Archive for the ‘peeps’ Category

August and early September were chock-full of trips and bustle as we squeezed every last drop of playtime out of summer 2022 (though let’s be honest – traveling anywhere with a baby is equal parts work and play, if you’re lucky).  Our bonanza started small, with a weekend on Bainbridge Island to watch Shane and the Rusts compete in another pickle ball tournament.  I mean, since Shane was playing both mixed doubles and mens doubles and since pickle ball was founded on Bainbridge, and since I found the sweetest little AirBnB on an idyllic farm, I felt like the kids and I should tag along and make a getaway out of it.

Isaac and Juliette liked watching the ferry pull away from the dock, but the real excitement came when Juliette realized Nancy was on the same boat as us.

It was a quick float to Southworth and an hour drive to Bainbridge and then we drove along the prettiest little lane to land at what would be our front yard for the weekend.

We explored the grounds and met the animals and had a picnic dinner on the grass.

This place felt too good to be true when Shane discovered a pickle ball net in the garage to go with the striping that was on the parking pad out front.  He and Nance were able to get a little practice in, though having to maneuver around Casey, the resident dog, complicated the game a bit.

Saturday was game day for mixed doubles; the kids and I joined the gaggle of West Seattle ballers to cheer on Shane and Nance.  There were a couple of handy wins, a couple of defeats, and a couple of hard-fought victories.  They unfortunately landed just a couple of points shy of the medal round, but I was impressed by how much improvement I saw in their game since I last watched them play in June.

Isaac was mosly just impressed by the adjacent playground.

Until he wasn’t impressed at all.

I spent the afternoon back at the AirBnB  with the kids while Shane and Nancy cheered on some of their buddies at the tournament.  Isaac and I both took a much-needed nap (true to form, he took vacation as a cue to party / fuss all night), and then after waking we played a rousing game of How long can we keep Issac in bed?

Not long…

We bopped around the farm before grabbing pizza and ice cream in Winslow.

The owners of the AirBnb were super-friendly and gave Juliette a bunch of carrots to feed the horses.  She loved how popular she immediately became!

But she didn’t love the horse drool.

I had Isaac bathed and jammied by 6 pm, but he was still pretty bright-eyed, so we took another stroll around the farm.  He loved watching the chickens strut around their coop and once he got past the initial surprise of the rooster’s high-pitched crow, he smiled wide at each cock-a-doodle-doo.

Juliette came out to join us and snuggled up with Dusty, the resident cat.  We played a few lawn games and turned in early, while Shane played pickle ball out front with the owners.  He’s insatiable.

Shane got an early start on Sunday to meet up with Jason at the courts for mixed doubles while I took my time getting going with the kids.  Isaac had another hum-dinger of a night, but didn’t seem too sorry about it.

Sleepless nights aside, I was reluctant to leave this place.  The dahlias!  The farm-fresh eggs in our fridge!  The animals…we loved those animals.  Juliette spent a good 20 minutes saying goodbye to the horses, stroking Rose and Willow on their noses while murmuring, “You’re such a sweet girl…”.  No, Juliette – YOU’RE such a sweet girl.

She tried very hard to make sure each horse got equal amounts of love.

Meanwhile, Isaac really liked those chickens…

We arrived at the courts mid-morning to find Shane and J on a roll.  They won a handful of games, were immediately humbled when a couple of 60-something guys clobbered them, but ultimately made it to the medal round.

Silver!  Congrats, guys.

Once the medal pics were snapped, we were ready to jet home.  That much pickle ball is exhausting, partly for Shane, who was on the courts for all those hours, but also for me, who ran point on crowd control / baby patrol – Isaac has yet to learn the true art of spectating.  Still, though, so worth the trip, to see Shane play a game he loves with people we love.  And…horses!  Juliette and I are still thinking about those horses.

Welp, he did it.  Baby Boy turned one last month.  I’ll spare you the “he’s growing too fast” spiel, because it’s nothing I haven’t written in my previous 11 months worth of Isaac posts (and in so many posts about baby Jules before that).  I’ll just say…he’s changing at warp speed, and there are things about his early baby days that I miss dearly, but there’s so much joy in this current phase we’re in.  I’m seeing more of his personality shine, understanding better what makes him tick.  And I like who he is a whole, whole lot.

