When One Washington Just Won’t Do

Our dear friend Adam was getting married in the Other Washington last weekend so we packed up the kids and had a week long vacation** in our old stomping grounds.  As much as I love getting back to the Other Washington to see our friends and family, it is a very tiring and stressful process.  Getting two kids across the country (with all their stuff) is not easy.  Our schedule is always jam packed, causing us to run from social event to social event (with jet lagged kids) and have a constant stream of hellos and goodbyes.  I wouldn’t not want to see our friends, but it is emotionally exhausting to say good bye to those you love time and time again – often in very close proximity to other good byes.  On top of all of that there are always friends you don’t get to see, or not see enough of.  Guilt can be big.  Don’t get me wrong, we love seeing everyone in the Other Washington.  We just also love sleeping in our own beds :)

 

Here’s a whirlwind photo post to try to show how whirlwind our trip to the east coast was.

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We rode the metro (or the train as Lila called it – all aboard!)

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We visited the Mall, though Lila was not very impressed with the Washington Monument.  She wanted the Space Needle.

We visited the Mall, though Lila was not very impressed with the Washington Monument. She wanted the Space Needle.

We showed Lila where she could work one day when she became Senator.

We showed Lila where she could work one day when she became Senator.

The girls attended their first protest.

The girls attended their first protest.

 

Lila stood right, walked left.

Lila stood right, walked left.

 

Lucy met her friend Henry who was born just 4 days after her.

Lucy met her friend Henry who was born just 4 days after her.

 

We saw the space shuttle

We saw the space shuttle

While Mom and Dad attended Uncle Adam's wedding, Lila held down the fort in the hotel room.

While Mom and Dad attended Uncle Adam’s wedding, Lila held down the fort in the hotel room.

And Lila pretended to be an airplane

And Lila pretended to be an airplane

 

Lucy met her great-grandparents.

Lucy met her great-grandparents.

 

All in all, it was a great trip but since it left us all feeling like this, it is not one we will be repeating anytime soon.

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** As A and I have learned, traveling with children is never a vacation.  Just a logistically nightmarish trip that guarantees little sleep and at least one melt down per traveler per day.

Being Kind to Ourselves

As my absence on this blog may show, April has been pretty hectic around here.  Lucy started day care, I went back to work part time, we traveled to the Other Washington for a week and then returned to work full time (less than 12 hours after we returned to the Emerald City).  It has gone better than I thought it might, but it doesn’t mean it has been easy.

When we returned home at about 11pm on Tuesday night, I told A that we needed to just survive the rest of the week and we’d figure things out next week.  So that’s what we’ve been doing.  Disposables instead of cloth diapers to day care on Wednesday.  No suitcases unpacked, simply stuck in a corner of various rooms. Sometimes you just need to accept your limitations and know that it will get better tomorrow (or once the weekend gets here).

So as we continue to be kind to ourselves and slowly work back into a routine of two working parents, full time day care, pumping, laundry, the list goes on, just be kind to us too.  I’ll be back with tales of our trip back east, spring in the Emerald City and what being back to work with twice the children means to our family.

Wordless Wednesday (with an Other Washington shout out)

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Wet Enough?

As fall settles in here in the Emerald City, the rains have begun.  While nothing like our friends and family in the Other Washington (and north in CT/NJ/NY), we have had steady rain for two days and flooding in the streets today.  We still count ourselves lucky after looking at the photos of the damage “superstorm” Sandy left back east.

I’ve read so many touching stories over the past twenty-four hours of people’s selflessness to help others in need.  None touched me more than the story of the NICU nurses who helped to evacuate the NICU at NYU Hospital after their backup generator failed.  The nurses had to hand ventilate many of their smallest patients as they walked down nine flights of stairs in the dark.  LC’s stay in the NICU was short, but even the distance from my hospital room to the NICU in another wing, on another floor, of the hospital was far away.  I can’t imagine being one of the parents sent home to wait out the storm, and then having to hear that their babies were being evacuated.  I was so happy to read that everyone in the hospital was safely evacuated and even the littlest ones were doing well.

