What a weekend!  I felt like we did so much, and yet somehow still felt refreshed and relaxed at the end of it (despite my swelling ankles!).  Casey had to work on Friday, but it still felt like a longer weekend since we got to spend Thursday together celebrating the Fourth

Friday night we continued our grill-a-thon.  We bought it last weekend and have grilled almost every night since.  I never want to turn on the stove again!  Cullen ran around in the yard and ate dirt while I prepped our dinner spread. 

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And then we got to grilling.  In culinary school, we had an entire class focused just on grilling and deep-frying, but the skills I learned then don’t really apply to a backyard grill.  We learned a lot about technique, which helps, but it mostly applied to large commercial kitchen grills that are quite different from our little setup on the deck.  Also – we grilled mostly meat.

So what I’m saying is, I’m kind of a rookie with this!  But so far I’m loving it.  I’m burning things less each day, and learning the hot spots and quirks of our particular grill.  Since it’s just the three of us, we didn’t need a big monster taking over the deck.  This compact gas model is the perfect size for us!

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On the menu – vegan black bean burgers – our favorites!

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Yellow and white corn on the cob, and grilled asparagus…

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Dirt was the appetizer.

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I’ve been dragging Cullen’s high chair outside and we’ve been eating al fresco every night – I’m obsessed.  This dinner was our best grilling yet!

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I picked up these brioche hamburger buns from Seattle’s Macrina Bakery.  I don’t use this term lightly or often but – OMG.  I hate when buns are too heavy and all you taste is bread, rather than the burger or hot dog within.  These buns were amazing and I am never buying anything else again. 

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Bean burger topped with butter lettuce, fresh tomato, and an alarming amount of ketchup.  I’m pretty sure I ate this in one full swoop because I could.not.put.it.down. 

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Cullen wouldn’t touch the burger (typical), but got really into his corn on the cob.  He even ate a few pieces of asparagus once I told him they were “beans.” 

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We were up and out the door early on Saturday.  Casey made us pancakes and then we headed to Greenlake for a family walk.  We looped three miles with Cullen in the stroller before letting him get out and walk the last quarter mile or so.  It was absolutely gorgeous outside, even at 9am when Seattle still usually has a morning chill. 

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After a very peaceful stroller ride, he earned a good hour on the playground.  Lots of swinging and sandbox digging ensued. 

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I haven’t been lugging my big camera around with us much anymore – mostly out of pure laziness – but I’m trying to be more mindful to bring it from time to time.  I don’t want to bombard people with camera clicking and posing, but I also know how much I love to go back and read about our weekend adventures on a gloomy, rainy day.  This weekend, I was glad I had it on hand.  Accidental twins!

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After the playground, we headed to Eltana Bagels for a family lunch.  Cullen and I had actually checked this place out the day before after barre class, but I wanted to go back with Casey since I knew he’d love it.  HOW did I not know about the wood-fired bagel place during my first trimester?? 

I adore bagels, but Cullen and Casey don’t eat much (really, any) dairy, which can make it a hard sell sometimes since most places just carry cream cheese spreads.  Eltana has cream cheeses, but they also have an extensive menu of both savory and sweet non-dairy spreads too, not to mention salads, egg dishes, and soups!  I got an everything bagel with caramelized onion hummus and a big bowl of lentil soup. 

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Back at home, it was nap time for Cullen and garage time for mom and dad.  Tackling our frightening garage was the last big home-project remaining since we moved in a little over a month ago.  There was a mountain of crap sitting in the middle – left there since moving day – that we’ve been avoiding touching (or even looking at) until now.  But I was determined we needed to tackle it sooner than later, as our summer calendar is about to heat up! 

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I got started by dragging every single item out into our driveway and organizing it into piles, while Casey finished up a bit of work.  Once he was done, he came out and started all the tough manual labor – hauling stuff down to the basement, hanging bikes, etc. 

As I moved things around the driveway, I looked over and saw I had been joined by two friends.  You know you live in Seattle when there are backyard chickens wandering into your yard. 

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The chicks were hilarious, and ended up hanging out with us for about three hours.  They definitely picked the right house too.  I had to lock my dogs up (they were going INSANE!), and defend them from a very determined neighborhood cat.  Eventually, they decided they were quite comfortable with us and they laid down and perched on our new tool shelves – while I hoped someone would notice they were gone and coming looking for them!

Three hours later, the garage was organized and clean!  (Ten points if you can spot the chickens.) 

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After a few hours, we were done in the garage and Cullen was waking up, and I didn’t know what to do about these darn chickens!  The cat was still prowling around, so they weren’t willing to leave the back corner of my garage.  I tried shooing them out toward (what I thought was) their house, but we just went in circles.  Eventually I got brave and crept up behind them to pick them up (one at a time), and hand-deliver them home.  I missed them once they were gone!  Maybe some day we’ll get some chicks of our own…

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With our chick friends safely back across the street and a hungry toddler yapping in his crib, Casey and I packed up the car to get ready for a family picnic at Golden Gardens Park. 

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Anyone in Seattle can tell you that sandwiches from Paseo’s are a THING here.  And yet, it is a thing that we haven’t tried in the 2+ years we’ve lived here!  It was time to change that.  We waited in the very long line (that is always there), and then waited even longer for our sandwiches to be ready, and then we picked them up and headed to the beach!

Casey and I both got the Tofu Delight sandwich – organic firm tofu, garlic tapenade, aioli, fresh cilantro, pickled jalapenos, romaine lettuce, and gigantic caramelized onions.  It was a total mess, and it was totally delicious. 

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I didn’t order one for Cullen because whenever I do, he inevitably won’t eat a single bite.  So I brought him some leftover food and fruit from home instead.  And then he proceeded to devour our sandwiches bite after bite.  It never fails. 

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Giant tub of watermelon from home for dessert…

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I did order Cullen a small rice and black bean side dish, which he surprised me by gobbling down as well. 

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At one point I asked him to share some of the watermelon he was hoarding, and he proceeded to jam an entire fist-full in my mouth before I knew what had even happened. 

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It was an absolutely gorgeous night at the beach, and there were families picnicking and sunbathing all over the sand and grass.  I could have stayed there for hours!

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I wasn’t sure how Cullen would feel about a picnic, and I knew at his current age he’d likely spend the whole time running away from our blanket.  I quickly discovered that as long as he had his own beach chair, he was happy to stay put.  So Cullen got my big cozy chair and I parked it in the grass.  The things we do for the kiddos we love. 

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But the kisses we get in return make it all more than worth it.

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A perfect Saturday spent with the people I love most. 

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I ended up leaving my camera at home on Sunday, since I’d already captured so much the day before.  But it was another great family day with more strolling, more grilling, and somehow walking six miles over the course of the day.  My feet are feeling it today! 

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We have a crazy week coming up, leading up to a big weekend for me – a trip away by myself!  More on that to come, and a few other fun posts planned in the meantime.  Happy Monday!