family camping

ross and i have a secret camping spot that we like to visit for short, one-nighter type trips.  i don’t actually think it’s secret at all, but it’s secluded, and feels like we’re out backpacking while really being just a few hundred feet from the car. (the pics below are circa 2007, when rose was just a mere pup.)

sadly, we’ve only been camping once since jonah was born.  we snuck away for a short trip last year for our anniversary up in shenandoah national park, bookended with an avett brothers concert and horseback riding at a friend’s parents’ house.

and then this summer goes and decides to be the wettest in the history of time, and there just haven’t been too many dry weekends where we didn’t already have something going on.  so we’re trying to make a go of it tonight – although the weather again doesn’t look like it will cooperate.  which means that we may get as far as piling a bunch of camping stuff by the door only to sit and watch through the window as it pours down rain.

but whenever the weather finally cooperates enough for us to go, i think we’ve gotten jonah sufficiently stoked for the event.  when talking about what camping is (me: “…going to the forest and sleeping outside – would you like to do that?”  jonah:  “oooh, yes!”) i mentioned that he’d get to sleep in a sleeping bag (really just a warm sleep sack) and he promptly ran and pulled his out and carried it around with him this morning.  that’s m’boy.


we’ll just see how it goes


i go to my own blog every day.

i don’t visit to read my own posts, or, quite obviously, to write posts, but to access my daily allotment of blog reading (all those links on the side?  i pretty much read most of those on a daily/weekly basis).  but i just couldn’t look at a year+ old post heading anymore.  so with no plan whatsoever, i’m blogging again.  i had intended to do something new and exciting, something a lot more garden focused.  but i just realized that i can’t limit myself to one thing.  as soon as i said “hey, this is a garden blog now!” i’d want to write about cooking.  or my kid.  or something we’re trying to overhaul at the house.  and then i’d get worked up because i’d backed myself into a corner and put all this pressure on myself to write about only one thing.

so i just decided to not do that.  i’ve missed blogging not because i ever had any blog traffic, but because it was actually a pretty easy way of documenting my life.  something i haven’t been doing so well at lately.  i used to be such a devoted journal-er, but that has slipped into the “just don’t have time for that” category.

so now i’m just going to write when i can and not limit myself to posts about any particular topic, posts that have a million edited pictures, or even regular posts.  and we’ll just see how it goes.


trail days


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big red’s inaugural trip.

on probably one of the prettiest days i can remember so far this year, we loaded up the car and drove a few miles south to the draper area of pulaski.  the new river trail follows an old railroad line, and just two miles south of the draper connection, the trail parallels the new river.

this stretch was mostly shaded, yet broke free of the trees in several places, some of them yielding some pretty killer views of the river.

there were also lots of bridges, this one being one of the most beautiful and elaborate.

as you can tell, jonah had some “help” fitting into the trailer:  he was sitting on a folded towel, given head support by his snuzzler, barricaded in by more towels and blankets on either side of him, and finally strapped in with the trailers built in straps.  whew.

we hadn’t anticipated that the trail would be a dirt path  (a section we’ve ridden before at the other end of the trail was paved), so he got jostled around a lot more than i would’ve liked.

we also didn’t anticipate just how out of shape ross was (haha! love you!) – pulling the weight of the bike trailer + jonah + our lunch across a grassy path wore ross out a little sooner than we thought.  but no worries – we stopped at a shady pavilion, ate some lunch, lounged around, and then headed back.

so, the first family bike trip went well, and we couldn’t have asked for a better day.

headin out with big red


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ross and i aren’t camp-every-weekend kinda people, but we definitely end up hitting the trail several times a year.  last year we only went once (due to pregnancy) and this year we’ve been ZERO times (due to baby).  sadness.

we’re starting to realize that camping as we know it may have to change for the next few years:  backpacking in to a campsite and hiking double digit mileage just isn’t going to be feasible with a baby.  or even a toddler.  either are our multiple canoe trips we’ve gotten used to doing over the last few years.  in fact, the closest we’ve gotten to nature this summer was a hike up to the cascades, a walk around pandapas pond, and a few stroller rides down the huckleberry trail. unacceptable.

but thankfully, our area has so many outdoor options that we just needed to brainstorm some new family friendly options to get out and enjoy the new cooler weather we’ve been having lately.

so how about a bike trip?  but we hit a roadblock there too – where do we put the little guy?  as advanced as he is with fine motor skills, he hasn’t quite ditched his training wheels.  i kid – he hasn’t even mastered sitting up!   so i started to hunt for bike trailers – little  enclosed “pods” that have bike wheels and hitch to the back of a bike to be pulled along.  a quick amazon search revealed that these can easily go for over $200 – not in the budget.  a quick craigslist search revealed that, just as with most things i’m hunting down on craigslist, our area didn’t have anything, but i found several on the richmond craigslist.  not knowing when we’d be out to my parents’ next, and not wanting the hassle of hauling it 3.5 hours back home, we kept looking in our area.  and then ross had the bright idea to call Once Upon a Child – bingo.  they had just gotten one in that morning and had priced it at $80 – much better.  so i ran out there over my lunch break to snag it up and we were in business.  she’s not the sleekest sister at the ball, but she was brand new and in good condition.  meet big red:

the front wheel comes off and a bar pulls out from the bottom to hitch to our bikes.  and with the weather looking great for this weekend, we’ll head out to the new river trail for a twenty-something mile family jaunt.