Another moving, but more adorable story is that of the aquarium handlers who spent the night in the New York Aquarium as it flooded to ensure that the orphan walrus pup remained safe through the storm.  Looking at this “little” guy, I don’t think I’d leave him by himself either, he’s just too cute.

My alma mater has not fared as well as this cutie, however.  While the campus of Fairfield University seems to have suffered only minor damage, the town itself and the beachfront homes where so many students make their home is devastated.  The photos of a place I called home, if even for a short (but so important) time are heart-wrenching and I hope that once the waters recede, the rebuilding can begin and the students can return to enjoying the rest of the their college year.  After all, #wearefairfield.

Planning for Panic

We’re preparing for our family vacation next week.  I should probably refer to it as our “vacation” because my stress level is so high right now, it is hard to imagine it being relaxing.  Traveling cross country is never easy – airline travel is not only expensive, but takes forever and is a giant pain.  Now, add in a toddler.  This will be our first cross country flight since LC can walk on her own.  That’s six hours on a plane with a toddler who has come to enjoy her freedom to move when and where she wants.  Oh, and has also learned to throw a temper tantrum.

In addition to the airline travel, toddlers need stuff.  Every time I try to minimize or cut down on our packing list, I think of five more things that need to be added.  A pack and play, car seat, stroller, diapers, food (because HEAVEN HELP US if we do not have enough snacks for the plane ride), swim diapers, clothes, extra clothes, toys, books, oh, the list goes on. 

We’re trying to combine our vacation with visiting family, which is creating a complicated multipage itinerary and balancing act to see friends, enjoy some time as tourists but still be sure LC’s adoring fan club all gets their time with her.  To say we are scheduled to the minute may be a slight exaggeration, but only slight. (And when talking about a schedule, keep in mind there is a three hour time difference and the last two trips to the East Coast resulted in a sleep strike from a jet lagged LC.  So, there’s that.)

I’m hoping the stress ends once we land in the Other Washington and I can enjoy the only time we have to get away from it all this summer.  But when you travel with a toddler, you begin to realize you really just bring it all with you. 

Tourists in Our Own City

One of my regrets from our time in the Other Washington is that we didn’t do many of the “touristy” things.  I don’t mean the monuments – which I did make us take Cal to before moving – but things like festivals, museums, parades.  We recently had family in town in the Emerald City and in the few days that they were here, they experienced much more of the city than we had in our two years here.  Sure, it’s easier to cross items off the list when you are here to do just that and pesky things like work, babies and houses don’t get in the way, but I have become determined that we experience more of what the Emerald City has to offer.

We started this weekend.  As is our annual tradition, A and I went to the annual beer fest.  It was a glorious day, perfect sun and a wonderful time, including Cal who loves his trips to the beer fest every year, where he gets to meet lots of other dogs.

Saturday, we returned to Seattle Center, this time with LC.  A and LC played in the fountain and ran around in the grass while I ran to the Urban Craft Uprising, a craft fair I enjoy attending every year.  (I found a book for LC, a key chain, coasters and all my favorite organic goodies from Flying Bird Botanicals.)

Sunday, we celebrated Cal’s fourth birthday with brunch at Norm’s, everyone’s favorite dog friendly brunchy pub.  Despite a disappointing Wimbledon final, we enjoyed brunch and then headed to the Ballard Locks to check it out.  LC loved the salmon in the salmon ladder, as well as running through the grass.  We’d never been to the Locks before, so it was a great thing to cross off the list on a beautiful day.

Sunday night we returned to a Seattle favorite and attended the Seattle Storm game.  How cute is this little Sue Bird fan

It was a busy weekend, but we made the most of not only the weather, but of all Seattle had to offer.  We even did 6 loads of laundry – productive too!  The weather plans on sticking around for a while, so we hope to continue to enjoy the weather and the city.

Best Burger in the Country (?)

Esquire recently hosted a poll for what readers believed was their “Life Changing Burger”. Readers, overwhelmingly, voted that Seattle’s own Dick’s Drive Thru was the most Life Changing Burger.   With all due respect to Dick’s and its local history, I just have to disagree with the voters.  Having both lived in a number of locations and tasted a few burgers in my time, I had sampled 50% of the surveyed burgers. 

