Thanksgiving Tidings

We had a bounty filled weekend with thanksgiving celebrations on Thursday at home and Saturday in Bellingham. It was special sharing Thanksgiving with and introducing our international guests to the great American tradition of gratitude and turkey dinner with all the classic trimmings.

Lake had a wonderful time socializing with cousins, auntie and grandparents! Mummy relished the abundance of a four day mini staycation and even hung a the pictures over the mantle that had been enjoying the fashionable yet lazy lean for the past year. That felt like the bonus gift this year beyond food shelter and family… the gift of time, the time to relax into life.


We celebrated Lake’s 18 month birthday “fiesta-style” at TNT Taqueria. Birthday Kiss Lake? And some Peek-a-boo? Now let me dip my tortilla chip in the pico de gallo like a big boy. What a great party. We are having a blast!

Cat Fanciers

Cat Day!

Proclaimed Lake as we arrived back at the Portland Expo for day 2 of The Cat Fanciers’ Association International Cat Show. Imagine the feline version of Best in Show. There you have it: the CFA International Cat Show. 

About 15 arenas set up with continuous and somewhat mysterious judging sessions set up. We met cat handlers from Germany, Russia, Japan, and French Canada. Lake was all in. 

He was just as enthusiastic about the cat posters as the cats themselves. 

And there were about 400 different cats from 42 distinct breeds present. It was quite a scene. Just when we thought we’d seen enough something like a Devon Rex dressed in feathers cape and top hat will roll by, still as a statue, natural as can be. 

We got back in touch with Noly and Richard from Portland, the couple that had brought kittens to the cat show two years ago at the double tree. They had one of Nuno’s relatives with them this weekend. Bonnie was about the age (two years old) Nuno is now. 

I was thrilled to be able to reconnect with that special moment of holding the tortoise shell short hair exotic kitten when I had been pregnant with Lake. 

Great memories! Update: Nuno is alive and well in a good home. 

To contrast the unfriendly-toward-children vibe that an event like the International Cat Show carries, we made plans to meet up with our friends at OMSI afterwards. It was 110% kid oriented and Lake pushed though no-nap to make the most of our two hours there. Such a great playground for exploration and discovery!

And such great friends!

By the end of the day Lake was absolutely bushed!

Delicious dinner at the trendy vegan Mediterranean Aviv with Rachel!

10 Months, what’s next? — Honestly Jo

A poignant message from Joanna-Denise Baykal as she readies for her next experience… meanwhile our new au pair search continues! Wish us luck and enjoy this beautiful German essay:

Hallo ihr lieben, ich melde mich nach längerer Zeit wieder mit einem neuen Eintrag zurück. In genau acht Wochen ist mein Au Pair Jahr hier in Seattle um. Meine Gefühlslage: Zur Zeit sehne ich mich sehr nach Deutschland, meiner Familie und meinen Freunden. Ich wünschte mir manchmal einfach für ein paar Tage in meiner gewohnten […]

via 10 Months, what’s next? — Honestly Jo

Pajama Lounge 

The latest in interior design is a comeback of the second-floor living room, or so-called pajama lounge, a more private and intimate space for relaxing together as a family. We have a modest pajama lounge in the hallway landing at the top of the stairs that is big on impact. Last night Lake was playing football/soccer there and sometimes we all do some yoga or inversions together. In our pajamas, of course!

Pajama lounging with Mr. Silky on the heating vent!

Lake has a strong sense of balance and a strong sense of fun! 

Sometimes we have been known to horse around in our pajamas on the main floor too!


Lake’s new word is heiß “hot” in German. We were baking squash this weekend and I was cautioning him regarding the hot stove. We needed to take care of the hot oven and stand back. 


He said, matter-of-factly. Then tonight while dancing on the dining table with the glassy baby candleholders he pointed at one of the glassy babies that had held a lit candle last night, and said it again. 


Yup. Strong work Lake!

Riding the cat tabletop-side, steering clear of the glassy babies.
Looking over at the oven with a healthy respect for heiß!

Morning Briefing 

Lake and “Candy” out and about for a downtown morning adventure to the aquarium.

Fantastic! This morning Michael prepped me with a morning briefing before he left for work. 

It’s eight o’clock. Here’s a glass of water. Jo starts in 20 minutes. You have the day off. It’s Veterans’ Day. Your yoga teacher training begins tonight!

It was really something! I felt oriented and awake. So then I prepped Lake:

You’re going to the aquarium today!

In the afternoon we had some fun taking photos and reminiscing. I engage in reflections about the spiral nature of time as I rake the leaves and head out to Greenlake. We are coming around again through the familiar seasons with our beloved familiars. Some changes, some similarities. 

One year ago…

And back to today…

A perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you!

Cats and Dogs

Our household is all about the cats! (Cats and books, really.) 

Cat: it’s one of Lake’s five words, if you fudge on the pronunciation. Dat! Dicky dat! He can even miau. Last night he really fell for the stuffed calico we found at East West bookstore amongst all the yoga books. 

We only got out of there gracefully after saying goodbye to the kitty with kisses, about seven from Lake and several, at Lake’s insistence, from me. I think it’s safe to say, Lake is a VanLaanen through and through… Lake loves all cats!

So tonight we went a new route. We took Lake to a Husky event: women’s volleyball at the Hec Ed Alaska Airlines Pavalion. It was an exciting game against Stanford. There was the crowd, the pep band, cheer squad, bright lights, and great volleys! Lake had a blast! He was dancing and cheering and clapping. Where does he learn these things? He catches on so quickly, it boggles my mind. Today he was blinking back at me. Cute! But then in the evening when I was telling Michael about it, he started blinking. Exaggerated blinking. And laughing! Like 

I know blinking! I got this blinking. See, I know what you’re talking about. I’m here!

We walked home from the volleyball match and it started raining cats and dogs. 

Rave Run

This morning we had a rave-worthy family run. 

Greenlake November 2, 2017

It’s the stunning autumn color show. And Lake. 

He’s rave-worthy! He was also raving mad for the final leg of the run. We had taken him out for a few moments of photo opportunities (shown above) and then tried to put him back in the jogging stroller and carry on as before. Waaah! Not having it! He screamed like a six month old (not shown of course).

Only the glee!

Jane Iredale

After an emotional day, a little pampering felt so good. Jane Iredale really wowed me with their customer service. After I tried and failed at the local Pharmaca to exchange my trusty make up brush that had come unglued, I reached out to the company directly. They were happy to send me a new one and it arrived today wrapped up in tissue and tied with a sprig of real lavendar. The Handi Brush, indeed!


Thank you Jane Iredale for being so cool! I’ll definitely keep on raving about your hand-tied goat hair brushes that will last you for years (okay maybe not forever) standing up strong to daily use and intermittent washing. Your ground titanium pressed powder keeps my skin protected and my face glowing. The glosses and lip stains are so pretty and never drying out my lips. Your Magic Mitt maintains my acid mantle and keeps my skin fresh and clean without any products! I adore the minimalist polish I achieve every day with your help. Jane Iredale truly makes up a perfect day!