Fall is here – Pumpkin Patch Time!

We really enjoy taking the kids to the pumpkin patch. Our very first trip was when Cora was a little nugget. I’ll have to find the pictures from that because it certainly is a foggy memory. But the last two years, we’ve gone with her preschool – Preschool Adventures and their sister preschool Learning Express. It always makes for great pictures and muddy fun.

Bob’s Corn and Pumpkin Farm really knows how to do the pumpkin patch experience. He has it all, a hayride, pick your own pumpkin, the real deal Holyfield corn maze, a cow train tractor ride, a huge selection of pumpkins and gourds for decorating, cooking, and baking, and a large farmers market selection of fruit and veggies. Not to mention the decadent ciders, kettle corn, lemonades, and hot donuts.

Cora had a healthy helping of those (snuck a few past my watchful eye).

Big thank you to Henry (Max’s daddy) for taking and sharing these great pictures with us.



Cuteness Is…


Well the kids have been champs will all that’s going on in our lives. Planning for the move, house all in chaos with boxes and Sean traveling a lot for work, my volunteer activities at a fever pitch, they have been really sweet to put up with all of it with a smile. That is not to say that they don’t have their moments that have me pulling my own hair out. But, I have been enjoying those moments as they approach their 1st and 3rd birthdays.





A new hitchin’ post

We said it would be a while before we owned a home again. And well, we lied. We’ve gone and bought a house in Seattle. Something about putting down roots, I think. Targeting a move-in date sometime next month, we’re busy beavers getting things ready to move. Here’s a taste of what we’re getting into:WP_20140715_001


Ha ha, just kidding, we’re not moving to a house on a lake. Give us a few years though, it sure is an attractive idea after living so close to water, this town makes you really want to.


Here are some pictures for real.

We have to get some things fixed in the house before we move in, so we’ll share more photos later, but the house is officially ours as of July 22, and the job of ownership has already begun with yard work and spending money. The house is near Seward Park with a big playground, swimming area and tons of hiking and outdoor activities.


What about Cora?

I feel like a post dedicated to Cora was long overdue. So much is happening in her little world that I know I’ll look back in a few years and regret not capturing the details. This post will be long for all but the grandparents, but hopefully entertaining enough to make it enjoyable.
As of today, Cora is two years and 4.5 months old. Only reason I can tell you how many months is because I can only measure her brother’s age in months. She knows she’s a big sister and that he is her brother, which she can say in both English and Spanish. She is quite empathetic, if another child or adult is crying near her she stops and looks very concerned, usually asking me if they are sad or hurt,depending on the situation. If suggested, she would never hesistate to give that person a hug, even complete strangers, which in hindsight might not be the safest habit but is still very sweet.
Wonderfully suggestable, nearly all tantrums can be avoided or cut short with redirection to something else. Generally anything will do, even on very little sleep or with an empty tummy, but those situations sometimes require a bit more creative redirection. She really challenges us sometimes too, her ability to remember cause and effect catches me offguard frequently because I just don’t expect her to put those concepts together. Example, tonight she wanted to go outside to help a raindrop who had fallen. From a book she has about raindrops, read several weeks ago.
A favorite activity for her most days is to play songs of the alphabet and count things, albeit out of order most the time. She also is getting into music more now that we’re focusing more when we play together. She’s always ready to do a jig when the keyboard plays a tune. We sure do love this little girl. When it gets hard and it seems like all we do is discipline or take things away, I hope she knows that.



2 years going on 30

Not to say that Cora is acting like an old lady or anything (because 30 is nearly dead, right?), but we have had the pleasure of watching this firecracker grow and change in ways that seem well beyond her years. I don’t even know that I can count the things, but since I really like lists, here are a few of note:

  • No more diapers! In May, she asked us, “why do I have to wear a pull up at night?” We guess you don’t.
  • discipline and remorse – she’s learned that generally things have consequences, some manufactured (you won’t get this if you do that) and some natural, if you run without looking you will run into something… and it will HURT
  • “Mama says yes” meaning she got permission from me, so she should be allowed to do it.
  • There are others, countless, but I’m too sleep deprived to recount them all, just come visit and you will get to see them live!



It’s all over…. Let’s do it again!

Overall, after 2 countries, 5.5 weeks, 16 states, 5000 miles the District of Columbia we wanted more. As I mentioned in the last post, we couldn’t believe that we were only a few days away from the end of the trip. After our last night in Yellowstone we returned to our regular itinerary of a playground a day and plenty of playtime for Cora and things settled down a bit with her. Harlan slept a little better our last two nights in Coeur d’Alene and RV living seemed to be the best way to go. But all good things must come to an end, isn’t that the saying?

When we arrived back home, we were shocked at the space we had in our living room alone. Harlan, however reveled in it. He decided he was ready to crawl and stand up using any and everything available, which he wasn’t doing just the day before in the RV. As for us mobile folks, Cora jumped right into played with her favorite neighbors next door and we didn’t even venture into the rest of the house until the entire RV was unpacked.

The trip had been long enough for the house to feel unfamiliar, and we’d gotten so many new habits for day to day living in small quarters that we weren’t quite sure what to do with all the room. It reminded us of Hurricane Ike in Houston. Without power for 3 weeks, you develop new habits that are slower, more neighborly and allow you take it all in. We hoped (much like then) to keep some habits going after our return.  At least for longer than we did post-Ike!

