Ski Trip?

Bryan and Reese returned from Arizona and we got right back to our routine of sorts. They each had a short two day week for their return and then we had a sole weekend between Arizona and our ski getaway. We made use of this weekend both socially and to get Reese some skis. We checked out three second hand ski stores and REI and ended up getting a super cute pair of used skis and boots that suit Reese perfectly. We also got her a new helmet, goggles, snow pants and mittens because she has outgrown her others. She looked totally cute in all of her ski gear…but it was like pulling teeth getting it. She didn’t want to try any of the skis or boots on, professed her hatred of skiing in the ski store, and we had to bribe her to get them on and out the door. But we survived.

We stopped by a park in South Lake Union after one of these trials and then grabbed some delicious Vietnamese takeout from Sizzle and Crunch. We then spent Sunday morning at Anne and Phillip’s place for the kids to play, we grabbed a coffee with them down the street before visiting the second two ski shops, and then finished a long day with a delicious dinner at Reese’s friend Georgie’s house where Reese again got to play for several hours with a good friend.

Our week last week was mostly preparing for the weekend away. We also got the house cleaned which happens infrequently these days but is easily one of the top days of my life…every time. Brooke was not feeling her best and we were hoping that she would improve before we left for the weekend. She got better but she still had (and has) a cough, the nastiest eye boogers and the occasional runny nose. Fortunately she was sleeping a whole lot better.

Bryan and I got the car packed and ready to go with all of our ski gear, clothes, and food for one of our group dinners at the cabin we were renting with friends Polly, Ryu, Carina and Luis and their total of three kids. This makes six adults and five kids in a three bedroom (+bunkhouse) cabin directly on the Cowlitz River just east of Packwood, WA. We picked up both girls and set out on what should be about a 2.5 hour drive but ended up being a whole lot more with traffic between Seattle and Tacoma and then snow hitting us about 90 minutes out from the cabin. We had stopped for dinner at Red Robin in Graham, WA and probably took too long with the dark and snow coming earlier in our drive and slowing us up a lot. We made it to the cabin around 8:30 pm, the second family to arrive and soon after we were all there and settling in. All of the kiddos went to bed late this night as did the adults who stayed up late talking. I went to bed feeling like I was starting to come down with something but praying not.

Friday I was opting to stay at the cabin to watch the little ones for the day and Reese and Eliana whenever they got tired of skiing with the boys. Bryan got Reese ready to ski and they left for White Pass Ski Resort, about a 30 minute drive from the house. The girls apparently weren’t really into the skiing. They stuck to the magic carpet but weren’t enjoying it and were asking to go back to the house. They had lunch at the lodge while myself, Polly and Carina tried to get in a little walk with the littles from our cabin but only got about 0.7 miles from home when we received a call from the boys to come get the girls. All toddlers fell asleep for a short time on this walk so once back to the cabin all were awake and none were into taking a nap for the rest of the day…but all desperately needing one. I left Brooke in the hands of Carina and Polly and I left to go get the big girls, who were funny and talkative and full of energy on the drive back.

We spent the evening at the cabin, I was in charge of this night’s dinner and had some Cuban pork roast, black beans and rice, and roasted vegetables cooking away. I took the big girls and Brooke in the hot tub for some time and finally the boys (who had a few hours of skiing by themselves) were home just before 6 pm. We all sat down to a big group dinner and enjoyed this and quickly all kids were in bed, tired from a long day. Normally this would have been ideal because we had lots of adult time to hang out, and the three boys did go for drinks in the hot tub, but when Brooke woke up once and I laid down with her I felt for myself just how crappy I was feeling and was asleep before 8:30 pm!

