Author Archives: Alison Allen

Lodge Life: Fall!

Fall came quickly to the mountains this year and brought abundant sunshine, the most glorious brightly colored leaves, the smell of campfires all around us and perfect crisp and frosty mornings. Our little family spent so many weekends in Leavenworth this fall and it was so fun watching the season evolve.

We planned four long, consecutive weekends at The Lodge this fall, beginning in mid-September. With the exception of one weekend the weather was perfect! Chilly and sunny – just the way we like it. We loved pulling out our cozy layers and switching from iced lattes to hot ones. We found the perfect pumpkin latte in town {and no, it’s not Starbucks!} and I made pumpkin muffins with the kids.

Driving through the Tumwater Canyon on highway 2 was a highlight of the fall for me. The colors and scenery through the canyon are spectacular. As the road winds its way along the Wenatchee River into Leavenworth proper the trees and mountainside become more and more glorious. The rapids in the river seem to always catch the sunlight perfectly and my goodness, the autumn leaves shimmering in the sun were stunning.

I was able to indulge in two long runs around town and next to the river this fall. It was heavenly being out in nature and enjoying such beauty.

As a family we enjoyed our walks along the riverfront, cheering Ben on while he lived his best life on the pump track and watching our kids play outside in the yard. It has been extra special to watch Hannah become more and more sturdy and be able to hold her own. She has been having a blast on the swing set and loves to climb up the ladder all by herself.

Two weekends we spent entertaining some friends of ours. One weekend my friend from Minnesota, Sarah, and her family came to visit. Madeline, their 3-year old, and Ben got to pal around and catch up. We loved seeing them and meeting their new daughter, Emily.

Another weekend our local friends and Octoberfest regulars, Dave and Trish and their two boys, came to stay with us. We always have such a nice time with them and we were blown away by how well Ben and Liam, their 3-year old, played together.

We also have loved that friends and family who have been in Leavenworth on their own trips have come over to our house for a visit. My cousin and his family, along with our old neighbors and my aunt and uncle stopped by our house while they were already in the mountains. Our neighbors, Ross and Erin, brought their drone and took some fun pictures of our house and the surrounding area.

One of the reasons we built The Lodge was to spend more time with friends and family. It brings us so much joy to share our home and our piece of mountain paradise with family and friends. We so loved our time and the opportunity to see our friends and family for a longer stretch.

We are really getting in our groove out there. Now we’re in the midst of a much needed focus on our life and home in Seattle so we’ll be a bit more settled and in one place this month. That said, we are getting set to prepare for winter in the mountains, though, and have a long list of things that need to get done. Alex and I can’t wait to experience our first full winter at The Lodge and we’re already getting excited about the holiday season ahead of us. It’s going to come quickly!

Half Marathon #2!

Running has been a *relatively* easy way for me to get back in shape, burn off steam and pump up my endorphins. I started running in college and have kept it up, albeit inconsistently, since then. I tend to be more of a fair weather runner and find it difficult to stay motivated to keep running during the dark and rainy months.

On a picture-perfect sunny day I long to go for a nice jog in my neighborhood, through the arboretum, just a mile north of our house, or down along Lake Washington. It seemed like running would be a natural way for me to keep exercising and practice self-care.

Not long after Hannah was born I signed up for two 5Ks, a 10K and a half marathon. I completed the shorter runs in the fall of 2018 and used that momentum to help me train for my October 2019 half marathon that I now just completed.

There were so many days and weeks when I almost gave up and stopped training. It is really hard to work in multiple runs each week and even harder when the runs start taking an hour or more to complete and find the time to do them either just with Hannah or when Alex can take both kids.

After many conversations with myself I reminded myself that this is really the only thing I’m doing for myself these days. Other than things associated with being a mom, this is the only goal I’m really working towards for myself.

Once I broke through and got into a good rhythm I ended up loving my half marathon training. Before I became pregnant with Ben I did a half marathon and swore I’d never do another one because the training just takes so much time! I’m so unbelievably more busy now than I was then and I ended up really enjoying the time I spent preparing for the race.

