Bits and Pieces of our Holiday Season

We had quite a fun holiday season despite the distance between ourselves and most of our family. It's difficult to keep up with picture posting when you are in the thick of the season, so I just recently went back through our photos to pick out the highlights to share with you. 20140112-032745.jpg

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We spent Thanksgiving Day in Tacoma with our dear close family, Laura (David's sister) and Gray. The day was cold, but gorgeous, and we even spent a little time along the Ruskin Way waterfront playing and enjoying the sunset before our delicious dinner meal.

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Laura took this photo of the 3 of us and we ended up choosing it for our Christmas card this year. Loved the color and the slight spotting of Mt. Rainier in the background.

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We have been to the same tree lot each year since moving here to pick out our tree. I keep thinking we would have fun going to an actual tree farm to cut it down, but this year with the shortened time between Thanksgiving and Christmas we didn't have any time to fit in that type of outing. We still had fun and our tree was a perfect fit for our ornaments.

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Jack and I also had a lot of eating, I mean building, fun with his first gingerbread house. We also made Christmas cookies and ate our fair share of other holiday treats!

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We had fun with our Christmas pups- our own whom we torture every year with the silly antlers- and Laura and Gray's new puppy, Whidbey, who shared our holiday.

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Christmas Day was a blast with Jack's infectious joy and wonderment! We snuck in a quick photo in the early morning hours before we descended our stairs to see if a special one paid a visit! Jack loved all of his new toys (He was very much into figurines for pretend play this year and I think he collected about 45 new ones on Christmas morning!); he was entertained and fully involved in his imagination all day long- he didn't even change out of his new Christmas pjs!

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Finally, we rang in the New Year (East Coast time- one of the many benefits of living on the West Coast, especially when you have young children, is that things happen earlier on the other coast so we can just jump right in with the celebrating!) with this fun group of radiology co-residents and their families.

Beginning on New Year's Day, I made a commitment to myself to live more in the moment, to stop worrying about future days that may seem bleak or difficult, and to just enjoy the here and now or to focus on getting through the difficult issue when it's actually happening. I know this is terribly cliche, but I have to tell you, it's really working! And, it's completely life changing! I just hope I can keep up with this type of focus and presence as the year unfolds.

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So, I will leave you with this last photo taken on New Year's Day at a rad little spot we found in Queen Anne - Citizen Coffee. It nicely captures the description of my new attitude- just close your eyes when you need to shut out the bad stuff (like having to wait for your crepe lunch) and the next moment will likely be a better one (like when your apple and pear crepe is delivered and drenched with caramel sauce and whip cream)!

Happy New Year, Friends!

20140101-044817.jpg I do love a fresh new start. It's the closest thing we have to a blank slate. Because, really, there's no way to erase everything...to completely begin anew. And, despite the things that have happened to us or around us, the things that we do wish we could take back or make disappear, all of those things make up the intricate and complicated landscape of who we are. So, if we were actually able to take the bad away, we would run the risk of taking away the good too. We wouldn't want that, right?

Fresh starts provide me with a little respite from the motion of my life so that I can step back and refocus...refocus on living better, healthier, cleaner, and with more grace. To find some greater clarity to create more of those good, memorable moments.

I'm not sure what this says about me, but when I started talking to David about my resolutions and goals for 2014, they were nearly identical to the goals I set for myself last year!

Here is a brief list of what I hope 2014 brings to my life:

Near daily family walks

A monthly Farmers Market Visit

A monthly date night- we already have some good ones planned(!!!) and I'm excited and committed to indulge in the best dates of our life this year!

A memory jar to collect random thoughts throughout the year to read out loud to each other on New Year's Eve (completely failed at this one last year!)

More playtime

A family exercise morning each weekend

More hikes

More patience, understanding, and flexibility

Greater joy in each of the small wonderful things

And, of course, more moments on this blog. I'm recommitting to a weekly photo of Jack this year and adding a monthly family photo (January's is already done! Yay!).

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I hope for a wonderful 2014 for us all! It's going to be a good year, maybe the best, I can feel it! xxo

PS These photos were taken at Kerry Park in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle on New Year's morning. We have gone to this overlook park each New Year's Day for the past three years- it's our little tradition. Our 2012 photos are here; look how small Jack was!

Happy Mother's Day

20130512-123643.jpg Happy Mother's Day to all of you Mamas, especially my own! I hope the day brings you fun and happiness and peace, and quite a bit of pampering! I'm looking forward to a bloody Mary brunch made by my boys...they went shopping together today to buy all of the ingredients!

