Author Archives: Alison Allen

Chronicles of a Stay at Home Mom: The Beginning

Nearly two months ago I transitioned into my new full-time role as “mom.” So far I’m loving the new gig and I can already tell it’s a good fit for me and my family.

I’m really approaching this as if it were a “real” job {and let’s be real – it is most certainly a job!} – having goals, expectations, and really thinking through it. If it had been a job, though, I would have had a bit more prep time and maybe a job description to help with the adjustment. I’m improvising and still trying to figure out the ropes quickly, as I dove into this rather suddenly.

If I’m being honest, I have always envisioned myself as a stay-at-home-mom – or is it a career mom these days? I don’t even know. Once Ben was born, though, we found an incredible nanny and I loved my job, so I kept working part-time. That allowed me some adult time, challenged my brain and also enabled me to have some personal time to get a few things done while Ben was in the capable hands of our wonderful nanny. Sure, it was hard to balance everything, but having good childcare makes all the difference.

Even in retrospect, I don’t think I’d be as confident in my role as a career mom if we had made the decision any sooner than we did. I think we needed the challenges we experienced so I could feel certain I was making the right decision. Leaving my job was not something I took lightly – I loved my job and it was not easy to give it up. I knew I wanted to stay home with the kids eventually and thought maybe at the end of this calendar year, but when the writing was really big and bold on the wall, I finally saw it and things happened very fast. I had no time to plan or prepare for the transition – it took me a while to stop feeling like I was just winging it every day.

Being a full-time mom is a tremendous sacrifice and I’m still working on carving out time for myself. Our little family is so close-knit that it’s hard for me to want to step away from our family time during our precious little weekend time together as a foursome.

Having “me time” is an element that has been the hardest so far but I’m working on improving this. I’d get a big old check mark in the “needs improving” box of a performance evaluation. I think part of my failure here was that I dove in so suddenly that I really sacrificed myself in the turnover and as I’m coming up for air I’m discovering my needs.

We do have a few babysitters we can pull from for me to get a little time to myself or get a few things done. It’s just hard to stomach paying Seattle babysitting rates when I’m not bringing in any income.  In any case, I’m challenging myself to get together at least once a month with a girlfriend for a glass of wine after our littles are in bed. No babysitter needed! 😉 And! I’m dialing in on our routine/schedule throughout the day to make sure that I get a “nap time” break at some point.

Of course there are other challenges that I’m experiencing, though I have to say, our new arrangement is so much easier on our whole family than what we had going on before. The stress of our ever changing childcare was really wearing on us all.

In the limited time since I’ve become a career mom Alex and I, along with Ben’s teachers, have noticed significant changes, especially in Ben. His teachers have commented in particular how they’ve seen such a confidence boost in him recently. We attribute that to the continuity I’m providing and the simple fact that he feels secure.

At home, Alex and I have noticed a tremendous leap in his communication and expression, his happiness and how well he’s doing with potty training {well, most days!}. Ben has become so much more interested in Hannah and is showing signs of real empathy and compassion and has been making friends! 

Additionally, right from the onset, I made some adjustments to my parenting style. I realized right away I needed to tow a firmer line on some elements and establish clear boundaries on others. Those lines have been heavily tested recently and I’ve held steady!

We’re having the time of our little lives during the day. We go on nature walks, Ben has been practicing riding his balance bike, we’ve had picnics, we’re loving hopscotch and drawing with chalk, Ben has been playing catch and practicing hitting a baseball off of a tee, he’s been helping me cook and having some true chill time. We love reading books together with Hannah, putting on musical performances {usually for Hannah}, building tower houses with blocks, driving toy cars on the “road” {aka painters tape on the floor!}, doing art projects and taking Jackson for walks.

Ben occasionally still asks me if I’m going to work today, and I always remind him that my job is to take care of him and Hannah now, and that I have the best job in the whole world. And I sure do mean it when I say that. Being their mama is my dream job.