He’s happiest when he’s on the move and continues to favor toys with wheels over anything else.  This rolling red helicopter goes with us everywhere.  

But a Birkenstock will do in a pinch when he needs something with a little more slide-ability than his often-sticky hands.

He’s a climber and has graduated from trying to crawl up onto our low fireplace mantle to trying to climb up onto the couch or the chairs or even onto our beds.  Daily I walk into the living room to find his arms scrabbling to take hold of the couch cushions, his legs kicking wildly in the air as he tries to swing them up.  We generally keep the basement door closed, but if I’m coming in from the garage with him, I’ll set him at the bottom of the stairs and let him crawl up ahead of me – he’s like Spiderman scaling a building, his arms and legs taking each step in ultra-quick succession.  The only problem is his stubborn desire to head back down the stairs after reaching the top, so that he can do it again and again and again.

When he’s not scooting circles around the kitchen with one of his cars our doing his best to summit the couch, he’s often perched at the windowsill, watching the world go by.  He loves watching the sprinklers run; if Shane or Juliette are outside, he’ll bang on the window excitedly before dropping to his knees and crawling to the door, begging to go out.  He’s part puppy, this kid.

Occasionally he’ll sit still, if he’s strapped into his high chair with a tray of food in front of him, or if he’s tucked into the swing on one of our morning playground visits.

Or if he’s snuggled against my chest in…the gray chair!  God bless the gray chair.

He’s still not consistently sleeping through the night, which certainly isn’t ideal, but I don’t mind getting up once with him if it’s short and sweet.  It’s the mornings that he’s up for the day at 5am that really slay me.  TOO EARLY, Bud.  Too early.  If only he understood how much better he feels when he waits to wake until the sun’s fully up!

He’s doing alright in his new daycare, but comes home a little worse for the wear some days – eating and sleeping in the midst of several other babies is an acquired skill.  Sometimes he looks so rough by 5:30 pm that it’s all I can do not to laugh…does he not pose a striking resemblance to Boris Johnson here?

Ah, bath time.  There’s my cute kid. 

On the good days, he’ll get a second wind after bath and play happily till bedtime at 7:00.

He was especially giddy at bedtime on the eve of his birthday, wiggling and giggling as I rocked him.  I reveled in the silliness, laughing at his laughing, which made him laugh more, which made me laugh more, which made Juliette call out, “What’s going on in there?!”, at which point she came in and yukked it up with us for a couple of minutes.

The party was relatively short-lived, though.

Good night, sweet boy.  See you when you’re ONE!

Isaac doesn’t have the luxury of several other baby buddies like his sister did, so his party the next evening was low-key.  My mom and dad were in town and we invited the Rusts over for a back yard dinner.

More wheels!  Yippee!

And hot dogs…his most favorite meal.

And watermelon.  Also a fan favorite, evidenced by the fact that he tray was licked clean before I even snapped a pic!

Isaac was a little befuddled by all the fuss, by the presents and the singing and the cupcakes, but his sister had great fun with it!

Sweet girl – not an ounce of sibling envy in her.

Ok, but seriously, Isaac – can you at least pretend to be interested?

It took a few minutes for him to figure out what to do with his cupcake, but once the buttercream frosting hit his tongue, he got it.

Cupcake remnants wiped from his face, frosting washed from his hair, and freshly jammied, we snapped a few final birthday pics.

It took all night, but finally he was feeling that birthday groove.

We opened the last of his gifts the next morning, bopped around with his birthday balloons, and then started the business of settling into waddler-hood.

Isaac Henry, you’ve brought such light and laughter to this house.  We’ve known for years that we wanted you, but we never imagined just how wonderfully you’d complete our family.  Juliette asked at dinner one night how we would describe you in a single word and while there were several front-runners thrown about, like charming, lovable, rascally, and messy (it was dinner time and the blueberry carnage was intense), none of them fully captured your essence.  I think I’ve got it though, looking at your cheesy grin and chubby thighs.  You are delight, through and through.  

Happy Birthday, Rascal.  You are loved.