In any case, my second half marathon is now on the books and it was wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that I’d like to sign up for the same one next year and another one beforehand. I found it very motivating to have something to work towards. I don’t think I would have laced up my shoes and buckled Hannah into the jogging stroller in the pouring rain if I didn’t *have* to for my training.

The half marathon itself was a blast! I couldn’t believe how many other people were there running the half or the full marathon. The weather was absolutely perfect – it was chilly and so sunny. The course was gorgeous and the fall colors were at the peak of their perfection.

I found it to be extremely motivating running with the crowds and it helped me keep up my momentum and pushed me to run faster than I normally do. The race took us around Leavenworth and through a lot of residential areas. Most driveways had families or groups of friends gathered holding cups of coffee, ringing their cowbells. It was so uplifting and made the race that much more fun.

The first 8 miles went really smoothly and I felt terrific – full of energy and totally pumped up. Around mile 8 I got a little tired but after running by Alex and the kids I got a second wind that carried me through to mile 11. Miles 11 to 13 were a little slower and I was really ready to be done.

My legs kept going though and I finished my second half marathon in 2 hours 5 minutes 44 seconds. I was 390th out of 1,182 total runners and 197th out of 807 female runners. In my age group (30-34) I was 44th of 155th.

It was a huge moment of pride and accomplishment for me to finish the half marathon. I am overjoyed I was able to train for and complete the race and also enjoy the whole process. Now, on to the next one!

Wisconsin Family Trip

For our last family hurrah of the summer we packed our suitcases, headed to the airport and flew east to Wisconsin to spend time with Alex’s family and some long-time friends.

Our trip took us to Lake Delavan, located in the southern part of the state, where Alex’s parents have a condo. This visit was long overdue and we were thrilled to finally introduce Hannah to her extended family and meet our new nephew, Marco.

Taking two toddlers on a plane is no small feat. We expected chaos. We expected screaming. We expected a very frustrated Hannah, not being old enough to understand just why she was trapped in a metal tube flying in the air for more than 4 hours. We did not expect harmony or peace or frankly much enjoyment from her at all. But! Enjoyment and harmony is what we got!

We knew Ben would be just fine but we didn’t expect Hannah to be, too! Hannah is obsessed with airplanes flying in the sky – I honestly didn’t think that interest would carry over into actually flying in an airplane. She was giddy with excitement with all the people in the airport, standing in front of the big windows watching the planes and then once we boarded the plane she connected all of the dots and realized she’d get to fly, too!

She did so, so well – on both flights, even. It really was a dream scenario. I hardly had to pull out any of the toys and activities I brought for either kid. Our flight {to Wisconsin especially} actually ended up being a highlight of our trip.

Enough about our travel day!

While we were on the ground in Wisconsin we filled our days with family. We so enjoyed a big family gathering with Alex’s relatives. It was fun to meet some of his cousins I hadn’t met yet, see how many great grandchildren Nana has {a lot! and probably only half of them were there!} and catch up with his aunts and their family friends, The Baileys. I loved sneaking away to go for a run with Alex’s uncle, a marathoner, and I even got to spend time with one of my college roommates, Julie, and her family too.

One of the major highlights of the trip for us, and one of the biggest reasons for taking the trip, was spending time with Nico and Marco, Alex’s and my nephews. Nico is 2 1/2 and Marco was 3 weeks old when we were there.

Ben and Nico got along famously. It was the sweetest thing watching the two of them pal around. It fills my heart with forward-looking joy and anticipation of the cousin love that’s starting to form.

We absolutely loved the time with the kids.

Another big highlight of the trip was when Alex and Alina took the littlest ones {Marco and Hannah} to visit Nana one afternoon. It was so special for them to have that time together.

The weather wasn’t really working in our favor for much of the trip. We had a few nice days but it was so windy! I really couldn’t believe it. It was too windy and cool to comfortably boat or go to the pool most days. Thankfully Grammy and Papa were well-prepared for us and had stocked the condo full of toddler toys and they acquired quite the slew of toddler vehicles for the kids to roll around in.