The next morning I woke up and could barely speak. I somehow seemed to have lost my voice overnight. I felt achy and tired and Bryan went to go get me some Ibuprofen and tea and that did help a lot but I wasn’t going to be able to ski this day like I had planned and hoped I would. Carina, Polly and Ryu headed to the mountain while I hung back again with now four kids and Bryan and Luis. Bryan hot tubbed again with the big girls and Brooke and they loved that. We got them lunch and then got the big girls dressed and ready for the mountain because we had scheduled them a private two-hour ski lesson together. Reese fell asleep in the car and she is the WORST at waking up from car nap. It took a lot of time and patience to get her ready and willing to participate in the ski lesson. Finally she did and I said goodbye to her and Eliana and went to retrieve Brooke so that Luis and Bryan could do some more skiing. I hung out in the ski lodge with Carina and Lucas and talked as best I could and waited for the two hours to be up. It wasn’t the most relaxing two hours. I wished that Carina would have let me watch Lucas for her but she didn’t. We picked up the big girls and Bryan came back down the mountain so that we could all go back to the house together.

Back at the house I was feeling some better. Our family of four hit the hot tub and got in showers while Ryu (and Polly) were in charge of dinner and made corned beef brisket, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots for everyone. We had another great dinner together and after putting the girls to bed on this night I lasted a bit longer in the night to watch a movie, but most of the adults were tuckered and quick to bed this go around.

We had a rough night. Reese started developing a fever and woke up crying so we got her some Tylenol and water. She went back to sleep thankfully and we woke up feeling alright. Luis (and Carina) had breakfast duty and made everyone pancakes and bacon. We enjoyed this all together one last time before we took one last hot tub soak, one more shower/bath in the big bathroom, and then packed up everything to head out.

We were on the road a little after 11, stopped only once to get a latte for the two of us to share, and got back home right at 2 pm. We unpacked the car, got a snack and stretched our legs by walking to Miller Park for some time and then hitting Safeway on the way home for a few necessities. We had an easy dinner and movie night as Reese was still under the weather and we were all tired from the busy weekend. And all four of us were home on Monday. Reese was sick and didn’t want to go to school. Our nanny and other baby were sick so we opted to tag team the day and took turns getting work done and watching the girls. It was mostly movie watching for Reese but fortunately she turned a corner Monday night and was back at school Tuesday. I am feeling better and Brooke is too. I really, really want to be done with all of these sicknesses. And I’ll still be bitter for some time that I didn’t get to go skiing.

I’m on track with my studying and are just over a month away from test date. This weekend we have two birthday parties. The temperatures are still only like a high of 50 but certainly feel more springlike these days.



February Frenzy

This happens every year…February flies by with a blink of an eye it seems. It’s a short month I know but there is something about this month that just always makes it go so quickly. I haven’t updated much of the general hubbub with talking about the girls recently but actually rather a lot has been going on in just this short month alone:

  • Had friends Georgie and family over for dinner
  • Had friends Marika and Randy over for dinner
  • Had Lottie and Sarah over for a playdate
  • Picked up Clara from school for a weeknight playdate
  • Had a school social outing at Central Cinema for Cartoon Happy Hour with 14 of Reese’s classmates and families
  • Got my hair cut and highlighted, which as Bryan knows, is an all day affair
  • Went to Bluey’s Big Play at the Paramount Theater
  • Watched the Super Bowl downtown at The Victor Tavern with friends
  • Dined at Elysian Brewing as a family
  • Had an overnight staycation at the W Hotel for one night as a mystery shop
  • Continue gymnastics on Saturdays
  • Had Luis and Carina over for an impromptu dinner
  • I had a two night work trip to Coeur D’Alene for the regional kickoff meeting
  • Reese and Bryan are currently visiting Lon and Trish in Arizona for three nights while Reese has two days off of school and to let me continue studying now that I am less than two months away from my big test

A lot has been going on, this is on top of school, Valentine’s Day, nanny share drama (which is now going smoothly and positively), touring elementary schools, interviewing with daycare centers, oh yeah, and work…

My work trip was short and sweet and only a short 45 minute flight away but it was a good trip for me. I got to connect further with my new supervisor and had my first annual review with him, which is only semi-meaningful since I have only really been contributing my work efforts in the past two months or so. I got to put faces to names of all of the district and branch managers for the Northwest Region. These are the people that I will be working with and talking to frequently so it is equally good that they can put a face to my name as well. Especially as I was the sole female in the group of 30-35 people. Between that and being in the same conference room for over 24 hours I was actually desperate to get back to the chaos and frenzy at the home life. I have one more two night work trip in Vegas mid-March and then pretty much done with work travels for the year, more or less.

