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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.

Chelsea

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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!

Chelsea

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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!

Chelsea

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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!

Chelsea

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Solo Parenting/Living

Single parent over here for the week and so far so good. I find that I am generally one that doesn’t mind having some space or time to myself but things have changed, let me tell you. Firstly, it’s different with a kid in the picture. Not having someone else to entertain them once in awhile or help out with diapers, baths, clean up, etc is part of it. Now, with Covid, Bryan is often times my only person, and I miss him. You’d think 10 months of being by each others side at all times, with no space or privacy, no place to retreat to, would make a person go crazy but its not the case at all. I’m grateful that I was able to check in with a few friends during Bryan’s absence but he will probably be glad to know that there is no replacement for him, especially right now.

So yes, I was a bit lonely. Not sad lonely, just quiet lonely. Because of this, we scheduled a long walk around Queen Anne with Polly (whom I hadn’t seen for months) on Sunday after dropping Bryan off at the airport. Then on Monday, I asked Sarah if I could pick up Lottie with Reese so the girls could keep me (and them) company at our house. It was extremely wet and rainy both Monday and Tuesday so having Lottie entertain us inside was a necessity. Reese and I went over to Sarah’s for a chili dinner on Tuesday night, again picking up Lottie with Reese. And Sarah asked if I could watch Lottie for some time on Thursday after school because of a meeting she had scheduled and I was happy to help out and the girls and I went to the playground, had dinner and they took a bath together.

Aside from Sarah and Lottie’s company, Reese and I were flying solo. We had a few escapades on the playgrounds after school on Wednesday and Friday after the rain stopped. We cuddled a lot on the couch and read several books. We shared dinners and cookies and picked up a takeout dinner tonight which we enjoyed on a park bench.

Once my mom duties and work duties were done for the day I more or less spent my time cleaning, reading and playing Sudoku (my latest stress relief apparently). I started my next Fitnessblender program, in conjunction with mom, and so far it’s been kicking my booty. I’ve never done their Personal Fitness Test before to gage before and after metrics but this time around I did. On Wednesday I took the test and here is were my starting point is:

1 Mile Run Time: __8:18___________

Full Push Ups: __26______________

Number of Squats: ___40_____________ Weight Used (if any): __20 each hand____________

Static Plank Time: ___91 seconds_________________

Sit and Reach Measurement: ___38 inches_____________

It was kind of fun to push myself and challenge myself with this test. We will see where I stand in about five weeks time.

Looking forward to Bryan’s return tomorrow afternoon. I know Reese will be thrilled as well. She misses him! Honestly, our week was rather uneventful and somewhat boring. Yup, pretty much.

Chelsea

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Not as Imagined

Well, so far 2021 has not been quite what we had imagined. It hasn’t been slinging roses and good vibes our way, yet, but there is still time and still honestly I’m holding onto the fact that we learned the most unfortunate news on the last day of the year, that being 2020. Still, I believe that this year is going to be drastically different than the previous year and that all of the lessons learned and struggles made will reveal itself in good things to come this year.

Not all has been bad; we did have an enjoyable NYE celebration at Lottie’s house with the girls playing until EST midnight, toasting to the new year and dancing to the music. Reese was a hot and sweaty worn out kid by the end of the night. Reese thoroughly enjoyed being a homebody for the rest of her break and enjoyed playing with all of her new toys every day.

We spent a day sledding at Snoqualmie Pass with Reese’s new sled and not surprisingly she requested every time to go the very top of the hill and wanted to sled down the hill by herself each time. She then helped us build Frostys and many snowballs before lounging back for a sled ride while eating one of said snowballs.

We picked up a seafood feast from Seattle Fish Guys that came with four outstanding easy to make seafood dinners, some poke, four types of desserts, drinks and sides. It was all incredibly delicious and something we will certainly be ordering again. It was a treat for Bryan and I and so fun being able to try items both from the fish market and also from local bakeries and cafes. We spent a (thankfully rare) dry night walking around Zoo Lanterns and taking in all of the sights. We were grateful the rain held up and enjoyed a deep dish pizza dinner outside with our friends before our zoo admission. All of that was a big hit with Reese.

And due to the current circumstances we are lucky to have Bryan home for another week before he leaves for South Carolina this Sunday. It’s been nice having him here this week, to be working by my side and to be home to play with Reese who isn’t the most enthused to be back at school (not to mention that she finally had her flu shot this Thursday, which she handled like a champ without one single tear!). We continue to just spend our time at home, having fires, watching movies, playing with all the new toys, reading books, working out in our home gym, and getting lots of cuddles from a very cuddly Reese as of late.

Bryan will be gone this first time for only a week which will be a good starting point for us. This will be good to ease into this new temporary normal. I’m also happy to see that it’s not entirely dark by 5 pm everyday, it’s the little things honestly. My “resolutions” have started out slow because, well…life. But they have started and as expected some are easier or more fun than others to do. It’s a working progress and 2021 still has a long way to go and a lot of progress to make. And since I am where I am, I just finished my second margarita of the night. G’night.

