Chelsea Lately Q1 2021

What’s new with me so far this year?

  • I’ve been single parenting quite a lot and I don’t like it quite a lot.
  • I’ve been enjoying getting back into the Fitnessblender routine with lots of inspiration to do so from my mom.
  • Far less running for me lately but quite a bit of walking. The spring flowers and scents and of course sunshine has made the walks even more pleasant.
  • Got my bike out for the first bike ride of the year two weeks ago and it was glorious. Then got caught in a downpour on my return home.
  • Have still been reading; read LaRose for January’s book club, which I didn’t care for, then read Becoming Ms. Burton for March’s book club and loved this one, then read Killing Women which wasn’t the best written book but was fascinating as it takes place in my hometown and I have heard some of the stories of Donald Miller growing up, and I’m now nearly finished with Untamed for April’s book club and it is the best book (for me) that I have read in quite some time. Love it!
  • I take Reese to the playground pretty much every single day after school. One, she likes it quite a lot and two, I’m better at parenting at a playground then finding fun things to do around the house.
  • I just got my haircut and got a good amount taken off. We will see whether I end up liking it or not.
  • Work since the beginning of the year has been rather slow. There was a few weeks push to get a bid project out for Toronto but then we didn’t end up winning that job so that slowed things down. A new big bid project for Sydney Metro starts in two weeks though and that is supposedly fast and furious until August.
  • I actually enjoyed cleaning up the yard for the spring and Polly’s birthday. I do enjoy working outside, however, I’m also happy to not have to worry about anything else to do with the yard for the rest of the summer and most likely won’t be gardening anything but herbs unless I snag some tomato plants from a friend or neighbor giving them away (this happens a lot). Our yard just can’t grow much. But our backyard no longer looks like white trash yard.
  • We’ve rehired the housecleaners who come once a month and this is literally the very best day of the month for me each and every month.
  • I got glasses for the first time ever. I only wear them while working, and when I remember to do that even, but I actually really like them.
  • I’m half vaccinated and it feels so good. I’ll be fully vaccinated on April 20th.
  • I did literally the worst I’ve ever down in the March Madness tournament this year. On the other hand, Bryan won for his first time!
  • Inspiration for cooking is at a pretty low spot right now. With Bryan gone so much Reese and I are all about easy convenient meals and then he returns home and I find myself reaching for meal boxes delivered to us a lot of the time.
  • I just upgraded my scooter helmet. Truth be told, our two old helmets were old and scratched and one was starting to get some mildew on the inside from the wet environment that is Seattle. I’ve since cleaned them but took the opportunity to get two new helmets, one for each of us in the same style but different colors. Reese, in the meantime, loves having us all put on the helmets.
  • I snagged a free pair of Apple air pods off of Buy Nothing and I am a fan. Since, I have been listening to a lot more podcasts on the way to get Reese. Mostly true crime podcasts (?!?).
  • Guilty pleasure shows while Bryan has been gone include: Bridgerton, Good Girls, Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, Real Housewives of Orange County, and now 90 Day Fiance the Other Way. This show gives me the utmost appreciation for Bryan and for living in the USA, more than probably any other single thing I know of.
  • I’ve been trying to go through things around the house in my annual spring cleaning effort. Trying to sell items but may just need to start running items to Goodwill which I believe has reopened.
  • I really enjoy my morning and nightly cuddles on the couch with Reese. She is especially cuddly during these times.
  • I cannot stomach anymore Easter candy right now.



To Charleston and Back

Reese and I ventured to Bryan’s land for a long weekend this past weekend. It was a short but sweet trip and was so good to see Bryan and see where he has been living for weeks at a time while he has been away. Reese was so excited to see her daddy in the Charleston airport and also really enjoyed getting to play and explore around town. It ended up being a perfect trip, just the right length with us staying in the hotel, and nice to be able to spend time with Bryan during this extra long (3 week) stint he is doing this go around. Here is a recap:

Thursday morning Reese and I finished packing our bags and had breakfast at home before leaving with one small suitcase, the car seat in the car seat backpack, my backpack filled with books and my laptop for movies, and the BOB stroller. It was manageable for me to carry but I was thankful to not have anymore than that. We packed light, or as light as we could! We first took the bus to the Mt Baker Station light rail and then to the airport. Getting through security with the large stroller and car seat was no easy feat but we passed through with about an hour before our flight took off. Reese got some chicken nuggets from the McD’s in the airport and then we boarded the plane. The first unsettling moment for me of the trip was when we had a third person in our row. I wanted to raise my hand and ask “aren’t you blocking out the middle seat” but realized that that initiative must be over. I started hyperventilating a little bit with the close proximity of this other person and a rather full flight. Then we sat at the gate for nearly an hour with no message as to what was going on. Finally, the police boarded the plane and escorted someone off from the very back row who was wearing a neck gaiter and refused to wear a mask. Meanwhile, two strangers sitting in the row behind me could be overhead that they were going to Charleston with several friends scattered throughout the plane to live it up and are done with masks and don’t think we should be required to wear them. Gulp! At this moment I was second guessing this trip.