The Lodge Photo Session

Valentine’s Day was extra special this year — Alex surprised me with a photo session at The Lodge! I was over-the-moon to find out that he had been coordinating with Kim Hildebrand, our family photographer, for her to come out and shoot The Lodge and some photos of our family.

Her pictures always take my breath away. She captures our family so perfectly and I’m crazy about her style. She is so talented and I’m so grateful for all of the photos she’s taken of our family since Ben was 6 weeks old. In any case, I really had trouble paring down the photos so here’s my gigantic photo dump from our amazing photo session.

The Happenings

Gosh – it’s late March. Spring is here. We’ve been super sick. Our life is in four and three-day increments as we’re sharing our time between The Lodge. Ok – you’re caught up! Here are some photos to better tell the story…

{We’ve been loving sitting out on the stairs on our deck while we watch Ben play in the yard/driveway at The Lodge. He is such an outdoor kid!}

{Our friends Carrie and Patrick and their daughter Roslyn joined us up at The Lodge a few weeks ago. We loved seeing the two tots play together and sharing our home with our friends.}

{I didn’t get a single day of downhill skiing in this year, unfortunately. It feels less disappointing since we’ve been able to get so much cross county skiing in. I have really, really grown to love it! This is Ben and Roslyn.}

{The days have been sunny and glorious lately! My big helper is an expert at watering our new plants.}

{Time to pull out the picnic blankets! I am dreaming of summer right now and of all the fun things I can do with my littles. We’re going to have a blast!}

{These two! Loving life in Leavenworth.}

{Ben just jumped up to size 3T clothes! Loving his new dinosaur jammies!}

{Thanks for the ice cream cone, Nana! It was delicious!}

{We’ve had a rough March with illnesses plaguing our household. While Alex was out of town Ben got croup. He’s had it twice before and it wasn’t a big deal. This time it was and we ended up having a 911 call and a hospital visit because Ben was gasping for breath. It was a scary experience and we’re glad it’s behind us.}

{Once Ben seemed on the mend from Croup we all came down with the flu. Thank you, Emergency Room, for spreading your germs!}

{I’m not used to having Ben nap anymore but he’d go and climb into my bed and curl up with his choice of stuffed animal and fall asleep!}

{Sweet Hannah has entered the age of frustration. She wants to do so much more than she’s physically ready to do. I’m sure it’s especially hard having an older brother. She wants to do everything he is doing.}

{The Lodge is finally DONE. We have received the certificate of occupancy and it’s done!! Check out the new deck railings. I think they complete the look of the house so well. We have been up here basically every weekend and are really feeling settled.}

Hannah is Eight Months Old

Miss Hannah is eight months old and full of joy, squeals and smiles. She is getting more animated and excited about everything by the day. It’s hard to keep up with her frequent changes!

Hannah’s stats:

  • Weight: not sure – heavy! 20-22 pounds??
  • Length: not sure – getting tall!!
  • Clothing size: mostly 6-12 months – inching towards 12-18 in certain brands
  • Number of teeth: 0
  • Eye color: still blue!
  • Words: I’m pretty positive she’s saying “dada” and it is so dang cute!
  • Favorite foods: BANANAS, cottage cheese, smoothies, hummus… anything!
  • Least favorite foods: avocado

Over the last month or so Hannah has been working very hard on moving. She is doing barrel rolls like it’s her job, she loves scooting around the room and can do pivots on her back or tummy. No crawling yet – I thought she was closer than she actually is. She still needs to get up on all fours so I think she has a little ways to go before she starts crawling.

Hannah is making her opinions known and shares them loudly! Hannah is so noisy. She squeals with excitement and screams out of frustration. Sometimes to an untrained ear it’s probably hard to tell the difference.

Our sweet girl loves to be a part of the action. She loves attention and will most certainly let you know if you’re not giving her enough. She shrieks and squeals and makes all sorts of wild animal noises to communicate what she wants.

Lately Hannah has really become a dada’s girl. She has been saying “dada” or “dadadada” and gets super smiley and squealy when Alex comes near her. It is adorable.

