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Millers Unite in Arizona

We got to spend five days in sunny Phoenix with some quality time with Grandma and Papa Miller. It was our first time flying as a family of four, Brooke’s first flight ever and introduction to her grandparents, and our first time seeing Bryan’s parent’s new digs. We had no set itinerary but a few things we wanted to do while we were there and it was the perfect mix of both rest and relaxation and spending some quality time as a family.

We were packed and ready to go on Saturday morning. We drove to the airport, took the shuttle from the parking lot, took the train in the airport to our gate, took the plane to Phoenix and then drove to the Miller’s new house. The girls did pretty good with the trip although there was no nap to be had for Reese (an occurrence that happened more than once during this trip). We got the grand tour and the car unpacked and Reese immediately made herself comfortable by taking in every room, the backyard and the toys. We even did a down and back in the neighborhood on the tricycle before dinner. Trish had made some delicious spaghetti and meatballs for us and a surprise pudding for dessert and we enjoyed catching up with one another on this first night.

We had three full days ahead of us and we had more toys to explore and spent a lot of time in these days building towers in the backyard, swinging on their porch swing, getting various snacks, and watching some movies.

We spent Sunday morning walking/biking to a few different parks in the adjacent neighborhood. These parks were surrounded by sand which I think Reese enjoyed more than even the park itself. We set out to try a Mexican place near the new casa but unfortunately were disappointed by this highly rated restaurant. The best part of the meal were the alcoholic drinks but unfortunately the chips and dips were pretty lackluster and all of our tacos and burritos were cold and not the best. I was just delighted that Brooke fell asleep in her car seat at the restaurant!

On Monday we decided to hit the pool at the Miller’s new complex. We walked to the clubhouse and Grandma and Papa met us there. Although it was only in the low 60s while we were there the pool was heated to a nice warm temperature and the sun was hot. It was surprisingly comfortable being in the water, just chilly once you got out. We even took a dip in the hot tub, which Reese was technically not allowed in. Brooke was not allowed in the pool thanks to their “no diaper” policy, but she enjoyed hanging out by the water for awhile. Reese conked out after the time in the sun and water and took a nice long nap, then woke up pretty irritable. Lon and Trish picked up Chinese food from Chou’s while out running some errands and we had a nice takeout dinner at home.

Tuesday was the day that Bryan and I were aiming to get a hike in at the nearby San Tan Mountains. Lon and Trish’s new place is only a short 15 minute drive to the trailhead for the mountains and Bryan scouted what ended up being a nice 4.5 mile loop to take. Bryan carried Reese on his back and I had Brooke on my front and we left the car just after 11 am. The hike up was short but steep and we took a breather at the top at the bench to take in the views and get some water. From here, Reese walked some of the distance down the steep backside of the mountain before getting back in her pack, and we continued from there for a lengthy but relatively flat walk around the mountain and back to the car. Mid-hike, we promised a bored Reese another stint at the pool, so we made some good time to get back to the car in time to get Reese back to the pool before 3 pm (when kids are no longer allowed at the pool). Reese got about a 10 minute nap in but as soon as we were back home to change into swimsuits for swimming she was full throttle excited and jumping around. The grandparents tagged along while Brooke and I remained behind at the house to relax a bit and keep the baby out of the sun. Reese came back purely exhausted after such an eventful day and Trish cooked up a wonderful last dinner at home of ono fish and then we had a backyard campfire complete with s’mores.

Wednesday was our last day in Arizona and we were flying back in the early afternoon. After having a disappointing Mexican dinner we decided on hitting an old standby, Si Senor, for an early large lunch before our flight. It was delicious as usual and then we made it to the airport to say our goodbyes and check in for our flight just before 1 pm. Our flight went smooth and we pulled another no-napper for Reese which meant we had one irritable and tired toddler on our hands. We’ve learned no car seat on the plane means no nap for Reese and we are already trying to figure out our approach for our next two lengthier flights we have coming up. Brooke did the same and once back in Seattle we had the train, to the bus, to the car and finally made it back home just after 6 pm Seattle time. It was good to be home but we had lots of good memories and even a little tanner skin to remember our time in Phoenix by. Just two more weeks before our next trip. Time is just flying by!

