Celebrating Seattle Style

As you may have heard, Tuesday was A’s birthday. Being an excellent father, husband and generally good guy, he deserved a pretty exciting birthday celebration, so I worked hard to try to make it a celebration worthy of him.

I aimed to combine things I knew he loved – his daughters, beer and pizza. While we really love PNW beer, we’ve never really had a chance to explore some of the great breweries in Seattle, so I thought I’d try to plan a “tour” of kinds for A’s birthday. I targeted the southern area of the city for our tour, and of course had to make sure all our stops were family friendly. Here’s what our tour looked like:

 

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Our first stop was Machine House Brewery. Beer wise it was our least favorite – cask ale, not our first choice for drinks. Location wise it was in the middle of Georgetown, great old warehouse location. They show only English Premier League games (some on Tivo). Family friendly and even had toys, games and a kids’ corner.

A bonus stop on our tour was across the alley from Machine House, the Fran’s chocolate factory. The kids were able to watch them making the delicious chocolates and everyone agreed that children as adorable as ours were in need of chocolate samples. Lila ate all of them, Lucy just liked holding them in her hand.

Next on the tour was Georgetown Brewing. Lucille IPA is one of our favorite beers, both in flavor and name. We were excited to stop by the brewery. Sadly we arrived just before their 4pm last call. We each had one sample of beer (I highly recommend the Johnny Utah) and then moved on. We hope to go back at some point to enjoy some more beer and maybe pick up Lucille tee shirt.

I mention this next one because I really like the beer and the location was adorable with a beer garden, but it ended up being 21 and over, so we were unable to enjoy the atmosphere. Two Beers has a nice IPA and is partnered with the Seattle Cider Co. If you are doing a tour without children, I’d recommend stopping by here.

Last stop was Seapine Brewing. This place was fantastic! The staff was super friendly – even bought A his first pint for his birthday. The location has a front porch, open air room and amazing workmanship. The bartender, who also brews the beer, showed us how the planks in the wall were from his parents’ old barn on Bainbridge Island. The beer was really tasty, and you can buy a half pint, which is great for the designated driver on the tour. The kids had a lot of fun (though I did pull out all the snacks on this stop, which helped a great deal). And of course, the biggest hit of the tour was Jenga!

Family Friendly South Seattle Brewery Tour

 

 

We ended the tour in our own neighborhood at our favorite pizza joint, Flying Squirrel Pizza (or “the squirrel restaurant” as Lila calls it).

IPA, chocolate, soccer, pepperoni and cupcakes? Seems like a pretty excellent birthday to me.

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Happy, happy birthday Andrew. We love you and we hope you enjoyed your birthday weekend – even if it could have used a little more natitude.

 

Making a Date

I know what all the blogs, parenting magazines and other “experts” say about dating your spouse after kids. It’s necessary. It’s important. It makes a difference. I get that. They’re right. I mean, I was probably able to complete about 4 sentences to A all day today. Small children are not great for conversation. Or thinking. Not to mention, they repeat everything you say, so even if you can complete a thought, be sure that it is one that you don’t mind them repeating to everyone and anyone.

So I get it, we need to make time for ourselves and each other. But you know what else I need to make time for? SLEEP. Laundry. Blogging. Meal planning. SLEEP. Reading a book (allegedly). Grocery shopping. We’ve joked before that we should ask the babysitter to watch the kids while we sleep instead of going out. We’ve never done it, but don’t think we haven’t thought really seriously about it.

It is fun to go out. To have conversation. Go to places that kids can’t go or eat a meal after 5:30pm. But we can’t go out every weekend, both because of schedules and because babysitters aren’t cheap. So sometimes a date looks like tonight. Frozen pizza, beer, a beagle on the bed and a random movie on the tv. It’s not sushi at Shiro’s or even a movie at Cinebarre, but we’re making time to be together and maybe even finish a few sentences or two.

Anticipation

A and I had a long distance relationship for all of our dating relationship and then the first 18 months of our marriage.  It wasn’t easy but we survived.  Every time I would visit him, or he would come to see me, there was the same level of anticipation.  A palpable excitement where I couldn’t sit still as the airplane taxied and we waited for the jet way.  I wanted off the plane and to get outside security as quickly as possible (or waiting on the other side, hoping he would appear as quickly as possible).

