How can you not love this?
Bourbon-making at 2bar Spirits:
How can you not love this?
Bourbon-making at 2bar Spirits:
My last post was all about setting expectations: don’t expect regular or frequent postings from this blog. But this post is all about gloating: I LOVE Whistler! And I think I love it even more with kids. We were only there for a long weekend, but it was So. Fun.
I feel lucky to have grown up going to Whistler with my family, and now I’m lucky enough to take my kids there. Hopefully, we’ll foster a love of skiing, but if nothing else, we’ll foster a love of the amazing town center that just gets better and better with each passing year!
The Olympic stage, where we’ve seen kids concerts in trips past, has been turned into an ice skating rink. The playground still rocks, even when its covered in snow. Meadow Park Rec Center has an awesome pool, and I hear they have a pretty cool ice rink as well. The slopes are always great, and the accommodations are usually fabulous.
This time around, we spent a lot of time on the sledding hill that was built up between the ice rink and the playground right outside our condo door. It was amazing. Especially for Eli, who loved getting pushed around on the sled and kicking the saucer around the flats. Halleck even got to take a spin!
We traveled thanks to the generosity of my folks, who booked a 2-bedroom condo in a primo location, and treated us with opportune baby-sitting. I think Mom & Dad had a good time spoiling their grandkids, and the grandkids enjoyed being spoiled! My folks made some awesome meals too, preparing a Chinese New Year feast since the Lunar New Year Celebration occurred while we were there.
I celebrated Chinese New Year by getting to ‘ski’ with Eli at Blackcomb, and then really skiing with my hubby and my dad all over Whistler Mountain.
We had a couple of gorgeous bluebird days, and I couldn’t have had more fun! (The one thing we didn’t do was visit our favorite creamery. We never made it to Cows for ice cream, because Eli never fully finished his dinner! When did my kid become a picky eater?!?)
Aside from missing out on Cows, we skied, we swam and splashed around at Meadow Park (Eli even jumped off the rope swing!), and, true to our Whistler tradition, we met up with Vancouver friends, the Lanaris. I don’t think there’s been a trip up to Whistler yet where we don’t see Marc, Ann, Lucio and Nico. Thanks Eryn and Brian, for introducing us! And we started a new tradition: we made 2bar Moonshine cocktails. But that’s becoming a thing wherever we go
The thing about us Kaisers is that we live a pretty fast-paced life. Take 2012, for example. We thought it would be fun to have another baby 21 months after our first baby was born, all while trying to open a new craft distillery. Oh, and we left our salaried positions (not all by choice), so we’re living on our savings and unemployment benefits. Yup. Fun times!
A quick recap of 2012: Marissa skied until she was 29 weeks pregnant (but turned in her telemark skis after January, once her belly got too big to buckle her own boots). Halleck was born in April. We traveled around a bit, seeing family and showing off our cute kids. Nathan left Blue Box Group in June to focus on 2bar Spirits. Marissa left PATH in August after her maternity leave. 2bar Spirits received its final permits in late-August and opened its doors in September/October. Thanksgiving was a blur, especially since sister Ailey returned to Seattle after a year abroad just as other-sister Eryn packed up her family to move to Gunnison, CO. Sneaked in a quick trip to Hawaii with Marissa’s mom before Christmas, and then returned home to host sister Bethany and bro-in-law Dan for a few harried holi-days.
All this to say that I KNOW OUR BLOG SUCKS BECAUSE IT’S NEVER UPDATED. But the only folks who really read this is friends and family, so deal. I have no aspirations to do anything other than log a few happy memories once in awhile. And this is the place to do it. When I have time. Which is never.
