My kids are signed up for all of the things. And other life updates.

I can’t believe summer came and went and now we’re getting into September and our fall schedule/routine. Every year I wonder how it happens so fast.

Here’s a quick life update:

+ I’m feeling the dreaded ‘mom guilt’ over kid activities. UGH. Guys. I’ve basically done what I said I wasn’t going to do and signed my kids up for all of the things. Clara has been asking to do soccer for months, so we finally signed her up. The girls are going to continue taking swim lessons because it’s very, very important to us that they be great swimmers. The girls will both be taking skating lessons because that is Tim’s ‘thing’ (Clara took them last year and Isabelle is joining this year). Clara will continue taking skiing lessons this winter. Plus they’re in preschool a few times a week. And then I felt bad for Isabelle because she isn’t doing soccer nor skiing (and is feeling sad about it) so I signed her up for gymnastics. At this moment it’s 9pm on Friday and Tim is at Target trying to find black soccer shorts for Clara so she can wear them to her game tomorrow… pray for me, people. We may not survive this level of activity. (And I have only myself to blame!)

+ We have an Au Pair living with us and to help take care of the girls! This should be its own post, so it will be… eventually. We’re on our second month in the program, so if you have any questions, let me know!

+ We’ve started giving Phoebe formula a few times a day after late afternoon/evening feedings. This has been a hard transition (emotionally) for me because I really assumed I’d be able to easily breastfeed her for a year and that is just not the case. But it is freeing to know that I don’t need to produce every drop of milk she gets. Plus, I can leave her for a bit more time now without stressing about how many ounces of breastmilk I have in my freezer.

+Phoebe is still spoiling us with sleep most nights. We had a rough few nights a few weeks ago and Tim bought Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit, which worked immediately. She loves the darn thing, so we love the darn thing. She still wakes up at least once per night, but we aren’t worried about that and will hopefully ‘sleep train’ her at the end of the month when life slows down a bit. And if life doesn’t slow down she’ll end up like Isabelle, who is still not a good sleeper at 3 years old. Womp.

+ Clara and Isabelle start preschool next week – hooray! Clara turned 5 in July but we decided long ago we’d be waiting until she turns 6 to start kindergarten. Having three kids at home this year is not going to be easy, but I keep telling myself it’s just a phase, and (unlike last year when I was pregnant) I can drink wine. And more wine. KIDDING. (Kind of.) Truly I’m thankful that I’ll get one full year with all of my kiddos at home with me before Clara starts school, then Isabelle will start one year later, then Phoebe a few years later, then before I know it they’ll be leaving to go to college…

+ I’ve been working from home in a part time role and I love it! I get to learn something new and make a few dollars and feel productive in a different way (other than keeping kids alive). Plus, I can feed Phoebe and help with the girls as needed and generally I feel very available while also NOT being fully available. It’s the perfect transition into the workforce for me.

+ I’ve been taking way, way longer to read library books lately. Ever since someone responded to an IG story of mine (in which I was stressed about finishing all of my books on my Kindle before they were automatically returned to the library!) and said that if you put your Kindle on airplane mode you can keep them indefinitely… well, my life has changed. I won’t finish as many books this year, but I will get more sleep!

I can’t believe it’s already September. Bring on football and chili and all of the fall things. (Or just bring back summer. That would work too.)

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Being a Mom + Enneagram Type 7

I received a comment the other day and (per usual) I had so much to say about it I decided to answer it in a post!

Here was the reader comment: “…I just found your blog while googling “how to be a mom as a type 7” because I am finding SAHM life so hard with my super clingy 2 year old! I’ve always loved kids and wanted to have lots of them but now that I’m here I am realizing my spontaneity and freedom in particular are sooooo much more limited than I realized that would be as a mom. I knew babies took a lot of time and I knew kids needed a lot of love but I didn’t realize how much the constant-ness of being needed by someone 24/7 would feel suffocating for me. I will feel trapped by her clingyness and then of course feel guilty for feeling that way. I also resonated so much with what you said about putting off the housework… the things that aren’t fun or exciting. I struggle to just be present with my daughter and play with her (she’s a huge quality time kid) because is just not very mentally stimulating for me. We do lots of fun outings and I do work 1-2 half days a week but I would love any thoughts or advice you have on “embracing the boring moments” so to speak… as well as how to deal with the lack of freedom (personal space, inability to be go off and have adventures on your own regularly, and the always being needed). I’m sure I’m not the only type 7 mama that has struggled with this!”

Can I just start with saying A-freakin’-men. I feel all of these things constantly! This pretty much sums up how I feel about motherhood most days. I wrote another post about being a SAHM and why I chose to stay at home with my kids even though it’s not necessarily what I love doing, but I don’t think that post necessarily answers this specific question.