I realized yesterday as I sat on the shuttle from my office to the parking garage (from where I would pick up the car and head to day care to pick up the girls) that the end of the day holds that same excitement for me.  I anxiously play on my phone, urging the shuttle to go faster, make the light, get through the Mercer Mess just a few seconds quicker.  I have the same giddy nervous energy I did back when I waited for A to come through security as I do when going to pick up my babies.

And not to think that the giddiness has gone from our marriage, the best part of the day is when the girls are in the car and we pick up A at work and we are all together.  Dinner and the rest of the evening routine isn’t easy, but we’re all together and I long for that moment when we are all reunited in the car each and every day.

Happy Coincidence

It was not our goal to be married on Father’s Day weekend, but it resulted that way.  At the time, I never thought much of it, other than needing to remember to have cards for our fathers on the day after our wedding.  But now, six years later, I know it is more than a coincidence.  It is a weekend that not only allows me to celebrate another great year of marriage, but to remind me what a good choice I made in choosing a partner and father of my children.

So happy anniversary, happy father’s day and thanks for being you, babe.

 

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Making Some Me Time

I’m really bad about taking “me” time.  I know all of that about how you need to take care of yourself first, yada yada yada – but let me tell you that my two year old screams a lot louder than my “self” does.  So odds are I am always going to end up trying to make my two year old happy, or feed my infant or whatever first.  I’m not a mommy matyr, it is just that sometimes it seems easier to just keep doing what needs to be done instead of making time for myself.

A’s been out of town at least one night for the past three weeks, including a full week in Japan, so I’ve been working pretty hard.  Knowing I had more solo momma time coming up this week, not to mention some really gross feet that were dying to wear open toed shoes, I made a pedicure appointment and announced I was going to the gym Saturday morning.  I took a barre class, went to Starbucks and then a pedicure.  I was out of the house for only 3 hours but I returned a new woman.  I was such a better mother the entire rest of the weekend.  I just felt great, rejuvenated and ready to really be there for the rest of the weekend.  It amazed me.  I knew that all the so-called experts tell you how important me time is, but I never really thought it would make this much difference.  Like I said, it always seemed like a burden – working around schedules, pumping, etc.  But it really was the best thing ever to just get out for a short time.

I’m going to try to get to class each Saturday morning and maybe grab a solo cup of coffee at Starbucks.  It will probably end up being less than 2 hours out of the house, with the occasional pedicure thrown in there, but I am so looking forward to it.  A is more than capable, so I don’t know why I’ve been so hesitant.  Making me a better momma is always worth the time.

Foursquare of Motherhood

If I were  checking in on the Foursquare of Motherhood (ooo, I should totally create that app. . . ) I would have unlocked a ton of achievements by this point in my motherhood career, especially after solo parenting this past month.  For example:
Time Traveler – I may have made it to my desk a few minutes later than normal each day, but overall we were on time.  Work before 9, day care by 5:30 in the evening.  We were a few minutes late to a dr’s appointment, but I blame the bridge being up, not our schedule.
Kitchen Sink – when serving dinner on my own, there is a lot more up and down.  So while I ate dinner sitting at the table with Lila each evening, I did participate in the time honored toddler mom tradition of eating leftovers off my toddler’s plate while standing over the sink.
Clara Barton – Thursday night I noticed some blood on Lila’s chin and thought she had a cut on her finger that may be bleeding.  A quick inspection revealed that the blood was coming from inside her ear.  A lot of blood.  I remained cool, called the nurse’s line and packed us up for a trip to Urgent Care.  I was pretty freaked at the whole thing, but I stayed calm throughout.
Horses not Zebras – for having a kid with an obscure injury or illness while solo parenting.  Some kids get ear infections.  Lila burst her ear drum and had lots o’blood.  (Glad it wasn’t anything worse.)
Pinterest – Lila and I made homemade popsicles.  How awesomely Pineresty of us.  (Lila says they are delicious.)
All Join In – a baby, a toddler and lots of screaming.  That was our Wednesday night.  It wasn’t easy, but everyone was change
Rub a Dub Dub – I can take a shower in the ten minutes of time that the children’s sleep schedule overlaps before one of them needs something.
No Shame in My Game – I go to bed at 8:30pm when my schedule allows.  I’m not ashamed, I’m just exhausted.
Millennium Mom – I use whatever means necessary to get the job done – need an emergency replacement blanket to ensure Lila will sleep that night but stuck at work?  I Taskrabbit the heck out of that chore and had a brand new blanket waiting for me on my front porch by 5pm that day.  (It was the last one at Target, so thank goodness I didn’t wait.)
Lonely Hearts Club – realizing that two parents are much better than one and missing my parenting partner when he’s gone.  I may get the whole bed to myself (well, relatively so.  There was often a cat, dog and infant in there with me) but I I know I’m a better person and better parent when A is around.

