A Family of Three

My priority right now is enjoying our last days as a family of three. I have no idea how baby girl will change the dynamic of our little family, but I know she’s bound to shake things up a bit. I’m all about savoring all of the sweet moments with our only child. This last weekend’s focus was all about Ben and having fun together, just the three of us.

Even before this weekend I’ve been really trying to stop and be even more present with Ben. The dishes can wait. Picking up can wait. I’ve found myself sitting down on the floor with him much more often and pushing out bedtime a few extra minutes just to keep having fun together.

The weekend was perfect. It was everything I hoped it would be. No one was sick {hurrah!} and we didn’t really have anywhere we needed to be. We could just relax and be together, and that’s just what we did. Sometimes those are the best days.

It’s not like we did anything out of the ordinary or extra special last weekend. Alex and I were so in-the-moment and so focused on enjoying our time together, knowing this could potentially be our last weekend home just the three of us, and I think that’s what made it extra special.

Ben and I started the weekend with our weekly trip down to our neighborhood Farmers Market on Friday afternoon. It’s often a highlight of my week, or at least something I look forward to all week. The produce is really starting to get good now that we’re into the middle of July! If only I could get Ben to enjoy fruit in its natural form. Oh well.

The rest of the weekend was a nice combo of strolling the neighborhood, playing at the park, going to the zoo and turning our backyard into a water park.

Alex and I have been making it a point to get out for dinner just the two of us pretty much every week for about the last month and we opted to try somewhere different this week and finished off the evening with a stop at Molly Moon’s ice cream shop.

We were able to get a few things accomplished over the weekend too, so that made it feel extra good and productive. More on that in another post.

At the end of the day on Sunday both Alex and I felt like the weekend was so long in the best possible way. We so enjoyed our family time, and if it happens to be the last weekend we’re a family of three, I’m so, so happy with how our time was spent together.

It was perfect.

Nesting

During my pregnancy with Ben I really didn’t get to “nest” much at all – it was more of a mad scramble once we realized things were going to get crazy. Once he was born, but still in the NICU, I managed to find a little extra time to do some meal prep for after he came home, but otherwise, his nursery was finished without me while I was stuck in the hospital.

Honestly, I really didn’t expect to make it to 36 weeks with baby girl, but at the same time, I wanted to wait until 36 weeks to do things like pack my hospital bag, buy the last few things for her, install the car seat and pull out the baby bottles. So – we made it and now I can happily start “nesting” a bit more.

Baby girl will sleep in Alex’s/my room in a pack & play for as long as we can make it work, then she’ll move in with her big brother. We’re trying to figure out when a good time to transition Ben out of his crib might be… I have a feeling that is soon on the horizon! I really have been feeling badly about taking away his independence by confining him to a crib. Stay tuned!

We mostly finished off the “kids” closet and figured out storage solutions in Ben’s/the kids’ room. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out – everything fits somehow and it doesn’t seem overly crowded yet. I’m sure we’ll get there soon after she’s born, though.

You’re not going to find this closet on Pinterest, but it works for us for now. Though I will admit I can hardly squeeze in there right now with my giant belly.

I love, love, love these little mountain hooks I found on Etsy.

I got some over-the-door storage which has been SO helpful – Ben only has a few pairs of shoes and even as itty bitty as they are, they still take up a lot of space, so now they get to hang out on the back of the door.

I also found some big pocket storage for behind the door to keep things like baby wipes, Ben’s art supplies and swim diapers. These have been a HUGE help in the storage department.

Baby girl is more than set on clothes and blankets and by golly she’s got her brother to thank for a whole slew of fun baby toys. I’m waiting to see if any of our last minute bigger items are going to be on sale on Prime Day and, naturally, I found a few tons of great things at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Otherwise, in terms of tangible things, I think we’re about ready!

A few things I would still like to do are:

  • Go through Ben’s toys – I really don’t feel like he has that many toys {we try to be really conscious of this} but they take up so. much. space. And it’s space that we don’t have. I think I’ll start a box to take to The Lodge…
  • Go through Ben’s books. Omg. He has so many books. Reading with Ben is basically the best thing ever, and if I’m going to over-buy on something, I’m okay with that being books. But – I need to pare down the books we have out at any given time and add these to “The Lodge Box.”
  • Wash bottles, get them organized. Hopefully baby girl will only need to take the occasional bottle, but you never know. It’s a super, super bummer I’m unable to freeze my milk, so I’ll be curious to see how everything unfolds in the beginning.
  • Clean out the freezer and get it ready for extra meals.
  • Meal/food prep!!!

My food prep list includes:

I’ll probably sign up for a prepared meal service for a few days a week during the beginning just to take the stress out of cooking. We had some friends who generously gifted us a Maven gift card when Ben was born and I’ll probably mix and match that with Munchery, which I’ve never tried before. I remember loving having Whole Foods’ quiches {SO GOOD!} on hand and making a whole bunch of oatmeal in the early days. It’s nice to have easy-to-grab food since I’m expecting to be ravenous for a while.

