Category Archives: Life

Mama’s 10K

Last weekend I ran a 10K! That’s just over 6 miles. I wasn’t as prepared for it as I had hoped, but I still did it and I ran the whole time!

The first half I had my little cheerleader along with me for the ride {he did the riding – I did the pushing!}, then I dropped him off with his dad and ran the last loop solo.

It’s liberating to have completed the run and I’m looking forward to our family Turkey Trot 5K coming up on Thanksgiving. This is my least favorite time of year to run {the rainy season, that is} so I’m guessing I’ll probably scale back a bit and pick it back up in the spring. I’m planning on training for another half marathon next fall in Leavenworth. Always something to look forward to!

Best Day Ever?

There are so many moments and experiences in my life that stand out as some of the best moments I’ve experienced – when both of my kids were born, Ben meeting Hannah for the first time and some dates and meals stand out, for sure. When it comes to best days ever, though, the list is shorter. Our wedding and some trips absolutely make the cut. I’m so happy to say I have a new “best day” to add to my list of favorites.

It was just one of those days that was so very special. We didn’t really¬†do a whole lot, but then again, we did everything. It was as darn close to perfect a day as they come.

Alex and I had been chomping at the bit to get back out to The Lodge to see the drywall and siding. We knew the weather looked really nice so we planned a day trip on a recent Saturday with the kids. For some reason the day started with all of us sleeping in until 6:30 {yes, that’s sleeping in in our house – thank you Benjamin!} when Ben woke up and came and cuddled with us. That’s how all of the best days start: family cuddles!

We had a calm morning at home getting ready for the day {mind you, we packed up the car and were prepared to get on the road the night before} and we were in the car ready to go before 9:30 which is a feat in itself. The drive was a highlight, too. Goodness gracious these mountains we are surrounded by. I can’t even. They’re just so majestic themselves but then you add in the fall colors and I’m basically speechless. The drive was absolutely stunning.

It’s a solid 2-hour drive from our house in Seattle to The Lodge and we made great time. Both kiddos were completely content in the car too, which is no small feat. Pulling up to The Lodge and seeing the siding, the front door and the fireplace stone just took our breath away a bit. We are just beside ourselves with excitement for what this house means for our family.

We spent a few hours checking things out around the house, having a picnic and just watching Ben play a bit. As the story goes with toddlers, he had zero interest in the toys we brought for him {we carted his trampoline all the way over there – partially so we could leave it there and get it out of our house} and just wanted to play in the dirt and run around the construction zone.

{My cozy little bear!}

It’s just so fun making memories with our kids at The Lodge while we’re building it. I’m so glad that they’re both around for the process. It makes it extra special.

After a while we headed to Lake Wenatchee State Park, which is about 5-7 minutes from our house. On any day of the year, Lake Wenatchee is gorgeous. That day it was sheer perfection. Absolutely stunning and truly one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen.

The water was like glass. The autumn leaves were at their peak. There was a thin layer of fog clinging to the lake. The sun was shining down on the lake just perfectly. And of course, the mountains in the background set the picture just right. It was absolutely breathtaking.

We ended up spending several hours there. Ben couldn’t get enough of the lake. He ran right in with his pants and shirt and got completely soaked. He and Alex took turns skipping rocks in the lake and enjoyed some time at the playground just up from the beach.

We took a short family hike to give Ben a little downtime and allow Alex and me the opportunity to scope out some more of the area.

Hannah and I had some fun playtime on the picnic blanket at the beach. She was having so much fun all day.

The day just kept going and going and we decided to stay until dinner and head back closer to bedtime so the kids could fall asleep in the car.

It was a very memorable and special day for Alex and me. We loved the time we spent with our kids and I think it was so special because we can really start to picture our new life with so much time being spent in the mountains. We cannot wait for what The Lodge will do for our family and the time we have together.

Building the Lodge: Fireplace & Drywall

On our last visit to The Lodge we were in awe of the updates. Things are taking shape so very nicely out there and it’s magnificent to see it all come together. We’ve been able to visualize it but seeing it in person adds a whole new dynamic. See for yourself!

