Maxine is four!

 

Dear Maxine,

We have been counting down to this day for about 75 days. It’s your fourth birthday!

It’s hard for me to describe how much I love you. I am proud of the way you have been putting away your toys when you are all done playing, without being asked. This shows what a big girl you are becoming! I enjoy playing games with you, and it’s a lot of fun to play in the sand with you, too! You are a very creative, artistic girl with a natural talent for art and creating, and you quite enjoy this type of activity. I hope as you get older that you continue to practice and build your artistic talents.

We have seen many changes this year. Grandma and Grandpa Morrow went home in April. We sold our house and bought a new house in a new neighborhood. You got a new bedroom. You got a new bicycle, which you were not sure about riding but now you love. You’ve moved up classrooms a couple of times in preschool. You have learned to memorize and sing songs, books, and movies. Thanks to one of your preschool teachers, Ms. Stacy, you love story time and the library. Your favorite color is purple, and you find joy in your My Little Ponies, in unicorns, rainbows, PJ Masks, and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, cereal with rainbows (Lucky Charms) and “bars” (granola bars). Your favorite food is still pancakes, which I agree is a magical food, and I believe that you will always love sweets and treats, your favorite thing to ask for.

Just in the last two days, you have received 12 tokens for following rules, helping around the house, and being kind. That’s so many tokens for just two days, quite an accomplishment.

Along with all of your wonderful traits, you bring me challenges daily. This helps me to grow and learn new ways of being a mom to you, and to learn to adapt to your way of being in this world, which can be a challenging place to live right now. And my goal is to help you to learn how to live in it in ways that are productive and meaningful to you. I hope you grow to be kind and helpful toward others, and to be adventurous in a world that can be intimidating and feels limiting at times. I see my job as your mama as a guide or role model, which is actually the toughest job I have ever had.

Thank you for finally coming down from heaven to be with me, with our family, and for being the hardest teacher I’ve ever had. I will always love you, even if you say I’m “not [your] best friend!”

Love, Mama

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File This Under: Mom Life!

Hello, friends. Happy Monday! How was your weekend?

Weekends in our house are often a gift as Nathan often works traffic control for the City of Seattle/police department, whether mandatory overtime or contracted overtime. Often, we just don’t know until the end of the week whether it will be a family weekend with him home or a weekend where I am alone with the girls. And the latter is so, so challenging for me because by the end of the week, I’m really out of breath! Can you relate? And the spring and summer are particularly difficult because Seattle has so many more sporting events, activities, and construction projects that require officers like my husband to be available for work.

I know most stay-at-home parents out there know how hard it is to be with kids alone five days a week. And when that time is extended to six or seven days a week (which makes almost two weeks straight by the next weekend)–wow! This was one of those weekends! My poor husband worked Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday morning after a week of regular work and some overtime. Whew. Here’s to hoping the coming weekend is more relaxed for him (and me, too!).

Manson, Washington | Lake Chelan
Manson, Washington | Lake Chelan

Mother’s day weekend we drove back to our favorite getaway–Lake Chelan–to stay in the caseta at our friend’s cabin in the rolling hills of Manson, Washington. It was a last minute trip, so we packed up and drove out there Friday night so that our Saturday could be well-spent relaxing and having some fun. But let me tell you–it ended up being one of the most challenging and disappointing weekends a mother could have. And I think, in the end, it really made me hit my bottom. There was a lot of cranky toddler action filled with tantrums and refusals to sleep. Lots of crying. A two-month-old who cried when she wasn’t asleep. A frustrated husband and daddy. And a depleted mama. It was really a messy weekend. Which is hard to believe when you have this view from your porch:

Manson, Washington | Lake Chelan
Manson, Washington | Lake Chelan
evening walks
Evening Walks