Bryan and I continue to work well as a team in drop offs, pick ups, bedtimes, cleaning up around the house, etc. The girls are very cute with one another and Brooke is at ease with either of us. Interestingly though I think she misses Reese most of all when Reese is at school or this time while Reese is in Arizona.

The next season is upon us, the birthday party season. I think we have four birthday parties to attend over the span of two weekends. We also have a ski trip coming up and then that ever-looming exam. Bring it on!



Brooke Lately

Brooke’s turn…and my oh my, Brookesy Wookesy, as we like to call her, is also developing by leaps and bounds. This is one of my favorite ages, if not favorite. It can be a taxing one too as I feel like we are constantly having to keep an eye on her to see what she gets into, or climbs on, and then following her around cleaning up her messes. But she is learning words by the day, grasping commands and questions, pointing to things, shaking her head a bunch, and my absolute favorite she started just this week…she is saying “uh oh”. It’s the best! I actually think that I heard her say “uh oh” a minimum of 15 times today with the nanny.

Brooke is pretty darn stable on her feet these days and tests herself climbing up ladders, stairs, tables, even the slide in Reese’s room she managed to climb up. She is adamantly protesting Reese picking her up and carrying her around anymore. She gets so worked up about it these days. She says “Reese” a lot and of course “Dada” but still working on the rest of her vocabulary. She’s excellent at playing by herself most times, however, you must be in the room or in close proximity otherwise that is not okay. She still follows me around the house like my little mini me. She clutches at the bottom of my pant leg and holds on for dear life.

Brooke has found some favorite books “I’m Dreaming Of” and the “Babies and Doggies” books were some of Reese’s favorites too. She has become a less adventurous eater and has pretty much weaned herself off of the bottle. She loves to be outside and will bring you her hat, jacket, and shoes to get ready. Another thing we have been doing lately is saying we need to change that diaper and she goes and gets her mat ready and lays down on it herself. She’s still pretty good about getting buckled into the car and stroller and still very much enjoys being carried in the Ergo. She still loves toothbrushes and her and her sister have a dentist appointment in just a few weeks. She’s cut another tooth on the top and I think more are in the process of coming in but that makes a grand total of 3 right now.

The girl likes to dance and bop to some music. She loves swings and the toddler gym. She likes to pretend putting lipstick on me and pouts her lips to get me to pout mine. She’s definitely gotten the stranger danger vibes right now and has randomly selected strangers to break down into sobs at their nearest approach. She likes it when Reese sings to her. She likes to cuddle wrapped up in her towel after bath. Bryan has been putting her down for bed most nights and falls asleep on his chest. She’s a deep sleeper, rarely being woken by her sister, and snores to boot.

We love Brooke so much and just her fun, sweet disposition that has a bit of that sass and independence her sister has. I can’t believe how much she’s grown, although she still looks so tiny to me too.



Reese Lately

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve focused solely on the girls and their development, interests, likes, and whatnot and I thought I’d take a pause of the general banter about sicknesses (because they are never-ending), work and the day to day to talk a little bit about each of my girls.

Reese…ah, bugaboo. She is definitely growing up and we see that in so many ways, and then she prefers to sit on our lap on the couch, lay down with her at bed, wipe her booty, or refuse to go anywhere in the house herself and I realize she is still just four. And her latest saying is that she does not want to grow up. But in comparison to Brooke she does seem grown up most of the time.

