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Optimistic

You definitely wonder sometimes what you are doing wrong when things aren’t going your way. It’s easy to get frustrated, down and dejected. It’s easy to think of what could have been or what you missed. I do that a lot. And with how this month has been, I’ve definitely had the hours, the days, and the weeks spent thinking just those thoughts.

But I’m switching gears and looking optimistically at what IS right and what the future holds. This crazy trip called life isn’t ever perfect but it is beautiful and every moment, even the difficult times, should be cherished. I’ve learned from my own past experiences that the difficult times are usually times of growth, strength and self-awareness. They are times of leaning on others and into faith. The journey might not be the easiest or full of rainbows and sunshine but the outcome can be even better.

So in being grateful and optimistic, thank goodness it is Friday and January is almost over. JK.

Thank goodness for this girl who is usually always happy!

But in reality, I’m thankful for a strong and close (even if not in location) family, I’m thankful for a supportive and caring husband, I’m thankful for a sweet and spunky daughter, I’m thankful for having the time to study for my future, I’m thankful for planning events to spend time with friends, I’m thankful for having the mental stability to get through difficult times.

This week has been like much of January; a slew of ups and downs throughout the week. Reese is starting to express her will and opinions anywhere and everywhere so I have had some mornings where it takes forever to get her ready and Bryan was put through the ringer at FareStart last night. This week we also took the first step into looking at Reese’s future care/schooling. We visited one daycare center and one school. Both show promises for sure but also bring a slew of applications, decision making, and conversations with our current working situation. And downtown Seattle has experienced a few shootings this week which is not a common occurrence for us. Thankfully Bryan and I had a midweek date night out (after one school tour), dining at our favorite restaurant for dinner and having a wonderful conversation. It was needed to touch base and come together before Bryan leaves for a week on Sunday.

January is nearly over and the rest of the year is looking very optimistic. I know 2020 has it in it.

Chelsea

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Our 16 Month Old!

Reese is definitely a toddler these days. She is mostly sweet and good to her parents but there are some days where she is just in a mood or more likely to have a tantrum over something. However, I’d say she is more upbeat and bubbly than down or moody on the average. She is quickly catching on to how things work these days and it is amazing seeing the gears working as she explores and figures things out. So much fun to watch. So what’s new with her these days?

  • Her vocabulary is slowly but surely expanding. New words include: bye bye, big truck (loosely), some animal noises, hi, verbal “no” (instead of just shaking her head), yeah, hot, out (for outside), shoe.
  • Her appetite has been on an uptick most days and I find myself scratching my head for other food/snack ideas. She is a snacker more so than one who does big meals, which is fine except you have to keep in mind what sort of mess a snack will make as she carries it around the room with her.
  • She is loving climbing right now. She likes to taunt us by climbing on the couch and peeking in and yelling at whoever is in the kitchen. She also likes to pull herself onto the ottoman.
  • She runs everywhere! The only time she moves at a walking pace is when we naturally want her to move a little faster.
  • She likes to go grocery shopping; either riding in the cart or pushing a kids cart around if they have one.
  • She has a sweet tooth and knows where there might be any cookies, donuts or the like placed on the counter.
  • She chooses the book we read at bedtime now. It’s surprising to me how she now has a preference for what book to read and I’m usually surprised by her requests.
  • Diaper changes can still sometimes be a struggle and you might find yourself chasing a naked baby around the house. However, she is good about getting her boppy pillow down and laying there during diaper changes. She also is beginning to understand when she has gone #1 and #2.
  • She is really getting the hang of slides and that seems to be her preference at the playground these days. Swings are still high up there though.
  • She’s starting to figure out shapes with blocks, build things with legos, and will pretend play with various items.
  • Her favorite show is quickly becoming Dr. Pol (high five on that one Bryan!). Her animal fascination is high.
  • She still refuses to drink cow’s milk but has tried juice and seems to like it but still mainly a water girl but sparkling water is her #1.
  • She’s grown out of a fair amount of her 12 month clothes so I have put many away and will be shortly getting out new 18 month clothes. Fun! She is also now in size 5 shoes and we have had to retire a few of my favorite shoes of hers already.
  • She’s shot up in height a lot in just the past two weeks. She is currently breaking the 20 lb mark as well.

Chelsea

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1-Star Rating for 2020

So far 2020 is definitely out to get us. I don’t know what we did in 2019 to deserve this but we are less than a week into 2020 and pretty much nothing has gone as I would have liked. NOTHING!