I have been really struggling lately with the two girls. I am so grateful and feel so blessed that the first two months with baby Flora were smooth and maneuverable. For the most part, I think Maxine thought that the baby was just visiting and so it was “tolerable” for her to  have Flora around. But reality seems to have set in that the baby isn’t leaving, and that, mixed with her recent promotion into a twin-sized bed, has made life a lot more challenging! Until last week, she chose to sleep on the floor (where we set up blankets for her), which was no big thing. But the tantrums and general unfavorable behavior is really hard for me. I have been praying a lot for grace and wisdom for how to handle this “terrible twos” time. Maxine has always been spirited, busy, and generally bored with toys, so I find challenge in keeping her entertained and engaged during the day, and with learning activities. She loves art, the outdoors, and watching her favorite Disney princesses on TV or in movies (which isn’t how I want her to spend time).

And Flora is a good baby, but quite fussy and demanding. She’s a bit colicky as well, which by the end of the day gets extremely taxing for me. That being said, she’s also a very happy baby and loves to coo and talk with me. Her smile really melts my heart.

Seattle finally received its due of sunshine and warm weather, and we have been enjoying a plethora of outdoor activities. Praise! Haha. Seriously, though, it is my saving grace when needing to keep my 2.5 year-old engaged, happy, and tired out for her bedtime.

Seattle, Washington | Madrona Playground
Seattle, Washington | Madrona Playground

Enjoy your Monday, friends! And check out hikes we’ve enjoyed, our Hiking Passport for recommendations on baby levels for hikes, or follow us on Instagram to see more of our outside adventures!

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First Hike in a Year!

You guys, I am so jazzed.

Yesterday was the first hike I have been on IN A YEAR! A year! Can you believe it? The last hike we did was at Nolte State Park–a super easy loop off Chinook Pass and Highway 410. Nathan and I took Maxine there last May (MAY!), not long before I found out I was pregnant–and that followed an entire summer planned of hikes, cancelled due to morning sickness! Ah, it was the worst! So depressing. And Seattle weather was so bad anyway, so it would have been a lot of wet hiking last summer anyway.

But it’s a new year! And in addition to this being our first hike in a year, it was Florence (a.k.a. little Lo, or Flora), our new baby’s first hike! How exciting, right? She slept in the Ergo the whole time, but I am sure as little Lo was sleeping she was taking in the fresh air, birds chirping, and luscious sound of the creek flowing nearby. It was a really lovely day for a hike!

We took the Red Town trail at Coal Creek and walked in about a mile before we turned back. I didn’t want Maxine, who is now 2.5!, to get too tired going in. She’s a very vocal and fussy Two, so we have to mitigate that as much as possible. It was 2.5 miles into Red Town, which is apparently a Washington State “ghost town”. Red Town was the name of the coal mining town, now known as Newcastle, before it was suburban and residential, back in the 1800s. Current remains include hotel ruins, coal mining relics, the Baima House, railroad grade, site of school, and cemetery. My sister-in-law says it’s a lovely place to walk through, so I am excited to complete the hike by the end of the summer.

Coal Creek Trail _ May 2017

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CURATED LOVE

In my previous blog, I had started a series called Curated Love. This series was basically a weekly (or, attempted weekly) links (free of affiliation, by the way) of my favorite items, curated into one blog post. And hopefully it landed in the inboxes of readers. I think because my favorite posts are varieties of lists and favorite things (preferably not affiliated, as that seems more genuine), creating a series of  my favorites seemed natural. I love to share the love, so I’m going to start the engine on that series here, too.

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A dad’s letter to his girls explaining why it’s OK to be wrong.

Take the challenge: An excellent piece on raising a spirited child. #raiseawildchild

This Seattle family makes giving to charity a part of their daily life.

These new undies will change your life.

If your New Year resolution is to #optoutside more, this graphic will help you keep your tot’s toes toasty.

Be happier in 2016.

Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2016.

Inside Out (the movie) without Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust.

16 quotes for conquering 2016.

Wallpaper your switch plates for an inexpensive but impactful home transformation.

 

Enjoy your weekend!

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