Things are coming together for this baby girl! Alex and I are enjoying our last days as a family of three, {trying to} get some extra sleep in and imagining how dramatically our lives are about to change. We are getting so excited to meet this baby girl and see Ben become a big brother.

Building the Lodge: Framing Update

While we were camping over the weekend we made a couple trips over to The Lodge to check out how the framing progress was coming. It turns out they’re almost done with framing and it looks absolutely fantastic! It looks like a house, complete with a roof!

It is so cool to see the building process and watch the house come together, literally from nothing. Now that the shell is there and the rooms inside are all framed out we can really start to picture it. I think once they start building the deck it will really give a full picture of what the finished house will look like.

We have been so pleased with our builder and he is moving so fast we can hardly keep up. Thankfully our designer is taking away a lot of the stress of the decision making process. She has been so helpful for us to narrow down our options which saves an enormous amount of time. The style of the house is a mountain/modern feel, which is so contrary to the style I typically gravitate towards. I absolutely love how we’re pulling in unique materials and colors to incorporate both rustic and modern touches.

So far we’ve been focused mostly on exterior decisions – siding, windows, doors, roof, the fireplace and decking. We’re just starting to move inside now and we’re looking at interior window and trim finishes, kitchen cabinet design and layout, plumbing fixtures, doors and electrical. I expected that process to be completely overwhelming and stressful, but so far I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s so fun to see the house come together.

We cannot get over how stunning some of the beams are – like this ridge beam at the roof line. Alex and I will be making another trip out in about a week and a half. I can’t wait to see how much it has changed in that amount of time!

Ben Turns 2 + Maternity Photo Shoot

We have a lot that I wanted to capture on film right now — our sprite young 2-year old and my almost full-term pregnancy, plus, in my opinion {which, for the record, is contrary to that of my husband!} you can never have too many family photos. Our family photographer, Kim, did an outstanding job of freezing time for us so we can look back on some very special moments forever and ever.

I was 33 weeks and 3 days pregnant the day of our photo shoot – exactly one day farther than I ever made it in my pregnancy with Ben, so it was extra sentimental for me to have some mementos from that day.

I get asked all the time about my “heartbeat” necklace – this was a very special gift from Alex in remembrance of the hours upon hours upon hours that we sat in the hospital watching Ben’s heart rate while in utero, then after he was born, watching/listening to the heart rate monitors in the NICU. It’s a very symbolic and special necklace for me and I wear it all the time.

Just like when Ben turned one, the photo shoot took place in our neighborhood. Initially I thought it might be redundant, but it really is the perfect spot to document our lives right now. We absolutely love our neighborhood – seriously, more and more every day – and it captures our life oh so accurately.

Our First Family Camping Trip

I’m not sure if we were crazy or just really optimistic when we booked our camping trip six months ago. In any case, we gave it a shot!

We’ve been to Lake Wenatchee State Park several times and camped here once before. It’s a very family-friendly campground and we chose it in part because of the flushable toilets, running water, showers, proximity to a beach and playground and a few other fun amenities. So, it’s car camping at its finest…

Not long after we got our tent set up the sky opened up and it started to rain. We were not the slightest bit prepared for rain, since there was zero chance of it in the forecast. We quickly huddled under the little overhang of the tent to stay dry and get attacked by mosquitoes! Thankfully the rain didn’t last long and we were able to get a fire and some s’mores going.

Mid-storm my brother and his girlfriend, Becky, arrived! Ben hasn’t seen Uncle John or Becky in nearly a year but seemed to remember them right away and made several requests for Uncle John to pick him up. He really enjoyed spending time with Uncle John and Becky. They were great sports to have spent 24 hours with a toddler.

It turns out it can be rather difficult to get a 2-year old to settle down and go to sleep when there are kids running around, car alarms going off, it’s extremely light out, adults are partying and talking loudly and really when you’re in a new setting. So! Ben fell asleep at about 10:00 p.m., despite our best efforts to get him to cuddle up with us in front of the fire and fall asleep. Once he fell asleep, though, he passed out until 7:15 in the morning, so that was great!

Despite Ben sleeping well {once he fell asleep} neither Alex or I got much sleep. I forgot how uncomfortable air mattresses can be, and it turns out it wasn’t just the preggo who was miserable – Alex had similar complaints. Given the lack of sleep we decided we’d head home a night early. Needless to say, the coffee tasted extra, extra good on Saturday morning.

Side note: how cool are these coffee mugs?! They were a favor at a beautiful wedding we attended last fall.

Milk + camp chair + campfire + super cool Patagonia fleece = happy Ben!