Our trip to Idaho was the real star of July, but we had some closer-to-home good times, in between the daycare colds that Isaac so generously shared with the family at 2-week intervals…  When we weren’t coughing, we were summering!

There were Saturday morning walks to the playground, with the babies in tow (one blonde, one furry)…

Lots of time trying out the array of riding toys at Ercolini…

SWINGS, with the sweetest hat…

Family bike rides to Hiawatha, followed by beverages at Good Society…

Evening scoots…

Treks to the new neighborhood donut joint…

And some West Seattle kitsch.

There was a lot of pickle ball, mostly by Shane, but the rest of us joined in on the fun from time to time.  Isaac holds the balls, Juliette coaches me on my form (“Paddle up, Mama!”), and then Isaac crawls across the court with said ball and the game is over.

On the days we weren’t feeling great, there were Rubik’s cube races…

Crowded reading sessions in the gray chair…

More reading, on the couch…

Lots of movies, which held Isaac’s attention for all of two minutes…

And lots of kisses, because when your baby looks up at you as you’re rocking him and he coughs directly into your mouth, you realize that there’s no point in trying to avoid his germs.

On the days we were feeling…medium, not playground-good but not couch-ridden bad, we camped out in the front yard with snacks and bubbles.

Maybe a wagon ride around the block, just to pass the hour till naptime.

The very best days were the water days – there were a couple of weekends that we felt good enough to run through the sprinklers and bust out the kiddie pool.

(I think Sister felt better than Brother, poor kid…)

Lunch al fresco – things are looking up!

The neighbors one-upped us with their water toys, and were kind enough to share.

We really did luck out on the neighbor front…

We tried out the wading pool at Lincoln Park but found it was a bit much for Isaac and not quite enough for Juliette.  Still, it got us out of the house and they were awfully good sports.

And Colman Pool.  Colman Pool.  We zipped down there a couple of times on the e-bikes for an afternoon of water-front swimming.  Talk about Seattle summer magic.  This place has my heart.

Has all of our hearts, actually.

Juliette passed the swim test, making it mid-way across the pool and back on her own, and is now allowed in the deep end.  It took every bit of courage she could muster to tell the lifeguard she was ready for her test, but goodness, the look on her face when she passed.  Such satisfied exhaustion.

Isaac and I cheered her on from the sidelines.

Round 2 at Colman…

The water felt a little chilly that day, but Isaac and I liked dangling our feet in while Juliette did handstands.

We found a few new summer faves and joined friends for a Fish Sticks game – they’re a rec baseball league that plays less than 20 minutes from our house.  The bleachers are fun, the snack bar is pretty good, and the mascot is a total character (I suppose you’ve got to have a sense of humor if you’re sporting a fish stick costume).

Shane won Dad of the Year (eighth year running) when he offered to move the TV outside so that Juliette could have a backyard movie night with a couple of friends.

And after a few days of jump rope camp, Juliette has a newfound hobby.  She didn’t know a single kid heading into this camp and could hardly jump without tripping on the rope on her first day, but by that Friday she was brimming with excitement over her end-of-the-week performance.

Go Jules!

We found a new coffee shop that has the best banana muffins and ample outdoor seating.

And finally, most splendidly, we paddled.  Juliette and I spent an evening in the water near Lowman Beach and sheesh, if this isn’t peak summer goodness, I don’t know what is.

Best first mate.

There were days last month when outside temps ran too hot and Isaac’s temp ran too hot and it was all we could do to just muddle through.  But oh, when you get to watch the sun set over the Sound on a warm July evening, things look up.

Wednesday’s water park adventures left us a little tired, so we took it easy on Thursday.  First things first – morning coffee at Doma!  My mom and I don’t have tons of overlapping interests, but COFFEE.  We get each other when it comes to coffee.

And then some playground time at the park across the street from my mom and dad’s house.  Juliette caught her baby at the bottom of the slide and I spent several minutes swinging with my baby on my lap and I loved how slow it all felt.  Nothin’ to do, nowhere to be – this time to linger with my kids felt extra-special.

By afternoon, though, I of course felt a little antsy, so we packed up our gear and drove over to Honeysuckle Beach in Hayden for some floating and paddling and lakeside lounging.

Isaac loved feeling the lake water lap at his feet.

