Wallingford Camp for Babies: PEPs

There’s few life transitions more abrupt and potentially isolating than having a kid. For one thing, there’s remarkably few people out there that want to hear about the color and consistency of your baby’s 3 AM poop. Discussion boards aren’t enough to do the topic justice, there’s no playground or school for 2 month olds, and it’s not like you want to hang out with somebody that has a 6 month old. Your baby on their back will look defective next to that baby sitting up all on their own.


Well, that’s why there’s PEPs, based in our very own Good Shepherd Center since 1993, where you can meet parents with kids and families that are precisely matched to yours. Groups are led by former members for the first 11 weeks, then keep going on their own after that. Sometimes the kids in the groups end up like extended family, in the good way. We went through the process and my wife led a couple groups, so when PEPs reached out to Wallyhood to get the word out about upcoming classes I figured I’d spread the word:

While You’re Waiting is a free, informational 1 time session, Newborn groups start nearly every day and rotate through the homes of new moms, and Adjusting to Parenthood is a drop in therapeutic session.

There are also a few formal classes that are in community locations and start quarterly if at least 5 families sign up.

Second Time Around is for parents with a newborn 0-4 months in a family with one or more older children. One parent attends with the baby, with a topic discussion related to the adventure of parenting a growing family and with a focus on the newborn. As one parent put it, “I loved getting together with other parents who “get it” when I talk about the challenges of my day!” Second Time Around meets for 11 weeks, beginning:

  • April 87-8:30 pm at the Illumination Learning Studio in Phinney Ridge
  • April 1410-11:30 am at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford

Baby Peppers is for one parent and a baby 5-12 months. Each meeting includes time for sharing parenting highs and lows, followed by a topic discussion related to the adventure of parenting. Meetings also include break time for socializing and connecting with other parents, as well as time to focus on baby’s development. Toys are provided. Baby Peppers meets for 11 weeks, beginning:

  • April 1512-1:30 pm at the Phinney Neighborhood Association

Little Peppers is designed for families with two children ages 3 and under. One parent attends with both children, with a topic discussion related to the adventure of parenting and time to focus on the development of baby and toddler. Babies and children remain in the room with their parents for the entire meeting. Groups are led by a professional facilitator, who is assisted by a trained Wondersitter childcare provider. Little Peppers meets for 11 weeks, beginning:

  • April 1710-11:30 am at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford
  • April 1710-11:30 am at All That Dance in Greenwood

PEPS for Dads is a great way to meet other Dads, have a structured activity with your baby, and learn what our area has to offer for new parents. This group works well for dads with flexible schedules, or are the part-time or full-time caregiver for their 0-12 month old babies. PEPS for Dads meets for 11 weeks, beginning:

  • April 20, 12:30-2 pm at Umbrella Tree in Queen Anne

Of course if you decide to have a kid in May instead of April, that’s fine too, classes keep starting up all year. Just remember PEPs.org!


Wallingford Kid Summer Camps: The 2015 Edition

If you have a dog then your summer plans consist of going on long, sunny walks. Aside from picking up the poo, it sounds nice. Kids are pricier and generally less grateful. My son has an awesome if dorky summer consisting of going to the DOTA championships at Key Arena, volunteering in Guatemala to build computer labs, then skipping ahead a grade in math by taking summer school.


Meridian School Kids at the Good Shepherd Center, where several different camps are happening

The current plan for my 11 year old daughter is to see how bored we can make her before she drives us insane. We are looking for alternatives, and here’s what I dug up for school age children:

  • Artist and Craftsman Supply: Art camp! Here’s a calendar. Especially good for older kids and/or adults looking to pick up a skill like cartooning.
  • Campfire at Woodland Park: August 10 to 14, Grade K-7, or look at their site for outdoor options further afield.
  • Community Centers: Camps for all ages, including basketball camp at Green Lake with the awesome Ernie Chatters, tennis camp at Lower Woodland Park, pottery camp, dance camps, STEM camps (MineCraft, Lego, MAD science, etc), and boating on Green Lake. See the awkward SPARC Website to register and for a description of boating camps that are not in the PDF catalog, because government.
  • Fremont Dance Camp on Stoneway. I’m sure it’s great, although I’d prefer it if they didn’t associate Stoneway with Fremont. Then again, there’s a Stoneway Hardware in Ballard now, so maybe I need to get used to sharing.
  • Meridian School Summer Quest: Ages 5 to 15, week to week at the Good Shepherd Center.
  • Neo Art: Class for ages 6 to 12, or be an art assistant from ages 12 to 15. We did this for a few years, it’s lots of fun. It’s at the Good Shepherd Center and is “Seattle’s oldest, locally owned art school for children.”
  • Seattle Parks Jobs For Teens: Your teen or preteen gets paid to go away and make the city better! When our son wanted a gaming computer this is how he earned it. Locations rotate around the city, it’s a great set of programs.
  • Sonic Crossfit Kids: Has camps featuring active gymnastics and outdoor activities behind Kabul restaurant- it looks like Wallingford’s own little Seattle Gymnastics Academy.
  • Stone Soup Theatre At Meridian Park: Up to age 13, with performances in the pagoda.
  • Tilth Summer Camps: Camps for younger kids at the Good Shepherd Center Children’s Garden, or be a counselor if you’re older.
  • The Wallingford Boys and Girls club: Has a walk in program for all ages where you pay a nominal fee once per year. The food and facilities are great and the clientele is diverse, but our coddled little shmoopy found it to be too regimental. It’s a shame it doesn’t have a range of offerings like the Ballard Boys and Girls Club does.
  • Vámonos Spanish Center: For ages 7-14 at 45th and Bagley. Spanish immersion through art and cooking projects, outdoor activities, dancing and more.
  • YMCA Camps: For ages K-6 at the University District YMCA, or outdoor adventure camps for all ages.
  • Zoo Camp: Up to age 14, or volunteer at age 14 or older. An interesting option for our daughter is the middle school focused Zoo Crew. As a special treat, all participants will get to eat a real elephant ear this year.