But nevertheless, the plane finally pulled out and took off for our long flight to the East Coast. Reese did relatively well although only gave me about two 20-30 minute naps during the flight. She watched movies on my laptop but refuses to wear the headphones so she just watches them and doesn’t listen. She pinches my hand/elbow about 90% of the time (this is her safety routine). The flight took even longer than it should as we were having to fly around some tornados in the middle of the country but finally we landed! Bryan was there waiting for us with a purple spinner for Reese and we were off to the hotel with takeout BBQ from Rodney Scott’s which closed at 9 pm. We had a delicious BBQ dinner while Reese explored the hotel room. All of us were pretty wiped by this point.

Friday was a day for Reese and I to explore on our own while Bryan had one last day at work for the week. We slept in until about 9 am and then headed downstairs to grab some breakfast from the hotel. We then got dressed and explored on foot with the stroller and set out for two different playgrounds. We found a quaint neighborhood park first and then headed to a larger and newer park. It was pretty toasty out and Reese gets quite warm in the heat. We stopped at a store for a snack and to cool off and headed back to the hotel where Reese napped on me on the couch. After the nap we set back out but this time for the waterfront park. We only made it to the park entrance when we found a pretty great fountain where other kids were playing. Reese was all about this. Like I said, Reese gets hot so I think this was a huge reprieve for her. We stayed here for a LONG time. Finally I was able to convince Reese we needed to get a change of clothes before dinner since she was completely soaked. Bryan picked us up, we changed and then headed back to dinner at Slightly North of Broad. We were seated at the chef’s counter to a fully packed restaurant and live music playing. We had a great dinner and great service. We tried the local fish of the day with a white chowder and the shrimp and grits. When we left dinner it was just starting to rain so we took shelter in the nearby candy store (convenient). As we were checking out it started downpouring. We rain across the street to the city market and walked in the covered market as far as we could. Back on the street the rain had lessened but made for much less crowded sidewalks on the rest of our walk home. Now we were ready for the weekend together.

Saturday and Sunday both started much the same. We slept in a bit, got breakfast downstairs, went swimming in the hotel pool which Reese absolutely loved, and then got some lunch before nap time. Saturday Bryan picked us up a delicious lunch from a place called Leon and on Sunday we walked and ate outside at the Charleston Beer Works for lunch. Sunday morning I also dipped out for a run on the running route Bryan does on the beautiful bridge in town but I about died from the heat and humidity that I’m not used to.

Saturday afternoon we packed up the car and headed to Sullivan’s Island, a quick 25 minute drive to a great vast beach. We parked at the local elementary school and walked the lengthy boardwalk to the beach. Reese loved playing in the sand and splashing in the water. She spent about 20 minutes just running back and forth on the beach by herself and I don’t know how she didn’t collapse from exhaustion after this. Leaving the island presented a lot of traffic and very busy restaurants. We tried going to two places with hour long wait times and a few other restaurants either wouldn’t quote us a wait time or were upwards of 1.5 hours. Finally we find a restaurant that had a table available immediately and we rushed to get to The Mill Street Tavern, overlooking the Shem Creek with an outdoor table and ordered a slew of appetizers brought to our table: crispy brussel sprouts, fried green tomatoes with pimiento cheese, crispy oysters, bang bang shrimp, and pork wontons. All of the appetizers looked better than the entrees and we were not upset with our spread. We headed back to downtown and walked to get fresh baked cookies from Insomnia Cookies that were just what we needed to finish the night.

Sunday afternoon we set out towards the market to board our horse drawn carriage ride through town. When Reese had seen the horses with me on Friday, she at first didn’t want to ride them but when she learned that she wouldn’t ride it but ride in the carriage it was pulling, she wouldn’t let up on doing it. We had booked a 4 pm historic carriage ride. Reese was pretty excited as we got started. Unfortunately, they had us sitting in the back so she didn’t have the best view of the horse but she did well on the hour long ride. We got a fill of mostly the houses and architecture around town; somehow the tour completely leaves out all of the historical context to the city (I’m sure on purpose but this was highly disappointing and surprising to both Bryan and I). Our tour guide was obviously also highly pro-South and pro-Charleston and made some interesting comments throughout the hour long ride to a carriage full of people from the North. After the tour was the start of the Michigan basketball game so we found an outside couch with a screen at a place called the Brick. We watched the first half there until Reese became too antsy so we walked over to the nearby quaint park again for a bit while I listened to the game on my phone. With the victory sealed we set out for our dinner reservation at the Spanish tapas restaurant called Barsa. We ordered a variety of tapas and Reese required us to order a second serving of the asparagus to our disbelief. It was a good meal and close to our hotel for the walk back.