I feel you, Bud – HOORAY for lake days!

Then he put a fistful of sand in his mouth.  I swear, sometimes it feels like Isaac senses us starting to chill out, let our guard down, and then he decides, “HA!  I’ll teach them not to watch me with eagle eyes!”

While Shane was on the shore swatting rocks out of Isaac’s hands before he could eat them, Juliette and I got out on the SUP.

Juliette is so good at multi-purposing our board – it’s part SUP, part kayak, part floaty.

I can’t wait to get Isaac out for a paddle, but for now, he’s plenty happy to cheer on his sister from the dock.

Lake smiles!

And an evening country walk to top it all off.

Friday was similarly pretty mellow.  Crawling and coffee, swings and snuggles, a very fancy lunch…

We spent a couple of hours at Tullamore Park – the swings were a hit, but there was some splash pad skepticism.

Is he having fun?  Who’s to say?

Juliette and I seized upon our last night in Idaho as a chance to get out for a hike at Tubbs Hill.  We listened to the Sing 2 soundtrack on the drive to Coeur d’Alene and I looked in the rear view mirror at her belting out the words to Could Have Been Me in the backseat, eyes closed and face scrunched up in so much sweet drama and goodness, eight is great.

We found the path and then lost the path and just as I wondered how we ended up so deep in the woods, we saw a mama deer with her three baby fawns not so far away.  We tip-toed toward them and they galloped away on their sweet skinny legs and then we found our way back to the trail.  We chatted and laughed and oohed and ahhed at glistening Lake Coeur d’Alene and felt the goodness of it being just us two for an evening.

Juliette found a trail of seashells that someone had left along the path and reveled in collecting these little treasures and then hiding them in new places for the next hiker to find.  

We played Kidz Bop on the drive home and hunted for the handful of license plate states we hadn’t yet crossed off our road trip list and damn, did I say eight is great?

We were gone for all of three hours, but still, she was over the moon to be back with her dad.  They spent the rest of the evening updating their license plate checklist and coloring in a map of the states we hadn’t yet spotted.  Again, slow life luxuries…

Isaac gave Bernie a few final pat-pats on Saturday morning, we took a few porch pics, and then we were homeward bound.

It was back to business on Monday, with work and daycare and summer camp, and while there’s always a piece of me that finds comfort in settling back into a routine, by noon I was missing my kids somethin’ fierce.  It was a good week.

Last year’s Fourth of July Idaho spectacle was such a hit that we decided to do a 2022 version, this time with our favorite fourth wheel.   Grandma and Grandpa, here we come!

We hit the road with one baby in a carseat and one baby in Juliette’s arms – she is very attached to her doll as of late and I love it.  There’s my little girl…

We had all kinds of wiggles to get out by the time we got to Post Falls, so there was play-grounding…

And pickle-balling…

And staying up late to watch the fireworks on Independence Day Eve.  This was just the pre-party!

The booms lasted well into the night, but eventually the neighborhood fell quiet and we got some rest.  About 20 minutes worth, at least, and then Isaac woke up ready to party.  Gosh, he slept horribly that first night – I think he was up about every hour, trying to make sense of his new digs.  But the Fourth dawned sunny and breezy and Isaac looked awfully sweet in his red, white, and blue, so after I had my morning cup of coffee, brewed lovingly by my sympathetic mom, all was forgiven.

We ventured over to Falls Park after morning nap to check out the swing situation.  Four thumbs up.

Isaac’s eyelids grew heavy during our evening walk and had very little fight in him when bedtime rolled around.

Which was perfect, because the rest of us had some fireworks to watch!

Everywhere we turned, the sky bloomed with sparkles.

We went inside around 10:30, but I peeked out the window every few minutes when the booms sounded particularly dramatic.  What a show.

We spent Tuesday morning in Coeur d’Alene, playing and picnicking at McEuen Park.

This was Isaac’s first splash pad and he was a little perplexed by it all, but had a good time waving his trusty plastic spoon through the streams of water.

Not so much a fan of being sprayed in the face, though…

My favorite part of the spray park is the post-drying-off diaper time.  Sun’s out, belly’s out!

Isaac, you’re such a wonderful little goober.

