redmill burgers - 4


if you know me then you know i love food. you also know i love a good burger. i’m always on the hunt for a burger and i have to say red mill did not disappoint. it was getting late in the day and we were looking for somewhere to eat close to home. red mill is just down the hill so we decided to give it a try. right away i loved that they had outdoor seating, perfect for us! ivan ordered the bacon deluxe with cheese and i got the blue cheese and bacon.  i typically don’t like bacon from anywhere but home. its never cooked right and undercooked bacon may just be the worst thing in the world. am i right??! i figured i would take it off. i really just wanted the blue cheese. i was wrong, the bacon was crispy and delicious!! we also got a side of fries + onion rings. i loved the fries, didn’t care much for the onion rings. ivan liked them.

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my girl loves the camera!

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ivans burger and onion rings. that bacon!!

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jack loves dip. i’m pretty sure I’ve already mentioned this. maybe too many times.

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i had them cut mine in half, i had plans to not scarf down the whole burger but really it was too good to waste. i loved the fresh tomatoes + lettuce.

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these two!! deep conversations i tell you.

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we had big plans to order milkshakes. i knew if i ate anymore i wouldn’t be able to walk to the car so i figured i’d do myself a favor and get one another time. we also decided we’d walk next time.

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my giant suburban. i laugh at this beast + parking in seattle. its a joke. she’s been good to us but i think its time for her to go. now can i do the whole public transportation + walking? i think so… but i think i really can’t make that decision until after school starts. if you’re in seattle check out red mill burgers. its a nice change of pace from the downtown chaos.

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we woke up to a perfectly gray + cool morning and no plans at all. no painting, no furniture to set up. although, i do still need to paint the bathroom. i told the troops to get dressed and head to the front door. we grabbed the double stroller and got walking.

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we stopped by the neighbors swing for a quick push before we headed down the hill

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don’t worry that car was parked (i know it looks like it was about to hit him)

we made it all the way to pike place. the walk there was fun, a lot of sight seeing. we stayed close to the water and had a great view the whole way. we had gyro’s for lunch. they were really good and then ellenos yogurt for dessert. both were great but the yogurt was amazing! we got the marionberry with crumble topping. so good! i’m still thinking about it. downtown was crazy busy today. weekends are especially bad and some new friends said summers are always busy in seattle. ava’s been wanting a crumpet from the crumpet shop. have you been? we love the pesto with tomato + cheddar and the vermont. but they ran out by the time we got there.

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after all was said and done we walked somewhere around 7 miles today. 7 miles!! no one really complained either. city walking is so much more fun. the time + miles pass so quickly. the hill home was killer. ivan pushed the stroller and henri + ava raced. henri was so awesome, he ran most of it. imagine sf hills. thats what we are dealing with here. we are at the top. if we stay in our neighborhood which we could very easily do and have everything we need then we have an easy walk. heading downtown is a different story. i’m still building up the nerve to take the bus. i have this strange fear of getting lost. driving + public transportation heighten it. i am always happy to walk. i think its a control issue. who knows.

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we stop at every fountain. i don’t think i’ll ever have any change lying around with these four

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construction sights are like disneyland for jack. lucky for us we hit the jackpot moving to seattle. they’re building everywhere

ivan ran out to get take out thai for a late dinner for just the two of us around 9. it was still light out which is still taking some getting used to. i’m working on getting the kids back on schedule. no fun!! jacks having terrible social anxiety. he wants to be held and if anyone besides us gets within 15 feet of him he scream and cries. how do i break this?? i’ve never dealt with any of my kids being so scared of strangers. i hope once we are settled in he does better. his world has been flipped upside down. some people from church stopped by. i can’t tell you how nice it was to have someone come by! i thought they had the wrong house initially. ha! we chatted for a while and planned a playdate. i planned another playdate with someone else from church too. the kids + i are so excited to get out and meet people.