Alex and I had planned to spend one night in Chicago while we were there. We took the train into the city and made it just in time to have lunch and see a Cubs baseball game with some of Alex’s long-time friends. I had never been to Wrigley Field before and he was eager to show me around.

We loved staying in the Wicker Park neighborhood and had a really nice, leisurely morning being tourists. We found a great brunch spot and just enjoyed adulting and taking a really long walk through a fun urban neighborhood.

One of the highlights for me was early morning cuddles with Hannah. We’re probably still paying for this a bit now, but when she’d wake up early in the morning I didn’t want her to rouse the whole house so I just brought her into bed with us. It’s not something we really ever do so I was happy to “break the rules” a bit. It was very special time with my girl.

Our trip quickly came to an end after we returned from Chicago. We were lucky that Grammy and Papa had planned a trip of their own to come to Seattle the following week, so that made saying goodbye a little easier. Until next time!

Hannah is 14 Months Old!

Our littlest love is quickly working her way through the early toddler years. Hannah Maxine remains a force to be reckon with. She is fierce, so cuddly and loving, extremely happy, loud, demanding, strong-willed and determined. She’s living up to her middle name more than we could have expected. This girl is not short on personality!

Hannah’s stats:

  • Weight: at her 12-month check up she was 23 pounds 3 ounces {90th percentile}
  • Length: around 29 inches give or take
  • Clothing size: outgrowing 12-18m so anything I buy now is 18-24m
  • Shoe size: baby size 3
  • Number of teeth: six
  • Eye color: bluish turquoise
  • New words this month: kitty, blueberry, water
  • Favorite foods: fruit, pasta, crackers
  • Least favorite foods: beef, chicken, avocado
  • Favorite things/activities: big brother Ben, dogs, really any animals, watching the airplanes, playing with cars, cuddling, reading books, eating, climbing
  • Least favorite things/activities: diaper changes, getting strapped into her car seat, abruptly stopping an activity when mom forgets to explain what’s going on, really loud noises

The biggest thing that’s going on with Hannah this month has been her transition to walking! Just three days ago we finally deemed her a walker. Over the last 6 weeks or so she had been taking a step here and there, then 2-5 steps here and there and then finally! She decided she was ready.

I made the call that she was officially a walker at Ben’s first soccer practice. She was standing next to me on the field and just started walking towards the bigger kids playing soccer. Ben noticed and ran over exclaiming “mama! Do you see Hannah walking??” She kept practicing her steps as Ben was playing soccer and he would frequently come over and clap for her, one time grabbing her hand and helping her walk. We are so proud of our little walker!

Hannah is really sharp with her fine motor skills and seems to challenge herself in small body movements. When it comes to gross motor skills, like crawling and walking, she really waits until she is good and ready. Walking seems to be no different. She seems to have been physically ready for more than a month but was holding off until she was comfortable. Switching gears to fine motor skills, Hannah is working on mastering the art of using a fork. She loves to feed herself!

This last month Hannah took her first airplane ride! Hannah LOVES airplanes. Anytime she hears a plane flying overhead she will reach her little arm up and point to the sky, even if she can’t see it. That’s her sign for “airplane!”

I had very low expectations for taking a very loud and wiggly Hannah on a 4+ hour flight to Wisconsin. I was so prepared with everything I could think of to make the flight more bearable. Turns out, all I needed were a couple snacks and one or two toys and she’d take care of the rest. She was so into the airplane and the experience that she was just so excited the whole time. I was even able to get her to fall asleep in the baby carrier on both flights. She was a travel pro!

I will post more about our trip to Wisconsin shortly, but one highlight was spending time with and meeting her great grandma, Nana. Nana is Alex’s and my only surviving grandparent at this point. It was very special to introduce her to Hannah.

Lately, Hannah has been really getting into reading books. She’s obsessed with interactive books, especially “lift the flap” and ones that make noise when you push a button. Her favorite books right now are “Dear Zoo” and “Planes Go.”