And Juliette, you’re so beautiful.

We swung by the lakefront to say hello to Mudgy the Moose and to snap a few pictures, popped over to the the bakery for an iced coffee, and then were back in Post Falls for afternoon nap.  I felt our gears clicking into vacation mode, and it felt good.

We shared the biggest pizza ever for dinner that night, which was great, because we were carbo-loading for the next day’s adventure!

On Wednesday morning we kissed Isaac good-bye and took Juliette to Silverwood for a day of water slides and roller coasters.  We came here last summer and she declared it one of the best days ever, so I was excited to bring her back without a baby in my belly – bring on the whirls and twirls.

We arrived at the park before the gates opened and found ourselves with enough time to grab a hot chocolate at the kitschy Victorian cafe and plan out the day’s route.  So much thought went into which slides to hit first as we evaluated hourly temperatures, likely wait times, and fun factor.  I love a kid with a plan.

We moved through the lines quickly that morning as it seemed most people had opted to begin the day at the amusement park; Avalanche Mountain was a family favorite, though Ricochet Rapids also had us squealing with glee.

There were many, many laps around the lazy river…

And then a couple of rounds down the Riptide Racer.

We headed over to Roller Coaster Alley after lunch which was decidedly not a hit as Juliette sobbed through most of our time on the Timber Terror, so we recalibrated (and possibly over-corrected) with a very mellow spin on the flying elephants.

By early afternoon we were back to the lazy river, wondering why we’d ever left.

Whew!  So much fun, the three of us living large and following our every whim.

So tiring, though.  Sun, water, fun, done.

Back at home, Isaac had the best day with Grandma and Grandpa – seems he hardly noticed we were gone!  We missed you, Buddy.  Kind of.

Up next:  more water, more swings, more happy kids.

Next month is August, which means Isaac’s first birthday is just around the corner.  Which means this is my last pre-waddler post about my little babe!  You know where I find comfort when I feel like he’s growing too fast?  THE GRAY CHAIR.

We’ve hit peak best of times / worst of times with Buddy.  He can be so delightfully silly these days as he tries out new sounds and and gestures and facial expressions.  He had us rolling at the dinner table last week as he worked on his fake laugh, his head thrown back and his eyes squinted shut while he yukked it up like a little ham.  If you say “Yaaaaay!”, he immediately claps his hands together and he’s made his own sign language version of “all done” after mealtime, waving both his arms back and forth like crazy.

But oh, when he’s in a mood…take away a pencil he grabbed when we inadvertently left it laying around or set him down when he wants to be held and he will throw a fit.  Diaper changes are the current bane of my parenting duties.  There’s kicking (by Isaac) and wrangling (by me) and yelling (by both of us).  There were a handful of times I had only gotten as far as getting the diaper off and getting his bum wiped before he broke loose, cheeks to the wind, but a couple of unfortunate puddles on the floor have put a halt to nakey-time.  Diaper-time, though, with the belly out and proud?  I’m all for it!

We made it off the waitlist of our preferred daycare this month and so we said goodbye to his old school and the teachers that had already come to love him in the space of just a few weeks.  I know it’s the right move for our family, but man, we’d just gotten to a zero-tears drop off routine, where he’d dive out of my arms in the morning and wave good bye to me as I headed off to work.  He was really happy there.

But here we go, Isaac!  New space, new teachers, new friends – it’ll be great.

He has laid down his beloved light saber and lately can’t resist anything with wheels.  Trains, cars, trucks – he holds the toy tight in one hand and scoots along the floor while his legs struggle to keep up with whatever he’s wheeling.

He’s hungrier than ever and it sometimes feel like I’m tossing food into a bottomless pit at dinnertime.  He loves cheese and salami and will scarf down peas if in the right mood, but berries are his all-time fave.  The smile on his face when he sucks down a big juicy blackberry is 100% worth the mess it makes.

We’re hitting a pretty major mama phase – Isaac is generally friendly to whoever wants to give him some love, but when I’m around, baby boy is all over me.  Hanging onto my legs when I’m in the kitchen, climbing into my lap when I’m sitting on the floor, bee-lining toward me the minute I walk in the door and impatiently whining mamamamammmmmaaaaaa while I take off my shoes – God forbid I need to use the bathroom before picking him up.  It’s a lot.  Too much, sometimes.