Even now, without a job and with two children in daycare, I can’t seem to update this thing regularly. But here’s the best part: the archives are GREAT. Full of vacations, family, cute kids and good times. And every once in awhile (like today), I’ll find a few spare moments to write something down. So enjoy the archives and maybe, maybe, I’ll post old stories and semi-old pictures once every three months
In early December, the Kaisers went to Hawaii for a long-planned and much-needed family vacation. The four of us and PoPo all flew to Oahu for 8 days of R&R, although we quickly learned that traveling with two babies doesn’t allow for much rest.
All the same, we had a great time playing on the beaches, swimming in the pool, visiting good friends, and seeing family. Marissa commented that we have so many friends and family on Oahu, we maintain a busier social schedule than at home. While that may be true, Seattle in December doesn’t offer sun, beaches and 80-degree weather, so I think we came out ahead.
We had lots of ‘mini’ adventures, all scheduled around nap and bedtimes. For example, since we were typically up by 5:30 every morning, one morning we packed up after breakfast and headed out to the North Shore. We found delicious shave ice at Matsumoto’s (mango and lychee flavors with azuki beans and ice cream on this visit), and visited the beach.
I wish I could say that we had an awesome time splashing in the waves, but the currents at the North Shore, an 8-month old, and the fact that Marissa ripped off her big toenail the day prior (I know, gross) meant that we just stayed on the beach. Then, we drove home and let the boys nap. Successful mini-adventure complete!
Most of our days were spent at the pool. Thank GOD for the amazing Hilton Hawaiian Village. The timeshare that PoPo helped us get was perfect for us and the kiddos. We had another mini-adventure just walking around the grounds and seeing the fish and animals maintained by the hotel/resort.
Because we had a kitchen, we ate many of our meals in the hotel room or we packed a picnic lunch. We even hosted friends a couple of times! And thank goodness for PoPo who watched the boys on more than one evening while Nathan and I went out. It was a great vacation, and one that we hope to repeat again!
While we were gone, we missed an amazing number of awesome milestones at 2bar. Gabe and Will kept the shop running just fine, and we got home just in time to experience the excitement that a feature in Evening Magazine brings.
Oh yeah, I forgot to post what happens to the Kaisers after a weekend of camping.
It’s tough to look forward to Monday when you’re this tired. Thankfully, this Monday is Labor Day. Happy Labor Day Weekend everyone!!!
I mentioned in a previous post that I *MIGHT* blog about summer camping. Well, here it is. For 3 years running, Nathan’s sister, Eryn, has organized a family camping trip. I gotta say, it just gets better and better with each passing year! This year, even Nathan’s folks joined us!
The days leading up to the annual Kaiser camping weekend were 90+ degrees, and we were all looking forward to basking in the sunshine. I wish I could say the weather stayed warm and sunny, but that wasn’t the case. By Saturday, our camping spot was overcast and cool. Most of the Pacific Northwest breathed a sigh of relief. Honestly, I was bummed. I was looking forward to an entire weekend spent in Deep Lake at Millersylvania State Park. But it wasn’t to be.
Still, the kids had a great time hanging by the lake.
I think Eli would follow Hazel to the moon… He also loved hanging by the camp fire, running around naked, and eating all the chocolate for the s’mores. He especially loved eating all the chocolate for the s’mores.
Halleck had a good time sitting in laps, and keeping watch over the festivities. That’s kinda what he does best.
But camping with two young kids does have its share of challenges. Eli is never one to sleep well in a new environment, and, true to form, he woke up and screamed at several points throughout both nights. Sigh.
It was just challenging enough that we opted to alter a second summer camping trip planned with friends. Well, to be fair, a confluence of things contributed to us not going away… Our friends had suffered mid-week colds, we didn’t have a camp site reservation and we were planning to hit a popular spot on the Olympic Peninsula, the weather forecast wasn’t going to top 76 degrees…
But we DID camp. In our friend’s backyard.
It was awesome and painful, all rolled into one. Awesome because we were camping in our friend’s backyard with four young boys. Mark is 5, Eli is 2, Alan is 1, and Halleck is 4 months. We pitched the tents, we blew up the air mattresses, we roasted marshmallows and made s’mores, and we all went to bed smelling of campfire. By the time us parents turned in, we also smelled of alcohol because we drank our fair share of it.