"You can't eat all the jellybeans at one time!"

Despite the number of times we uttered this phrase over the weekend(!), we all had a really fun time in the surprisingly springy weather painting eggs, hiding and hunting plastic eggs filled with toys and candy, cooking food on the grill, and enjoying cocktails in the backyard.

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We started a tradition last year that Jack plants a jellybean on Easter Eve and in the spot where it is planted, his Easter basket appears the next morning...he loves picking out just the right place and making sure the jellybean is completely buried under the dirt. And, his excitement the next morning is completely infectious!

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20130402-025434.jpg What a smile new Crocs (indoor shoes for school) can bring, especially if they are super hero ones!

I hope you had a fun Easter weekend too!

Oh, Three Days!

Dear Three-Day Weekend,Please don't disappoint. It feels like we have been trapped indoors under a pile of Kleenex coughing, sneezing, and not being able to properly breathe for a month now! We have tried to have some fun despite our feeling under the weather with ski lessons, a concert date to see Father John Misty, cozy snuggling by the fire, watching tons of movies (more than should have been allowed!), and even a girls night out to enjoy a delicious dinner with one of my best friends, but I tell you, we are feeling ready to have a long fun weekend with no stuffy noses, no stomach bugs, and no fatigue!

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We have a lot of hopeful fun planned for ourselves...feels like such a treasure to get three days at home all together. We'll be having our routine Friday pizza night, trying the much anticipated Blue Star cafe for breakfast- the menu is so long and looks so delicious, I might just have to order several things! especially after the stomach bug that took hold of us this weekend stole our appetite for days, visiting our neighborhood farmer's market, going to a friend's for a play date and pizza, taking a trip to the zoo, celebrating Valentine's with take-out dinner for two, a homemade dessert, and fancy cocktails, and spending the better part of the day at the Children's Museum followed by lunch at the Armory at Seattle Center- lunch here requires a major decision- will I choose a savory pie or BBQ and cornbread from Bigfoot or a fresh, vegan sandwich from Plum Bistro or stick to my favorite- Skillet: Counter and get a burger or poutine or the chicken sammy???...mmm, all so good!!! Maybe I will mix and match (or sneak bites from my boys' plates!)...!

I hope the weekend is good to all of you. And, I hope we are well enough to have the fun we want to (and think we deserve to!) have...in all honesty, I can't imagine having the energy to do this many fun things as I haven't even left my bed much this week not to mention actually shower, get dressed, and leave the house to do anything, but I'm hopeful! And, I'm certainly ready to feel well and play!

Have a SUPER Valentine's Day!

20130210-072344.jpg I made these super hero lollipops for Jack's school friends. We are BIG into super heroes these days so this seemed completely fitting for the occasion.

I hope all of you have something sweet planned for today (or for the weekend like David and I do; we always wait until it's more convenient to really enjoy the time together rather than pack it into the already busy day when it falls during the work week). My heart feels more full of love this year than ever before, that's for sure. xxo!

Bits and Pieces of our Christmas

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20130106-021715.jpg We've been back home for nearly a week, yet we can't quite seem to jump back into our pre-holiday routine. I think all three of us are still tired from all of the fun we had in Florida! This has definitely been the most difficult transition back for me; hence, the delay in this blog post. So, before it becomes irrelevant, here are a few of my favorite photos from our Christmas vacation in Pensacola.

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Some of my favorite holiday moments include: Eating (a lot of) cookies and sharing ONE cookie and eggnog with Santa (only one cookie for Santa was a very clear instruction given by Jack!).

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Jack wished for two things from Santa- a Big Woody and a Big Batman. Of course, Santa felt him worthy of both of his wishes! But, the Batman Jack was hoping for was more of the size demonstrated by his hands in the photo above, not quite as big as the one he received! He didn't seem too disappointed in Santa's mistake.

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(Too much) Bowling fun!, the day after Christmas family tradition. And, tooters...a green apple shooter taken as a result of a losing bowling game.

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Waiting with his cousins at the top of the stairs for "Christmas morning" festivities at Mia and Popi's house.

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Lots of outdoor playtime in the Florida sunshine!

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Celebrating Great Pawpaw's 90th birthday!

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This year's family Christmas photo taken at the beach (on a windy morning!) with the new beach ferris wheel in the background.

Another holiday post to come highlighting our annual apps and brew dinner (with recipes!). I hope you are enjoying a nice start to your New Year!

