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Been So Long

It’s been Halloween since I’ve posted, aside from writing about Brooke. How is time going so fast?!? This month is flying by. It’s been mostly good, sunny cool fall weather, the biking to school is going well, play dates and birthday parties scattered about, and the falling trees are taking their precious time this year! Can’t complain. Let’s take a look at the past few weeks…

After the excitement of trick or treating, losing the functionality of our furnace, spending two nights in a hotel downtown during that time (prescheduled for a mystery shop), Reese had a sleepover at Lottie’s which was a wonderful treat for us and we celebrated Brooke’s friends Maya’s 1st birthday. The very following weekend Bryan and I got to get all dressed up to attend the FareStart Gala as guests and we had a wonderful time. So much good time was had that we bought a whiskey package in the silent auction, donated for the fund a student campaign and then spent the next paying for the good fun. Thankfully it was a slow Monday for the both of us.

Last week was a nice and normal week, mostly playing at home and watching movies after school but ended the week with a lot of Reese time. Thursday was her last day of school for the week thanks to Veteran’s Day. She had an early pick up followed by a lantern walk with her school friends that we all met back up at the school once dark. For Veteran’s Day Sarah and I shared sitting duties to help each other out. I dropped Reese off to play with Lottie in the morning and then returned around 1 pm to take both girls to the park before returning back home to do face painting and play at our house. We had Sarah over for dinner that night with steaks made by Bryan.

We spent the weekend together mostly and getting outside when we could in the sunshine. Reese had another birthday party for a school friend on Saturday and then Sunday we all checked out a new to us park on Mercer Island. Bryan packed his bag Sunday night to head out for his work trip early Monday morning, leaving us girls to ourselves.

The week went fairly well I’d have to say but we all missed Bryan a lot. I took the girls to the library to exchange books and then to Cutter’s Crabhouse to use one last remaining birthday coupon on Monday night. The girls did so well the whole night out with me. Tuesday we stayed at home playing, taking a long bubble bath and watching movies. Wednesday we met up with Sarah and Lottie after school at the park but it got dark quick so we went back to their apartment to hang out for a bit before heading home. And Thursday we had to pick up Brooke at Maya’s so it was already quite late when we returned from pickups. I also got my flu and Covid booster on Thursday and was feeling a little groggy.

I’ve started studying for the S.E. so I quite literally have no free time starting now. But I’m still filling up the calendar with all of the fun holiday events around town. We don’t have many plans this weekend, which is great, and will fully allow us to welcome Bryan back home.

Chelsea

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11 Months!!

One month shy of one years old. Oh my! She is on the go and moving around these days, full of smiles, and getting ever more interesting.

  • She’s taken steps. Several of them actually. And really, as of this weekend, she is walking. She’s great at standing up and sitting back down without assistance. I don’t know if it is because she is so tiny or what but it really cracks me up seeing her walk around.
  • Aside from her few days being down with some type of virus, she’s a great eater still. She has discovered love for mandarins, suckers, popsicles, and most anything that comes off of her sister’s plate.
  • She still loves the playground and has protested on a few occasions when she was not ready to go home from one.
  • She does downward dog a lot and thinks it is funny to stick her booty in the air. She also finds her sister’s booty funny.
  • She participated in her first trick or treating. She was in awe of the lights, sights and sounds and ended the night with one twizzler to try.
  • She’s been fitted for her bike helmet and we now officially have the two-seater bike trailer set up and ready to go for the girl’s morning commutes. We used it on Friday last week and to and from gymnastics on Saturday while the car was being serviced.
  • She’s still a big fan of bath time, especially when Reese participates as well. She also loves brushing her teeth while in the bath. The girl is obsessed with toothbrushes.
  • Still not a great sleeper and still loves to cuddle with someone in bed.
  • Essentially has gotten herself down to one nap a day. Occasional she has two naps but it’s not super common.
  • She has taken an interest lately to our little Fisher Price car toy set, the play kitchen, and the standing noise making table.
  • She’s started the phase of getting into cabinets and bins and taking everything out of them.
  • She has also started putting things into compartments. She has helped me pick up all of the crayons and put them in a bag a few times and she will put various items in bowls or cups.
  • Despite liking food she has occasionally explored dropping food or silverware on the floor too and seeing what happens. Not nearly as much as Reese did but still interested.
  • She will get into toilets if the seat is not closed. She is also starting to explore unrolling the toilet paper rolls.

She’s still just the best and a fun-loving baby who loves her family and being social, being outdoors and on the go. I’m glad she got over the sickness because none of that was fun and I cannot believe we are only a month away from her turning one!

Chelsea

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Halloween Happiness

We’ve tried to participate in Halloween to the fullest this year for Reese as she’s said it’s her favorite holiday a few times. We had a few things canceled un us, thus, not surprisingly we have not carved our three pumpkins. Maybe I’ll disect it for pumpkin seeds post-Halloween. We watched Hocus Pocus 1 and 2 a few times as Reese got really into witches and actually didn’t find it scary, which surprised me. We painted a spider web on a weekend day at home while Brooke napped. And we went to the Garfield Community Center Halloween Carnival on Friday to check it out, play some carnival games, and get some candy. This was all leading up to the big event.