{Looking towards the wall of windows – the siding on this wall has been completed and you can see the stone on the exterior of the fireplace is finished.}

{View of the front entry! The exterior doors are on, the stone on the fireplace is complete and the stone on the pillars by the front door is just beginning.}

{Closeup of the fireplace stone with the siding and windows and all of the trim.}

{We love how all of the colors are working together.}

{View from the inside looking at the front door – we absolutely love the door.}

{Holy drywall! And hello side door! This door goes out to the covered porch and the hot tub.}

{View standing up in the loft looking out on the main wall of windows. It’s so fun to see how bright it is in the house. The drywall was complete with the exception of another round of sanding. The ceilings on the upper level will all be cedar.}

{We brought both kids with us on the trek – Ben loved seeing where the hot tub is going to go. Here is the slab for the hot tub, looking out at the river bluff.}

{My cozy little bear!}

Another Preschool Update

Our start to the school year has been a bit of a rocky one. A few weeks after Ben started his original preschool we realized it was not the right fit for him so we withdrew. Seattle has a very competitive preschool market and most preschools won’t accept kiddos until they’re 2.5, which Ben is not. Given that, I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to find another spot for him.

Before I even decided to remove him from the original school I contacted his co-op preschool that he went to last year to see if they had space in either of their 2’s classes. They did!

I brought up our unfortunate preschool situation with my moms group and one of the moms said that her daughter’s preschool had an opening. Score! Another mom sent me her massive spreadsheet where she outlined every preschool in the area with her notes from her tours {interestingly, she toured the school we ended up sending Ben to originally and had unfavorable comments}.

I spent a couple weeks doing tours, contacting preschools and trying to use my “spare time” to find another school for Ben. As I was nearing the end of my maternity leave and the return to work I wanted to make sure to find another spot for him to be a big kid and give our au pair a break and some time with just Hannah. It is a LOT to manage Ben and Hannah alone.

My time, networking and connections have paid off. We have officially enrolled Ben in two schools to allow for him to be independent four mornings a week.

Two mornings a week he’ll be at the co-op. Parent involvement at a cooperative school is pretty high. One day the parent stays and “works” at the school and the other day the parent drops the child off for the morning and he’s under the care and instruction of the teacher and half of the other parents. There are jobs and meetings, too, naturally. I was assigned the role of class “sunshine chair” which is a very involved but fun role. Basically, I’ll help foster community among parents and families and arrange playdates and teacher thank you gifts.

The other two mornings a week he’ll be at a different preschool. The other school is in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, about a 10-minute drive at that time of day. It’s a super sweet, highly regarded preschool. Ben did a trial date there and we both loved it! He officially began at his new school this week.

It’s not a perfect solution, and both locations aren’t really walkable from our house, which is disappointing. I’ll end up being a lot more involved in drop-offs and attending co-op once a week so I’ll need to balance that with my work schedule. But! We found a workable solution and one where Ben is happy and can thrive.

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!

Building the Lodge: Siding + Drywall Started

I made a trip out to check on The Lodge just over a week ago and was so excited to see some big updates! My dad, a home builder and inspector, was here visiting, and I couldn’t not bring him out to see the house. Even more recently, Alex and I just made a spontaneous trip out to stake out where the hot tub will be located.

{Siding is up halfway!}

{A full wall of siding complete! This will be the final siding color. as well as the trim color.}

Here’s what’s going on at The Lodge:

  • The septic system was installed
  • Siding has begun – I think they’re close to halfway done
  • Trim around the exterior windows was completed
  • Soffit {wood under the roof overhang} installation has been completed
  • Drywall has begun – all of the drywall has been hung – next up: taping and mudding!
  • Fireplace waterproofing and prep for stone on the outside is complete, inside is just beginning
  • The heat is on!!!!