Reese is definitely well liked at school and daily brings home drawings or art projects that were made by her friends to show us. I finally asked if she gives hers to others and she said no. When I asked why her friends always give her their projects she said, “Because they like me.” She had her first playdate with one of the new kids at school last week and this was truly before Bryan and I had even gotten to know her parents very well. They live around the corner from school and picked her up from school, got the girls pizza, and we just showed up at 7 pm to meet them and retrieve her. We definitely had the feeling like we were missing something until late in the evening. She has also had playdates with Clara her bestie at school, went downhill skiing for the first time with Lily, and had her old friend Georgie and family over for dinner this week.

I’m continually reminded of Reese’s true personality traits when she is at play with her good friends. And she is a good friend. But she also gets her friends to break out of their shells, take bigger risks, be more daring, be louder, and generally excitement overtakes everyone. Without fail this happens. I’m not sure the other parents should be thanking us!

So Reese loved the skiing, which was great and a very hopeful sign that there might be many more family ski days and trips in our future. She was all smiles and even protested leaving the mountain. She was totally fine continuing on skiing even after her friend and family were already headed back to Seattle. She also really enjoyed the ice skating that we did in Chicago and I’ve been wanting to take her to the rink here sometime soon.

Since the beginning of the year with the new room all set up and shared with Brooke we have really leaned into to the routine chart that we got her years ago for bedtime. She loves doing it every night which has really helped streamline the bedtime routine, be more consistent with going to the bathroom and brushing her teeth before bed, and we’ve been reading books in the glider before going to bed quietly so as not to wake up Brooke. I’ve been enjoying reading in the glider with Reese again.

The other big news with Reese is that we are currently in the process of touring schools for Kindergarten for her to start at next year. We really have three we are looking at; Madrona (our local zoned school), Stephens (where her preschool is currently located and where Brooke could end up at in another year plus), and Tops (an alternative preschool, still public though, that a few of her friends will be going to and we have heard good things about). We are firstly already enrolled in Seattle Public Schools so there is that. We toured both Stephens and Tops this week and brought Reese (and Brooke) with us. Both had a lot of positive qualities to it. I don’t think we have a wrong choice and I am now eager to tour Madrona, but now we also have a difficult choice. I still can’t believe she will be in Kindergarten next year!

We have a dentist appointment set up in a few weeks, a hair cut and an eye doctor appointment are needing to be scheduled, and in a few weeks Bryan is taking Reese on a daddy daughter trip to Phoenix to visit his parents while Reese has two days off of school and to give me a little more time to study. Reese is still Reese, and that’s exactly what she wants to be!



January is Mean

January continues to be not a very nice month for the Miller family. First, we rolled into the new year with both Brooke and Reese feeling a bit under the weather. This sickness then developed in Bryan and he spent the majority of the first week back at work working from home. Just as Bryan was starting to round the corner feeling a lot better, we had one good night of health where we had Sarah and Lottie over for dinner and one good day of health with Bryan going to the Seahawks game, and then BAM! Covid.

I thought we were done with this nonsense but I guess not. Not even 48 hours after the Seahawks game Bryan took a test and it showed up as positive. Fortunately, we are in a different place than we were a year ago for most aspects of life; Reese could still go to school wearing a mask since she was exposed but not exhibiting symptoms or testing positive, but Brooke was home with us for not one but two weeks. This definitely was not an ideal situation but I would say that Bryan and I handled it as best as we could. In general, I had the girls in the morning, getting them ready as usual and taking Reese to school. Brooke and I would hang out until about 11 am or so and then Bryan would take over from there to get himself and Brooke lunch and then put her down for a nap. I got to work the afternoon. This continued on for two weeks, with me essentially working 11 am – 5 pm or so and Bryan working 7/8 am – 2 pm with a break for lunch. I enjoyed my mornings with Brooke, taking her to a coffee shop, or a walk, or the toddler gym once (always wearing a mask just in case) and I think she liked her time at home too. Thankfully each of our companies were okay with our adjusted schedule and didn’t press us too hard so that it wasn’t anymore stressful than it needed to be.

