“I will not let my kids define my life”

22 01 2019

…Said one of my friends as she slathered on sunscreen onto her 2.5 year old with one eye on her sleeping 3 month old.  This statement occurred as we were taking in a day at the pool in Vancouver, BC and in three short months she was about to take a month long trip to Japan and Hong Kong with her husband and then almost 3 year old and 6 month old boys.

I was amazed and impressed that she had the guts to take on such an ambitious undertaking, and I am even more impressed now that the trip is actually done and she and her husband lived to tell the tale!  Also, I now have just over two year old girls and can’t imagine traveling overseas with them (yet...hopefully).

I am remembering this statement from my friend because it also reminds me of something that I thought to myself and said to Nathan a couple of months ago.  I decided to bring out all of our annual photo books that depicted our travels since 2008 to show the girls.  The girls liked pointing out pictures of ‘mama’ and ‘dad’ but could care less about the pictures of scenery, food, landmarks and other beautiful and special moments Nathan and I have seen and shared over our 10 year history.

Seeing those photos and everything that we have done in the past made me think, ‘I don’t want to say we did all of these fun and exciting things….and then we had kids….‘.

So, although I have had some blurbs of text saved on my phone about things we’ve done over the past year, it’s time to record and celebrate the adventures that we’ve achieved as a foursome and not let them pass by without capturing the memories (because like it or not…’mom-brain’ is a real thing)! No, we haven’t gone kayaking in New Zealand or sailing in Greece or even road tripping to the Grand Tetons….but….we have done stuff – enough to know that Brooklyn gets car sick and Lucy only likes ‘swimming’ if it’s warm water and there are people to wave at…and we LOVE Mickey Mouse, unless he is right beside us, and in that case, we are terrified.

So…stay tuned…as I hope to get back to writing and sharing all of our adventures (different as they may be), and maybe one day I will be writing about our crazy overseas adventures…maybe…mmmm…(deep breath)….maybe.



Transitioning: Summer to Fall

8 10 2014

Now that green is starting to ease into yellow, orange and red and a crispness is starting to add a little snap to the air, I’m starting to reminisce on my summer moments.


Maybe I was ‘living in the moment’ and really living in the experience rather than thinking about how I was going to re-tell the story.  Or maybe I was too busy trying to pack as much activity into the warm weather as possible that I rushed through one activity in search of the next.  Either way, Fall is approaching, and with the changing of the leaves brings just enough transition that it’s made me pause in place and gather photos from the summer.

Everyone goes through the transition from Summer to Fall.  Preparation for hibernation perhaps?  The excitement to bring back over-sized sweaters, cuddly scarves and of course those Fall boots!  I have a love-hate relationship with said boots.  I spend my days admiring the different boots that I see prancing down the street – chocolate brown, black, wedge heel, flat stomping boots, sleek and stylish high-heeled boots.  Needless to say, I have boot envy.  I see everyone looking fantastic in their fall boots – really the perfect accessory for fall outfits.  But whenever I find myself on the hunt for the perfect boots I end up frustrated and sad because, after all, I carry my height in my torso.  I have short legs and athletic calves.  The worst combination!  Which essentially means that boots don’t fit me – even the ones with extended calf sizes 😦

But enough about the boots.  I find myself on a tangent as meandering as the paths I hope to stroll through this Fall – stomping through all of the fallen leaves and hearing that satisfying ‘crunch crunch crunch‘ as I walk.

Finally I’m looking back at what took place this summer – a summer that took Seattle by surprise with day after day of 80+ degree weather.

Seattle Sights:


The Great Wheel

photo 5-2

Kayaking around Alki

photo 1-5

Making Discoveries!


Alki Sunsets


Great Friends…


And Ferry Boats.


Mt. Rainier Sunsets

Exploring the ‘wilderness’ of Port Orchard:

2014-08-17 09.04.53


Whirlwind Work Trips in Chicago:


Chicago Art


Chicago Architecture

Home (Vancouver):

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Vancouver Icon – ‘Canada Place’

2014-09-02 17.43.46

Sunsets at Vancouver Harbour

2014-09-02 17.44.45

Deer Lake Park

Food – delicious, beautiful, tasty morsels of goodness!