The problem with drinking with young kids around is the propensity for the young ones to demand your attention, just as the hangover is starting to kick in. Eli and Halleck took turns crying in the middle of the night, all through the night, starting just after we adults decided to put away the booze and turn in. It was about 1 a.m., and Eli had a nightmare that woke him up screaming bloody murder. There was no consoling him.
I took him inside, and we tried various rooms of our friend’s house, until he finally calmed down and fell asleep on top of me on the couch. Less than 2 hours later, I had to extricate myself out from under him when Halleck woke up, hungry. What seemed like minutes after Halleck fell asleep on me, Eli woke up wanting to eat. It was still dark. Sigh.
But the weather was perfect, there was all the comforts of home because we were essentially home, and the company could not have been beat! Did I mention that they live less than a mile from us?
Thank you Grant and Melissa, for hosting us on our epic-backyard-camping-adventure. This is one for the books for sure!
And that somebody would be Halleck! See how happy he is next to the basil plant?
He’s even happier if I leave him alone so he can reach for it and pull off leaves, one by one. This is what he pulled off while I wasn’t looking…
And this is him enjoying his loot!
Halleck is 4 months old today. So much has happened in the last 24 hours, I don’t know where to begin, but I know that we are so lucky and so blessed.
Our kids are healthy and incredibly happy, agreeable kids. Halleck started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks old. And by sleeping through the night, I mean he was going down between 8-10 p.m. and would wake up between 6-7 a.m. That’s pretty much still the case.
He’s 13 lbs, 7 oz. which puts his slight frame in the 10th percentile for weight. But he’s a string bean, because he’s in the 80th percentile for height. Well, actually, he’s more like a lollipop, because his head is in the 75th percentile.
Halleck has been jonesing to catch up with his brother since the day he was born! He held up his head early, and he’s super strong. These days he’s a rolling-over machine. No more leaving him on the bed, couch or changing table. This kid is liable to roll off!
Halleck also has a GREAT belly laugh.
This a rough and sudden transition, but I learned yesterday evening that a friend’s son, about Halleck’s age, passed away suddenly. My heart is broken for Stacy, Ryan, and the remaining Miyashiro twin, Daniel.
Little Andrew is no longer with us.
I don’t know what I’ve done to be so lucky, but I’m kissing my boys a little more frequently.
Wow. So it’s been close to two months since our last post. We’ve been kinda busy having fun. So here’s a few tidbits from our summer thus far….
July 4th 2012
Per Kaiser-family tradition, we spend Independence Day at the Kaiser cabin. We’re trying to log in as many days as we can at the cabin, because word on the street is that it’s getting torn down after Labor Day. That’s right, folks. Keith and Susie have decided to upgrade by building a new cabin. Which will probably be more like a huge vacation house. But that’s another post for another day.
I digress… Since neither Nate nor I had anywhere else to be, we spent the entire week at the cabin. We sunbathed. We swam. We kayaked. We rode the jet ski. We luxuriated. We loved it.
These boys are best buds. Thank God they like each other.
When Eli wakes up in the morning, he’ll always ask to see “Baby Hayeck.” (We’re still working on saying our ‘L’s. And ‘G’s which come out more like ‘d’s. And ‘C’s which come out more like ‘t’s…) If Halleck sneezes, Eli will say, “Bless you, Baby Hayeck!”
And if Halleck’s having a rough day, I ask Eli to give Halleck his binky. Halleck’s cries will turn into coo’s and smiles. It’s about enough to melt your heart, they’re so sweet together! I hope this lasts!
More Friends and Relatives
Most awesome: We got to see Aunt Ailey!!! We also got a visit from cousin Brett (who Eli refers to as “Udder Bedt”).
