The end of 2012 was very busy as we geared up for the holidays, and I prepared to move Pedestrian Creative into its new Pioneer Square office space.
Over the holidays we took a short getaway to Phoenix, Arizona to dry out and somewhat warm up. The weather was fairly agreeable but not super warm. We mostly hung out in our epic Marriott hotel, which had a pool and lazy river. We visited the nearby zoo (stellar), train park (fun), and Sedona (epic), the latter voted best of trip.
Our Christmas was pretty quiet, spent at home opening gifts and playing with fun new things.
The kids had a fun Fall and were well on their way making new friends at their new Preschool. We spent the last of the dry days hiking and playing outside.
The kids took their very first school pictures at their Preschool.
Right before Halloween we took a trip to the Pumpkin Patch with Stacy, Shane, Wyeth and baby Owen. Then we carved the pumpkins (Jacob did his own design!).
We are looking forward to Spring- warmer, dryer weather; a visit from Grandad; our Capoeira Batizado; and Jacob’s birthday shortly after.
Tom’s mum Charmian came out for what is becoming her annual Fall visit this year over my birthday. Last year at this time we were moving house (read: chaos) so this time we wanted to plan a nice getaway for the family. We decided on a waterfront house near La Conner, Washington over my birthday weekend. The weather was exceptionally warm and sunny, in fact, it was gorgeous for all of Grandma Charmian’s visit. The kids and dogs had a great time- the rocky beach had tons of driftwood to play with and the nearby Farmer’s Market and hikes at Deception Pass kept us busy. We decided to return to Seattle by way of Whidbey Island and took the Ferry boat which is always fun for the kids.
Evie wearing Jacob’s tracksuit top!
Every night had incredible sunsets.
The kids making ‘fish face’.
The vacation was much needed as I recently launched my design studio Pedestrian Creative, LLC with my business partner and have been working more hours doing design along with coaching at the gym. The business is going great and I’ve been able to also continue doing design for the gym, which I love.
The kids have also been busy with their activities. Evie started soccer and Jacob is now participating in soccer, capoeira AND gymnastics. He’s also taking swim lessons with his school. He is a very active kid and so far is handling it all well…actually he loves each activity.
Right now we are planning our holiday events and any future travels. We are hoping for some mountain adventure this year as well as an early spring trip to Hawaii.
We have had quite the summer over here. Lots of events and changes! Jacob and Evie started their new school, We are the World, in June. Jacob is now in a full-time Pre-K program and Evie in the Toddler day care program at the same location. It is really great as they get to spend some time together but have separate classes. They had no trouble transitioning to full-time, and love their school and teachers. They quickly made friends, and get to experience all kinds of things as the school takes them on a TON of field trips. They’ve only been there two months and have already been to the zoo, aquarium, the movies, Bainbridge Island via ferry, and to many local parks. Next week Jacob’s class is going to the NorthWest Trek! Occasionally myself or Tom will join along, but both of us are working quite a bit so it isn’t always possible. I started coaching preschoolers gymnastics at Seattle Gymnastics Academy part-time, along with doing all the companies design work (which is A LOT, and super great work to boot). I enjoy working with kids, especially with fitness, and it is great to get away from the computer screen for a while. I have also teamed up with another fellow Seattle designer to start a small Design company called Pedestrian Creative. Pretty soon we will launch our website and will be open for business. This pretty much means both Tom and I are working full time.
Every year in June we take a triple-celebratory trip for Evie’s birthday, father’s day, and our wedding anniversary. This year we drove up near the Cascade mountains and stayed in a cabin near Lake Wenatchee, about 30 minutes southeast from the could-be-cheesy-but-is-actually-pretty-cool Bavarian mountain town Leavenworth. Since we’ve only lived in Seattle about 20 months, we have experienced few of the Pacific Northwest beauties. Lake Wenatchee is certainly one of them. The weather was incredibly warm yet comfortable on the beach. The kids played in the sand and the dogs were even allowed to swim on the south end of the beach.
We were a half hour from Leavenworth where we head for brats, chocolates, and extra tubes of sunscreen (no joke, Evie is white like a short stick o chalk). Evie scored a cute pink hat to cover her blond dome. There is even a family-friendly outdoor pool that was ace when it got too hot.