Neapolitan Style Pizza


Farmer Fresh Artisanal Snack Plates


Chocolate Covered Figs

It feels like the summer was over in a blink but at the same time, with so many consecutive days of sunshine, it seemed like it was gorgeous day after gorgeous day – which puts a lot of pressure on a person.  Especially a person from the Pacific Northwest, where you cannot take sunshine for granted and on each sunny day you feel pressure to kick yourself out of bed and DO something.  Anything really.  You’ve got to head straight to those walking/running paths, be in or on the water, be at the farmers market every weekend, and eat and drink on every patio you come across.  By the time Fall arrives you’re just exhausted from all of those sunny days and secretly wishing for a rainy day so you don’t have to feel so guilty for spending a day inside watching movies (or a How I met your mother/Orange is the new black/House of Cards marathon).  

LOVED summer.  LOVE summer.  But (as I look right and left and duck my head) I’m kind of ready for Fall.  I’m sure in a month, when Seattle descends into its Grey season and there are more rainy days than not rainy days, I will take back those words – but for now, after over 40 days of 80+ degree weather this summer – I’m ready for an excuse to have a lazy day.

Fantasy Dining On & Below the Bay

15 01 2014

Although I don’t have any photos – let me see if I can paint you a picture.

The hustle and bustle of San Francisco.  The Ferry Building.  As the clock strikes 6PM, the crowds part and 6 friends find each other to reconnect for one night of the year.  Who knows what adventures will unfold.  First stop:  Hard Water – a whiskey bar that has floor to ceiling lit shelves of every type of whiskey, artisan ice cubes and the most savory smelling fried chicken I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch as it was walked across the room from kitchen to patron.

Second Stop:  Forbes Island – which you probably would never think about but most likely have seen it when you went to watch the sea lions barking up a storm at Pier 39 (by the way – they have returned).  The website says ‘Fantasy dining on & below the bay’ and that pretty much sums it up.  You board a pontoon boat and take a 2 minute (maybe) boat ride past the sea lions to dock at Forbes Island.  There’s a restaurant on and below the water and a lighthouse with an observation deck that gives you a view of the skyline.  It’s an odd experience.  It’s kind of like you’re in an overstuffed boat with chandeliers rocking on the ceiling, port holes – some with stained glass art and some just glass so you can watch crab and fish swim right by you as you dine.  As you sit down to eat, the water level is right at your head and you can feel the subtle rock and sway of the ‘island’ as it bobs in the water or gets hit with wake from the boats in the bay.  You get used to the motion of the ocean (hopefully before you get sea sick) but it doesn’t help when the servers rock back and forth on their heels to counteract the movement.  It’s a whoozy experience, but definitely a memorable one.  And the women’s bathroom – it’s like you’re entering into the captain’s quarters – bed and everything!

The food was tasty, the bubbly was bubbly, the experience was odd and kitschy but nothing could outshine the laughter and the jokes and the stories that were told and the stories that will be retold from that night.

Who is THE ‘El Capitan’?

24 06 2012

El Capitan Suite.

This is what Nathan renamed the ‘Presidential Suite’ at the Inn & Spa at Loretto.  And what does one do when they rename a room at a hotel?  Stumble upon the perfect addition to the suite.  And then make everyone take photos with it.

Everyone taking photos with this hat?  Means 50+ photos were taken, so we’ve narrowed down the field to the best of best.  Now, we have our favourite, but we thought perhaps we should open up the voting and see what happens……

Do you have a favourite ‘El Capitan’?

El Capitan #1:

The ‘Ladies Man’

El Capitan #2:

The ‘Thinker’

El Capitan #3

The ‘Flirt’

El Capitan #4

The ‘Party Girl’

El Capitan #5

The ‘Jack Nicholson’

El Capitan #6

The ‘Tip of the Hat’

El Capitan #7

The ‘Gangsta’

El Capitan #8

The ‘Stoic’

El Capitan #9

The ‘Drunkard’

El Capitan #10

The ‘Happy-Go-Lucky’

Two Peas in a Pod

26 01 2012

After the last three and a half years of travelling all year around zigzagging across North America, I’ve come to realize how important friendships are.  You can’t remain emotionally sane with only one person in your life – although I have tried.

When you are constantly traveling you do meet some great people, but I’ve always been a firm believer in friend chemistry and the fact that great friends can’t be found in all places all of the time.  You can’t decide to just pick up a new one.  In fact, the planets have to be aligned and there has to be just enough spark and just enough interest on both sides to form a true ‘two peas in a pod’ friendship.

And let’s be honest.  Friendships are a lot of hard work.  It’s not enough to click ‘like’ on someone’s photo, to text them once in a blue moon and say, ‘what’s going on? ‘ and not care that you don’t receive a response until 3 weeks later.  To all of my friends out there – that three week lag time pains me!  I go on a rant about long distance friendships, one-sided efforts and why do I care SO much.  That is, until I get that phone call/bbm/text from you, that reconfirms why we are indeed such great friends.   But by the way, call me anytime, regardless what time zone I’m in – if I’m sleeping I won’t pick up, but I will sleepily look at my phone and smile, knowing that you’re thinking of me.