Chelsea

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2021 is Looking Fine

With 2020 coming to a close (applause) I’m looking at the new year with hope of fresh beginnings and new experiences. 2020 wasn’t all bad; we’ve learned a lot about ourselves and have brought clarity on our perspectives on life in many ways and will help shape us in the year(s) ahead. But 2020 was no walk in the park, no barrel of laughs, no travels to new and fascinating places. It was a year to teach us something and make us appreciate what we have, which was maybe needed, but I’m now ready to carry those lessons with us into new chapters and new stories that are made special with friends, family, travel, and adventure.

As with any new year I’m looking at what I want out of my year. How to make a better me, a better mom, a better wife, a better friend…and I have a few things that I want to try to do in this year ahead.

  • Continue reading: aim for one book a month
  • Read one affirmation a day
  • Begin a five-year journal; I got a very pretty one off of Buy Nothing and plan to begin on January 1st. I found some question prompts for each day but I really just want to have something that myself or Reese could look back on one day
  • Start the day with one full 8 oz glass of water
  • End the day with one full 8 oz glass of water
  • Call or write a friend or family member (not on my normal speed dial) once a month
  • Get Reese to brush her teeth at least once a day
  • Walk a minimum of 5,000 steps a day
  • Be in bed by 10 pm

Some of these will be easier than others but its funny how they are never the ones I would have expected. I think good things are coming in 2021 and I’m going to do my best to be ready for them, to appreciate them, and to enjoy them.

Chelsea

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Christmas, It’s Practically Here!

It’s literally just a day away and that is crazy to me. But I’m prepared. Gifts are wrapped and under the tree. Our dinner plans for Christmas have been selected and groceries have been picked up. We’ve already blown through all of our cookies from the cookie exchange but we have a grasshopper pie ready to go in the freezer. We are hanging low just the three of us for Christmas Eve and will go out to see lights after dinner. Sarah and Lottie are joining Christmas Day after we open our own presents at home. I’m excited for Reese to open up her presents this year and what she thinks of it all. It snowed Monday night and got our jackets on to go out and see it. Snow is gone now but it was exciting while it came down. And we have walked to get holiday treats on occasion which have been both fun and delicious.

To update on my updates from a few weeks ago…

  • We did go wine tasting outside at Novelty Hill and it was a surprisingly enjoyable time.
  • After receiving my ID in the mail, I then lost it again a week later (not a good idea to no longer keep it in my wallet, haven’t been since Covid). So vision appointment is scheduled for 12/30 so that I can get a new ID before Bryan leaves for South Carolina.
  • Although I was totally predicted to win the last week of Fantasy and head into Playoffs, I lost by a long shot thanks to my opponents stellar game and didn’t end of making it.
  • Fitnessblender game is still going strong and I just finished Day 16 and am really enjoying it. I’m set to finish the current program January 6th or 7th.
  • We did do the cookie exchange and had quite the platter of cookies that resulted from it (good thing for Fitnessblender).

We’ve enjoyed lots of parks recently and the girls are getting good at guilting me into taking Lottie with us after school which ends up having once or twice a week. Reese has been doing a lot of jumping on the couches lately, some puzzle work, and still tons of reading. She is eating much better at dinner with us and literally jumps for joy when she gets to open up her (3) advent calendars at night. She’ll be sad when they are over tomorrow.

Bryan’s been busy getting up to speed with this new project he will be working on. We will be tag teaming working and watching Reese during this “break”. My work has been slow but steady which is appreciated during this time of year, especially when I am still running around picking up grocery orders and getting gifts together.

Can’t believe the holidays are upon us and this crazy year is almost over!

