Let’s catch-up.

Will I ever get tired of summer days spent playing outdoors and in sprinklers?! No I will not! My days lately have been far less social than I would like, as we’ve been stuck at home around a semi-rigid naptime schedule. BUT, we’ve still been having some fun! Although, I will say, without the afternoon nap break I’ve been accustomed to, blogging (and everything else I love to do in my ‘free’ time) has gotten a bit more sporadic!

Since it’s been a while, let me just tell you what’s been occupying my mind/time lately.

toddler-summer-fun-2

+ There are only certain things I’ll watch live: sporting events… and Bachelor in Paradise. Sports for obvious reasons and BIP because I just cannot wait for the episodes to come out. It’s such a guilty pleasure of mine. I’m watching it as I type this post… it’s even better than I expected. (Are you watching it?! I can’t be the only one!)

+ I could write an entire blog about baby/toddler sleep. Not just a blog post, but an actual blog. Basically it’s all I think about these days because my kids are such a mess and I’m constantly brainstorming how to fix the issues. The update right now is that Clara goes to bed at around 7:30pm and sleeps a glorious 12 hours. She is the favorite child. Then there’s Isabelle who goes to sleep at 7:30pm and wakes up from about 1-4am. She just wakes up and stays up. For hours. And hours. And we are tired. So in an effort to get this to stop, I’m trying to get her down to 1 nap per day. We’re only on day three of this experiment and so far we aren’t seeing positive results at night, but I’m going to give it a solid week before I wave my white flag and go back to a two nap schedule.

+ Every once in a while I drink a little apple cider vinegar concoction (a complicated recipe of apple cider vinegar, warm water, and honey). To be honest, I’m not sure what all of the benefits are, but I know there are benefits so that’s good enough for me. I mean, if you believe the internet, it can basically do anything, kind of like coconut oil. Plus, I like the vinegar taste – is that strange?

+ I’m either old or just really out of shape because I feel like I’m somehow still recovering from the backpacking trip the other weekend. My poor body isn’t used to such abuse. Plus, I’m still covered in mosquito bites…

+ Seattle has been covered in smoke for over a week and now that it’s finally cleared out, it’s cloudy again! We even had a rainy day over the weekend – our first one in about two months! With high temps in the low 70s, it’s starting to feel suspiciously like fall over here (and I’m not a fan).

+ Speaking of summer, the kids here don’t go back to school until after Labor Day, so we have another whole month of summer before Clara’s preschool starts up again and fall activities begin.

+ Today I’ve seen two huge spiders in our house and they scurried away and now I just know they’re going to lay hundreds of eggs and my home will be overtaken.

+ Can I just say one more thing about sleep?! I’ve been on a mission yet again to go to sleep before 11pm, and it’s been pretty life changing. I tend to stay awake until 1 or 2am when left to my own devices, so this has been a big, and positive change for me! See, the entire family is in sleep bootcamp over here!

toddler-summer-fun

Is it Friday yet?! This week has seemed suspiciously long already and according to my calendar it’s only Tuesday. That has to be wrong, right?

How is your week going?! Are you up to anything fun?

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I survived my first backpacking trip!

Well, I lived to tell the tale of my first backpacking adventure! There were so many things I learned this past weekend… so many. The main one being that I have zero survival skills.

I feel like I could never possibly recap the experience to do it justice, but I’m going to try to cover the basics.

My friend and I left Seattle on Friday afternoon and got to the Snowgrass Trailhead at about 4:30 PM. Our plan was to do the 20 mile Snowgrass Flat – Cispus Basin – Nannie Ridge Loop in the Goat Rocks Wilderness. After stuffing all of our supplies into our bags (which made me completely nervous since we hadn’t double checked everything before we left the city and I was convinced I was forgetting something or that not everything would fit), we set out.

The trail was pretty much uphill through a forest for the first 5 miles. We went from 4600 feet elevation to 6400 feet elevation, and ended up at a wonderful campsite where the Snowgrass Trail meets the PCT. We were happy to discover that the smoke had lifted enough on Friday night so that we had views of Mt Adams from our campsite! Of course, we called it Mt Rainier the whole time we were there because we forgot which direction we were facing, but someone kindly informed us it was actually Mt Adams. Whoops.

Snowgrass Flats in Goats Rock Wilderness

The first day was hard (even though we only went about 6 miles) because of the elevation and because we were in a rush to get to set up our tent and eat dinner before it got dark out. We succeeded! Plus, the wildflowers up at Snowgrass Flats (near where we camped) were GORGEOUS and the smoke actually added to the whimsical mood. It was honestly stunning and no picture will do it justice.

I loved setting up camp and watching the stars come out and seeing the other campers’ headlights down the PCT. It was a pretty fun first night of backpacking! We ate instant couscous and fresh veggies and called it a night! The night air was a bit cold, but we had the appropriate gear, so we woke up quite warm!