Chelsea

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Brooke is Three Months

This last week we are celebrated little miss Brooke turning a whopping three months old but I had yet to write about it. So much has happened already in her short little life and yet there is so much more to come. She is always full of smiles and chatter but let’s take a closer look at Brooke’s developing personality, likes, and dislikes…

  • Brooke still loves laying on her activity mat and will do so for chunks of time. Still not too keen at swatting at the hanging objects but loves to push and kick the side bars to make all of the objects move at once.
  • Brooke also has found a liking to her boppy pillow and Bryan has found this to work best for bottle feeding.
  • She is also taking to her Wubba pacifier these days, which helps calm her but has also helped with the introduction to bottle feeding. It helps that she can start to hold onto the Wubba herself.
  • She did not like getting her two month vaccines. She did not tolerate it well that night and it was a rough night for Mama. It was a rough night for Daddy and Reese too before putting Brooke to bed. We were able to give her Infant Tylenol after calling the nurse’s line but she was still needing a lot of comfort during the night.
  • Brooke is still a petite little thing compared to babies her age. Like her sister, and I think like both her mom and dad were too.
  • Brooke has really become more alert and aware of her surroundings in just the past week or two. She has been coined “Big Eyes” by her big sister, as she looks around at her environment. She is wide awake on walks these days until the motion is too much for her to handle staying awake and really enjoyed a walk through the giant trees in the Arboretum this past week.
  • Brooke is all eyes on Reese when Reese is in the room. She watches her closely. Her first laugh was more of a chuckle and came during a Reese and Daddy dancing routine. Made me chuckle.
  • Brooke still doesn’t love car rides or her car seat but is gradually getting better.
  • Brooke is starting to desire to face out in the Ergo carrier these days, so that she gets a better view of what is going on around her.
  • We went to visit friends two weekends ago who have a 1-year-old and it was the first time Brooke saw a baby and she was fascinated. She wanted to be close and watched that baby the whole time.
  • Brooke is smiley, every morning when she wakes up and just generally throughout the day, and I am here for the smiles!
  • Brooke is a talker. She is constantly having conversations with herself on her mat or to us when we sit next to her. I just love it so much all her cute sounds that she is strumming together.
  • The girl has found her hands and sucks on them a lot. That and the amount of drool she is currently producing makes me think there is some teething going on, even though I don’t think she is anywhere close to actually getting teeth.
  • We haven’t done a whole lot of tummy time but she has fantastic head and neck control probably from always trying to look around the room when we carry her. She also loves to pull up to stand on her own legs.
  • Brooke was not a fan of the (artificial) grass in Arizona. I think she found it too prickly on her skin but it was pretty funny when you would set her on it she would instantly start to scream. She did just fine laying on a blanket on the grass in the shade though and seemed to like that a lot.
  • Brooke did decently well on her first roundtrip flight. There wasn’t a ton of sleeping going on but she was mostly content and quiet on the flight. I remember Reese just conking out on flights at this age but that does not appear to be Brooke just yet but we also didn’t have her car seat on the plane with us.

That is Brooke this month. She’s a cutie and I love her and can’t wait to see what the next month entails!

Chelsea

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Onwards and Upwards

We have made it through. We “defeated” COVID, or maybe it “defeated” us, but we are out the other side with all of us testing negative and feeling like a million dollars, or at least feeling pretty invincible these days. I’m back to being able to drop or pick up Reese, go into stores or restaurants, or you know, just feel like a wanted human being in this crazy world we are living. In addition to pushing past the illnesses in the household, we have accomplished a few other things this week:

  • Found Reese a replacement preschool as hers is closing in the summer. We actually were able to choose where she was going to go with multiple options which was a blessing but also rather easy to narrow it down to our preferred school. Even after luckily getting a lottery spot and the very unique and interesting outdoor preschool run through UW, we toured that option and decided against it. Just didn’t feel it was the right spot for Reese nor did it really feel warm and inviting to us. Plus her new school will have one friend she knows attending and starting with her!
  • We chatted with our potential nanny share family and are already off to a much less stressful start this go around; already knowing and having used and loved the nanny we plan to use and knowing (albeit barely) and feeling comfortable with the other share family. I can’t tell you how good this feels this go around and I’m hoping for a similar experience to ours with Sarah and Lottie, but that would be tough to beat. I mean COVID has certainly brought us even closer and we don’t want to go through that again.
  • We were able to finalize our vacation schedule to visit both of our families and nothing should stand in the way of those visits now. Plus I can actually start to visualize and dream of our Maui vacation and I AM SO EXCITED!
  • Brooke has successfully drank from the bottle with Bryan. After Daddy Daycare Day #1 was not so successful and thus not so stress-free for poor Bryan, Brooke started drinking from the bottle on Day #2, finding her right position and that feels like a major success. I know it provides Bryan a sense of relief in the ability to feed Brooke and now be able to go out and do things with her while he takes his paternity leave but it also provides me an equal sense of relief knowing that my ticking clock is not always on when I leave the house. Plus, now it might actually be possible to get a sitter for a night when we are ready for it…I think Reese will have the most difficulty with that concept at the moment.
  • We have even gotten out of the house and dined at a restaurant (mystery shopping too!) for the first time in eons and that felt as relaxing as it could when dining with two children, which was surprisingly pretty relaxing. Helps that the location is also a brewpub so the brews definitely helped with winding us down.
  • We got Brooke into the doctor’s office for her well baby checkup (a month late) and her vaccines and it’s good to know that the delay in our visit won’t hinder our vaccination schedule moving forward. I felt like I was back at Reese’s 2 month well baby check up; we have a very alert baby with excellent strength, good eye contact, nice muscle tone, happy demeaner and she falls in the 7th percentile for weight, 32nd percentile for height, and 5th percentile for BMI. I think Bryan and I are starting to get the picture that Brooke and Reese are more similar than different so we will just see if it continues that way. But the doctor says that Brooke looks healthy and happy so my only complaint right now is disrupted sleep patterns ever since she had COVID.