Surviving motherhood as a type 7 on the Enneagram

Sorry I didn’t fix your hair before taking this photo, Phoebe!

So here are some thoughts about motherhood and being an Enneagram type 7:

+ It’s been interesting to talk to moms who are different Enneagram types. This is what I’ve realized: some moms enjoy staying at home more than others. (Crazy stuff, right?! Ha!) It’s not that their days are easy, but some moms/types generally don’t have this constant nagging FOMO in the back of their minds and aren’t always distracted by thoughts of what they could (and would rather be) doing all day. I am constantly thinking, “I wish I was in the mountains hiking right now! Or seeing beautiful scenery! This is not my best life!” When I remember that not every mom is struggling with these thoughts (as much), it reminds me that I just have different mental obstacles to overcome, and that’s ok! But also, it doesn’t mean that everyone else is dealing with these thoughts better than me… they might not have them at all! Some moms enjoy cleaning! Others enjoy running errands! I do not.

+ With this in mind, it’s vital that I plan fun things to do in my ‘free’ time. Since cleaning / shopping / cooking / misc. mom activities are not life-giving activities to me, I have made a list of things that are life-giving and I make sure I do those things regularly. For me, that means hiking, taking/editing photos, working out, reading, going out with friends, learning something new, eating good food, visiting a new place, etc.

+ I also always have our next adventure planned. If my calendar is all mom-related activities, I am not living my best life. I try to have at least one social activity per week on my schedule, preferably without kids around so I can complete a full sentence. Now, obviously, this doesn’t happen every single week, but (at the very least) I make sure I can call a friend or have a playdate or spend some quality time with Tim.

+ I allow myself to not enjoy all aspects/phases of motherhood, while keeping in mind that it’s all just a phase. I am not a great toddler-mom. I am not that great at imaginary play, and dealing with tantrums is not my most favorite activity. Plus, 2 year-olds can’t hike very far and are too heavy for me to carry, so they kind of kill my hiking mojo. However, kids do get older – yay! And it turns out I really enjoy sharing fun activities with my girls now that they’re 3 and 5. For instance, I enjoy puzzles. I also enjoy coloring. These are things I can do! And now that they can play card games, we do a lot of that. I even take the girls on the occasional hike with me, plus we travel together more now! Do I have to listen to a lot of whining? Of course! But it’s fulfilling to know that we’re making memories as a family and that maybe my girls will grow up loving the same things I do.

+ I don’t always put 100% of my focus on my kids. For instance, I enjoy listening to podcasts, so sometimes I watch my kids play together in the backyard while I listen to a podcast. Or I let the girls play in the basement while I read a book. I think it’s fine to not always be ‘on’ as a stay-at-home mom. I give my kids plenty of one-on-one ‘quality time’ (or at least I try to!) so I don’t feel guilty zoning out for a few hours while I do something I enjoy at the same time I’m watching them.

+ I outsource the really boring stuff. I have friends who love cleaning. I do not. I never will. So we hire a cleaning service. I also cannot stand the grocery store, so we have groceries delivered to our door. Basically, for any task that you are dreading day after day and week after week, see if you can outsource it – even if that just means asking your husband to do it!  Of course, I can’t outsource everything. For instance, I have to put away the laundry and empty the dishwasher and pick up toys… but for all these tasks I put on a podcast and then I actually look forward to doing it! Kinda.

+ But ultimately, I think that what would help an ‘Enneagram 7’ mom is to ensure you have as much freedom to your life as possible. One of the reasons that being a mom (specifically a stay-at-home-mom) is difficult for me is that I feel like I have no more freedom in my days/life. And I cannot handle routines. At all. Like the very thought of a routine makes me die a little inside and I simply can’t stick to them. Enneagram 7’s tend to hate feeling trapped and/or limited… and guess what kids are great at? LIMITING US. These little ones generally thrive on routines but I, for one, do not! The reader who wrote the original comment (that prompted this post) writes that she is already working a few days per week, but I think it might be necessary to get childcare for an additional day, or a few extra hours per week, so that the option to do something fun and spontaneous is there. Even if you don’t do anything fun those days, you might not feel as limited knowing that if a fun invitation comes your way you could say yes. In the Seattle area we have a few subscription-type services that allow you to find childcare at the last minute, and that also seems like a great option!