On Monday, Reese’s classmates all wore pajamas to school (costumes weren’t allowed), but at 4:30 PM all congregated and changed into their costumes to hit the streets as a group in the very popular and uber decked out Volunteer Park neighborhood. We spent nearly three hours collecting Halloween candy and legit could not bring any more with us on foot. Reese had the best of time being a fairy princess with giant wings and going door to door with all of her good friends from school and even a few of her friends who don’t attend Interlaken. Bryan and I had a great time and I think Brooke was just in awe, but dressed up super cute as a unicorn, per Reese’s request.

Aside from Halloween and treats we’ve had some good family time recently. Bryan and I finally got out on a date night, first one since my parents left. We walked down the street to check out the new Kamp Social House and had a couple fantastic cocktails and some good food. This is thanks to that new date night swap we’ve started, hallelujah for not always having to pay for a sitter! We had Sarah and Lottie over for dinner for the first time in a long time. We ordered delivery from Dumpling the Noodle for their Seattle Restaurant Week deal with a few types of dumplings, fried sweet and spicy chicken, beef noodles, and other goodies.

On Saturday we had a good time getting out of the house with first all of us watching Reese at gymnastics. She’s fun to watch in class now! We then kept driving south to play at Gene Coulon Park where they have an exceptional playground next to the lake. It was one of our last sunny days for a while and about 60 degrees so we played at the park for a while before walking to Red Robin to get an early dinner (and free birthday dinner) and catch the start of the Michigan vs. MSU game (sorry Mom). We watched the rest of the game at home, although I truthfully didn’t catch much of it at all.

Sunday was a cabin fever type day. We spent the morning and afternoon at home playing a lot of imagination games, matching games, reading books, etc. Finally, Sunday night rolled around and I volunteered for the first time in forever for FareStart at what they called the James Beard dinner which was a prize back from their 2019 Gala that was canceled twice due to the pandemic. It was fun getting back in this type of roll and with some people that I know fairly well. I got to help some really noteworthy local chefs serve up their food, pour wine, and chit chat with some of the guests. Meanwhile, Bryan graciously took both girls over to Reese’s friend Lily’s house for her 4th birthday party where a small group got together to celebrate with fun party games, pizza and cake.

I can’t believe it is November and we are “falling back” this weekend. Where has the time gone? We have a few things going on this week and weekend but then aside from Bryan’s work trip coming up in a bit it’s fairly quiet for some time.

Chelsea

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Busy Busy

As you might have picked up on, this month has been a busy one. There has just been so much that has gone on since the last time I posted, two weeks ago, and even more since when our visitors left at the beginning of the month. So I will try to quickly summarize the changes and updates in our lives as best as I can for this whirlwind of a month:

  • I have officially started my new job as a Senior Engineer with United Rentals. My start date was 10/17, last week, and I have been onboarding with them since then. Our engineering group is small in a large organization so there are a lot of required trainings and processes that I’ve had to do before getting started with actual work. Such a change from my first day at MJA when I was immediately given my first work task. I think that this change is the change I needed though with a much quicker work pace, looking to expand my licensure in states, Canadian provinces, and ultimately with the Structural Engineering (S.E.) licensure.
  • My official last day of work at MJA was 10/13. I had one day off, my birthday, and that was a short day with the nanny coming in late and Reese’s school getting out early. It was bittersweet to say goodbye to my colleagues and everyone treated me so nicely. They had a goodbye happy hour for me at the old classic Owl n Thistle Pub and at least 15 people came out for that, brought me flowers from the Market and a card, gave a few toasts, and it was just a lovely evening spent with people I’ve known for a decade and my first real ties to Seattle. Everyone seems to think I will come back, and maybe, but definitely need to step a way for a bit too.
  • This happy hour came literally an hour after a day-long interview process with Amazon. It was such a draining experience, this interview, and it left me conflicted on whether I even wanted that job. Fortunately, or unfortunately, whose to say, I didn’t have to make the difficult decision so I was able to quickly change my mindset to jumping into my new role at UR quickly. I don’t wish I could take back my time from that day but I would take back the agony and stress that Amazon caused for the weeks of the process leading up to that interview.
  • We celebrated my birthday on my day. In my short day off I was able to get my freebie mega coffee from Starbucks, got my nails done, and got a massage thanks to a gift certificate from Bryan from almost two years ago, lol. All of that was glorious and the sun was shining and we spent the evening first playing at the Seattle Center playground, climbing the huge ropes, and then walking to get some of the best Lebanese food in the city at Tanoor and the girls were on great behavior in the restaurant, mostly calmly eating their fresh baked pita bread. We finished the night with a delicious peanut butter chocolate cake that Bryan made for me.
  • We attended our friend’s second annual Oktoberfest party and it was again a blast although this year we didn’t participate in many of the competitions because 1. it was super smoky outside to a very unhealthy level and 2. the Mariners were on and the game ended up being a long drawn out scoreless saga that kept a lot of people glued to the tube. But we still enjoyed the brats and other Bavarian dishes, beer, and friends. Reese and Eliana in particular had a great time with one another.
  • Bryan went to the Seahawks game with David and we pulled out a victory. He was going to doublehead that with a chance to see the Mariners in would-be game 4 but there didn’t end up being a game 4.
  • Reese has now been a month in her new gymnastics class for the kids 4 and up and loves it and her new coach Lindsey. She’s learning a bunch of new stuff and loves to wear her leotards these days.
  • We’ve had two birthday parties in the park already for Reese’s friends this month and we have two more in the next few weeks. Reese really seems to have some strong friendships building with those in her class which is great to see but we are also trying to tamper down the clique-ness we see with them.
  • Weather has officially transitioned to fall very quickly. Last week we still were having temperatures in the 80s which is super odd for us here in mid October but that also meant we were still without rain and the smoke got to unbearable levels. We had to keep indoors for a few days and then just like that we got rain last Friday and the smoke cleared but we are now facing chances of rain nearly everyday and temps in the low 50s. I can’t find Reese’s rain jacket and realized after two outings that Brooke needs a bunch more things on her body before taking her out now…shoes included.
  • Brooke is starting to walk. She’s taking handfuls of steps here and there. She got a bad virus that started last Wednesday night, just shortly after she started walking, and that had her down and out for a few days. I had to have her on me for Thursday and Friday while I worked and she slept and nights were rough gos as she couldn’t really breath out of her nose and that kept waking her up. Her fever passed on Friday and she started feeling better as the weekend went on.
  • We’ve spent two glorious weekend days at Seward Park, after not having been in a very long time, and that’s been wonderful. It’s a nostalgic park for us and Reese loves the cool playground with zipline and Bryan and I will take turns going for runs to get some exercise in.
  • We’ve officially started up a date night swap with our friends up the street. We were supposed to have our turn out on Thursday but with Brooke sick we had to cancel but we do plan on going out tomorrow night. It’s Restaurant Week so good timing, however, we aren’t confident that Brooke is easily put down if she wakes up in the middle of the night right now so we may opt for something nearby instead.
  • We spent a day at Remlinger Farms with Sarah and Lottie on one of those warm weekend days earlier in the month. Reese and Lottie rode ponies and all of the rides. We got their delicious soft and fresh pumpkin donuts that are so good. We waited in long lines because it was extremely busy. And we officially wore the girls out and they both fell asleep on the ride home. We also got three pumpkins from the patch, although I’m the only one that ever goes out to get the pumpkins.