So as you can see things are looking up. I feel bad that I’ve portrayed the last few months as doom and gloom. There have been so many good times and a lot of extra time I’ve gotten with both of my girls, but there were a lot of hurdles and stressful days and moments in there, and I really felt like I had to live by the hour and really live in the present moment to survive. It feels good now that we have some breathing room, some social life, and some normalcy back in place. So good! I’m back at work and that has it’s pros and cons but overall it’s been good and we have our first trip coming up on Saturday and we are ready for AZ and to see Grandma and Papa Miller.

Chelsea

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What Comes Around Goes Around

We’ve now all been positive. With every single case I’ve thought that maybe the remaining unaffected individuals in the house had been spared, but one by one, we’ve all fallen. Reese seven full days after Bryan, then Brooke five days after Reese, and now me five days after Brooke. Fortunately, Bryan was the only one that had major symptoms (poor Bryan) while the rest of us have been mildly affected. It’s looked a little different for each of us…

Bryan:

  • Sore throat
  • Aches
  • Fever of 103
  • Fatigue
  • Cough

Reese:

  • Irritable?!?
  • Slight fever to 100
  • Red watery eyes
  • Not a large appetite

Brooke:

  • Irritable
  • Slight fever to 100
  • Red watery eyes
  • Bad sleep at night
  • A lot of nursing at nighttime
  • Slightly lethargic during the day

Me:

  • Congestion
  • Some aches towards nighttime
  • Itchy watery eyes

I really didn’t want to take a test. A part of me was wondering if I could just ignore the mild symptoms I was having because the last thing I wanted to do was cancel our trip to Michigan again. I couldn’t do that I know though and as soon as I took the test it showed up, very positive. Now on my fourth day and still no stronger symptoms than previously, I took another test and it is still very positive.

Alas, we have rescheduled our flights one more time, now to the end of March. I’m back to starting at work next week, with me working from home entirely at least for the first few weeks (probably until after Michigan) since we have yet to get Brooke on the bottle, nor really been able to try her on the bottle. But Bryan’s paternity leave is inching closer and he’s super stoked for that time with Brooke and time off of work. We still have our trip to Arizona that will remain unaffected and we are looking forward to that! This whole COVID experience has derailed two attempts to going to Michigan, our Super Bowl party plans, and our ski trip with friends which would have been Reese’s first time skiing. Not to mention the many, many days out of school for Reese. Thank you, thank you, that at least she was able to return to school yesterday, with her daddy taking her since I’m “sick”.

The rest of Reese’s time at home was of course a lot to handle for me, and I’m glad she is back at school (and truthfully she is too), but we managed and we were able to have some good times too. We went on a lot of walks. We went to some new playgrounds that are fortunately empty during the weekdays. Reese has gotten so good at both her tricycle and her scooter. Reese has got to spend a lot of time with her baby sister and for the most part does help out with Brooke, especially on the entertaining aspect. It’s also helped a lot that Bryan has not been in isolation to help with Reese’s nap time and bed time. Helped so much! Reese has enjoyed bath times immensely and we picked up some new play doh from a neighbor and have tried a few other art or science activities but the girl is far more entertained by playing outside, dancing and rough housing so…yeah, I’ve enjoyed just sitting the past few days with a baby in my arms.

I think I managed one workout, two showers, and a little bit of reading for myself in the past week! Not a whole lot of self care being had around here. I seriously could use a mani-pedi and a haircut.

