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Back to the Grind

I’m back to full time and everything that that entails. And not just me…it was Bryan’s first full week back to work last week in a long time as well. We had our new nanny start last week and we both love her so far! Reese does as well and is cheery and happy when she sees her in the morning (but still happy to see me when I get home from work too!). While we started a few things we also finished our PEPs group with our last meeting, with a presentation on financial planning with babies and then the last hour spent socializing over a potluck of food and figuring out how to keep the group going. And we said goodbye to another Seahawk’s season with their wild card loss to the Cowboys last Saturday night.

We added to our babysitting rotation with our neighbor Lauren, who watched Reese sleep on Sunday night when Bryan and I dined with nine friends from FareStart at the James Beard award-winning restaurant, Junebaby. Our group of foodies went with the family tasting menu and were stuffed to the gills by the end of the night of Southern delicacies.

Reese and I dined into FareStart for another night while Bryan worked the night away; this time we had company of our friend’s Sarah and her daughter Lottie.

And I am trying to get back into the groove of working out now that I do have more energy and some time away from baby girl. My company is running in the 8k Viaduct Run at the beginning of February so some coworkers have started to run a time or two each week and I have joined on a few short and slow runs. I am also trying to get back into my Fitnessblender routine, leaving me sore several days in a row.

As should be expected, we have had a few bumps in the road including our great nanny coming under the weather for a few days and Reese getting her four month shots but overall things have been really great.

I don’t want shots or this other nanny, Mom.

Reese loves attention and has been getting lots of it everywhere we go. At restaurants, church, and especially at this past weekend’s baby shower for Carina. She got lots of it! Both of us had a good time at the shower, although I would say I came home more exhausted than she did as I was co-hosting this one with Polly.

But it was a wonderful weekend and Saturday was a wonderful day spent just the three of us and we went on a very long walk along the lake and Seward Park in the sunshine. We have started this year feeling very blessed and all those feel good feelings definitely make the work days go by faster!

Chelsea

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19 for 2019

My new list of self-improvement and wishes are hot off the press and this is what I’m looking to achieve to make 2019 a great year (note: this is just for me, none of these items are associated with Reese really).

  1. Run a 10k in an 8:30 pace.
  2. Break 140 watts in my 45-minute cycle class.
  3. Read 10 books.
  4. Learn to play a song on the guitar.
  5. Make 6 girls events happen.
  6. Be able to do 5 pull ups/chin ups (if not at once, at least in the same day).
  7. Visit or spend time with Chad.
  8. Do 10 hikes.
  9. Go on a vacation just the three of us (at least a total of 5 nights throughout the year).
  10. Visit 5 new restaurants to try.
  11. Baby proof and de-clutter the house.
  12. Go to a concert.
  13. Re-learn our lindy hop dance.
  14. Get in one self-care day/night per month.
  15. Get in one date day/night per month.
  16. Limit social media and cell phone usage to 30 minutes every night after 5 pm.
  17. Become more involved with our church beyond attendance
  18. Get Reese a passport
  19. Eat dinner at the table at least once a week.

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Ringing in 2019

I can’t say we partied the night away this New Year’s Eve…because we didn’t, but we did ring in the new year hopeful and excited for what the new year might bring. Pretty much every day, but New Year’s Eve, since getting home from Arizona has been enjoyable and we have gotten out with Reese quite a few times.

We’ve needed our fair share of naps too.

Bryan and Reese met me for a dumpling lunch in the International District on Thursday, we dined at Fat’s Chicken and Waffles Friday night (and the owner gave us dinner on the house as she had promised when we were there and I was in labor), we made 4-month birthday pancakes on Saturday morning (that didn’t save the Wolverines in their bowl game) and then got dinner at Eastlake Bar and Grill that night, and then walked to Harvest Vine for dinner Sunday night for another amazing meal and wine at our favorite restaurant.

Monday night was a challenge to stay awake and we rang in the New Year with a dinner at home and a bottle of bubbly that we toasted to at the Eastern time zone “midnight” and then were later woken in the night to fireworks and celebration from our partying neighbors. Definitely felt a bit lame but woke up feeling refreshed and full of energy.

We spent New Year’s Day in a great way. After beginning the year with a workout at home we got dressed and went over to our friend Anita’s for brunch and then we all set out for a long walk in the surprisingly nice weather. Tuesday night we had fellow Longhorn’s alums, Anne and Phillip (and Rosalie) to watch the Texas vs. Georgia bowl game that blew my mind with Texas’ victory. It was a very social day but one that I felt quite productive with and even managed to sort through Reese’s clothes to update it to all her 6-month clothes and cleaned up around the house.