No, a friendship cannot survive on social media alone.  Well, they can, but I’ve realized over the last few years that keeping that strong emotional bond that you had with your childhood or university friends, where you spent 20 hours a day with a person, could finish each other’s sentences, and really just didn’t want to have any special moments without them, can’t be sustained with a quick catch up every once in a while.  Yes, you do marvel at the way that you can pick up where you left off even though it’s been months since you’ve talked, and maybe even years since you’ve seen each other.  But when you’re not in someone’s day to day life (and often you aren’t) then you hear the quick highlights like (yep I finally travelled to Africa – that was fun – and then I met the man of my dreams, blah, blah, blah, he proposed and a year later we got married.   So here I am, a wife and mother of 5.  That’s about it, what about you?’  And since you’re not part of the day to day lives, a lot of times you resort to reminiscing about those youthful times when you stayed up all night watching Disney movies, sang karaoke and they kicked you off the stage or when you curled up together on the couch, post graduation but pre-career wallowing in self pity, but still positive because you were about to embark on a Project Runway marathon.

So I guess what I’m trying to say, is if a friendship is important to you (and again, it’s hard to make those really special new friendships when you’re travelling all the time), it is so important not just to play catch up but to actually create new memories.  Yes, it could be as glamorous as a Vegas weekend where you have to kick yourselves out of the hotel room because it’s just so much fun trying to learn the ‘Single Ladies’ dance after a box of wine. (Yes, I did say BOX).  Or it could be as cosmopolitan as jetting off to LA for a “Ladies Who Lunch” weekend, which just happens to coincide with the Glee concert.

Ladies who Lunch (at Universal Studios)

But, it could be just as easy as having a few good friends over to your house in a very rare moment in time when you can all get together, to eat, drink and stay up until 3am making sundaes and chopping up candy with a mallet (or meat tenderizer…whatever) – just because that’s all you want to do.  It also doesn’t hurt to play Taboo and reestablish all of those memories, especially if you’re playing against people who don’t have your intense friendship history.  They wouldn’t even know what to do if you yelled out, “Fiona apple!  Song that we sang at the top of our lungs at a McDonalds drive thru!  Aka. Paper Bag”.

Yes, that is a meat cleaver...

The morning after 3am sundaes...a little rough but the view was great!

Not that I want to get into that whole new years resolutions thing, but it is the start of a new year, and yes, although life is busy, don’t you just feel giddy at the thought of spending some real quality time with your friends?  Even a phone call that lasts 10 minutes (that doesn’t consist of negative ranting) seems to have long lasting residual effects on my happiness level (which all those around me appreciate).

So here’s to spending some great time with friends, and being able to reminisce about these new memories as long as you’ve reminisced about the old ones.  Oh, and remember to take photos….and keep them somewhere safe – you’ll want to remember these times!

Thank You

15 12 2011

When you sit down and write a blog post you hope that someone will think that it is interesting enough to read it (hopefully someone that is not related to you).  You hope that it’s not too boring.  And you hope that it’s not too personal that it makes people uncomfortable.  But mostly you just send it into the blogosphere for anyone and everyone to read.

When you have a moment of inspiration and you have to tamp down the excitement you feel after writing a blog post that felt like it wrote itself, you feel nervous.  You hesitate before you hit ‘publish’.  When you finally send it out there, you wait, and you check your dashboard, and you wonder why no one is commenting (even the people that are related to you).  And then you feel a little bit vulnerable, like maybe you said a little too much.

The ‘Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen Year Old Selfpost was my ‘I can’t wait to post this blog because I love it and it’s probably the best post I’ve written, but I feel so vulnerable because it’s personal and more than my  funny little travel stories’ post.  Considering how much I loved the post, I was a little sad that I didn’t get any comments within the first few days after I posted it.

Inspiring Sights

Coincidentally, I wrote that post while I was flying from Denver to LA, and the post was Freshly Pressed while I was flying from LA to Seattle a week later.  And the response has been amazing!  Three days and almost 10,000 hits later, I am overwhelmed at how supportive people have been to write comments, share their own stories and feel inspired enough to write their own letters to their eleven, sixteen, eighteen year old selves.  No, we don’t think that literary time travel actually exists, but we do think about how cool it would be if it did.  Writing this letter to yourself, regardless if it is to a younger or an older self, is all about reconnecting with yourself.  You’re able to remember the uncertainties and sometimes unstable emotions of your youth and also give yourself a pat on the back for all of the successes and obstacles you’ve overcome since then.  It is personal and it is emotional and I am touched that so many people were able to identify with my experiences.  Because, there really is no bigger frustration than dealing with a frizzy mane that you can’t control 🙂

So Thank You! to everyone that took the time to read my post, to ‘like’ it, to comment, to those who have become new subscribers, and good luck with your own letters to your past selves (or future selves), to the teachers who have been inspired to bring this exercise into the classroom, and to the 15, 16, 17, 18 year olds that connected with this letter and maybe have a little bit of a different perspective on the life they’re living and the future they have to look forward to.


