Ok I know you're all probably thinking, what the heck? Didn't you guys go to the PNW LAST summer!? Yes, yes we did, ha! Bare with me though...I didn't have this fun little blog back then though, babies and life happen, this is my absolute favorite part of that trip, AND I'm one of the biggest lovers of our National Parks. So...no matter how long ago this trip happened, I want to share it with all of you. The things we did and beauty we saw are still relevant today. So without further ado...our day in Mount Rainier National Park!
We drove out to Mount Rainier National Park on our second day up in Washington. We were staying in Seattle and it was only about a two hour drive to get to the entrance of the park from the city. Our first stop on our way in was the Sunrise Visitor Center. We really love taking scenic landscape photos and researched some of the best views of Mt. Rainier prior to coming and this site popped up. It happened to be on our way to the spot where we we're going to go hiking, so it all worked out perfectly. We took a nice break from the car, grabbed some shots, and honestly just sat and took in the beauty of Mt. Rainier.
After our small little break at the visitor center, we made our way further in to the mountains to get to the trailhead of where we were going to start our hike. Since we were only spending one day in Mt. Rainier NP, we decided to do the Sourdough Ridge Trail hike up to Dege Peak. This hike took around 3 hours round trip for us...they say the average is around 2 hrs but I was first trimester pregnant when we were on this trip so this little mama needed to take it nice and slow with some long breaks. In total, the hike was 3.4 miles round trip. It was a decent steady incline for most of the hike up, but the last 3/4 of a mile or so was a pretty steep climb. The top of Dege Peak is around 7,000 ft and offers amazing views of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, Glacier Peak, and Mt. Adams. I was so proud of myself for climbing this peak, especially while pregnant!
We hung out on top of Dege Peak for awhile to enjoy the view, have a snack, and catch our breath then it was time to head back down. We went back down the way we came...although I really wish we had time to continue down the opposite way to explore the lakes that were in the valley below, but maybe next time! The way down was of course much easier but at the same time challenging in it's own way. The surprising thing about the whole hike was that even though there was snow on the trail, it was still hot and we actually got sunburned! To me this is kind of a no brainer now that I should have worn more sunscreen, but it was my first time in this kind of experience so I had no idea!
After our hike, we headed back out of the park technically (we were just barely outside of it) and went to the Crystal Mountain Resort. We took the gondola up to the top of the mountain and had lunch at the Summit House Restaurant. We got to sit outside on their patio and enjoy the most amazing view of Mt. Rainier. We had burgers and fries and some lemonade to rehydrate and it was all so delicious and enjoyable!
Next on the itinerary was to head over to the Ohanapecosh area to see the hot springs. We "hiked" the Hot Springs Nature Trail in search of the hot springs. We were all prepared with bathing suits and ready to relax after a long day of hiking in the sun. Well guys, I hate to break it to you but these hot springs are well, barely anything, ha! I'm not joking when I say this...we walked right past them! I was laughing so hard that I didn't even get a picture of them. I think Ashlyn might have?! Anyways, it is now one of our biggest inside jokes that we drove an extra two hours for these hot springs and didn't even know we were at them! It was a hilarious way to end the day and a trip we will never forget.
Location: Toledo, OH, USA
Happy 4th of July friends! I hope you're celebrating our beautiful country with wonderful friends and family with all the fireworks and BBQs today! We're planning on spending a relaxing day with our family and BBQing later tonight for dinner. Kai Bear goes to bed before all the fireworks start so those will have to wait for next year. Always something to look forward to though!
At the beginning of last month, we took our first road trip with Kai and it was for our family reunion that was in Toledo, OH. Toledo is where my dad grew up and the last two years we've been having family reunions with our entire Karavida side of the family. They have been so much fun reuniting with our family and meeting new family members each year! Our family is so big and spread out all over the country that there are actually members that I've never met before so it has been so wonderful to bring everyone together to create bonds with these family members as well as make new memories with all my amazing cousins.
