Category Archives: Hannah

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.

Kids Room

Well, it’s official, we have a “kids’ room” – not just Ben’s room anymore.

If you’ve been to our house before you know it’s on the small side of the size spectrum. Our main floor is around 1,000 square feet and is where all the action happens and where life is lived. Our little 1909 house has a circular floor plan with compartmentalized rooms and no insulation. That being said, it’s loud, creaky and closed off. What it lacks in modern day function for a family with two young kids, it makes up for in charm and character, thankfully.

Hannah spent her first six months in a pack & play {a portable crib} in our bedroom. You could draw a 10 foot line from the kitchen stove straight to Hannah’s pack & play. Not the most ideal place for baby Hannah to sleep in the evenings when Alex and I are trying to clean up the house, get coffee ready for the next morning or make Ben’s lunch for the next day.

We decided to take the band-aid approach to merging our two kiddos into the same room. We pressed “order” on the crib for Hannah and then shortly after it came we made the time to assemble it and re-arrange the spaces. That happened about 10 days ago.

It took Hannah a few nights to adjust to her new crib and surroundings. Her new room is much different – Ben sleeps with white noise to help drown out the sounds coming from throughout the house, as well as a night light and a heater that makes noise. It’s loud in a different way.

I’m happy to report that it seems like Hannah has fully transitioned to her new space. She’s been napping so much better in her crib than she did in the pack & play {honestly, I almost never had her nap in the pack & play because the naps were so short! Probably because it was so awful and uncomfortable… sorry Hannah!}.

It was an adjustment for Ben, too, and I think he really loves having Hannah in there with him. He is such a caring big brother. Ben woke up too during first few nights when Hannah would wake up upset. When I’d come in to comfort Hannah Ben would ask if I was going to rock her or feed her. If I’d say I was going to take her out and feed her he’d ask if I was bringing her back, then he’d wait up, quietly in his bed, for her to return safely before falling back to sleep.

My office just got cleaned out downstairs {more on that to come!} and I made a super quick turnaround to turn that into an alternate play space for Ben to use if Hannah is napping upstairs. So far his quiet time {usually on the couch} and afternoon play time has coincided nicely with Hannah’s naps and hasn’t been a big deal… yet!

I think that having Hannah move into Ben’s room has been one of the first big steps into the sweet sibling dynamic. Ben has been really interested in Hannah this last week. He makes sure to hug and kiss her goodnight and he’s been trying to play with her or help her lately. The sibling love is pretty much the sweetest thing ever.

Ben & Hannah

People ask me all the time if I think that Hannah looks like Ben, or if I think she looks more like her father or me. Some people think Hannah is a spitting image of Ben, others think she and Ben look nothing alike. To me, I see some resemblance but they have some very different features, I think, and it’s also tough because at this age they’re at opposite ends of the weight spectrum.

I’ve been having fun with Google Photos and their historical photos and collages they put together. It seems like Hannah is hitting her milestones at about the same date that Ben did, so Alex and I have been loving all of the “on this day in 2017…” photos of Ben learning to sit up.

I certainly think their eyes are similar – and, at least for now, Hannah has kept her blue eyes, just like her big brother. Alex and I aren’t convinced they’re here to stay, though.

Maybe I’ll dig up some old pictures of Alex and me and we can see if our kids look like us when we were babies? Stay tuned…

Hannah is Six Months Old!

Sweet Hannah Max has been with our family for half a year now and it feels like she’s always been here. Hannah continues to be an absolute delight. Her smile brightens up anyone who looks at her. I get so many compliments when I’m out with her about how happy she is.

Hannah’s stats:

  • Weight: 17 pounds 15 ounces {80th percentile}
  • Length: 26.1″ {60th percentile}
  • Clothing size: 6-12 months
  • Number of teeth: 0
  • Eye color: still blue!

As a six-month old Hannah is mostly still sleeping through the night and takes about 3 naps per day. Usually two cat naps and a longer snooze. Her schedule is somewhat predictable and driven by a combination of the day and Hannah – for the most part she goes with the flow.

We’ve had a tremendous amount of change in the last month or so and Hannah has dealt with it okay. I’ve noticed that she has been rather opposed to spending the day, or really any amount of time, with a stranger or any new person. She had a rather lengthy adjustment period when Anna, our new au pair, arrived.