Ben is Hannah’s first love, though. Anything and everything he does can get a giggle out of her. Ben loves to roar like a dinosaur to try to make Hannah laugh – he has a 99% success rate I think!

Oh my – eating is Hannah’s favorite pastime! For her first seven months I could say she would nurse all day and all night if I let her – now, she would eat solid food all day and all night if I let her. In the last month I’ve noticed a big shift from her milk consumption to solid foods. She has made a big change in her calories and the amount she is taking in from breastfeeding.

It’s really hard to narrow down Hannah’s favorite foods. The only thing I’ve given her that she doesn’t like is avocado, otherwise she’s loved it all. She can eat a tremendous amount of solid food, too. She has been known to down a pouch and a half in one sitting before {that’s a lot for a 7-month old!}.

I have started feeding Hannah the Once Upon a Farm pouches – in my limited research these seem to be the real deal and Hannah LOVES them. She quickly figured out how to eat straight from the pouch, as opposed to from a spoon – this is much faster and far less messy. Once recently, Hannah got frustrated with me spoon feeding her from a pouch and grabbed the pouch, put it in her mouth and fed herself. This girl knows what she wants!

Hannah has been playing very independently lately. She is very much in the stick-everything-in-her-mouth phase, so she loves teething toys. She also loves our activity cube, a toy we got when Ben was a little older than she was. This is our tried and true attention holder toy – it is so wonderful and Hannah is so into it.

Anything that Ben has is of tremendous interest to Hannah. She is so curious about everything her big brother does and has and this is a great source of frustration for them both.

Since she was about 10 weeks old, Hannah has been sleeping through the night. The last five weeks or so have been more hit-or-miss, I think with the changing environments since we’ve been back and forth to The Lodge a bit more. More often than not she is sleeping through the night – sometimes she just wakes herself up and, really, I probably go in there too soon out of fear that she’ll wake up her brother.

One of the biggest challenges of having two young kiddos is managing the logistics. Hannah’s naps have been so inconsistent. When given the opportunity, she’s a great napper, and when being carted around from here to there she finds the chance to take cat naps and then falls asleep a little earlier at night. These days she’ll either take two or three naps during the day, depending on what we’re up to and how mobile she is. She is such a trooper with sleep, though I do wish I could consistently allow her at least one long nap every day.

This sweet little girl continues to light up the room and our little house. We adore her so very much!

Ben at eight months old – they had so much in common!

Our First Weekends at The Lodge

And just like that, The Lodge is done and we’ve begun splitting our time there. It felt like it took forever and ever to get to this point and now that it’s here, time is moving at warp speed. We’re getting into a new rhythm here in our little lives and we finally feel like things are settling in.

Since we moved into The Lodge we’ve spent most weekends out there. We’re getting into a groove with timing the drive and it’s going really well. Everything is living up to our dreams. We are having a blast and it has been extra special to see this experience through Ben. He loves his “Mountain House” and has really gotten the concept that we are sharing our time between two houses now.

The house itself is all but done – only a few finishing touches remain at this point. We’re burned out on pulling together the little details so that’s going to be a slower process.

Ben has always loved being outside and The Lodge has only exacerbated that. He’ll wake up, put his slippers on and ask to go outside! Typically it’s been around 18-20 degrees when he rises for the day and he could stay out there all morning if we let him.

Similarly, Jackson is in his own version of paradise. We do let him stay outside all day and he does! He’ll patiently wait for someone to step out onto the deck to throw his ball for him then repeat that all day long. Jackson is in his element at The Lodge. He’s so good off-leash, too, thankfully.

Ben loves to be pulled in his little purple sled up and down our lengthy driveway with Jackson chasing after. He has taken a page out of Papa’s book and is the official shoveler of The Lodge, too. Ben has made himself right at home.