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this weekend its been hot! like reaaaalllly hot. i know i really can’t say that to my arizona peeps because they’ll just laugh at me. but the difference between here and there is this beautiful thing called air conditioning. here we have none. so we’ve been sweating a lot. saturday we went in search of a good beach. after trekking all over magnolia trying to find the best spot to park to get down the water and parking in the worst possible spot then hiking a half mile with 4 kids + heavy bag we decided to head to ballard. we grabbed lunch at un bien (the former owners of paseo) i got on my phone and searched for the best beaches in seattle. golden gardens seemed most promising. oh boy was it. free parking (unheard of in cali) concession stand + bathrooms + playground + volley ball nets. not to mention a short walk from parking to the beach! the kids played, ava + elle were brave enough to get in while henri + jack played in the sand. it was quite lovely. we spent most of last week furniture hunting + painting + cleaning so it was so nice to just sit. we found a pretty decent mexican food restaurant too. i can’t wait to have my dishes + pans here. we’ve all decided what we want for dinner the first week i can actually cook. tacos + spaghetti + eggs + bacon. eating out is only fun for so long.

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we went to church on sunday. the first thing i noticed is church doesn’t have air!! the doors are open the windows are open. oh its a whopping 93 + humid. in other words miserable. ivan sweat all through church. our ward is great. lots of fun people. transplant like us. most are here for amazon + gates foundation+ microsoft + boeing. so many of them told me they felt the same way as i do, initially. thinking it was temporary and they’d be home in a few years, then they fell in love with the city. some had gone to the suburbs and come back because they love the city life. its always good to hear positive things about a new place especially when you’re so unsure of it already. my anxiety is slowly starting to fade. i’m starting to get the hang of this place. my neighborhood is getting a little more comfortable. i walked to trader joe’s and back without getting lost. i’ve got a few last things to buy for the house + a lot of packages in the mail right now. ivan’s going back for the trailer in a few days. by the end of the week it should start looking like a home around here.

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jack loves checking the mail. we have two sets of steps between our house and the street. the mail box is between them so every time we head out he has to stop and check.

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this sign at the school made me laugh. i have yet to see anyone out with their pot bellied pig. in our old neighborhood this might have applied but here in the center of the city i can’t imagine.


i’m sure i’ve already said this, maybe 10 times. the traffic is horrifying all the time. i read it was bad but i wasn’t fully prepared. i don’t think it will be a big deal once we are settled but right now we are driving a lot. costco + furniture shopping + target. theres always traffic all the time. bridge work + accidents + traffic for no reason. a lady at church was giving me tips for around the city. like if you want to hangout downtown, park at the target. the spots are big and parking is free if you spend $20 at target. you can hang out downtown, get your target run in + free parking all at once. ill keep that in my back pocket. also theres an app for the bus. a lot of people ride it. it seems to be convenient + clean + easy. biking downtown seems impossible. we live at the top of the hill and i’m pretty sure i’d flip the bike trying to get up. ava wants a scooter + i can’t wait for monday. it’s supposed to cool down to 77 then 73-81 the rest of the week. sundays national ice-cream day. i don’t care for ice-cream much except for a few flavors from specific places. like molly moons here in seattle. ivan got me salted caramel and i’ve been working on it for 3 days now. a few bites at night is just perfect. its extra salty, sort of reminds me of cheese. i know how awful that sounds. ivan thinks it tastes putrid. i can’t stop painting. it started with the front two rooms i moved onto the kitchen then the hall now i want to do the bathroom. white just brightens up the place so much and looks so clean. another problem over here is that i can’t figure out the garbage situation. we have three. one for recycling and its normal size. one for compost, also normal size and another for trash. that can is tiny, about knee high. recycle comes every other week. i’m looking for an garbage i can keep in the house with 3 separate slots. seen any? i really don’t want to have three separate garbages in my small kitchen. the whole composting thing is a great idea but do i just keep a can of rotting trash in the kitchen? thats gonna smell. why is the regular trash soooo small and why is recycling only coming twice a month? thats enough rambling for now. hope everyones enjoying the monsoons back home. i sure do miss them!

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this is the actual house that was inspiration for the movie UP. its in the ballard neighborhood, just right over the ballard bridge. i see it every time we drive over. the woman who lived their, Edith Macefield, refused to sell and was even offered 1 million dollars in 2006. she passed away in 2008 and left it to the new buildings superintendent. it was sold to someone wanting to open a pie shop in ediths name. the building ended up being too expensive to get up to code and is offered free to a nonprofit that will move it so the land can be sold. if you are in the seattle area and have kids its really great to go see. my kids were so excited that the “up” house really exists.