I think that covers most everything from the month. We have several events coming up in the next few weeks so it will surely be another busy month for us but I think with more fun events this go around.

Chelsea

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We’ve Hit 10 Months!

Little Miss Brooke is already in the double digits, month-wise, and every day is developing more personality, more resiliency, and more fun. We had nearly two weeks of visitors during this month and she handled all of the changes in people and places well. She’s really getting into exploring playgrounds and is becoming a more independent player around the house, which is always nice. Let’s take a look at the rest of the updates.

  • She has been loving going down slides these days, usually on her sister’s lap. She still loves swings too.
  • She has been working on going up stairs and is definitely getting better at it.
  • She likes to make eye contact with strangers.
  • She has now been to her first two sporting events; a football game and a baseball game.
  • Has started to use snack cups and loves to drink out of Reese’s cups with straws. Still reaches for a beer or glass of wine when in reach.
  • Has started doing a few funny hand movements that were taught by her dad and likes to “pop” her lips.
  • Still not a great sleeper and still loves to cuddle with someone in bed.
  • Trying strongly to get herself down to one nap a day but still definitely needs two.
  • She’s pulling up and cruising all over these days. Now she is trying to surmount small obstacles like mom or dad’s legs or pillows.
  • Has a fierce grip and is just all around grabby. I feel like I am assaulted every night at bedtime by her pinches and grabs of the hair, face, and neck.
  • She loves to carry an object around with her. Favorite objects are toothbrushes, Reese socks, and these two costume necklaces. Carries them all of the time.
  • Has a nice little bop dance she does that cracks me up.
  • Brooke finds Reese’s booty dancing funny and she also greatly enjoys washing her splash in the bath tub.
  • Fortunately I feel like the girls bed time and waking hours is slowly starting to come together. Brooke is usually asleep around 8 and we can usually start to attempt bedtime with Reese around 8:30. Brooke usually wakes up around 7 am and Reese between 7:30-8 (I usually have to wake her up at 7:30 to get her ready for school).
  • Has discovered that she absolutely loves popsicles and suckers. Will fight her sister for them.

She’s a wonderful little girl to have around and has really started to play more independently, particularly at night. She has been exploring the living room and kitchen cabinets, where we are most frequently, and has started to become a bit of a tornado on how much she can pull out in a small amount of time. She is go with the flow most of the time but will protest when something is not right. From her 9 month appointment this morning Brooke weighs in at 16.5 lbs (13%) and 29″ (76%).

Chelsea

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A Week With Uncle Chad

Last week was a blur. I don’t even know what went on lol. We said goodbye to my parents on Monday but Uncle Chad stayed with us the remainder of the week, leaving on Friday. Chad went with his friend Jordan to the Kraken game on Monday night, giving us a night of normalcy that we hadn’t had in some time, and truly the rest of the visit was laid back and easy.

Both Bryan and I had to work the week so Chad had the days to himself and kept himself pretty occupied and busy. I know he did some bike riding on the steep Seattle hills, went for a few runs, went to the YMCA, went to the market a few times for lunch, and tried out a few other neighborhood spots during the day. Tuesday night Chad had dinner with us at home and we invited Sarah and Lottie over since Chad likes to see the Reese and Lottie duo in action. It was a nice night and we ate outside on the back deck. He spent Wednesday night again with his friend and took my scooter to and from which I was glad worked out for him.