We drove out on a Friday afternoon. Kai did fairly well in the car for it being his first road trip. It got a little sick of the drive around the half way mark but who can blame him!? Five hours in a car seat would be annoying for anyone but it was nothing a little bit of me crawling in to the back seat and entertaining him for awhile couldn't fix. Once we finally arrived in Toledo and got all checked in to our hotel (we stayed at the Radisson at the University of Toledo and we highly recommend it!), we headed out to dinner with some of our family at my favorite spot in all of Toledo, Shorty's True American Roadhouse. This place is so good you guys. We have to eat there every time we visit. They have the most yummy corn bread you can possibly imagine. We discovered that they use cake batter to make it, so no wonder it's so delicious!
The next day was reunion day! The shindig didn't start until the afternoon and now that we're early risers thanks to Kai, we got up early and made our way to downtown Toledo to spend some time just the 3 of us that morning. We drove around and got some Starbucks then hit up the Toledo Farmer's Market in search of some breakfast. While we didn't find any pastry stands we did find the coolest food truck called Big C's BBQ. Caleb got a pulled pork parfait that had pork, mashed potatoes, and gravy in it and I got BBQ nachos. All of it was SO GOOD! We walked around the market for a little bit too and I got some amazing soy candles from Heaven's Gate Soy Candles as well as some all natural bug repellent to use on Kai and even Wrigley!
After our morning downtown, we headed over to my aunt and uncle's house for the reunion. We just enjoyed spending time catching up with family and reminiscing about great times in the past. I truly cherish these events and hope they stay an annual thing! I'm so glad Kai's first little trip was spent with family and full of so much love.
What was your first family trip you took with your little one(s)? I'd love to know! Leave me a comment and tell me your story! Hope you all have a great 4th!
Hey all! Happy Travel Tuesday! Hopefully you all had a great Easter weekend full of candy, family, and Christ! We had a pretty full weekend actually. The first in a very long time! Friday evening we took Kai to the mall to do a little bit of shopping. It was his first trip out of the house besides going to the doctor or my parent's house! He did so well, too. We got Shake Shack for dinner and popped in to a couple of our favorite stores, and he was an angel the entire time. On Saturday, we got to visit with some friends of ours who also just had a baby! It was so fun to catch up and swap baby stories. Easter Sunday was so wonderful for us. I put together Easter baskets for Kai and Wrigley and had so much fun doing it. I got Kai Sebastian the lamb from Cuddle + Kind, and I can tell he just loves him! We did our annual Easter egg hunt for Wrigley where we put a treat in little plastic eggs and hide them all over the house. He's so smart and finds all of them by himself and pops them all open to get the treat! It's so impressive. My parents came over late in the morning to also give Kai an Easter basket and spend some time with us. For Easter dinner, we went to my aunt's house and spent the afternoon with our big family. It was everyone's first time meeting Kai and it was so fun to see him interact with everyone. I hope you all had a great Easter weekend, too!
So I know we took our trip to Seattle awhile ago, but like I said in my Portland Travel Story post, I really wanted to share this trip with all of you. We went to some amazing places while visiting Seattle and it is honestly my favorite city in the US.
We drove up to Seattle from Portland and went straight to Pike Place Market. Like I said, Seattle is my favorite city in the US and Pike Place Market is my favorite place in Seattle. So basically my favorite place ever. We walked around a little bit and smelled the flowers and grabbed some fruit from a farmers stand when we first got there. Then it was time for lunch. One of my favorite places at Pike Place is Beecher's Handmade Cheese. You can see them actually making the cheese there in the shop! It is the original cheese shop and they have a nice selection of cheeses to choose from. They also have a cafe menu, so we love going here for lunch. I always get the mac and cheese. It is so creamy and rich. Caleb got a smoked turkey sandwich that was also delicious! Next on the list to visit was a French bakery called Le Panier. They have amazing macarons and other French pastries there. We stopped in and grabbed some treats to have for later at our Airbnb that we were staying at. Next to Le Panier is Turkish Delight where you guessed it...you can get Turkish delights and Turkish coffee. We of course got both! After our food spree, we went to a couple of shops like Sur la Table and Made in Washington. I love the Made in Washington store. I'm not usually a big gift shop person but this shop has the most amazing huckleberry salt water taffies. They are probably my favorite candy ever! So if you're ever at Pike Place make sure you grab a bag for yourself and me ;). We didn't make it to Starbucks this time but I'm a huge fan and think it's just so cool that the first Starbucks location is right there in Pike Place. A lot of people will tell you it's not worth it to wait in the long line to get a drink there and you can just walk a block and go to the location there to grab your coffee, but I think it's worth doing at least once. It's not just about getting a drink, it's the experience of being in their first shop!