In the last month we started introducing solid foods to Hannah. It has been so much fun watching her get used to the idea of eating foods and seeing the look on her face when she tries something new. So far, we haven’t found anything she doesn’t like.

We knew Hannah was ready for solid foods a while ago when she’d start reaching out and grabbing the food on my plate and bringing it to her mouth. She’s been so curious about the concept of eating for quite some time.

I’ve had a very laid-back and stress-free approach to feeding Hannah. At this point my goal is merely to get her used to the idea of eating. A few foods we’ve tried with her include: bananas {her first food!}, avocado, sweet potato, cucumber, red pepper, pear, yogurt, cheese and oatmeal. Over the weekend we checked “peanuts” off the list. Fingers crossed for no allergies!

Just a few days ago we made the call to say that Hannah is officially sitting up! She loves being able to have a different outlook on her surroundings. I think she really enjoys watching her big brother play nearby, too.

Hannah is SO CHATTY! She’ll interrupt a conversation or dinner to tell us a story or just start talking out of nowhere. She loves being included in what’s going on. Once she has the words I have a feeling she’s going to figure out how to use them rather quickly! Right now she just sounds like a typical 6-month old baby: a pterodactyl!

Ben is still pretty much the only one who can get a laugh out of Hannah. It is really sweet. Usually Hannah cracks up at Ben being a goofball – sometimes Alex will involve Hannah in Ben’s evening rumpus and she loves it.

Another fun milestone for Hannah in the last month is that she’s been able to ride in the stroller seat and the shopping cart. I have really enjoyed this as a way to interact with her a little more.

Our sweet Hannah girl is all smiles these days. She is the happiest, most content baby I know.

#Momlife

I’ve been moming real hard lately and it has been wonderful. We have had so much going on recently and I have really savored the time I spent with my littles, in particular the one-on-one time.

The one-on-one time I have been able to spend with Ben recently has been extra special. With all of the people around for the holidays and all of the change we had going on I was really missing my biggest little and I think the feeling was mutual. It’s so hard when there’s so much going on to be able to break away just the two of us and have some mama/Ben time. I was so grateful for more opportunities when December turned into January.

I have built-in time with Ben, just the two of us, four mornings a week when I take him to preschool. Once a week I stay for the two-hour class at his co-op and we get to play together. He absolutely loves co-op and that time is really special for both of us.

Usually co-op ends with a steamed milk or a hot chocolate – partly as a special treat for keeping his pants dry and partly because I’m a softie. I never thought I’d be a softie but I totally am. And I’m ok with that!

Ben has been growing up so fast and I can’t stand it. It’s hard to think how close we are to times when he’s not going to need us as much and when he’s going to be so independent he won’t want our help constantly, and, heartbreakingly, the time will come when he won’t want to cuddle or be picked up all the time.

Obviously I want my kids to grow up and be independent and self-sufficient but I love so much this beautiful season that we’re in right now. I know every milestone and every phase results in more and more fun but I’m getting so much joy from where we’re at that I want to relish it as long as I can. My babies aren’t going to be babies for much longer, after all.

My littlest is growing at warp speed. It did not go this fast with Ben as a baby, that’s for sure. I hope that life starts to slow down once our weekends will be spent together as a family in the mountains. Something tells me that’s naive.

I also savor the moments, though, when I can enjoy my coffee + biscotti in the morning, read my book {currently reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine}, cook and plan out the week. My time cooking is extremely limited these days, as is my computer and planning time. I have become much better at making the time to have some coffee and read in the mornings by purposefully waking up early. I absolutely love sitting in silence in the dark, enjoying the calm of the morning.

If I’m being honest, the part of #momlife I like the least right now is trying to schedule in time to pump. I’m constantly on the go for my job and it is really tricky some days to make the time. My work schedule is flexible but some days there is simply not enough time between appointments. Thankfully I’ve been able to have a low/no-stress approach to this so far and while I’m hoping to be able to keep up with Hannah’s needs with breast milk, I’m totally fine if we need to supplement with formula.

{cup of ice from the coffee shop to keep the milk cold!}

I’ve had a bit of an interesting go of things recently as a cat mom. Poor Henry got injured a few weeks ago and has required quite a lot of follow-up treatment as a result. We were at the vet every day last week and I’m happy to say Henry has made a complete recovery now. My sweet Ben melted everyone’s heart at the vet, though, when we had to drop Henry off and say good bye – Ben bent down in front of the door of Henry’s carrier and said “Bye Henry! I hope you feel better. Have a good day!” There’s nothing quite like a 2-year old.

