Archive for February, 2022

Winter was made bearable this year with our January getaway to Winthrop and a blissful February week in Maui (more on that later) – snow-breaks and sun-breaks do much to ease the gray-sky doldrums.  And in-between, when we don’t have the luxury of skipping town, we still do our best to get out of the house and catch a breath of fresh air.  Contrary to popular belief, there are actually breaks in the rain around here – I’ve got photos to prove it!

Isaac has been getting well-acquainted with each and every West Seattle playground over these past couple of months.  Though he’s not able to do much more than lean back in the baby swing, Juliette is eager to show him the ropes and will always offer him a lap-ride on the slide if he’s up for it.  Delridge Park has become a new favorite, mainly because there are pickle ball courts there and Shane gets his own form of play-time while we hit the swings.


Seahurst Park down in Burien was stunning on a sunny Sunday.

I’m so glad that Juliette still loves the swings.

Isaac is…still getting the hang of it.

Her face when she looks at him is everything.


Alki forever!  Juliette and I headed down to the beach for a scooter/walk one afternoon while Isaac was napping, then treated ourselves to boba.

We went back a few days later with brother in tow and hit up Whale Tail playground.

And…more beach boba.  Isaac was feeling very left-out, so I sat in the sand, leaned back on a piece of driftwood, and nursed him while I savored my jasmine milk tea.  Something for everyone.


Lincoln Park on a sunny day can’t really be beat.

Also, Lincoln Park’s baseball diamonds are the perfect place for Juliette to field some grounders in preparation for her Spring softball kick-off.


Hiwatha is great for the variety of playground equipment.  And the proximity to coffee / hot chocolate at Met Market.  Juliette and I have our priorities!

Her big grin and his little tongue.

…and Hiwatha today, while Shane and Juliette watched a Little League game at the ball field.


Westcrest is a playground we’d forgotten about until I started aimlessly scrolling the map of West Seattle looking for green spaces.  We met the Rusts there on a Saturday afternoon and climbed, zip-lined, swung, and played catch.

How many photos do I have of her pushing him in a swing?  Probably two hundred.

And counting.


We went to the Walt Hundley Playfield in Highpoint yesterday, again lured by Shane’s pickle ball obsession.  A group of little girls invited Juliette to play with them and they did a few rounds of hide and seek together, but in the end, she just wanted to push Isaac on the swing.


Shane and Juliette ventured to the mountains a few weeks ago for a bluebird day at Snoqualmie.  I stayed home with Isaac (and took him to the playground!) but loved getting pics of these two living their best ski life.


We’re still settling into Isaac’s nap schedule and often find that he needs a short doze around 5pm to get him through to bedtime.  I often need to get out of the house around 5pm to make up for a day of sitting in the rocking chair with little buddy.  Cue the evening stroller nap!

(I can see the days getting longer – hallelujah!)


Though we’re making a solid effort to embrace the outdoors, we still spend most of our time cozied up inside, watching pickle ball tournaments (I’ve stopped fighting it), reading books, and listening to the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat (we’re about seven years late to the game, but Juliette and I are obsessed).

Juliette and I look for little ways to make the long days special, like chocolate-covered strawberries and the sweetest table scape on Valentines.  On Friday nights we do face masks and watch a movie or an episode of Queer Eye.  Yesterday she dressed to the nines to go get a haircut.  She’s so great at making her own magic.

Cheers to being over the winter hump!  We’ll be seeing cherry blossoms in no time.

Since Isaac entered the scene, life has been a delicate dance of getting out just-enough but not-too-much.  While the weather and the pandemic and the baby’s four naps per day give us ample reason to just hole up and stay home, we want to make sure Juliette gets out and about – she’s a girl that loves to be on the move.  Shoot – I love to be on the move and have been teetering on the brink of stir-craziness for the past several weeks. And so we decided we’d roll the dice and plough ahead with our annual ski trip to Winthrop, extra baggage in tow.  Shane found an infant insert for our ski trailer, I bought the puffiest little snow suit I could find, and we were off!