As we start the New Year we are also starting a new nanny for Reese and a new modified “full time” position for me at work. I’m also contemplating my goals and wishes for the new year and will be drafting those in the next week or so but Bryan and I had a great conversation while dining at Harvest Vine remembering and analyzing the past several months and looking to the future for what is to come and how to be the best parents, spouses, friends, sons, daughters, volunteers, and employees that we can be..without wearing ourselves out. I’m very much looking forward to the new year and think we are all starting out on a good foot!

Chelsea

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18 for 2018 – Conclusion

What a year 2018 was! It was an atypical year but it seems like most years these days are. We welcomed Reese into our lives and have already visited multiple corners of the country with her. We took two trips just the two of us as well to celebrate the last remaining days as a couple without a little one and we have both transitioned in a way into new roles at work, with me back as a working mom and leading a new project and Bryan taking a big step into a new position in management in a new factory location. I’d say this was a great year! With everything that has gone on, this is where I stand on my goals at year’s end:

  1. De-clutter the house and organize the garage.
    • We’ve done good in many areas…but this is an ongoing project, especially now that we are getting baby clothes and toys left and right. Next up is baby-proofing the house.
  2. Cook 20 meals at home every month.
    • Our average for October-December was 27 meals/month.  Pretty good!
  3. Revamp my wardrobe, making it easier to pick out outfits by getting rid of what I don’t like and storing away seasonal stuff. Focus on buying quality pieces in the store versus cheap items online.
    • Another ongoing project but I got rid of a lot of clothes recently. Now I need to go through jewelry and shoes.
  4. Visit my grandaddy.
    • Went in November and was so happy to see him!
  5. Buy a family car.
    • Bought a car…and we love it!
  6. Prepare with organization and structure for the SE exam. Prioritize this for the first three and a half months of the year.
    • Debating taking the exam this spring or next.
  7. Have fun learning guitar.
    • Might try to do this in the beginning of next year.  I will not forget about it!
  8. Make at least six girls nights happen.
    • We have had five girls nights and have one already planned for January…and they keep getting better and better.
  9. Maintain a healthy skin routine.
    • Have been doing an okay job with this.  Still keeping regimented with face wash, toner, serum and lotion.  I think my skin has been looking pretty good.
  10. Re-learn our lindy hop choreographed dance from the wedding.
    • Need to work on this one.
  11. Pack five picnics somewhere.
    • We only did two this year but that’s okay.
  12. Work through my devotional book and pray nightly with Bryan.
    • Definitely slipped on this.  It is something that I would like to get back into though.
  13. Read ten books for fun or learning.
    • I read five books this year. New goal for next year is ten.
  14. Swap reading/music/puzzles for TV one night a week.
    • This last quarter hasn’t been that easy because of being tired at night and/or traveling. Something to continue to strive toward for next year.  
  15. Cross stitch something.
    • Oh my goodness I just need a bit more thread and they are done. 
  16. Make at least two recipes from three different cookbooks.
    • I’ve experimented with recipes but still need to delve into the cookbooks.
  17. Travel to visit a friend.
    • We visited Grandaddy in November and family for Christmas. Next year there are a slew of trips for friends thanks to countless weddings we have to attend…and all of which I am in.
  18. Dine at five new-to-me restaurants.
    • We’ve done pretty good this year on trying a few new-to-us places.

I’m quite pleased with the outcome of the year.  Did I accomplish everything on my list? No. But I came pretty close despite the life-changing events that occurred this year.  I have no regrets for what we did or didn’t do this past year. It was a wonderful year but I think 2019 is going to be even better.

Chelsea

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Desert Christmas

For Reese’s first Christmas, we were celebrating with family in the hot and dry Phoenix desert. It wasn’t a winter wonderland in the slightest but a very good time seeing family and enjoying the sun and warm weather. We had six nights and days at our disposal and did a pretty good job enjoying our time.

We flew out of Seattle midday on Thursday, which was a nice reprieve from the early morning flights we have been having. Reese and I met Bryan at the airport via the bus and light rail and that was a breeze. Our flight was smooth sailing and Reese was again a great traveler on board. We got to Phoenix, ditched the jackets, and headed home for dinner of beef and vegetable stew, catching up and then trying to get some much needed rest.

Reese ready for Arizona!

Every night, except for the first, we gave Reese a bath in the kitchen sink and kept to our routine with her. She slept, more or less, like her usual self after the first night that we were there but was waking about an hour earlier than she does at home, we think due to the Phoenix sunshine. Friday we dined at Si Senor for some New Mexican cuisine and then showed off Reese to some of Lon and Trish’s friends at the nearby shopping complex. That night we visited the Phoenix Zoo for zoo lights and Reese was quite amazed and excited by all of the awesome lights.

Saturday, Bryan and I got out for a hike with Reese on South Mountain. Bryan and I had hiked at South Mountain once before but we started at a different spot and took a different trail this time. Reese was enjoying the Ergo, facing out and without the infant insert, for our nearly six-mile and 1,200 ft gain of hiking. She did pretty great, except for when the sun was in her eyes, and Bryan and I got in a good workout carrying her and an even heavier diaper bag with water and snacks.