I wish my advice wasn’t so much “you need to pay for more childcare in order for you to have your sanity” but for me, that’s just the truth of it. I finally have consistent childcare (after 5 years of being a SAHM) and it has been life-changing. Just knowing that I CAN go out to coffee or lunch with a friend or on a hike or really do anything at all with my time makes me so much less resentful of my current life phase. Now, have I done any of this stuff yet? NOPE. I mean, I’m sure I will, but our au pair has only been here a month and we watch the kids together almost 100% of the time. But the point is, I CAN take a break and just leave – my kids aren’t preventing me, I’m CHOOSING how to spend my days. That being said, childcare is super expensive and I know it’s not an option for everyone, in which case you may have to be more creative. But, the key (in my opinion) is to find ways that you can maintain some sense of freedom in your life.

I wish you luck in this exhausting phase of motherhood! I hope you’re able to find a great balance and do all of the things that are life-giving to you. And if not, find me on Instagram and we can complain about how impossible motherhood feels as an Enneagram 7. 😉

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The transition from two to three kids

One of the most asked questions of my life is, “how is it going with three kids?” This question is usually followed by, “…because we’re thinking of having another one but I’m not sure…” To which I respond, “well, are you planning on your third kid being super easy?! Because if so, you might be okay!”

It’s hard to answer how the transition is into parenthood and then into being a family of four and now going from two to three kids… because it’s all so personal! Years ago I wrote a blog post on how the transition was from one to two kids. (Spoiler alert: it was hard.)

My initial thoughts on going from two to three kids: It’s been easier than going from one to two.

Phew, I said it.

My initial thoughts on adding a third kid to our family!

This is why:

+ Phoebe is an easier baby (than Isabelle was).

Generally, Phoebe is a happy baby. Of course she has her moments (oh hey, teething!) but she loves smiling and can be by herself for a pretty good amount of time without requiring much attention. She sleeps well in the car and has always only woken up 1-2 times per night. She loves being worn and is easy to take out and about. Basically, she’s the best. But I mean, it’s still a lot of work, because she is a baby!

+ There is a 35 month age gap between my second and third kids (as opposed to a 21 month age gap between the first two).

Having a 21 month old and a newborn is the worst. Or at least it was the worst for me. Clara was a really energetic toddler who got into everything, and Isabelle was a really fussy newborn/baby so the combo of the two frayed my nerves for YEARS. I mean, they’re still challenging at 5 and 3 years old! But whenever someone asks me how it is going from one to two kids I ALWAYS say to try to have a 2.5-3 year age gap… 21 months might work if you have two easy kids, but if that isn’t the case, it might just be really hard for a while.

+ I have more support.

My mom friends are what get me through life! They know all of the tips and tricks and no matter what I’m going through, one of my friends has had a similar parenting experience. I feel like I have so much wisdom surrounding me these days.

+ I know what to expect.

I am so aware now that all things are only a phase, so in the good times, I know that it probably won’t last, and if things are going badly with Phoebe, I know it won’t last! This makes everything seem less intimidating/overwhelming! I know how quickly the baby phase ends and I’m already emotional thinking that Phoebe is getting older each and every day! I’m definitely more thankful for our current phase because I know how short it will be and I also know how much harder it will be when she can start moving around on her own!

Some things are harder, of course. To state the obvious, we are outnumbered by our kids now! Also, Phoebe is not a great eater, which took me by surprise. She was a great nurser originally, but somewhere along the lines, I think she got lazy. She doesn’t love latching and won’t even hang out on my boob for comfort reasons. I don’t get it! This means I’m pumping a lot more than I did with my other two, in addition to breastfeeding, so it’s all taking a lot more time than I’m used to and it’s pretty stressful! Other than that, it’s just a challenge getting out of the house, but luckily I’ve had Tim home for 12 weeks to help with that… and now we have an au pair to help, too! (More on that in another post, though.)

Overall I would say that the transition was harder from one to two kids. Even if Isabelle had been an easy baby, I still think it would have been a difficult adjustment to figure out how to handle multiple kids, multiple nap/eating schedules, and just the mental load of a bigger family. Going from two to three kids, however, feels like added chaos, but not anything super new or intimidating.

If you’re thinking of having a third kid, just go for it and see what happens! But don’t blame me if it all goes horribly awry 😉

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Our first KOA Campground experience

(Before we get started, I’m offering a review of this location, but this is not a sponsored post and unfortunately no one offered to compensate for my stay. Womp. I’m just excited to share about my experience in case you’ve been considering staying at a KOA campground!) 

I want to put a disclaimer into the universe right away that I’m a very novice camper. My first ever camping experience was in 2012 in the Serengeti, and I swore never to do it again. Then we moved to the PNW and happened to make friends with people who camp… and the rest is history. Now we’re campers. At least a few times per year.

But camping with small babies/toddlers is hard. I mean, I don’t really know what it’s like without them, but I’m assuming it involves a lot less yelling “Get back from the fire! One more step back!” And maybe less yelling in general.