Cinnamon roll and movie in bed on President’s Day

Reese was back at gymnastics this week and then her daddy took her to the Museum of Flight when one of her friends invited them to go with them. That meant I had a full morning to myself with Brooke. I did somehow get around to a baking project that I have been wanting to try for a little bit, some homemade cinnamon rolls. Bryan thought they were good so that is all that matters and I enjoyed them in bed on our last day at home. Reese also had a sleepover at Lottie’s house on Friday night which might have been the best gift of the past year so far. Bryan and I had dinner at 5, both went upstairs to bed to put Brooke down while watching Ozarks, sharing a bottle of wine and a bunch of chocolates and I was asleep well before 9 pm. Then we had a nice quiet morning to ourselves which was equally glorious. We had Sarah and Lottie over Sunday night for takeout Chinese, as has become somewhat of a Sunday night dinner tradition to get together with them.

Despite having COVID right now I am feeling good and staying as sane as I can. I’m just trying to take in these last few days at home with Brooke before work starts back up for me. I’d love to be able to go out and do things, especially with Bryan, but it will probably be several days until I’m no longer contagious. Ugh…I’m ready to put all this behind us.

Chelsea

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Positively Over This

It’s honestly amazing that I am even finding the energy or time to write this post. But I also want to remember this time that our family struggled and persisted! It’s been just that; a struggle and persistence to manage through these past few weeks. It’s felt like a never-ending saga, and I’m ready for it to come to an end.

It really started a full two weeks ago, when we were notified that Lottie tested positive less than 12 hours after leaving our house. We pulled Reese out of school and immediately got everyone in our household tested with a PCR test, all of which came back negative. We got Reese back in school and just as we were hoping that we narrowly missed getting infected, Bryan messages me Friday morning to say that he’s positive and staying in the nursery/office. Um, okay, here we go. It’s me and the two girls and no school for Reese and I’m not even sure what I have in store for myself.

So now that Bryan is essentially out of the picture, I’m juggling my rambunctious and high-energy three year old and my two month old by myself. And I do this for a week! The three of us all went to get another round of PCR tests that first day that Bryan tested positive and after waiting 24 hours again, they all come back negative. At this point, I am not too concerned with still going out to public, however we don’t do a whole lot of that. On Friday, we managed a nice long walk with the double stroller to go pick up some Chinese noodles for takeout in Capitol Hill to bring back for all of us. On Saturday, I piled the girls in the car to head south to Maple Valley and a friend’s recommendation for the Gnome Trail. This was a 1/2 mile walk in the woods where thousands of gnomes are placed along the path and is a big hit with kids. Well, Brooke hates car rides so she wasn’t down for the 45 minute drive each way, and Reese felt the need to first collect the gnomes (which I immediately stopped) and then touch every single gnome on the trail. I about lost my mind on this trip. I had packed a lunch in Reese’s bento box for her and settled in for the 45 minutes of screaming from Brooke in the backseat.

On Sunday, we stuck with our plans for gymnastic class and I was happy to have something organized for Reese to go to. She loved it and the weather was beautiful so we walked to the park nearby afterwards to play in the sunshine and give Bryan some time to get out of his room if he desired. On Monday we took the car (and Reese) to the car wash and then set out to St Edward State Park in Kirkland to explore this new to us park. I would have loved to walk the trails with the girls but it was sprinkling and not pleasant so we just played in the empty but amazing playground for some time and then got fast food on our way home. In the afternoon we baked some cookies and took the double stroller up the hill to drop them off at Lottie’s and talked to them through their windows for about 10 minutes. And our last day at home during our quarantine from Bryan’s exposure was Tuesday and Reese wanted to go to the bounce house. Our normal one wasn’t open on Tuesday so we drove to Redmond to check out theirs. It was lame in comparison but also completely empty. Reese had the three structures to herself and then spent about 15 minutes kicking a soccer ball around with me and running sprints across the length of the field several times. We finished the afternoon off with a long walk to pick up our Seattle Fish Guys meal kit (that I am now so happy I had ordered this time around).

Finally on Wednesday I got to drop Reese back off at school and I took a long walk to get a coffee and then home to just decompress. By Wednesday, Reese was done with me, my games, my demands, and me not being able to give her the attention that she wants or needs with a newborn attached to me at all times. I felt like a zombie but at least I had the relief of her in school. And I also thought we were again in the clear. So Reese was at school for Wednesday and Thursday, giving me two days of mild relaxation, but also nights alone putting both girls to bed and doing dinner with just the girls. Friday morning was the worst. I give all three of us girls home tests (as I had been doing every morning that week) and could not believe my eyes that Reese’s turned positive. I thought for a minute if I could pretend I didn’t see it, but I knew morally I could not. I still asked Reese several times if she was sick and she said no. Of course, at the same time, Bryan was taking another test and his was finally “nearly” negative. So our reunion with daddy was not with hugs and laughs but with him in a mask needing to comfort us all because Reese is now home from school for ten days.