The best moments as of late are the evenings, right around 7:00, when I’m sitting down to feed Hannah and Ben comes in to say goodnight to us. Hannah always takes precedent over me. He comes in, wraps his little arms around his baby sister and gives her a gentle squeeze then makes sure to give her a kiss – sometimes on the head, other times on the hand, and then, so sweetly, says “goodnight Hannah!” and then I look up at his father and we acknowledge that we know we’ve done something right.

In “#dadlife” news – Alex has also been dading pretty hard, too. He and Ben have had some really special time together over the last few weeks. They went rock climbing, swimming and to the gymnastics gym recently. Ben and Alex are two peas in a pod and Ben is so much like his dad. It melts my heart watching the two of them together.

While I have such limited time to myself right now, it’s so hard to imagine life before kids these days. These two little humans have made my heart {and life!} so full. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hannah is Five Months Old!

Our sweet little baby girl is five months old and has been so interactive, active and smiley. We are having so much fun with our Happy Hannah.

Hannah’s stats:

  • Weight: she was 15 pounds 10 ounces at her 4-month checkup (75th percentile)
  • Length: she was 25″ at her 4-month checkup (50th percentile!!)
  • Clothing size: 6-9 months

Hannah continues to be the sweetest baby I’ve ever met. She is always smiling and so, so happy. Her smile lights up the room.

Recently, Hannah started rolling over from her back to her tummy! She had been doing a lot of rolling onto her side for a while and then one day figured out that she could get all the way over. By the second time she rolled over it was already a graceful, swift move. Now she’s working on sitting up!

We pulled out Ben’s old high chair {he’s been in a booster seat for around 9 months now} and brought it up to the table. Hannah loves to be in the action and we thought it would be fun for her to be seated in the high chair for dinner so she can see everyone eating.

We got the green light from the pediatrician to go ahead and start trying some solid foods, so we’re planning on doing that around Christmas. I’m thinking we’ll start maybe with avocado or banana? Honestly, I haven’t given it much thought other than the fact that I’m really excited for her to start eating solid foods. I can’t wait to share my love of food with her!

Hannah has been a great sleeper since day two. She continues to sleep through the night, though this last week she woke up a couple times needing some love in the middle of the night due to a bad cold. Despite the cold and clearly feeling miserable she is still all smiles and somehow is powering right through.

There were a few weeks right around the turn from three months to four where Hannah hated being in her car seat in the car. That seems to mostly be a thing of the past at this point. I’m sure we’ll have a few more of these periods as she gets older, though now she mostly tolerates it just fine.

{I think she’d prefer to ride up front with me! – obviously she doesn’t ride in the front seat ;)}

Christmas came a few days early for Hannah – I gave her a couple of new teething toys and she absolutely LOVES them. These are probably the best teething/baby toys I’ve ever encountered, aside from or on par with the Wubbanub pacifiers.

Hannah has had the dexterity to put things into her mouth for several weeks now – maybe since 3 or 3.5 months and these new toys are so fun for her to hold onto, pass between her hands or chew on. The shape of them is perfect for her to actually be able to get into her mouth. These were recommended by my mom’s group leader who is an occupational therapist.

These days Hannah spends a lot of time playing on the floor. We’ve expanded her baby gym onto one of Ben’s quilts so that she has more space to roll over. I actually think I’m going to get rid of her official baby gym {any takers!?} because it takes up so much space.

Hannah has been so interactive lately with toys and people and is all smiles. She is smitten with her big brother and love, love, loves getting attention from him. He’ll often come over and give her a big hug or try to climb in her rock & play with her. Ben is so tolerant when Hannah grabs his hair out of excitement.

We are so excited for Hannah’s first Christmas in just a few days. We already got her out cross country skiing this week and I hope to do so again in the next few days. We have so, so much to look forward to this holiday season and new year.

Hannah is Four Months Old!

Happy Thanksgiving! Our sweet baby girl is growing, growing, growing and is now four months old! I’ve gotten to the point where I gush about how teeny tiny brand new babies are because Hannah is just getting so darn big. I can’t believe how quickly you forget how little they start out.