  • Our flight was cancelled on the way back to Seattle (this started in 2019 but was largely the way we began the year)
  • Bryan had to sweet talk the hotel shuttle bus into giving him a ride to CVS from the hotel so that we could buy more diapers as we were literally all out
  • Our NYE luxury delivery dinner through Bite Squad to our Embassy Suites Detroit Metro hotel was cancelled, after calling three times to confirm the order and after waiting 3 hours for said delivery dinner
  • Bryan got us a so-so dinner from the hotel next door that thankfully was still open, but stepped in big puddle on the way to getting us this much needed dinner
  • Michigan lost to Alabama in the Citrus Bowl (expected but still a bummer)
  • Bryan got some stomach bug immediately upon getting back to Seattle and was home from work both Thursday and Friday (either Dallas airport food or Detroit hotel food is the theoretical culprit)
  • Nanny also came down with something, preventing her from watching the girls on Friday and me staying home to care for Reese (this wasn’t the end of the world but still precious PTO hours!)
  • We were asked to serve in the Toddler Room at church for the first Sunday of the year, while Bryan was still not feeling great (amen for only three babies this week)
  • Michigan lost to Michigan State in basketball
  • Our water heater is currently broken and we are planning on taking showers at the YMCA up the street from us tonight…

If 2020 delivers any more bad luck in the next week I’m not sure what I will do. I’m definitely not going gambling anytime soon! 2020 most certainly has some work to do to improve its current rating.

Chelsea

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Goodbye 2019

What an end to 2019 we had. We spent one week in Michigan for Christmas with my family, had one rare and precious weekend away just the two of us without Reese, and then had about 36 hours of traveling to get back to Seattle thanks to flight troubles. It was a roller coaster of events and I’m still recovering from it all but definitely grateful for the time we got to spend with family and the time we got to spend with ourselves.

We had our usual early morning flight out of Seattle to head to Michigan on Christmas Eve. Our flight there went on without a hitch more or less (only about a 30 minute delay flying from Chicago to Lansing) and we all arrived at my parent’s house in East Lansing with a good amount of energy. Reese was thrilled to see my parents and maybe less so to see Sophie, their dog, at first but Sophie quickly became her favorite item in the house. She followed “Ruff Ruff” around everywhere and always had her eye out for her. Christmas Eve was the always-delicious dinner of clam chowder and king crab legs at my parent’s house with my grandparents visiting for the night. After our fill of seafood, coffee and Christmas cookies, I had about an hour of wrapping presents to do after putting Reese to bed. Somehow she lasted until her normal PST bedtime, which was helped by new people, the dog and her Christmas Eve present of her Mickey Mouse riding airplane that I must admit was super cool.

Christmas morning came and Bryan and I were slow to get up. We spent the morning snacking on my dad’s mini quiches before settling into presents at home first before getting dressed and heading over to my grandparent’s house. We made out like bandits this year, filling an entire duffel bag on our return flight home. Bryan and I cleaned up and face-timed with the Miller and Konecni families while Reese made friends with the neighborhood kids outside. We piled into the car and headed over to my grandparents. This was the first year in maybe five years that all four cousins were at home for Christmas so I know it was especially special for my Grandma. It was great to catch up with my cousins, flying in from Berlin and Denver, while Chad was home from Cincinatti. We had a delicious Christmas dinner of beef sandwiches, ham, dips, shrimp cocktail and other super tasty delights before settling into opening presents in a circle like we have always done. After that Reese was itching to get outside and it was a nice day so all cousins, Bryan, my dad, Terry and Reese went for a walk to a nearby park to play. We returned just before dark but the fresh air and the warm temps felt wonderful after a large meal. We were the last to leave, per usual, and headed back home after a wonderful holiday celebration with the whole family. Chad was already on his way back to Cincinatti unfortunately.

The day after Christmas was gorgeous in Michigan!!! The temperature reached 60 degrees with the sun out and little wind. It felt balmy. Bryan and I went for a run along the Red Cedar on campus while my parents had Reese nap and then went for a walk with her around the neighborhood. After showers, Bryan and I met up with them at the park to slide, swing and merry go round. We returned home for a bit before setting out on foot for downtown East Lansing to meet up with our friends Tom and Pam at El Azteco for margaritas and the famous Topopo Salad. It is always so great seeing Tom and Pam, people I have always felt were an extension of family to us. And Reese managed to fall asleep in the stroller and stayed asleep for at least 30 minutes in the lively bar/restaurant which helped make the meal that much more enjoyable. After dinner, and seeing a few other random friends at the restaurant, we headed back home, still really enjoying the warm air and stretching our legs.