But this isn’t to say this was how we wanted to continue on with life. Bryan’s work is at a busy time right now, going through retention meetings, having one-on-one meetings with individual employees, and still trying to set their goals for the year ahead. And for me, well I literally got my first projects that I was responsible for right as all of this started to play out. And any time during the day I had for studying was gone. But I still got my projects done and am really liking my work and I forced myself to study 1-2 hours at night so that I didn’t get behind. We made it through. Brooke is back in nanny share rotation as of Monday and it is glorious.

I’m obviously much relieved that none of the rest of us got it. We’ve all been feeling fine and that is a huge relief. And fortunately Bryan’s case this go around was not at all like last time. He had one bad afternoon and night but the rest of the time he felt okay and could work and help with Brooke and whatnot. Reese continues to love her gymnastics class on Saturdays and had a playdate with one of her besties this past Saturday beforehand. I took the girls to the bounce house one rainy Sunday and to the indoor playground called Playdate another rainy Sunday with our friends Rosalie and Anne. We’ve walked to the park when it hasn’t been raining and even spent MLK day at a park that was holding a park cleanup event that was very well attended and fueled by amazing coffee and pastries by some neighborhood cafes. We’ve spent the majority of our nights with dinner at home, puzzles, Crazy 8, movies, and baths.

Now that we are free of Covid we are letting loose again. We spent Thursday after school at the local cinema for their cartoon happy hour which was our first time but definitely not the last. It was a great time. We then walked to school for pickup and then to Redhook Brewlab for some drinks and pizza on Friday night to end the long two weeks. And we went out Monday night to Tavolata for their free rigatoni day where every table got a free rigatoni. It was also happy hour so we weren’t shy and went ahead and also ordered the chicory salad, roasted beets, pappardelle, bread and smoked fish bruschetta. The server was an amazing upseller and somehow also got us to order the fresh made to order mini doughnuts with the chocolate dipping sauce. Plus it’s our turn for date night this Thursday!

We definitely are feeling our spirits rise after two pretty rocky weeks. Everything is looking optimistic, even including studying as I’ve now officially passed the midpoint in terms of learning new material.



Michigan Christmas 2022

This year was really the first meaningful year that we spent Christmas away from home with kids and it was a relaxing, enjoyable, and white Christmas.  We were staying with my parents for nearly two weeks and it felt like a long time, in a good way.  With family leave and the little bit of vacation time I had available I was able to take almost the entirety of it off of work and Bryan took one week off himself.  This meant a lot of quality parenting time!

As mentioned in the last post, the first week was spent with a fair amount of time in memory of my Grandpa.  Brooke and I went to visit my Grandma shortly after arriving in Michigan.  I helped (but can’t take any credit) for making some photo boards for the funeral service with my mom and just having a lot of conversations with my mom about him.  Then we had the funeral and visitation that first week.  The girls did their best to have good behavior during these two days so we promised Reese to go do something fun for her after the funeral was over.  We visited a trampoline park and all had a good time.  I certainly felt a lot of stress come off me once the funeral services were over.  Reese actually visited two trampoline parks during our visit; the second time going with Grammy and Granddad.  Reese got to go swimming twice at the indoor Court One Pool and Grammy and Granddad took Reese to the free showing of the Polar Express at the theaters.

We spent Christmas Eve with my grandma and brother at my parent’s house, having our traditional king crab legs for dinner and Bryan’s grasshopper pie for dessert. On Christmas Day, after opening some presents at my parent’s house, we then went over to my Grandma’s for Christmas with the whole family. There were lots of gifts to go through, mostly food related now as that is the latest gift exchange trend for the family. There were a variety of belly-warming soups, snacks, and Christmas cookies to dine on. We didn’t leave until quite late and unfortunately that night Brooke started not feeling too well and didn’t sleep well at all.

Brooke was all levels of sick for about a week, probably reaching her worst when we spent the night in Chicago and unfortunately was back to her normal energy levels as we were boarding our flight home! Following Christmas, with all of the snow we had, we each took turns taking Reese out sledding which she really enjoyed. The temperatures started to warm up and we were finally able to build a snowman. Bryan and I enjoyed a run together which is a rare occasion these days but something we still really enjoy. The girls went to go get manicures (Reese included). And Chad and Sarah came to spend a night with us on Wednesday night and both girls greatly enjoyed their attention.

