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Americana

To relive some of my favorite memories as a child through my daughter is quite the experience. I’ve told Bryan before that the 4th of July is my favorite holiday. That probably sounds absolutely absurd to most but it’s not the holiday itself I enjoy the most, it’s everything wrapped up with it. I love summer and growing up I loved spending nights with my whole family at a place that is solely special to us. I loved the food, activity, relationships, laughs, jokes, games, fireworks, and tranquility that was my cottage during this summer holiday. The spirit and fun of the holiday is also something that I still enjoy to this day. I would pick my 4th of July burger, eaten on the cottage deck, overlooking our lake, with my family sitting at the picnic table, over a fancy Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve dinner any day. This is why it is my favorite holiday.

Resting up for some fun

We were lucky enough to spend a beautiful five nights at my family’s cottage and one night with just my parents back in East Lansing. We arrived on the 3rd and all travel went smoothly, all weather was perfection, and we all survived with merely a few scratches and mosquito bites and maybe a few extra LBs. Reese did fantastic again on both flights and pretty great for all car rides. We tried to split up the travel as best we could and that did help. In East Lansing, we enjoyed my now-favorite Middle Eastern take-out of Zeytoon’s, played in the grass, and stretched our legs before heading up to the cottage to be greeted by my grandparents. Like usual, my family was the first to arrive. My aunt and uncle from Indiana and my brother from Cincinatti were next, arriving on the 4th and my aunt and uncle from Lansing arrived on the 5th. Then we really had a full house! Plus three dogs. I love it when we have the whole fam damily together.

Activities at the cottage were nothing short of varied. Since my grandpa sold the speed boat a few years ago, my mom decided to rent a speed boat for three/four days. It was a very nice boat with a sound system that Chad enjoyed and enough power for my mom, Bryan and I to water ski behind. We did a lot of laps around the lake, just enjoying cruising around in it, and Reese loved it! Occasionally she would yell out or do her head-bopping dance to the tunes Chad was playing. One day the boys went to play frisbee golf and got soaked in a quick (and the only) downpour. One morning we actually woke up early to go play tennis. We went for a few short runs around the lake and a family walk around the lake. We played some cards, had some fires, and watched some movies and the US women’s soccer team win the World Cup. Reese tried to spend as much time as humanly possible in water. She would go from the small kiddie pool on the deck to the lake and back, multiple times a day. She generally didn’t take her swimsuit or swim diaper off and when she did that didn’t stop her from still swimming. One time when she was nudey butt in the kiddie pool she decided to send out some floaties, which was pretty hilarious.

And we ate well on this trip. Like I described earlier, we had grilled burgers on the deck with Grandma’s famous potato salad and bean salad. We had mom’s amazing boil with more shrimp than I’ve eaten in a long, long time. We made foil dinners in the campfire. We celebrated Reese’s 10-month birthday with Terry and Dad’s crisp and airy waffles. We enjoyed trying Jennette and Terry’s favorite cherry brats. We had loads of snacks to tide us over and Grandma’s vodka tonics or old fashioneds every day. Carrot cake, magic bars, and sugar cookies rounded out the eats and even one night out to Mr. Pibb’s for some amazing Michigan ice cream cones.

Reese LOVED the cottage! We really think she thought we moved there and wasn’t keen upon leaving. She was a happy kiddo the entire time but also having some bouts of separation anxiety when I would leave her side. Besides the pool and the lake, the boat, the fire pit and the dogs, she loved sitting in her camp chair that used to be mine (this surprised me that she liked sitting in it), she also loved walking around the grass, deck and up and down the stairs to the lake. This girl is still not stable on her own two feet but wants to be on them as much as possible. We all took turns holding her hands while she walked around exploring and going up and down any stairs she could find.

Reese and Bryan both got their Team Krupp shirts, Reese is #36 and Bryan is #35

When we returned for a day and night to East Lansing, she continued her exploration by foot. She enjoyed visiting a nearby park and swinging twice in one day and she got to meet my friend Nisa one more time when she stopped by for a visit. We spent most of the day relaxing outside because the weather was perfect and we enjoyed grilling steaks and veggies outside, after enjoying Nisa’s egg rolls as a very good pre-dinner snack.