Hannah has been working on communication a lot recently. She’s getting to be a little patient, too! She has been signing more – she mastered “all done” a while ago and the other day she randomly signed for “help” when she was frustrated. It’s been a while since I’ve seen her sign for “more” and she tells me “water” when she is thirsty. She has a tendency to be rather demanding so we’ve been encouraging her to sign “please” – she’s not too keen on this one yet! She hasn’t said many new words this last month, but the ones she did say came out of left field and were spoken so articulately. A lot of her babbling is really just babbles, but when she really says a word {which is rare} it is so clear.

Last month I mentioned that sleep had been a challenge. I can laugh at that this month because this last month has undeniably been the most difficult sleep month of Hannah’s life. I attribute her challenges with sleep to travel. Unfortunately in that regard it’s just something we’ll have to deal with.

Another big change for Hannah is that last month she stopped nursing. It was fairly anticlimactic – both of us were ready. Nursing was suuuuch a big part of our time together for so long and then right around when Hannah turned one we started turning her milk intake to a cup of cow’s milk. It took a bit for her to adjust but now she loves cow’s milk like her big brother. She’s even had a couple steamed milks when we’ve gone to the coffee shop.

I think this month our trip to Wisconsin and the end of our time nursing is the cause of the latest sleep regression for Hannah. For the two weeks following our Wisconsin trip Hannah rose for the day by 4:15 a.m. and that was usually preceded by a fitful sleep. Finally after we had been home about 3 weeks she started sleeping through the night and waking after 5. We have a lot of travel ahead of us in the coming weeks so we’ll see what happens, but we’re ending her 14th month on a good sleep note.

My sweet girl and I have gotten a lot of extra cuddle time in this month during the early morning hours. We cuddle together on the floor of her room, she has her yogurt pouch while I sip my coffee. We snuggle. Then we read for a while and snuggle some more while we wait for one of the boys to come in. This girl is a world class cuddle bug.

More and more each day Hannah becomes completely smitten with her brother. I’m positive the feeling is mutual. These two are so stinking cute together. Hannah loves doing anything Ben does. She tries so hard to play cars with him and she’ll be trailing right behind him saying “vroooooommmm” while he’s running full speed ahead pushing his car.

These days and weeks and months keep flying by. We have a lot on the docket for this next one. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one! It is going to be so fun to watch how Hannah’s world changes now that she’s mobile on her feet.

Ben at 14 months old

Ben’s First Day of School

Fall is here and school is back in session here in Seattle. We are so happy to be at the start of having a routine in our life again. While our summer was so fantastic it really lacked any predictability or consistency for the kids or me, so now that fall is here I’m embracing it.

Ben is in his second year of preschool this year, though attending a new school. He is going to a Montessori school in our neighborhood, just four blocks from our house. So far the transition to his new school has been seamless. He is really enjoying it and drop-off is a breeze!

Already on the first day of school I saw notable changes in Ben’s independence, one of the pillars of the Montessori philosophy. I’m eager to see how the new school environment influences him and promotes independence and executive functioning skills.

Here’s to a wonderful school year ahead!

For nostalgia sake: 2018 first day / 2017 first day

Summer Recap

Summer isn’t normally my favorite season. Don’t get me wrong, I love our sunny Seattle summer days, but I’m usually more of a fall and winter kind of gal. Not this year, though! This summer rivals some pretty epic summers I’ve had for the best summer of my adult life and I’m sliding it into the top slot of best summers of all time.

This post is mainly going to be a photo dump, but I’ll preface by saying that this summer was so fantastic because of all of the family time we’ve been able to have in the mountains. Our life slows down so much out there. The days are so full and they move so much slower and we jam them full of adventure, exploration and family giggles – oh, and eating. These really are the days…

{Ben kicked off summer with two weeks of swimming lessons in early June. He became quite comfortable in the water!}

{Ben’s first bike competition! Bike ‘n Juice at Ski Hill in Leavenworth.}

{We fell in love with the community pool in Leavenworth this summer and went there at least once a week.}

{I’ve been enjoying more homemade iced lattes this summer to save myself a trip to the coffee shop.}

{Ben got a scooter for his 3rd birthday. He’s a pro already!}

{Lake Wenatchee – one of our favorites.}

{#prodad}

{Overlooking the Wenatchee River.}

{Ben participated in 6 weeks of summer camps. 2 weeks were bike camps and the remaining were at his former preschool.}