But most the time, I can’t help but keep my hands off him, either.

Hair woes!  I mentioned how challenging diaper changes can be, so you can imagine how hard it is for me to get this boy to sit still for a hair trim.  Eventually though, his wisps start sweeping into his eyes and the little tufts over his ears become unruly and I can’t take it anymore.

And…gah!  I mean, I don’t mind a tousled look, but there’s some volume here that seems not quite right.  I’m at a loss.

I sure do love that naptime mohawk, though.

He’s still all about the piano…

And loves a good game of hide and seek.

Sister pics!  These two spent a lot of time together this month, with Juliette off of school and Isaac home sick a handful of days.  There have been times when he’s been cranky and she’s sauntered off to her room in need of a break, but really, I’m stunned in the very best way by Juliette’s incessant desire to play with her baby bro.  She’s constantly asking if she can check on him at nap time to see if he’s awake and insists on being the one to go in and get him the minute we hear him squawk.  When he reaches up to her and then leans his head on her shoulder as she scoops him up, she gushes and gushes, “Oh BUDDY.  Could you be any sweeter?!”

Juliette, could you be any sweeter?

A match made in heaven, these two.

And on the rare occasion Isaac lays still long enough for Juliette to cuddle him…I’m butter.

Whew…eleven months.  I’m so glad I have these photos of my happy-go-lucky boy to flip through at the end of the day – they’re a reminder that even on the days I feel depleted, exhausted by the extreme attachment and the constant redirecting, there were moments that Isaac’s infectious smile made my heart swell.

So, what else you got up your sleeve, kiddo?

Ah, June – when daylight runs long, but gosh, the month runs short.  Some highlights:

A new family toy!  Shane leveled up his e-bike game and bought a RadWagon to tote around Juliette for school drop-offs and miscellaneous errands.  I wasn’t sure this was necessary…

…until I realized there was room for one more!

Isaac loves his new chariot.

On Sunday afternoons we hop on the bikes and pop over to the library for Juliette’s weekly reading material, swing by the Hiwatha playground to get some wiggles out, and then head to Good Society for a soft pretzel and a round of cold drinks.  On a ride last month as we zoomed through the neighborhood, Juliette called over to me, “I feel like I have to pinch myself, I can’t believe how fun this is!”.  I tell you, it’s the little things.

In mid-June we spent a weekend in Sequim with the Rusts while Shane, Nance and Jason all made their debut in the PNW pickle ball tournament circuit.  It was A LOT of pickle ball.

A LOT of time on the playground adjacent to the courts.

But also a lot of hanging out at our AirBnb, getting to know the resident deer.

Are they watching the NBA finals on the iPad, or are they watching Isaac yuk it up?  Tough to say…

We put on our most exuberant cheer faces when Nancy and Shane took to the courts on Saturday morning.

Ok, Isaac’s cheer face lacked a little luster.  Kiddo was making up for all the hours he didn’t sleep in his Pack N Play the night before.

These two won a couple, lost a couple, and took a few sweet sips of the tournament Koolaid.  They’ll be competing again come July and August!

G continues to be the best “chosen” big bro to Juliette (and to Isaac, for that matter!).

I know, Isaac, I KNOW!  This is all taking a bit longer than expected…

I super-duper don’t mind having a sleeping baby strapped to my chest, but was all too happy to hand him off to Shane for a bit once he woke up roaring to go!

We spent the late afternoon and evening  back at the house, hot tubbing and watching this mama and her baby wander through the yard.

It was homemade pizza for dinner, s’mores for dessert, and then a good hard crash at bedtime.

Shane and Jason took to the courts on Sunday morning while I got off to a slower start with the kiddos, opting to let Isaac grab his morning nap in our king-sized bed.

We’re ready!

We arrived at the courts to find Shane and Jason taking out their opponents one by one.  These guys were on fire!

Meanwhile, big bro manned the playground.

(Slow down, G!)

Seriously though, they were on a roll.

And giddy about it.

The gold medal match was intense, but Shane and J kept their cool and emerged victorious.  GOOOOOOLLLLLLLD!