New Year, New (and Old) Rituals

Like many of you, as the countdown to a new year approaches, I start scratching my head wondering what will end up on my list of goals for this year. The start of something fresh and new triggers my organizing gene big time and all I want to do is sit down and plan for a successful, happy, peaceful, and fun-filled new year. Sounds easy enough, right?! This year I've decided to base my list of goals for 2013 on rituals. I simply adore a good ritual. They help to set the pace of the day, they give you something to look forward to, they help you to anticipate what comes next (which is particularly important for the younger set, especially my younger set who is just as obsessed as his mama about knowing "then what?).

We have many rituals in place that I intend to hold onto. For instance, the ritual of weekly pizza night (which is often paired with a movie); the ritual of devoting 3 nights each week to reading instead of watching movies or TV; the ritual of declaring one day each week as a "mama and Jack" day- a day to stay home from work and school and be together; the ritual of eating family dinners every night; the nightly ritual of a bath-2 books-a story-then lights off; the ritual of green smoothies in the morning almost always paired with a peanut butter sandwich; the ritual of making a yearly book of photos starring our little; the ritual of taking a family photo every Christmas and displaying them in Christmas frames every December; the ritual of running at Greenlake at least one morning each weekend as long as the weather allows; the ritual of giving our little a gift-a-day for every day in December; the ritual of giving David a good bottle of liquor for our anniversary every New Year's Eve (just started this one!); the ritual of a weekly family date to Starbucks; the ritual of celebrating our dating, engagement, AND wedding anniversaries; the ritual of sharing an apps and brew dinner with my parents and sister every December.

And, then there's the list of rituals I want to begin, with the start of this new year:

the ritual of a family walk after dinner on non-rainy (and not too cold) nights

the ritual of going to a farmers' market at least one Saturday morning per month

the ritual of a weekly date night...not a date that requires the services of a babysitter, but a dedicated night each week when we hang out with each other- no distractions to tempt us away. Some ideas I have are to share a pint of ice cream and watch multiple episodes of one of the TV shows we follow (Breaking Bad, Top Chef, Mad Men), to make desert once Jack is tucked away, to get take-out for just the two of us and watch a movie, to make a special cocktail and listen to music, to cook a fancy dinner for just the 2 of us. I'm really looking forward to this one...it seems like it will be such a luxury bestowed upon us every week!

the ritual of starting a memory jar where we write down on a small note card our sweet, memorable, or funny moments as they happen during the year and then read them aloud next New Year's Eve or Day.

Wishing you a wonderful and peace filled 2013! Thank you for sharing this space with me...I'm looking forward to all that this New Year holds!

Scenes from (MY Birthday!) Weekend

20121216-084622.jpg We had so much fun this weekend celebrating my birthday! It really makes a difference when your birthday falls on a weekend day and when you have such wonderful boys, like I do, to spoil you rotten...I feel so lucky!

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I came home from work on Friday to find our family birthday banner displayed on our living room wall. It set such a festive mood! We kicked off the weekend with burgers, fries- both regular and garlic fries which have tons of freshly minced garlic and spices mixed throughout-, and eggnog milkshakes from Kidd Valley. Kidd Valley is the Northwest equivalent of Whataburger and I have a soft spot for Whataburger. I love the addition of the fresh, spicy jalapeños I can add to my cheeseburger and the milkshakes are sooooo yummy, especially the eggnog one! We watched Home Alone while we ate dinner and Jack loved it...he was laughing with his mouth wide open and his head thrown back at all the tricks Kevin played on the "bad guys".

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Saturday (my actual birthday) was a perfect day. We took a long, very cold, drizzly winter walk to get coffee and doughnuts from Top Pot Doughnuts. I got an apple fritter (my favorite) which is always perfectly glazed and deliciously crunchy on the outside and gooey with apples and cinnamon swirls inside...mmmmm! The rest of the day was filled with presents (including the very cool red squirrel nutcracker from David's parents that is equally loved by Jack!), a Greek lunch at Vios, a long nap! (mmhmmm...a deliciously restful 2 hour nap!!! It was awesome!), family, friends, cocktails (a perfectly made French 75) and sushi from Liberty, and a late night!

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We spent Sunday at the circus, eating a delicious lunch at Skillet Counter at the Armory in Seattle Center, seeing the model trains and the winter village that Jack wanted to buy and take home (note the village scene was as large as one floor of our home!), and going to the Children's Museum.