Snowgrass Flats in Goats Rock Wilderness

The next morning we drank our tea/coffee, took down our tent, ate some granola bars, and hit the trail! We walked on the PCT through Cispus Basin & Cispus Pass, and once again, nothing I will be able to describe or show in photos will do that place justice. Even without the gorgeous mountain views (hidden by smoke), it was a beautiful place. We walked along a huge basin with creeks and waterfalls and wildflowers and we said hello to other hikers… (who were all still in good spirits because it was the morning…) and we even talked to a few hikers who were hiking thousands of miles on the PCT. It was quite the morning!

Cispus Basin in WA

We eventually made it to Sheep Lake about 6 miles later, and stopped for lunch and a quick dip. It felt great to get those darn hiking boots off and to soak our feet! Plus I was beginning to loathe the heavy pack at that point and was looking for any excuse to put it down and rest a while. The wildflowers were gorgeous near the lake but the bugs were quite feisty.  After our lunch of torilla + peanut butter + honey, we headed off again down Nannie Ridge Trail towards Walupt Lake. It was another 5 miles down to that lake, and it was a brutal downhill. Uphills are hard, but downhills are hard, too!

Sheep Lake in WA

Sheep Lake in WA

After 11 miles (total), we found the lake and a campground nearby. We didn’t want to sleep at the campground, so we found a place to setup our tent in the woods nearby. It was actually a really peaceful place to sleep – in the middle of trees and really near a lake. We got some water from a nearby creek, ate an early dinner, and let our aching bodies rest in the tent while playing cards for a while before early bedtime.

The next morning we slept late (yay for the trees blocking sunlight!) and started out once we had packed everything up and I had chugged a coffee. We had a 6 mile hike back to our original trailhead, which included a river crossing and overgrown trails. It was not my favorite 6 mile hike, that is for sure! Plus, the bugs ate me alive, even though I was wearing pants and a long sleeve shirt and bug spray.

I was never so happy to see a car in my life (once we finally, finally arrived at our original trailhead) and put that 35 lb pack down!

Snowgrass Flats in Goats Rock Wilderness

It was a gorgeous, uncomfortable, adventurous, relaxing, exhausting weekend! I’ll do a post on what I learned later this week – because there are many, many things. But overall, I would definitely go backpacking again! I’d do it a bit differently, but I absolutely loved sleeping in such a gorgeous place that could only be reached by hiking. It was really a special experience!

Have you ever gone backpacking?! Would you?!

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Embarking on a mini-adventure!

I’ve had a lot of nervous/excited energy this week because I’ve been planning a not-so little adventure this weekend… backpacking! A friend and I will be hiking about 30 miles in 2.5 days and 2 nights. We’ll be near Mt Rainier in the wilderness, and I have no idea what to expect.

Guys, I’m not really what you might call ‘outdoorsy’. I like to be outdoors, I like day hiking, but I have never gone backpacking and I have only car camped once (earlier this summer). I have also never peed outside. I barely use porta potties. I really like running water and electricity and beds.

Basically, (for all of the previously stated reasons) I’ve always said I would never backpack. So of course, when a friend said she was going and that I could tag along, I instantly said yes. I guess you could say I’m so difficult/stubborn that I even set out to prove myself wrong whenever possible.

First Backpacking Trip!

On this trip I won’t be preoccupied with ensuring both girls don’t topple over ledges/cliffs.

I love a good physical and mental challenge and I especially love adventures. Life is filled with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities if I just seize the moment! At least this is what I’m telling myself right now.

I’ve spent a good part of this week anxiously searching the internet for advice about cougar attacks, bear attacks, backpacking tips, goat attacks, bug repellent… and now Washington is covered in smoke from the wildfires in Canada, so our air quality / visibility is awful, plus we’re under a heat warning.

So basically I’m either listening to podcasts about first time backpacking (this one!), triple checking to make sure I have all of the gear I need, ‘researching’ all sorts of scary things, stressing about weather and air conditions I can’t control… and excitedly anticipating a weekend without my family, far away from my ‘normal’ life routine and distractions.

It will be an adventure, that is for certain.

I’ll update you soon. Wish me luck! (And also Tim, as this will be his first time alone with the girls for more than 8 hours straight!)

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I’m not quite ready for fall but bring on the fall (toddler) clothes!

Now that it’s August (but how?!) I’m starting to feel like summer is ending, even though it seems like it just started!

Back to school #kidsgoals with Gymboree

Thankfully, school doesn’t start until after Labor Day here in Seattle, and even more thankfully,  Clara’s preschool has drop-in care all summer, so if I really start to get anxious for her to go back – she can – but otherwise we have about a month left before our schedule gets more hectic.

My goal last year was to simply survive, but this year I’m being slightly more ambitious with my goal setting.

