in my row, until i arrived in whitefish, montana at 6:30 the next morning. still in the dark, with the air cold and snow on the ground, my parents were the first to greet me off the train.

my parents have spent so much of their lives together in montana, and one undeniably special place being whitefish. when my mom left the east coast to work in the national parks and my dad left undergrad to pursue everything but formal education, they both ended up working on at the ski resort on big mountain. my dad a lift operator, my mom selling tickets. 

they were just kids then!! they were the age of you and me!! (well, me at least)

so in the year of their 30th wedding anniversary, it ended up being the perfect place to return to. some things had changed — big mountain, for one, has expanded immensely. there are more lifts, moving much faster, to more runs. real estate in whitefish has skyrocketed. and some was still quaint and picture book and exactly the way they left it. the buffalo cafe still serves the best and biggest breakfast. the great northern is the local watering hole. and the views from the mountain are still an undeniable reminder of why montana is big sky country.

we visited a bunch with my parents old ski friends and laughed until beer came out of noses (won’t say whose). we jumped out of the hot tub next to the lake and rolled in the snow. we skied day after day through the fluffiest stuff around. 

we stayed at the lodge on whitefish lake, and i can’t say enough about how incredible it was. i mean, there were fireplaces everywhere. in our room, outside our patio door, in the lobby, in hallways! it was a cabin-lovers dream and facilitated the reading of many leather-bound books. 

when we weren't skiing, we went and watched a skijoring tournament. skijoring is a sport that combines: a. skiing and b. horseback riding which: a. is a thing and b. is insane and also c. is everything i’ve ever wanted in life. i’m still trying to figure out how to sign up for next year (and win $20k, no joke). who’s my skier? and does anyone have a horse i can borrow?

our trip to montana was relaxing and exhausting, the four full days each long, but too soon we were boarding an early monday morning flight to seattle and i was, once again, carrying (dragging) a ski bag through downtown (and don’t worry — it’s also bright red!!). it ended up being a trip planned on a whim, with no expectations. and it ended up being our favorite trip we’ve ever taken as a family. 

so go on all of the adventures, guys. take the overnight train alone. swim in the snow. lose a ski! order the huevos rancheros AND the french toast. wink at cowboys. fall asleep by the fire, two nights in a row. vacation with your parents. just get out there, where ever that is. 

for us, it’s montana!