{Ben + dirt = love}

{Icicle Gorge hike – my personal favorite!}

{A big part of our late summer has been getting our irrigation lines run and our yard prepped for grass in Leavenworth.}

{The view from my favorite coffee shop in Leavenworth is incredible…}

{Grammy and Papa came to celebrate Hannah’s first birthday!}

{Hannah turned ONE!}

{Inspiration Playground in Bellevue is a favorite!}

{We had very few Seattle beach days this summer, but one of my favorites was when we met a few friends and had a pizza picnic on the beach with the kiddos.}

{This kid could spend all day digging in the sand.}

{Backyard water fun!}

{I remember this morning. Alex had to leave for work around 6 a.m., totally unexpectedly, so I piled the kids in the stroller and took Jackson for a long walk around the neighborhood. Notice Mount Rainier in the background. It was the best way to start the day.}

{We stumbled upon so many spectacular sites this summer. This beach on the Wenatchee River is at the top of the list for sure.}

{We had a few different families out to The Lodge this summer and had a blast spending more time with them.}

{Hannah turned into a toddler this summer!}

{One of the hidden beaches in our neighborhood in Seattle.}

{Grandpa Fred came for a visit in mid-August!}

{Hikes at Ski Hill in Leavenworth are extra special.}

{The grass is coming in at The Lodge and Ben loves playing baseball!}

{As the summer carried on we spent more and more time just playing outside in Leavenworth.}

{Our summer came to a close with our family trip to Wisconsin. More on that later!}

Ben is back in school now and fall is here in Seattle. Summer came to a halt after Labor Day and I wasn’t as prepared as I had hoped. I had really been expecting an Indian summer to precede our switch to autumn and that doesn’t seem to be the case. Here’s hoping for a fantastic fall to follow our summer!

 

Ben is 3 1/4!

It is so much fun to do quarterly updates for my oldest toddler, but SO much happens and changes in a quarter it is so hard to keep up with. My goodness gracious, though, my Benjamin has never been sweeter or more fun. That said, with the exception of Ben’s first quarter of life, this last quarter has undoubtedly been the most challenging. Three is no joke.

Ben’s stats:

  • Weight: 29 pounds 12 ounces {25th percentile}
  • Height: 37 1/4 inches {35th percentile}
  • Clothing size: 3T except for pants and shorts – he’s still 18m, 24m or 2T in bottoms!
  • Shoe size: size 7 toddler
  • Favorite foods: crackers, pasta, any type of cheese, yogurt, smoothies, cottage cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, most meats – especially slow cooked
  • Favorite activities: make believing, playing independently, pushing his cars/trucks around, painting, listening to music, playing outside, watching Daniel Tiger, riding his bike, the pump track, gymnastics, swimming, reading books together or looking at books independently

Two weeks before Ben turned three we started to see some major changes. The tantrums were mounting, the defiance was abundant, the screaming was persistent, the mischief was constant and the simplest tasks took an eternity and was like pulling teeth to just get Ben to brush his teeth. Every part of every day was extremely taxing. We knew “three” had arrived!

These unpleasant changes lasted a solid two months and then one day we had this mature little three-year old. I’m well aware that misbehavior is a sign either of needing/wanting attention, another need not being met {i.e. tired/hungry, etc.} or a big period of brain development. I’m pretty sure with this particular season it was largely a developmental milestone, but also a major transition – Ben’s routine and schedule totally changed and we began our summer schedule right around this time, too.

Our little threenager is just that – a mini teenager. He wants to do his own thing, But at least he still likes us!

Even as a very young toddler Ben has always been quite independent. He loves getting himself dressed, helping in the kitchen, playing on his own, reading books to himself and doing things for himself.

Ben is extremely curious right now. Alex and I are doing whatever we can to foster that. I love when he asks “why” or for more information about what something is or how it works. He amazes me sometimes with his ability to recall or repeat what I say.

Alex and I have been loving the progression that our conversations with Ben are taking these days. He asks such thoughtful and insightful questions. He’s starting to understand the concept of time a little more, though this has been a tough one to get.