I cried. I talked to Bryan and cried. I talked to my mom and cried. I really couldn’t take anymore stress and schedule eruption. But I did. We notified Reese’s school and fortunately they did not have to close down for our case like they had for others since the positive test came on a day she hadn’t been there yet. At least there was that. And we did have Bryan back although I knew that he would have to continue working so I would be on my own with the girls during the days again.

The weekend was quiet and mostly at home with a few walks. We finally got Brooke’s two month waffles in, and will live in infamy as Bryan is holding Brooke for the photo wearing a mask. Bryan actually didn’t take his mask off until Monday of this week and didn’t hold Brooke until today! I took the girls for a walk in the sunshine to an empty park Saturday morning and we stumbled upon a tricycle that was on the curb for free that Reese immediately took to. She practically rode it home and then proceeded to ride it up and down our street (but not the hill) countless times the past several days. We sat at the dinner table for the first time as a family on Saturday night with a delicious dinner of halibut from our meal kit. We of course did not go to gymnastics on Sunday but did more laps with the tricycle outside and then invited Sarah and Lottie over for the Super Bowl and nachos and just to give me one more dosage of exposure to make sure I am good and exposed. All of us adults were grateful for the adult social interaction as none of us have had any and Reese and Lottie thoroughly enjoyed one another.

This week so far has been okay. I am still trying my best to get Reese out of the house for at least some time everyday otherwise both of us go crazy. On Monday we drove downtown for curbside pickup of donuts and lattes from Top Pot who continues to have monthlong promotions in celebration of their 20 year anniversary. Reese gets a donut and my latte comes free. We did some more laps with the trike and then for our Valentine’s Day dinner we had a very indulgent surf and turf dinner from the Seattle Fish Guys, plus some ice cream and opera cake, also from our meal kit. And this morning we drove out east to Bellevue to Kelsey Creek Farm to walk around their paths and look at the animals and check out their very cute playground. Of course it was somewhat sprinkling on us the whole time and Reese was bummed that she couldn’t pet the animals, which I honestly was bummed too because I wanted to see if Reese would really try to touch the animals. We’ve also painted at home, had baths with the two girls, and tried other activities that I feel like only get Reese mildly interested in.

I’m hanging in there but knowing that I am only about 2 of 7 days into this whole home from school experience is a lot to take in. Plus, we were supposed to go to Michigan on Friday but have rescheduled that trip to leave the following Friday. We will then essentially go straight from Michigan to Arizona and I have now put in a request with my supervisor to extend my maternity leave by two weeks, to push it out past our trip dates. Honestly, I need another three months of leave as right now I don’t feel mentally or emotionally able to return to work. Hopefully the trips will do me good, and not add additional stress, so that when I return I feel like working again. I really wish Reese could be in school more before I am back at work, unfortunately I think she has only been in school about three weeks total of my entire maternity leave! I’m beyond worn out.

*To add: This morning Brooke tested positive…ugh.

Chelsea

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Dos Meses

Two months seems like it has gone so fast in so many ways. Although there are more current events that have shaken up our lives as of late, I don’t want to overshadow Brooke’s two month birthday. And we still need to do her 2 month waffles. We’ve hit a rhythm in many ways with the two girls, although not all times are easy. Definitely when Reese is home from school (which has unfortunately been about 3/4 of the time), and especially when Bryan is working (or sick), having the two at once is a lot. They just need such different types of attention at all times.

Here are some of the updates for Brooke after her 2nd month birthday:

  • We have officially retired all of her newborn outfits and are officially in size 1 diapers. We have yet to get her into the doctor’s office for her 2 month doctor appointment (because we had to cancel it on Friday) to get her weighed and measured but I am really curious where she stands.
  • Brooke really likes to lay on her activity mat but likes to kick the risers of it more than swat at the animals with her hands that hang down from it.
  • Brooke has rolled over twice under Bryan’s watch and has definitely strengthened her arms and legs and likes to put weight on her legs and stand up straight.
  • We controlled the baby acne thankfully. This has been done by daily baths that she absolutely loves. She loves bath time!!
  • She definitely likes to nap while moving, in the Ergo or in the double stroller, but thankfully she will take naps just on the couch too (unlike Reese). We are still working on her enjoying car rides but the past week has improved that a bit with the various activities we have done around town and she is starting to look for the wubba on her lap to comfort her in her car seat, she just still can’t grasp it and bring it up to her mouth yet.
  • She has not really found a chair, swing, or anything that she will sit in for long, she’d rather lay on her mat. She also likes being just on the floor (especially if she can watch the TV).
  • She seems to catch up most with her nap times when her sister is in school. I tend to have a crankier baby on my hands on the days when Reese is home, unless we get out for some good long walks in which she sleeps through them.
  • This girl loves to talk and have conversations. She will coo and smile at you for a good long while which is not something I really remember Reese doing. Don’t you dare break that eye contact and look away! She is ticklish in her underarms and feet as well.
  • She’s been pretty good at falling asleep at night, usually starting bedtime around 7:30 and down between 8 and 8:30 and most nights she doesn’t wake up until 3 am which is a good solid chunk of sleep! I’m not complaining about that at all.
  • We have tried the bottle twice and the first time was a definite no and the second was a maybe so we need to continue to try to expose her to this method of feeding.
  • Brooke finds her sister so fascinating and exciting until about 5:00 PM when she then seems to become easily bothered and upset around her.
  • She still has very blue eyes that I just love to stare into and a cute little face. She does not yet have quite the expressions that Reese had, she doesn’t have as strong of eyebrows to make those statements yet. When she smiles at me is when I see me as a baby the most in her.
  • She loves to hold hands. This seems to be both playful to her and a comfort to her. When she won’t let herself calm down to settle into sleep, holding her hand almost always works.

Love this little girl and her ever growing personality.

Chelsea

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Phew!

We’ve been through the ringer I tell you. I feel like I am just finally starting to be able to catch my breath. Let’s see where do I start…

So yes, we had one wonderful week of Reese in school. The week was rather uneventful in the most blessed way possible. Good weather, got out on a walk to talk to a potential nanny share family who was a friend from my PEPS group three years ago, walked with Polly and Niko around Green Lake since their school was closed, and got the A-OK from my doctor to proceed with exercise and life in general. It was a good week.

The weekend then brought great weather and we took a nice long walk with Reese’s friend Mika to go to Volunteer Park with her and Lottie. We got fantastic takeout, with Sarah and Lottie, from Bok a Bok with a ton of Korean fried chicken and sides and just the joy of getting out of the house. I took Reese to school Monday morning but at 2 pm we were notified that there was another positive case in her class. Pick her up ASAP. Ugh!

So we had another week of no school for Reese. This time around, the two kids that Reese had playdates with the last time, were two of the three kids that tested positive. So no playdates either. I went through another round of taking both girls with me to get Reese tested. I took Reese for some walks outside to playgrounds during the day where there were no kids there. Once we were sure she was negative I also took her to the gymnastics indoor playground. On Saturday Bryan graciously took Reese to meet up with Lottie to the bounce house at Arena Sports to give me a bit of a break with the two girls. It was wonderful…and needed. We pulled it together to have our neighbors and Sarah and Lottie over for dinner of burgers and fries and to tap Bryan’s first beer on Sunday night.

We’ve had a whole other story related to COVID this week so stay tuned for how that is going!

Chelsea

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Looking at You 2022!

In all that spare time I’ve had lately (cough) I’ve been trying to think about the new year, the future, my identity aside from motherhood, and although I am not planning on making resolutions this year, there are some less concrete things that I have been wanting to jot down as my intentions for the year. And, there has been some thought in all of this, jokes aside, I have been taking lots of walks with Brooke which are the perfect gateway into some deep thought.

My intentions for 2022:

  • Be positive! There is so much negativity out there right now and so many negative things that I could complain about, and I do, and sometimes I need to vent. But I really want to try to be a positive influence for myself and others as often as I can. Positive thoughts and positive people are so much better to be around.
  • Keep reading! I’ve really been enjoying getting back into reading regularly over the past year and a half. Bryan got me a super thoughtful Christmas gift, a Kindle, so that I can easily read while nursing Brooke or in bed and have finished one book and started another so far on it. I have so many more books that I want to read and although I don’t read for long periods throughout the day, I thoroughly enjoy the minutes here and there I do get to pick it up and read.
  • Adventures! A few of the books I have read recently have been on people’s tales of their grand adventures. Being a mom of two and working full time doesn’t leave much time or energy for adventures of this scale, but I want to continue to have fun adventures with our family. This summer I am really hoping to continue biking when possible but to also explore more with the girls through hikes, camping trips, local excursions out of the city, and hopefully Italy (fingers crossed!). We are also taking Reese skiing for the first time in a couple of weeks.
  • Cooking! I do really love being in the kitchen and exploring the realm of cooking. Even when I am strapped for time (I’m looking at you Brooke) it is something that I really love doing. I want to continue to explore and have fun in the kitchen and have even thought about exploring more on the baking side. Something I’ve wanted to do for the last several years is actually cook out of my physical cookbooks and hope to start breaking them out from time to time to try out their recipes. I want to cook more in my paella pan and I also want to explore a bit more of the possibilities with the sous vide machine.
  • Friends. I want to continue to cultivate friendships, both old and new. Even during these times of continued social isolation I want to keep reaching out to friends to get together as much as possible. We’ve also made a lot of friendships in the past year thanks to Reese’s friends connections, many who we have really enjoyed being around, and I want to continue to foster those relationships.