On June 26th our little Evie turned 2! We prepped her for weeks on how to respond to the ‘how old are you?’ question. Most of the time she answered ’1′, or ’3′…never ’2′. Even now she varies her answer. Last week she told Tom she was 26! She was really excited about her celebration and thinks it should happen every week. She really got into writing her thank-you cards.
We thought it would be fun to take the ferry to Bainbridge Island for Father’s Day. It was fun, but that was one cold picnic on the beach! The kids made cards and presents for Tom for Father’s Day and we (kind of) let him sleep in. And there was coffee and bacon, but that is pretty normal at our house!
We heard a lot of great stuff about Discovery Park out in the Magnolia neighborhood so we decided to drive out there and spend the day hiking through the trails and checking out the views. The kids did an amazing job- both hiked nearly the whole 2 1/2 miles, up and down flights of stairs no less!
On May 3rd Jacob turned 4! We had a big birthday batch at the Mt.Baker Community Center. Our friend Eli came to play music for the kids and our own Capoeira group Fenix Fitness performed. We had so much fun with all of our friends.
Tom’s dad Andrew came to visit and to celebrate Jacob’s birthday. It is always great to see Grandad and the kids are always sad when he leaves. On this visit we went to the Seattle Aquarium!
At the very end of our Spring, Jacob and I received our cords at the Capoeira Candeias Batizado at Fenix Fitness. We both started taking classes there in March. They are a wonderful group! I am so proud of him and excited to play capoeira with him. He’s a natural!
Anyone who has lived in Seattle long enough can tell you that March is a perfect time to go on vacation. Our winter brings rain and grey days, and although most people begin anticipating Spring around March, Seattle isn’t ready yet. If you go out of town for a few weeks in early Spring to get a break from the wet, a bit of rain on and off when you return is no big thing.
Now, most people decide to go somewhere warm and tropical, say, Hawaii. Our original plan WAS to go to one of the islands, but instead we decided to take a trip near family. Tom’s mum Charmian has a friend with a house in the South of France, and she graciously allowed our family, along with Charmian, and Tom’s brother Sam’s family, to stay in her holiday home. So for two weeks this March, the Hobbs family vacationed in Montazels, France.
There was a risk that the weather in France would be equal to Spring in Seattle. In fact, on our arrival we were met first with a torrent of rain, but a day later it turned warm, sunny and clear, and stayed that way for the duration of our visit. This allowed us to spend a lot of time outdoors, which was wonderful for the kids.
Montazels is in the Aude region of France, with the nearby Rennes-le-Château made famous by popularity of Dan Brown‘s bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code. In fact, we were told that the actual house we stayed in was the house the 19th-century priest Bérenger Saunière lived in.
This is the Aude region of Southern France:
The village of Montazels is a quiet, small town with epic skies, mountain views, and a peaceful river running through the valley. The local grocery and shops were a perfect distance for a morning stroll, and the nearby hills and mountain terrain challenged Emily and I with our hikes and runs.
The house was connected to a row of houses so it was three levels tall and had a long back garden. It was a great environment to house 2 full families and grandma, and still allowed for a sense of privacy as well as communal gathering spaces. Since the weather was so beautiful, we spent a large part of our time out in the back garden.
Emily out the window:
The back garden, view from the back fence:
Jen gives Evie a tickle:
Uncle Sam gives Jacob a tickle:
Jacob helped out with the weeding:
Grandma Charmian only spent the weekend, but had a great time with the kids:
Evie was unsure about Cora in the beginning, but they were fast friends by the end of the trip:
Jacob received many surprises from Grandma Charmian and Sam and Emily:
Typical Evie posture (her current motto: ‘I don’t want to’ as an answer to everything):
Auntie Jen eating breakfast with Cora (Evie allowed it this time):
Here is a video of Jacob and Evie playing ‘Round and Round the Garden’ with Cora:
Breakfast in the house (lots of croissants!):
Jacob took photos too. Here is a self-portrait:
The highlight of the evening (or morning) was running around the (dry) fountain in the center of the village:
Feeding the ducks in the river:
At the ‘hippie’ market Esperaza. This was our Sunday event. Lots of people watching. It has a very Johnny Depp-vibe to it (I was waiting for him to show up actually).
Filing up water and playing in the paddling pool at Alet-les-Bains:
Visiting the the fortified Cité de Carcassonne:
Swimming and playing in the lake at Puivert:
It was a loooong day:
We spent a lot of time in Rennes-les-Bains. They had an outdoor public pool, a walk along the river where we picnic and play in the water.