After our afternoon at the market we made our way over to the Freemont area to check in to our Airbnb. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing there because #pregnancytales. For dinner that night, we went to my favorite food spot in Seattle, the Walrus and the Carpenter. They have the best oysters I've ever tried, and I was so sad I couldn't indulge in them this time around. All the more reason to go back again soon though! We still had a delicious dinner and then walked around the Ballard neighborhood afterwards.
Our second day in Seattle we actually spent hiking in Mount Rainier National Park, and I'm going to save that adventure for another post because with pictures alone it deserves it's own post! Before we headed out to the mountains though we stopped in at General Porpoise Doughnuts for breakfast. This was my favorite doughnut shop of our whole trip to the PNW! I loved everything about it from the doughnuts to the decor inside the shop. All their doughnuts are sugar coated and filled with cream or jelly. I got a strawberry cream filled doughnut that was seasonal and Caleb got the lemon curd doughnut. Both we're out of this world delicious! Their coffee was awesome, too. It was the perfect start to a very memorable day.
Our next day in Seattle was a full day of exploring. We had a quick breakfast at Cederberg Tea House in the Queen Anne area. It is a traditional South African tea house. Ashlyn and I found it on a list of the best bakeries in the USA and it was listed as the best one in the whole state of Washington, so we decided to check it out. It definitely didn't disappoint! My favorite thing we got was the Malva Pudding. Their big thing with it being a tea house though is Rooibos tea, which is caffeine free tea that is ground very fine and pulled through an espresso machine. I did not try the tea for a couple of reasons being I need caffeine in the morning and also I tried to stay clear of most teas while I was pregnant. Ashlyn tried it though and said it was really good!
Since we were in the area, we went over to Kerry Park for an amazing view of Seattle and the sound. You can see the entire Seattle skyline as well as Mount Rainier off in the distance on a clear day. We relaxed there for a bit then headed over to Salty's for their brunch buffet. We met up with some friends from California at Salty's and it was a very cool experience. They have a huge breakfast buffet and their restaurant sits right on the water. You can see seals flopping around the water from your table!
Our afternoon was really enjoyable, too. We did the espresso tasting at the famous Starbuck's Reserve Roastery. We also all tried their coffee cocktails, too, and I personally liked Caleb's the most. He got a play off of a Manhattan and it was so good! My favorite espresso was both the ones from the Congo. The Roastery is honestly one of my favorite spots in Seattle. They always have new things to try, and I love going back every time were out there. I can't wait till the Chicago one opens up!
We went to another favorite spot of mine for pre-dinner drinks at Needle & Thread. I was so sad that I couldn't order a cocktail with Caleb and Ashlyn, but the bartender graciously made me an amazing mocktail. The great thing about this bar is there is no menu. The bartender asks you a series of questions about what you like to drink and then crafts your perfect cocktail. Ashlyn and I discovered this place on our first trip to Seattle and we loved our drinks so much we just knew we had to take Caleb here. They both loved the drinks they got this time, too. The other cool thing about Needle & Thread is it is a speakeasy style bar. It's located on top of another bar called Tavern Law. You have to make reservations to get in to Needle & Thread and when it's your reservation time you enter Tavern Law, pick up a phone in the back of the bar and when your reservation is confirmed, you get buzzed in to a secret door where you can enter. I love bars like this because it's not just about the drinks but also the experience you get to have while enjoying a drink. After our time there, we walked over to Bar Melusine for dinner. This is a sister restaurant to Walrus and the Carpenter, so we knew it was going to be great, and we were right! I was boring and stuck with a burger and frites due to being pregnant but all the seafood looked delicious. I definitely plan on going back here next time so I can try the oysters and steak tartare!