Friday we managed to get to Court One to get a little exercise in for the whole family (although my parent’s exercise was a little less structured thanks to watching Reese). We returned home to clean up and then Bryan and I said our goodbyes to Baby Girl before heading to Detroit to check into the Detroit Foundation Hotel (a firestation converted to a boutique hotel) for two nights alone! It was an amazing hotel and a wonderful experience all around. The room was really well done and it was nice to have some peace and quiet, get dinner and drinks out alone, and be able to sleep when we wanted. We spent the first night enjoying dinner at the hotel’s well-reviewed restaurant, the Apparatus Room. We had an exceptional meal of a whitefish caesar salad, toasted homemade bread with homemade whipped ricotta, pistachios, and persimmon and short ribs for me and a pork shank for Bryan. We split the chocolate cake of sorts to seal the deal and finished our meal quite late and ready for bed.

Saturday was a full day all to ourselves. Naturally, we woke up at about 10 am EST. We got ready at our own speed and made our way down to brunch around 11 am. We had a wonderfully relaxing brunch before heading out on foot to explore the town. We stopped at Campus Martius and checked out the quaint shops and ambiance of the Cadillac Lodge. We then walked to Eastern Market (the largest farmers market in the country) and browsed the vendors, picking up a lot of items to bring back to my parents. We explored the shops around the Market, as well as Eastern Market Brewing Company and the Detroit Distillery. We called for the Lincoln Navigator from the hotel to come pick us up to bring us back to the hotel. We chilled out for a bit and then headed to the hotel gym to try out their two Peloton bikes. I enjoyed my 30 minute ride and definitely got my sweat on. We cleaned up and got ready to go out for a night. We enjoyed several small dishes and drinks at the hotel bar before riding in the Lincoln to the famous Cliff Bell’s for live jazz. We spent several hours there, getting drinks and having good conversation, mostly reminiscing on the past year and our dreams for the new year. We walked back to the hotel, stopping at the Cadillac Lodge for some dancing and a beer first and warming up by one of their fires.

Sunday morning was a lazy one. We enjoyed room service breakfast while we packed up our items to check out of the hotel. We made one stop at Astoria Bakery in Greektown to bring back some pastries for my parents. We got back to East Lansing right around 1 pm and Reese smiled sweetly when she caught sight of Daddy and then screamed “MOM” in almost anger when she saw me. Typical! She was fresh from a nap and ready to play and catch up with each other’s weekends. My parents did a wonderful job of the difficult task of keeping her entertained and managing the sleep “schedule” of Reese. We were ready to reunite with Reese after just under 48 hours away from her. We spent the night at Potter Park Zoo, walking through their exhibits and the last night of Zoo Lights. We headed home and got take out Chinese food from Charlie Kang’s and enjoyed Nisa’s homemade eggrolls while we watched the Seahawks lose to the 49ers before calling it a night.

Monday was our last full day in East Lansing and was probably the laziest of all. I think we were all affected by the weather and all pretty groggy throughout the day. We played with Reese inside and actually didn’t leave at all but it was windy and raining a good portion of the day. We enjoyed one more visit from my grandparents and then said our goodbyes to them. We tested out mom’s new boxing gloves, which was a hoot with Reese. We also enjoyed making dinner together and having that in peace and quiet after Reese was asleep. It was a delicious dinner and we spent a long time in conversation at the table before cleaning up and starting to pack our bags.

Tuesday morning was not much other than packing and getting ready for our travels. We had an extra bag to bring back with all new stuff and with the first snow starting to fall we wanted to get on the road with plenty of time (although the roads were perfectly fine). We got to the Detroit Airport around 1 pm and my parents walked us to security and said their goodbyes. Security was a breeze and we found the kids play area. We got a lunch of pizza at Mod Pizza and then were ready at the gate for our plane, but our plane wasn’t there. We were quoted a 45 minute delay and then the plane arrived and were informed of a further delay due to a maintenance issue on the plane. Two hours after the flight was supposed to take off we were informed the flight was canceled. Enter: chaos! It took forever for rebooking to begin and long lines were formed. We finally were able to get rescheduled for a flight leaving the next morning, with a connection in Dallas!

Alaska put us up at the Embassy Suites at the airport and we took the shuttle to check in there. Check in at the hotel didn’t go smooth but we finally got our room and managed to hit the tail end of happy hour at the hotel. We ordered delivery from a nearby restaurant and began to wait for that. Three hours later and after giving up and putting Reese to bed, we were told the restaurant was not open and our order was cancelled. This was after 10 pm. Bryan called in an order to the restaurant at the hotel next door and they were able to get our dinner ready in 15 minutes. Meanwhile, Bryan managed to step in a big puddle on his walk over to that hotel. This was after he already had to use the hotel shuttle to go to CVS to get us diapers, since we were now out of them! After finally getting our dinner at 10:30 we were not in the mood for anything having to do with New Years Eve and went to bed. Thankfully we did because Reese didn’t sleep all too well in the hotel.

