Summertime with Toddlers!

Thank you Kroger and Fred Meyer for sponsoring this post!

The sun is out in Seattle, no rain is in the forecast (!!), preschool gets out in a week, and our family is ready for summer! I think this summer might just be our favorite one thus far because the girls are at such fun ages to play outside! To get in the spirit, I sent Tim to our local Fred Meyer to get a few summer toys. He, of course, came back with a ton of toys, and told me that I should actually be impressed with his restraint. He still wants to go back for an above ground pool and a trampoline. We’re in negotiations.

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Anyways! We had a fun afternoon playing at the park and it only reaffirmed that we have some great times ahead of us. And also some meltdowns, because… toddlers.

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Here’s what I plan on filling our summer with:

Water toys.

There is nothing my girls love more than playing in the water. Whether it be throwing water balloons, playing at a water/sand table, jumping through a sprinkler, or playing in a kid-sized pool, these toddlers have the best time splashing around in their swimsuits. The plan is to keep our yard stocked with water toys so we’re always ready to play!

Bubbles.

Confession: Bubbles are one of my least favorite toys for the girls to play with. They always spill the entire bottle, or getting super sticky, or whining because it’s their turn and sister won’t share… you get the idea. But here’s the thing, the girls LOVE bubbles, so we’re going with it! Bubbles for everyone.

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Playdates.

One of the things I love about summer is that our friends have more open-schedules, so we’re able to get together for more playdates! I can’t wait to hang out at friends’ houses and chat with the moms while the kids play. The girls are finally at ages where they can both interact with other kids, and I am loving it!

Swimming.

There are so many lakes and bodies of water near Seattle, and we love checking them out so the girls can splash around and ‘swim’ a bit. Our favorites in Seattle are Green Lake and Matthews Beach, but it’s also fun to drive out to Lake Sammamish State Park (because it has the best playground)!

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Games.

Tim and I love games and the girls are finally old enough to kick a soccer ball around, ride bikes, and play a game of catch! We’re working on trying to get them to hit a baseball, but we could be quite a ways from that particular milestone…

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Grilling & eating outdoors.

One we finalize the whole house buying thing, we’re buying a grill! There is nothing easier than grilling out dinner for our family and for friends who stop over. It’s easy to cook and easy to clean up — wins for everyone! We also have a toddler-sized picnic table so that the girls can eat their lunch and dinners outside. They absolutely love ‘picnics’!

Outings.

There are so many things to do in Seattle during the summer months. We love Gasworks Park, the zoo, any and all playgrounds, Pike Place Market, and any kid-friendly restaurant that lets us eat outside. Plus, on really special days we can take ferry rides to nearby islands to enjoy a change of scenery. What toddler doesn’t love boat rides?

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Sweet treats.

I really, really try to limit our kids’ sugar intake, but it’s fun to have some sweet treats in the hot summer months, so I relax our dessert policy just a bit. The girls especially love popsicles! I’ll eventually learn how to make my own (or rather, eventually I’ll get motivated enough to actually do it), but for now they’re enjoying Outshine Popsicles.

And of course, I have some adventures planned for this summer, like a few camping trips and seeing new places and maybe a few hikes! I’m trying not to get overly ambitious but that’s easier said than done for me…

No matter what we end up doing this summer, I know we’ll be heading back to Fred Meyer for even more supplies… they seriously have everything we could ever need for summer and I know Tim is already dying to go back to pick up some more goodies. (He really can’t say ‘no’ to these girls of ours!)

What were your favorite memories from your childhood summers?! What do I need to add to my list?!

Fun activities for toddlers this summer!



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Another post about (toddler) sleep.

Once upon a time I thought that my girls would (both!) certainly be sleeping through the night after the first year of Isabelle’s life.

HA.

Now she’s 2 years old and is still waking up in the middle of the night at least once. And if she (by some miracle) sleeps through, Clara wakes up because of a nightmare or to go potty or for something.

And it isn’t for lack of trying on our part! In retrospect, I wish we would have sleep-trained Isabelle more seriously about a year ago, but we were dealing with Clara’s more-serious sleep issues then so we didn’t have the energy… it’s all been a mess.

