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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New Holiday Traditions

cutting the tree

I am one of those people who is ready for Pumpkin Spice Lattes during the last week of August and plays Christmas music the last week of October. I get so excited for holiday traditions and am so ready for the next season by the time the current season is ending that I can’t seem to reel in my excitement. This year, I really told myself that I would wait until mid-November to turn on Christmas tunes. That’s when the radio stations start playing Christmas music, so it seems like a socially safe bet, right? As Halloween crept up, I talked myself into waiting until at least November 1. But, no, I started playing the very old Christmas classics – Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Rosemary Clooney, Chuck Berry, Ella, Cash, Perry Como – right after my birthday. I need to accept that every November 1 – or sooner!, I start the holiday celebrations. It’s a tradition.

I love traditions. Growing up, they created the great memories of my childhood, whether it was the Saturday nights listening to the “oldies” station while driving to my at my aunt and uncle’s cabin on the river, sitting outside by the river roasting s’mores at the bonfire, or driving around looking at Christmas light displays in the station wagon with my family (and so many more). One of my absolute favorite traditions was our family being assigned another family at church to “secret Santa”. We would bake and drop off cookies and treats at the family’s door, ring the bell, and run! Traditions are so great. They are reliable. Comfortable. Exciting. Unique and personal. They fill me up with a sense of joy and brightness, and most importantly, they create happy memories.

And I want my girls to have happy childhood memories.

 

I sent off an email to family earlier this month asking what the holidays plans were shaping up to be. I found myself telling everyone that Nathan and I would be hosting our “third annual” prime rib Christmas dinner, and I thought to myself, third annual?!  That’s officially a tradition, right?! The first year we started this, Maxine was about seven weeks old and my in-laws were visiting for the holidays. We didn’t want to go anywhere for any holiday that year and decided to invite everyone to our house for Christmas. It was so much fun that we decided to do it last year as well. We expect to continue to host Christmas dinner for any family or friend who wants a warm home to celebrate the holiday.

After giving traditions some thought, I listed all the fun activities we plan to participate in for the third year in a row.

  • Nathan, Maxine and I went for breakfast and then cut down our Christmas tree;
  • Maxine makes her third trip to visit Santa in downtown Seattle this weekend;
  • We will make a drive with hot cocoa to marvel at the neighborhood Christmas light displays; and,
  • Maxine gets an ornament for the tree that represents her year (this year, it’s a shark, which has been her big obsession), which she will be able to take with her when she starts her own Christmas traditions one day.

We have some new activities this year that I hope become traditions now that Maxine is two and old enough to participate: baking Christmas cookies; giving boxes of cookies to friends, neighbors and family; participating in Operation Christmas Child; making a new Christmas tree ornament; and, opening a daily advent calendar. I was planning on doing the Elf on the Shelf, but I prefer to make it about kindness, and that is something I feel we can work on year-long, not exclusively at Christmas.

Have you considered your favorite traditions as a child? What traditions do you have as an adult?

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