We were so sad to leave Sam, Emily, Cora, and Charmian. The kids still miss them weeks later. I am already eager to plan the next trip…maybe Portugal next time (at least I will know some of the language this time). Luckily, we returned home to amazing weather. Seattle is doing it right this year…lots of Spring sunshine with small bits of rain to keep the plants satisfied.
Now we are gearing up for a busy month. Next weekend Jacob and I will receive a Capoeira cord at Fenix Fintess’ Batizado. Anyone can come and watch. It’s at 3:30 on Saturday the 28th of April. This week I have workshops with guest artist:
The week after the batizado Tom’s dad Andrew will come for a 3 week visit. The kids are so excited to see grandad and are talking about it all the time. There is also another BIG EVENT that week. Jacob is turning 4! I can’t believe he is a big little guy now. We are having a birthday party at the Mt. Baker Community Clubhouse on Sunday, May 6th. Yay Jacob!
Tomorrow we are off to France for two weeks. Tom’s mum has a friend with a house near Carcassonne that we will be staying in with Sam, Emily, Cora, and Tom’s mum. We haven’t seen Cora since she was 6 months old, so it will be great to see her walking and starting to talk. I am excited to see the cousins interact and hope the weather plays nice so we can have some much needed outdoor time.
I haven’t researched much about France, and even though I’ve lived in Europe, this is my first visit to the country. All I really know is that Carcassonne has this gigantic castle, which I’m sure will amuse the kids.
Most Seattlites will tell you that it is imperative to take a vacation around March in order to survive the raining season up here. This year isn’t as wet as last year and when the sun decides to come out, Seattle is breathtaking. Usually people book trips to Hawaii or somewhere south and warm, but we want to take our time off to visit with family so this shared holiday to France is just what we need.
We’ve been keeping busy over the winter by playing at the indoor gymnastics playground, going to soccer class, and Jacob just started Capoeira, which he has taken too amazingly well.
Evie and our pal Alder, who I watch on Thursdays, accompany us to soccer and have fun playing while Jacob is in class.
And thanks to Tom’s mum, we have a membership at Seattle’s Children’s Museum where we retreat to on rainy days.
We’ve been preparing for spring by sowing our vegetable seeds for our P-patch. Seattle has small garden spaces around the city that you can garden in, and we were just awarded a tiny 75 square foot space. We are also hoping to plant some vegetables around our garden. The kids had a lot of fun planting the seeds.
Hopefully we will be able to plant the sprouts soon after our trip to France, although if the recent on-again-off-again snowy weather is any indication of things to come, we may be waiting until May. We had a few epic snow falls and crisp days this winter– hilariously these snowfalls close down the city (ok, it is somewhat understandable as the city is pretty hilly, but people get downright apocalyptic at the sight of a snowflake over here). The kids enjoy watching the snow fall, and if it accumulates, they love to play in it.
Usually the snow brings crisp skies and views of the far off mountains. We can even see Mt. Rainier from our bedroom window!
Snowflakes aside I can say we are ready for spring and the lovely long days that summer brings.
Happy Holidays! This year we are staying in Seattle for the holidays, and although we will not have any family members joining us, we will be celebrating with our closest friends. On Christmas Eve we are having our first party in our new home. Christmas day we will join up with the Nelson’s at their house with their visiting family. For Tom’s birthday this year (a few days before Christmas) we will take a day trip to the mountains to play in the snow.
This morning we made our Christmas cookies. I say that like we do it every year…the thing is, this is the first time we’ve ever made Christmas cookies. Tom was a bit overwhelmed with the colors and sprinkles, but of course I reminded him that indeed, we are in America and this is how we do things here (the English don’t do Christmas cookies, they do things like minced pies, which actually don’t have minced meat in them but things like figs…go figure). Jacob helped make the dough and cut out the majority of the cookies himself (hence the very ‘homemade’ look). He also iced about half of the cookies (this is where I admit I gave the broken ones to him to ‘practice on’). His cookies actually looked about as good as mine did, with a few exceptions.
Even daddy helped out by icing a few cookies.
We also went downtown to Macy’s and Jacob sat on Santa’s lap and told him what he wanted for Christmas. Evie wanted absolutely NOTHING to do with that. Hence Jacob flying solo in the photo.