over the weekend we houses hunted. we called houses from craigslist + trulia + zillow. any site we could find offering up a rental. we drove around. we stopped in at open houses. we made appointments to meet realtors. house hunting here is nothing like it is in az. house hunting in seattle is madness. pure chaos. i met other couples doing the same thing we are. uprooting their life and moving to seattle. they were staying in hotels too. they figured they’d find something when they got here just like we did. they’d been seriously hunting for 2 1/2 weeks and still nothing. you look at a house and its over priced + outdated + hideously ugly + stinky + next to a cemetery + bad school district + sketchy area and list goes on. but because the inventory is so low and the techie’s are taking over the city you put in your offer with 90 other people and before you can hit send you get an email that its taken. then you cry and you stress and you wonder what you’re even doing anyways. a cashier at the busiest costco i’ve ever seen in my life (even on the worst of worst days at costco, this was at least 10 times worse) said they’re one of the busiest costco’s and they are jam packed every day. he said seattle has grown immensely over the last 2-3 years and the cost of living is now higher than NYC. say whhhhat?!!!

DSC07270 DSC07279 IMG_8555how can you not love that elephant?! the sun does shine in seattle and its a cool 73 degrees. take that az!


july is a busy month in seattle so we sort of jumped from one hotel to the next. sunday night as we were pulling up to our new hotel and ivan went inside to check in, i got on my phone and looked on craigslist again. a listing popped up. no pictures. my dream neighborhood at the top of the hill + middle of the city. great school in walking distance. i made ivan call. he got back in the car and said lets go look at it. she lives in arizona (coincidence? i think not) she said the keys under the mat. we drove straight over. he walked in through the back door and came to the front to let us in. i looked at his face and he shook his head yes. we ran inside to the most amazing craftsman style house. built in 1917. original hard woods. original built in cabinets. original door handles + windows. pretty much original everything. 3 bedroom with a huge master upstairs. 2 bathrooms, thats unheard of here!! aside from the hideous colors on the wall from the previous renter (we are painting) it was perfect. everything i had dreamt of in my head. my perfect seattle house. she said she had been praying for a family and praying that family (us!!!) would find it on sunday. we had been praying for this house. it was so easy + effortless. thank goodness she didn’t upload photos or this house would have had a line around the corner.



just when i felt defeated it all fell into place. this move has been stressful. i’ve been homesick. i’ve wondered if we are making the right decision. but its all fallen into place. fairly perfectly. i mean house hunting for weeks but really only 2 days here in the city, when those other people were here for weeks, is pretty awesome.

IMG_8710gotta put your park somewhere. on top of the pharmacy at the u village. i mostly took this photo as a reminder to myself next time we are shopping and need a break. theres a park.


i have to says driving in the city might be my worst nightmare. i think public transportation is in my future. all the bridges + tunnels + traffic, oh the traffic!!! seattle has LA beat big time. i get so confused and then stressed. shopping is no easy task. we rented a van because ivan’s truck and trailer are still in az. (he’s flying back to pick them up and drive them here) i then had to drive around from store to store searching for furniture. buying beds + sheets + laundry soap + everything else you need to fill a home. i drove to the target north of me because my city target only has garage parking and i couldn’t fit the van in only to find out that target also only had garage parking and i had to park half way down the road. i filled up my cart and checked out. they don’t have plastic bags in seattle and i had to purchase two tiny paper bags (about half the size of a normal brown paper bag) the cashier was so kind and tried to jam everything he could into them. 3 sets of sheets + mattress pads along with laundry detergent i had to stack up and carry out. all these things i’m learning about city living. like don’t pile your cart at target when you’ve parked 5 blocks away.

IMG_8719view from the bottom of our neighborhood


then we walk through our neighborhood to the edge of the hill and look out over the water to the most amazing view. or we go to the movies in the middle of the city and i look out the window on the escalator heading up to our theater and i see a view of the city. our city. we are slowly finding our spots. we drive up that long steep hill out of the hustle and bustle of downtown to our quiet neighborhood and it feels good, really good. i know soon enough it will feel more like home. henri has done great, no allergies and thats what its all about! so even though i’m tired and stressed and sometimes miss the ease of arizona, henri being able to breathe is all that matters. thats it.

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friday morning we went to breakfast with great grandma and grandpa, helped clean up around the house and headed out. we stopped in portland to stretch our legs and grab some taco’s at por que no? then we were off for seattle. the drive took forever. between stopping for lunch + gas + jacks new game of i have to go potty every 9 minutes, i thought we’d never get out of the car. we got in pretty late. we drove a few neighborhoods to check out some houses on our list and headed to the hotel.


saturday morning we headed to pike place market for some 10am mac and cheese at beechers then wandered the city with the kids. henri and jack were both in desperate need of shoes so we stopped into nordstrom. that and the anniversary sale they’re having lured me in. the kids love the city and ava was telling me how much she likes having everything so close. i was shocked, she’s always the one saying how much she loves the country and asking me why i would ever want to live in a city. i guess she’s coming around to the idea.

