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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

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4 Years Old!

Big sister Reese is really growing up, and I feel is especially taking the big sister role seriously lately. That, and she has asked to read her big sister book at bedtime nearly every night for the past week. The two girls are honestly really cute together and Brooke still just adores and admires Reese (90% of the time). Let’s take a look at Reese lately, as she gears up to turn 4.

  • Reese’s latest playground endeavor is the monkey bars. These have become quite the fun challenge for Reese and she can do most any at the park but can’t always reach the top to get started.
  • Lately Reese has talked a lot about being brave and will say when she is being brave.
  • We’ve done away with naps on the weekend which makes bedtime on those nights so much easier. We might ask the teachers to not have her nap at school in the next year for this very reason.
  • Reese loves to drum, beat, and dance and the cutest thing is that Brooke likes to drum, beat, and dance to Reese’s music. The two girls start bopping and I just love it!
  • Her latest favorite color is “rainbow”. She likes all of the colors and everything needs to be the color “rainbow”.
  • She can count to 19. Hasn’t hit the 20 yet and likes to leave out 15 or 17 sometimes.
  • She loves to sing the ABCs and now also likes to use “EENY, MEENY, MINY, MOE” to choose things, which have already been chosen in her head but she still likes to play the game of chance until it ends up right.
  • She’s still loving dress up. She dons the ballerina costume so frequently and it seems to be of interest to friends that come over too. Needless to say, her birthday party is going to be a dress up princess party.
  • Reese has been practicing reading books. I think she is trying to memorize certain books so that she can read them to Brooke.
  • She has gotten much more into stuffies lately. She likes to sort her stuffies by boys or girls and then sleeps with the girl stuffies and whoever is laying down with her gets the boy stuffies.
  • She is still really liking school. She often says its her favorite thing in the day and I think she has made a lot of friends at her school.
  • She’s starting to voluntarily put her face in the water, blow bubbles, hold her breath, etc. I find this pretty courageous as I know a lot of kids her age still don’t like doing this at all. I still want to work with her in the water to start working on her swimming skills.
  • When she gets upset, most times she will take herself out of the situation and go calm down somewhere else. This is generally her bed but sometimes she will find other cool down spots.
  • If Bryan and I are having a conflict Reese intervenes and asks if we are making the other mad or sad and for what reason and then asks us to give the other a hug. It’s honestly the cutest thing.
  • We are doing a lot of role playing lately; teacher, mom, baby, and of course the almighty doctor. The imagination is definitely flowing these days.
  • She is truly a great friend; sympathetic, understanding, caring, and definitely a player.

Both Bryan and I love Reese to death and think she’s just the greatest. Brooke thinks so too. I can’t believe we have a four year old and I can’t believe we only have one more year until she will be entering Kindergarten.

Chelsea

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The Tales of a 4 Year Old Birthday Party

Requests:

  • princess
  • dress up
  • rainbow cake
  • park/playground
  • lots of friends
  • birthday song and candles

She shall receive. Last night we celebrated Reese’s 4th birthday and were delighted that so many of her friends and their families were able to join us. We decided rather last minute to move the party to a small park near us that is usually very quiet but super cute and shaded. We started the party right after school was over for the day. Bryan and I left about an hour early with the car packed full of party supplies and picking up the balloons we had dropped off and ice from Safeway on the way. We made quick work unloading the car, setting up a folding table and decorating that with the princess party plates and cups, put up a “Happy Birthday” banner over the monkey bars and a few other streamers on the playground equipment. We had some watermelon and a veggie tray and ordered a bunch of pizzas from Pagliacci’s.

Bryan then left me to finish set up and picked up Brooke (in her princess dress) and then Reese (in her unicorn princess dress) and Reese ran out of the car upon arrival to check everything out. She was pretty excited, to say the least, and loved everything. Party guests started to arrive and the kids kept themselves pretty entertained on the playground equipment, with the cars and wagons located around the park, and putting on and taking off the different dress up costumes we brought with us. Most parents got to enjoy themselves just sitting and talking, maybe with beer in hand. We were there for just about three hours and our last guests left around 4:30 PM when we started to pack up our things. The nice thing about park parties is that the mess gets picked up but there is no mess at the house!