Our last day we only spent the morning in Seattle and with it being a Sunday, we of course had to get brunch! We chose Westward for our last meal in Seattle and it definitely didn't disappoint. The restaurant is also located on the water (we have a thing for views ;) ) and the food was great. We got lucky and got to sit on the patio to enjoy the water and sun before getting back in the car for a long drive back to Portland. I got the Dutch Baby pancake and Caleb got the lamb shoulder hash. We recommend both! Both dishes were delicious and their lattes were awesome, as well. We stopped off at Pike Place Market one last time to walk through the fish market part of Pike Place since we didn't get to walk through it on our first day. We grabbed some snacks for our road trip and started our long trek back to Portland.
Instead of heading straight down Interstate 5 to get back, we got off once we hit US RT 12 and took it all the way to the coast. From there we drove down US RT 101 and stopped off at Cannon Beach. I'll share this part of our trip in another post, as well, as it was a full day worth of adventures!
Have you ever been Seattle? If so, I'd love to hear what your favorite places are in this beautiful city! Leave me a comment below and let me know!
Better late than never, right!? Ok so I know we took this vacation quite awhile ago, but now that I have my MacBook and I can actually edit photos with the quality they deserve I started re-doing our shots from our PNW adventure last summer and they are just too good not to share with all of you! Especially since we won't be traveling anywhere until fall this year, I thought I'd slowly share our travel story from this vacation with you all on here. So, let me start from the beginning...
In summer 2017, we took our big annual vacation and this time we chose Portland, OR and Seattle, WA! I have been to both cities in the past with my best friend who lives in Portland, but Caleb has never been. We visited with my best friend Ashlyn and took Caleb to all of our favorite spots as well as tried out some new ones! We spent 2 days in Portland, drove up to Seattle and spent 4 days there, and then drove back down to Portland where we spent another day and a half. For the sake of not making this post be a novel, I'm just going to share the Portland part with you today. Please forgive the lack of photos, too, we really took this time to enjoy spending time with each other and Ashlyn and I was also in my first trimester...so as you can imagine I was really concentrated on surviving and enjoying each day to the best of my ability!
We arrived in to Portland really late at night and did my favorite ritual that Ashlyn and I have when I first get to Portland...we went to Jack in the Box! This is one of those fast food places that we don't have in the Chicago area but we really love it, so we we're excited to grab some burgers, tacos, and egg rolls after our long flight.
Our first full day was filled with just exploring the city since it was Caleb's first time. We hit up the famous Voodoo Doughnuts and Stumptown Coffee for breakfast, did some shopping at Powell's City of Books, and then went to a new spot for me for lunch, Pine State Market. The cool thing about this market is that it is basically like a dining hall. There are a bunch of small restaurant stands inside and you can get so many different kinds of foods! They have Korean BBQ, burgers, hot dogs, ramen...you get the picture. Caleb got the ramen, I got a burger, and Ashlyn got a jumbo hot dog. The best part about this is we all got to share and try a little bit of everything! We also grabbed some soft serve ice cream from the Wiz Bang Bar stand, which is Salt & Straw's only soft serve location in Portland. Hands down the best ice cream you will ever have! After stuffing ourselves crazy, we drove over to the Alphabet District (which is my favorite neighborhood in PDX) and did some shopping. I love this area because there is a great mix of one of a kind boutiques as well as some well known favorite stores. Our favorite store in the area though is called The Meadow. It is a salt, bitters, and chocolate shop and is owned by Mark Bitterman. If you've ever dappled with higher end salt, his name probably rings a bell. So as you can imagine with Caleb being the amazing cook that he is...he was in absolute heaven. We walked out with a bunch of salt, chocolate, and a pink salt block! We then took a nice afternoon break for this preggo lady, freshened up, and headed out to dinner at a new spot for me, Pok Pok. They serve authentic Thai food and it was so delicious. We suggest getting the fish sauce wings and Kaeng Hang Leg, which is sweet pork belly. We then walked over to get more Salt & Straw ice cream because we promised Caleb it would be at least a daily occurrence. I got a scoop of a seasonal option but Ashlyn and Caleb both got pints, so we could have it whenever we wanted at Ashlyn's apartment!