We’re all love, love, loving the extra cross country skiing we’ve been doing. Alex and I found great enjoyment out of Nordic skiing when I was pregnant with Ben. Since then it has continued to bring us more and more joy each year. I LOVE strapping a baby to my back or pulling the kids in the trailer. I’m not sure why but I take so much pleasure in that. I suppose that’s my inner adventure mama side coming out.

Despite being a bit burned out, the house has really come together. We’re working on framing some art that we’ve found and we’re on the hunt for some lamps. Thrilling, huh? Last weekend we got a TV for the basement and we finally got a toaster {hurrah!}. Other than the final touches and a railing for the deck {happening now!!!!} we’re almost there!

One of my favorite spaces is our entryway. I love the rustic details, the storage and the fun light fixtures. It is so lovely to walk into this room.

Another favorite room is our master bedroom. The bathroom, attached powder room and closet are nice, but the bedroom itself feels like a little retreat. I love it. I love how pulled together it feels, even though it’s not done yet, and I love how calming it is.

The bunk room only has beds in it at this point – it’s a space I really love {though, dang, making all four of these bunk beds took me almost an hour!} and am so, so very excited to see the kids grow up here. We got low-to-the ground sets of bunk beds so they would fit under the window. I didn’t even realize how perfect that would be for toddlers. Eventually we’ll move Ben and Hannah into the bunk room; for now, they’re sharing one of the bedrooms on the main floor.

So far, all of our hopes and dreams of The Lodge are coming true and are even better than we could have imagined. It brings us so much joy to sit on the steps of the deck and watch our boy run around outside, have an open layout on the main floor so when I make breakfast I can watch what everyone else is up to, and my goodness, the beauty surrounding us. I often find myself speechless and just stop and stare at the snow covered trees, the bluff in the distance and, gosh, the mountains. Right out our doorstep.

Building the Lodge: Moving In

We’ve officially moved into The Lodge!

A few weeks ago Alex’s parents joined us in our first stay at The Lodge where we unpacked and got settled. We waited a long, long time and worked tirelessly to make this a reality for our family and it finally happened – we moved in!

The day we had planned on driving out there ended up being the start of Seattle’s “Snomageddon” – when snow is forecast for Seattle the whole city shuts down. This particular storm was predicting 4-8 inches of snow which ultimately happened and caused nearly a week of snow days and gridlocked the entire city. Grocery stores ran out of food, cars were abandoned on roads – no one went out or did anything. We chose the very beginning of the storm as the time we left our house to head for the mountains.

The drive to The Lodge was an absolute nightmare. I drove my car with Ben and Hannah and endured horrible snowy city traffic, then blinding and treacherous snowy mountain roads. A 2-hour drive turned into a more than 4-hour drive. It was awful. I was so relieved to have made it, and once we arrived, most of my stress melted away as we explored our beautiful mountain home.

Unsurprising to anyone who knows anything about home building or renovations – our completion date for the house kept getting pushed further and further back at the last minute and the house still isn’t done. Finally we just told our builder that we have a non-negotiable furniture delivery date and Alex’s parents have airline tickets so we’re coming to the house and we’re staying for a week. They were able to finish up quite a lot, but still some final details were not complete yet.

During the course of our stay there was a bit of work that took place on the house and since we’ve been there more finishing details have been taken care of. At this point I believe the house is more than 99% complete – I think there are only a couple more odds and ends to be taken care of, and most of those things are changes we’re making. The biggest things that are undone now are the deck railings outside and the shower doors in the master bathroom.

The moving in process was a little more complicated than a standard move. Moving into a vacation house was different in that we ended up having so, so, so much stuff shipped to our primary residence, renting a trailer and then moving it out there that way. We purchased almost every item specifically for the house, so we had to acquire everything and get it out there.

The day before our move-in date we learned from our mail carrier that because we didn’t have a mailbox we were not considered customers of USPS. That was news to me, and because of that, they would not deliver packages there. Apparently the mail carrier is paid per customer and she was not interested in not getting paid to deliver our 28 packages. This, along with shipping delays from the inclement weather, threw a bit of a wrench in our move-in plans since we had anticipated our massive Amazon orders would be at our house upon our arrival. The day after we arrived we had to make two trips into town {25 minutes away} to the post office to pick up our packages that weren’t delivered. And then we had to put up a mailbox. In February when the ground was frozen.