DSC07174DSC07194DSC07213DSC07217DSC07211for lunch we went to serious pie. we ordered the sausage and roasted pepper + fried egg and arugula + buffalo mozzarella and basil. the crust was amazing! the kids loved the mozzarella and of course jack ate all the sausage. its a cute little place downtown and the table was perfect for our family. seattle restaurants are much smaller than the ones back home but everyone seems really accommodating and always stores our giant double stroller.

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we did some house hunting and let me tell you its left me depressed. the one house we saw online and sent our application in right away was already taken. another house we looked at was in terrible shape. tiny + expensive, smelled like animal urine and was falling apart. oh and it turned out to have another family living in the basement with a shared laundry that had a quarter machine attached to it. icing on the cake was the cemetery RIGHT next door. as in nothing between the house and acres of graves. i walked through and talked to the owner who was showing it to another couple at the time. she was so kind and helpful and said to let her know if i wanted an application. an application?? no!! i want to run like the wind, thats what i want!! not to be a total bummer, we do have a few houses to see on monday and i’m really hoping some new ones pop up. wish us luck. we need it! so far henri’s allergies + asthma are great! ivan not so much.



we headed down to florence in search of good mexican food. unfortunately what we found was not good. the few times we’ve had mexican food on this trip the first thing out of our servers mouth has been warning us the food was spicy. i laugh and tell them we are from arizona. we would go visit my moms family in wisconsin every summer and they thought everything was spicy. taco bell was spicy. growing up in az our babies are raised on spicy food. jack can handle it just as well as i can. we’ve been sadly let down on our search for good mexican food and i’m a little worried that just might be our future in seattle.


after lunch we headed over to the sand dunes. they’re full of beautiful drift wood. the kids had the best time building forts. it was such a fun + unique beach. where else can you find giant logs that you can drag around and won’t get splinters? perfect for kids and perfect because no one is swimming in that freezing water. ivan got some work done while sitting on the beach. the kids had a blast and i got to watch them come up with some really fun creations.

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today ivan’s grandma took us to the aquarium just a few towns up in newport. jacks finally at the age where he can understand what i’m pointing at and isn’t just looking at my finger. he was a little nervous at first. especially with the otters and sea lions that kept swimming towards him. we assured him they couldn’t get him and he got so excited showing us the “big” ones and the “baby” ones. the older 3 really love animals and are so intrigued by sea life, there couldn’t be a more perfect place to spend our afternoon. my favorite part was the otter feeding and the shark tank you can walk through, the sharks swimming behind glass all around me makes me just nervous enough but still entertained. we took a little ice-cream break between exhibits and a little squirrel decided to join us.

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we went to lunch after at the chowder bowl. she told me our kids were the most adventurous with trying new food of any of her grandkids. that made me happy, sometimes i feel like they’re living off the same three meals. i love that they get to spend this time with her and really get to know her. i love that she loves spending time with them and goes out of her way to spend and entire day with them and make it special doing what they like. we are so luck to have great grandparents for our kids. mine had all passed before i got to meet them. i feel so fortunate that my kids get another set of grandparents to love them.

DSC06765DSC06755we took the kids to the beach after and collected broken sand dollars. henri and his puzzle loving self likes to try and piece them together. this was the first time we’ve been to the beach in oregon and i wasn’t freezing the entire time. it actually wasn’t windy at all. we walked over to toppers, the local ice cream store. because ice cream two times in one day just seems like a good idea on vacation.

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we are thinking of heading up to seattle this weekend. i’ve been searching for a house and found a few we like. if you know of any send them my way. or if you know of any family friendly areas or neighborhoods to avoid let me know. i’d love any help i can get!




sunday morning we decided to head from portland to the coast. ivan’s grandma has a beach house overlooking the water. she has family members coming and going all summer long and we were so lucky that she had a break in guests just in time for us to visit. we usually come every year and enjoy our time here so much. its absolutely beautiful. the weather is pretty cool so i’m typically in a jacket. which is always nice coming from the hot az summer. i feel so relaxed here. there’s something about looking out your window and seeing the ocean, it just doesn’t get any better.