Monday morning came much too quick and we all woke up much earlier than previous days. Our flight departed at 8:30 am and Bryan had to be to work (which is right next to the airport) at 7:30 am so he was able to just drop us off with all of our luggage on his way to work. Our flight back to Seattle went off without any issues and we got back to the airport in Seattle at 11 am local time. We had the light rail, to the bus, to our neighborhood where we picked up a slice of pizza from our local store and walked it and our luggage home. We were back home at 1 pm. Reese inhaled this massive slice of pizza and then we both were pretty useless the rest of the day; jet lagged and lazy. I needed the weekend away and it was great to visit Charleston. It’s been sunny in Seattle since our return which helps spirits too and Bryan will be home in three days!!

Back home and she finished this whole pizza.



Reese Lately (as of 2021)

I realize that we are already about a quarter of the way through the year and I have yet to really just dedicate a post to Reese and her development, personality, and what she’s been up to lately. And we have been spending so much time together that you would think I have a lot to report.

  • Reese was much improved in the bedtime department for awhile but as of this past week she’s demanded popcorn, goldfish and water to have in her bed. She’s also just tested my buttons right before getting in bed, exclusively for this first week that Bryan was gone, and I’ve had to lay with her for quite some time before she falls asleep. Before Bryan left, Bryan was always called into to give Reese a full body massage with lotion before she went to sleep at night.
  • Reese’s routine chart has helped quite a bit in both morning and nighttime routines. Of course, it’s parent-dependent and Bryan is better at going through the chart with her.
  • With the time change, Reese is now difficult to get to sleep prior to 9 pm but at least she is not waking up until about 7 am in the morning. I’ll take that.
  • Reese’s latest favorite foods would be: corn, peanut butter toast, chocolate, cookies, pizza, dumplings, cucumbers, purple bars (aka Clif Kids chocolate chip bars that so happen to have one strip of purple on them), pepperoni, rice, goldfish, fruit, and now ice cream.
  • We still walk to school on every non-rainy day. Reese has now told me on several occasions that she does not like the car. This also means we hit the playground on the way home from school almost every day.
  • Reese can pick out several letters from the alphabet. She definitely knows “L”, “R”, “D”, “B”, “M” as well as others. I’m quite impressed actually because I don’t know entirely where she learned it from.
  • She has pooped in the toilet a total of two times. She has yet to pee in the potty that I know. I still don’t think she is ready to be potty trained but she does want to wear purple undies.
  • Flowers are starting to blossom which means she wants to stop and smell each and everyone of them. Our walks to school have sharply increased in duration whereas before she would just sit and ride, now she has to get out and smell certain flowers, or just walk by herself for stretches of the way.
  • Reese has really enjoyed her soccer practices. She loves running around and kicking the ball. She sometimes mostly doesn’t want to listen to direction from coach, or really she just wants to do her own thing. She particularly likes jumping on the blown up bouncy field dividers, playing goal tender unknowingly, and chasing after the bubbles or hula hoops.
  • She only wants to wear clothes with flowers on them. She doesn’t want to wear jeans. She doesn’t want to wear footed pajamas. She is particular but at least lately she has stayed downstairs while I go get an outfit for her and she is less picky about it then.
  • Reese has become a sort of teacher’s pet at school. She follows directions, doesn’t cry or complain much, and always is happy and smiling.
  • Reese and Lottie have also gotten closer at school these days, according to the teachers. It’s most likely because they have had a lot of turnover of the older kids; either with them moving up to preschool or moving to another school, so they are also some of the oldest in their class now and will be for a few more months when they move up to preschool themselves.
  • Reese is still hooked on Shaun the Sheep. She’s also discovered new favorite movies such as Nemo, Moana, and Frozen. We watched Moana twice yesterday which I am not complaining because I was exhausted after Polly’s baby shower and Reese wasn’t going to take a nap.
  • Reese’s absolute favorite color is purple, hands down.
  • Reese is still pretty terrified of animals. This was clear when we visited the Olympic Game Farm in the Olympic Peninsula.
  • Reese is getting really good at ladders and climbing walls at the playground. It’s quite impressive actually.
  • Apparently Reese is also getting close to a girl named Lily at school who is in her morning group at school.
  • Reese has a real desire to eat in restaurants right now. She sees a place and asks to go inside.
  • Reese is big time into dress up right now with costumes. All the costumes.
  • She is giving her dad a difficult time when he is away for work. She’s been a little stinker with him on FaceTime but then absolutely adores him when he is back at home.



Weekend of Sunshine

This past weekend was needed for me for sure and was a great weekend of good food, laughs, rest, sunshine and beauty. We spent three lovely nights in Sequim, Washington. While Seattle and the surrounding area had a very wet weekend, we were blessed with lots of sunshine in the rain shadow of the Olympic Peninsula and in particular the small town of Sequim. You could see rain on the horizon at almost all times of the weekend but directly overhead was nearly almost always sun and few clouds. Thank goodness!