And we’ve been to a crazy number of birthdays and BBQs with friends and their kids. Now I get it… this is how parents socialize.
BTW, this post is inspired by the fact that I’ve been in bed with a fever for the past two days, and I’m just now feeling better. It’s 11:20 p.m., Halleck has been asleep since 9:30, and Eli & Nathan are in the backyard “camping” in the tent. (The big boys are gearing up for next weekend when we’ll be sleeping in a tent for real. Maybe I’ll get my act in gear and post about our camping trips within a reasonable span of time… Maybe.)
And on that note, until next time. MAYBE after camping.
Yes, in Texas, one has an enormous potential to see lots of cows. And Eli was so glad we were in Texas where we saw LOTS of cows and some horses too! We also rode “boda” also known as the Kubota ATV, went fishing, collected lots of rocks, and had a great time seeing friends and relatives. It was officially the Halleck introduction tour of Texas, but Eli often stole the show.
In preparation for the trip, we asked Eli a few questions:
And thanks to our good friends the Swifts, Eli was all prepared for the 4 hour plane ride with his airplane “pac pack” filled with toys and books. He and Halleck proved to be great travelers once again. Eli had his very own seat on the plane, while Halleck happily slept in someone’s arms through both flights.
We landed in the hot and humid metropolis of Houston, Tx, and got to spend a wonderful few days with octogenarians Jap & Louise Lott. Jap is a WWII pilot who married a pistol of a lady over 60 years ago, and Louise has since dedicated her life to keeping him in line. Louise is Nathan’s grandfather’s first cousin (I think), which would make them cousins twice removed (right?). Susie can clarify that one for me.
But more than being in Texas, we decided that the 2bar ranch is heaven to a toddler.
Halleck also had a good time meeting his relatives and enjoying the heat. Texas temps were in the 90s the entire week we were there. The sun was scorching (save for an enormous tropical storm that hit Houston minutes after our plane landed… we were lucky to land when we did!), but we managed to get away from the humidity in Yoakum. Through it all, we decided that Halleck likes the heat. He didn’t complain once about being outside. But then again, he didn’t complain about being inside either… He was gettin’ love and snuggles where ever he was at!
Meeting his great-grandaddy was an especially precious thing. Halleck slept a LOT while he was in Great-Grandaddy’s arms (and only slightly less so in Grandpa’s arms).
Nathan says this was the best trip to Texas ever. All I know is that we all had a great time, and we can’t wait to go back.
Low and behold, as we touched down on the tarmac in Seattle and began taxiing to the runway, Eli fell fast asleep. Halleck hadn’t done anything but snore for the previous 2 hours and landing wasn’t going to change that. Even though it would have been nice for Eli to fall asleep 2 hours earlier with Halleck, it was a good way to end a trip.
Eli is an amazing big brother. Since Halleck’s been born, Eli has gotten more affectionate and even more verbose. I love this kid. He wakes up every morning asking for Dada or Mama. And when he’s been rescued from his crib, he’ll give us a big hug and say, “See baby?” Since Halleck’s been born, Eli’s begun giving out lots of hugs and kisses. There’s nothing like a slobbery, wet kiss from a toddler who loves you!
Eli can say just about everything in a repeat-after-me fashion, but it’s deciphering the words that’s often a challenge. His c’s come out sounding more like t’s or th’s. We were in the Bay Area last weekend to celebrate Auntie B and Uncle Dan’s graduation from their respective master’s programs, and Eli saw a cat on the walk back from commencement. “Tat! Tat!” he called, pointing to something beyond my shoulder.
I had no idea what he was saying, so I responded, “Yeah. That!” After this go-round a couple of times Eli got frustrated and finally said, “Meow!”
Oh! C-at! Riiigggghhhht. And “open cup” sounds more like “ah-bee tup.” Since he’s a big boy now, Eli often asks us to remove the top from his sippy cup so he can drink from a “tup.”