On Sunday we spent the morning at church, again showing off cute little Reese before heading back home for a low key afternoon of lunch from Firehouse Subs and then Bryan and I walked around the green belt. We had clam chowder for dinner (in honor of my family’s Christmas Eve rituals) and grasshopper pie.

Monday was Christmas Eve and we had a nice and slow morning of banana pancakes, bacon and ham. Bryan and I took Reese to downtown Chandler to see the tumblewood Christmas tree and browse some of the shops. We walked around Bryan’s high school and barely made it back in time to get Reese into her Christmas dress and us to church for the 4 pm Christmas Eve service. This was a short but sweet service and Reese quite enjoyed the “Silent Night” candles. We headed home for the Miller’s tradition of a Christmas Eve spaghetti dinner. We made sure to get to bed before Santa arrived.

And Christmas Day was our last full day in Chandler and began like a Christmas should…with presents. Reese enjoyed the unwrapping of the presents and did a little too well for herself (we almost had to pay bag fees for the extra weight). Bryan and I did quite well ourselves and were very thankful for gifts and the greatest blessing of the year: Reese. After presents we had cinnamon rolls and then Bryan and I did a first since almost a year ago; we went on a run together. It was a slow, short and painful run but one that was needed, still enjoyable, and made us feel a whole lot better afterwards. We came back sweaty and ready to help with a few side dishes for the grand Christmas dinner of prime rib, potatoes, green beans, salad and rolls. It was all very delicious and left us all feeling full and happy.

After several days we had a lot of old and new toys and clothes to pack up. We managed to get everything into our two checked bags, took Reese for one last walk around the green belt to stretch our legs before our travels and then set out for a lunch of sandwiches at Flancer’s before heading to the airport. Our flight was at 4:35 pm and we arrived in Seattle right around 7 pm. We got home just before 8 pm, decided against a bath for Reese and got her right into bed pretty quick. We also managed to get our recycling out to the curb and unpacked a fair amount before heading to bed ourselves.

It’s good to be home after having such a great week with family. There is still a lot to unpack and organize but that’s not happening until the weekend (I’m at work) but Mr. Mom is at home with our little girl for these two days and has gotten quite a bit done himself. Bryan and Reese also were able to meet me for lunch on Thursday for a warming lunch of dumplings in the International District.

How Daddy does daycare.

Looking forward to the weekend to get our house back in order. Now we only have four more flight trips planned before the end of April (help me!). I’ll be looking forward to staying put for a while after that I’m 100% sure.

Chelsea

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Our 16-Week Old

Reese is GROWING!  She is both packing on the pounds and developmentally maturing so rapidly and is now almost through her long and big fourth developmental leap.  There are times where I am catching myself thinking that she acts more like a 2 year old than an infant just under four months.  Here are just some of my observations:

  • She is curious about EVERYTHING and wants to grab, get on, touch, pull EVERYTHING. 
  • Her personality is certainly developing and that is really fun to see. 
  • She can play on her activity mat for much longer periods of time now (so long as she isn’t feeling particularly clingy that day) and she has rolled over from her belly to back more than ten times now. 
  • She is in the last week of being able to fit into Carter’s 3-month old sizes and starting to breach into the 3-6 month cloths. 
  • And she most certainly has a bedtime so if she is up past 7:30 pm, so help anyone in her vicinity. 
  • She is definitely playing favorites right now which I know can be stressful for those not the “favorite” on that particular day but she has done really well with our nanny and doesn’t seem to give her any trouble taking a bottle or generally being in a good mood for her (thank goodness!). 
  • She’s had her first cold and recovered and had her boogers drained for the first time with the Nose Frieda. 
  • She is getting a little more difficult to take to restaurants because of the increased energy levels and desire to get into everything on the table. 
  • And she is certainly more interested in other babies around her now where as before she didn’t even seem to pay them any concern whatsoever. 
  • She is still waking up anywhere between 2-4 times at night so I am not sure if we are in some sort of 4-month sleep regression yet or if that fun is still yet to come. 
  • She won’t go back in her own bed after about 5:30 am so I enjoy our morning snuggles in bed. 
  • We thought about transitioning her to her own crib but after reading that it is advised to wait until at least 6 months to move them to their own room, we are holding off for now.
  • She is definitely teething…drooly, biting on her hands and just about everything else and now crying out in pain every so often.
  • She has giggled a few times and continues to be a generally happy and smiley baby.
  • Our nanny says Reese likes classical music (Rinaldi), Marika says Reese likes Italian music, and Polly says she likes jazz but definitely not classical music…so the girl likes music but leaves you guessing to what will appease her that day.
  • Regardless, she likes “Bear Necessities” with her dad
  • Airplane and soaring are the latest favorite games of Reese
  • At Reese’s weight check-in appointment Reese weighed 12 lbs and 4 oz and was 25″ long. Her height, weight and head circumference are all following a percentile path nicely and the doctor has no concerns.
  • She is talking way more and has developed a much larger repertoire or speech.