There are more thoughts I have had that I am sure I am forgetting of right now but this is a good start and makes me happy just reading them through as I write them. I’m still hoping for a wonderful 2022!

Chelsea

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What a Week!

This mom survived the week. We had a pretty eventful weekend, a great weekend I might add, but the feel good nature of the weekend came to a screeching halt on Sunday afternoon when I learned that Reese’s classroom was going to be closed through Thursday because of the first positive case in her class. I knew this was going to happen but not on week 2 of the new year! The good news is Reese, nor any of her classmates, tested positive, but the bad news was that school was not happening for most of the week!

So the weekend was great. We went over to one of Reese’s classmates house on Friday for pizza, wine, and a playdate. On Saturday morning we celebrated Brooke’s one month birthday with one month pancakes, and Bryan’s first time trying out his new waffle maker. Bryan took Reese over to Lottie’s house for a morning playdate so I got some quiet that morning. We had a large group outing for the Zoo Lights at Woodland Park Zoo in the afternoon. We had to wake Reese up from her nap in order to get there in time and she enjoyed the lights for sure but was rather a crank for most of it due to the nap waking.

And Sunday was the first brew day. I know what this means now, this means mommy-daughters day. Brooke and I took Reese to her gymnastics class in the morning. It was a beautiful day so we took a walk around the neighborhood while Reese was in class. Our walk was cut short because Brooke decided to have a blow out right when dropping off Reese. Us girls then went straight to Yesler Park to meet up with Reese’s friend Mika. Reese LOVES this park. The artificial turf and cardboard boxes are apparently a fan favorite for sliding down the hill. Reese did this for well over an hour, after nearly an hour of gymnastics. It was pretty cute when the two girls would go down the hill on a box together.

From there we headed home and the rest of the day was Bryan brewing in the backyard, me wearing his large puffy indoors because the backdoor was open much of the time, and then finally giving in and ordering, picking up, and eating my first poke bowl post-pregnancy while Bryan finished up brewing, at like 10 pm! It was a long but fun day but like I mentioned earlier, was dampened by the news from Reese’s school, which sent me into a frenzy trying to sign up for a test for Reese while also messaging her friend’s parents to try to organize some playdates during the week.

Enter the week. It started off with a bang. A heavy rain and Reese’s Covid test appointment. Brooke had to come with us of course and I wasn’t sure that Reese was going to allow the test to happen in the first place since she seemed apprehensive about it (especially after witnessing us suctioning out boogers from Brooke all last week). We pull up and the line is long and waiting outside in the rain! But we did it! Reese waiting patiently and took the test without a problem and I managed to keep Brooke from losing it and keeping dry. I was so excited once we were done and we went to the store so Reese could pick out candy for her reward for taking the test. The rest of the day was quiet at home.

Reese had playdates lined up for the next three mornings; two were at our house, which was a lot, but one was at her friend’s and the other will be taking her for some time for MLK Day on Monday. We spent Wednesday afternoon going to the inflatable zone at Arena Sports and the indoor playground at the Gymnastics Academy Thursday afternoon to allow Reese to burn off her energy. By this point we had gotten her negative test results back. We also somehow managed to get Brooke’s passport application in while Reese was over at her friend’s house and got a delicious lunch from Harried and Hungry while we were out. I felt a bit like a zombie during the week but also did manage to have some fun with Reese at home. And Thursday afternoon was so beautiful out (and I knew the end was near) so I opted to walk Reese (and Brooke) in the stroller for naptime so I could get a nice walk in.

Reese was back at school yesterday and it felt so good! The house is clean, I was finally able to fold laundry, submit applications for schools for Reese, and prep dinner. It was another beautiful day and I felt like I had a new lease on life. We finished the night off with spicy margaritas and a new lease on life!