More walking in EL

It was a wonderful trip and I can’t wait for the next time we make it back to the cottage. Reese will be that much more playful and that much more excited to go back I’m sure.

Chelsea

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Our Ten Month Old!

10 month birthday waffles

Double digits. Wow, that happened fast. Ten months is actually a landmark number for me for some reason. I remember going to the library story time when Reese was really little and there were many 10-month old babies there that were moving and funny and playful and I just remember eagerly waiting when Reese would be that interactive. Well, she is that interactive and then some. This month is more about her personality developing and less about her new physical skills, although there are still a few of those as well.

  • She has recently learned to shake her head…and does it often!
  • Sometimes she seems really interested in eating solids and eats a bunch, only to playfully spit it out minutes later and thinks that is funny. Although that helped her bond with the dogs at the cottage.
  • She loves drinking water out of her sippy cup, or a regular cup, or through a straw.
  • She has gotten very agile on the stairs.
  • She no longer sits during baths or diaper changes or putting on her clothes so that’s been fun.
  • She now gets upset if you remove a toy or take her away from something she is playing with. I guess you would call that a tantrum.
  • She loves going up and down slides at the playground. Loves it!
  • Sometimes if you just laugh at her she thinks she is being funny and laughs back. This can then go on forever.
  • I think she is a little uneasy around animals at the moment. She has been reprimanded by Oliver, the cat at Lottie’s house, a few times and has learned her lesson. I think the dogs at the cottage helped her relax a bit more around animals.
  • Toilets are of the latest interest.
  • She loves playing with balls. She has actually gotten pretty good at accurately throwing a ball to you.
  • Another favorite is turning the TV on or stopping the show you are watching. TV remotes are better than phones!
  • She enjoys to FaceTime and is finally understanding what is going on during FaceTime.
  • We are starting to have to say “no” on some items. A sweet “no” is more like a “yes” to her though.
  • She’s still sleeping pretty well in her own crib. Going down for the night can sometimes be a marathon session but is other times speedy. However, after vacation we may need to readjust her to her own crib again.
  • As of the past week or two she does not want to wear a hat.
  • She may have been the smallest baby ever to be in a bouncy house.
  • Lately, the stroller > a carrier (she head butts you in the carrier)
  • She’s tried fried gnocchi, olives, marinara, meatballs, Korean beef, smoothies, and waffles this past month. Her favorite foods are still cheerios, any version of potatoes, rice, and anything cold. And bread.
  • She’s a swimmer, that’s for sure…

Chelsea

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#PollyWantsaRyu

This past weekend I spent…with girls…without baby girl…in Portland…and I had a blast! I was away for two nights and basically away from Seattle for 48 hours and it was well worth celebrating my girl, Polly. We hit the road running more like a snails pace thanks to traffic on our way to Portland, and gabbed and danced our way through five hours on the road. We made it to the Embassy Suites in Tigard, just south of downtown Portland, where Polly’s two sisters were already waiting for us at the hotel-hosted happy hour for free drinks and snacks. We bellied up for a hot second before quickly getting ready for our dinner reservation downtown.

Looking like beauts, the four of us piled into our Uber and arrived at the Saucebox on time and were joined by three of Polly’s friends, all of whom I have met before and even Mikayla who used to live with us at the Lee house. We enjoyed our dinner of Asian-inspired small bites, inventive cocktails and a Hurricane bowl served in a huge shell that served 4-5 people. Post dinner, we said goodnight to two of the girls, and the remaining five walked a short distance to our evening drag show at the “Portland institution” Darcelle’s XV. We were the first in line, meaning we were sitting front row for the show. We each ordered one of their very strong drinks served in a fish net-lined tall glass to get the party started. The show was very entertaining, something I have never done before, and we particularly enjoyed the humor from the 88-year old Darcelle and the 80s music to dance to. We closed out the night next door dancing before getting a very expensive cab ride home to the hotel where I fell asleep at the early hour of 3:45 AM!!!!