She is just amazing and always makes our day a happy day. We love her to death!

Chelsea

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Starting to Feel Normal-ish

It’s amazing what just a few nights out on your own without the little one or a nice dinner in while she is asleep can do to make you feel some sense of normalcy again.  After a hectic fall with getting our bearings straight being new parents, changes in work for the both of us, and lots of travel, we have finally been able to have a few nights to recharge as a couple and team again.  It’s uber important for us for sure and something we hope to continue to do as Reese gets older…and hopefully becomes easier as we have more options for babysitters and work transitions start to smooth out.

We have been lucky enough to have one date night the past three weeks…tis the season!  We spent  another night for our second of our five-play package at the Seattle Rep for the first one.  We had tickets to the sold out show of In the Heights, written and directed by the same guy who did Hamilton.  We really dug the Latin beat to the songs and I had a strong urge to go salsa dancing right after seeing it.  No hosted event for 20s/30s this time so we picked up burgers from Lil’ Woody’s beforehand and had a drink in the Rotunda Bar pre-show and one waiting for us at intermission.  It was a great night out thanks to our friends Nikki and Alex.

Our second night came for Monday Night Football, courtesy of my friend Marika.  It was a bit stressful getting to the game and trading Reese off in vehicles but we made it to our seats just after kick-off.  I think Reese had a tough night (didn’t want to drink for Marika and is in a very clingy mood as of late) but Bryan and I still enjoyed ourselves at the game and the Seahawks came out victorious against the Vikings, which should secure our spot in the playoffs.  We grabbed a quick dinner at the Halal Guys after the game before picking  up the little girl and relieving Marika of babysitting duties.

And the last, and quite possibly best, night out for us was this past Saturday for my company’s annual Christmas Party.  These are always a ton of fun with great food and an open bar and the opportunity to get dressed up for once and we took full advantage  of it this year.  Plus, I was finally able to talk my company in to having the party at the FareStart-catered Pacific Tower and because the price point was far below what it has been in the past we also were able to get a photo booth and an Improv group to entertain us.  Our company marveled at the stunning  270 degree views of the city all lit up and FareStart’s catered food was delicious as usual.  I had to actually give a few words about FareStart in front of the whole company, and was notified of this just moments before having to do this.  The planning committee received a lot of positive feedback about the venue and the event so I feel relieved and happy about the success of the night.  There were still plenty of people on the dance floor when we left.  A big thanks to Polly for letting us have a fantastic night out to enjoy this event.  

After a night out drinking, Sunday was a sobering day and one spent mostly watching football and soothing baby girl during her times of teething.   However, my wonderful husband stepped up to the plate to watch her for a few hours to allow me to get away for girls night.  I had a blast and was very relaxed this time around for girls night as we made homemade pizzas, drank wine and then did our now-annual chocolate dipping extravaganza.  I came home with a bag of goodies and my stomach full of sugar.

And our pre-baby selves haven’t solely been revealed outside the house but there have been a few nights at home that have felt a bit normal.  After Bryan’s first day on the new job we put baby girl down for the night before cooking up a surf and turf dinner for us along with a bottle of wine and actually spent a few hours talking at the table together.  We both thoroughly enjoyed that night.  I was also able to get into the kitchen for a bit to do something I like to do…host.  We were hosts for our PEPS group this past week so on Wednesday night I put together a BBQ spread for the group of super slow roasted pulled pork (the 8 lb roast took 20 hours to cook in the oven), cornbread muffins, salad with homemade buttermilk herb dressing, baked beans and banana pudding for dessert.  The food was a hit and I think the parents appreciated the home cooking and although I was pretty tired after pulling it off, it felt so good to do!

There have been many other things we have participated in (successfully or not) with baby in the past few weeks.  We went on a walk around Green Lake and to get coffee with Philipp and Sara, we got brunch at Portage Bay Cafe with Billy, Valerie and Ainsley, we enjoyed Philipp’s birthday party and Polly and Ryuhei’s housewarming party, we enjoyed Lori’s visit immensely and got to play tourists in our own town for a few days visiting the Market, walking around Seward Park, doing a wine tasting in Woodinville, taking the ferry to Bainbridge Island and doing some shopping and getting a Bavarian dinner at Tizley’s in Poulsbo, and visiting the Starbucks Roastery. 

It’s been a very full past couple of weeks and it will be good to slow down a bit for the holidays and get in some good family time with Reese.

Chelsea