Back to school #kidsgoals with Gymboree

Back to school #kidsgoals with Gymboree

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My goals for the fall / school year are to be intentional and to create memories.

To be intentional

To continue limiting screen time, to only sign up for activities that we really love (and not too many of them!), to practice learning activities (like letters and numbers) with Clara at home, to read as much as possible, to spend 15 minutes of quality time with each girl every day, and to encourage Clara to tell me all about her day every day.

To create memories

To spend time outdoors every single day (even when it’s rainy and dark!), to plan trips and adventures as often as possible, to create a schedule for our week ahead of time so we always have a plan, to see friends frequently, and to be as positive as possible so that our experiences are more fun than stressful.

______________________

Back to school #kidsgoals with Gymboree

Back to school #kidsgoals with Gymboree

I asked them to please stand still by the garage door so I could snap a quick picture before we left for the day… and this happened. How do other bloggers do this?! Candy bribery?

I asked Clara what she would like to do in the fall and she said, “Well… in the winter can I go hiking and sledding please? In the fall I would like to go walking and find where the school camp is.” (I have no idea what a school camp is but I guess we’ll find it!)

I’m glad we’re on the same page! Lots of hiking and exploring it is! Maybe I’m finally, finally rubbing off on her.

And of course, a new season means new outfits and I could not help myself – I had to get the girls matching denim jackets. Now that Isabelle is wearing toddler sizes, I can really take full advantage and match the girls more often than I probably should. I can’t help  myself, I really can’t. 

I can’t get enough of fall clothes. It’s all about layering in the PNW, so our fall clothes are actually also winter and spring clothes, which makes my frugal heart happy – as long as these girls don’t keep growing! I feel like Isabelle is growing out of clothes monthly, but Clara is nice and steadily only changing sizes every year, earning her favorite child status in the clothes category.

Back to school #kidsgoals with Gymboree

Back to school #kidsgoals with Gymboree

I also got Clara a shirt that says “I heart (pizza)” and her face when she first saw the shirt was priceless. Her immediate reaction was, “MOM! You got me a shirt to wear when I eat PIZZA?!” Why yes, child, I did. I may just be nominated for mom-of-the-year (for my family, at least) after all.

Here’s to hoping these clothes (and goals!) last the entire school year! Don’t forget to check out Gymboree for your back-to-school needs!

Do you have any school year goals for your kiddos?!

This post was sponsored by Gymboree, but all opinions are, of course, my own! 

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Another coffee date!

I’m in the mood for a coffee date, aren’t you? Lately I’ve been able to have a lot of gal pal time (sometimes with kids, sometimes without kids) and I’ve loved being able to speak in full sentences and sometimes even finish a thought! And now that it’s Friday, I would love to have a coffee date to finish out the week.

If we were on a coffee date…

Summer activity: blueberry picking!

+ I’d be drinking an 8oz, double shot latte with a bit of vanilla or caramel. I never order larger drinks anymore, because I don’t like paying for extra milk and a weaker drink. It always needs to be a double shot, though! I don’t play around when it comes to my necessary caffeine intake.

+ I’d talk way too much about sleep. It’s the story of my life that NEVER ENDS. (I wrote a little update the other week here.) In summary, Clara is doing great now (yay!) but Isabelle is a disaster. We are working on it and are ready to be over this phase of life when everything just seems hard.

+ I’d tell you I heard (from the Ben & Ashley I. Almost Famous podcast) that women are the most attractive at 31 years old. I have mixed feelings about this! I mean, I am 31 years old and am feeling great, but also does this mean that it all goes downhill from here? Say it ain’t so!

+  While we were on the subject of podcasts, I’d tell you that listening to podcasts on 1.5x speed has been life-changing for me. I love the faster pace and also the fact that I can get through more content and more shows in a shorter time. My podcast list is quite long these days!

Summer activity: blueberry picking!

+ I’d advise you to go blueberry picking! We went with the girls last weekend and had so much fun. I mean, they only lasted about 10 minutes until Clara got distracted and Isabelle needed to be held back from the blueberries before she could eat any more – but those 10 minutes were blissful. Blueberry picking was way easier than strawberry picking with littles – the girls were able to easily pick the berries and Isabelle stuffed as many into her mouth as possible.

+ I’d admit that I didn’t completely avoid the Nordstrom sale. I fully anticipated not buying anything but then I remembered I needed a rain jacket, and I caved and ordered one. It just came today, and I haven’t tried it on yet. We shall see if I’ll keep it! Thank goodness for free shipping & free returns.

I’d ask you if you are current on the Bacheloretteand then I’d tell you that I really want Peter to win, but I don’t think he will. But I also can’t see him being on Bachelor in Paradise nor being the next Bachelor so…. yeah he just needs to win. What are you predicting will happen on the finale?!

… and then I’d ask you about everything you’re up to this summer! I love hearing about everyone’s summer travels and adventures.

What’s on your mind today?!

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