As a 3 1/4 year old, Ben is sleeping around 10-10.5 hours overnight and most days takes a 2-3 hour nap. He usually goes to sleep around 8 or 8:30 and wakes up somewhere around 6:30. About once a week he’ll wake in the night – usually because he dropped a stuffie or pillow and can’t find it, though he does have the occasional bad dream.

Socially Ben has made some big changes in the last quarter or so. He has several friends and there are some friendships that seem to be stronger than others. There are some kids from his school last year who he seems to miss and asks about often. At this point he prefers playing on his own. We’ve had some friends up to The Lodge and it’s been really neat to see him playing so well with the other kids.

One of Ben’s favorite activities has been riding his balance bike. He LOVED his week of bike camp with his balance bike in early July. He really mastered the balance bike and it brought him tremendous confidence.

Because he mastered the balance bike we felt he was ready for a pedal bike. While we still feel like he’s ready – he is having a really hard time figuring out how to actually pedal. We popped the training wheels on so it would be a little easier, but this has been a source of tremendous frustration for him. He had a terrible time in his second week of bike camp with the pedal bike and I ended up pulling him out halfway through the session because he was so upset about it. He’s just not getting how to pedal. We’re going to lay off of this for a bit and pick it back up after he has the opportunity to ride a tricycle or just take a break.

Ben has always had a natural athleticism and has become very interested in soccer and baseball {well, t-ball} recently. It’s impressive watching him hit the ball on the tee, play catch and kick a soccer ball. He is really looking forward to his first experience playing soccer this fall.

At home, Ben loves to be helpful, particularly in the kitchen. He really enjoys cooking with me and will often come put his step stool next to me and ask to help make dinner or if we can bake something together.

Ben’s personality is staying mostly constant at this point. He is as sweet as they come. He loves to be surrounded by family and people who care about him. Close relationships are very important to him. Ben is compassionate, sensitive and empathetic and is very, very loving. He is really impacted by how other people feel. His sense of humor continues to emerge and he loves to make people laugh.

It’s really timely that my quarterly updates seem to largely coincide with the changing of the seasons. We are rounding the corner to fall and Ben has some really big transitions ahead. He’s starting a Montessori preschool after Labor Day where he’ll go 3 days per week, he’ll be joining a soccer team and getting back into gymnastics. We always have so much to look forward to and this fall is no different.

Ben & Hannah

Now that Hannah is one I thought it would be fun to do a little comparison of Ben and Hannah. In my month-by-month or quarterly update posts I try to keep it focused on each kiddo and avoid comparing the two kids. They have a ton of similarities in their personalities but there are some really big differences in how they have developed.

One of the biggest similarities in Ben and Hannah is that they are both extremely loud. They crave being the center of attention. Neither one is afraid to make their presence known or request additional attention if they’re not getting enough.

If you spend much time with Ben you’ll notice how naturally athletic he is. As a baby and early toddler he really excelled in gross motor development. When he was learning a new skill he would really challenge himself and try things maybe a little before he was ready, then he’d practice his new skill over and over again.

{Ben – 13 months old – days away from walking}

Hannah, on the other hand, has really excelled in her fine motor skills. She’s been slower to hit her gross motor skills milestones, but when she does hit them she’s mastered them. She waits until she knows she’s nailed it.

{Hannah – 12 months old and standing up unsupported.}

As a baby, Ben was a sympathy crier. If there was another baby crying he would start crying too. Hannah did not get that gene. If Ben is doing something inappropriate she thinks it’s hilarious. If someone gets hurt and is crying she is the first to laugh.

Both of our sweet kids absolutely love music. They both enjoy playing musical instruments and they love listening to music.

When Ben was a baby it took him a while to really get into solid foods, especially feeding himself finger foods. He was fine with purees – still loves them in fact – but when it came to finger foods it took until about 10 months for him to get comfortable and show an interest. We started Hannah on solid foods when she was 5 months old and she couldn’t get enough! She took to solid foods immediately and hasn’t looked back. She’s been known to scoop up a handful of fruit and shovel it into her mouth.