Ben seemed to love all of the time we spent outside on our camping trip. He is such a little explorer and entertainer. We had fun playing in the tent, walking down to the water and playing at the playground. I think we have ourselves a beach baby!

By mid-afternoon on Saturday our campsite was packed up and Ben was snoozing in my lap by the fire {at least we had one success with getting him to fall asleep!}. We decided to run into “town” and grab some coffee from Plain Hardware then go and have a little picnic at our house before going into Leavenworth to show John and Becky around.

Ben was mostly over the idea of sitting still by the time we got out of the car when we arrived in Leavenworth. We managed to have a little time to sit at Cured, our favorite sausage haus, to enjoy a pretzel, bratwurst and beer before we appeased the toddler and went swimming!

Swimming with Ben, in particular at this perfect-for-tots pool, was one of the highlights of my weekend. The pool had a zero-depth entry and a huge section that was 2 feet deep or less. It had a little toddler water slide that was made just for Ben. Ben was wading around in the pool, paddling his arms and jumping up and down – I think he was watching other people swim and trying to figure out how to do it himself! It was so fun to watch.

Before we made the drive home we stopped at the Heidlberger Drive In for some great cheeseburgers and fries. Alex and I love a good diner and this one didn’t disappoint.

All in all, we had a wonderful time on our camping trip. We’re not going to be in a hurry to sleep in a tent again for a few years, I don’t think, but it was such a fun experience to provide for Ben. We are very, very glad we came home after one night, for a number of reasons, but most importantly, Ben ended up coming down with a nasty case of croup on Saturday night/Sunday and we spent the afternoon in urgent care. Poor kiddo was miserable! Hopefully we’re done with the summer illnesses after this one.

The Start of Summer

Here in Seattle we had a nice summery tease back in May. June usually is one of the more annoying months to live in Seattle, though, because the temperature drops back down and the gray skies and drear come back. We usually say that summer in Seattle starts on July 5th, and unsurprisingly, looking at the forecast it looks like that’s going to be the case this year.

Nevertheless, it’s still technically summer! My coffees are iced, I’m sort of in the habit of watering my plants, Ben is stocked up on outdoor toys and shorts, I overbought on sunscreen, our windows are clean, and we’ve got a beach bag constantly packed and ready to go.

We really weren’t sure what this summer would look like, as I’m currently 35 weeks pregnant, so we didn’t want to make too many plans. Normally summer weekends would be filled with regional trips, hiking and lounging at the beach.

We’ve got a bit of that sprinkled into our summer agenda, but let’s just say it’s a good thing we have a great backyard setup for Ben right now.

Ben has been loving touring different playgrounds nearby, having picnics, playing in his “house” in the backyard, swimming in his little pool or splash pad, visiting the zoo and the Bellevue Children’s Museum, and chasing Jackson or dada around the yard.

We are looking forward to our upcoming camping trip, hopefully going to the beach if it ever warms back up, exploring some of the splash parks around the area and taking family bike rides down by the lake.

One of my favorite pastimes during the summer months is sitting on our porch or patio with a nice glass of rose. Wellllll that’s not happening for a while for me. My new drink of choice is a cherry Italian soda! It’s no rose, but it’ll do the trick for now.

Happy summer!!

Potty Training: 2+ Weeks In!

We’ve all survived potty training for two weeks and we haven’t given up! Three cheers for Ben!

Things are going very well with teaching Ben how to use the potty. It’s been waayyyyy less stressful than I expected. The first day was definitely the hardest, but then after the first week we all really got into a good rhythm. Until the end of the day on Friday {so, exactly two weeks in basically} Ben was being prompted to “go” 100% of the time, but at the very end of the day, right before bed, he told me he needed to use the potty.

This is a huge, huge milestone in potty training and I was overjoyed that he let me know. It continued to happen throughout the weekend and into the start of this week, which tells us things are “clicking” for him and we’ll soon be able to trust him to let us know. It’s going to be so nice to not have to tell him to go use the potty every 45 minutes or so! {I know that’ll be a while, but still…. something to look forward to!}

And for the record, we’re only doing daytime potty training right now since Ben still naps and sleeps in a crib. I think we’re getting closer and closer to a big kid bed, though, so, there’s that to also look forward to.

In any event, we are thrilled with how well it’s going. It has been so fun to see how excited and proud of himself Ben has been with the whole process. It’s so cool watching him learn a new life skill like this.

34 Weeks and Counting!

Since I only made it to 33 weeks and 2 days during my pregnancy with Ben it feels a little surreal to have actually made it to 34 weeks with baby girl. We’re officially in uncharted territory!

{33w3d – one day farther than I got with Ben!}

Last weekend Alex and I took a one-day labor and delivery class since we never made it to that point with Ben and ultimately knew it would end with a c-section. This time around I’m hoping I’ll be able to spontaneously go into labor and avoid a repeat cesarean. Fingers crossed!

