Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Fleshmans Visit the Chocolate Factory.

Last Saturday Joey surprised us with a trip to Theo Chocolate for one of their factory tours! It was something we had been wanting to do for a while but as always we sat there, hmmm-ing and uhhh-ing about whether or not we really should---bathrooms needed cleaned, diapers washed, general upkeep done....
But responsibility be darned! So once again we hopped on the ferry (after a quick stop for maple dough boys at Sluy's on the way) and headed to the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. And it turned out to be the most perfect day for it--warm sunshine, fresh green leaves on the trees, and stunning views of Mt. Rainier throughout the day. Speaking of Mt. Rainier, one of my favorite things to do when we're out and about on a clear day is to see if I can spot it from wherever we are, like a little 'Where's Rainier?' game. I tell ya what, the view of that gorgeous volcano has stolen my heart. But anyways, chocolate....
Theo Chocolate (named after the theobroma cacao tree) is a neat company because it was the first chocolate maker to be certified organic and fair trade in the US. They are a "bean to bar" chocolate company which gives them a lot of control over ingredients and flavors--even the percentages of cacao beans sourced from various places around the world changes the taste of the chocolate, and they're able to control that. 
We were really excited to learn more about the way they make their chocolate but even more excited to taste it all. Really, what's better than a chocolate factory tour with lots of samples? Ohh, so many samples. I will raise my hand and admit that I made an effort to grab one of the larger pieces of chocolate on each sample plate. Not even ashamed.
[Little man had just sneezed, hence the watery eyes.]
Everyone was asked to don hair nets, but Curran's head was so little that we had to use two beard nets to cover that gorgeous head of hair. But he did well with them and only tried to pull them off twice or so.
Much of the equipment, like this roaster, is actually vintage from old European chocolate companies.
Their cocoa beans are currently sourced from the Congo, Panama, and Peru--you can even look up the actual farm demographics on their website. Theo really makes an effort to be transparent and let people know where their chocolate comes from and what is (or really, isn't) in it.
We also got to try roasted cocoa nibs on our tour. Even with the nibs we could taste differences between those from Congo and Panama.
At the end of the tour every visitor received a bar of chocolate which Curran gladly and excitedly held for daddy while we sampled even more chocolate at the retail store.
Theo Chocolate also does kids parties and the birthday child gets a special chocolate dinosaur. Can it be my 6th birthday again?
We let Curran try some chocolate for the first time (at this point, we're happy if the kid eats anything). He wasn't particularly thrilled at first but he eventually warmed up to it.
Heart eyes for an itty bitty chocolate face. And yup, we sure did give him chocolate in a white shirt! Luckily the mess was negligible.
After our tour we let Curran stretch his legs and work on his walking while we made a plan for lunch.
We settled on a taco truck just around the corner so we loaded the little man up in the stroller for a change of pace and a stroll around the neighborhood.
Our stroller has a peek through panel on the canopy that he loves to play with. And do you see that little tooth?! It finally came!
We decided on a Mexican hotdog (because what's a city food truck lunch without a hot dog?) and some delish tacos that even rivaled our beloved taqueria in Poulsbo. Curran even tried a piece of chicken which is a huge accomplishment for him!

After lunch we walked to a cute fabric store that I've been dying to go to for months, and it certainly delivered with some gorgeous dupioni silk that I promptly turned in to a new ring sling after we went home. Oh! And we stopped by the brand spanking new Chik-fil-a that just opened in Tacoma for dinner on our way home. So we got to enjoy something special to the PNW as well as a little treat from back East all in one day. That is the life.

Another successful day exploring this gorgeous place.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Curran is 11 Months!

This happy, bubbly, bright little boy is one month away from his first birthday. I can't believe its been a whole year since we moved to Washington and made our last efforts to prepare for our sweet Curran's arrival. And who knew he'd show up two weeks early!
Time. Its really somethin'. 
These days Curran is a very busy guy. He's always on the move and exploring anything he can get his hands on. As always he's attentive and interested in everything going on around him. He's loving the new xylophone grandma sent him and happily flips through books. He babbles no stop and says "woah!" a lot.
Is there anything better than skinny jeans on a baby?
 Love love love that hair. I think he really does have more than Joey! 
 The little shrimp is still rocking 3-6 month clothes, however we've had to transition him to the next size for a couple items because he needs the length. Most people have a hard time finding pants that accommodate a cloth diaper, but he is one of the few kids that actually needs it to hold his pants up!
His favorite thing right now is to push the screen door open and shut. We stand on the porch and watch him and he laughs and laughs. He never tries to leave the door but boy, that could keep him entertained for hours. He and Remy are also good buds which is so fun to see.

We love you bugaboo!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Tulip Festival in Mt. Vernon, WA

We have not been as good about getting out to see things like we did before Curran was born---I love the little guy but boy, he can curb spontaneity. I mean now we think about taking a day trip or doing some activity and then its worrying about nap time, will the drive be too long for him, making sure there's enough bottles and diapers, what if he's cranky from teething....and soon enough its not hard to say "eh, its just too much, its probably best if we stay home". And honestly I know its being built up to be more trouble or effort than it might actually be, but I know its kept us from other outings. 
But last week we said, "we need to explore, darn it!" We don't know how much longer we'll be in Washington and if we keep saying we'll do it next year, that opportunity might never come. So we carpe-d that diem and planned out a day trip to Mt. Vernon to see the beautiful Tulip Festival.

There are two farms that participate but we decided to visit Roozengaarde. They have a cool history of being tulip growers in the US and Holland since the 1700s--and they did not disappoint.
 This is how Curran likes to give kisses these days. He's so cute, I'll take 'em.
 Curran loved trying to grab the big tulip petals
 After just walking around the garden Curran fell asleep, which was actually kinda mind blowing--we can't remember the last time he fell asleep in the wrap while we've been out an about. If you know Curran you know that he is a very busy, attentive boy and is always watching everything around him, so we were quite surprised.
 One lone red tulip got lost! And man, those storm clouds were crazy, but luckily they didn't get too close and we were dry the whole visit.
 Love love love when the little guy wakes up and gives those sleepy, cheesy smiles.
 Those giant tulips were as big as he was!
Curran's been working on his walking and getting better every day! After seeing the fields we let Curran crawl around on the grass. Between the car and ferry rides and being held at the farm he needed some time to get his wiggles out.
Big heart eyes.

Boy, I'm so glad we decided to take a trip north to see the famous tulip fields. The flowers were beautiful, the weather was perfect, and the trip was wonderful. Watching Curran grow older and show excitement for new things brings us so much joy as well. Love that baby boy of ours!

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