{Ben – almost 11 months}

{Hannah – 11 months}

Ben and Hannah are both pretty easy-going kids. They’re able to go with the flow and adjust well in new surroundings. Ben in particular is so happy to spend time and connect with anyone who he feels comfortable with and who shows him love and care. Hannah is a little slower to warm up to new people and is more connected to me as a baby than Ben was.

In terms of energy and activity levels, we’ll have to see how this goes as Hannah gets a little older. I think Ben will have her beat a bit here. She’s super wiggly but in a different way than Ben was, I think. He just seems like he needs to burn off excess energy by running and climbing and jumping. Hannah just doesn’t like to be confined it seems.

{Ben – 22 months – ever the athlete}

{Hannah – 11 months}

A big physical difference is their size. Ben has always been very thin and Hannah has been on the opposite end of the spectrum. Currently both of them can fit into the same size shorts – 18-month! Ben is hard to buy pants for because they won’t stay up on his waist, whereas I have to pay attention to pants for Hannah to make sure the legs aren’t too tight!

{Legs for days!}

Both kiddos are very independent and prefer to do things themselves without help. Some of Ben’s latest phrases include “No mama! I can do it myself!” Once Hannah has the vocabulary I’m sure I’ll hear that from her too. From an early age with both of them, though, they are content playing on their own and don’t always need to be entertained.

As an itty bitty infant Ben was not into cuddling but now is an all-star cuddle bug. Hannah has always been into snuggles. I can’t wait to see the two of them curled up on the couch sharing a blanket, snuggling up with their stuffies one day in the not-too-distant future.

Lately the consensus seems to be that Hannah looks just like her brother. I definitely agree they have some significant similarities in their appearances, especially their mouths. It’s tough because Ben was so bald at the age Hannah is now, so it makes it harder to compare.

{Hannah – 6 months}

{Ben – 6 months}

I’m not sure how Alex and I turned out two blonde hair, blue eyed cuties, but we managed! Ben and Hannah both have blue eyes but the color of their eyes are completely different and SO beautiful. Ben’s eyes are stunning – they are so captivating. Strangers will occasionally stop to comment on his eyes. They are a deep blue/gray with an incredible luster to them. Almost like broken glass. And Hannah’s eyes look like an alpine lake – a beautiful, rich tealy blue that pulls out the colors of whatever is surrounding her.

It has been really fun when I’ve done my monthly Hannah updates to look back on my Ben posts from that same age. I always wait until I’ve written Hannah’s update to re-read Ben’s update from that time and it’s uncanny sometimes how similar the updates are. These two littles have so much in common but their personalities are definitely their own. It will be so fun to see their personas continue to come out as they get older.

Hannah is 13 Months Old!

So much has changed in the last month with our Hannah girl. She is TOTALLY a toddler in every way, shape and form. We are having a blast with her but daaang this girl knows what she wants and she’s not afraid to make demands to get it.

Hannah’s stats:

  • Weight: at her 12-month check up she was 23 pounds 3 ounces {90th percentile}
  • Length: around 29 inches give or take
  • Clothing size: 12-18 month but she’s starting to outgrow pants & PJs already
  • Shoe size: baby size 2 or 3, depends on brand
  • Number of teeth: SIX!
  • Eye color: bluish turquoise – seems like her gorgeous eye color will be permanent!
  • Words: dada, Ben, mama, yeah, hello, banana, uh oh, no, water, cracker, hi, Jackson, all done
  • Favorite foods: strawberries, watermelon, pasta, smoothies, ham, bananas, bread, blueberries, crackers
  • Least favorite foods: this really depends on the moment these days

The most exciting thing that Hannah has worked on this last month has been standing up on her own. She did it a couple times before she turned one and then as the days and weeks went on she was standing up more and more on her own, working on balance and strength. There were so many times when we swore she’d take her first step. She is just waiting until she is good and ready…. any day now!

This last month it seems like some things clicked and she became a little more patient and a little less demanding, though she started the month being extremely loud and demanding, so much so I considered ear plugs at dinner a few times. We’ve been working more and more on sign language with her and it’s definitely helping her ask nicely when she wants something.