Then on Thursday we all met up at T Mobile Park for the Mariners game against the Rangers. It was our first time to see the Mariners all summer and it was super fun. It was a value game so our seats were $10 and beers were $5. We took the train there and back which was easy and the girls did really good, enjoying the music and sounds and occasional fireworks. Reese also loved the kids play area that was in very close walking distance to our seats. We managed to stay through to the 7th inning but then had to head home, with the girls still not even getting to bed until after 10 pm. It ended up being a very exciting game that went into extra innings.

With such a late night we got a late start on Friday morning and drop off went extra late. I got to spend some of the morning talking to Chad one last time before saying my goodbyes to him as he headed to the bus to head to the airport. It was a nice visit with him and I just wished I could have taken more time off to spend with him while he was here.

We spent the weekend recovering in many ways. On Saturday I took Reese (and Brooke) to her first 4 year old gymnastics class and was surprised by everything they had the 4 year olds doing. Reese could keep up for sure, it wasn’t beyond her, but all of the kids were red faced and sweaty by the end of class. This will be good for her for sure. After class, I then took the girls to Seahurst Park, way southwest near Burien, for her friend from school, Virginia’s 4th birthday party. Reese had a great time playing with her friends on the beach and the playground, getting cake and a popsicle, and Brooke had a good time trying to eat sand, eating a bunch of cake, and swinging on the swing set. We headed home around 6 pm and both girls were exhausted. Success!!

We should have gotten a quicker start to our Sunday but had a nice and easy morning with breakfast, cleaning off the bounce house and deck, and watching the Seahawks get their second win. Finally around 1:30 we left to head to a park on the eastside before meeting up with our FareStart friends at Novelty Hill to reunite after 2+ years of no Guest Chef Night. It was a great time being with everyone again and thankfully one of our friend’s has two kids of her own that she brought so Reese had some playmates while we drank wine for two hours.

We had glorious weather all weekend with highs in the upper 70s and today is no different. I’m loving this warm and sunny late fall weather, although we do still have some smoke in the air. We have another birthday party at the park after school today and then it’s pretty quiet this week which should be good.

Chelsea

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A Birthday, a Getaway, and a Road Trip

My parents (and brother) came out for over a week to stay with us and during that time there was so much that went on. It was a jam packed trip, split into segments of time, that like always, went by too fast. Let’s reminisce on their visit.

A Birthday:

My parents arrived very late on Friday, 9/16. This first weekend was spent just the six of us and more or less was spent celebrating my mom who was turning 60. I felt so honored that she was spending this big birthday with us that we had to do something special to celebrate her. The first day was the Michigan State versus University of Washington football game held at Husky Stadium. We spent the morning playing at home and then got ready to head out for the park/lunch/game. We visited “Little Park” so that Reese could show them the monkey bars and where she had her birthday party. We then walked to get a big lunch in Capitol Hill and shared some Thai food sitting outside at Manao Thai. We dropped Reese off at Lottie’s house so that she could play instead of come to the game and see her friend for the first time in over a month. We then rode the light rail with Brooke to the stadium and enjoyed one miserable outcome of a game. We all wished MSU had pulled off the win or at least made the game close but that wasn’t in the cards on this day. Nevertheless, Brooke did great and it was a fun experience that we had. We bussed home and then retrieved Reese from Lottie’s house.

Sunday was my mom’s actual birthday and it started first with Reese’s gymnastics class. Grammy and Granddad got to see her in action and then we headed out to Harry’s Fine Foods in Capitol Hill for an excellent brunch. We had to wait just a bit for our table so they gave us complimentary brunch cocktails and the rest of the meal was amazing, although Brooke was a little out of control without a good nap. He stopped at Volunteer Park on this gorgeous day to play for a bit and then headed home where some of us napped and I helped Reese put together her poster board for school. We finished the night with a birthday dinner of jumbo crab cakes outside on the deck followed by a nutella chocolate cake.

Monday morning we all got Reese ready and showed the parents the 1.5 mile walk to Reese’s school, had them meet her teachers and show them the drop off process. We said our goodbyes to Reese as Bryan and I were heading out of town that day. We walked back home, quickly packed our bags, I had to get a drug test for my new employment, and then we said our goodbyes to Brooke and my parents and wished them the best as we set out for the airport via the bus.

A Getaway:

With the kids safe in my parent’s hands Bryan and I left Seattle for a two night/three day getaway to Las Vegas without the girls. A rarity! We got to the airport smoothly and were immediately notified that our flight was delayed 45 minutes so we decided to use two of our passes for the Alaska Lounge near our gate. This was a relaxing time with complimentary drinks and food, a quiet space to talk and watch the airplane traffic, and we were immediately transported to a time without kids. Kind of. Our flight, once departed, was smooth, and I got to read a book. We landed in Vegas around 7 pm, got an Uber to the MGM Grand where we were staying, quickly changed and got ready to go out, and picked up an Uber to Old Vegas and the Fremont area. We had reservations at Carson’s Kitchen for 9 pm and had an excellent meal of stellar cocktails and elevated bar food. We set out to play giant yard games at a place Bryan had been before but sadly the place was not hopping on a Monday night and we didn’t have anyone to play against. We headed to casino to play low bet blackjack and after 90 minutes of playing cashed out at a $10 loss. Worth the time playing. We took an Uber back to our hotel and were very eager to get a good night sleep.