So there’s no shortage of options, and I’m sure there’s more out there. Suggestions or experience with some of the above options you want to share?

Our 1998 Neighborhood Plan, Now Happening

Did you know Wallingford has a neighborhood plan? It does! The Plan is 103 pages long and filled with flowery prose and pictures of bungalows. It was written a few months before I arrived in Wallingford, 17 years ago. If you’re having trouble going to sleep tonight, here it is.

The Plan used to really, really matter. It was put together when Jim Diers was in charge of the all powerful Department of Neighborhoods. The idea back then was to put neighborhoods in charge of their own development. Community meetings decided The Plan, then The Plan decided zoning codes for developers and where the city would spend money in the neighborhood.

Now adays the Department of Neighborhoods really only manages the Neighborhood Matching Fund. Development rules get updated by council members in exchange for funding their next campaign, which as of the 2013 reporting year was about $200,000 per candidate in competitive races.

But still, Wallingford’s zoning dates back to that magical day 17 years ago! And some people from back then are still around that care about zoning codes. Go figure. You can meet them at the Wallingford Community Council Land Use Committee, where they will tell you all the many ways they have lost fights over zoning codes.

They lose to a strangely successful alliance between moneyed, conservative developer interests and acolytes of The Stranger pushing car-free density. Together they form a political juggernaut that makes developer friendly rules changes regularly, rationalizing them as being for being for transit, or for micro-housing, or for green buildings, or for low income housing incentives, or so the executives at Brooks Sports can have a better view. It’s not likely to change either; in the last mayoral campaign Peter Steinbruck ran on reviving neighborhood control, then was soundly trounced in the primaries.

In broad terms, 45th and Stone are currently being plowed under as they are part of the”Urban Village” envisioned in 1998. Here’s Wallingford’s zoning today:

Zoning 2015

Which is more or less a direct copy from the charmingly hand drawn map in the Neighborhood Plan, from back before the days when PanaVision colorized everything:

Plan 1999

If you want the details, the Department of Planning and Development has a site you can get lost in for years.

Apparently Everyone Stopped Drinking Alcohol

Emerald City Spirits, which occupied the old state liquor store, has gone dark. They bought the rights to the space back in 2011 for $355,000.

Doug had a fun take:

Apparently their liquor license has been purchased by the Shell station next door, and Shell will begin to sell liquor soon. We have finally become California!

There’s a rumor that the building housing Emerald City Spirits will be torn down and condos will be built there. Frankly I was hoping for a pharmacy.

It looks like Puffin Glass went dark as well.

And Wine World is looking to reduce their space. They have a listing out seeking to sublet or sell the space. It reads in part: “Current Tenant is Wine World & Spirits. They have a surplus Event Space, divisible to between 3,500 and 16,000 RSF, or will relocate to make the entire floor available. No cannibis retailers. Sublease to 2020, or renegotiate a full lease with the landlord.”


Now is a good time to stock up on Ouzo 12

Thanks to Braden Gustafson for this info!


Dentist's water basin

On Saturday I received this letter from my dentist Dr. Garth Burleigh whose office is at 1212 North 45th Street.

Dear Valued Patients,

Sadly, the time has come…our landlord could no longer repair the building that housed our dental practice for over thirty years. Like many other buildings in the neighborhood, it was sold to developers and will be demolished…

The letter goes on to say that Dr. Burleigh will be working for Drs. Jeff and Annie Knudsen in the U-District at their practice Brush Dental.

