I’m good. We’re good.

Where I live (near Seattle) was among the first areas in the US to start social physically distancing, which means we’ve been doing this for almost two months. I honestly can’t believe it’s been that long!

A part of me is very over it, but a part of me is also enjoying the slowness of life right now.

Here’s what we’ve been doing:

+ Spending time outside. The girls go to nearby hiking trails or parks for a few hours every morning with Lilly (our au pair) while Tim and I work from home. I take the girls outside in the afternoons to bike ride around the neighborhood. If our friends are out around that time, we get to say hi and chat for a bit!

+ Playing games. We’ve been playing memory games which we all love. Honestly, even when I try my hardest I almost never win, which is what keeps it fun for me! (Sidenote: where did my memory go?! Am I just too distracted? Did having babies destroy my brain!? I am consistently beaten by a three year old!)

+ Gardening. I decided to convince myself that I love gardening as a hobby and it worked! I never ever ever EVER thought I’d enjoy gardening, but here we are. There is something very satisfying about weeding and pruning and nurturing my plants! Who would have thought?  I am now watching YouTube videos on how to prune every plant in our yard and am loving all of it. Times are weird, guys.

+ Connecting with friends. I’m so thankful for technology and the ability to see so many of our friends and family members through screens! Sure, it does not replace seeing each other in person, but it has allowed me to meet with Bible study groups, moms groups, my coworkers, and of course our family and friends who live both near and far away.

+ Baking. I currently have a sourdough bread starter on my counter. If you aren’t baking sourdough bread, are you even living during a pandemic?

+ Wearing whatever we want. I am currently wearing a ‘real’ shirt but pajama bottoms. I might put on real pants at some point today… but I might not! My girls, however, love getting dressed in their fanciest outfits or craziest clothes combos. I just let it all happen… tank tops in 50 degree weather? Sure. Fancy dresses for sitting around on the couch? Go for it. Winter coat and boots to ride bikes in the sunshine? Why not.

+ Talking to neighbors. Our neighbors are wonderful and we’ve been seeing them a bit more lately! I’ve mentioned this before, but I love sitting in the front yard while the girls play so that our neighbors see our family and will stop and say hello. It’s a great way to meet people with minimal effort. With so many people walking around these days (and no one being in a rush!), I’ve been able to have quite a few conversations with people I normally just wave to.

Whether you’re doing all of the things or just trying to survive during this chaos, I hope you’re well!

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Two Birthdays + Easter Celebrations

Dusting off the ol’ keyboard to write a blog post! Woohooo! Even though it seems like I should have all of this extra time to sit down and write (ha!) really my time has been completely taken up by work and trying to have fun with my girls and also surviving and ensuring my family keeps eating… you know, all of the things.

But the last few weeks have been extra busy because we have been CELEBRATING!

First, it was my birthday.

(Sidenote: do any of you remember a year ago when I was 39 weeks pregnant on my birthday and my OB wanted me to schedule the c-section and I couldn’t decide whether to do it right around my birthday or whether I should wait? It seems like yesterday! I ended up waiting until I was 40 weeks pregnant to have my c-section.) My birthday was (surprisingly!) just about perfect this year. First I woke up to the house being decorated by the girls. Blue streamers were everywhere and Clara and Isabelle were so proud of their handiwork. After a pancake breakfast I went urban hiking with my older two girls & Lilly (our au pair). There was minimal complaining and it was so nice to be out in some trees for a bit.

Then, in the afternoon Tim and I left for a “short” bike ride on the Burke Gilman Trail. If you don’t know me, let me tell you something about myself: Once I embark on something like a ‘short bike ride’ I just keep going and going because I love it so much and then before I know it we’re on a 23 mile bike ride. Tim said he knew this would happen because he quickly realized that I had no plan of where to turn around so he accepted the fact we’d pretty much just continue forever. He wasn’t wrong.

Once we finally returned from our journey we ordered out takeout from my favorite vegetarian restaurant (Cafe Flora) and the girls gave me handmade gifts they had crafted with Lilly’s help. It was just so sweet. Plus I got some gifts from loved ones and heard from a bunch of friends throughout the day. I felt very loved!

Then, a week later, it was Phoebe’s birthday!

We ate birthday pancakes. We blew up and played with balloons. We ate cake and ice cream. It was basically a very normal day, but special because my newborn turned ONE! I just can’t believe it. Although now when I look at her I realize she’s big and not quite that squishy baby I brought home from the hospital. The girls were oh-so-thrilled to be celebrating their little sister, which was so sweet to witness.

Finally, Easter!