Our next day in Vegas started late and slowly. We went out to find lunch and got some amazing fajita nachos at Nacho Mamas. After that we got ready for the pool and took awhile to find two vacant chairs at the pool. It was hot but it felt amazing to lay out, soak in the pool and read more of my book. We shared a large mojito at one point and when we had had enough sun we headed back to the room to shower and change and get ready for the night. We had dinner reservations at 7 pm at Scarpetta in the Cosmopolitan and tickets to the show Absinthe at Ceasar’s at 10 pm. We strolled the strip for some time before dinner and then were seated at an amazing table overlooking the Bellagio fountains. We shared a great salad, pasta and branzino dish, plus drinks and a bread basket, and left stuffed. We strolled the Avenue some more and then got a drink at the circus tent before the show started. The show was wildly entertaining and involved a fair amount of audience participation, which thankfully we did not get pulled into. After leaving the show we stopped by Milk Bar to try something from Christina Tozzi’s place and had some wonderful cereal milk soft serve and crack pie before heading back to our room to catch some more good sleep without kids.

We still had nearly a full day in Vegas on Wednesday and spent it in much of a similar fashion. We first went to the pool for some more time and this time were able to get a spot by the lazy river. We then cleaned up and packed our bags to leave with the front desk and then set out across the street to New York New York to get lunch and Tom’s Urban. It was super nice sitting outside right along the strip and people watching but still under shade and air conditioning. We spent a long time there before strolling up and down the strip again, getting a few souvenirs for the girls, and a shirt for Bryan. We headed back to the hotel after 5 pm to retrieve our bags, grab a cab, and headed to the airport. We were there with plenty of time but ready to just kick back and head home to the girls and my parents. We flew first class home and were given some snacks and drinks that apparently did me in because I remember sprinting to the light rail from the plane was so not fun. We got home just before midnight and were ready to crash.

While we were away my parents did an amazing job taking care of the girls. Morning is a whole thing in itself and they got Reese ready and Brooke fed and Reese to school. They entertained Brooke throughout the day, took her for walks and got her to nap. They walked to pick up Reese from school and took her to a park everyday and then had dinner at home for the girls and did the whole bedtime routine. The hardest part for sure right now is the overnight for Brooke and my mom found the best option was to cuddle with Brooke through the night and I think Granddad might have shared Reese’s bed a time or two. They survived and everything and everyone remained intact. We were excited to be reunited with everyone once we were back home.

A Road Trip:

I was home for literally 12 hours before I was on the road again, this time my bag was packed with all different necessities. We were renting a house outside of Leavenworth and my parents had rented a van and I left with them and the girls around 11 am and Bryan was waiting to graciously pick up Chad from the airport when he arrived at 6 pm. Our car stopped in Roslyn to try and eat at Roslyn’s Cafe (famous from Northern Exposure) but it was yet again closed at a time when I was trying to visit. We had lunch at a place called The Brick and then got back in the car to continue our drive north. We stopped once more, this time actually in Leavenworth to explore town for a while before checking into our cabin. We went to the candy shop we went to last time and Reese picked out a toy at a toy shop. We also selected some fancy cheeses and crackers from the cheese shop and then picked up a pick up order from Safeway and drove the last 20 minutes to our cabin. We let ourselves in, unpacked the car, and explored all of the amenities, which were many. We made a simple dinner at the cabin and then while I put Brooke to bed the other three jumped in the hot tub. I came out to join them when I was done and it was all and good for awhile.

It was the four of us and the baby monitor on the deck. When we had decided that we had soaked for long enough we got out, toweled off, and then realized we were locked out of the house. All three doors to the house locked automatically and there was no access to the ground level to walk around to the front door. We were essentially locked out. We tried many things, shouting for neighbors, looking at the various tools that could be used on the deck, but without any luck. We decided to get back in the hot tub to wait out the arrival of the other car but when Brooke woke up on the cam all of that was over. Granddad was able to pop out one of the windows with a broomstick (miraculously not shattering the window), unlocked the door and I ran down to calm Brooke. At this point we all showered and were more or less calm when the other car arrived another 45 minutes later. We helped them unpack and then all got to sleep for the day ahead.

We knew that we were going to be in the middle of a pocket of smoke from a nearby wild fire and so we rearranged plans and made due with what we could considering the circumstances. After breakfast in the cabin groups of us went for a walk along Lake Wenatchee and the State Park there. They had a little playground at the campground that we spent some time at but the winds were definitely howling through so our visit there was short. Back at the cabin we soaked in the hot tub, played various games, and enjoyed the sunlight coming in and space to run around indoors. Around 5 pm we all donned matching shirts for a night out on the town.

