Seattle in April, instead of August. When we arrived, it was all budding trees and cherry blossoms, fields of tulips and other Spring flowers. The NW always blooms a bit earlier than NY, but because of an unusually warm Winter, everything came up early this year. Lucky us. We got to see the Tulip Festival an hour North of Seattle in Skagit Valley, something we wouldn’t normally see since our yearly trips to the NW usually come in August. We’ve seen photos of the tulips fields from local Washington friends who visit yearly, but there’s nothing like seeing it for yourself. Driving in the car, approaching the farms, you can see the variegated strips of color from the distance. The yellow tulips almost glow from afar.
The tulip fields are spread out in the valley nestled between farm stands and other agricultural fields. Roozengaarde is the most “commercial” of the fields in that there is a small entry fee to get in, while the others are literally right off the road. The tulip and daffodil fields were a bit past peak when we visited, but the display garden, while landscaped, was worth the price to see all the varieties and colors of tulips.
It was also fun to see different flowers at all the farmer’s markets including Pike Place since we’re usually treated to dahlias in August; this year we saw tulips, daffodils, and lilacs. We haven’t been to the NW in Springtime since we lived there in the 90s, so it was refreshing to come during a different season to remind ourselves what Washington is like at a different time of year other than Summer. Thanks for a Spring preview, Washington. Can’t wait for NYC to catch up with all its flowers and blooms.
Posted by Jenna | 6 Comments
Spring is in the air, in more ways than just the weather. There have been some extraordinary developments, both positive and negative, in the last week that has me wondering how much a person can process in such a short amount of time. It’s amazing to see the human psyche at work; for example, I suppose our brains shut down in denial after trauma to protect our bodies and our hearts from initial shock. It’s only after some time has passed that the emotions truly manifest themselves.
At least that’s my theory this week.
I’ve also been thinking recently about the role models we become for our children. I can’t say for certain that we’re setting the best examples in all areas, however, I can assume that we’re teaching the kids what a good work ethic is. But I don’t want them to grow up with the idea that work is everything in life either, and maybe we’re coming up short here. While hard work and the ability to support yourself and your family is important, I want them to see that it’s equally important to pursue enough paths that bring you joy in life, even if that sometimes means sacrificing what appears to be the more responsible path.
More fun in life. That’s the plan. It might sometimes be a struggle to get there because work and business calls, but there’s something to be said about recognizing burnout and doing something about it.
In a week I hope to show you photos from tulip fields. Happy Easter, my friends.
Posted by Jenna | 8 Comments
March is a funny month, isn’t it? Neither winter, nor Spring – just a whole lot of in between. The days creep along in anticipation and promise of Spring, but it never quite delivers. The shift in the light when we turn our clocks forward for Daylight Savings seems to happen quite suddenly and when 7PM rolls around, the light that lingers is a bit disorienting as we adjust our own internal clocks to the seasonal change. But what bliss it is to commute home while there’s still daylight out!
March also feels like a reality check. We can no longer say that it’s the new year and push things off because we still “have time”. No, we’re fully entrenched in 2015 and time is subtly pressuring us to push forward and face our new year goals (if you made them) before it gets too late. I don’t know about you, but this is how I’m feeling these days – slightly pressured by the calendar over here – and there is so much that we need to do.
March is also one of the slowest months of the business for us. It never fails when the month rolls around to start questioning everything (the one exception being last March when sales went gangbusters for a few reasons). For the most part though, we expect it, brace ourselves for it, and we plan for it, but it still doesn’t take the edge off whenever March rolls around.
The girls and I found ourselves near Greenwood Cemetery a few weeks ago at the start of the month and decided to take a quick walk. Even though much of the snow had melted from the city sidewalks, it remained a few inches thick on the grassy hills of the cemetery. It was a jarring juxtaposition entering the gates and seeing snow again when our eyes were finally adjusting to the piles melting and gone from the sidewalks. It was a nice walk, albeit a bit cold that day, and there wasn’t anyone there (as is often the case), so it was quiet. I’ve always loved Greenwood for its history, the monuments, and the narrow cobblestone walkways. I always wondered what it looked like in the snow. As the girls wandered around, crunching snow from their boots and picking up sticks, I walked by myself some yards behind them enjoying the quiet. The snow was blinding as the sun reflected off the ground; the sky was a brilliant blue. I wasn’t sure how I would feel walking through a cemetery now that these places have more meaning for me, but I didn’t really feel anything. Maybe the cold just numbed my thoughts.