Waking up was not as fun as the night before. I woke up at 9:30 AM, feeling a bit like a train wreck until I got a delicious and greasy omelet downstairs at the hotel, a huge pile of bacon, and enough water and coffee for…well, not enough water and coffee. We were all struggling on day 2 but managed to get dressed and ready for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, a full 30 minutes after I had finished eating breakfast. Polly and I split a salad and I had about six more cups of coffee and maybe three full bread baskets by myself. Still, not enough water. After lunch, we made our way to Willamette Valley, Oregon wine country, for the start of our four tastings at various wineries. The first stop was at Hansen’s Vineyards, which had a beautiful yard and gardens that we stayed and enjoyed for over two hours, and pretty horrible wines. Needless to say, we didn’t make it to all four wineries after the first lengthy spot. We did hit one more, one I can’t even remember the name of, but one that had better wines and another enjoyable setting to sit and talk to one another.

By this point it was already 5 in the afternoon so we headed back to the hotel so as not to miss the free happy hour. More free drinks and food before hitting the hot tub to sweat the remaining water out of me. I said goodnight to baby girl before taking a shower, putting on my PJs, and settling into a low key night with her sisters and sister-in-law playing Bachelorette games and ordering in Dominos. We finished the night watching Sex in the City the movie before getting to bed by midnight.

Sunday morning came and we essentially just packed up, got another great breakfast in the hotel, and said our goodbyes to one another. Polly and I headed back to Seattle for more catching up and singing along to tunes. We got back to Seattle around 1 PM and I was ready to be home, still definitely groggy, but very pleased with a successful girls trip. Polly’s crew and family are a lot of fun and I feel lucky to have been included for all of the festivities. I’m guessing her wedding is going to be just as fun!

Chelsea

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It Was a Hot One…

We had one toasty week. I partly loved it and I partly sweltered in it. I can’t handle it as well as I used to. But Reese doesn’t seem to mind too much, she still likes to go outside, sit in the grass, and splash around in the water. There’s AC at work, which is a nice reprieve from our house, and we had the window AC unit running at night to keep things as cool as we can.

Aside from the heat though, it had been a typical week, until Bryan left for a work trip. We enjoyed dinner outside a few days last week, we picked up no-heat-required poke bowls one day, and we had the usual FareStart night. We spent two weekends in a row catching up with the Tung family of four. It was the first time we got to meet their newest member of the family and Reese and Ainsley, despite being two plus years apart, played so well together and were so cute with one another. Reese was having a ball…hopefully Ainsley enjoyed it. The second time around was for Billy’s Father’s Day BBQ and we enjoyed their amazing backyard, the water table, ribs, and live orchestra music! We had such a good time.

But that second occasion came after Reese had a bout of fever. No other symptoms were noted other than her being very hot and lethargic. She is definitely over it now but still quite slow and not as spunky as usual. She mainly just wants to cuddle all day long. I spent Friday at home with her and we enjoyed snuggling on the couch and watching TV mostly. We did go on a nice long walk, which she has enjoyed during and since being sick. When Bryan got home we all walked to pick up Thai food to enjoy in the park. Her fever broke Saturday morning fortunately and she enjoyed a long walk/run with us while we made some fitness goals for ourselves moving forward.

And our glorious weekend with great weather for Bryan’s first Father’s Day ended with us celebrating together before taking Bryan to the airport to go to a management workshop in St. Louis. We enjoyed brunch outside at our first date place, Both Ways Cafe, which was delicious as usual. We said our goodbyes to Daddy and then Reese and I explore a new park, Seahurst Park in Burien for a few hours, picked up some mulch and a hanging basket and then headed home. We ended our night with a long walk to Miller Park to play and then picked up Menchies on our way home.

Flying solo during the week is interesting. It’s definitely something I can handle just fine but it’s so much better when the both of us are at home. Reese and I had an active Monday night. We went for another run through the Arboretum and had fun chasing one another around the house. We had a social night on Tuesday when we went over to interview Ryuhei for our upcoming Bachelorette Party games and then picked up dinner for me at U Village, which I ate one-handed while watching/helping Reese climb the stairs and go down the slide at their little playground there. It’s the perfect height for her and she just loves it! She didn’t want to leave. We had a more relaxing Wednesday night at home before being back out there for our night at FareStart on Thursday for a delicious dinner and all of our favorite friends volunteering.

I tried to get stuff done around the house after I put baby girl down for the night, since I don’t have my usual companion to hang out with, and I was able to get a fair amount done!