yes, this is the mini-van version of biking, but it’s something outdoorsy we can do as a family for many years, so we’re stoked.  and since jonah loves to be outside, i think he’s going to get a huge kick out of this.  i’ll be sure to snap some pics of our adventure.

nursery novel: 4 months in


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so now that jonah is over 4 months into life, i thought i’d do a quick follow up nursery post to highlight a few little changes that have taken place over time.

and this little corner holds most of them

change #1.  we received these leather bookend animals (they’re heavy!) as a baby gift from family friends and we loove them.

and here’s the hippos right hand man – giraffe.

change #2.  when i saw this poster, i just knew it had to go in jonah’s room.  the backstory on this is that it was used as a promo flyer for a church doing a series on the book of jonah.  so i blew it up, had it printed, and framed it.

a mucho talented friend from college knitted this for jonah and i’m absolutely busting waiting for it to get cold enough for him to wear it.

we also swapped out the picture over the crib (its new home is opposite the jonah poster) with this poster ross has had for a million years.

it looked fun and boyish and i actually thought the big tall glass of milk and the title “In the Night Kitchen” was a fun way to think of what I am to jonah at 4am when he gets up to eat 🙂

and finally, the jonah wordle.  i put this together before jonah was born, but since we didn’t know if baby wilsie would be a he or a she, i couldn’t print it until he made his appearance.  more or less, i just took the text from the book of Jonah, chose our nursery colors, and generated this print.

oh yeah, did you notice the little guy in the picture the first time?

hi little baby.  in the mornings he loves hanging out on his hokie fleece (thanks aunt kristen!) or in his crib.  just chillin out, talking to himself, and throwing out smiles like candy.

so that’s about it for the nursery as of now.  surprisingly we did a pretty good job at anticipating what we would need and where we would need it to be stored.  the desk turned changing table has worked out even better than i could have hoped, the chair and ottoman have gotten lots of use, and the storage drawer under the crib has been the perfect place for blankets and sheets.  and although he could really care less about style and design, i think jonah loves his space as well.

is this a female thing?

a few weeks ago, i made a realization into the difference between ross and i – perhaps this is true for more than just us?

the realization is this:   at almost every moment of the day, i’ve got a to-do list scrolling through my brain.  made up of a combination of work stuff, house chores, house projects, life goals, errands, and now with jonah here, a list of things i want to do/remember/capture/memorialize.  sometimes it stresses me out – but most of the time it just makes me feel productive and useful.  i mean, literally,  i’m simultaneously thinking about grocery lists, my savings account balance, designing my dream house, and the clients whose incomes i need to verify.

ross, on the other hand, most certainly does not have this list running around in his head and is quite often overwhelmed by mine.

maybe i’m genetically programmed to follow proverbs 31.27:  “she watches over the affairs of her household  and does not eat the bread of idleness” ?



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things happening in life lately

1. best friends in town for a long 4th of july weekend

2. playing with this little guy

even if it’s just to watch him sleep

3.  attempting to keep the garden alive

4. family in town to visit

5. and beginning last week, i’m back to work.  only 3 days a week right now, which is a blessing, but it didn’t make dropping jonah off with the babysitter any easier.  i was pretty much a mess the whole day, but i really do love my job, so hopefully i can find a good balance between work and jonah and everything else going on in life.  it’s been pretty busy around here but the long days of summer help me feel like i can fit in everything i need to.

from last weekend


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got a few things done over memorial day weekend last week.  i daily go through the mental struggle of loving this laid back domestic life i’ve had over the past two months (just learning how to be a mother and doing stuff around the house and garden) and the desire to rev things up a bit a lot.  for example, i’ve had the urge recently to literally bag up my entire closet, donate it to goodwill and then hit up every store in sight for a crazier, edgier wardrobe.  on top of that i want to walk into the nearest salon and say “have your way with me!” –  still considering both of those options.  but in the meantime i’m also very content with this slower paced mom-life (if only i could continue doing this and continue picking up my paycheck every 2 weeks. siiiigh.)

baked some chocolate chip scones that didn’t really turn out as expected but were edible enough

grabbed a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store for dinner one night last week and after finishing off the bird, dropped the whole thing in a stock pot with some veggies and herbs and cooked it down into chicken stock

the beginnings of chicken salad

it was a bright sunny day, so i laid out all the cloth dipes for a nice bleach in the sun

the front porch right now