Our family left on Thursday around 4 PM. We picked up Reese, made our way to the ferry dock, got on the 4:45 PM ferry as planned, drove to Tizley’s for their massive family platter, Reese was great at dinner, promised her something from the bakery, bakery was closed, walked down to Mora Iced Creamery and shared their brownie sundae with the seasonal dark chocolate cherry ice cream while sitting on a covered park bench, hopped back in the car for the hour plus drive from Poulsbo to Sequim and pulled into our rental house in Dungeness (like the famed crab) around 8 pm. Reese had a cat nap in the car and once we had unpacked and we started the wood burning stove Reese made her way around her new surroundings scouting everything out. She didn’t end up going down until after 9 PM and we enjoyed the crackle of the fire for a little while before going to bed ourselves.

Reese on the ferry leaving town.

Friday we had much of the day to ourselves while we waited for Sarah and Lottie to join us. Bryan had to work most of the morning and until about 2 PM so I tried my best to entertain Reese while she was trying to entertain Bryan. We had breakfast, watched the sunrise from our living room, found all of the hidden toys in the house, and then I decided it would be best to take Reese into town to play at the playground and get the rest of the groceries for the weekend while Bryan had his important meeting. The park in town was great and Reese had a great time before coming home to take a good nap. We packed up the car to head out to the National Wildlife Refuge where we thought we would be able to run even all the way out to the lighthouse (5.5 miles each way) if we really wanted to. We didn’t want to run that far but little did we know that after 0.5 miles and a steep downhill would we enter the rocky beach with an unpaved path along the spit all of the way out to the lighthouse. Had we had the hiking pack we would have walked some distance of it but without it we decided to stop and throw rocks in the waves. It was beautiful there and Reese did enjoy “chasing” the waves.

We headed back for the house, I got a quick 3.5 mile run in and then Bryan did just as Lottie and Sarah were pulling up. We made our first attempt at paella in my new pan and surprisingly had great success with it. We know a few tweaks we want to make to perfect it but overall we were quite pleased and somehow managed to finish all of the seafood in the pan. Reese showed Lottie the beach, even each getting their boots on themselves and telling us they were going to the beach, alone, which of course we didn’t let them do. They are starting to act so old already. We had hopes of settling into a movie for the adults but Lottie was darn adament about staying up as late as she could. Reese wanted Lottie to go to bed with her on the spare mattress in the house but Lottie was not keen on Reese’s bedtime so they slept separately. After watching a lot of movies for Lottie we called it a night and headed to bed ourselves.

Reese is always the first up so we were up before everyone else each morning. Bryan made us bacon and waffles with the waffle makers supplied with the house. We then piled into the car to head to the Olympic Game Park just a short drive from our house. For about an hour we drove through the Park, feeding bread to the wildlife who were eager for it and would stick their heads through the car. Reese was not interested in feeding the animals in the least and literally tried to hide in the backseat. Needless to say, the backseat windows remained up the majority of the time while Lottie fed the animals unfazed from the front seat with her mom. Reese seemed to chill out a bit as we drove on, even surprising me by not being as scared of the massive bison towards the end of the drive. It was pretty cool and something I have never done. I have never been as close as we were to so many large animals. We still have tongue prints on the car from all of them.

After our trip to feed the animals, we showed Lottie and Sarah the beach at the Refuge before heading back to feed the girls lunch and put them down for a nap. Lottie, still resisting sleep, fought and fought the nap situation until instantly falling asleep on Bryan’s arm on the couch. Reese took a wonderful nap and the girls were ready to play at the house the rest of the night. We all walked the length of the beach (about a mile or so roundtrip) shortly after low tide and then settled inside for dinner of grilled steak fajitas and later showed the girls how to make s’mores using the wood burning stove. We managed to have some adult time on our last night and it was a nice change from the night prior.

Sunday was our departure day but we had no specified check out time. We took our time in the morning with a breakfast of eggs and toast. I went for a 4 mile run and then we drove into town to take the girls to the playground and Bryan went for a run from the park. Back at home the girls ate and then took their nap while we cleaned and packed up the house. Once up from their naps, we got the cars ready to head out. We had plans to stop in Sequim at the Salty Girls Seafood for a lunch/dinner al fresco of all of the fresh seafood. Our table got oysters, clam steamers, clam chowder, rockfish tacos, and a crab melt, plus housemade kettle chips for the girls. All of the food was fresh and delicious. We got three chocolate packed cookies before hitting the road back to the ferry on Bainbridge. We just missed the 4:40 PM ferry so we had some time to kill before the 5:35 PM ferry departed. We saw a rainbow and a nice rainstorm in downtown while we made our way back to the other side.