We don’t have Hannah’s four-month check-up for another week so I won’t get updated measurements until then. I’m guessing she’s around 16++ pounds {last I knew she was in the 75%}. No clue on her length, probably still short. She’s still in 3-6m clothing. She’s short, so I’m hoping she’ll fit into it for a little longer…

 

 

Hannah truly is the sweetest, happiest baby I’ve ever met. She is SO smiley – I just can’t stop staring at her because she gets so happy and excited to look at me.

Lately Hannah has been really interested in holding things. She will always hold onto my shirt or her blanket and loves to have a toy in her hand. She can already put her pacifier back in her mouth. She’s been chomping on her own hand, too – we are wondering if she’s starting the teething process.

Also! Hannah has started sucking her thumb! She loves her pacifier too – she has a really cute lamb and duck pacifier {or “wubbie” as we call them in our house} that bring her a lot of joy.

Just last week Hannah rolled from her back to her tummy! It’s not a skill she’s mastered – definitely still practicing – but it was really fun to hear that she did that.

Since she has been spending so much one-on-one time in the mornings with Stacey while Ben is at school she’s been getting a ton of tummy time and play time down on the ground. It’s so fun for me to walk in and see her playing on the floor because when I’m down there with her it’s such a different vantage point. I love getting to walk in and see how strong she’s getting during her playtime.

Since I went back to work I’ve been able to work out my schedule so I can continue to attend my Tuesday morning PEPS group with Hannah. It’s a group of mamas and their second babies {most mamas have toddlers too}. I have really enjoyed my experience and the connections and relationships I’m building with the other mamas.

Hannah isn’t on any kind of a parent-led routine by any means. She has put herself on a routine, though, as I’ve mentioned before. Daylight savings time actually helped her get into a great nighttime routine – she’s now going to sleep at about 7:30 p.m. and sleeps until anywhere between 6 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. – usually depending on the 2-year old noise level in the house. During the day she naps at random points throughout the day – more catnaps than anything else. She is so good at going with the flow, thankfully.

Hannah has two birthmarks – one is just above her right eye {you can see in the photo above} and one is at the nape of her neck. The one on her neck is more red/purple and is mostly covered by her hair so once her hair grows in you’ll never know it’s there. The birthmark on her forehead is more noticeable in photos than in person

We are so wild about this sweet baby girl and I can’t wait to see these next few months unfold. Her little personality is just starting to come out. We have so much to look forward to – sitting up, the introduction of solid food, baby giggles, and the list goes on!

 

Hannah is Three Months Old!

And just like that our baby girl is a quarter of a year old! Hannah is growing and changing at a rapid pace and it’s hard to keep up with all of her new developments. While I’ve thought Hannah was fun and sweet from day one, I remember Ben starting to really be more fun and engaging around four months, so I have a feeling our sweet girl is only going to get sweeter and more interactive as the days go on.

As a three month old, Hannah weighs 13 pounds 9 ounces and is in the 68th percentile for her weight. We’ll get an updated length at her four month check up.

The biggest update in the last month is that Hannah started sleeping through the night! I think this happened around 10 weeks or so. It’s kept up for a while so we’re hoping it’s a sign of good sleep to come.

A lot of people {mostly strangers!} ask how she sleeps during the day if she sleep through the night already. Usually she takes a short morning nap and is awake and interactive most of the morning, then around 1:00 she typically takes a longer afternoon nap, usually about 2 hours or so, and is awake most of the evening with a cat nap somewhere along the line.

Hannah loves to eat! Usually she grazes {or non-stop eats} from about 6-9 p.m., which seems to fill up her little belly with enough calories to keep her going through the night.

While I haven’t ever taken the time to get Hannah on any sort of a routine, she decided to take matters into her own hands and get herself on one. She really is fairly consistent day-to-day and it has absolutely nothing to do with my intentions or plans. I really wanted her to be flexible – her big brother rules the roost, after all. Hannah is proving she is quite adaptable and happy to give her mama the wonderful gift of sleep.

Typically Hannah falls asleep around 9 in the evening – usually while eating – and sleeps until 6:30 or 7 a.m. I’m sure someday soon we’ll try to get her to have a real bedtime and an evening routine, but for now it’s working so I don’t really want to rock the boat.

Hannah loves to read and look at pictures. She gets so happy and engaged when we look at books together. Her favorite toy {let’s be real – the only toy she has any interest in} is her crinkle paper. She responds really well to a pacifier, which is nice. She doesn’t *have* to have it but she’ll very happily take it if she’s upset or needing comfort.