I can’t tell you how sad this makes me. I’m already starting to feel nostalgic. You see Dr. Burleigh isn’t like most other dentists. His office is humble not flashy. There were never more than three people working there when I went for an appointment, and many times only two. A person scheduling appointments sometimes doubled as a hygienist. And then sometimes there was another hygienist. But Dr. Burleigh himself cleaned my teeth. There was a little porcelain bowl with a crack in it that I spit into after rinsing.

Before finding Dr. Burleigh, I went to practices where the majority of my time was spent waiting in a dental chair. There would be several rooms full of people just like me. Our teeth would be scraped and cleaned by hygienists and then we would wait until the doctor came to do a once-over of our teeth before moving onto the next room. I never knew when my appointment would end because many a time the office had over-scheduled patients. At other dental offices, the hygienists seemed to change every time. Were they students who had to do so many hours to get a credential? Is that why they left? Or were they paid a pittance? And of course there was that sucking tube that they put in your mouth. Maybe those things are good when you’re having surgery, but I’d much rather drink from a  cup and spit into a little porcelain bowl during a standard cleaning.

I liked hearing Dr. Burleigh’s stories about old Ballard when he used to practice there. A lot of Norwegian humor. I liked to look at the humming birds hovering around the humming bird feeder outside his window. I liked that his staff never changed. I’m sorry to say I never learned their names.

I’ll follow him to Brush Dental, but something tells me that it won’t be the same.

The image shown is not from Dr. Burleigh’s office.

Wallingford Public Library

Wallingford Public Library, photo by author

Local artist Savvy Dani will be hosting a live portrait sitting at our local Wallingford Library on Sunday, March 22nd, from 1pm to 4pm.

The free event will be geared toward beginning artists, with Dani provided a talk on tips and tricks for those looking to hone in their skills. Both Dani and the model will be available to chat once the painting process begins, according a release.

Artists of all stripes and skill levels are invited to join in the fun and bring their sketchbooks to create artwork of their own.

Dani’s finished painting will go on display at the Wallingford Community Senior Center in July.

Three days later, on Wednesday the 25th, the library will hold a family game day from 1:30 to 3:30, an early school release day. Classics like Candy Land, Connect4, and UNO will be on hand alongside newer games such as Bananagrams and Pictureka. All are welcome!

AOC-1A new shop named Art of Confections opened for business last week on N. 45th Street, ready to serve up specialty cakes and sweets.

Run by Shila Jansen, the store features several seating areas, an espresso bar, and of course the main show: row upon row of desserts. Several cakes, ranging from chocolate raspberry to lemon to carrot make their rounds in a revolving display case by the door. Cupcakes, fruit tarts, and a variety of chocolate-covered items sit ready to be devoured in a nearby vitrine.

Though folks are welcome to pop in for a quick bite, Jansen envisions creating a space where people can come and hang out. Specialty coffee, custom espressos, and exotic teas invite customers to pull up a chair and stay awhile. Live cake decorating by local artists as well as live music are all in the plan, underscoring a commitment Jansen has to keeping the arts alive in the neighborhood.

The store replaces the former aptly named Erotic Bakery, which closed last fall after nearly 30 years in business. Jansen says the shadow of the long-time erotica-peddling pastry shop still looms large. “People walk in and ask ‘Do you still do XXX?’ ”, said Jansen, who admits she will make an adult-themed confection if ordered.

“I just laugh about it, what are you going to do?”, she said.

CW from top: Shila Jansen puts the finishing touches on a pan of chocolate-covered strawberries at her shop, Art of Confections, on March 18, 2015. / A finished tuxedo-themed strawberry is ready for consumption. / A slice of rainbow cake looks--and tastes--delicious.

CW from top: Shila Jansen puts the finishing touches on a pan of chocolate-covered strawberries at her shop, Art of Confections, on March 18, 2015. / A finished tuxedo-themed strawberry is ready for consumption. / A slice of rainbow cake looks–and tastes–delicious. Photos by author.

While the previous tenant focused on unmentionables, Jansen offers a decidedly wider variety of themes. A picture book on the countertop showcases cakes ranging from sugary reproductions of the family dog to the infamous leg lamp from A Christmas Story, classic wedding cakes to Maurice Sendak themed wonder worlds.

Jansen got her start in the confectionery business at age seven, she says, when her mother gave her a how-to book. She has since worked for a variety of bakeries before settling on striking out on her own.

“I’ve always dreamed of having my own store,” she said, adding that she isn’t sure she’d want to do it anywhere else. “I absolutely love this neighborhood and its vibe,” she said.

Hours for the shop are currently 10am to 6pm, Tuesday through Saturday. Jansen anticipates celebrating a hard open for the store in a few months’ time, along with an expansion of hours.

The shop becomes the latest specialty baker in an already crowded scene, joining Hiroki, Setsuko Pastry, and the Sweet Side in addition to the QFC in-house bakery.

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