We were up at 7:30 AM on our new travel day. We got ready and got breakfast at the free brunch at the hotel. We took the shuttle back to the airport, went back through security (Bryan got a random security check, go figure) and then we were finally on board our new flight to Dallas. 3.5 hours later we were in Dallas and we caught the second half of the Michigan vs. Alabama game at one of the airport restaurants. We burned off some of Reese’s energy before boarding the 4.5 hour flight to Seattle that I was legit dreading. However, Reese slept the whole flight through and woke up in a good mood once we were in Seattle. Baggage claim took awhile but there was a Ruff Ruff there and escalators to keep Reese entertained. We were finally in our Uber home. Amen!

It was great to be home and the house was cleaned for us while we were away. Reese was up for a bit but then quickly transitioned to way too tired and was in bed just after 9 pm. She was up at 7 am EST this morning (that would be 4 am local time!). I was going into work and Bryan decided, smartly, to call in sick, so we took shifts with Reese in the morning. Bryan helped me get Reese ready to drop off at Sarah’s and then took me to work before dropping Reese off. It’s been a day but I am managing and so relieved that I have one day left before a weekend to recover from the last 48 hours.

Traveling with a kid is different and unfortunately the beginning of 2020 has not started off with a bang (at least not a good one). It’s not like I might have imagined it to be but that’s okay. Hopefully the rest of 2020 will treat us better!

Chelsea

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It's Christmas Time…Just About

We leave tomorrow to fly to Michigan for Christmas this year and I am really looking forward to it, minus the actual flight. But we are prepared this year with tricks up our sleeve for Reese on the flight (movies, Sesame Street, Tylenol, you name it). It’s finally here and I am ready. Presents are all purchased (few are wrapped). We gifted Reese a new toy yesterday, one we have had for over a year now, a little toy ferry boat with cars. She loves cars. We rode the carousel a second time in downtown Seattle and Reese is just in love with the carousel. We took pictures with Santa at the downtown Macy’s which required waiting in line and with a tired Reese, she looks none too enthused to see the big guy. We are mostly packed with all laundry done. We have the Jeep in the repair shop and have been able to tackle some of the to do items off of our list the past few days.

Waiting for our flight tomorrow

But we have also just had some fun just the three of us. We had dinner at the Argentine steakhouse downtown Seattle called Patagon and the food was delicious and Reese was a terror. So the next night we opted to drop her off at our neighbor babysitter so Bryan and I could get our annual meal at Harvest Vine just the two of us. Exceptional decision! Reese had fun playing and we had a delicious meal of cauliflower with salsa verde, sea bass with aioli and roasted peppers, pork with cider sauce and decadent potatoes and the best ever squid braised in squid ink with aioli and rice. Bryan and I also had church date yesterday for the last service of the year and we took Reese to the toddler gym for the first time in Columbia Center on Saturday and Reese loved pushing and getting pushed in the toy cars as well as mastered the mini stairs and slide they had set up.

We are re-training Reese in the sleep department in preparation for our visit to Michigan and for leaving her with my parents for two nights (bless their hearts). Alls a go on our end and now we are just finishing up a few last minute details before the Uber picks us up tomorrow morning at 5 am.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Chelsea

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From China to Germany and Back

This past weekend was a whirlwind of dining and shopping of various different cultures, in another country. Canada, eh? We took Reese out of the country for the first time of her life to spend the weekend in Vancouver with Billy, Val and the family. We left Friday afternoon and just managed to hit traffic due to an accident near Everett that slowed our roll…right to a stop to get out and relieve Reese from the car for a while. We visited some prospective pets (fish, cats, rodents and birds) in a pet store, she pushed a cart around Ross for a while, and then decided that we should get dinner at Olive Garden, which was okay at best (but the breadsticks and salad were great!). Reese topped it off with peeing on the changing pad in the Olive Garden bathroom and then later got poop all down her leg while we waited at the Canadian border for about 20 minutes.