Of course it was disappointing not being able to go to church and do an egg hunt with friends, but I love low key holidays so I thought the day went well! It was our first year hiding eggs in our own yard and Tim and I were unprepared, per usual. We filled those eggs with coins and old Halloween candy and we threw them around the yard the night before Easter. We had such a fun time hiding the eggs! Then the next morning we slept in, watched church in our pajamas, had an egg hunt in the backyard, ate salmon & scalloped potatoes & veggies for dinner, and I even whipped up some rosemary bread – because I was clearly feeling extra ambitious. I also tried and failed to get a family photo (multiple times throughout the day), so I may get everyone back in their holiday attire later this week to try again. We shall see. But everything else was relatively successful!

At this point I’m finding it helpful to focus on the celebrating we CAN do instead of thinking about what I COULD be doing in some alternate reality where we aren’t under a stay-at-home order. I’m trying to find the good and the FUN in every single day, and it’s been fun to have a few days of celebrations and holidays as an excuse to do some special activities.

I hope you’re each doing well! I’ll pop in soon to talk about the “physical distancing” life in general, but until then I hope you stay healthy and safe and sane and find some excuse for some fun and excitement!

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Adventuring with Kids: Skiing in Whistler

Late last month we spent five glorious days vacationing spending time in Whistler. It was our family + au pair (Lilly) and I think we finally have this ski vacation thing down. We’ve gone to Whistler for ski trips three times now (here’s a quick post from last time, 2 years ago), and Park City once.

Traveling to Whistler: How to Plan A Fun Ski Vacation With Young Kids

Here are some tips for you if you are planning a (winter) trip to Whistler with kids:

+ Plan ahead! Ski vacations aren’t the time to be spontaneous. I would look at your schedule and figure out how many days you want to ski and how many you want to just hang out in the snow and explore the area. Then I’d sign up for childcare (if needed).

Traveling to Whistler: How to Plan A Fun Ski Vacation With Young Kids

+ Take advantage of Whistler’s Childcare if your kid is over 18 months old for about $125 per day.

+ Take advantage of Whistler Babysitting if your kid is under 18 months old or if you have multiple kids. This year the rate is $20 per hour + $4 extra per hour per extra kid. This is a lot of money, for sure, but it’s a bit cheaper than putting two kids in Whistler’s childcare, which is what we would have had to do two years ago when Clara was 3 and Isabelle was almost-2.

+ Take advantage of the ski school program for kids over 3 years old. Both Isabelle and Clara did that this year and they had a blast. The 3-4 year olds spent some time on the mountain and some time inside reading and playing games. Clara (in the 5-6 year old class) spent all day on the mountain with a break for lunch. This program is about $200 per day (per kid).

Traveling to Whistler: How to Plan A Fun Ski Vacation With Young Kids

+ Stay at an Airbnb or Vrbo. With six of us on this trip we needed a bigger place with a kitchen, so we booked a place through Airbnb. (Use this link for a discount off your first trip!) I also always check Vrbo because a lot of times properties are listed through both places and it’s good to compare the fees and cancellation policies of both sites before deciding which one to book with.

+ Book a rental property should be near Creekside. This might be controversial, but I’m really glad we stayed near Creekside. This is because it was only a 5 minute drive to Whistler Village, but only about 20 seconds from the Creekside Village area, where there is a gondola and a ski school drop-off. Basically, it has everything you need without the long lines and reallllly long walk from parking to the mountain. Pro tip: if you have a roof box on your car, you qualify as an oversized vehicle and can park in the oversize lot parking spaces in the Creekside Village. It’s free!

+ Eat at Creekbread for the best pizza. We ordered takeout to avoid waiting for a table. I got mushroom pizza and it was amazing. Everyone should order their own pizza and then you have lunch or dinner for the next day, too! While we’re on the topic of food, make sure you stop by Bred at Creekside to get your daily latte and maybe a plant-based pastry or entire loaf of bread. It’s the cutest place and everything is delicious. Another (affordable!) place we love is Hunter Gather and for more of a splurge I like Crepe Montagne. My advice is always and forever to do takeout, because three kids (5 and under!) is a nightmare in a restaurant.

+ Rent your skis a day ahead of time. If you need to rent skis, reserve them online and pick them up after 3pm the day before you need them. You won’t get charged for the extra day and then you don’t need to wait precious ski time waiting in lines.

+ Head to the “Magic Chair” chairlift on Blackcomb Mountain with young skiers. It’s a slow, short lift for only beginners and it leads to a green run that anyone can do. Plus, it’s right by a lodge and parking lots 7 and 8 so it’s perfect for young families. We didn’t have to walk more than 10 feet with all of our gear, and at one point Tim and Phoebe sat in the lodge and waited for me and the other two girls while we were skiing a bit. Then when I needed help he ‘rescued’ us by just walking down the slope… it’s a seriously accessible place to learn to ski!