After our long visit with great meals, cooked at home and taken in, lots of reading books in the tent, puzzles, coloring, minnie mouse plane rides, hide and seek, etc, we got ready to head to Chicago on Friday morning.  Bryan picked up our rental car and we were on the road right around noon after saying our goodbyes.  Both girls did great on the drive, stopping just to get a quick bite and drink from McDonalds just as we were hitting Indiana.  We checked in to the Embassy Suites near Navy Pier, settled into our room, and then hit the sidewalk for the short walk to Navy Pier to check out their Light Up the Lake festivities which was all indoors.  It was a large exhibit of light sculptures, vendors with snacks, Reese got her face painted and we purchased her a light up magic wand that did special magic at each light sculpture exhibit.  The apex of the event though was when we got Reese out on the ice for her first time ice skating, after waiting for and watching the zambonie.  She was nervous and hesitant at first but after about an hour of skating was loving it and wants to try it again another time.  We ended the afternoon with our free ride on the ferris wheel which was beautiful, heated, and fun.  

We got back to the hotel and had reservations for dinner but Brooke wasn’t feeling well at all and super lethargic so we opted for takeout from a nearby restaurant instead.  Brooke and I actually hit the hay rather early while Reese asked Bryan a hundred questions about the Lion King in her bed.  The next morning both Bryan and Brooke still weren’t feeling well and needed more sleep so Reese and I headed down to breakfast which was super chaotic.  We brought up food for the other two and Brooke was starting to feel better.  Bryan took Reese for a quick swim in their small pool before we packed up our bags and headed for O’Hare.  We had plenty of time before our flight and got something to eat and walked around.  Our flight back to Seattle was uneventful and we got the light rail and then the bus back home, getting home just around 8 pm.  Our New Year’s Eve was not too special as we were all so tired so we mainly just all went to bed after doing some unpacking.

New Year’s Day was the day that we celebrated at home for Christmas with another round of presents and this time stockings.  The girls made out well but it did not go unnoticed that Mom did not have any presents in her stocking from Santa, so clearly Reese is worried I did something wrong this year.  Reese went over to Lottie’s for a playdate that morning which allowed Bryan and I, and Brooke at my heels, to completely rearrange all of the furniture upstairs to get the girls into their new bedroom with their new bunkbed with a slide.  It was a labor of love for sure and we had the bunkbed ready for the girl’s first night of sleep in it on 1/1 but it took another several days to free ourselves of all of the clutter, go through Brooke’s clothes to donate her 12 month clothes and pull out the 18 month clothes (which are way too big for her still), hang up the new hammock swing, and lastly get our office up to snuff with our new dual mounted monitor stands and my new stand up desk which was Bryan’s gift to me for Christmas.  We are mostly there now with only a few additional to-dos: put up the stars in the girls new room and hang up more of our photos/artwork.  We really love the layout and the girls seem to like it too which has made bedtime so much easier these days.

So that’s more or less the conclusion to our winter holidays.  Reese had many more presents to open from Grandma and Papa Miller and we joke that she is going to think that Christmas operates like Hanukkah.  Overall a great holiday season and end to a full year.



Goodbye Christmas

Where have I been?  Well, there has been a lot that has happened in the full month since my last post, when Brooke achieved that milestone 1st birthday.  Just as our littlest one was turning one year old, in the beginning of her life, my grandpa Ron was ending his own life.  For a few weeks I was trying to wrap my head around what this absence in our family would mean to me and the family.  I was still very busy with work and studying and the so-many things that need to be done and purchased leading up to the holidays and being away for two weeks but it was during the quiet hours, a moment at work or always when I put Brooke down for bed, that I would think about my many wonderful memories of my grandpa and I’d cry.