It seemed like the boxes would never end. They just kept coming and coming. We worked through them really quickly and by the end of our first full day we had the kitchen largely pulled together, thanks in large part to both of my children napping AT THE SAME TIME for more than an hour. Side note: it is unbelievable how much I can get done during nap time!

We all ran out of steam pretty quickly and the glamour of moving in faded fast. It’s tiring and cumbersome and never seems to end. Despite all of the housewares that we have and the food in our pantry and the furniture we have, there is still so, so very much to do. I know we’ll get there one day – hopefully within the next 6 months or so we’ll be able to step back and say that we feel like the house is in a complete state. It’s so, so, so very exciting to see it come together, though.

 

As I’m writing this it still hasn’t hit me that it’s real. I feel like we just had a vacation at a really nice house in the mountains and spent a really long time settling in there. I’m hoping that during our next trip out it will sink in that this is our mountain house…

Ben is 2 3/4

We’ve really rounded the corner towards 3 and I know it’s going to come quickly. Since my last quarterly update on Ben we’ve gotten to see what it’s like having a 2 1/2 year old – I’ll tell you this much, it’s undeniably my new favorite age. So far in my 2 3/4 years of experience as a parent, every age has its highs {and lows, of course} but 2 1/2 is an age like no other.

Ben’s stats:

  • Weight: ?!
  • Height: 37″ – his head is now higher than the counter
  • Number of teeth: 20! All of Ben’s baby teeth are in!!! Finally!
  • Clothing size: 2 or 3T – he’s made the leap out of his 2T jammies and his 3T shirts are fitting him better. I was just noticing that his 2T winter coat is looking a tad bit short…
  • Shoe size: size 7 toddler
  • Favorite foods: tuna, any type of cheese, crackers, broccoli, yogurt, smoothies, cottage cheese, bananas, apple sauce, tomato soup, CHILI!
  • Favorite activities: make believing, pushing his cars/trucks around, painting, listening to music, riding his bike, gymnastics, swimming, reading books

I’ve been saying for a while that the biggest theme for Ben has been language development. While it’s true his language skills have really taken off and he’s able to have a full-on conversation where he asks and answers questions, makes inferences and connections, and uses transition words, this time I’m excited to report the new theme is pretend play.

I get so much joy out of watching Ben play pretend – or “make believe” as he says {thank you, Daniel Tiger!}. We go for lots of rides in firetrucks and school buses, we take his toy school bus to Costco to get its tire fixed after it gets a flat, we have lots and lots of picnics and we bake cookies. Pretend play has been one of my absolute favorite parts of the child development process.

Alex and I had the pleasure of attending our first conference at Ben’s school in the month of January. His preschool is so sweet – we love his teachers and so does he. We learned that in school some of his strengths are using kind words, engaging in sharing, following directions and speaking clearly. His teachers shared with us that he is very warm, reserved, realistic and knowledgeable and sensitive. They said they’ve started noticing how funny he is and that he has a natural affinity for art.

His teachers shared with us that they’ve noticed Ben feels things very deeply and can have a hard time adjusting to the school environment. He’s working on building his confidence in expressing himself. Alex and I have also been seeing just how big Ben’s emotions are – with Daniel Tiger’s help and encouragement he is working really hard on identifying and expressing his feelings. {Daniel Tiger is this generation’s version of Mr. Rogers – it’s the sweetest little PBS program.} His sensitive and naturally empathetic personality is really emerging and it is so sweet.

Some of the things that come out of Ben’s mouth are matter-of-fact, full of insight, funny, and sometimes nonsensical. Most of the things Ben says make perfect sense, occasionally he’ll surprise us with a memory he has from something completely random or from a long time ago.