We got home a little after 6 PM and fortunately Reese seemed excited to be back at home. She was a dream toddler the whole trip and really has been for some time now. I had such a good time spending quality time with my family and Sarah and Lottie. Now that I’m back at work I’m already dreaming about the next adventure we can go on.



Get Out of Town

…Is exactly what I need right now! I’ve been in Seattle for too long and I’m itching to get away for some time. Thankfully, we are heading out to Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula this afternoon. Game plan is to leave around 4 PM, pick up Reese, catch the 4:45 PM ferry to Bainbridge, dine on the upper outdoor balcony at Tizley’s (haven’t been in 2+ years) in Poulsbo for some Bavarian fare, and should arrive at my coworker’s beach house in Sequim around 8 PM. Wish us luck with our plan! I’m packed and ready to go thanks to getting the notice yesterday late morning that my company came in second (again!) for our design proposal for the Toronto metro project we were working on. I went from very busy to not too much. There’s still work to be had for sure but my work commitments and work stress just went out the window. So I’m ready for a weekend away.

This is Reese packing for the cooler for the weekend.

Bryan, on the other hand, only has work ramping up as the days go on. He went down to Auburn yesterday for work and didn’t get home until 7 PM (after leaving before Reese and I were even awake). Meanwhile, after school, Reese and I walked in the glorious sunshine to her dental appointment down the street, treated her to a birthday cake cookie from Lowrider (our cookie counter) because she did so amazing at the dentist, then walked to a park we haven’t been to in ages, then walked back home to make a frozen pizza and salad. Fortunately, Bryan walked in right as we were sitting down to dinner.

It hasn’t been all stress for Bryan since getting home. We had a really wonderful weekend together in Seattle this past weekend and good weather to boot. After returning home, Mr. East Coast Bryan woke up early Saturday morning, allowing me to sleep in while he and Reese made our Saturday morning breakfast AND then he took Reese to soccer so I also had some time to myself! I wanted to get my Personal Fitness Test in for the end of my Fitness Blender program and jogged up to the high school to run on the track. Reese loved soccer this week with Daddy and was in a great and joyful mood all weekend long. We hung out at home, in the backyard for a bit as well as playing games inside, made a salmon dinner and really just enjoyed being the three of us.

Reese’s mood at soccer.

Sunday morning was more chill and Reese even snoozed on me for an early nap on the couch. We packed up the “little car” as Reese now calls the BOB stroller and set out for a nice long walk outside. We picked up cookies from Lowrider on the way, knowing we were going to be walking for awhile and to treat Reese. She ate her whole massive cookie pretty quickly. We walked three miles to Mt. Baker Park and Reese thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful playground for a long time. We finally convinced her to get back in the stroller after she had done literally everything there was to do at the park and a circuit on the ladder, bridge and slide more than a dozen times. We walked back home and enjoyed another night of relaxing before the work week hit.

This week has gone fast and maybe that is thanks to me thinking today is Friday. I will not be working tomorrow but I know that Bryan will have to for a bit at least. Sarah and Lottie are still planning on joining us but most likely not until Friday as Sarah has been quite sick the past several days and is just now feeling better. I do hope they join us tomorrow and that might work well having one night to ourselves in the rental. Regardless, we are leaving and I can’t wait.

Also, can’t believe it’s already March…and that I have now been working from home just shy of one whole year.



Us Girls Again

Having Bryan home for a full two weeks was such a treat and made it super sad to say goodbye to him again this past Sunday. Reese and dadda have really bonded and have been having a lot of fun together and I think that she was sad and dismissive when we dropped him off at the airport. She totally understands what it means when we tell her that daddy is having to leave again and go on the plane. Wait until she is the one flying in a few weeks though. I’m sure she will be excited for the first hour and then will demand getting off the plane once she has deemed the fun has worn off.

But our two weeks with Bryan were full of work, play, snow and rest. After the eventful Valentine’s week and snowy weekend the rest of the time was not too eventful and Bryan had work on his mind often. We enjoyed some good dinners at home as a family, really pushing the eating at the table as the norm for Reese’s routine. We are also making progress with Reese’s morning and nighttime routines thanks to her routine chart that we got. We went to our first official soccer class on Saturday and Reese enjoyed it although she’s torn between following the coach’s directions and doing her own thing. She gradually got better at following the direction of the coach as the hour progressed and still did a lot of running and kicking the ball around. She also got her first little jersey which is so freaking cute.

Reese and her routine chart

After dropping Bryan off at the airport on Sunday Reese and I ventured to Queen Anne to play. We spent a good long while at the East Queen Anne playground swinging, sliding and playing in the sand. There were a lot of kids there and Reese was having too good of a time to leave. Unfortunately, she didn’t want to nap when we got home so we did a little painting and then we walked up the hill to retrieve Lottie as Sarah was suffering from a horrible migraine. Lottie spent the rest of the day with us and we played in the backyard for some time before heading in to make a homemade pizza and watch Finding Dory for what has become my form of Girls Night for the past year. We took a quick bath and donned PJs and then Lottie headed home for the night.