It was more difficult this year for me to fill up with holiday cheer but I tried to do my best for the girls, still putting up some decorations although we didn’t get a tree this year for the first time ever, taking them to Christmas events at Volunteer Park to see Santa, and some walks to see lights and playing Christmas music and movies at home.  We left Seattle on Sunday 12/19 headed for Michigan as we had originally intended to do anyways and I spent those first few days also reflecting on my grandpa’s life and legacy.  Of course, having talks with my mom would leave us both in tears and we took Brooke over to my Grandma’s the first day home and that triggered it all again.  I have especially focused on what this loss means for my Grandma.  She’s lost her partner in life and thankfully she has a great circle of friends and family nearby but I still can’t even imagine…which is why I’ve told Bryan that I will be going first.

But with these episodes of feeling my emotions, each time was helping me to process the loss and helped me be able to organize my thoughts around my grandfather and I got to share my memories with him at his funeral on December 22nd.  This was something that I can remember clear as day thinking at my great grandmother’s funeral, seeing my grandpa give her eulogy, that there was never going to be a time that I would be strong enough to do this, but I am proud of myself that I did.  I think I needed to, I needed to share how much I loved this man and how great of a grandfather he truly was to his grandkids.  I felt like I did gain some closure from speaking and I hope that I said meaningful things for people to hear. 

The girls were on excellent behavior during the visitation the night before and the funeral and luncheon after and I know that was a lot for them to sit through and tolerate.  There were no other kids and a lot of adult time and they did so well.  Brooke even fell asleep on Bryan during the funeral service while Reese inched her way onto Grammy’s lap.  And for me, it was good to visit with friends and family I don’t get to see often, as brief as each visit was.  However, through the funeral and the Christmas Eve and Day events themselves, it pretty much sapped my energy for much else.

I have much more to report and will work on getting updated here with our actual Christmas celebration(s), our trip in Michigan, our rearranging of the kid’s new bedroom, and goals and aspirations for the New Year in time but I wanted to first remark on my grandfather’s passing.  It was a bittersweet Christmas for sure but one I will remember forever and he left as graceful and loved as he could have been.



Baby Brooke is ONE!!!

My littlest girl is a one-year-old.  I cannot believe it.  How did the year go by so fast?  She is ever developing, ever learning new skills, new ways to be funny, things to climb on, things to get in, and ways to be mischievous.  She’s funny and hangry and loves her sister and entertaining people in general.  She’s got a great happy-go-lucky personality, smiles often, makes laser focused eye contact, and is still generally laid back during the day.  

I have so many great memories from the year.  She’s already traveled to see family in Michigan and Arizona.  She’s been to Hawaii, although she won’t ever remember that.  She’s gone swimming a few times and to the beach.  She’s been to the playground way more than Reese did at the age of one.  She’s walking everywhere now and is now learning to shut doors on me.  She can also shut the baby gate but then realizes quickly that backfires on her as she can’t open it back up.  She loves to climb up into the learning tower to watch what is going on in the kitchen, be closer to the snacks, or color on the counter.  She loves to head bop and dance.  She thinks booty dancing is great fun.  

For Brooke’s first birthday we had a party for her with her friends, Reese’s friends, and our friends at Optimism Brewing, because what better place to have a first birthday party than a brewery.  But, they have a kids play area that is enclosed, tons of space, and let you bring in your own food.  Promptly after getting back from my work trip to North Carolina, I got a pork roast in the crock pot to make a boat load of carnitas.  We brought fixings for a taco bar, rice and beans, and chips and dips.  We ordered a cake for her and the group from Safeway.  Theme was black and gold and we had balloons and party décor and a few table games for the bigger kids to keep them entertained. I think we had about 30 or so people that came out for the night and it was great to see so many friends at once. Brooke had a great time. Reese had a great time until I think she was overloaded with stimulation and needed a minute to sit in the corner of the brewery by herself for a bit before she was all good. We were there for the full three hours and headed home with minimal clean up to do.

Brooke is thoroughly content now that her squad is back. First her dad left, then her mom left her, then our nanny was out for a bit at the end of last week and we had a backup nanny for two half days. She seems super enthusiastic now that we are all back together. Give her two weeks of normalcy and then we are off to Michigan!

