Back to School

The weather really turned this past weekend. The autumn is in the air. It’s “back to school” season. “Lake is looking very collegiate” my friend says, as her daughter goes off to her first day of school. Lake’s back to training hard too. But it’s still mostly focused on extracurricular activities. Jumping. Toilet training, dish washing, and navigating the “Terrific Twos!” He’s back at Camp NanaBaba learning the some more of the ropes at Newman Lake. The report is that they’re all “in Heaven here”. I guess Back to School can wait for Lake. He’s currently fully enrolled in the school of life!

Jo Here! More Jo!

It was super to have a visit from Jo. After more than eight months of the New York au pair lifestyle, she returned to the West Coast on holiday. She arrived late Friday night so Lake saw her Saturday at first morning light. “Jo here!” he beamed. There was no question about his remembering her or any change to the quality of their relationship. It’s true love between them. A real joy to behold. On Sunday morning his waking words were “More Jo!” Yes indeed, and we spent the day strolling down Alki Avenue to Alki Beach catching up and enjoying the reunion. A perfect weekend, I’m glad you spent it with us and Lake, Jo!

Blue Chip

Lake uses the word “blue” to denote his premium preference, his favorite, his blue chip choice, as in “of the highest quality.”

It started out “blue ‘jamas” so you might be tempted to think that he’s referring to pajamas that are actually blue. The “blue ‘jamas,” however, are actually the Christmas pajamas and have been for a few months now. Then there have been other “blue” prized possessions. For example, his request for wearing his “blue shoes,” which tend to be referring to his strappy brown leather sandals but also occasionally mean his grey canvas boat shoes.

Tonight it was “Blue Tom Park” when we were setting out for a picnic at our local city park. Our local Neighborhood Park is his favorite Tom Park?! It’s the gold standard in Tom Parks? It’s the original Tom Park for sure. It’s blue Tom Park. Lake has discerning Blue Chip taste.

Our blue chip child (pictured here enjoying the Port Townsend waterfront with blue relatives a few weeks back).

“Bumped His Head”

It was a pretty cliche Friday night. He was jumping on the bed and he fell off and bumped his head. Mama called the doctor and the doctor said, you will be charged $25 for an after hours pager call back. Enter your number after the beep. Daddy said no, he’s fine. It’s a split lip but not all the way through, just a lot of blood. So mama called Nana who cheered us all up, saying he was already on the mend. Lake went back to jumping on the bed. He was actually singing this song too… complete with “No more jumping on the bed!” Whist he jumped… grinning.

Owl eyed

In the Portland Sunday heat, we spent most of the day indoors appreciating our friends’ air conditioning. Late afternoon we did rally for a walk in the Moonshadow Woods Nature Area. We explored the park in a way I never had before in all my years of visiting and familiarly walking “the loop.” This time we were a kid troupe lead by a First Grader and we went off-trail. In the midst of playing and eating blackberries, I looked up, and a pair of eyes were looking back at me. We all shared an amazing experience of communing with two beautiful Bard Owls. One owl was particularly near, and when a sudden my movement initiated him taking flight he settled in a higher alder tree branch. He then gazed at his mate across from him on another alder tree, giving her away. They were extremely camouflaged.

We had been intrepidly exploring, rather unawares, and were very close for quite a bit before I looked up with the sense of being watched. Indeed, not three meters away an owl was making owl eyes at me. We all made owl eyes in return. It was a special day, I’m glad I spent it with you!

Shining Eyes Yoga

Such a journey! After eight months of intensive study, practicum and expansive growth, I became certified yoga instructor this summer! The Synergy Yoga Ayurveda 200 hour Teacher Training Program was more involved and more rewarding than I could have imagined. PM me if you are interested in booking a private session in my newly minted yoga studio: Shining Eyes Yoga. My bio reads something like this:

Yoga with Tolle VanLaanen is designed to create a warm and welcoming experience. Her clear resonant voice and lovely use of language guides you poetically through meditation and evenly paced yoga postures. Explore the ancient science of yoga and meditation with Tolle. Each posture opens up a portal to go deeper into the connection with your inner self and the outermost cosmic energy. Typical sessions are 60 minutes beginning with centering, moving into a vinyasa peppered with yoga philosophy gems, and completing with a final relaxation. The offering is tailored from within the framework of compassion, mindfulness and the Eight Limbs of Yoga to fit your unique needs and preferences. With consideration towards your current skill level, time of day, and the history of yoga, your session becomes personalized balance between invigorating, rejuvenating and relaxing.