The rest of the week was excruciatingly busy and stressful for me with work. The work day everyday was so hectic but I still managed a few workouts and Reese and I ventured to the playground twice more. I picked up some pick-me-up pastries one morning along with a Starbucks latte and another night we picked up a cheesesteak sandwich to share. Lottie and Sarah came over for Indian takeout on Thursday which was a nice “social” event and the lone one of the week.

Bryan came back today and this time I wasn’t able to pick him up because of work but he was back home via Uber by 1 pm. Reese was thrilled to see her daddy back and was in such a good sweet mood the rest of the night. I’m looking forward to two weeks with Bryan again and really looking forward to getting away for a weekend next week.



Red and Pink and a Lot of White

What a weekend we had here. We had Valentine’s Day. We had President’s Day. We had a dinner date out of the house. And we had about a foot of snow that greeted us Saturday morning. The snow is quickly going now and that’s okay now that we are back to business but what a treat it was to have for the short time it was here.

So first, let’s get to that once in a blue moon dinner date that Bryan and I had on Thursday. We booked the night well in advance, knowing that Harvest Vine has all of two tables for two outside their restaurant and are still one not wanting to open for indoor dining. This was technically our Valentine’s Day dinner and it was, like usual, amazing. We were the only dine-in customers there that night and so the main server paid his full attention to us, providing us some good conversation and treating us to an extra glass of Spanish red wine and flan on the house. Their menu is limited in menu but still nothing short of amazing. We had their sheep’s milk cheese with candied sweet potato, grilled cauliflower with salsa verde, shrimp with an almond romesco sauce and their iberico pork over pan sauteed potatoes, all of which we sopped up with what seemed like two full baguettes. It was lovely and warm under the canopy and with the space heaters and our blankets that we brought from home. I never once got cold and it was nice walking back home before picking up Reese (who didn’t want to come home with us) from her playdate with Lottie.

Friday we had a dusting of snow which was a glimpse of what was ahead for us. I picked Reese up from school while Bryan got his Valentine’s Day massage after a long week of work. Reese played at the playground briefly in her snow gear and then we headed home for a low key dinner. Saturday morning brought all of the snow and Reese woke up and said “whoa” as soon as she saw it from the upstairs window. We had our usual pancakes (heart shaped) while the snow kept coming down and then headed outside to shovel, sled and ski down our hill. So many kids and families out, many who borrowed our sled throughout the day. We spent a few hours outside playing before Reese was ready to head in for some pizza for lunch and take her nap. She wanted to go back out in the afternoon for more sledding and then we walked around the block and to the store for a few essentials and rode the sled with the groceries down the hill back to our house! We made an at-home special dinner of seared scallops and filet mignon and watched The Goonies before heading to bed.

It was still snowing through much of Sunday morning and afternoon but Reese was wanting to hang inside for the day. We didn’t really venture out until about 4 pm when we put Reese in the hiking pack and walked up to Sarah’s and Lottie’s. We played in the snow with the girls for a while and then headed in while Bryan walked to go get the Lunar New Year dinner that we had ordered a week ago from Plenty of Clouds. What a delicious dinner. Intended to serve two we shared it with three adults plus two kids (made them extra rice and frozen dumplings to round out the meal of which they ate so many). We had some amazing shrimp spring rolls, sizchuan pork dumplings, longevity noodles with broth, one giant meatball in an amazing broth, soy braised short rib with mustard greens, wild mushrooms sticky rice, sauteed pea shoots, and a kind of sesame fudge thing for dessert. All of it was amazing and the girls were so well behaved all night. The three of us walked back home for bed.

12 short hours later I was walking Reese back up to Sarah’s in the pack. With the holiday, the girls’ school was closed but we both had to work so Sarah volunteered to watch the girls since she has the day off. I was relieved that she was willing to watch them again for even a half day but Sarah was a rockstar and got them both to nap in the same room, letting me have about another two hours to work. Reese apparently demanded Lottie’s bed, which is no surprise to me at all. I walked back up the hill to get Reese around 2 pm and we were back home by about 3 pm.

Reese’s school is back open and she seems excited to be back with her friends. I have a busy next few weeks ahead of me with two main projects; one for BNSF in Wyoming and another for the Eglinton light rail in Toronto. Knowing we have a short vacation at the end of this little rush is the light at the end of the tunnel that I need! Bryan will be heading out to South Carolina again this Sunday but is only going for a week this time so that’s totally manageable.

Back to the grind.



Daddy’s Back

Both Reese and I were thrilled to have Bryan back with us for the weekend. I picked Bryan up at 2:30 pm on Friday and after we got caught up we walked to get Reese together but Bryan was the one to get Reese from her school and she gave him a big bear hug…then continued to give him a good squeeze for a long portion of the walk home. We stopped at the playground and stopped for a cookie and then made it back home for enchiladas and us all to pass out with relief of being back together.