  • Weeded the front and back “yards”
  • Mulched in the front and back
  • Finished laundry and put away clothes
  • Finished cleaning out our bathroom cabinets
  • Packed for Portland
  • Returned some items
  • Made the video for Polly’s Bach

It was a busy week, with me wrapping up my days to finally sit down on the couch around 9:30 PM but I’m glad I tackled a lot of items that had been on my To-Do list. And now I am off to Portland to enjoy a girls weekend, which I think I deserve!

Reese featuring her new cap.

Chelsea

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Mommy Care

Now that I am a mom my priorities have obviously shifted. Some of this can be good for my health and some not so much. Bryan has definitely experienced similar impacts as a dad. Now that we kind of have a flow of things in place and nicer weather ahead of us, I’m trying to prioritize what’s best for me and my family.

My beauty regime has definitely been simplified, not that it has ever been that time consuming. Especially with sleep deprivation, I’m trying to do the best for my skin and subsequently my health in as short amount of time as I can. I’m definitely trying to take care of the condition of my face. I bought a Clarisonic Mia facial cleanser months ago and love how clean it gets my face. I’ve been much better about washing my face before bed most nights. I am strict about using toner after every face wash. I have been trying out different facial serums and oils to see which I like best and can’t ever make up my mind on them. Hopefully these bags under my eyes will go away at some point! Another big change I am making this summer is employing the use of sunless tanner. I don’t want to damage my skin further but I love the glow of sun-kissed summer skin. I found a product that I bought and love so far and is so easy to apply without error. It’s called Fake Bake and I’ve been putting it on once a week and LOVE it and don’t feel the need to lay out in the sun. Anddddd, to successfully use the tanner I need to exfoliate first and I bought this awesome and cheap exfoliating mitt like the ones they use in Turkish baths that really does refresh my skin!

Mani-pedis and my hair are things I will still put a little time and money into when I can. I recently got highlights and told the girl to let me see them! I wanted to lighten up my hair for summer and was not afraid of making a statement and really like the look so far. I was also able to get in a mani-pedi session on the fly when we employed our nanny just for a few hours on Memorial Day (she offered since we were still paying her for the day). It felt good to get a little pampering session in.

A wardrobe I like is important. Not all of my clothes are fitting as they had previously, and that is okay. I am really trying to do more weights instead of cardio so I’m sure my body composition will change with that as well as the fact that Reese is still nursing. But I want to like my clothes and feel good in them. My latest Stitch Fix box was A++ and I bought it all (sorry not sorry Bryan). I’m trying to find more shoes that are cute but hurt my feet less. I bought some fresh summer clothes mainly for home life and date nights (not work). Baby girl looks cute everyday and so should I.

Motivation is key for anyone in a physical exercise rut I think. First it was hard to find time to exercise, then I have been under the weather for a few weeks, and sometimes I just feel plain lazy. That’s okay, but I would love something to set as a goal and work towards. As much as I want to focus more on strength training, it’s so much easier to set a cardio goal and meet that. Plus, I would love to have a set goal with Bryan. He has been looking at half marathons/marathons to do and although I don’t really want to train for a full marathon I might be talked into training for a half marathon; meaning I no doubt would be willing to train for a half marathon, so long as speed is not a big deal. I think something like that plus my goal of five chin ups/pull ups in a day would be a good combo goal by years end…at least my 10 k goal. I’m letting Bryan lead the development of this goal though. One thing is for sure, if we don’t take care of our physical health Reese is going to run us ragged as she gets older and we both want to keep up with her!

Me/We time is ultimately important for sanity purposes and ultimately pushed aside for baby girl. However, me/we are trying to prioritize more time for me/us and we will take what we can get. We actually had a fun date night planned on Friday night! I’ve been stealing away to play soccer once a week. And even at this past week’s dinner at FareStart, I enjoyed eating a dinner with baby girl sleeping next to me, a rare occurrence these days but one I enjoyed eating a meal in “silence”. It was also a darn good meal. And we have another night out this coming Friday, getting to get dressed up just for a few hours.

I don’t know if it is the better sleep or some exercise or what but I’m definitely feeling more like my old self lately. Hoorah!

Chelsea

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Our Nine Month Old!

Nine months, nine months! It’s hard to believe that Reese has been nine months in and nine months out at this point. Her personality reminds me more and more of a toddler. She’s so advanced. But anyways, this month has been full of advancements.