We wisely broke up the drive there between two days and spent Thursday night in Wenatchee.  It was a modest room at a Garden Inn, but Juliette still oohed and ahhed over every detail (the beside reading lamps were a hit) and immediately asked if we could see if the TV played American Ninja Warrior.  Our home’s charm has definitely worn off a bit these past two years, so anything new and novel blows her mind.  Isaac was also vibing on the change of scenery.

We slept great, Isaac tucked into bed with me and Juliette over with Shane, and then we grabbed our caffeine and carbs from the nearby market early Friday before hitting the road to Sun Mountain Lodge.

All-star car snoozer!

It was a quick two hours to Winthrop, and then I got that familiar giddy feeling I get every time we start our final ascent up the mountain. Juliette and I wondered aloud how Floyd, the resident stuffed bison, was doing and we started planning which hot tub we’d dip into first and which ski trails we’d do which days.

We settled into our room in the Gardner cabins, which only took about 14 trips to and from the car, and then Isaac got comfy and extra-cute while Shane and Juliette headed to the lodge to rent her skis.

We bundled up and made the short drive to the Chickadee trailhead to ski the Beaver Pond loop.  This is such a zen, easy-going trail.  It was foggy that afternoon and while I missed the sun, the woods felt mystical and extra serene.

Isaac neither loved nor hated the ski trailer.  He just kind of zoned out, with a look on his face like, “Welp, I guess Mom is going to make me wear this ridiculous marshmallow suit after all…”.

Juliette is as fast as I am now on her skis, zipping across the flats and living for any little downhill slopes.

(Are we having fun yet, Buddy?!)

We ate dinner back in our room and then Juliette and I darted through the snow to the hot tub while Shane hung back with Isaac.

Books, baby snugs, bedtime…  Being in one room together meant that quiet time started at 7pm, but I didn’t mind.  I got so much reading done that weekend!

We did our best to stick to our typical nighttime routine, but letting a baby cry it out is hard to do when you’re sharing walls with strangers.  And the crib provided by the lodge was extra-deep and hard to get him in and out of, so I freed him from baby jail when he woke up to eat and he spent the rest of the night(s) in bed with Shane and me.  Sleep training, schmeep training…I knew we’d pay later (we did!), but I loved having him close those few nights, his chubby fist wrapped around my finger.

Shane was up and out the door early on Saturday to do some solo skiing.  We made plans to meet up in a couple of hours for a family ski; in the meantime, the kids and I did some wandering around the grounds to enjoy the morning sun on the mountains.

We found Shane down by the MCT and did a couple of hours of skiing along the river and through the open fields.  Isaac dozed for a bit, Juliette perfected her shuffle, shuffle, glide, and I started planning our early retirement (one can dream!).

Fog had settled in the valley again and there were stretches of the trail that felt almost spooky.

Another great ski in the books!

We reserved a dome on the back patio at Schoolhouse Brewery for lunch and cozied up inside with burgers and beer (and kombucha) apres-ski.  CHEERS!

We relaxed back in the room for awhile after lunch and then bundled up again for our 3 pm sleigh ride.

We did this ride at our first trip to Sun Mountain three years ago and were thrilled to see Daisy and Gregory still at the helm.

So nice to be above the fog!

We were the only ones on the sleigh that afternoon and so Juliette got to spend extra time loving on the horses while Red, our host, made us hot chocolate in the tent.

It was a fast dip back down the mountain and Juliette loved picking up the extra speed.  Isaac was pretty chill about the whole thing and mostly just wanted to chomp on Shane’s finger (this was the weekend before his teeth broke through).

Juliette and I wrapped up the day with a little ski practice on the slope in front of our cabin (she wanted to give me a few pointers), then we soaked our tired legs in the hot tub.

This place is such a dream…

We didn’t have anything officially on the books for Sunday, so we took our time drinking our coffee and hot chocolate, played a little pool in the game room, and then treaded through the fog (more fog!) over to the sledding hill.

Isaac crashed hard for his mid-day nap and needed a little coaxing for our afternoon adventure.  Time to ski, kiddo!