A few of my favorite 2 1/2 year old phrases:

  • “I did” or “I do!” or “I can!” or “I don’t!” in response to a question instead of a simple “yes” or “no”
  • “My Hannah” when referring to his baby sister
  • “Holy buckets!”
  • “Can we talk about….?” asking to start a conversation about something
  • “How was your day?!” he often says excitedly upon seeing us after school or at the end of the day

Ben is super independent and is becoming quite self-sufficient. He loves being a helper and he takes pride in doing things himself. Recently he’s been known to go and grab a step stool all on his own so he can see something or reach something high up. He’s working really hard on getting dressed on his own {we’re a ways off from this one!} and he really wants to learn how to tie his own shoes.

One thing I noticed recently is Ben is experimenting in a different way with testing boundaries. He really wants to know what will happen when I tell him not to do something. So, one day when we were up at the lodge and he was pushing around Jackson’s big container of food, he decided to see what would happen when he pushed it down the stairs. I’m glad he opted to test that boundary, rather than the lets-see-what-happens-when-I-touch-the-hot-stove boundary.

I love how inquisitive Ben is becoming. He’ll either repeat something we say if we’re explaining it to him or he’ll ask “why?” or more specific questions. The connections and inferences he makes blow my mind sometimes. We haven’t hit the “why? why? why? why?” phase yet, though I know it’s coming. I’m looking forward to it, actually.

Recently Ben started gymnastics class. He’s only had a couple sessions, so he’s still getting comfortable. I have a feeling once he settles into his class that he’ll LOVE it. He gets SO into jumping on the trampoline. He was a little sweat ball after last week’s class because he was running around so much.

Some of my favorite moments for Ben this last quarter have been him starting to learn to ski. He is very physical and athletic and has picked it up really quickly so far. It has been an experience filled with pride to see him enjoy something his father and I love so much.

Lately Ben has been requesting to ride his bicycle more. He is getting really confident on his balance bike {a balance bike has no pedals or training wheels – Ben sits on the seat and uses his feet on the ground to push himself forward.}. He has been testing speed and balance.

Ben has started referring to Hannah as “my Hannah” or “my baby” which of course melts my heart. Sometimes he’ll come up to Hannah when she’s on the ground playing and try to engage with her – often by trying to lay on top of her and give her a big hug, or he’ll try to make her laugh. Alex and Hannah love chasing Ben around the house.

Ben is already proving to be quite a protective brother. He’s very concerned about Hannah if she cries and will often come to me and tell me that I need to feed her or give her her pacifier or that he thinks she’s sad. When family or friends come over and are connecting with Ben he becomes very jealous and upset when they try to hold Hannah. It seems like he’s gotten more used to me holding her and doesn’t get upset nearly as often with me.

Ben has figured out what family is and he loves when his extended family is around. He asks about his relatives on a daily basis and after his grandparents left recently he asked if more family was going to come visit. We love how much he loves his family. We had a wonderful family Christmas and enjoyed seeing most of Ben’s grandparents’ during their recent visits.

There have been so many moments over the last few months that I wish I could stop and freeze time. I wish 2 1/2 would last for such a much longer time, though I’ve heard from several people who told me if I love 2 1/2 that 3 will be even better. The sheer curiosity and inquisitive nature of a toddler is so precious and endearing. I just love watching Ben figure things out and take so much pleasure from the littlest things in life.

Hannah is Seven Months Old!

Our sweet baby girl is rounding the corner and headed straight for age one. I know it’ll be here before we know it. Just like most months, this last one was a blur – especially blurry in fact.

Hannah’s stats:

  • Weight: not sure – 19 or 20 pounds maybe?
  • Length: not sure
  • Clothing size: mostly 6-12 months, though she is starting to outgrow a few things already!
  • Number of teeth: 0
  • Eye color: still blue!
  • Words: we swear she’s working on saying “dada” – it’s the absolute sweetest Hannah is SO LOUD. She squeals and shrieks with excitement {or exhaustion} and loves to be part of the conversation. She’s a chatterbox!
  • Favorite foods: bananas, applesauce, CHILI
  • Least favorite foods: avocado

Hannah continues to bring our family so much joy – lately in the form of whole body smiles that include exasperated leg kicks, cackles, squeals and giant ear-to-ear grins on her face.