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But I wanted to let you know about some things we’re trying to help our daughters sleep (like normal human beings)…

This noise machine that was recommended by a sleep consultant. Evidently looping sounds aren’t great for babies brains, so fan noises are the way to go!

+ This turtle night light that creates star constellations on the ceiling. This is hit or miss for our girls, but they were really into it for a while! Now they’ve kind of lost interest, but it is a fun alternative to a night light.

+ An earlier bedtime is always an attempt – but sometimes it works better than others. Our ideal scenario would be that the girls start winding down around 6:30pm so they can be in bed by 7 or 7:30pm, but everything seems to get thrown off by social activities or Tim’s work schedule. It’s a lot of work to get dinner on the table by 5:30pm and I just don’t have it in me most days. Still, I can definitely see how an earlier bedtime is probably necessary for all of us.

+ A shared room. While this may seem counter-intuitive, I really do think it helps the girls to have a ‘buddy’ in their room with them. Clara, in particular, has been staying in her bed rather than coming to find us, since she doesn’t get ‘lonely’ in the middle of the night.

+ Speaking of which… we’ve also started bribing Clara to stay in her room until her ready-to-wake clock turns green. It’s amazing what the idea of some ice cream can do for her motivation!

+ Stricter naptimes. I was so great last summer about being on a very strict sleep schedule for the girls. But here’s the thing – I am not a scheduled person! So schedules and routines are SO HARD for me. This spring/summer I’m trying really hard to get back into a schedule, especially with naps. My goal is to have Isabelle asleep at 12:30pm every day and bedtime at 7:30pm every night. So far nothing has become miraculously easier, but I’m going to keep trying! It’s really hard to be consistent because our lives just generally not consistent!

+ Spending time outside every single day. I do this all year round, but especially with the weather being so nice, I’m really trying to ensure the girls get a lot of playtime outside! Something about fresh air wears everyone out! (Or at least that’s the hope…)

All of these things have helped, but we don’t have a miracle cure just yet! I’m hoping that if we keep the girls on a consistent schedule that things will get easier, especially as Isabelle gets older, but I’m just not that optimistic at this point… everything was going great until we switched Isabelle into a toddler bed, and now it’s all gone to crap! Plus with the summer coming up and the sunshine lasting until 10pm, it’s getting harder and harder to get the girls to wind down at 7pm.

Wish us luck, though! And of course, I’m all ears if you have a miracle cure for toddler sleep!

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Five things from the weekend

This weekend was an especially lazy one for us. (Well, it was as lazy as a weekend can get with toddlers running around and causing chaos!) We’ve had a hectic few weeks lately, with house hunting and end-of-the-year stuff happening at crazy speeds, so it was nice to have a few extra hours to get some things done around the house and even watch a few hours of TV! We also had a few get togethers with friends… which was lovely, per usual.

But mainly I channeled my inner Ozzie…

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1) I did not watch the royal wedding (since it was on at like 2am here!) but I did see some pictures and what’s not to love about love?! Although, I’m not quite sure I understand the ravings around Meghan’s wedding dress. She’d be gorgeous in absolutely anything, but I didn’t think her dress was anything special.

2) Bedtime is taking us forever and a half these days. I really wish my girls were the ‘they didn’t every try to climb out of their cribs until they were 16 years old’ types, because this transition into a toddler bed (for Isabelle) has been BRUTAL – as expected.

3) I finally finished the final season of Scandal. It was actually better than I had expected! Sure, I don’t really understand what happened at the end, but I was satisfied with how it all wrapped up. Now I need another show to binge watch…

4) This book is what I’m currently reading, and I have a feeling it’s going to take me a while to get through because there is a lot of introspection / journaling going on over here.

5) Tim and I went on a day date to go mattress shopping (after coffee & biscuits, of course). We’ve really been living the wild life lately! We decided to take the plunge and buy an organic/natural mattress and it was really interesting to learn about them. I think we’re going to be really happy with our purchase… we’d better be because this thing was pricey!

I hope your week is off to a terrific start!

