A Surprise Visit.
June was kind of a weird month. We had all sorts of wonderful summer fun, but Casey also had a lot of work travel. He went to Atlanta, New York City, Los Angeles, and did a long-ish stint in Europe. Travel is just part of his job, and it tends to sort of ebb and flow – some months there is a lot, and then there might be a stretch of a month or two with no travel at all. We go with the flow and make the most of all our wonderful time as a family of four, and when he’s gone I take lots of deep breaths and try to enjoy the extra responsibilities – like reading books to Cullen at bedtime (usually dad’s job!).
The thing about work travel though, is that in order to prepare for visiting clients and doing business, the days leading up to travel usually involve really long hours. All of this is to say that by the end of June, Casey and I were both really burnt out.
He spent a few days in NYC, and then came home and worked non-stop for a week. That week happened to be a week where my two year old pushed every button and struck every nerve. You other mamas know what I mean? Man, I remember saying out loud at his second birthday party, “this whole terrible two’s thing isn’t so bad!” And one of my friends with an older little girl smiled and said, “give it ‘til two and a half.” You win, Carly, you win. Obviously he’s a great kid, but day after day of two kids and endless battles had just worn.me.out.
On Friday morning, the day before Casey was set to head off to Europe, I said to him – “I have never felt this worn out going into a long stretch alone. This is usually how I feel afterward!” And then I went about my day – chasing the kids around, dicing up blueberries and grapes, and getting things together to help Casey get ready for his trip.
That night, we had a fun open house event to go to at Field Roast (where we got a factory tour – super cool, but no photos allowed – wah!), so I picked up Casey after work and we all headed down together. Graham screamed the whole way, and after an hour of bad traffic Cullen was super whiny (couldn’t really blame either of them). I did a lot of deep breathing.
We parked and Casey handed me a card and said, “I have a present for you.” This was huge because I LOVE CARDS – they are my favorite gift in the world. I started to read the front and began to cry, and then I read the message inside and began to sob. And then a piece of paper floated out, and my eyes darted all over the page trying to figure out what it was. It took about ten seconds for me to register that it was a plane ticket. With my sister’s name on it. For the following morning.
And then I completely lost it.
Big fat tears falling down my cheeks, and a husband looking a tad concerned. I finally blubbered out an “I AM SO HAPPPPPPY” and I think he was both relieved and excited. It was the best surprise ever, and I am so eternally grateful to both of them for coming together to do something so nice for me. Work travel is no fun but the perks of having a million frequent flier miles sure does help ease the time spent apart.
And just like that, less than 24 hours later my favorite little sister was back in Seattle, and we were off to all our old stomping grounds together. (For newer readers, Sarah spent two summers living in Seattle with us during college!) First stop – Golden Gardens Beach!
Followed by an evening of Revel takeout and hours of chatting on the couch. Nothing better!
Sunday morning was overcast and cool, and perfect for hitting up our favorite breakfast joint and then strolling along the Burke-Gilman Trail. We walked over to Gasworks Park – Sarah’s favorite spot in Seattle – and we had the place almost entirely to ourselves.
I brought a blanket to crawl on for my little guy, and a ball to toss for my big guy, and we hung out for a few hours. Cullen is a BIG Aunt Sarah fan.
I love this picture so much.
Because it reminds me so much of this picture from two summers ago (when Cullen was almost exactly Graham’s age!).
And of course, in between games of catch she did lots of snuggling with Graham too. It’s funny to think that this is the age that Cullen was when Sarah spent her first summer with us. So much has changed!
Me and my sweet peanut – enjoying the beautiful views of the city and park, and relishing in all the unexpected family time. (New cardigan from Stitchfix that I love – it has a HOOD!)
When I found out Sarah was coming, I texted my babysitter to see if she was up for a last minute gig. I thought it might be nice for Sarah to get to go out and enjoy Seattle for a few non-kid-related activities. Thankfully, she was – so we had a fun girls’ night out!
We had a delicious dinner at Monsoon in Capitol Hill, and then walked across the street to Seattle’s newest MUST: Hello Robin. Let me explain. To preface, there is Molly Moon’s Ice Cream, which is Seattle’s famously amazing ice cream shop. There are all sorts of unique and wonderful flavors like balsamic strawberry, honey lavendar, or kombucha sorbet.
Well as if amazing ice cream wasn’t good enough, Molly and some (cookie baking) friends partnered together to open up Hello Robin. It is a fresh cookie bakery that has a walk-up Molly Moon’s window. But the beauty lies within the ice cream sandwich…
Omggggggg. You have never tasted decadence quite like this. We both got the whole wheat chocolate chip with sea salt cookies, with vanillia bean sandwiched in between. Our cookies came hot out of the oven, which kicked up the awesome factor by one million percent. By the last bite I was claiming I could never eat again, and by the next morning I was already plotting a return trip.
And speaking of the next morning – Monday was gorgeous and sunny and one of those perfect Seattle days that leaves you feeling so grateful for all of the beauty here. Casey and I had been to Carkeek Park a few weeks ago for the first time (and loved it!), and I knew it was a spot that Sarah would love too.
Breathtaking views in every direction, and only a handful of other people there in the early morning.
The beach can be a hard activity by myself with both boys, and this one in particular requires descending a really long, steep metal staircase. I was so grateful to have extra hands for wrangling kids, filling dump trucks, and wiping sandy fingers before snack time.
The beach is also sort of a tough activity for a crawling, sand-eating eight month old. Graham was a really great sport and hung out with me in the Stokke carrier. I danced around and sang songs and played with his feet, and all four of us had a blast.
It was Sarah’s last day with us before an early Tuesday morning departure, and since the boys both took good afternoon naps, we decided to go for it and have one last adventure. We slapped on the sunscreen, loaded up the stroller, and headed to Greenlake for this summer’s inaugural dip into the wading pool.
Graham’s first time!
And certainly not his last. He loved it, and I can’t wait to take him again next time in swim gear. Thank goodness these summer days are so long, because we sure do love to pack as much into them as we can.
Sarah left early Tuesday morning, and Casey was back mid-day on the Fourth of July, which meant that I had a much more manageable solo stretch after she headed back home. I filled my mornings with plans, prayed for good naps, and caught up with lots of friends on the phone.
Dad came home and we all celebrated a festive and firework-filled Fourth together!
And then less than 24 hours later, poor Casey turned right back around and headed to the airport again. But this time – we tagged along! He had back to back business trips, the second being in Cincinnati (my hometown!). So rather than be away from dad for several weeks in a row, we opted to tag along and visit with all our friends and family in Ohio this week (including seeing Sarah again for one night!).
We are having a great week and the kids are being spoiled silly by Grandma (which is also spoiling me, because I have so much help). Next up – talking about traveling and feeding kids on vacation!