Speaking of Auntie B (since we all agreed that “Auntie Bethany” was way too many syllables for a 2-year old, and “Auntie B” sounded like a good alternative), she just got her degree in speech and hearing pathology! We’re so proud of her! And she’s been awesome at filling us in about Eli’s language development. For example, it’s more difficult to say “k” and “g” sounds, so they’ll likely come a little later.
Eli can pronounce my mom’s name just fine… He’s been saying “PoPo” for months (not to be confused with “poo poo,” but that’s a separate issue), but he can’t say “Gung Gung.” Instead, Eli’s been calling my dad “Doh Doh,” which we think is H I L A R I O US and oohhh so cute! But he’s turning the corner… just tonight Eli started saying “Doh Doung.” I’m going to miss “Doh Doh.”
Eli’s also stringing words together for the last month or so, saying sentences and making his requests known. Interestingly enough, “Doh Doh” is often part of the pairing.
Halleck (and the entire Kaiser family) has had a very full month! I can’t believe it was one month ago (plus one day) that he joined our family and blessed our lives. Time flies when you’re having fun!!!
Halleck’s had all sorts of adventures in his first month. There’s the standard newborn activities…
Meeting family for the first time, heading home from the hospital, visiting the pediatrician for the first time, and getting his first bath…
There’s lots of visits with new friends. And then there’s a few unique adventures. How many newborns that you know have a distillery to visit?
Yeah, Halleck visited 2bar when he was just a few days old. Mom was proud to pose for a picture with him! (We also went to Costco together when Halleck was 3 days old and then visited Blue Box Group. We visited PATH a few days later.)
Being related to Arlene Ng, Halleck has had his share of photos taken of him. But we took a few professional photos at Yuen Lui before his first week was up.
And since Halleck was born during a season of gorgeous sunny weather and warming temperatures, we’ve already spent our share of time outside. This makes Halleck’s brother Eli very happy!
After a particularly lovely afternoon BBQ at our place, all the Kaiser boys took a nap.
And throughout these four weeks, Halleck has continued to grow and change. We love you little boy! Thank you for blessing our family!!!
In Chinese, the word for maternal grandmother is ‘PoPo.’ My PoPo and I were very close. It was one year ago that she went home to heaven.
My mom calls May 9 the anniversary of PoPo’s homecoming. I think that’s a very appropriate way to describe the date. A year ago we all gathered together at the hospital where my PoPo lay on life support after a massive heart attack. We said our good-byes, prayed over her, and let her go. Amazingly enough, she raised her arms, praising God and saying good-bye back to us after the monitors and wires were pulled.
My Uncle Byron put together a slideshow that captured some of PoPo’s 83 happy years. This is a modified, slightly shorter version: Slide Show Commemorating Mae Mark
And I gave a euology at her funeral a week later. I called it “She Taught Us How to Love.” Here’s the text:
In memoriam of Mae Lim Mark; January 14, 1938 – May 9, 2011
Hi, you all know me. I am Mae’s oldest grandchild Marissa, born to Mae and Al’s eldest child, Arlene. Since I’m a maternal granddaughter, I called Mae “PoPo.” Many of my cousins called her “Ngin Ngin.”
To all of us, she was a consummate grandmother and matriarch, no matter how we referred to her. She showed us all what unconditional love is.
And I presume that many in this room would share in this sentiment: Mae, Mom, PoPo, Ngin Ngin, Auntie… taught us how to love.
Since I was the firstborn grandchild, and the daughter of two working parents, PoPo and Gung Gung were very active in my rearing. I spent my early years at Mark’s Pharmacy, playing with pill bottles and containers for birth control. And I have distant memories of the big house in West Seattle, with the gorgeous views and the big swimming pool.
From my child-mind’s eye, I remember big family gatherings at that old house—I’m sure many of you remember this much better than I—steaming platters of No Mai Fan, soy-sauce chicken, big slices of watermelon. PoPo always had an amazing reputation for good food.