Chelsea

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Reese Lately

  • Reese went through a phase of being on EST and essentially took all of 0.5 seconds to fall asleep at night and now we are back to somewhere around a 30+ minute bedtime routine that may require requests for pats on the back, blanket, to be tucked in, Wubba, Elmo, crackers, water, and last night it was toast.
  • Reese at least is starting to learn the magic of the color changing night light so that she cannot wake up until after her light turns green; 5:30 am to start but we will be pushing that back until at least 6 am. I have actually had some large chunks of sleep myself lately which is the first time in forever and makes me feel so much better during the day.
  • Reese’s latest favorite foods would be: corn (on the cob is a requirement), toast, chocolate, cookies, pizza, pepperoni, ground beef, sometimes broccoli, rice, sometimes salad.
  • We still walk to school on every non-rainy day (which has been most days recently) and this girl is getting much more difficult to push up hill. She is still barely 23 lbs though, whereas Lottie is now more like 27 lbs. There has only been one day in months now that Reese asked to ride in the car instead of the stroller to school, and that was today.
  • Both Reese and Lottie are exactly 33.5″ tall per our growth chart.
  • The conversations Reese now has with us and Lottie are impressive. She knows so many words and knows how to string them into logical sentences and phrases.
  • She regularly tells her dad where to go; “go shower”, “go run”, “go to sleep”, “go work”.
  • Reese is currently climbing all over the couch and up and over her bed rails, thankfully during the day and not during the night.
  • Reese likes to bring me my coffee, eeek!
  • Reese currently is transfixed with Shaun the Sheep, so much so, we are now ready to go back to Sesame Street when we can. Although, we both love the show as well.
  • Reese is really into books lately. She still prefers reading to herself and turning the pages but occasionally we get to read a book to her.
  • Reese is liking Christmas lights a lot. She loves our tree and taking the ornaments off, she is obsessed with Frosty and she likes it when Google sings her Christmas songs. When the first wrapped presents were found under the tree she just sat next to them for about 15 minutes, obviously very eager to open them.
  • Lately nap time for us has been mostly a miss. She either will not take a nap for us or it is like all of 30 minutes. On the other hand, her main teacher at school told me just last week that they usually have to wake her up at the end of nap time because she sleeps so long. Go figure!
  • Reese is fast, on the playground and just in general. She is quickly learning to climb ladders and has started experimenting with going down slides head first.
  • Reese likes to push on our bellies and say, “SQUISHY”.
  • We think she doesn’t like Bryan’s beard and that is why she often times tells him “no kisses”.
  • She likes drinking bubble water.
  • We’ve been doing these cheap chocolate advent calendars we picked up from Trader Joe’s. We each have one but Reese helps each of us open it and then gets to eat all three candies. Go figure. She completely understands the premise of opening only one a day.
  • Reese still says “I’m working” when she is in the process of going #2.
  • She must have hands on Lottie at all times.

Chelsea

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Last Month of the Year!

December = the last month of the year = the end of 2020! Generally it means the holiday season and Christmastime, of which I am excited about, but more importantly I am looking forward to the new year. Oh yes! There will be plenty of champagne popping and bazookas at this year’s New Year’s Eve at the Miller’s, in stark contrast to the extremely late takeout dinner in the Detroit airport hotel of New Year’s Eve 2019…hopefully.

Holiday season is here.

But in all seriousness, this holiday season is going to look different than any holiday season in the past for me. I’ve never not spent Christmas with one or the other side of the family. This means that we have to come up with traditions, festivities, and merry making all on our own. It’s so different this year, not being able to celebrate the holiday season with friends and family. This is normally a season filled with Christmas parties, gift exchanges, sweets, song and dance galore.

We are still trying our best to feel connected to those we care about. I have set up a socially-distanced, no-contact holiday cookie (or treat) exchange for our friends here for next weekend. So far, we have about six different households participating and I’m looking forward to still having a holiday cookie platter to enjoy as we approach Christmas, looking forward to our friend’s creations, and mainly looking forward to having an excuse to say “hello” to one another from afar. It’s been ages since I have caught up or even just seen so many of our friends. We have two different kinds of cookies that I want to make for the exchange next weekend; neither of which I have made before.

Reese and her Lottie

But this weekend we are looking at a forecast of sunny skies and slightly warmer weather so that should mean a run, a walk, some playground jaunts and the like. We have reservations for an outdoor wine tasting at Novelty Hill on Sunday with Sarah and Lottie and those two are coming over for our resurrected Friday night happy hour/takeout. I’ll have a boatload of laundry to do since our dryer has been broken for a week now but at least we are getting a brand new one delivered and installed tomorrow for us.

I’ve got most of my Christmas shopping done. Another stark contrast to the past few years where the holiday season has just sprung up on me completely unprepared. This has also meant general shopping for yours truly (clothes, skin care, a new photo printer, etc). We have our tree up and have started a nightly advent calendar filled with chocolate from Trader Joe’s for all of $1. I never knew they had these at TJs but Reese is all about it. We have one for each of us but somehow Reese ends up getting all three chocolates every night. Thankfully they are tiny. I’m trying to become a morning person, as Reese continues to wake up most mornings at 5:30 am. And we have continued our morning walks to school, which have been wonderful lately with the sunny weather we have been having. Although that girl is certainly getting more difficult to push up our big hill.

And in other positive updates, my ID was returned to me by a kind soul in the mail this week. Thank goodness because the last thing I wanted to do was make a vision appointment with the current status of things. I received my pay raise and it’s the highest it’s ever been (shockingly). And I’m most likely making the playoffs for Fantasy Football which is shocking since I started out 0-4. This is in large part thanks to stellar games lately by Metcalf, Cousins and Michael Thomas’ return. We’ve cleaned up the backyard quite a bit and broke out our patio heater. And after my mom indicated that she was going to start a Fitnessblender program, I decided I would do it myself as well and have kickstarted a new four week program that I’m actually looking forward to doing.

Last Fitbod video for awhile was accompanied by Reese who was legit hanging off of the chin up bar herself.

I definitely feel like things are starting to look up around here and am really trying to stay positive and motivated. Wasn’t so much that way even a week ago so let’s rally to the end of the year.

Chelsea