“Dear Me: A Letter to my 16 Year Old Self”

5 12 2011

On a recent flight on Southwest Airlines, I came across a feature in their Spirit magazine.   A book was just published calledDear Me: A Letter to my Sixteen Year Old Self’, edited by Joseph Galliano, which is a collection of 75 different letters by a variety of different celebrities (actors, comedians, writers, etc) writing their own version of a letter to their sixteen year old selves.  I have to admit, it caught my attention and made me remember all of those times I was young and told myself, ‘when I have kids, I will never do …..’.  To this day, I have no idea what any of those things were, I just know that my eight, ten, twelve, sixteen year old self made a mental note.

I’ve always been a huge supporter of journaling and reflecting on my day-to-day life, not only to sort out the troubling times but also to keep those exciting, adrenaline rush memories alive.   And, most importantly, to get to those ‘AHA!’ moments; because, if you write just to write, whatever you are feeling, without judgment, and with the expectation that not even you will be reading what ends up on the page, you WILL get an ‘AHA!’ moment.

The idea of writing a letter to your former teenage self is such a unique way to reflect on what was most likely a time of self doubt and self-absorption and reflect on all of the lessons you’ve learned since then.

So here is my version of ‘Dear Me:  A Letter to my Sixteen Year Old Self’:

'Six Year Old Traci' - Read this in 10 years - it will be waiting for you!

 Dear Traci,

 You have curly hair!  You have to stop fighting it and accept it.  Yes, it may take you until you are 25 to be able to figure out how to style your hair, but you do finally figure it out, and everyone is jealous of your curls (you even learn how to blow it straight!).  You will one day find your hair stylist soul mate who knows exactly what to do with your mane, and despite what you think now, a ‘wash and wear’ hairstyle that does not require any blow drying will never work for you.  

 It is okay if it doesn’t seem like you have found your clique of friends yet.  Your best friendships are yet to come.  You will have great friends in life.  Friends that know exactly what cartoon bird video to put on to make you feel better, friends that you will stay up all night with for no reason at all except that the conversation never stops.  Friends that encourage you to follow your passion and friends that encourage you to leave your comfort zone, but are protective enough to say, ‘make good choices’ before you embark on a new adventure.

 You will discover that school and grades are not everything.  Yes, you will have a fluke genius moment and get 100% on your first calculus test when you were sure that you had no idea what you were doing.  (It was short-lived and lasted only for that one test).  It is not so much what you are learning, but the work ethic that you learn from your dedication to school and extra curricular activities that keeps you moving forward and rising to the top; and, ultimately allows you to enjoy life to its fullest. 

 Don’t worry.  You end up doing so much more than you ever thought you would.  You do not take the traditional route that you think you are destined for.  You discover a fork in the road that you did not even know existed, and for your willingness to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves to you and your commitment to take a chance on the unknown, you are rewarded with a career filled with travel, excitement, and a sense of confidence in your abilities that will stay with you always.  Trust your instincts because they have proven to be trustworthy and make sure you take risks, because they always seem to put you in the right place at the right time.

 And boyfriends?  It’s okay that you’ve only had one boyfriend back in 7th grade (there is another one in your future before you graduate).  You are picky, and you don’t waste your time on crushes.  You like who you like, and if you aren’t absolutely positive that you like him, it means that you don’t.   Unfortunately, you will experience heartbreak but you will also experience a love and companionship that still surprises you.  It’s supposed to be easy, and when you find the right person, it is.  And guess what?  He’s American!

 Love Always,

28 year old Traci

28 Year Old Traci

 I am so glad that I came across the excerpt from this collection of letters.  Feeling a bit of writer’s block lately, this inspired me so much that I felt the need to take out my laptop and write this 35,000 ft in the air somewhere between Denver and LA.  It’s nice to know that with all of the pop-culture, media-diluted content out there, that these pieces are finding their way to people and that a few words from the heart can still make such an impact.

**  This post was Freshly Pressed on December 13, 2011 **