It was a super fun weekend. A perfect birthday...one of my best ones ever. I hope all of you were having fun too!

Our Special Countdown to Christmas!

There have been so many lovely advent calendar ideas floating around this year (like this one designed like a woodland scene found in the magazine Nido , this one of gold paper and lights so beautifully crafted by Famille Summerbelle, a special one just for daddy made by a super crafty mama, and this one made of small boxes used by one of my best friends with her 3 year old son). I grew up with an advent calendar...it was a cloth one that hung in the kitchen. Inside each cloth square was a little treat (and on our birthdays- my sister and I both celebrate in December- was a bigger treat) and a small mouse marked the day once the treat was removed (and usually eaten). I'm also partial to the paper ones filled with bits of chocolate (why is the chocolate in them always so good?!) that we always had at my grandparents house.

I love the tradition of the advent calendar. I love having something, even a wee little something, to discover each day of this magical month. Last year, instead of buying an advent calendar (or making one), we decided to use a special Christmas box that David's dad made for Jack when he was 1.

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Like last year, Jack gets a small gift in his box each day and it's such a joy to see the smile on his face when he discovers his treat! Most days, he gets a new tiny animal toy, but he's also received new books, candy, and a wishbone. I love celebrating the holiday with this kiddo!

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Happy December!

I just wanted to pop in to say hello with the hope that this post will open the door to many more waiting to come. Eeeks...it's been a while! It turns out that I'm not good with balancing life, work, and my blog with a BIG UNEXPECTED MOVE! Unpacking boxes and decorating trumped writing and picture taking. But, now that we are all settled and happy in our wonderful new home, I hope I will be getting back here more often. And, I even hope to have house pictures to share here soon. 20121202-152112.jpg

I sure hope that each of you are feeling merry and bright this holiday season...I can assure you that we are enjoying ourselves! We've been making modeling clay Christmas decorations for the house and drinking egg nog and apple cider like they're going out of style!

Merry, merry!

Happy Halloween and Wishing the Happiest of Birthdays to my Sweets!

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Happy birthday, Sweets! Wishing you the most wonderful of days on your birthday! I’ll be spending it thinking about how lucky Jack and I are to be your family. And then, looking forward to celebrating it with you tonight as we go trick-or-treating and eat pizza pies and sweet pies! Happy, happy!

And, to all of you...wishing you a fun and Happy Halloween! We are excited to take our little Spider Man out for some Halloween fun, especially since we all have cool Spider Man masks to wear thanks to Aunt Laura!!!

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Happy Mama's Day

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We spent a lovely Mother's Day eve in Mercer Island at Burbank Park. We first stopped at Stopsky's Delicatessen to pick up a yummy dinner (we split the "Sham on Rye" Vegetarian Reuben and a Turkey Pastrami that had a delicious fig mustard, tasty arugula, and peppers). While we waited for the sandwiches, we tucked into Island Books next door and fell in love with the quaint feel of the neighborhood bookstore and their perfect selection of books and gifts. The views of Lake Washington from the park were amazingly gorgeous, the weather was perfect- high 70s, and there was not one cloud in the sky. It was a fun outing! And, the perfect spot for a few Mother's Day photo memories.

Happy Mama's Day to all, especially to my own Mom- I love you!

Some scenes from Easter weekend + A Spring Panzanella Salad

I hope you had a fun weekend. Ours was festive...filled with candy eating, egg hunting, good food, and friends. 20120407-080729.jpg

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We started our weekend with the Bunny Bounce at Woodland Park Zoo where Jack had as much fun visiting all of the animals as he did "hunting" for Easter eggs (as you can see in the photos the eggs for the toddler hunt were not exactly hidden!) and meeting the Easter bunny. Then, on Saturday afternoon, we planted a magic jelly bean in the yard in anticipation of waking up on Easter morning to a surprise where the jelly bean was planted...

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As you can see, on Easter morning, Jack found a fun surprise of a chocolate M&M bunny, jelly beans, and Toy Story stickers where we planted the magic jelly bean! He was an excited little boy! We spent the record-breaking warm afternoon (it reached 70 degrees in Seattle!) with friends in the sunshine. The kids hunted Easter eggs while salmon cooked on the grill. It felt like summer...it was lovely.