On the way home we stopped at the top of the Children’s Museum to check out the massive train display. I figured I can bring my laptop here next week and get some work done while the kids watch the scene. Really, if it was just Jacob I could probably get away with it. It IS in a food court…with bathrooms.
This year we got our Christmas tree at Swanson’s Nursery. It is a living tree and we are keeping it nice and cold on the balcony until a few days before Christmas when we will bring it in the house to stand tall above the presents. After the holidays we will donate the tree and it will be planted in Carkeek Park. I believe this is a start of a new family tradition.
Fall has been lovely in the new house/neighborhood. Our street and nearby Judkins Park have many mature trees and lovely fall leaves. We’ve enjoyed exploring the new neighborhood and have met many friendly and cool neighbors.
As Evie is now talking and walking, the kids are starting to play together more. Evie will pull trains along the track with Jacob and they both will play with their babies.
Near the end of Fall, we had a family photoshoot at Gas Works Park. Some of the pics are a bit dorky, but all in all we got a few cute shots. At least now we have a few photos of all four of us together.
Other Fall activities included a trip to the pumpkin patch and, of course, Trick or Treating on Halloween. Grandma Charmian was visiting from England just before Halloween and was able to come along with us and the Nelsons to the pumpkin patch.
We went Trick or Treating with our friend Isadora and her mom Katie in Columbia City. Isa and her mommy were pirates, and Jacob and Evie were monkeys (I was a banana, but the costume was pretty short lived). We got home just in time for it to be dark and for daddy to take the kids on a neighborhood Trick or Treat with our adorable neighbor Bryn and her daddy.
2011 rounded out to an eventful and busy year. We are looking forward to all the wonderful things that 2012 brings, hopefully to all!
It’s official- we just bought a house. We are getting the keys at the end of the week and will be moving this and next weekend. We are really excited, although sad to leave our Columbia City neighborhood. The new house is in the Judkins Park neighborhood, in the Central District not far from Madrona. We were drawn to the area as it is just as diverse as Columbia City and it has beautiful parks and great schools.
The house is a modern three-story 4-star Built Green house sharing a wall and a city lot with a single-story 1900 bungalow (we will live in the new dwelling, another family lives in the small farmhouse). It sits in the space of the old driveway, its new walkway reusing the broken concrete from the driveway. The house has solar tubes for hot water, dual-flush toilets, heated floors, and was built with locally-sourced and reclaimed materials.
Here are some news articles written about the house when it was built in 2007:
This all comes at the end of a lovely summer here in Seattle. We had a lot of sun and warm nights which is a big change from a San Francisco summer. We took a trip to Orcas Island for Evie’s first birthday at the end of June. Jacob was so excited to take a ferry.
We stayed in Judd Cove, near Eastsound. It was a beautiful weekend.
The kids and the dogs had a blast playing in the water.
Jacob collected a lot of rocks and shells.
And we were able to spend time at the beach nearby.
And we hiked up high for a view of all the Islands.
We celebrated Evie’s first birthday at a wonderful restaurant, which made her a special birthday treat.
In August and September Tom’s dad Andrew came for a visit.
We went to an Alaskan Salmon Bake party with Tom’s work friends.
Jacob was quick to make friends.
Near the end of August the weather was amazing and we visited friends in North Beach.
There is a train that passes through the perimeter of the beach.
And we were able to take ANOTHER ferry ride to Whidbey Island where we hung out at the beautiful Double Bluff Beach for an afternoon.
There was a lot of driftwood along the beach and we built a small shelter.
On September 10th our cul-de-sac had it’s annual ‘Dead End’ Block Party. There were 10 bands that played all day long. It drew a very big crowd!
Since September 11th is our friend Dave’s birthday, we also sang Happy Birthday and had cake.
The bands carried on throughout the night.
Our neighbor Dan, who MCs the event, let Jacob and his friend Aedan have a turn on the mic. They did not disappoint!
We visited the Museum of Flight with grandad, which was a lot of fun.
And we had a lot of fun playing by the water at Seward Park.
All in all, it was a superb summer. We were sad to say goodbye to grandad, but we should see him again in the Spring. Grandma Charmian is coming for a visit in just a few days now, just in time to help us move into our new house (lucky her!).
We are pretty sure that Grandma Charmian will witness Evie’s first steps. She is getting so close to walking. Right now she stands on her own and will walk with a hand, and occasionally will let go and take a step. Very exciting!