Hannah has been pointing to things and signing quite a bit to convey her requests. It’s been really helpful to have her be able to communicate more and more with us. Just the other day she was mimicking Alex say “cracker” and that was the first time I’ve heard her try to repeat a word in that way.

As a very new toddler, Hannah is extremely independent. At certain times of the day she wants to be held but she is also totally okay with playing solo on the ground with her toys.

Hannah is in a very exploratory phase right now. She loves checking out what’s behind or under things, she especially loves lifting the toilet seat up {and splashing in the toilet}, and her favorite toy-free activity is pulling the toilet paper off of the roll.

It has been really fun to see Hannah start to model what other people are doing. She loves to help rub sunscreen on her body, put on her own hat and use a wipe to wipe her arm or leg or the wall next to her changing table. She also likes to try to put sunglasses on her face all by herself. She has been practicing using a fork at mealtimes and has so much pride when she feeds herself.

We love watching Hannah model what her brother is doing, too. She loves to push around Ben’s toy cars and trucks, just like he does. We have a pretend kitchen at The Lodge and she’s been having SO much fun playing with that, particularly the pretend cookies. She loves to put them on the cookie sheet and pull them off and put them in the little cookie tube. Hannah has started throwing the ball for Jackson and gets so excited when he gets it after she throws it.

Undoubtedly, though, Hannah’s favorite toy right now is the water table. She points to it repeatedly throughout the day, suggesting we go out and play.

Hannah LOVES water and we’ve had such a blast playing in the pool and at the beach this summer. Pretty much every day is filled with water fun for Miss Hannah.

There are a few things that Hannah absolutely HATES right now. The biggest one is getting her diaper changed. We joke that it’s like wrestling an alligator trying to get her to lay down on her back without flipping over and flailing her arms and legs. Diaper changes typically take 5+ minutes these days and are filled with negotiations and concessions – usually on my part. Additionally, getting in the car seat is a major struggle, though we’ve found it to be rather successful if we give her a cracker before we put her in that she’ll sit nicely for us to buckle her. Otherwise it’s another 5+ minute struggle.

Sleep this last month has quite possibly been the most challenging of her life to date. We’ve had a lot of stretches where she’s slept through the night consistently but then we’d have these short periods where she’d be up for hourrrssss at night, or she’d wake up every hour, which she didn’t even do as a newborn. Hannah seems to be a lighter sleeper and often at this point if she wakes during the night it’s a 2-hour affair to get her back to sleep.

She is still showing that she needs two naps per day. They don’t have to be long and man she can rally if she doesn’t get any naps, but if it were up to her she’d have a 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. nap every day.

Nursing is something Hannah and I have really enjoyed during her 13 months. We’ve been working for a while to phase it out. She has really taken to whole milk, though at this point doesn’t show enough interest in it to get the recommended amount each day. Currently I’m still nursing Hannah before bed most nights, but not all. Alex is putting her to sleep now and that has been going really well.

We have a lot to look forward to with our 13-month old as we round the corner to fall. This developmental period is rather busy but it is so much fun as life starts to look a little different when explored on foot.

Ben at 13 months – I can’t believe how darn similar Ben and Hannah are as 13-month olds!

Hannah’s First Birthday Celebration

Hannah’s first birthday was so special. We were out in the mountains, per our birthday tradition, and had a fun-filled day centered around our birthday girl.

{Well, this was Hannah’s big birthday gift from us – a ridiculous battery-operated musical activity table. It’s off-the-wall for us but she loves it and we knew she would!}

{We took a fun walk down by the Wenatchee River which runs next to downtown Leavenworth.}

{Hannah LOVES her time in the pool!}

{The birthday girl made it all the way until 3:30 without a nap! She was having too much birthday fun.}

{Time for cake! Hannah’s favorite food is strawberries and Ben thought she would love a strawberry cake. He is so thoughtful!}

{Hannah got her very own smash cake!}

{Unsurprisingly she loved the cake!}

{…..aaaaand crash!}

Hannah’s birthday was all about her. I think she had a blast! So far she is loving being one and is completely and totally a toddler! Happy birthday sweet girl!