I will leave you with the recipe for a Spring Panzanella Salad that I made for dinner. It looked pretty on our Easter table and tasted like Spring. The asparagus replaced the typical tomatoes found in a Panzanella salad, and lemon and feta added the perfect brightness. 20120408-091908.jpg 4 large eggs 4 thin slices of rustic white bread, lightly brushed with olive oil then torn into 1-inch pieces 1/4 cup olive oil 1 pounds asparagus, peeled A handful of baby carrots 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar Juice of half a lemon 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard Salt + Pepper 6 cups arugula and spinach, mixed 1/4 pound feta, crumbled 4 large red radishes, very thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Hard boil the eggs- fill a medium saucepan about 2/3 full of water and add your eggs (preferably at room temperature). Bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat and cover the pan with the lid. Let side in hot water for about 12 minutes, then immediately plunge the eggs into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and to prevent the putrid greenish color from forming on the yolk. Peel and thickly slice the eggs.

Spread the bread pieces on a baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes, until crisp.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the asparagus and carrots until just tender, about 3 minutes. Drain, cool and cut the asparagus in half lengthwise, julienned the carrots.

In a small bowl, whisk the 1/4 cup of olive oil with the vinegar, lemon juice, and mustard; season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the carrots, toasted bread, greens, and cheese. Drizzle with the dressing and toss. Garnish with the asparagus, eggs, and radish.

Green Breakfast Smoothie

20120310-032531.jpg St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow. In honor of the holiday, I thought it time to share our recipe for the smoothies we drink each morning, being that they are green.

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Our smoothie ritual was born after I watched Dr. Wahl's TED conference presentation on how she uses nutrition to overcome her MS. If you haven't already seen the video, it's definitely worth a watch (click here). While I am not completely onboard with all of her nutritional theory and advice- going gluten and dairy free to reduce food allergy risk- (yet, I am dying to see more published research), her idea to eat more fruits and vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables, is one I completely support.

Have you ever tried counting the number of fruit and vegetable servings you eat in one day? The USDA recommends that we eat between 5 and 9 servings, with a serving defined as a 1/2 cup. That's 2 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups per day. Dr. Wahl doubles the high end of the USDA recommendation to suggest that we eat 9 cups! of vegetables and fruit every day in order to optimize brain function and reduce risk of excessive inflammation. She even defines it further by recommending we eat 3 cups of green vegetables, 3 cups of sulfur-containing vegetables,and 3 cups of fruits and vegetables of color to ensure we get enough B vitamins, minerals (sulfur, iodine, magnesium), and antioxidants through our food. Nine cups, my lovelies, is a lot...and, it's difficult to do. So, I decided that a way to attempt to come close to the ultimate goal of 9 cups is to start our day with a green smoothie.

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It's part of our morning breakfast routine and Jack and I, in particular, look forward to it every day. For Jack, it's typically paired with a breakfast bar or a piece of nut butter toast. For me, I have it with a piece of toast spread with either nut butter or mashed avocado sprinkled with cayenne pepper and kosher salt or with a bowl of plain non-fat yogurt and homemade granola. It's a lovely and tasty way to start your day and it provides 2 cups of colorful fruits and 2 cups of greens, leaving only 5 more for the day!

I have to apologize for not being able to provide the exact quantities for most ingredients...instead of measuring, I just eye the amounts, but my guess in parentheses is pretty close. Go with your instinct and you likely can’t go wrong!

GREEN BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (1/2 cup) frozen organic raspberries (1/2 cup) frozen mango chunks (1/2 cup) frozen pineapple bits 1 banana (4 cups) kale Squeeze of honey

Liquefy in blender. Drink...to your health.

20120310-033050.jpg20120310-033056.jpg And, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

March Madness and a very belated Mardi Gras

I absolutely love March Madness. Admittedly, I find it difficult to be a devoted fan of the many games during the regular season, but when it comes to mid-March, I am all about some basketball. I used to think my excitement for the tournament had a lot to do with the change from winter to spring, the flowers blooming, the first days of throwing open the windows...but, it still feels like November here in Seattle, and my excitement is no more muted. Well, it is more muted than last year when the first day of March Madness, St. Patrick's Day, coincided with Match Day!. It's hard for me to believe that it was a year ago when we gathered at Emory, opened the envelope, screamed from happiness and disbelief, and started wrapping our minds around the idea of becoming Seattlites...wow! This year Davidson is in the tournament again, so I will be cheering loudly on Thursday morning (behind my office door!) for my beloved Wildcats and wishing that I could just hop in the car and drive the 3 hours to Portland to root for them in person...! Seems a crime that they got the only west coast draw and we can't go...