Sitting for a bit at Olive Garden

But she persisted, watching videos and pictures of her and Lottie together managed to keep her entertained during the last 20 minutes of the drive to our Airbnb rental in the neighborhood of Kerrisdale. We arrived sometime after 9 PM, way after Reese’s bedtime and Ainsley and Cyanne were already asleep. We managed to clean Reese up and changed for bed and got her to sleep, despite the excitement of a new environment. We spent several hours after the girls went to bed catching up with one another over a bottle of wine.

We staggered out of bed at various times Saturday morning before we were all up a little after 9 AM (I will be so happy if Reese ever sleeps until 9). The girls had fun playing with each other until we got ready to go get our first dim sum meal in Richmond, BC. We first stopped at Empire Seafood Restaurant where we managed to get a table right away in the elegant dining room. This wasn’t dim sum on push carts but dim sum to order and it was tasty and delicious. Bryan declared best shu mai of his life and the green beans, egg tarts and har bows were all equally delicious and piping hot. Reese did alright despite being tired and we decided afterwards to continue our stroll of Chinese food with Reese in the stroller so she could sleep, which she did.

Girls playing chase in the front yard

We explored Richmond Public Market and Bryan tried bubble tea for the first time. We then stopped at a noodle house, expecting thick and chewy noodles but were sadly disappointed at this restaurant. At this point we were needing to get Reese a little activity from sitting all day.

We headed to downtown Vancouver for the German Christmas Market. The very front of the market showcases a magnificent carousel that Reese apparently remembered riding in downtown Seattle. She was itching to go for a ride and after waiting in line for a ticket (and we were going to purchase an unlimited ride ticket) we were told that it was only for kids 2 and up. Major disappointment!!! Reese wasn’t happy at all about this. We quickly moved away from the sight of the carousel and did some dancing to the live Christmas music, the adults got some mulled wine, and we proceeded to shop the market. We mainly took in the sights and sounds of the market and only bought a sausage that we were able to sample and was delicious and reasonably priced. After spending two hours at the market, the three of us walked to the nearby gelato shop we have been to several times before to get the most expensive but most delicious gelato of my life. We went back to the house where Reese and Ainsley were super giggly girls the rest of the night. We once again stayed up late talking a variety topics over some wine before I had to get to sleep.

Reese was my early morning wake up call again. We had a couple hours awake in the house before everyone else was up. We spent a brief time at the park across the street to swing but it was in the upper 30s so I came back to drop Reese off with Bryan and then went for a rare 3.5 mile run by myself. I came back and cleaned up and then we packed up the house and headed back to Richmond for more dumplings. This time our lunch was at Su Hang and we had some of the best soup dumplings, Shanghai style noodles and other delicacies I’ve ever had. We finished that up with their free coconut pudding for dessert and then we said our goodbyes to the Tung family before making our way back home.

We had another 30 minute wait at the border but no real traffic on the way home this time. Bryan drove the whole way and I took a little cat nap. We got back home early because we were going to attend the holiday party at church but we were so exhausted we decided to stay home instead and that was a good idea as we had laundry, dishes and other things we needed to do around the house before the week ahead.

One more full week before a nice long break and I can’t wait for that break! Happy we got to spend some time with friends during the holiday season before we get to spend some quality time with family next week.

Chelsea

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That 15+ Month Old

Fifteen months plus…this month always flies by (Decemeber, not month 15). The past month I think the biggest change has been in Reese’s vocabulary and cognitive understanding. Here are some of the things:

  • She is finally saying “Mom” and “Mama” and is saying it fairly often
  • Although, how she whispers “Dada” is pretty much the cutest thing ever
  • Big fan of Moana and Fitz and the Tantrums still
  • Rode her first carousel and loved it
  • Likes to take ornaments off the tree and especially likes pulling on the ribbon
  • Seriously loves accessories and shoes, her shoe drawer is her favorite
  • No longer minds hats, I think she knows her moose hat is so cute
  • Has been really enjoying her builder blocks these days, especially dumping them all out (but she is getting much better at building towers with them)
  • Added vocabulary words I know she understands now: outside, jacket, shoes, socks, eat, blocks, banana, kiss, hug
  • Has four teeth on top and still just the two on bottom
  • Is no longer terrified of animals unless they are barking or running towards her
  • Sometimes wants to hold hands while walking outside and sometimes refuses
  • She likes to lay and lounge on pillows
  • Easy to nap again
  • She played with her first baby doll and couldn’t stop kissing it
  • She loves to give hugs and kisses and they are just the best
  • When Reese and Lottie kiss each other it is the cutest thing in this whole world
  • She must be center of attention
  • She makes sure the baby gates are closed, and then will wave goodbye to you
  • She can now wear pig tails
  • She still loves her Lottie…

Chelsea