Developmentally, Hannah is still rolling from tummy to back {I think just one way} and is able to prop herself up more and more each day, it seems. She loves laying on her back on her play mat and batting the toys above her. She has been cooing so so much lately and sometimes I swear she’s actually talking to me.

Hannah continues to be such a dream baby. We are so over the moon with our baby girl!

Maternity Leave

I’m savoring the last bits of my maternity leave as I’m slowly easing back into my job. I officially go back to work on October 22nd. Before I left I promised I’d facilitate some trainings in mid-October, so I’ve already dipped my toes back into the working world.

This maternity leave has been oh so very different from my leave with Ben. Hannah’s leave started right away with a beautiful baby girl coming home from the hospital as a one-day old. Alex took two wonderful weeks off of work to spend with us as we adjusted to life with two. Then, I was on my own with Hannah and Stacey maintained her regular schedule with Ben.

It was so special to have this bonding time with Hannah. She and I have become extremely connected – so much so that she often refuses to be held by anyone else. I will always remember this time so fondly and with tremendous gratitude that I had the opportunity to spend so much time with my baby girl.

We enjoyed our long walks in the late summer sun and savoring those first few crisp and sunny fall days with pumpkin lattes at our daily stop at the coffee shop, we trekked over the mountains to The Lodge four whole times, we made new friends with other mamas and babies and we enjoyed going to a variety of exercise classes together. I’ve been able to read NINE books while on maternity leave! It has been so much fun to get lost in good books. I have a Kindle Paperwhite with a soft back light that makes it so I can read during the middle-of-the-night feedings.

There were challenges, too. Mostly with me being home and around while Ben was there. As time has gone on he has become more and more sweet with wanting to just be with Hannah and me instead of with Stacey. I think it’s hard for him to understand and it’s a sticky dynamic with Stacey. During the day I found I needed to be out of the house if Ben was home, which really complicated my days and my schedule and required me to be quite flexible.

My going back to work is the beginning of several major changes for our family. I’m not feeling super settled right now with our childcare arrangements since we pulled Ben out of preschool. That is making it a little harder on me to go back to work. We’re throwing a huge challenge at our au pair, Stacey, giving her a very hands-on Benjamin, as well as a hands-on newborn. We are working on getting Ben into another preschool {more to come on that in another post} so that Stacey’s primary focus can be on Hannah, at least for part of the day, and Ben can be with other kids his age.

It’s very bittersweet to be leaving Hannah, grabbing my work bag and throwing on a non-mom-on-the-go outfit as I head back to adult life as a mom of two. I’m looking forward to some more adult time, having more opportunities to use both of my hands at the same time, drink coffee while it’s hot, stimulate my brain a bit, have conversations that have nothing to do with negotiating with a toddler and making a difference to people outside of my house. Here’s to a the start of a new chapter!

One-on-One Time

One of the biggest challenges of now having a second child is making sure Alex and I are spending one-on-one time with both kiddos. Naturally I am spending oodles of time with Hannah, thus defaulting to more Alex-Ben time. It’s the reverse that gets trickier.

Lately, Alex and I have been going out of our way to make sure I am able to spend quality time with Ben, just the two of us. Even if it’s ten minutes here or there, like giving him a bath or putting him to bed. We’ve been a little lax on our “green light” wake up rule and have allowed Ben to get up earlier to spend time with me in the morning before Hannah wakes up. It’s important that we have that time together.

Sweet Ben has started requesting cuddle time at 4:30 in the morning. As much as Alex and I would both love to snuggle him for the rest of the night in bed with us we know that’s a slippery slope and don’t want to have to undo that down the road. So, our days have been starting around 4:30 {or earlier for those of us who wake up to feed baby Hannah, usually from 3-4} while we work to get Ben to stay in his bed for the rest of the night. It’s hard to be too upset about this since all Ben wants is to come and cuddle with us, buttttt we really like to sleep in later than 4:30.

Ben and I have had a few mama/Ben dates, most recently with a run down to Madison Park with a pit stop at the coffee shop, park and beach. It was such a special morning with Ben.

Alex is also trying to find ways to spend time with Hannah. He’ll often bring her with him in the mornings when he walks Jackson and that’s not only a great start to the day but a great way for him to connect with her and enjoy cuddle time.

We’re still figuring out how to balance our two kiddos who both have very different needs, demands and schedules, and I think we’re doing okay. Maybe someday things will slow down and normalize? Probably not!