Talking to Daddy on the playground

We had a pretty low key weekend and it was glorious. Lottie came over for a few hours Saturday morning after we had finished pancakes and the girls enjoyed one another’s company. We spent the afternoon playing with toys and watching movies. After a lazy day we were ready for some exercise!

Sunday morning we took Reese to a trial class of soccer with the Lil Kickers program at Arena Sports. I wasn’t sure what she would be like; would she be timid or leery of participating with all new kids and a new coach in a new environment or would she just jump right in? Jump right in she did. We got there about 15 minutes ahead of her class start time and that meant we spent about 15 minutes restraining her from running onto the field. Once it was her turn we had several minutes to kick the soccer ball around together before her class of three other girls showed up and they began games and exercises that challenged Reese to listen and follow the rules but also got her running and active. She loved the class and when asked if she wanted to go back she nodded yes so we decided to go ahead and sign her up starting next weekend but at another location. It will be good for her on many levels and its fun for us as parents to get to be on the field and participate with her.

Sunday afternoon was Super Bowl primarily. Bryan went for a run ahead of game time and then came back and we had a snack platter to kick off the game. It’s always interesting watching a lengthy game with Reese but I did my best to actually pay attention. She did watch the end of the game with a lot of commentary and watched the whole halftime show. We picked up sandwiches and fries just after half time and were hoping the game would reduce the score margin but no such luck.

We’ve started the week with some sunshine and its glorious despite being cool. I went for a long run on Monday and it felt good to break up my strength and HIIT schedule which I am now behind on. Bryan has been busy and stressed with this project for the 787 and I feel for him on many levels. He’s had to work late putting together a presentation and he’s up early to attend meetings with those on the East Coast. I’m working on morning and evening routines for Reese and just ordered some customized dry erase charts which I’m hoping will help ease the current struggle which is getting ready to leave the house and getting ready to go to bed.

My mind is entirely on our pre-Valentine’s dinner night out al-fresco dining at Harvest Vine on Thursday without Reese. Literally can’t wait as I think the last time we’ve had this was for our anniversary and the only other time we have been out on a date since the beginning of Covid. Can’t wait!



Woman of the House

What a two weeks! Don’t be surprised I didn’t blog in the past two weeks, there wasn’t a whole lot of free time around here. That doesn’t mean that I was stressed or worn out per say, but I just didn’t have a lot of extra time between Reese, work, making/eating food, working out and Facetiming Bryan. I’m sure there was sleep in there too I just can’t remember. But we made it; Reese and I persisted through 12 nights without The Man (no longer The Boy). And, in truth, this time around it was easier. It was longer and that part made it more challenging, certainly the weekend was less fun without him home. But neither Reese nor I were scared of the dark on this go around, to me that was the most stark contrast to the last time.

Reese didn’t like the flash

We have a pretty solid routine, can’t say it is the best routine, but it’s about as good as I can do right now without what I deem minimum amount of sleep, a coparent, and the fact that it is the winter.

Our Routine:

Reese wakes up consistently between 5:45 and 6 AM. We go downstairs and she gets a handful of chocolate chips on a paper towel and we she watches Shawn the Sheep (I try to catch a few more ZZZ’s on the couch which is why I’m not going to throw myself in the hat for Mom of the Year award).

Sometime around 7 AM I start to encourage the getting-ready-for-school process. There is a lot involved here. First, it is making it upstairs. Second, Reese and I brush our teeth (+1 for my New Years resolutions). I also wash my face and sometimes put on makeup while the girl is still brushing her teeth. Next comes clothes. It’s a toss up who gets dressed first. This is the challenging part. She sometimes has preferences which clothes she puts on (and there will never be enough pink or floral-patterned clothes in her drawer to satisfy her tastes) and at all times her preference is to not get dressed…so it’s a battle. I finally get us both dressed and have somehow been able to do her hair the past few weeks on most days. Next up is socks, shoes, jacket, and then whatever else she gets her hands on because this is where she really procrastinates getting out the door.

Success…around 8-8:30 AM we have made it outside the front door. It’s a good day if we can walk to school and Reese generally happily gets into her stroller with a small snack as we then walk the 20-30 minutes to school. If it’s raining out though we take the car and Reese nor I are as thrilled about it. Drop off is anywhere between 8:20 (on a really good day) and 9 (where I am beyond stressed). She’s happy to be at school once we are there, which is usually just in time for breakfast. She gives me a hug and kiss goodbye and I give her a wave at the door.

Between 8:45 and 9:15 AM I am back home to get my own breakfast and coffee and start on work. Ho hum, the day goes on. I try to get a quick workout in when I can during the day, usually late afternoon, and then my goal is to be back at school to pick her up around 4:30 PM and usually no later than 5.