Chelsea

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A New Year and a New Month

We have rolled right into 2022 and yesterday Reese was back in session at school. Let’s rejoice, hallelujah, amen. We’ve been forewarned that with the Omicron running rampant we might be thrown for some loops in school at the beginning of the year and they have already reduced their operational hours to 8-5 pm but I don’t even care because that is 9 hours of my day back that Reese is social and preoccupied and I can better take care of Brooke individually. We finally got the car out yesterday morning to take her to school, as the roads finally got around to clearing themselves of the ice that we have had for far too long, and I felt like I could both breathe again and felt quite exhausted at the same time. I love both of my girls so much but both require a fair amount of attention right now.

The first thing Bryan did for me with Reese back at school was take out the tree and the house instantly felt cleaner as well. Bryan was reveling in the fact that he doesn’t have to go back to work until today and had one more day to rejuvenate post-holidays and get back to the brew game. I felt like I finally got around to various things around the house, a visit to the grocery store, and working on getting Brooke to nap decently. I’m ready for the next two months “by myself” at home with Brooke, I’m just really praying that Reese’s school doesn’t explode with cases and thus closures. I’ve also experienced my first adventure in getting Reese ready to school and Brooke ready to take her to school and to say it was stressful was an understatement. I’ll be trying to walk them to school as much as I can because even 15 minutes in the car with a screaming Brooke is too much for my head to handle early in the morning.

Reese on the left and Brooke on the right, both right at their one month birthday.

Brooke is already at a month old already so I thought that I would share a few updates.

  • She’s put on quite a bit of weight. I’m not sure how much but she is already growing out of some of the smaller newborn outfits, we just finished our last pack of newborn diapers and are planning on just proceeding ahead with size 1 diapers, and she just feels and looks so much bigger.
  • Her neck strength is definitely improving, although I was looking back at Reese’s one month pictures and Reese was already fully up on her arms at this stage when she was doing tummy time.
  • She currently has a little bit of baby acne and a little bit of cradle cap but both to be expected and neither too bad.
  • She is turning into her sister. She takes a little bit of effort (aka movement) to nap these days, isn’t fond of car rides but will sleep soundly on however long a walk I want to take, likes to be carried/wrapped to me, is more sensitive to light and sound when going to sleep now, and has found her lungs when she wants to.
  • She does not seem to have any intolerances to anything I eat but already has had one cold that has required us to use the suction tools to clear her nasal passages. This, she actually seems to like, Reese never did and thankfully we didn’t have to use it much on Reese.
  • She does not like a dirty diaper. She also does not mind laying on her diaper pad post change for some time which is the best time for me to get a break from holding her.
  • She’s slowly inching up her bedtime and is now pretty much ready to go to bed around 7 pm. I think she is crankiest when she is most tired. No, this I know.
  • Like her sister, she does not seem to car for swings too much. She’d rather be held of course, or even just flat on her back.
  • She is cluster feeding at night. This starts some days as early as 5 pm which makes getting a dinner together and eaten a lot more difficult but we have still managed.
  • She may have given us her first smile yesterday morning. It’s still in progress so we have yet to snap a photo of it but I expect it to come any day now. Looking back at Reese photos again, Reese started giving us some cheesy grins at about 3 weeks.
  • Aside from Brooke’s first bath, all of her baths have been with the other two ladies in the house. During last night’s bath, she seemed to really enjoy bath time.

Meanwhile, Reese has gone through a few changes of her own.

  • She’s grown definitely. She feels a lot heavier and looks so much bigger. I don’t think it is just our perception because she has gotten taller than Lottie again.
  • Her imagination and creativity is starting to kick into gear more.
  • She hasn’t used her Wubba pacifier in over a week.
  • She has also been preferring to nap in her bed and has also been eager to go upstairs to bedtime. This might be because she gets undivided attention at bedtime, whenever possible, whenever we can get Brooke in bed first. Bedtime still takes forever so we have a visual timer in transit to our house as we speak to hopefully keep bedtime to a reasonable length.
  • She has done great with trying anything and everything we have eaten at meals while she was off of school. Gummy worms as an incentive to eat her dinner does work like a charm. She’s also really into using chopsticks!
  • She still loves to give “baby” hugs and kisses all of the time. She’s been holding Brooke less but loves to lay down with her. She’s been good about not being too jealous but I can sense when she starts to get that way or get a little frustrated with the attention that Brooke gets.
  • She is still loving gymnastics and starts swim classes tomorrow.

I still have to work on devising any kind of list for 2022 but I’ll get there. I still can’t believe it is 2022, can’t believe it is January, and can’t believe our baby is already a month old!

Chelsea