  • She has gone in and out of very clingy phases (I’ve read the most clingy stages are from 9-11 months), this doubled down after her flu booster shot
  • She pulls herself to standing easily and has stood without holding onto things for a few seconds here and there
  • She is a speed demon crawler, especially if mommy or daddy is “chasing” her or she is getting into trouble
  • Her very favorite game is being chased
  • She taunts us by going up the first step of the flight of stairs at least 10x per day
  • Her favorite food is by far hummus but she is more or less wanting to eat anything these days; surprising us by sucking on a lemon for a good 15 minutes on two separate occasions, eating blue cheese and blue cheese dressing and she also really likes Cheerios which her parents finally bought her
  • She has become impossible to get a diaper change or clothing change in; her capabilities to roll have certainly advanced
  • She has learned to clap and loves applause
  • She loves watching her daddy dance even during the middle of a cry she will stop at the first sign of dancing
  • She still loves her bath times
  • She may or may not like hiking, yet to be determined
  • She loves dirt and getting ultra dirty
  • She still seems to be teething but no teeth to show for it
  • She loves the outdoors…she is gravitated to the windows and doors and if a door to the outside is left open for a split second she will be out that door
  • She’s been falling asleep in her crib with me holding her hand…and miraculously sleep training seems to have worked in one day; she slept from 8:30-5:30 the past two days in a row in her own crib
  • She surprisingly still doesn’t mind headbands or bows
  • She loves drinking water out of her sippy cup
  • Laundry and emptying the dishwasher is another favorite activity; removing items is something she really enjoys
  • She has a knack for the remote control to the TV, and the laptop; her knack is to get static noise on the TV and the blue screen of death on the laptop
  • In a social setting with other babies she doesn’t care where her parents are, she is a social girl
  • She’s been kissed by two different boys her age now, not sure about that…

Chelsea

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Ugh Week

Why are some of the shortest weeks the worst weeks? Honestly, the week flew by but I’m not sure that was a good thing. Or maybe it was because it wasn’t an easy week…

  • Reese and I woke up late on Tuesday morning getting a late start and rushing to get ready. I was at least relieved that I had laid out her clothes for the week and had already prepped all of her food and bottles for the day.
  • We’ve still been at Sarah’s place for the nanny share this week, which is good because our landlord has had roofers at the house that have been SO loud, but also adds more preparation and coordination to our days.
  • Three days in a row I walked Reese to Sarah’s apartment. On each day, half way up the hill I realized I didn’t have her Wubbanubba pacifier and had to retrace my steps. On the third day, after retrieving said Wubba from the house, I proceeded back up the hill before realizing I left her milk bottles on the counter and got to do the hill a third time!
  • Thursday morning I was planning on driving her in the Jeep to Sarah’s so that I could also have the Jeep when leaving FareStart but I couldn’t find the Jeep key for the life of me. Thirty minutes of searching for it and I still came up short. Since it was almost 9 AM by this point and I was already sweaty and Reese was a crank I used an Uber to get to Sarah’s. Somehow I still got to work by 9:30 AM. Side note: Bryan found the key as soon as he got home that evening.
  • Reese slept horribly Wednesday night, I think she may be teething, but she literally woke up every hour I think, maybe more frequently if my foggy memory serves me right. Then she woke up cranky, as did I, go figure. We started her sleep training last night. Pray for us and her! So far so good but it is still stressful for me.
  • Did I mention we have roofers at our house. They have been there four days in a row and bang and bang, and board up the windows and don’t finish until just before baby girl has to go to bed. At least they finish by then.
  • And Reese and I went to moms and babies happy hour with our PEPS group which was a whole lot of fun but Reese was apparently on speed or something. She was doing laps and circles around the place and wore herself out completely, both her and I were exhausted upon leaving.
  • I haven’t been able to get in an iota of exercise in other than walking baby girl so that doesn’t help with stress minimization. This weekend will hopefully allow for some.

But I’m being optimistic and thinking its just a fluky week. The very beginning of sleep training looks to be promising and even though it is so hard for me emotionally, I did sleep well during the periods that Reese was asleep. The weather has been spectacular so that’s all good news too. And I did get to volunteer again at FareStart and I think this was really the first time I volunteered where not being with Reese didn’t pull on my heart strings. There has been progress for sure.

And it’s the weekend almost and that makes everything better!

Chelsea