The 1962 Squad took on Leavenworth for a time. Reese had wanted to ride in the horse carriage around town so we took the quick ride around while gaining some insider history into the town of Leavenworth. We got seated at Andreas Keller just after 6 pm. The accordion was already playing live music and we had a super spacious table in the back for our group. It felt like a very authentic Bavarian pub and Brooke was digging it. We got a bunch of different schnitzles, goulash, pretzels and beer for the table, plus all the wonderful sides and our group was happy with our ordering. Reese had asked for the staff to sing Happy Birthday to Grammy but then cowered when they came over to do it. We left the restaurant and headed to Rhein Haus where our group (including the girls with apple juice) took a group shot to celebrate the birthday. Chased that down with more beer and if we didn’t have the girls would have probably ventured to more bars but instead headed downstairs to the Whistlepunk Ice Cream store for some seriously good cups of ice cream and massive cookies. I drove the group home, all fitting into the minivan and then put the girls to bed, although Brooke seemed like she wanted to party the rest of the night through.

Saturday was our last full day there and we were set on getting a hike in while we were in the Central Cascades and near so many great hikes. We still had worries of the smoke but fortunately, after a filling breakfast of eggs and bacon, we drove high up to the trailhead for Round Mountain and Nason Ridge that we were luckily above all of the smoke and the skies were clear and the air was fresher and smelled of pine. It was a steep trail for the first mile and a half and we were then treated to our first lookout of Lake Wenatchee below and Mt. Glacier in the distance. We continued a little further on, hitting the ridgeline, and from there it was pretty level and offered some great views of the valleys and nearby mountains. It really was a beautiful hike and after we went about 2.5 miles or so we decided to turn around and head back to the house since there was the Tech vs. Texas game on that was already starting.

We got back to the cabin, started the game from the beginning thanks to Hulu, and the boys were able to watch the whole game. Us girls put on quite a snack spread, breaking out those fancy cheeses plus more, and sometime during the second half took a dip in the hot tub with both girls. Tech managed to beat out Texas in overtime so it was at least a good game. The boys took a turn in the hot tub with Reese and mom and I took Brooke for a walk around the neighborhood and golf course we were staying by. Bryan made some excellent sirloin for dinner and we had one last great group dinner at the cabin and then settled into a movie on the big screen in the movie theater room.

Sunday was checkout day and the boys were heading to the Seahawks game back in Seattle so there car left first. Us girls finished packing up and checked out of the cabin around 10:30 am and set back on Highway 2 which was fortunately back open. The drive was easy and it was nice being able to catch up with mom. We stopped for some delicious baked goods from Sultan’s Cafe and a break for Brooke and then managed to get home just about 1 pm. The Seahawks and the Falcons had a very close and interesting game but the Seahawks didn’t manage the win. Us girls played in the backyard for the majority of it and once the game was over drove to Capitol Hill to meet the boys at Annapurna Cafe. We had a delicious dinner with the large group of us sharing all of the entrees (8 of us total) and after a long time there we headed home for one last night with my parents there.

Monday morning came and my parents helped with the morning routine and helped me drop the girls off at their respective places. I said my goodbyes to them and then headed off to work and they headed to the light rail to take them to the airport. We did so much during this visit and the entirety was so fun. I’m glad we got to celebrate my mom and I’m glad to get a little time away from the girls and with just Bryan. Can’t wait until the next visit!

Chelsea

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Fire and Fall

We have now been back to school and back to schedule for one week and in that time we have had wildfire smoke and fall temps it seems. I don’t think sunshine and warm days are completely over but this past week has definitely felt like it. It’s been good to get back into a rhythm and we’ve still enjoyed some time with friends and as a family.

Reese had three days of school last week and already another birthday park after school on Thursday for three of her classmates. We enjoyed some park time with them and pizza before I headed home to change and hand them over to Bryan for my first Mom’s Night Out at the nearby excellent wine bar Bottlehouse in Madrona with three other mom friends. It was a wonderful night being able to talk about all of our children, share our experiences in mothering, but also get to know each other better on a more personal level. It was also nice introducing one of my old FareStart volunteer friends to the group, who is coincidently a neighbor of another and a mom of three already.

The weekend was smoky, as the air starting hazing up on Friday and lasted that way through Monday afternoon. This prevented us from doing too much outdoors, or should have, but we still did. We had our first nanny share dinner at our house on Friday with the other family and our nanny. We ate outside and played outside in the backyard after dinner for some time. The babies really enjoyed the night but I think Reese did too. Saturday morning we headed over to West Seattle straightaway so that Bryan could watch the Texas vs. Alabama game with our Texas friends Phillip and Anne. Well, Anne was with me and the kids for the majority of it and after a breakfast of waffles and fruit we headed to their nearby park to play for quite some time. We spent the whole morning at their house and didn’t head home until nearly 2 pm, picking up some fast food on our drive back in hopes to keep Reese awake but that did not happen. The rest of the night we played and entertained ourselves at home.

Thankfully we had gymnastics Sunday morning to get Reese’s willies out. I took Reese and Brooke to gymnastics so Bryan could get a workout in and then we came home, I took a nap with Brooke (rarely happens but I think I was fighting something off and needed it) and then we headed over to friend Georgie’s house for a delicious dinner with them and for all of us to get out of the house for a bit.