She loves playing and being included in whatever is going on. Alex likes to have her chase Ben around the house – everyone gets a good laugh, especially Hannah.

Over the last month Hannah has become more comfortable eating solid foods. With all of the craziness we’ve had going on I really haven’t made as much of a point in trying new foods with her as I should. Once things settled down I got a little more creative and offered her new tastes. She absolutely loves to eat!

One of my favorite recent memories was one of our first dinners at home as a family of four after our families left and after our au pair left. We had chili for dinner and Hannah devoured it! She loved eating the soupy part as well as very small chunks of meat and beans – her first experience with that consistency and also that much flavor. Chili is one of my favorite winter meals to make and eat and it brought so much enjoyment to be able to share it with both of my kids and have them love it.

Developmentally Hannah has been working on getting stronger and stronger with sitting up. She’s at the point where we can really plop her down anywhere and she will be okay for the most part.

Hannah is putting eeeverythingg in her mouth right now. Her favorite teething toys are these and these. She is a major pacifier lover, which at this point I love. She adores her lamb wubbanub pacifier.

As a new 7-month old, Hannah is just starting to be on-the-move! While she’s definitely not crawling yet, she is scooting and rolling and figuring out how to get where she wants to go. She has quite a bit of figuring out to do, still, before crawling comes, but she’s a mover, that’s for sure.

Hannah absolutely adores her brother. She loves getting attention from him and enjoys sitting and watching him be goofy. Her sweet squeals and wide open-mouth smiles light up the room and Ben gets the best show from her.

One major change for Hannah this last month was moving into her brother’s room – now dubbed the “kids room.” The transition has been so much smoother than I could have expected. Hannah is sleeping well and she and her brother rarely wake each other up. I think they both like to be nearby each other. I have a few things I found to spruce up the decor in here so stay tuned for an updated photo.

Thankfully Hannah has been a great sleeper and that continued to be the case during her transition to sleeping on her stomach. She typically sleeps through the night and is transitioning to a new self-led nap schedule. She’s been taking one very long nap during the day, usually in the morning, and then a shorter nap in the afternoon. Of course this all depends on the rhythm of the day – if we’re just hanging out at home she’ll take longer naps, while if we bounce around town during the day she’ll get a few cat naps in and be ready for bed a little earlier in the evening. She’s pretty darn flexible.

It’s going to be so much fun seeing what happens with Hannah in her eighth month now. I’m excited to see what she’s up to and what her favorite things are. Now that I’ll be home with Hannah 100% of the time I just absolutely can’t wait to experience the little things that happen during the day with her. We’re going to have a blast!

Ben at seven months old

A New Chapter

We are at the beginning of a very new, big chapter in our lives. Our mountain house is {basically} done and we’re in the process of moving in. We’re planning on spending as much time out there as possible as we build a new life for our family. Additionally, I recently resigned from my job running a small non-profit and am changing careers – my new job title is: mom.

We’ve been in the process of beginning our mountain life now for more than a year and a half, since we bought our property in July 2017, and we’re over the moon to finally be moving in.

Alex and I have been dreaming about having a second home in the mountains ever since we moved out to Seattle. We have vivid memories from one winter early on in our time in Seattle with our very dear friends, Carrie and Patrick, where we rented a cabin near Crystal Mountain Resort one weekend a month for the whole ski season. We had a taste of cabin living and we were hooked.

Both of us, along with Alex’s parents, who we will share the house with, have worked tirelessly to pull our resources together and make it happen, both from a financial standpoint as well as a design and management position.

I don’t quite know how having The Lodge will change our lives, but I know there will be dramatic implications. We hope to spend most weekends out there and have Alex’s parents join us for extended stays, as well as my parents, the rest of our family and our friends, too. We hope this house will bring our families together more often and we hope to provide an opportunity for our friends across the country to come and see our little piece of paradise and spend time with us.