Reese had a wonderful time. Both girls were sweaty and dirty and got in a quick bath once home. Reese crashed pretty hard when it was her bedtime, Brooke however needed some coercing to go down. It was a great party and I’m just thrilled that Reese had such a wonderful time with her friends.

Chelsea

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Sweet Summer

This past week and weekend has felt very summery still, very warm still, and yet I still have the knowledge that summer will be coming to an end in the not so distant future and I seriously don’t want it to. I want to hold on to the remaining weeks we have left of summery with all my might!

Last week went by in a flash it felt like. After our camping trip we were facing temps in the 80s all week and weekend. We went to the Volunteer Park wading pool on two afternoons, once with a friend and once in conjunction with the Interlaken park play date combined birthday party for one of Reese’s classmates. Both times was nice to cool off in the water or the shade and spend time with fellow parents. We spent another day in a shaded park after school and the rest of the week Reese chose to go home and play at home for the night.

Bryan took two friends to the Seahawks one and only home preseason game against the Bears. He was not impressed with the quarterback situation we have this year but had fun at the game no less and got to catch up with some friends. This was one of the nights we went “swimming” and then I gave the girls a bath because they were so dirty and sweaty and then did not fair very well putting them down for bed by myself. All four of us were spent come Friday night and opted for just dinner and a movie at home.

Saturday started out nice and slow and we had most of the day free until we headed north to Shoreline for our friend’s son’s first birthday party. We got to play and hang out in their yard and they grilled a bunch of food. Reese had a great time with Eliana and pretty much entertained themselves with all of their fun toys. Brooke crashed on the way home and Reese was not too difficult to put to bed after the party either.

Sunday was a busy but fun day. I took the girls to gymnastics first and then we went straight from there to the nearby Jefferson Park so that Reese could play at the park (Brooke swung in the swings and watched) and from there Bryan took over so that I could go play in my soccer game. We won 2-1 and I headed back with the rest of the crew to home.

Brooke took an epic nap, Reese and I played, and then we had the sitter come over around 5:30 PM when Bryan and I headed to the eastside with our picnic bag to meet up with friends at the Chateau St Michelle winery for the Fitz and the Tantrums and Andy Grammar concert. We had a blast! We had no issues with traffic, parking or lines as I feared. Our friends had gotten there earlier and save us spots with them on their blankets. They had also purchased several bottles of wine for our group to enjoy through the night. With all of us contributing we had quite the epic picnic spread of cheese, salamis, olives, fruit, cookies, and veggies with dip. Fitz fortunately played last so everyone was on their feet to dance in the dark. It was a great concert and we are both feeling it this morning!

We have a birthday party to get ready for this week and one excited nearly-4-year-old who is ready for it. It’s also her last week of school before a week and a half break before the new “school year” starts.

Chelsea

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Going on a Camping Trip

Although some might find this past weekend’s camping trip not resembling camping all too much, that’s still what we are going to call it. We spent two, successful, nights in a tent with the girls, didn’t shower, and had a fire and laid in a hammock. We did not cook any of our own food however, haha, but why would you when there is such good food to be had on Orcas Island!

Bryan and I packed, rather quickly, Friday morning to set out on this weekend’s adventure, and by noon we were ready to buckle in Brooke and pickup Reese early from school. Reese had the morning at school featuring a visit from a magician, which sounds super fun, but she was ready and eager to get to the ferry for our trip. We had about 90 minutes to drive up to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal, Reese watched a movie and Brooke took too short of a nap. We got to the ferry extra early so we explored the terminal and the nearby beach before the ferry was ready for us (it was also late to arrive). Our scheduled 3:45 PM ferry set off and we walked around the boat taking in the views.

Our 50 minute ferry arrived on Orcas and we drove the 15 minutes to Eastsound to have dinner at Mijitas, a Mexican restaurant that is very popular and features a huge serene outdoor space. We placed our order pretty quickly, the fresh chips and salsa arrived, the margarita, and not too much longer our food. And it was delicious. Both Bryan and I got the dungeness crab enchiladas that were super meaty, buttery and had just the right kick of spice to them. Reese got a quesadilla that also concluded with ice cream and she was happy as well.