Our second full day was an amazing one to say the least. We started the day out at Pine State Biscuits for a great breakfast. This is one of our all time favorite places in Portland, and we have to go every time I visit! We then headed out to the Columbia River Gorge where we did a full day of hiking. We started out at the Crown Point Vista House, which is a great overlook of the Columbia River. We then did a 2 mile hike to the Upper Falls, a 1 mile hike to Bridal Veil Falls, and a half mile hike to Multnomah Falls. All three hikes we're fairly easy...at least easy enough for a 12 week pregnant lady! You can access all three trail heads off of Historic Highway 30. After our nice long day of hiking, we headed back in to the city where we had dinner at our favorite Portland restaurant, Radar. Ashlyn and I discovered Radar on our first visit out there before she moved to Portland, and we fell so in love with this restaurant. We hyped it up a bunch, but Caleb agreed at the end that it is some of the best food you will ever have. Our favorite dishes are the braised brisket and smoked pork shoulder. My mouth is watering right now just typing about them!
The following morning was a quick one in terms of our time in Portland. We popped in to a cute little doughnut place called Pip's Original Doughnuts and Chai for breakfast. They serve little doughnuts, coffee, and the best chai teas. We got one of each mini doughnut with the cinnamon sugar and the Dirty Wu being our top choices. We then drove up to Seattle, which I will save that fun for a different blog post!
When we got back to Portland a few days later, we kept the doughnut train going and hit up Blue Star Donuts for our first breakfast back in PDX. I really really love the lemon poppy doughnut but the blueberry bourbon basil is a close second. We stuck around the Mississippi neighborhood of PDX after breakfast and went in to some cute shops in the area. We hit up another Meadow location and this time Caleb grabbed some bitters and I grabbed some rose cocktail syrup that I am still dying to try. Only a couple more weeks hopefully! We opted to stick around the area for lunch, too, and went to Little Big Burger, which is right next to Blue Star. My travel crew graciously took an afternoon break with me back at Ashlyn's place before heading over to the Old Town area for our Shanghai Tunnels tour later at night. This was a brand new experience for me, and I'm not going to lie I was a little nervous about it. Ghost stories aren't really my thing, but I sucked it up and went underground for the tour of the tunnels. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but it really isn't that bad. Just watch your head! The ceilings are low and you could whack your head on many many pipes. After the tour, we went over to Cartopia, which is an awesome lot full of food trucks! We each got something different and shared just like we did at Pine Street Market. I love doing this so you get to try a little bit of everything!
Our final day our of vacation was only a half day, but we ended on quite a high note. We went out for breakfast to a place called Off the Waffle. You guys, I LOVE waffles so much. Like Leslie Knope level love waffles. This place apparently also loves the show Parks and Rec because you can get a plate called The Swanson! It was our dream breakfast. It was unfortunately time for us to head to the airport after that, but we definitely left with full hearts and bellies. We can't wait for our next visit out to the PNW with Nugget in tow!
I'll be sharing our time in Seattle and Mount Rainier National Park in separate posts. so stay tuned! Make sure you're following me on Twitter for daily ramblings and blog post announcements! Hope you all have an amazing weekend!
As I look back on 2017, I am filled with so much happiness. I spent most of this year pregnant, and I can't believe what a blessing it has been. Excitement, prepping, and waiting have mostly been the name of the game this year, but it's all worth it to make 2018 the best year yet! I wanted to take a little walk down memory lane and share some of the best moments from this year and why I'll treasure every single day of 2017.
Coming off the best baseball year of all time in 2016, going to a couple of Cubs games with Caleb during opening week was so exciting. Even though the Cubs didn't go all the way again this year, it sure was a wonderful season and we had a lot of fun cheering them on all summer long.
Mother's Day weekend was a real sweet one this year. My mother-in-law came to visit us, and we got to show her all around Chicago and Milwaukee. We had one of the best lunches of our lives at Cindy's Rooftop, and I will never forget that lobster roll! I didn't know it at the time but I was barely pregnant with Nugget this past Mother's Day! It was my last one only being a dog mom to Wrigley, too.