Monday began with work but then the first Seahawks game of the season, a home opener for Monday Night Football against the Broncos and our ex-QB Russell Wilson. I wore my Wilson jersey to work but changed once home and then Bryan and I set out via scooter to the game while Katie our nanny graciously pulled a long day watching both girls for us after a full day with the two babies. We had an excellent time at the game. We picked up al pastor burritos from Carmelo’s Tacos on our way and had these and some tasty beverages from our seats, that although are high up, offer great views of the field and we are nearly at half line. The game was close and thrilling and we each lost our voice per usual. Took forever to leave the stadium from our seats and to no one’s surprise Reese was still awake when we returned at 9 pm. Still a wonderful night and a great first game (and win) of the season.

The rest of this week has been pretty typical. Bryan got dinner with a potential coworker while I took the girls to the park after school one night. We spent many other nights at the park together. We’ve enjoyed some home cooked meals before what will probably be a lot of dining out coming up with us heading to Vegas and my parents coming to visit. I’ve been gearing up for their visit, finally getting rid of some of the lingering baby things we’ve had lying around. We are both very much looking forward to their visit, a few days away with just ourselves, and definitely a week off of work!

Chelsea

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School’s Out and the Millers Were Here

Last week was an eventful one in our household; definitely breaking out of our normal routine for the various circumstances we had going on. Those being:

  • Reese’s school was closed all last week and she didn’t go back until yesterday
  • Lon and Trish were here visiting from Monday through Saturday
  • With Reese out of school I asked for the nanny share to move to the other household, which meant having her drop off and pick up
  • Each of Reese’s days off was filled with fun things for her (and us) to do
  • It was another hot week
  • It was also the last week that the wading pools and spray parks were open
  • We officially had the real birthday to celebrate
  • I’ve been continuing to interview and weigh offers from companies
  • We had the cleaners come for the first time in like two months

Bryan had a great time spending the first few days of Reese’s week off with her and they sure made me jealous! For her actual birthday, he took her up to Everett to try out a high ropes course for young kids. The course was 20′ up in the air and had the whole harness and ropes getup to keep her safe. The course is open to those 4 and up so she is likely the smallest kid they’ve ever had try it out and unfortunately she couldn’t do nearly everything because she couldn’t reach high enough. But she tried everything she could, albeit nervously but bravely, and then did get to do three ziplines that she really loved. After their time at the ropes course they found a new excellent playground up north that they spent a long time at before heading home for lunch and then picking up Lon and Trish from the airport. We spent Reese’s birthday night out at Eastlake Bar and Grill for dinner on their patio and then headed home to sing happy birthday, have cake and ice cream, and open up presents. Presents this year included some dress up princess dresses, a sleeping bag, a new play rug for her room, purple bike helmet, streamers for her scooter’s handlebars, a harmonica, Peppa Pig puzzles, a kid’s digital camera, and a unicorn edition of Candyland. She did well I think!

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Reese and Bryan started their days at the Hyatt with Lon and Trish, getting a breakfast with them and then swimming in the luxe saltwater pool and hot tub in the hotel. On Tuesday, she swam so hard that she then passed out in their hotel room watching a movie and when I finally got there after work with Brooke and she woke up, she was just ready to head home, so we did. On Wednesday after swimming, they drove down south so that Reese could watch her first movie on the big screen, the new Minions movie. We spent Wednesday evening getting the seasonal special pizza we love so much, the Calabrese, from Tutta Bella. Our love for this pizza special runs deep and made for a simple takeout dinner.

Thursday was the one day that we had scheduled Reese to go over to her friend Lily’s house for their teacher Ashley to watch them for most of the day. This worked great as she got to see and play with her friend and teacher who she likes and both Bryan and I could work for the day.

And Friday was my one day off this week with Reese and we had purchased tickets to go with Lily and her mom and brother to the always-fun Remlinger Farms in Carnation, WA. This year I wasn’t pregnant and Reese was tall enough to ride pretty much everything so we did just that. She also got the pony ride experience which she continues to get more and more brave doing and this time as they were sizing her for a small pony based on her height she openly exclaimed “I want a big pony”. Which she got, and this year she rode Cauliflower, maybe the second biggest pony in the entire yard. And she did great and thoroughly enjoyed it the whole time. We were at the park from open at 10:30 am until the kids were so wiped out which happened to not be until about 3 pm. Reese didn’t even want to break for lunch but I still managed to get her to eat something and then we shared a delicious soft serve cup before heading back to Seattle to pick up Brooke, and Reese crashed the whole ride home. We headed back home and Lon and Trish came over for a dinner at home of pork tenderloin with brandied peaches, salad, and potatoes. It was a laid back and relaxing night and a kick off to the holiday weekend.

Saturday was Lon and Trish’s day of departure and we met up with them to get a group brunch with their vouchers at the hotel downtown. We had to wait a tad for a table but once seated had full reign for the buffet where we went pretty heavy handed on all of the fresh fruit, crispy bacon, croissants (especially for Reese) and each ordered a made-to-order omelet and some waffles to share. Everything was delicious and we left full and ready to take on the pool. I got Brooke to nap in the hotel room so the three of us got started without her, moving from the swimming pool to the hot tub and back several times. Brooke woke up about 45 minutes in (I could have predicted it) and she got dressed and joined us for another hour or so. We had to say our goodbyes to Lon and Trish and they got a ride back to the airport to allow us to continue to use the hotel benefits until we had to checkout for them at 4 pm. Reese thoroughly enjoyed the luxurious bath tub (well all three girls did really) and then asked to hang out in the room with Bryan and candy until 4. Brooke was restless so I took her for a walk which she was all about for people watching. We headed back to our house for the rest of the night.