The timing for me to leave my job came up suddenly; however the time was right for a number of reasons. I think it’s perfect that it coincides with The Lodge being complete.

Our new au pair had started with us in late December and after a month we knew if just was never going to work. I had an extremely difficult transition back to work after my maternity leave with Hannah – our childcare situation was in a constant state of flux and I never felt like I re-entered my job or could give it the focus and dedication the organization deserved.

Finally, I got a crystal clear sign it was time to move on from our au pair. I had really hoped we could make it work with her – while I knew at some point in the future I wanted to stay home with the kids, I wasn’t quite ready to step down from a career I loved so much. We made the decision very quickly and we are very confident it was the right choice.

Over the last 14 or so months our childcare and school arrangements never felt consistent or long-term and caused Alex and me tremendous stress. There’s nothing quite like worrying about the care your child is receiving in your absence. I’m a very diligent and involved parent and there were several times over the last year that my mama bear instincts told me that things weren’t quite right. In the course of that time I’ve spoken up, been far more direct than I normally care to be and advocated for the well-being of my children. I finally reached the end of my rope and decided I’d rather take over myself.

Ben will remain in preschool four mornings a week this school year and then will transition to a Montessori preschool, four mornings a week, in the fall. I signed him up for gymnastics one afternoon a week and a few week-long morning camps this summer. The rest of the time we’ll spend bouncing around the city, playing at the park or the beach, going to the zoo and doing toddleriffic projects at home. I can’t wait to have more time with my kids to explore and check out new things in this beautiful area we call home. I also hope we’ll be able to spend more time up in the mountains together.

I’m truly overjoyed to be starting my new career as “mom” – I have been yearning for more time with my kiddos for quite a while. They’re growing up so fast I can’t stand it. They’re not going to be this little for much longer and I want to savor this sweet and special time with them.

It’s the beginning of a chapter with no end in sight. Alex and I can’t wait to finally feel settled in our lives, something we haven’t felt in years.

Building the Lodge: Prepping for Move In

The time has finally arrived for us to get ready to move into The Lodge!

Our builder must have called in a lot of favors last week because the house is nearly done. As of Monday, most of the trades wrapped up and closed up their job at The Lodge. There are still a lot of really little things to get done, along with a few not-so-little things, and come this weekend, it seems like it’ll be ready for us!

Last weekend Alex rented a 6’x12′ Uhaul and we filled it with all of the boxes from our house. We had expected to make two trips back and forth to bring all of the boxes. Much to our surprise, Alex’s tetris’ skills saved the day and we fit everything in the first load.

The purpose of Alex’s trip was to bring all of the boxes to the house, stay the night and receive the first and main furniture delivery from Room & Board. So much had been done since I had seen the house the week prior! Check it out:

{Carpet!}

{The bunk room – we really wanted individual lights for all four bunks.}

{Downstairs bathroom}

{Main floor bathroom}

{Master bathroom}

{One of the most exciting places in the house: the private master bathroom toilet!}

{This is the kids room on the main floor. We’re going to keep them upstairs while they’re still so little. Once they get older we’ll move them down to the bunk room.}

{Before heading back on Monday Alex put together Hannah’s crib and Ben’s toddler bed so that they’re ready for them when we arrive next time!}

{Laundry room! I’m pretty excited about the storage and the hanging rod for line drying clothes. Opposite this view is a utility sink. We don’t have a utility sink in our primary home and I am so excited for one! The little things…}

{Barn door into the master}

{The cleaners came while Alex was there today – spick & span!}

{Most of the light fixtures have been installed – a lot of them were put in while Alex was there so some photos are not up-to-date}

{And then they took the paper off of the floors. I really have no words for the sheer beauty of these floors. I just can’t wait to see them in person!}

The next time we go up there it will be together as a family to move in for real. It’s going to be a long process, I can tell, and we are so ready!