The fog was doing a reverse trick that day, as it was thick up on the mountain, but bright and clear down in the valley at Mazama.  This was a new stretch of trail for us and we loved it.  Plenty of mountain views, quiet wooded stretches, and peeks at the river.

We hopped out of our skis at Jack’s Pizza Hut, grabbed an early dinner, and headed back up the mountain.

Isaac got his second wind right around bedtime, of course.

He eventually settled, though, and Juliette and I snuck away for one last hot tub run.  I don’t get a lot of one-on-one time with my best little bud anymore, so these soaks together felt extra special.

Monday was go-day and super-frosty.  We grabbed our morning beverages and decided to cap off the trip with a couple more sled runs.

Oh, Isaac – you’re such a good sport.

Sled runs done and selfies snapped, we deflated the inner tube and did the reverse 14 trips to load up the car.  What a gorgeous, fun-filled, completely exhausting few days….  Snow-cationing with a baby is no joke – as I wandered the empty halls of the lodge with him at 6am one morning, wanting to save Juliette from her squawking brother so she could get another hour of rest, I thought about the days when the three of us would sleep in, without our human alarm clock in tow.  When we could ski for hours without fear of a baby meltdown.  There was one year that we stayed up past 10 pm to head outside and gaze at the super moon.  Things felt…free and easy.  Now they feel…full and hard?  But I hope, hope, hope we’re planting seeds of mountain wonder in Isaac’s little heart, showing him early that there’s so much beauty and joy to be found in the PNW.  I’m convinced it’s worth the effort.  And to my crew, in case they need the pep talk: Isaac, this place worth the five hours in your car seat!  Shane, it’s worth the endless schlepping of stuff (I appreciate your schlepping skills SO VERY MUCH).  Juliette, it’s worth having to share a room with your restless, squawky brother.  It’s all worth it.  See you next year, Floyd.

I missed Isaac’s four-month update as we were in the thick of the holidays, so this post is a two-fer with lots to share – get ready to scroll…

Will I ever not start one of these chronicles with “I can’t believe how quickly he’s changing!”?.  Maybe when he’s 12, but at this point I’m struggling to remember what he was like even a week ago.  We were at the park over the weekend and I heard a newborn crying and realized I haven’t heard that kind of quiet-but-loud drawn-out waaaahhhhh in months now.  Lately Isaac is more prone to a squawky shriek when he’s upset, like an angry cat mixed with a pterodactyl in pain.  He got extra fired-up a few nights ago in his crib; Shane went in to soothe him and said he went deaf for a moment when he held Isaac close.  The volume and pitch range on that kid is…impressive?  And so intense.

BUT (there’s always a but with babies!), he is exceedingly generous with his smiles.  All it takes is a moment of eye contact and a friendly “Hi, Buddy…” and he will reward you with the sweetest of grins.

He’ll make you work a little harder for a giggle, which requires a belly nuzzle or a kissing of the armpits or some variation of head-bobbing while chanting digga-digga-digga-BOOP, but it’s always worth the effort.  Shane is king at eliciting the fullest gales of laughter, though I’m queen of airplane chuckles.

He’s a sturdy little guy at just over 18 pounds.  He loves to be naked and Juliette and I love to fawn over that round belly and those squishy baby thighs.  I lay him by the fire after bathtime and give him all the diaper time his heart desires.

Though that chub is 95% breast milk, we’ve started experimenting with solid foods – his first bite of applesauce was mildly confusing but by his second bite he was hooked and now starts flapping his arms in eager anticipation every time he sees his plastic spoon.  We’ve had to scale back on the snacks to let his digestive tract catch up with his mouth, but soon…tacos!  (Kidding, but oh, the flavors that await!)

He’s had a pretty continuous river of drool running down his chin for the past few weeks and last week I noticed a little white nub on his lower gums.  First tooth, at almost five months!  The second one broke through a day later.  He didn’t seem overly bothered by it, though that new brand of shrieking did develop about the same time the teeth appeared, so who knows?