Dick’s – yeah, its good.  Very old fashioned, cash only, small menu, no special orders.  The burgers are good, but to me, very similar to a McDonald’s cheeseburger.  Small, not very filling.  Pickle, sauce, eh-bun.  I don’t know.  I was underwhelmed when I tried this burger for the first time last summer.

In & Out – while I wouldn’t declare this to be my “life changing burger”, it’s up there.  I had my first In & Out when I was dating A and visited him in CA.  The fries, the made to order burger,  the bible verses.  Wow, I would fly to LA right now for an In & Out burger.  It may not have changed my life, but boy, is it delicious.

Ray’s Hell Burger – This Arlington burger joint is part of the Ray’s empire in the Other Washington.  Ray’s the Steaks is probably one of, if not the, favorite restaurant of mine. However, I think Ray’s Hell Burger is trying a little too hard on too many levels. They want to be a little too Soup Nazi, a little too “crazy”, a little too big burgers.  I enjoyed my meal here, but I just haven’t had the desire to return.

Steak and Shake – I think this one should not be included in the list.  Too fast foodie and really more of a patty melt than a burger.  The fries aren’t great.  My time in the Midwest gave me some opportunities to sample this burger and I really don’t recall too much about it.   It rated fairly low in the survey, which I find unsurprising.

Five Guys – So think back to a time before there was a Five Guys in the Emerald City.  Before there was a Five Guys in North Carolina.  When there was a Five Guys in downtown DC and that was it and you had to make special plans to go.  That is what life was like the first time I had Five Guys and yes, that was life changing.  It was my first, non-fast food, not $12 restaurant burger.  It was juicy and fresh and delicious.  I could personalize my burger with mushrooms and onions but it didn’t have 13 other ingredients on it like Ray’s.  The fries are very similar to In & Out, but just a little thicker (and since I had them first, they stand out more in my mind). 

The specialness of Five Guys may have been diluted by its recent explosion, but it will always be to me the burger that changed my life and taught me what a great burger is really like.

Most Left than Right

There are moments when I begin to realize that I am becoming more West Coast and losing a bit of my East Coast-ness.  For instance, when in the Other Washington last month, I noticed how nicely everyone was dressed.  Pea coats, skirts, nice shoes.  I found all of this very impractical for the season and thought they should all get a nice all weather, waterproof coat to wear.  Probably from REI. 
Having never raised a child on the Other Washington, it is hard to compare one Washington to another. But there are moments when I am sure that I am a Seattle parent and this clip from Portlandia (which really should be Northwestia, because life in Seattle is pretty much the same as life depicted in this show) was definitely one of them.  

When a recent debate broke out at our day center over the appropriateness of “Super Hero Day”, not to mention next week’s vote as to whether the children will be taught Mandarin or Spanish, I was pretty sure that LC must be attending Shooting Stars preschool as well.

A Very Merry Un-birthday to You

First, I would like to note that my baby is not yet one.  There are several days until this happens.  Please do not call her a one year old just yet.

Last week I had a work conference in the Other Washington, so we packed up the family and took some extra time to spend with friends and family.  The timing worked out well, a week before LC’s first birthday, so we celebrated early with our Other Washington crew. 

I didn’t make an organic cake from scratch or hand-make her outfit.  There was no special order invitations or party favors.  The theme of the party was “LC Turns One.”  Maybe that makes me a bad infant mom, but the pizza, beer, hummus, chips, and supermarket cake worked out just fine for our “un-birthday” celebration.  Besides, anything that produces photos like these can’t be that poorly planned. 

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Cakes of all shapes and sizes (at least two shapes and sizes)

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Checking out her glamour shots.

 

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Being the birthday girl (or un-birthday girl) certainly has its privileges.

Oh, Other Washington

Following in the recent trend of S**t ______ Says, a friend shared S**t DC Says with me.  It made me laugh out loud and miss the Other Washington a great deal – and super excited for our upcoming visit (even if we won’t be making it to Ibiza this visit.)

So enjoy, but be warned that there is some adult language included, so earmuff it up young ones.