Everyone has asked what our favorite parts of the trip were. Here they are:

For Sean – the complete baseball pilgrimage – Cooperstown, NY and Kansas City, MO

For Me – visiting all the friends and family along the way

For Cora – Jumping Pillows, “those are my favorite”


9 Months on the Outside

Better out than in, in the words of a green ogre of Pixar fame.

Harlan has achieved a 50% duty cycle for you engineers out there. The trip was a great experience, so much so that I think Harlan was saving a lot of growing and change for our return so he didn’t miss anything. Why might I say this? We’ve only been back a week and he has accomplished the following (most of these by last Friday):

  • started crawling
  • pulling up on any and everything
  • cruising on any and everything
  • 4 new teeth have broken through
  • sleeping 8 hours at night

Some might say it was just time, having reached 9 months old on May 31st, but we think it definitely was the wide open expanse of our living room (as compared to the RV dinette floor) that spurred the rapid motor skill development.



The End is Nigh

Yup, after spending so much time with my little girl, the mirror has shown I have a flair for the dramatic. The world as we’ve known if for the last month is in fact coming to a close. This life on the road has been quite eye opening in a great many pleasurable ways (and some intensely trying as life with a toddler can be in any environs). As we sit in our rental RV looking at the Winnebago website at floor plans, we are amazed that we’ll be back in Seattle in a few short days. We skipped our last national park stop in Glacier N.P. due to poor weather and fishing conditions we’ve found along the way. We decided to add a day back in Coeur d’Alene, ID to be beach bums.

Some lessons learned, while a bit of a rehash from the traveling with kids post, I’ve learned even more after spending 6 nights in one spot for the first time.

The great outdoors aren’t a replacement for a good slide and a swing to a 2 year old when they can’t follow their own schedule. Telling your toddler to hurry up more than once in a day is a recipe for tantrums and willful resistance even in the awe-inspiring beauty of the US’s first national park.

As it has taken me over an hour to put this post together, the other thing I’ve learned is to live a little more in the moment and not worry so much about what is left to be done. Because there will always be more to be done, or see, and it will still be there. And a blog is fun at times, and when you’re on sketchy RV park wifi, a chore at others 🙂



Family Gatherings While on the Road

When we thought about our trip, it really was a tale of three trips. The first was a lot of sightseeing in large urban centers such as New York, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. This was in addition to the other sites we visited such as Cooperstown, Gettysburg, Shanksville (site of the United Flight 93 9/11 Memorial) and Niagara Falls. The second was visiting family. We were fortunate enough to be in an area where we had a lot of family. In Washington D.C. we visited Brie, sister, aunt, and sister-in-law and my oldest cousin, Don May, who works in a gorgeous office in the middle D.C.


After the big push for seeing the sights, we went to West Virginia and visited my father’s family. My parents came up to West Virginia to visit while we were there. We had four generations of the Beard family under one roof. My aunt and uncle, Jill and Rick Turner, hosted us in Hurricane, West Virginia while we visited. It was great to have the family together. All of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandmother visited, and I am always happy to show off my children. No one had met Harlan yet, so it was great to make the introduction.

In addition, I decided to use the fishing rod I had been carrying since we left Seattle and managed to catch 12 fish in the creek behind the house. These weren’t big game fish (small mouth bass, sun fish, and another type of fish referred to as a creek chub), but it was fun to catch them with a dry fly.


After West Virginia, we went to Frankfort, Ohio and visited my uncle and god-father Gary May. I enjoyed seeing his house without all of the ice and snow I was used to seeing. Typically, trips to Frankfort have been at Christmas, so I haven’t seen the full trees or even a thawed pond. It was great visit, but it was a shame that my cousin Susie was unable to join us.

The final stop in seeing family was to visit AJ’s uncle Chris and his wife Joanne in Cridersville, Ohio. On our way to Cridersville, Google maps got confused and directed us in a round-a-bout way around Dayton, and as a result allowed us to avoid a potentially dangerous situation with tornadoes.

Also, before we made it to Cridersville, we stopped in to the Armstrong Air and Space Museum. We didn’t realize how many astronauts have come from Ohio, and the museum a was small but very fun stop. Cora managed to crash the space shuttle quite spectacularly multiple times.

In Cridersville, we visited with Chris and Joanne and had a great stop, in addition to some real good food. Ahhh, Texas style grilling and barbecue (and old school drank!). When we left Cridersville, we were excited and anxious to get to Chicago and get in the RV.

It was a real and rare treat to be able to see so much family with the kids.



Busy Days On The Road

I know it may seem like we have disappeared off the face of the earth. And some days we have the feeling that we have been transported to another world. Spotty cell phone service, funky wifi and hours on the road have made it difficult to get to the blog and share the details. A totally different challenge is that travelling with two little ones means there really is no down time. Prepping the RV for the day’s travel or to get dinner ready and the kids to bed is full time work between naps, feeding a busy toddler and infant, and seeing the sights. So thankfully, digital technology is letting us capture it all in pictures and we’ll hopefully get the time in the next couple of weeks add words to the details for sharing before we get back.

These next two weeks will actually be spent in only three places, the Black Hills of South Dakota, Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park. There are a couple days to get us between the long hauls, but primarily, we will be spending 3-5 days in each spot.

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DSCN5651 (2)South Dakota has been a real treat thus far, we are already planning on coming back! We have traversed almost the entire state along I-90 and have seen the pride of folks living in a somewhat hard and isolated state.