Tolle began her yoga journey in 1998 with a traditional Iyengar foundation, then practiced throughout university, including a study abroad program in India in 1999-2000. She holds doctoral degrees in Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University and Pharmacy from the University of Washington. She completed her 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training with Jodi Boone and Tami Hafzalla of Synergy Yoga School in 2018. When she’s not teaching yoga you may find her in the Pharmacy at Harborview Medical Center or chasing after her toddler at the neighborhood park.

Tom Park

One day this summer when Michael and I were both working, the grandparents were overseas and Luisa went out to Yellowstone, Tom Youderian came over to spend the day with Lake. That day has been forever immortalized in a phenomenon now known as Tom Park. The neighborhood park is now known as Tom Park by Lake. Recently the renown and territory of the Tom Park expanded to include Meridian Park and then to my surprise even Dash Point State Park. Basically, it seems, anywhere he is having maximal fun at a park, it is proclaimed “Tom Park!”

[The Dash Point State Park version shown here: “Daddy! Tom Park!”] The most commonly referenced park under the lexicon of Tom Park does remain Cowen Park.

Meanwhile, I had been secretly wondering what Tom and Lake had done together that had made such an indelible impression! When I had a chance to ask Tom about their park adventures it seems they did a lot of new swing tricks, namely: underdogs and spinning by getting the chains all wound up then letting go. Ah ha! Really?! Good thing for Lake that he had Tom to take him to “Tom Park!” because Mummy would never have thought of that!

Lake still requests daily: Tom Park! Mama, Tom Park! Daddy, Tom Park. Unner…Dogs! Unner…dogs! Why doesn’t he request “Tom” for Tom Park, Michael poignantly asks?

Tonight we all went for a run around Greenlake, which involves passing by Cowen Park, the original Tom Park. Lake inevitably began chanting his Tom Park campaign. Tom Park. Tom. Park. Tom Park. “Tom-orrow Park”, said a tired I. A perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you

Berry Farm

We went to the u-pick blueberry farm today! Carpenter Creek Farm is in Mt. Vernon located at 20177 East Stackpole Road. Their hours are 8-5 Friday through Monday. It is a super convenient to I-5 organic farm with a great u-pick price of $2.25/pound. The bushes are loaded and they may be open one more weekend. What an absolute find… thank you Katie! It’s been an annual tradition for many years now to get together with my botanist friend Katie Henken and her family for a day of blueberry picking. Last year almost to the day we were picking at On We Grow Farm, which sold all their bushes per Katie. So here we are, all a year older and wiser, gathered at Carpenter Creek Farm. The newborn is almost talking and walking, Lake is almost toilet trained, and the girls are almost ready to be reading partners in grades Kindergarten and 5th grade of elementary school. Today we brought two other friends along with us. Well, Alison and Otis actually brought it. It was fantastic! We all got berry full! Lake and I picked more than 10 pounds between us, not accounting for those additional berries that may have been eaten on site. Then when we got home Lake wanted to eat more blueberries! We all had a button-poppin’ good time.

On the Farm

During the last hot spell we went to Port Townsend as climate refugees. We stayed on our dear friend Nora’s farm, Amity Fiber Farm. This is where I’ve been having deep conversations about life since my late teens. Very special people. Very special place. This is where Michael and I honeymooned in their romantic garden trailer honeymoon suite “The Can”. It was exquisite to be finally back for a visit…with Lake!

Lake loved it! He kept saying: “On the Farm!” And I would answer, “yes, it doesn’t get much more ‘on the farm’ than this!” as we’re standing knee deep in sheep! Lake got to look for eggs and pet the cat and go to the beach. He took to Nora like a duck to water and began calling her “Nonna”, Italian for grandmother. Fitting since Nora has this great idea involving a local grandmother grandkids share, where interested parties get matched to a local “grandchild”. All local and organic of course! I got to poke around in the garden and admire Nora’s local plant pigment dyeing projects. What a perfect stay On the Farm, warm with love and woolly “ba’s”, yet cool with ocean breeze! Thank you “Nonna” Nora and Ed for the perfect stay!