The past two weekends

June has been a fun and crazy month! Every once in a while I think, “Oh I really want to remember to blog about…” but then I completely forget and move on to something else and before I even realize it, it’s been a month and everything I wanted to write about is no longer relevant!

I’ll work on that.

The past few weekends have been fun.

Philly

A little over a week ago I flew out to Philly to celebrate one of my best friends at her bridal shower and bachelorette party. I flew into Philly on Thursday and the rest of the weekend was a blur.

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Highlights included:

  • Eating late night Thai food with just the bride-to-be. I’m so glad I arrived in Philly days before the event so we could catch up. I hadn’t seen her in over two years, which is way, way too long!
  • Getting manicures the day before the bridal shower. I love getting my nails done and almost never spend the time (or money) to get a proper manicure. I really need to make this a part of my routine.
  • Eating at Bar Bombón in Philly. It’s a vegetarian restaurant and everything we ordered was beyond delicious.
  • The bridal shower at La Stalla in Newtown, PA. It was a great venue and we loved the Italian food. Plus, everyone just had a lot of fun! The other bridesmaids and the mothers of the bride & groom did a wonderful job planning all of the details.
  • The bachelorette party! We went (via limo bus) to the Dave Matthews Band concert at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, NJ. I thought the venue was pretty awesome – because we had sunset views of the city and there were so many people all singing along to the songs. It was a fun place to watch some live music.

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House Renovations

Have I mentioned we bought a house? We bought a house. I haven’t actually wrapped my mind around all of it yet, but we closed last week.

The house doesn’t need much work, but we are completely re-doing the kitchen, all of the floors, all of the paint for the walls/ceiling, some of the bathrooms… and whatever else we have the energy/money for. It’s turning into a bigger project that I had anticipated, but we’re moving right along with it! This week we’re making several huge decisions, and I’ll feel so much better once the ball gets rolling and out of the ‘planning’ stage. Demo gets underway next week and we hope to move into the house early August! (Famous last words, right?! Everyone keeps telling us how over-schedule these kinds of projects get.)

(This blog’s focus will probably be more on renovations than on parenting over the next month or so… but on the positive side, at least I’ll be writing about something! Haha!)

Weekend highlights:

  • Picking out the most perfect piece of granite for our kitchen island (and maybe the bathrooms).
  • Painting paint samples on all of the walls so we can pick out colors. (Sidenote: we should not have attempted this with both toddlers in an empty house, while also trying to meet with our contractor simultaneously. It was legit CHAOS for hours and hours.) Also, we learned that it’s very hard to use this method when the walls are already painted crazy colors. How do I pick the perfect color pink when I’m painting samples on a lime green background?! I cannot. So to Pinterest we go for that particular decision…
  • Celebrating a little friend’s second birthday at her adorable party.
  • Enjoying Sunday night dinner with our small group. It was perfect weather here in Seattle, so we grilled burgers and let the toddlers run around… it’s the ideal way for us to all spend time together in this phase of life!
  • Hiking at Denny Creek. Clara and Isabelle both walked over a mile to the natural water slides, and it took (no joke!) around 2 hours. We stopped for a picnic lunch and then carried them back in our hiking packs. The walk back to the car took about 20 minutes! Hiking at a toddler pace is making me a slightly more patient person, that’s for sure! I mean, we can’t go on the big adventures I would normally choose, but it is fun to see everything through their eyes. Plus, they feel such a sense of accomplishment when they can walk by themselves and carry their own backpacks!
  • Watching The Staircase on Netflix. I just watched one episode so far. Have you seen it?! I’m dedicated to watching it because my fav podcast ever (True Crime Obsessed) will be covering it.

I’ll write a post this week about our decision to buy a house and the process in general, for those of you who are interested in that sort of thing!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Posted in home, house renovation, travel, weekend fun | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

What if I thought about my to-do list differently…

The other week I was talking to my counselor about my to-do list and how miserable it was making me.

I told him that my list felt like it was never-ending, and I felt a lot of pressure because it seemed like people were waiting on me to do a lot of things. I felt like I couldn’t catch up, and that I was never going to get true down time. I would take time to relax, but in the back of my mind there were these nagging thoughts of what I ‘should’ be doing instead.

And my counselor brought up an interesting point. What if I thought of my to-do list in terms of what I get to do instead of what I have to do?

Reframing your to-do list

A lot (if not all) of the things on my to-do list are things I’m choosing to do, so why am I resentful of them?

This little mental shift has changed the way I view my tasks. I’m allowing myself to realize that I actually want to be spending my time working on certain activities, and if I don’t want to do something, I just don’t do it. Or if I’m dreading a task that has to get done (folding laundry!) then I listen to a fun podcast or watch a trashy reality TV show while doing it, so that it’s more enjoyable. I’m able to constantly remind myself that I’m not doing things because I need to, I’m doing things because I want to.

It’s not fun feeling like I’m living my life by constantly trying to check things off a list of tasks, but it is pretty great feeling like I’m spending my days devoting time to things I care about.

See the difference?

Don’t let your to-do list rule you, instead, remind yourself of what you want to do and why, and then do those things. You’ll probably end up finishing the same tasks, but with a different attitude.

That’s your unsolicited advice for this Tuesday!

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A quick look at this week

1) Oh hey, terrible twos! Isabelle has started screaming like a little crazy person if she even hears the word ‘no’, from anyone. Like if a friend tells her ‘no’ on the playground, the world may just be ending because Isabelle will LOSE IT. It’s the kind of screaming that should only happen if someone is causing her bodily harm, but she likes to use it often. Wish me luck getting through this phase!

2) Last week was our final week of MOPS for the year! I co-coordinate one of the Seattle chapters of Mothers of Preschoolers and have truly loved my experience serving this ministry. And I’ll be doing it again this next year! If you’re the mom of a kid ages newborn – kindergarten, I cannot recommend this group enough! Look into them and see if there’s a group who meets in your area. It’s a wonderful way to meet some mom friends!

Hiking at Big 4 Ice Caves

3) Aaptiv Are you using this app yet?! I use it for quick strength training exercises when I can’t leave my house (naptime!) or even for motivation during a few miles of outdoor running. I just can’t seem to motivate myself to exercise ‘alone’, so this virtual coach thing really helps me!

4) This has been a week. Like A WEEK. Do you know what I mean? All short weeks basically feel 18x longer than normal weeks and I can’t explain it but it’s just a fact. It hasn’t helped that Tim has had a few very long days at work, which means I’ve had a few very long days with my little bosses tyrants daughters. If you saw my Instastories yesterday, you saw that they put a hole into the bathroom wall  (with toy hammers) while I was cleaning up after lunch. Sigh.

5) Before I forget, we had such a good long weekend last weekend! We went hiking with friends, we went hiking by ourselves, we went to friends’ houses for dinners and barbecues, and we played at the park with Oz and the girls and enjoyed the sunshine. Overall, we were spoiled by wonderful weather and I’m ready for summer to start now! Which is happening, kind of, because Clara’s last day of school was this week and her end-of-the-year party is today! Let summer commence.

Oh hey, June! And Friday!

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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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