{The kitchen before drywall!}

{The kitchen after drywall! I cannot get over how GORGEOUS the beams are!}

{The drywall really, really changes things on the inside. We love how much the black windows pop! You may notice there is no drywall on the ceiling – all of the ceilings on the roof line will be cedar.}

Unless I’m missing anything the only big decisions we have left to make are the floors, interior paint color(s) and the furniture. Here is a link to my Pinterest board if you’re curious to see some of the furniture we’re going with {note: the colors that show up on the Pinterest board are not necessarily the colors we have selected} or are interested in.

{Lots happening at the house!}

{Can’t get over how beautiful the soffits are!}

We did learn from the builder that we won’t be in until sometime in January. We were disappointed to hear that we’re not able to be there for Christmas, but at least we know now. It’s so fun to see everything happening and see it start to take shape. Alex and I have been lamenting on how we’ve started imagining and picturing ourselves in the house and it is SO fun.

{Front of the house on 10.1.18 – no siding, soffits just beginning – window trim done.}

{Front of the house 10.8.18 – siding is started and soffits are done!}

{Our job for our most recent visit was to select the location for the hot tub slab. Here it is!}

{This will be the view from the hot tub on a cloudy day.}

 

Mama’s 5K!

When I was about 4 weeks postpartum I signed up for a 5K at the end of September and a 10K at the end of October. Back in August when it was light out a bit later in the evening, somehow I thought I’d have enough time to train for said runs. Reality sank in quickly and I’ve been able to get only one run in each week – on the weekends!

While I’m still able to exercise during the week, I can’t take Hannah on a run with me yet {it’s recommended to wait until about 8 months to take an infant in a jogging stroller due to their neck strength and head control} and Stacey can’t watch Hannah yet, sooooo that means I can only go for a run when Alex can watch Hannah. That is rather limiting when it’s now getting dark so early in the evenings – I am not keen on running in the dark, so I get to run on the weekends.

In any case, I really pushed myself and showed up to my 5K two weekends ago. I felt very unprepared and wasn’t sure I would be able to run the whole thing.

My little cheerleader, Ben, joined me on the run and it helped me keep going. I wanted to show him how hard I was working for something that I really wanted – what a better example of perseverance? I ran the whole thing {thank goodness it was almost all flat!} in 33 minutes and it felt so great to have accomplished that feat.

Now on to training for that 10K coming up in 2.5 weeks…. that’s going to be the real challenge!!!!

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!

Our Preschooler

Ben started preschool a few weeks ago. We were so excited to have the opportunity to expose Ben to a Spanish-speaking immersion preschool right in our neighborhood. Since this is his first drop-off experience we decided to start small with two mornings per week and we’re toying with the idea of increasing that to four, especially when I go back to work.

The first few days of Ben’s experience at preschool were not stellar. He was less than pleased to be dropped off in a new environment without his parents or Stacey. There were some major meltdowns and stressful mornings for sweet Ben as he adjusted to his new school. It was heartbreaking dropping him off sobbing and then picking him up sobbing at the end of the day. It’s hard to feel right about that and not want to just cuddle him up in my arms and hold him tight and bring him home.

After his third day I had started to get a little concerned about a few things. The student-to-teacher ratios seemed too high, he was having a lot of accidents, I didn’t know how he was doing during the day… mostly little stuff. I scheduled a meeting with the director and learned that the school is just really, really laid back and loosey goosey. We also switched the days of the week we send him so that the ratios are lower since Ben is one of the youngest kids and seems to require a little more attention. The school has a French program as well as a Spanish program and it seems that Ben was gravitating more towards the French teacher, soooo I guess Ben’s learning French now!? Totally practical.

I’m happy to report that day four was our breakthrough day! He cried a little bit when Stacey dropped him off, then when she came to pick him up he didn’t want to leave. I received an update mid-morning from the director saying that he was having a really great day and he had re-joined the Spanish class. Whew!

{Ben loves taking the bus to school! The day I took him I felt like such an urban mom.}

The school hosted a BBQ one evening recently, which we were happy to attend as a way to make Ben more comfortable by spending time there with us, as well as socialize with the other parents and teachers and meet the other kids. Ben was totally comfortable at the school and we left with the same warm fuzzy feeling we got there when we initially did the tour before signing Ben up. The rough start was bound to turn around and it looks like it is doing just that.