For the remainder of the weekend, we took Reese to gymnastics Sunday morning like normal. We went to the park both Sunday and Monday. We had some friends over for a low key dinner of pulled pork sandwiches on Sunday night, and we packed a picnic and took a long walk through the Arboretum, eating lunch at the point to watch the boat traffic, walked over the docks and all of the way up to University Village where we browsed a few stores, Reese got a new dress for her first day of school, we visited the mall’s little playground, and then we got a mystery shop dinner on the patio of Piatti, which was delicious and easy. We walked back to the stadium to catch the bus back home and got home at about 6:30 pm.

The weekend was over but Reese and I still had a day off together before she was back to school. We had to drop off Brooke at the other house but she slept until 7:30 and Reese I had to wake up after 8. We got ready quick and headed out on foot to drop off Brooke. We then played at the park next to their house for some time, picked up some donuts and coffee, and then found a nail salon to give ourselves a little R&R. Had never been to this salon before and it wasn’t fancy but it was perfectly small and the lady was so sweet with Reese. Reese loved it and of course picked out five colors to have a different color on each nail, rainbow colors. We left there and stumbled on another park before heading home for a lunch of grilled cheese which we ate on our front stoop and then Reese was tired and put herself to nap in her bed. I had to wake her up to walk back to get Brooke by 4 pm and Reese was still barely awake when we got there. We spent our time at the other family’s house before heading back home to meet up with Bryan and then head over to a FareStart friend’s house whom we haven’t seen in 2.5 years. We caught up with some delicious snacks and wine on the back deck before we needed to bring the girls home to get ready for bed.

Reese is back at school and the weather has been PERFECT! I just can’t believe that September sprung on us fast and I still do not want the summer to end at all!

Chelsea

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Brooke is 9 Months

I am behind in my post writing with all of the (wonderful) things and events that have been happening in our lives. It’s a very busy time of the year for us. But without much ado, the cherished phrase “9 months in and 9 months out” is striking a ton right now. I honestly can’t believe it has already been that long! And in other ways I can’t imagine our life without sweet little Brooke. Let’s see what the past month has brought.

  • She is officially…scooting. Not what we really classify as crawling on all fours but scooting using one hand (so she always has a free hand to drag something along with her). She is picking up speed and starting to get into more things by the day. She’s actually gotten pretty fast, but still in that scooting position.
  • Stairs are now of keen interest to her. For the longest time she would just sit at the bottom of the stairs looking up, or would pull herself up to balance on the first step but never advance. Not anymore. She is now figuring out how to climb those stairs herself. Which I’m all for as I think it will help strengthen her arms and core and maybe help her to figure out the crawling on all four bit a little better. Maybe. She has an interesting method to climb stairs too.
  • She is now doing bath in the big tub, with or without her sister. We’ve removed the baby bath since she can easily balance on her bottom in the bath and move around the bath with no problem. It was actually getting more dangerous with her trying to crawl herself out of the bath. But she definitely tries to drink water out of the running faucet when she can.
  • Or drink out of any glass or bottle at any point she sees one. Reese was this way with cups and bottles to I remember but Brooke REALLY wants to drink the beverage as well.
  • She is sleeping in her room. Maybe not in her crib, or in her crib all night, because the girl loves and needs cuddles. Ugh. But we are working on it and at least she has gotten used to falling asleep in another room. Bryan has done a great job the past few nights giving her a bottle before bed, instead of nursing to sleep, and I think that will help in the long run for bedtime.
  • She’s figured out how to use Reese’s old snack cups with the lid. She’s a big fan of the usual goldfish crackers that are within them. She’s also figured out straws to my surprise.
  • She’s learned how to wave and will do so (very pageant-like) several times a day. I think she also knows the meaning of the words “hello” and goodbye”. She certainly knows the words of “bath”, “milk” and “Reese”. And she just started saying, “ma, ma, ma, ma” instead of just “ba, ba, ba, ba” so I’m going to count her first word as “mama”!
  • Like her sister, she loves a good party or social setting. This is the one time she is okay not being near mom and she certainly likes big kid’s attention.
  • She still gets “look at those eyes” by every stranger and passerby.
  • She is always full of smiles. I remember Reese being this way too but this girl will just smile, smile, smile all day long.
  • She is getting along well with her weekday friend Maya and they both seem to be excited to see each other each day.
  • She finds Reese SO. FUNNY. She laughs a bunch when Reese is doing something slightly naughty, or dancing, or shaking her booty, or pretending to fall or stumble, and especially if she thinks Reese is chasing her. This was something that I forgot Reese loved to do at around nine months; play chase, but Brooke is equally into it.

I’m all for Brooke being able to get around by herself. With the separation anxiety reaching its peak its nice that she can come find me or come to me and its not just me needing to carry her around at all times. She also wants to be on the move at all times though so its also a bit of an exhausting stage, especially when she wants to put anything and everything into her mouth. We love her smiles and her laughs and she is still just a happy go lucky kid. I especially love it when she tries to be right at Reese’s hip all of the time. It’s so cute!

Chelsea