A Shout Out to My Better Half

I met a friend for brunch on Saturday (mom brunch, which meant 9:15am because 11am normal brunch time is practically afternoon nap time these days) and we were discussing our mornings leading up to getting out of the house.  Even though we left the kids at home with our husbands, we both had done plenty of rushing around to ensure that we could get out the door on time.  For me that meant both A and I got up around 7.  I fed Lucy, he took a shower.  He got Lila up, dressed and changed.  I helped her get settled in for breakfast and put Lucy back in her bassinet as I got changed for brunch.  Then I took off. My friend said she had gotten up at 6am to shower, feed the baby, give the baby a bath, get her resettled, wake up her toddler, get him dressed and played with him for a little bit.  And only then, at 8:30, did she wake up her husband, asking if he could get out of bed so that she could head out to brunch.

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This story amazed me.  Honestly, if one of us in this house sleeps until 8:30 while the other gets up at 6am, it is more likely that A will be up and I will be in bed.  (This doesn’t happen very often, trust me.)  I’m home on maternity leave now and pulling more of the household duties than I may normally do, but A is still a big part of everything.  We BOTH get up with Lucy in the middle of the night – he changes her diaper, I feed her.  Another mom in my newborn group said that her husband sleeps in the guest room so that he isn’t woken up by the baby each night.  That just isn’t how things work in our family.

We each have our roles – I cook more and stay on top of the checking account.  A takes out the garbage and is much better at putting away laundry than I am.  Maybe it is because we are used to having equal roles – both working demanding full time jobs and then rushing home to be a family each night and therefore our roles don’t change that much while I am home.  Or maybe I just got really lucky when I chose A to be my baby daddy, one who really sees our parenting as a partnership and one who would never think of sleeping until 8:30am on a Saturday.

 PS Lila and Lucy – if both of you would like to sleep until 8:30am on a Saturday, your dad and I both equally agree that it would be cool.  Go for it.

Wordless Wednesday

Daddy's Girl

For Better or Worse, We’re Still Here

For what it’s worth, I’ve been writing blog posts in my head for the last week.  It’s just the getting it down in a post online that hasn’t happened.  In light of those several posts floating around in my head, here’s one that tries to hit all the highlights – and the lowlights.

So the highs since coming home:

– Seeing LC be such a caring big sister.  Sure she may be overenthusiastic sometimes.  She may squeeze a little too tight or not understand that Lucy can’t hold a block or a stuffed animal, but she loves her little sister.  She loves holding her and patting her back.  It is amazing to see what a caring little being she is.

– Time at home as a family.  Even though Lucy wasn’t there for all of it, we had a nice two week holiday break as a family and it was really really nice.  Especially since A and I decided that we could eat fast food for lunch almost everyday.

– Lucy is a pretty easy baby.  I know, I shouldn’t be saying anything.  I’m sure this will curse me tonight.  But so far?  Not too bad.

– We had one set of grandparents here over the holidays and are expecting another set tomorrow.  I’m glad that both sets of grandparents were/are able to come out and meet Lucy and spend time with LC.  (No offense to Lucy, but LC is a lot more fun right now.)

And the lows:

– A went back to work after only the two holiday weeks off.  Since Lucy was late, she was only ten days old when he returned to work.  Oh and work is a week long business trip.  I’m bitter that so many of my friends are able to have their husbands home for extended periods of time after the birth of a baby.  I’m lonely and balancing two kids on my own today and tomorrow.  It’s all very silly – I also have a friend whose husband was deployed when their fourth child was born, so clearly I have little to complain about.  But still, I miss A.  I wish he could have stayed home with us longer to enjoy our new family.