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Things I Learned in April

April went by in a blur of fun and I honestly barely remember any of it. I turned 32 (that is sounding OLD), I went on solo trips to Denver and San Francisco, I caught up with old friends, and we went on a lot of adventures as a family! Plus, we started searching for a house to buy in the Seattle area.

I want to go back and be more reflective, so let’s talk about what I learned from the month.

Things I Learned in April

Things I Learned in April

I love traveling (solo) 

I have always enjoyed traveling, but it’s been put on a major hold for me over the past few years because we’e been in such sleep deprived baby/toddler chaos that I haven’t had the energy to do anything but survive. Of course we’ve traveled a bit as a family, but the thought of leaving Tim alone for a weekend with the girls was too much for me to consider until very recently. However, we’re finally in a better place (thank goodness!) and I was able to leave him for two weekend alone in April! It was so worth it to get away. I loved the plane rides, train rides, time waiting alone in the airport, eating at restaurants with other adults… everything! Plus the catching up with friends and all of that good stuff. This month I realized that to feel like a whole person, I need to get out and do things with my friends and for myself – even if that entails getting on a plane and traveling across the country.

Nothing makes me feel broke like the Seattle housing market

Tim and I just started looking for a house here, and it is CRAZY. House prices/values went up 13% in 12 months. That means house we could have afforded a year or so ago are no longer in our price range. It is so frustrating! And I won’t even get into how houses aren’t on the market for more than a week, there are multiple offers on each house with tens of thousands of dollars in escalations, and that competitive offers are those that waive all contingencies. It is nuts out there, friends. Pray for us.

I’ve been doing my Mondays all wrong

Mondays are my favorite day of the week (excluding the weekend, of course). I come into the week full of energy, which means that I generally make my to-do list super long on Mondays (because I know it will all get done) and plan most of our activities for then as well. However, I’m realizing I’ve been doing it wrong, because by Thursday and Friday my brain is complete mush and I’m really, really worn out and unmotivated. So then I started experimenting with my schedule. It turns out that I do much better when I have a low-key Monday, so I have time to write out my to-do lists, meal plan, put away laundry, and generally get ready for the week ahead. (I consider this all to be completely boring stuff, but it turns out it’s necessary. Womp.) In the future I’ll be trying to ensure that the beginning of my week has some space in it so that I feel more organized and less burnt out.

What did you learn this month?! I hope your May is off to a great start!

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Things I Want To Tell You About

Things I want to tell you about this week…

+ Isabelle’s 2nd birthday was a week ago, and we went out to ice cream to celebrate. At the ice cream shop Clara says “Mom, tell me again… how does God get the baby in a mommy’s belly?” at which point the lady next to us almost choked trying to keep her laughter in.

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+ We’re officially house hunting in Seattle! If you don’t know, Seattle is the fastest rising real estate market in the country right now, and it is CHAOS trying to buy a house here. I could go on and on, but I’ll save it for a different post, once I’m on the other side. Keep us in your prayers! This will be the first house we’ll be buying together and it seems like a very adult decision!

+ Last month I took two trips (solo!) to San Francisco and Denver to be with old friends. There is nothing like hanging out with people who know me. But also, it’s interesting to hang out with people who knew me long ago, when I was pretty different from who I am today, at least in my opinion! It got me to thinking… do our old friends know our truest self, or do they have opinions formed about who we are that may not necessarily be true anymore? Something I need to think more about…

+ Tim is working on big things at Starbucks and this article explains a lot of it. I’m proud of him!

+ My dad organized a little competition to predict the winner of the Kentucky Derby this past weekend – and I won! I actually picked THE TRIFECTA! We each had to pick three horses and I picked the top three! Now if only I had actually bought a ticket and won some money… (But let’s face it, if I had actually put money on it, my horses would have been dead last.) My prize is a nice bottle of wine – so I’ll take it.

+I read “How Not To Die” a few days ago and it immediately changed the way I view food, and has changed my diet a bit, too. I highly recommend it if you like reading about nutrition and are trying to eat more intentionally.

That’s it for now! I’m exhausted right now and I still have an entire week to get through with my two little crazies.

Wish me luck!

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