Traveling to Whistler: How to Plan A Fun Ski Vacation With Young Kids

+ Learn to ski on Whistler Mountain by the Olympic Chair area. The perk to this area is that you get to take the Whistler Village Gondola to the beginner’s area, and my kids love nothing more than a gondola ride! The cons are that the parking near Whistler mountain is far from the slopes so it is a HIKE before and after skiing. Then it just takes a while to get on the gondola and get to the beginner’s area. But once you’re there it’s awesome because there are multiple magic carpets and a slow, short lift to go a little further up the mountain. Plus, Clara and I could go further up the mountain and then ski down to the beginner’s area a few times while Tim and Isabelle hung out.

+ Check out Whistler Village – specifically the small sledding hill, ice skating rink, and Family Apres days (on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3-6pm).  During the Family Apres days there are free snacks and hot chocolate, as well as some live kid-friendly music/entertainment which our girls were very into. My girls also loved the nearby playground. Bring your own sleds and skates and prepare to be out there a few hours! Luckily there are plenty of snack and coffee shops nearby so you can warm up if necessary.

+ Have fun! Once you’re on the mountain and everyone is where they’re supposed to be, have a blast! The hard part is all of the logistics, the easy part is skiing and having a blast with your family, creating memories you can all cherish!

Ski vacations with little kids can be intimidating, but we had a ton of fun! We took the kids skiing way more than we thought we would, because they kept wanting to get back out there! I loved that. We ended up skiing for 4 days total. Two days Tim and I went out together while the girls did ski school and the other days we skied together as a family. It was the perfect mix of fun, adventure, and family togetherness.

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Things I’m Into: February

I want to start a monthly list of things I’m into. I did it a version of it last month but I’m going to switch around the formatting so it’s less recap, more quick recommendations. ANYWAYS. Onto February.

Shoes I can’t stop wearing…

I bought these Sorel (waterproof) boots and have been wearing them nonstop. I bought mine from ebay because REI was out of my size… but they’re sold from quite a few places. I used to be a Hunter boots fan, but honestly they’re too hard to walk in, and unless I’m going to a muddy pumpkin patch, they seem unnecessary. I’m converted.

Podcast episode I’m thinking about…

I don’t listen to all Happy Hour podcast episodes, but I did listen to the Happy Hour podcast with Emily P. Freeman and I loved it. I especially like the part in which she talks about parenting, and realizing that her okay-ness does not (and should not) depend on her kids’ okay-ness. She says it better than I do, so just listen to the podcast.

Show we’re binge watching…

Red Oaks. Wikipedia says: “David, a college student, begins working at a Jewish country club in New Jersey during his summer break in 1985. The show follows David’s life, with numerous subplots including his family, friends, and coworkers, and primarily revolves around the Red Oaks country club. The show explores themes such as adolescence, relationships, socioeconomic mobility, and the pursuit of happiness in a mostly comedic fashion against the backdrop of the New York – New Jersey area in the 1980s.” It’s good stuff. Watch it on Amazon Prime.

Hair dryer that has changed my life…

I’m usually too lazy to dry my hair, and I definitely am not talented enough to dry AND brush… so the Revlon Hair Dryer Brush (that everyone now owns) is truly life-changing in the best way. I don’t even need to straighten my hair after I use it, although sometimes I run a straightener through it once just to smooth it out.

Low-FODMAP milk I’ve trained myself to enjoy…

I’m all about hemp milk lattes these days. You may remember that I’ve recently found out I’m fructose (and maybe) fructan intolerant, which means I’ve had to take a lot of foods out of my diet (although I’ve added some back in). A lot of milks have sweeteners in them – so they’re all out for me. I like hemp milk better than almond (unsweetened) milk, but not as much as I like my all-time favorite oat milk. Unfortunately oat milk is high FODMAP. Sigh.

Post I’ve read before but am re-reading as a reminder…

“Taming the Mammoth: Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think” I am trying to find an excerpt worth sharing except there’s no one paragraph that’s better than the rest… just read the whole thing.

Happy Friday!

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Terrible Things I Love

A few months ago The Bloggess wrote a post about the terrible things she loves. Read the post, read the comments!

terrible-things-i-love

In honor of Valentines Day… Here are some things that no one believes I actually love, but I do!

Mondays. banana flavored runts. turkey skin (back when I wasn’t vegetarian!). chili w/ spaghetti noodles. taking surveys. long roadtrips. drinking everything with straws. filling out forms. the newborn phase of parenting. walking around cities in stormy weather. room-temperature beverages. walking instead of driving. burnt french fries (dipped in a chocolate milkshake). talking to strangers on planes.

Tell me some of yours!

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