After dinner, we drove the short drive to West Beach Resort to set up camp for the weekend. We were site 49A and it was a quiet shaded spot at the back of the camping sites. I had received a free 6-person tent recently off of Buy Nothing which was a great item to have on this trip. We had tons of space and being able to stand up in the tent to change was super nice. We got everything all set up and then walked to check out the amenities. Reese found several kids already playing on the small but cute playground. She spent some time there while Bryan got a drink at the little shop. We were approaching sunset so the entire campground seemed to migrate to the shore to catch it. The resort has a big bonfire each night at sunset and puts out free popcorn, which the kids all loved. We got another bowl of ice cream since they carry the really great Lopez Island Ice Cream at the store. We spent some time down by the water before it was getting to be too late for the girls. We headed back to our site and Reese met the four-year-old girl who was camping next to us. They played for a bit while I put Brooke down and then not too much later the rest of us retreated to our tent for the night since it was well past dark.

We woke Saturday morning after a pretty good night of sleep. I had picked up some pastries before leaving Seattle and we had those plus a latte from the camp store and some fruit for breakfast. Reese played a bit more with our neighbor but she was getting ready to head back to her home so we had to quickly say our goodbyes too. We packed up the car and headed to Moran State Park with the intention to hike Mt. Constitution with the girls. We made pb&js in the parking lot and filled up our water bottles.

Bryan carried Reese the whole way and I had Brooke. We made it the full 7+ miles and 1,200 feet of gain up to the top, despite Reese’s protest as she was not enthused with this day’s event. Once to the top though, Reese enjoyed the views and walking up to the top of the stone tower a few times. Once we had a snack and some water we headed back down and truly made great time.

Back to the car we first stopped at the main camp at Moran to play at their little playground. We then drove to the tiny town of Olga to get lunch/dinner at Buck Bay Shellfish Farm. It was busy but we ordered our food and received after not too long, and Brooke was able to get a nap in during this wait and the majority of the meal. We had a truly fantastic seafood meal under a giant wheeping willow tree with several other tables and it was just perfection. We got the halibut fish and chips and the taco trio, featuring cajun salmon, grilled halibut, and grilled shrimp tacos, a large house salad with all of the greens grown in their own garden, a local huckleberry soda, and an Island Hoppin’ kolsch from the on-island brewery. Again, perfection. You could also view Buck Bay from the tables.

We drove back to our campsite, with a stop at the store to get Reese candy as we had promised her on the hike, and once back all rested in the hammock or the tent for some time. We then decided to make use of the resort’s hot tub to soak our muscles and all changed into our suits to do so. This was fantastic as we had the hot tub to ourselves and it felt so good on our backs, was slightly cool this day anyways, plus we had views of the beach and the setting sun. We changed and then picked up a pizza from the shop as well as a brownie fudge sundae that we ate back at our campsite as Brooke was already sound asleep. We made a fire at our campsite with the wood found around us and then Reese soon after was tired and quickly fell asleep. Bryan and I got to enjoy the fire for another hour or two, along with a drink in hand, before Brooke woke up and we all made our way into the tent.

On Sunday morning, Brooke woke me up before 7 am so I put her in the Ergo to go for a walk not to wake anyone else up. We walked down the lengthy dock over some beautiful still water, along the beach, and back to the campsite where the other two were now awake. We started to put away our camp to go ahead and check out and explore the town of Eastsound a bit. I had wanted to get brunch at New Leaf Cafe and we sat on their covered porch overlooking the water and it was pure bliss, at least once I got my coffee and Brooke got a banana. I got the crab cake benedict, Bryan the pork with mole and fried eggs which was like a build your own breakfast taco plate, and Reese the kids waffle which was excellent. After breakfast, we strolled through town and stopped in the main park area to check out their play structure but to our delighted surprise there was a big band concert setting up in the pavillion. Reese made a new friend from Georgia and we watched her play, Brooke napped in the stroller, and we sat listening to the music sipping our coffee.

After quite some time there we decided to start our voyage back home. We tried to get on the 12:20 PM ferry but that was full so we settled on the 2:20 PM ferry like we had booked. We took a quick drive around Westsound and Deer Harbor and then drove back to the ferry terminal to check in and park, got out, shopped in the gift shop and bought a chocolate chip cookie and then chips and water from the grocery store before sitting by the terminal for awhile. When the ferry arrived, Bryan drove the car on and I walked on with the girls. We had another beautifully scenic ferry ride, but one that slowed due to whale sightings, so we arrived back to Anacortes a bit late. We got in the car and Brooke immediately fell asleep for the whole duration home and Reese watched one movie and then was D.O.N.E. with the car. She then took a quick nap and both girls woke up about five minutes from home in not great moods. It took about an hour to get both girls better adjusted and fed and took Bryan equally long unpacking the car. Brooke got her first bath from the weekend and then took forever to go down. Reese was bone tired but also took forever to go down. Sometime after 10 pm I was done putting both girls to bed, showered, and done picking up stuff.