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we headed up to depoe bay, just a few town north of where she lives, for caramel popcorn and whale watching. its one of my favorite traditions and i look forward to it every year. the caramel popcorn at ainslee’s is the BEST i have ever had. to be honest i don’t like caramel popcorn from anywhere else. we only spotted a few whales. usually we have better luck.

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we headed back to her town and grabbed some pizza on the way home. the kids love the pizza place because its two stories and we always sit up top overlooking the ocean. we got home and decided to go for a walk to burn off some energy. there’s a winding road up a mountain behind their house. the kids did a great job hiking it, jack too. part of me never wants to leave and the other part wants to settle in seattle. could life really be this relaxing if you lived here or is it because we are on vacation? i’m learning a lot about myself like i like extremes one way or the other. i want to be slap dab in the middle of this city. no car, walking everywhere or in the middle of nowhere, preferably over looking the ocean. anyone else feel that way? i hope i’m not the only one!

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Portland Oregon Food Travel Kids


we’ve visited portland probably 5 times now. i’m always up and down about this city. some visits i love it and some not so much. this time i had a list of places to eat + visit. i wanted to make the most of portland and we definitely did. let me tell you i love portland. coming from san fransisco it seems so clean + less crowded. there are neighborhoods that are so cute and some you want to avoid. we got in just in time for dinner at porque no? before we got there ivan said he thought i was setting us up for failure. coming from az its really hard to find mexican food we love in another city (besides mexico) but it didn’t disappoint. the chips and guacamole are really good + fresh. we got a few different tacos but ended up loving the carnitas. the line went pretty fast and i think its worth the wait. ivan said they were some of the best taco’s he’s ever tasted.

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we spent the 4th of july downtown. a lot of the stores + restaurants were closed but we still had so much fun. we had lunch at lardo. we loved the bahn mi. the kids grilled cheese was the best i’ve ever had. i kept taking bites off their sandwiches. we walked up to jameson square. the kids wanted to get in the fountain and to be honest i did too but we didn’t have our suits on and i knew they’d hate being in wet close the rest of the day. instead we headed over to salt & straw to cool off. again we waited in line but it went pretty fast. i got the strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper +  sea salt with caramel ribbons. ava’s was really good too she got cinnamon snickerdoodle.

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we decided to head back to the hotel to change into our swimsuits and find a lake or river to swim in. unfortunately non of them were close enough and from what the locals told us the willamett is not clean and you definitely don’t want to get in it.  so we made our way over to powells books. ava was in heaven. that place is huge. we could’ve spent all day there. i loved the cards they had hanging off the shelf giving a overview of some of the books. some were even written by kids her age which i thought was so great. we were hoping to make it to pok pok for dinner but it wasn’t open so we went to a pizza place called sizzle pie instead. the pizza was pretty good.

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ivan looked around for where to watch the fireworks and decided the best spot would be the waterfront downtown. the kids had so much fun and kept telling us this was the best 4th they’ve ever had. we’ve decided we love portland and with any city it is what you make of it. i think we did a great job making the best of all portland has to offer. amazing food + super cute downtown + friendly people. the kids are getting used to all this walking. that makes me the most happy.





we headed to the redwoods today. this was on ivans bucket list. i had never been either. we both didn’t know what to expect and its actually pretty easy to pass up if you’re not paying attention. for some reason we both had it in our heads that it would be this grand entrance when in fact its not. just park entry signs and trails. the tree’s on the other hand are magnificent. huge, tall + beautiful. we actually all stood inside one with plenty of room to spare.


i saw a huge sign that said beware of ticks and i know how silly it sounds but i worry about ticks and the diseases they carry every time we travel to wooded areas. so everyone had their pants tucked in their socks + shirts tucked. we did a check once we left, we were all tick free. of course henri lost one of his nike’s on the trip so he had to wear avas saltwater sandals with socks. i cracked up laughing every time i looked at him. is it just my kids or do everyone else’s kids forget their shoes all the dang time? i’m not even sure how you could leave somewhere without your shoes on.

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we had so much fun walking through the forest. we came up on a stream and skipped rocks for a while. the beauty and nature that make up the pnw is what draws us here more than anywhere else. its stunningly beautiful. the hikes are always more fun with so much to see. we saw a group of elk on the side of the road on our drive up. all just laying there while cars piled up to take picture. such a beautiful area and we are grateful to call the pnw our home now.


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