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With the weather being so cold during February, we’ve been mostly hibernating inside on Sundays instead of venturing out on weekend outings. This means Sundays have often been filled with cooking projects which often start at our neighborhood farmer’s market in the morning and end with the girls helping out in the kitchen. You may have seen the photos of some of these Sunday cooking projects on Instagram. The kids really enjoy cooking with Mark and have become pretty good prep cooks now that they’re old enough to handle knives and other tools. They even made pancakes one Sunday entirely on their own after Mark pulled out the ingredients for them on the kitchen counter. Since they’ve always been early risers, most mornings I’ll find that they’ve already eaten breakfast by the time I get up. The joys of having older kids.
This Sunday we’re letting out a sigh of relief. The sun was out and the forecast calls for temps in the upper 40s and even in the 50s for as far as we could see on the calendar. We might have finally turned a corner and it may be premature to call it, but I think we can finally put the worst of winter behind us. After the last storm on Thursday that blindsided us with more snow than we expected, we’re cheering this warmer weather on. After you’ve endured record low temps in the 20s for weeks on end, 45 degrees feels like Spring. It was a relief to see the sun work its magic on the curbside snow piles. Good bye, Winter!
I’ve been thinking a lot about travel again. It’s gotten a little trickier now that I have a job I commute to 3 days a week, but day dreaming about places we want to go and working out the details of our trips this year got us through the worst bouts of cabin fever. We can hardly wait to go on adventures this year and the girls have been waiting patiently in particular for an upcoming summer trip that’s been in the works for nearly 2 years. Having things to look forward to – that’s what we try to focus on. Sometimes it felt like it was the only thing I had to get through some dark and confusing times this winter. Watching the snow melt from rooftops and into puddles of dripping water remind us that seasons do turn over eventually. Those glimmers of change propel us forward.
Posted by Jenna | 12 Comments
So I want to tell you that almost every night I sit here staring at WordPress with either an empty or a half written post. I stare at the screen; open new tabs on my browser; get distracted (which is really just another word for procrastination). I have a half dozen unfinished posts in draft. I write and then delete whole paragraphs. Where is this block coming from? This reluctance to write is something I’ve been trying to figure out. I’ve seen my words used against me recently so maybe I don’t want to invite judgment or misinterpretation when I’ve been in a vulnerable state the last year, but this isn’t necessarily new. It’s par the course when you’re putting your words and ideas out there. So what’s changed?
Maybe it’s just winter. It’s starting to feel like the movie GroundHog Day as far as the weather is concerned, what with all the snow and cold. I feel like we’re just holding our breath until Spring breaks through. How many photos of snowy New York can I post? How many times can we complain about the weather? But damn, that first snowfall is always so pretty – even if we’re deathly sick of it.
But maybe it’s also having a job. When I get home after a hectic rush hour commute – and lately, delays because of the unusually cold weather – I don’t want to do a thing. But of course there’s homework to help with, sometimes a freelance project to work on, and the business to run. After everyone’s gone to bed, I come here and the focus just isn’t there. Could it be that I’ve finally decided that sleeping is better than writing blog posts from 12-2am which is when I used to do the majority of my writing?
Overall life is moving along, but it’s hard keeping it together some days, if only for appearances, when there’s still so much to process and deal with. It’s also an adjustment being around people for 8-10 hours at a time in an office after having worked solo at home for so many years. Because I’ve always been hypersensitive to the moods of people around me, I’m conscious about the energy that I put out there and this isn’t something that I’ve had to think about or control in a long time. Office dynamics can be a delicate balance, but it’s paramount to the success of an early startup (or any company at any stage, for that matter). This will sound like a total tech startup cliche, but I’m also the only woman in a team of guys and 1 of only 2 team members (and the only employee) who is a parent. This doesn’t always have to be an issue – and it’s not for the most part – but it is an inherently different dynamic from the project teams I’ve been a part of in the recent past. Gender and age is suddenly “a thing” in my career now.
All of these adjustments, both big and small in the past year have added up to some big changes. I’ve ruminated enough in the past on feeling stuck (and in some areas of our lives, we are still “stuck”), so these changes are good. But I’m also ready to admit that I’m feeling overwhelmed and I can’t accomplish everything that I want. For anyone who is a lifetime overachiever, this admission can be hard to accept and it’s easy to think of it as failure. However, if any life lesson can be learned from this past year, I’d know that is a dangerous path to go down. I’m working on avoiding that path, every day.
Posted by Jenna | 54 Comments