We’re a lot more prepared with the labor and delivery basics, as well as what happens after a low-risk delivery. I was surprised to find myself getting emotional thinking about how differently Ben arrived from how the arrival of a new baby was portrayed in the class. Our experience with his arrival was a stark contrast to a “regular” delivery. We missed out on so much and are hoping to have a very different delivery this time around. In any case, though, we know it’s completely out of our hands.

Another preparation we’re working on right now is hiring a birth and postpartum doula to support us through the labor and delivery process, as well as offer lactation and postpartum support once we are home with baby girl.

{32w6d}

We still have a few basic things to do to get ready for her arrival – we’ve got to pull out the infant car seat, wash bottles and pumping parts, buy and set up the pack & play in our room {closet?}, do some freezer cooking/meal prep and finish the “kids” closet in Ben’s room. There’s probably a thousand other little things we’ll realize we forgot we need to do this time around…

Otherwise, all is well here with preggo me and growing baby girl. She’s getting big, therefore I am too! I’m shocked to report that I’m still feeling really, really well these last few weeks – better than the first 30 weeks of my pregnancy. I could do without the heartburn and middle-of-the-night leg cramps, but I’d happily take that over the back pain I had earlier on. In all honesty, all that matters is this baby girl stays healthy and content on the inside for several more weeks and continues to grow and develop. We’re very, very excited to meet her and introduce her to her older brother, but we’re happy to hold off for a little while longer.

Potty Training – 5 days in

A new milestone for our tot is upon us… we’re officially in the middle of potty training Ben! We’re five days in right now and I’m over the moon at how well it’s going.

We’re taking a very specific approach, as laid out in the newly famous “Oh Crap! Potty Training” book. This approach essentially makes you go from 100% diapers to 100% no diapers with the snap of a finger {and an enormous amount of subsequent effort and patience}. There’s no middle-ground of wearing diapers and then practicing going potty – it cuts straight to the chase and you’re just done with diapers, no ifs, ands or buts. Well, with one exception — sleeping.

It took a few weeks to read the book, get on board, mentally prepare ourselves and wait for the weather to cooperate. Once it did, we pulled the trigger and now we’re five days closer to having a potty trained child.

The first day was very challenging and I think overwhelming for us all. It was so new and it did not go quite how we expected {turns out Ben can hold it for a looooooooong time!}. Once we eased up on day two things started to fall into place. It was a very good learning opportunity for us all.

Right now, at the end of day five, we’re starting to get more comfortable with the idea of getting out for very short jaunts – i.e. a short walk around the block, mayyyybe a trip to the park. It’s still nerve-wracking for us to venture too far away, mainly because it’s so new and different and we haven’t done it yet. And full-size public toilets are wayyyy more intense and sparse than the little Baby Bjorn potty we can carry around the house/yard with us wherever we go.

So! The next steps in our process are to get out of the house and jump to the next level of communicating with Ben about using the potty. Right now we’re telling him to use it. We’d like to be able to ask if he’s got to go and trust his response. And, the end goal, of course is for him to be the one telling us he’s gotta go. I think that’s a few weeks away, though.

In any case, we’re on track and so proud of our little boy. It has been so endearing and makes our hearts overflow with pride and joy to watch Ben learning a new life skill. The best part, though, is seeing how proud of himself he is.

Building the Lodge: Framing!

The forecast for the weekend looked pretty chilly and wet. We decided to push potty training back a week {sunshine works better for us} and ultimately do a quick impromptu day trip out to Leavenworth to check out the progress on our house and seek out better weather.

We had a nice Saturday hanging out around our neighborhood and mostly staying dry, then Sunday morning, packed up the car after breakfast and headed towards the mountains. It’s pretty amazing how different the weather can be on one side of the mountains from the other – driving through Stevens Pass it was 39 degrees and pouring with a fresh snowline a bit above us, then as we descended {and nervously checked the weather because we were grossly unprepared for rain} the mountains the rain dried up and the skies cleared. It was a picture-perfect day in Leavenworth.

We scoped out the house, walked around the property and had a perfect picnic in our yard. It was a very memorable day, for sure.

Things over at The Lodge are really taking shape! Since we were there for Ben’s birthday two weeks ago, half of the first floor was framed and most of the second floor {a half story/loft} was framed. They need to frame the two-story great room on the main level and a few more things upstairs on the second level.

We’ve been making tremendous progress over the last few weeks with making decisions. It’s unbelievable the number of decisions we need to make. Thankfully it’s less overwhelming than I expected at this point.

Our builder broke ground and started framing about a month earlier than we expected so I feel like we’re still playing catch up with all of the decisions we need to make. It’s been so fun to see things come together and really start to imagine what the house will look like when it’s done.

The best part, though, is imagining our family and the memories we’ll be able to make at The Lodge.