But my fondest memories of PoPo in that big house are not of the big family gatherings. Rather, they are of the intimate moments she and I shared together. I think, for me, this is how the foundation for a grandmother’s love is set.
I recall sitting on her bathroom countertop as she gently and delicately pulled out a splinter. And I got a lot of splinters on that long deck!
Her nurse’s touch helped heal me, whether I had a splinter, or a cut, or a cold. And her nurse’s touch didn’t stop because I grew up. Nathan and I called PoPo with questions regularly!
She was always eager to put those nursing skills to work. With that gentle touch, she showed us how to love.
Even after PoPo and Gung Gung moved out of that big house, no matter where she was, I experienced her unconditional love and caring, and I saw her caring for others.
At their house in the U-district, she took in exchange students and ran a daycare for all my cousins. She changed diapers, she took us to and from school and our many lessons.
I can still hear her singing, “Down by the station, early in the morning…”
In the early days with our son, Eli, PoPo’s was one of the few tunes I would sing to him. She showed me how to care for this baby. She showed me how to love.
And it’s in my adult life, she’s meant the most to me. From her infinite wisdom and gentle urging about how to talk to my mother, to her marriage advice to my husband on the day of our wedding—“never go to bed angry”—she showed me the true meaning of love.
I knew that PoPo was praying for me every night.
And not just praying for me, but praying for all of her 8 children, their spouses, all of her 14 grandchildren, and their spouses, praying for her great-grand son, praying for her siblings, her siblings-in-law, her nieces and nephews…
She loved her family so much. It’s what she lived for. She taught us how to love.
So a few lessons that PoPo taught me that I’ll leave with you today:
PoPo’s caring transcended family. And that’s why we’re all gathered here today.
She taught us how to love.
It’s been an eventful few weeks for the Kaiser household since my last post, and I’ll post some pics and stories from our adventures soon enough. But first I wanted to share about the days and hours leading up to Halleck’s arrival, before we became a family of four.
A few things about my pregnancies and my babies (given the current sample size of two that I have to go off of):
So here’s a couple of pregnancy pics of my last month with Outlaw:
I don’t love having pictures taken of me and my pregnant belly. And Nathan never really thinks about taking pictures, so I had to ask him to take these. Not the best quality, but you get the gist.
The day that I went into labor was a gorgeous, sunny, warm day in Seattle. Since I have Fridays off, I’d spent the day running errands. BORING. So I’d hoped that Nathan would be up for enjoying the evening with our toddler and dog. I loaded up Galt in the truck and headed downtown to pick up Nate and Eli.
What I didn’t realize was that Nathan was immersed in work, and he wouldn’t be able to mentally distance himself from it until he realized that THIS IS REALLY GO TIME!!!, which didn’t happen until hours later.
Instead, we (the entire Kaiser clan, including Galt) hung out at Nathan’s office while he tried to eek out a few more minutes of productivity. The truck sat in the load/unload zone, and the kid was getting antsy. Galt loves the office and couldn’t have cared about going anywhere else, except that he might have had to go to the bathroom.
Finally, around 6 p.m., I asked Nate if we could get going. Reluctantly, he agreed, but he noted that he’d be back that evening because he had SO much work to get done. We headed out and decided to grab dinner at the Spaghetti Factory. We even got to sit in the train! Eli had fun, and so did we.
Even if Nathan was absorbed with work, he knows how to enjoy time with his kids. Or at that point in time, kid. Little did we know that this would be our last evening as a family of three But yay for me who was about to not be pregnant anymore!
We welcomed Halleck Michael Kaiser on April 14 at 4:29 in the morning. He arrived healthy, lively, and with a full head of hair! He’s just a smidge over 7 lbs 0.9 oz, and 18.5 inches long.
We’re reveling in this time, getting to know each other, and celebrating his arrival with family and friends.
Eli was especially sweet as he met his younger brother: