Tag Archives: family

Life These Days

Crazy has a whole new meaning to me right now. Alex’s and my plates are overflowing, it feels, with all that we have going on. I’m very, very thankful for the time between when the kids go to bed and when Alex and I go to bed so we can feel like we’re able to accomplish something during the day.

Our backup childcare plans didn’t work out for much of the lapse in childcare we had from our last au pair to when our new one arrives.

With no notice I dove head first into my new temporary role as a stay-at-home mom. We’ve enjoyed fun outings to the zoo, the children’s museum, a fun new bookstore, local toddler gyms and parks. Hannah got to test the waters of Ben’s co-op preschool {I’d love to send her there next year!}.

I also enjoyed a lot of down time with the kids at home. Since it’s getting dark out so early these days we were home by 4 or so most days. I put together some craft projects and some fun toddler activities, like turning a shoe box into a fine motor skills practice opportunity for Ben {he had to match the color of a pom pom to the color of a small hole then push the pom pom through – hello matching and fine motor skills!}.

Since I don’t have childcare, Hannah has been coming with me to my weekly Pilates lesson {luckily it happens to coincide with a time when Ben is at school}. Roxanne, my instructor, mentioned several times that Hannah just watches me and tries to mirror my moves. It’s been really sweet having her there. I wish I could bring her everywhere!

For the last 3 months I’ve been going to a weekly moms group called PEPS {Program for Early Parent Support}. It’s a group of local moms who just had their second child. We have a facilitator who leads our discussions on various parenting topics each week and we share our highs and lows, as well as learn something developmentally appropriate about our babies. I have come to really adore the group and look forward to my time with the other moms and babies. It’s been such a wonderful way to continue to boost our village and establish what I expect to be long-lasting friendships.

{Hannah is second from the right}

{Hannah won the award for “Most Sylish Baby” and “Most Likely to be a Movie Star”}

Poor sweet Ben was sick all of last week. He had a terrible cough. He needed lots of extra snuggles and love and enjoyed a lot of time on the couch with his friends Daniel Tiger and Peppa Pig.

Amidst the chaos it’s the holiday season. And we happen to be building a house and getting very near the finish line. And I also still have a job, which I’ve been trying to during spare moments. Somehow we’re managing just fine. It’s a little crazy, but Alex and I kind of like crazy. This is the season we’ve chosen for ourselves and I wouldn’t change it for anything.  I’m not going to get this time back and I’m sure enjoying these extra special moments.

Lately

Life has been a liiiiittle crazy around here lately. I’ve heard people say one {kid} is like none and two is like 20 {or insert other high number here} – I definitely don’t think that’s the case for us; however, the transition of me going back to work and our childcare and logistics of life have been a little bit nuts these last several weeks. Oh, and everyone has been sick.

Hannah kicked off my first day back to work with an eye infection and pink eye. Alex got it a few days later, along with a really nasty flu-like virus. Ben got the virus immediately, as did Hannah. The viruses get a little fuzzy because it almost seemed like Ben got a little cold first and then the nasty virus kicked in a week later and Alex got the nasty virus first and then a cold towards the end. Hannah’s just a champ so she powered right through it with a little extra sleep and a lot of congestion. Our crew was down for the count for 19 days. 19 days.

Somehow I got spared, which was great since I was on total mom duty for quite some time. I’m totally fine solo parenting, but in this instance it was tricky because I wasn’t expecting to be rolling solo and having no notice meant I didn’t have anything prepared for the days. I wasn’t sure if Alex just needed to snooze in the morning for an hour or if he’d be out all morning or all day. Planning is kind of helpful for my sanity. It was extra tricky having Alex try to sleep right in the heart of our house – it was so hard to keep Ben quiet and out of the room.

On the second weekend of Alex being sick I finally had enough of being cooped up and waiting to know if Alex was joining the living again and I picked the kids up and we took the bus downtown to the aquarium. I didn’t really think it through whatsoever – total impulse decision – but we were out of the house for about 4 hours and Alex got a good nap in and started to turn it around.

In the midst of the illnesses, Ben either was really down and out from being sick or he was going through a big brain development and he was a dissasssstterrrrrrrrrr. The course of the two weeks where everyone was sick was undoubtedly the most challenging parenting time so far. Holy cow. I have a feeling that was only a taste of what’s to come as we’re getting more into toddlerhood.

During this time it was inconceivable for Stacey to watch both kids at the same time. Hannah would have been completely neglected because Ben needed so much attention. Most days at some point I ended up taking at least one of the kids, if not both.

Alex and I joked that Ben became bipolar or possessed by a demon. One minute he’d be perfectly happy, then you’d ask which color straw he wanted and dear lord the world must have ended. Try to get him to get dressed and goodness gracious it was world war 3. There was a lot of screaming, hitting, kicking, temper tantrums, arguing, fighting, down right refusing, food throwing – you name it. Negotiating with a terrorist is what Alex called it. And then, just like that, our sweet little Ben returned.

How’s Hannah, you ask? Thank heavens she is a dream. Sweetest baby girl I’ve ever met. Hannah’s bright blue eyes and big full-body smile light up the room and can brighten anyone’s day. Seriously.

Amidst the chaos we did have some really sweet moments and a lot of fun. I’m loving doing preschool drop off with Ben and having my moms group with Hannah. We trekked out to the mountains, Ben and I baked some cookies, we’ve had numerous park trips and play dates and we went swimming together as a family.

FINALLY everyone seems to be healthy. I’m hoping we can get a few weeks before the next virus strikes.

 

Back to Work!

Two weeks ago my blissful maternity leave came to an end and I went back to work. I’m fortunate that I really enjoy my job and the people I work with, but still, it wasn’t easy.

I was able to take three full months off with Hannah and it was so special to have that time to bond with her. I absolutely adore my sweet baby girl. Since we’ve been connected for so long it has been really hard to be away from her during the day.

Luckily I have been able to ease back into work and piece together my work schedule in combination with some kiddo things during the week. I’m in charge of taking Ben to his co-op preschool twice a week – one day I stay for the full time and the other day I drop him off and go work in a coffee shop. We’ve been sneaking some extra mama/Ben time in at the end of school and grabbing a coffee together.

I’m doing a moms group called PEPS that’s designed for mamas and their second baby. We meet one morning a week {babies and mamas} and it’s so nice to have that built-in time with Hannah during the week too.

So far the scheduling has been more streamlined than I expected and it’s really nice to get a chance to spend a little one-on-one time with both kids during the week. I’ve also been intentionally trying to limit the time that Stacey has to manage both kids at the same time. It really is difficult to manage the logistics of a two-year old along with a 3-month old.

We’re all still getting the hang of our new rhythm and waiting for it to change again {Stacey, our au pair, will be leaving us at the end of the month}. For now, I think our schedule is working out okay. Ben is loving both of his preschools and I’m happy that I get to spend some real quality time with both kids separately during the week.

{Poor Hannah had an eye infection that required a doctor’s visit on my first day back.}

It’s still hard to leave my kiddos during the day. I know the time goes so darn fast and I want to look back on this time feeling like I spent enough time with them and made enough memories. No one said being a working mom is easy – we can’t have it all!

Fall Family Fun

The weather in Seattle this fall has been perfection. We’ve been savoring the crisp, cool mornings and getting so much joy from the stunning fall colors painted in the trees around us. Washington is so beautiful any day of the year, but it seems like our surroundings are extra special in the fall.

We have enjoyed spending some free Saturdays visiting a couple of pumpkin patches in the area. There are so many to choose from and next year I will look forward to checking out some new spots.

{We met our friends, the Buffingtons, out at The Farm at Swan’s Trail a few weeks ago – it was so fun to see Roslyn and Ben together again!}

We had the most perfect fall day out in Leavenworth recently. It was one of my favorite days ever.

I just pulled out my raincoat and have made a mental note that it seems like the weather is starting to change enough to where I should probably consider wearing a raincoat most days from here on out. It’s definitely a mental shift! I’ve been loving getting cozy in all of my fall pullovers and I’ve been getting all of the pumpkin lattes from our neighborhood coffee shop. Just can’t get enough of fall!

We took a foggy ferry ride over to Bainbridge Island recently – Ben hadn’t been on a ferry before and we thought he’d love it. Turns out we were right!

{Ben was so tired that he fell asleep in the stroller right when we got off the boat. He stayed asleep ALL THROUGH LUNCH. That meant Alex and I got to have a little lunch date while both kiddos slept!}

And here’s a few more fallish photos of our littles…

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.

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!

Grammy & Papa’s Visit

Alex’s parents {also known now as Grammy and Papa} were out here visiting for just shy of two weeks recently. It was so fun having them around – Ben adores them. Stan hadn’t met Hannah yet – safe to say, I think he’s smitten with his first granddaughter.

Their trip coincided with some travel plans our au pair made, so Grammy and Papa were on babysitting duty for a few days during their trip. They enjoyed taking Ben up to the park and playing outside in our yard quite a bit.