He figured out a couple of weeks ago how to roll from his back to his stomach and now he flips the moment I set him on the floor.  This was exciting for all of us for about 45 seconds – we whooped and hollered over his progress and then realized he doesn’t know how to get back onto his back….  He makes it onto his tummy, pops his head up and looks around as if wondering, “How’d I get here?!”, and then flails his arms and legs while squawking in frustration over the fact that he’s not going anywhere.  Little bud is dying to crawl.

Now, a sleep update.  SLEEP.  It makes or breaks the both of us and we’ve had some ups and downs over the past few weeks.  The good news is that we have whittled down what was a two hour evening put-down (nurse, doze, jolt awake, nurse, doze, repeat…) to about 30 minutes.  Shane let Isaac cry it out on the evening I did my Cedarbrook getaway with Nancy and LaVerne in December and though it took about 45 minutes of wailing, Isaac eventually was able to get himself to sleep.  We put him down still-awake the next night and he cried a little less, and then a little less, and now he’s (usually) asleep within 15 minutes of me leaving his room after he eats.  This has been so good for all of us – Shane, Juliette and I are back to playing a game together most evenings, I’m showered and the house is tidied by 9pm, and even on the nights that Isaac cries for awhile before falling asleep, he never holds a grudge.  He’s thrilled to see me at that first middle-of-the-night feeding, which used to consistently be around 2am, but lately could be at midnight or could be at 4:00 and could be the only time he wakes or it could be the first of three wake-ups….  It’s sleep-issue whack-a-mole.  We’ll find our groove.  Someday.

With the progress on bedtime independence, it seems we should move onto proper naps?  Every Monday morning I tell myself, “This is the week!  He’ll nap in his crib, on a schedule!”  And then Monday at 10am I realize I’ve been nursing and rocking him for over an hour and I know I should put him down, but I don’t.  Partly because I know he’ll wake within 20 minutes of me leaving the room, but also because this is the last baby I’m going to rock, and dammit, it feels so good.

I’m so thankful for my body’s ability to nourish him, for the way his breath often slows and his eyelids droop the second he latches.  If he’s not so sleepy, he’ll nurse for a couple of minutes, pop his head up to give me a big old cheesy grin of gratitude, and then get back to it.

Seriously, though – what’s sweeter than a milk-drunk baby?

Maybe a baby that’s just woken up from a marathon doze in his mama’s arms?

On the occasion I do get Isaac to sleep in his crib, I find myself wandering back into his room to watch him sleep.  I’m a crazy person.

When he wakes up, Juliette and I arm wrestle over who gets to go get him.  If she wins, I watch on the monitor, just to see his smile.  Insane over this kid, I tell you!

Other notes for the time capsule:

Favorite book is Little Blue Truck, a Christmas gift from the Rusts.  Juliette has the whole book memorized by now and I think everyone in the family has some variation of “truck says beeeeeep” looping through our heads during the day.

He rubs his left ear when he’s super-tired – I worried for a couple of days that he had an ear infection, but now I realize it’s just a cue to get him down for a nap.  I prefer this signal to the pterodactyl sounds mentioned at the outset of this post, but often we get both at the same time.

His favorite toy is the stuffed giraffe my mom gave him when he was a few weeks old.  We call him Gigi and Isaac has gnawed on its ears, arms, legs, tail…here he his trying to fit Gigi’s full head in his mouth:

New nicknames primarily focus on his recent efforts to “develop his voice” and include Chatty Pumpkin (Juliette’s favorite) and Screech Owl.  Also Cheese Ball and Soggy Biscuit on days that he’s done a lot of spitting up.  Don’t worry – he knows he’s cute as all get-out and that we’re all head over heels.

Every day is another step in the journey of getting to know our boy better – Juliette and I were trying to figure out the source of his distress a couple of weeks ago and she ultimately shrugged her shoulders and said, “He’s just such a sweet mystery, Mama…”.

Indeed, Isaac.  We’re here waiting when you want to tell us more (but please use your inside voice).