I had high hopes that we would do all of these great camping trips this summer, but then I got pregnant with Phoebe and we put all plans on hold. However, after she came into the world and I realized she’s a good sleeper (all of the praise hands!) I booked a few last minute camping trips, one of which was to Winthrop – a place we had traveled to a few years ago and absolutely loved.

I already posted on the Winthrop trip in general, so now I want to tell you about where we stayed. Because of the lack of available cabins in nearby campgrounds, I chose to book a cabin at the Winthrop / N. Cascades National Park KOA. I was especially excited because the cabin we booked had A/C, and I know that temperatures over there can be pretty hot as early as June! (I personally don’t need air conditioning, but it made me nervous not to have it with Phoebe, since last time we visited there it was 100 degrees.)

Have you stayed in a KOA campground? We loved our first experience!

We stayed in a deluxe cabin at the KOA, and it was a huge upgrade from the cabin we stayed in at Cape Disappointment (at the state campground).

  • It had its own linens and towels
  • There was a hair dryer and hand soap
  • There was a very comfortable queen bed
  • Like the state park, there was a set of bunkbeds with a full and twin bed. Except at this cabin the bunkbeds had their own little room!
  • There was A/C
  • There were some dishes
  • There was a microwave and refrigerator
  • And there was even a TV! (Which of course we never used, but still!)
  • There was a full grill out front
  • And a large porch with table and chairs
  • PLUS, we had our own bathroom!

Basically, this was glamping. For sure. But I still consider it camping because we cooked outside and ate our meals at the picnic table and only went inside to sleep. It was so great.

Here is what I loved about the Winthrop / N Cascades National Park KOA:

+ We were surrounded by families. So many families stay at KOAs (apparently)! The girls met new friends every day and we met the parents and enjoyed some great chats. We also stayed at the cabin closest to the playground so when we were unpacking, cleaning up, cooking, packing, needing a break, etc, we told the girls to go play and off they went with their friends. It was really cute and fun for the girls.

+ The playground and bounce pad and pool. No matter how awesome my planned adventures were, they were never going to beat the playground, bounce pad, and pool at the campsite. It’s all the girls wanted to do.

+ Clean bathrooms. I actually never used the bathrooms (since we had one in our cabin) but Tim said they were clean and private. And of course there was hot water for showers.

+ Laundry facilities. Thankfully we didn’t have to use these, but sometimes it’s nice to know that you can do laundry – even at a campsite. (For instance, if your kid has a middle-of-the-night accident and you didn’t pack an extra sleeping bag or set of sheets, etc. Not that that’s ever happened…)

+ A lot of cabins. There are a lot of cabins available! One bedroom, two bedrooms, with a/c and without, deluxe cabins… take your pick! This makes camping easy and accessible for those who have smaller kids or who find tent camping intimidating for any reason – especially if your anxiety is weather related! It rained on our trip and I was very glad to be in a cabin and not even have to deal with it.

+ Proximity to Winthrop. I know that sometimes KOA campgrounds can be in weird locations, but this one is right outside of ‘downtown’ Winthrop.

Overall verdict: I loved it.

Of course, the downside is the price. If you’re used to camping in national forests or the state parks, it’s going to be a bit more expensive than that. The deluxe cabin was super expensive by camping standards, but it was cheaper than renting a house through Airbnb or another service like that. Since there are quite a few around us, we will certainly be camping at a KOA campground again in the future!

If you’ve ever stayed at a KOA campground, I want to hear about your experience!

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Weekend Favorites (v13)

Tim and I just got back home after dropping the girls off at school (and participating in Clara’s ‘birthday circle’ celebration there! Super cute.) and it turns out no one is in Seattle. No one. There’s no traffic. Only a few kids were at school. Everyone is in the mountains, I guess! I love it. But also, my FOMO is activated and now I have to figure out what we’re doing this weekend immediately. But first…

Things I’m Into:

+ Did I binge watch ‘Dead To Me’ in one day? Yes I did. All of Season 1. Have you watched it?!

+ Speaking of which… Raise your hand if you watch TV with closed captioning turned on! I do, always.

+ We should probably definitely all be doing more to save the planet but sometimes I feel kind of defeated by the whole thing.

+ A question to ask yourself.

+ I’m all about minimalism – especially when it comes to working out!

+ I may have shared this already but I read more and I love every single one of these advice column posts. Hilarious.

Now I’m off to clean the house… we just got back from yet another trip on Wednesday and our home is pure chaos. Well, actually I’m going to think about cleaning the house and in actuality I’m going to think of some fun things to get up to this weekend. And maybe workout. And maybe finish eating my breakfast. And maybe listen to a podcast. And I might even work! The day is young and I have 2 whole hours before preschool pick-up!

Happy Friday, friends!

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