Alex and Stan took a day trip out to The Lodge one day early in their stay. They needed to confirm some electrical placements. It sounds like it was a very memorable, special day visiting our mountain house.

We also planned a long weekend out in Leavenworth and stayed right nextdoor to our mountain house in a rental we stay at frequently {wish they’d give us a frequent visitor discount!}. It was a really special time for Ben and Hannah to be with their paternal grandparents. There were lots of Hannah cuddles and goofy, high-energy moments with Ben.

Donna and Stan stayed in an Airbnb house a block from our house in Seattle. It was a very comical experience for them – Donna kept saying someone should write a sitcom about Airbnb experiences gone wrong. The landlord of this house was off her rocker. We had some good laughs and now I know where not to have people stay when they come visit!

While we were staying in Seattle we went out to eat a few times, had a picnic at Madison Park and had some ice cream at Molly Moon’s in our neighborhood. It’s amazing how the times have changed from our before-kids trips to wine country and Bottlehouse with them, now working around nap times and bed times and eating dinner at kid-friendly restaurants at 6 p.m.

We have another round of family visiting coming up shortly! Stay tuned…

Weekend in Leavenworth

Alex’s parents were here for an extended visit to spend time with Ben and Hannah. We were excited to plan a weekend trip to Leavenworth and stay nextdoor to The Lodge so we could marvel at the landscape and the progress on our new vacation house. The weather was really nice and the company was even better.

It was a relaxing long weekend with few activities planned and lots of quality family time spent.

One of the big highlights for me was our trip to the apple orchard. I was so excited to take Ben to his first orchard. He loved picking apples!

Ben picked the apples right off of the tree and even climbed up the ladder to get some high up in the trees.

We ended up with 10 pounds of apples! Now if only I could get Ben to eat them…. I think we’ll make some applesauce this weekend {he’ll eat that!}. I’ve been enjoying the apples all week – they are delicious! I hope we can make an annual trip to an orchard with our kiddos.

After our trip to the orchard we went into Leavenworth to have lunch and walk around. Naturally we ate at Cured, our favorite sausage restaurant.

It’s hard to come into town and not get a sausage! I’m excited to be able to spend longer stretches of time in Leavenworth so we can start exploring more restaurants instead of coming back to the same one over and over again.

We’re starting to really find our favorite spots in town. I found my new favorite coffee shop, we found a free parking lot and we are exploring the different ice cream shops, too! Next time we’re out there we have a new one to try.

Much of our trip was spent at the rental house. Ben loved playing with his grandparents. They got to play with his new toy cars and his pretend house. He ran around, played baseball with Grammy {he’s really getting good at throwing a ball!}, rode his bike and read some books.

Sleep was a very major challenge for all of us while we were away. The first night Ben went right to bed in his little tot cot. He woke up around 11 and wanted to come in bed with Alex and me, which we usually allow when we’re traveling. Somehow he got a very big burst of energy and stayed awake, literally running up and down the room, bouncing on the bed and being extremely rambunctious, until 2:30 when he finally fell asleep.

The next night Hannah was cold and woke up seeeeveral times throughout the night.

Finally, the third night, Alex and I got to sleep, but Jackson had an upset stomach in the middle of the night and kept his grandparents awake for half the night {sorry!!}.

Ben was not interested in napping while we were at the rental house. The first day he fought it for a solid 2 hours before Alex loaded him in the car with his mom and drove to the grocery store 25 minutes away. He circled town while Donna was shopping and in the end Ben got about a 90 minute nap! We strategically planned our apple orchard trip the next day to allow him to snooze in the car on the way there, then I made the drive home extra long to add some nap time for Ben.

It’s so fun to stay nextdoor to our vacation house. I’ll do a separate post about it, but here’s an updated photo!

We ended our trip with a quick and chilly picnic on the shores of Lake Wenatchee. It was SO windy so we ate quickly then let Ben run around on the beach and do a quick stop at the playground before we piled into the car and headed home.

It gets harder and harder to leave our little piece of mountain paradise every time we go out there. We’re starting to feel so connected to the community and we can’t wait to spend even more time there.

Hannah’s Newborn Photo Shoot

I’m so excited to share some of our favorite photos from Hannah’s newborn photo shoot. Our family photographer, Kim, came to our house when Hannah was a week and a half old and captured some sweet moments with our whole family, as well as some of just baby Hannah and a few of Alex and me with Hannah. Ben was such a trooper for the photo shoot and we got some great smiles from him, too.