Just moments after finding out our family would be growing. Pure, genuine happiness and excitement. This was such a funny moment though. When I went to the store to buy a pregnancy test I wanted to be pregnant so bad but I was so scared that I wasn't. I decided I didn't want to waste extra money and buy a digital pregnancy test. I bought an analog one and thought to myself that if they worked for lots of women before, it'll work for me, too. Well I went home and did my bit (jeez that was the longest 2 minutes of my life!) and when it was time to check it, we couldn't figure it out haha! We we're like two idiots going back and forth between the stick and the box and then it finally clicked that the vertical line doesn't show up at all if you're not pregnant. Well it was clear as day and we we're jumping, cheering, crying, hugging, and Wrigley thought we were absolutely crazy!
Our first trip of the year didn't come until June. We drove out to Michigan for a family reunion and got to spend some time in Detroit. We also got to meet some family we had never had the chance of meeting before and spend time with my dear cousins, aunts, and uncles. Hopefully we'll be having another reunion in 2018 so they can all meet Nugget!
We got to host 4th of July for our family this year at our house and it was our first big summer BBQ with our family at our house. This is the day we chose to announce our big wonderful news to them and it was a day of pure joy!
Our big trip this year was visiting the Pacific Northwest. We started out in Portland, drove up to Seattle, hiked in Mount Rainier National Park, and drove to the end of US RT 12 and down US RT 101 to spend some time near the ocean. My best friend, Ashlyn, lives in Portland and we got to spend a week with her adventuring to all these places! It was my 3rd time out in Portland and 2nd time to Seattle with her but it was Caleb's first! He loved it just as much as I do, and we can't wait to take Nugget in the future!
Finally in August, we announced to everyone that we were having a baby. The month of July was spent telling all of our family and close friends our amazing news. We had lots of great dinners, FaceTime sessions, and visits with all of them talking about our exciting addition to our family. It made the summer so special and exciting even though I was battling through lots of morning sickness from my 1st trimester.
Finding out Nugget was a boy was one of the best moments of the year and of our lives, honestly. We actually knew he was going to be a boy before our gender reveal party. We decided that the way we wanted to find out was at home, just me, Caleb, and Wrigley. We went for our 20 week ultrasound and asked the tech to write the gender down and put it in an envelope. Everything looked great on the ultrasound and we looked away when she was checking that part of his anatomy. When we got home from the doctor, we sat down in our living room and opened the envelope. We pulled out a small piece of paper that said "It's a Boy!"
Last minute, we decided we wanted to take a babymoon, and we chose our favorite place in the whole world, Disney World! We spent our 2nd anniversary there and had the time of our lives. It was the break from reality that we needed. My 2nd trimester was the happiest time of the year for us and a big part of that was thanks to this trip. It refreshed us and we came home ready to fully prep for Nugget's arrival.
My baby shower that my mom and aunt hosted for me was such a special day. I was so overjoyed by all the love that our family and friends showed us and was so grateful to everyone who travelled and came to celebrate Nugget with me. I'm also so blessed that I get to share this experience with my mom and grandma. I made her a grandma and now I get to make her a great-grandma!
The holidays are such a special time of the year, and we we have been blessed to be able to spend it with our family. My father-in-law came to visit for Thanksgiving and helped us host another successful holiday at our house. We've been enjoying Christmastime in our home and making the final preparations for Nugget to join us!
I loved 2017 so much, but I can tell I'm going to love 2018 even more! Cheers to a new year everyone! I hope it's a great one filled with love, happiness, and balance. My goal or resolution for 2017 was finding a good balance of all things in my life, and I think I found that. I have a big challenge ahead that is going to rock that balance but life would be boring without challenges, and I'm so excited to take on this new one!
I’m Diana; curator & author of Tiny Dapper Fox. Here you’ll find posts on motherhood, home life, travel, & fashion/beauty as well as City Guides for places all around the world. Make yourself cozy and let’s be friends!
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