It was a wonderful weekend with some great memories. It was a good first weekend camping with both girls and now we know we can do it. We still love Orcas Island very, very much. Not looking forward to a week of work and these next two weeks are still fairly busy but the weeks themselves not so much so that is good.

Chelsea

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Six Years Married

This past weekend marked the weekend of Bryan and I meeting and Bryan and I saying “I do”. It is always a special weekend when SeaFair comes along and honestly, the weekend is just one big party in town, whether we are celebrating with friends or alone. We had a great, hot, weekend, filled with a lot of water play, friends, and enjoying one another and summertime.

After another Thursday night concert in the park with Latin Jazz this time and being joined by adult friends of ours, Bryan and I worked Friday morning and then took Friday afternoon off. We had tickets to the Seahawks Training Camp practice down in Renton and it was a beautiful day. Our nanny asked for the afternoon off so we took Brooke with us, picked up poke bowls, boarded the school buses, and got dropped off at the Virginia Mason Athletic Complex to mainly focus on who is going to be our quarterback this year. After a beautiful afternoon spent contemplating this question, the answer is still out. We drove back to get Reese and caught the first official show of the Blue Angels while driving on the freeway. We spent the night with Reese at Montlake Park before heading home for dinner.

Saturday was our planned day to watch the air show and float but first we had to start with 8-month pancakes. We spent the morning playing at home, Bryan got me six roses in celebration of our anniversary, and in the afternoon we packed up our stroller with tubes, towels, and snacks and walked east towards Lake Washington and Madrona Beach. The beach was packed and the lake was rocking from all of the boat activity but we found a spot on the sand and took turns taking Reese out in the tubes, playing in the sand, snacking on chips and hummus, and then our friends (Georgie’s family) joined us, whom live just a short walk away from this beach. The girls played a lot in the water and then the sand. They opted to watch the airshow in the tube on shore with their headphones on. After watching the Blue Angels from the shore we walked up to their house (which is on our way home) and had some drinks and snacks on their back deck, Reese played and had dinner with their two kids, and then before it got too late we walked back to our house so Bryan and I could have our own dinner. Both girls were quite tired but still hung in there until pretty late.

Sunday morning began and we started like normal with gymnastics. Bryan took the girls so that I could play the first half of my soccer game and then we all met up at Madison Park playground to celebrate Lottie’s 4th birthday. Sarah got together a group of Lottie’s friends, we were the only ones not from her school, and the kids had a good time playing on the playground before the day got too hot. Sarah ordered some pizzas and we sang “Happy Birthday” to Lottie and shared some cupcakes before the party started to wind down. We gifted Lottie a kid’s digital camera that ended up being a big hit amongst the kids as they walked around the park taking pictures of various things. Reese heard the ice cream truck and ran it down to get a snow cone and then we decided to cool off in the lake for a bit, since it was right there, before heading back home. We took turns swimming with Reese while Brooke napped in the stroller and once cooled off headed home. We got home in time to catch the Blue Angels from our back deck, which was equally exciting this year.

We had dinner then both girls took a bath to clean off all of the sand and water from the weekend and shockingly Reese went up to bed herself and fell asleep around 7 pm. I cannot tell you the last time this has happened or she went down that early. She actually beat Brooke, who went down just after her, so Bryan and I were alone with each other at the early hour of 7:30 pm and didn’t even know what to do with ourselves. It didn’t take long though and we opened a bottle of wine and actually had a conversation and treated this night like our real anniversary. I was worried the whole time that Reese would be waking up either before we went to bed or in the middle of the night but neither happened, she slept until nearly 7 am the next morning!

We obviously had a lot of sun and fresh air and the swimming and playing I think took it out of all of us this weekend. It was a lovely summer weekend during what is always a very busy month for us. August still has a lot in store for us but fortunately we are getting a bit of a break with the hot temperatures. Especially since we will be camping in a tent this weekend! Happy SeaFair and Happy 6th Anniversary to us!

Chelsea