After school we try to hit a playground if we can. There are a few that are either on the way home or nearby school that we frequent. Sometimes Lottie comes with, sometimes we walk there and sometimes we drive. Our duration is usually around 30 minutes or more before I can convince Reese to head home. Sometimes we stop at Lowrider (our cookie counter with exceptional cookies) for a cookie and sometimes we might stop by PCC for a handful of groceries and a free apple for Reese.

Dinner around 6 – 6:30 PM. Lately Reese is only convinced to eat corn on the cob, french fries, fruit, dumplings, pizza and sometimes salad or at least cucumbers. She always tries the broccoli if it’s on her plate but it’s usually one bite (but I’m happy she still tries it every single time). We do some playing, watch more Sheep, and cuddle on the couch. We’d also Facetime Bryan at this point which ended up being more me talking to Bryan and less Reese this go around.

It’s been around 8 PM that we head up to get ready for bed. Because it’s a bit on the later side and Reese hasn’t been keen on baths lately, it’s a very quick bedtime. She prefers to wear the shirt she wore all day (which is usually a new shirt that they put her in at school) and no pants. I cannot convince her to wear PJs only sometimes a new shirt if the shirt she is wearing is not long sleeved (she likes long sleeves to bed apparently). I then lay down with her and it’s usually about 20-30 minutes before she’s fast asleep.

I’m done around 8:30 – 9 to get myself ready to bed, clean up the kitchen and living room and then I’ve been watching about 1 hour of TV before heading up to bed myself to read in bed a bit before falling asleep. A few nights I might need to catch up on work during my “downtime” (this wouldn’t probably be a necessity if I hadn’t worked out but I’m not about to work out at 9 PM, my mom might be able to do that but not homegirl).

It’s an exciting life, I know! There were a few variations in our daily activities. We did get together with Sarah and Lottie three times for dinner at one or the other of our houses. We had our neighbors over outdoors (in the drizzle too) to talk daycare/preschool options. We also went on a walk to get cookies with our neighbors on Sunday morning. We ventured south and explored Petco and stopped into Carter’s to buy Reese a backpack and new florally pants. We went for a walk at Gas Works Park with Polly, Carina and Eliana. And we picked up food on a few occasions.

Of course weekends are different; not bedtime or wake up time but there is a lot more play in there, of course nap time, more meals and snacks, books, puzzles, etc. Reese was a bit of a stinker over the weekend; part homebody and part teenager it seemed. She didn’t want to do much, especially not listen to her mama, and we had a few meltdowns early in the week this week. It’s improved and I think she is back to liking me but I think her preference is about to be her daddy.

Yeah for Bryan’s return!



Here Today Gone Tomorrow

Bryan was here for what seemed like a short but special week. We missed him, we really did. Reese missed him, she really did. She was a different person while he was home. She was an angel for me while he was away but she was missing some of her zest, spunk, laughs and carefree nature. I missed having someone to talk to and watch movies with at night, eat dinner with, drink wine with, and help put Reese to bed. Bryan was happy to be home too and almost immediately collapsed on the couch Saturday night after a long day of traveling. He was pretty much fast asleep at 6 pm.

We enjoyed our full Sunday together; with banana pancakes, going for a run to the park, playing at the playground, walking back home, watching football while Reese napped, and catching up on our shows after Reese went to bed. Glorious!

The work week went by quickly. While Monday is a holiday for some (maybe most at this point) it is not for either Bryan or I. Thankfully, Sarah had the day off and was able to watch Reese in the morning for us. The girls played really well together and made banana muffins, played doctor/patient and went to the park together. The rest of the week was more of the usual but fortunately we have lucked out with some sunnier, milder weather lately.

We had Sarah and Lottie over for the inauguration, popping some champagne and having a dumpling feast in hopes of building a better future for these girls. The past years have added so much stress to our lives. I’d have a hard time believing that there are many people that would disagree, regardless of what party line you vote down. These have been difficult years; years filled with tension, separation, disagreement, backlash, anxiety, fears, hatred, and so many other things that I DO NOT want my daughter to grow up with. I’m really hopeful that the country can start unifying again and literally started tearing up when President Biden began his inauguration speech with such words. I don’t care if a person votes red (Trump isn’t red anyways) or blue so long as they have the country and it’s peoples best interests at heart and that I believe has been temporarily lost. Lost, but not gone forever, I do not believe it has.

We had all of Saturday together, except for an outdoor baby shower that I had to attend, before we had to say goodbye to Dadda one more time; this time for two weeks…eek. I was not looking forward to his last day at home but we tried to take advantage of having him here and his company. We went for a nice walk in the sunshine to Madison Park playground in the afternoon before walking back home to get burgers delivered to the homestead. Not looking forward to the two weeks without him!

Two weeks go quick!