– Postpartum.  I’m getting better.  It no longer takes 10 minutes to go through my whole bathroom routine.  I’m down to one prescription ibuprofen a day.  I can get in and out of the car without groaning in pain.  But up until this weekend, I felt pretty lousy and I was just ready to feel like myself.  Clearly birthing a 9lb baby takes a toll on one’s body, but I just wish I had bounced back a little faster. And I have stretch marks.  Blergh.

– Coffee.  I have yet to finish a cup of coffee.  I even got a latte today, didn’t finish it and put it in the fridge in the hopes I can revive it tomorrow morning.

– Diapers.  We’re trying to find the right size/combination of prefolds/covers for Lucy to be cloth diapered.  So we’ve been using disposables until the new cloth arrives.  And wow, do newborns go through a kabillion diapers a day.  I swear we just bought a giant thing of diapers and tonight I noticed there were only 3 downstairs to make it through the night.  This may make it seem like cloth wouldn’t be the best option  but so much easier really.  Oh and cheaper.  And when I realize I have 3 left, I just do laundry, instead of trying to decide if I need to pack two kids (who are already sleeping) into the car and make a run to Safeway.

– Mommy guilt.  Bringing a new baby home when you already have one at home creates many different feelings than just bringing home your first baby.  In the hospital I couldn’t wait to get home and see LC, I missed her so much.  I’ve cried so much as I watch LC struggle to figure out her new place in the family and seen the increased mommy anxiety she has.  We made the decision to try to keep her routine the same as much as possible, so she continues to go to day care.  I know being there is more fun than watching Momma feed her little sister every 2-3 hours, but being home while she’s off at day care really breaks my heart.  Making my two girls happy has such a different meaning for each of them right now, and LC’s happiness is much more emotionally than physically based at this point, so it is more difficult to watch her unhappiness.  I know it is all part of our family growing pains, but it is definitely been hard.

Overall, we’re doing just fine.  We’re busy, a little tired, trying to keep up with household chores and get some sleep, but we’re getting by.  Eleven days down – ten since we came home – and everyone is still alive.  I’ve only threatened to sell the pets 8 or so times.  I’ve cried more than a few times, especially when leaving LC at day care and I miss A more than I really should since he is only gone until Friday.  But we’ll make it through barking dogs, hormonal crying jags and yet another CES just fine and I look forward to the highlights in the weeks to come.

Pregnant Sleep Habits

Talking about the sleeping habits of pregnant women is really to talk about the lack of sleep.  The lack of sleep is very frustrating – made only more frustrating by the fact that many people tell you “sleep while you can” before the baby arrives.  (Not surprisingly people don’t tell you this when you already have a kid.  I guess they 1) assume you know what you are getting into and 2) know you probably aren’t sleeping already.)   Sure pregnancy is making it difficult for me to sleep, but I think there may be other factors contributing to my lack of sleep.  I think this pictorial representation may help to clear up why sleeping is sometimes difficult.

So as you can see, things tend to be a little uneven in bed.  A has a decent amount of personal space.  (A would like it noted that his beard connects to his hair and that he does not have a goatee as this picture may suggest.)  Cal likes to sleep curled up in a puppy ball behind my legs.  This is great until I want to roll over.  Or if I get warm.  Or if Cal decides he no longer wants to be in a ball and stre-e-tches his legs out.   B-Cat likes to be nested in my hair.  This is not so comfortable for me, she tends to drool.  She also likes to pad my hair until she gets really comfy.  This isn’t bad when she does it around 10pm when I am settling into bed.  But when she goes exploring at night and returns around 2am, it can be a bit more disruptive.  Oh, and A’s a snorer.

So you see, I can’t put all the blame on BE2 (though she should shoulder some part of it), it’s quite the community bed in our house.  A has suggested that we move the pets out of the bed, but at this point, I’m not sure I’d be able to sleep any more with them out of the bed than I do with them in it.  Only 6 more weeks of pregnancy to go (followed by at least a few weeks of newborn sleep.  I mean I seem to recall it just being a few weeks with LC, right?) and then my sleep should return to normal – or as normal as our family bed will allow.