We love our little baby Brooke and were so happy that we got to celebrate her yesterday.



Thankful and Tired

What a long past few weeks it has seemed for me. First, Bryan was gone for the work week, then he was back but we think got the flu and was down and out for another week, then Thanksgiving and solo cooking the dinner, and then gearing up for my work trip to North Carolina, for which I leave tomorrow. I’ve had a LOT of time with the girls and I’m honestly needing this short break before the holiday season is in full swing. It will be a whirlwind of a trip for me, a long distance to go for only about 48 hours but it will be good for me to see the headquarters and meet everyone else in the engineering department for United Rentals.

So rewind, yes, Bryan got sick after his trip for work. He started feeling bad about two days post travel and hours after a Reese and Lottie sleepover at our house. He spent all of last week home from work and in bed but fortunately by the time Thanksgiving dinner came around he felt better, good enough to sit at the table with us, but still severly lacking his normal energy. We had beautiful weather on Thanksgiving day and I had prepped most of the items ahead of time so I took the girls for a walk down to the park for a little bit before Sarah and Lottie came over and we had our big meal.

For Thanksgiving dinner this year I stuck to the basics; turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, sautéed green beans, and dressing. I decided this year to break down the bird before roasting it as I wanted to try sous viding the breast like I do with chicken and so I did that for the boneless skin-on breast and roasted the remaining parts in the oven. Everything got the same dry brine the day before. I really liked this method both for flavor and tenderness but also for not having to carve a smoking hot turkey out of the oven. The breast came out super moist and tender and the seasoning was great. I also had the whole carcass to make a stock, which I did the day before right after breaking down the turkey. The stock for the dressing and gravy came out great too and the meal was good enough in my book. I really miss having a collaborative Friendsgiving or more people to share the cooking with but it was still actually enjoyable. Sarah brought over wine and a delicious apple pie that we finished the night off a la mode style.

The rest of the weekend was pretty quiet to be honest. Friday was a super rainy day so I stole away with Reese during Brooke’s nap time to go down the street to get our nails done. This was relaxing and fun to do together and Reese’s came out with rainbow glitter and flower details on her big toes and thumbs. The rest of the day was spent at home. Saturday was at least gymnastics day for Reese so she was able to get out of the house after appeasing us by watching the whole UM vs. OSU game. Victory! Brooke took a good nap during this time so I stayed home with her to do some cleaning/studying. And Sunday was a beautiful morning so we left early in the morning to go to the Seattle Center Playground for some time. The slides were still a bit wet early in the morning so we played at the playground for a short time before going for a walk to marvel at the fountain for a bit and just enjoy the sunshine. We headed back home to drop off the girls with our nanny Katie because Bryan and I had tickets to the Seahawks vs. Raiders game. We needed some time just to us and I needed some time apart from the girls. It was a great game, going all the way to overtime, but unfortunately the Seahawks let a player break free and run the full length of the field for a touchdown which lost the game for us. We headed back home, picking up barbeque from Woodshop on our way to finish out the weekend.

This week we have unexpectedly been greeted with some snow. Nothing is sticking but it’s made for an adventure nonetheless. I couldn’t bike the girls Tuesday morning so we bussed/walked instead and I think Brooke found the snow super interesting. Then Tuesday night the power went out for some unknown reason. Fortunately we had already had dinner and our baths so we were just sitting down to a movie when it happened. However, when the power came back on, around 9 pm, I think it surprised Brooke and this led us to having a midnight party in Brooke’s bed where she did not think it should be sleep time and I spent three hours awake trying to get her asleep. I’m quite tired this morning and have an early wake up tomorrow to head to the airport so it is an early bedtime for me tonight.

I’ll be gone the next two nights and then back Saturday night, just in time to celebrate Brooke’s 1st birthday party both at home and out with friends. I cannot believe she is already a year old, although I can because her personality has really been coming out lately. Off to Greensboro for me. Good luck to Bryan and the girls!



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.