My bracket is filled out and submitted (and, yes, I filled it out with my heart instead of my head, having my Florida Gators meet my Davidson Wildcats in the Elite 8...I dream big!!!) and, come Thursday night, you will be able to find me close to my TV with bracket and highlighters nearby cheering for my picks to make it all the way to April 2nd.

And, while I'm in a celebratory mood, a little step back to February to share photos of our King Cake decorating from Mardi Gras. My parents so generously sent us an amazingly sweet, berry-filled King Cake which Jack absolutely loved!

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Happy March Madness to all of you!

Jack's Book of Names and Faces

20120205-022829.jpg Jack adores looking at pictures of people in books, photo albums, and magazines. Two of his favorite books to flip through are our wedding album and his "first year" book (we have made a book each year filled with photos taken throughout the year beginning with his birthday and ending the day before his next birthday...such a great way to document his life and share with his grandparents). So, we made Jack a photo album of his family members (including godfamily) for Valentine's Day, and I'm so excited to give it to him tomorrow! I know he's going to love sitting next to us on the couch and flipping through it together, looking at all the people inside who love him.

We ordered it from Picaboo using a Groupon gift certificate given to me by my parents as one of my birthday presents. I think it turned out so cute! I especially love the page colors we chose and the size (8 x 8) is perfect for Jack's little toddler hands. Here's a peek at a few of the pages...don't show Jack!

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Thank you again, Mom and Dad, for the wonderful gift certificate!

Hello, two thousand and twelve

20120101-085249.jpgI know that January 1st is but an arbitrary mark of time, but each year, I look forward to the promise of something new. For the excuse to take time to tidy up my life and to start off fresh.

I love the exercise of starting off the new year by reflecting on the year past and making goals for the full year of days to come. As I sit in a quiet living room at 10am on New Year's Day while both of my boys are still slumbering in their beds after a lovely and intimate New Year's Eve celebration with some dear friends, I find comfort and hope in the reflection and planning. 20120101-085207.jpg

Please allow me to share with you some memories that shaped last year for us as well as my goals for the year that is already starting to unfold.

2011 was filled with ups and downs for our family- My dad had open heart surgery in February followed by a complicated hospital stay due to Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia. In March, medical school Match Day found us holding the letter revealing that David got his first choice of residencies...we were moving to Seattle! In April, David ran the Boston Marathon! and I learned of my diagnosis after my first of what is sure to be so many MRIs. We endured a messy and grueling move from our Atlanta home of four years in May...I hope we don't need to move again for a long while...whew! Our move was followed by a wonderfully long visit in Pensacola with family that extended into early June. June was a month of the old and comfortable and the new and unknown...we went to our 10 year Davidson College reunion and then a few days later, landed in Seattle to start a new chapter of our lives. Shortly after our move, David started his internship year of surgery- grueling hours and lots and lots of hard work. We visited Oregon for the first time in July...a true perk to being in the Pacific Northwest are all the new destinations waiting for us to explore! I started my new job in August and I am so, so happy in my new position as an outpatient dietitian! We lost Granny in early September and I still fell like I'm trying to wrap my head around the immense loss. In October, we made our first visit to California. California, we love you and promise to be back soon! David's sister moved to Washington in November along with her charming boyfriend and we are so, so glad to have family close by again! And, December felt like a month long holiday celebration with family visits, time away in Easton, and festive gatherings that made us merry and our lives brighter.

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Our goals for 2012 include: starting my treatment regimen writing more- both here and for magazines finishing up David's surgery intern year and starting radiology! teaching Jack how to use the potty transitioning Jack from his crib to his big boy bed running another half-marathon allowing ourselves to just. be. happy. It appears that we- Americans- tend to see happiness as a sign of laziness or as a fleeting moment that ends while we are busy moving to the next item on our invisible to-do lists. Well, I don't know about you, but I like to be happy. I plan to make searching and holding onto happiness one of my most important goals this year. 20120101-085218.jpg

Happy New Year to all of you! I hope your year is full of peace, hope, love, and good health. 20120101-085240.jpg

*top and bottom photos were taken on January 1st at Kerry Park viewpoint in one of our most favorite areas of Seattle. I would like to point out that the day was warm (57 degrees), sunny and clear- see the view of the Space Needle and Mt. Rainier??!

**other photos from our New Year's Eve celebration...note the 3 drinks in front of David! We rang in the New Year with the Central Time Zone by banging pots and pans with wooden spoons on our deck.