Look alive, Bud!

I guess I’m officially a pickle ball wife now, toting around the kids and cheering from the sidelines while my husband lives out his athletic dreams.  I’m here for it.

Mid-June saw the end of the school year and its requisite swirl of emotions.  Juliette was chosen by her teacher as the recipient of the Seymour Kaplan Humanitarian Award and Shane and I got to go to the assembly where she was presented with her certificate.  Goodness, it felt good to be in her school again after over two years of having to stop at the front door!  Felt even better to see our girl recognized for her kindness, generosity, and willingness to look out for others.

I picked up a bouquet of flowers to commemorate the last day of second grade, knowing Juliette would have a hard time saying goodbye to her teacher and classmates, but the flowers didn’t cut it.  I spread my arms wide open at pickup that day, the goofiest of congratulatory grins on my face, and Juliette burst into tears as she buried her face in my chest.  Change is hard.  But hallelujah for good teachers and good friends.  They’re not going anywhere!

And she did perk up a bit over pizza that night.

Soccer season ended right on the heels of the school year, and again, what a group!  Such progress this season, as the girls really started to pass to one another and play the whole field, rather than just following the ball around as a cluster of awkward arms and legs.  Juliette is getting more aggressive with her play, but because she’s Juliette, there are always overtones of friendliness and concern for others.

Plus, such cute fans.

See you in the fall, ladies.

Isaac attended his first Mariners game and Juliette caught up with an old buddy…

And we celebrated Fathers Day with a romp in the park, the finest rosé, presented with such flourish, and a homemade card from Juliette that brought tears to Shane’s eyes with her outpouring of gratitude.

(Isaac didn’t make a card, but he certainly turned on the charm.)

Shane and I had Juneteenth off from work, which happened to be Juliette’s first day of summer break, and daycare was open, so we dropped off little brother and headed for the hills.  We wanted to seize the day and do something that Isaac would typically put a damper on, so we settled on a hike at Rattlesnake Ledge.

It was misty that day and visibility wasn’t great, but I didn’t care a bit.  It felt so good to be in the woods with Shane and Juliette, to have it be the three of us that day, like old times.  We missed Buddy, but also…we kind of didn’t?  I was FREE!

And the…lookout?

We booked it back to the car as the rain started to come down, but then we did some shopping at the outlet mall and lingered over pizza at Tutta Bella and got a drink at Starbucks and took our sweet time through it all, just because we could.  And then we picked up Isaac and were overjoyed to fold him back into our threesome.

We wrapped up June with a weekend trip to Portland to catch up with the Jarrells.  The cousins picked right up where they left off at Christmas.

Juliette earned some dog-walking points…

Isaac didn’t sleep great that first night, but again, was more than happy to nap in my arms.

I coulda shoulda woulda put him back in his Pack N Play for his nap, but…nah.

Time to go play, huh?!

It was hot that day, so we packed up the paddle board and the kayak and drove down to the river to play in the water and lounge in the shade.

We had milkshakes as our afternoon snack and ordered pizza for a backyard dinner.  When it’s hot…

I don’t know what’s happening here, but it’s making me laugh!

Isaac had his bedtime bottle al fresco…

And we went to bed sun-kissed and full of pizza.  Morgan made pancakes the next morning and offered to do a special one for Isaac.  Tiniest pancake ever!  There was a quick round of pickle ball later that morning and a spin through the farmer’s market, and then it was time to head back home.  As always, the weekend felt too short and before we’d even hit the Washington border, I was looking to put another visit in our calendar.

And that, friends, was June.  Isaac says thanks for scrolling this far.  Onto July!

Ten months old and Isaac is threatening to to graduate from baby to waddler!  SLOW DOWN, BUDDY.  He started pulling himself up to stand a few weeks ago and has hardly been still since, cruising along the edge of the couch until he’s out of runway, then gently dropping to his knees to motor over to the next prop in the room.

He was awfully proud of himself the first time I found him standing in his crib.  “I’M UP, MOM!  It’s not even 6am, but don’t think for a second you’re going to be rocking me back to sleep now!”

Sometimes I win and he’ll grab a few extra Z’s in my arms after I scoop him out of his crib.  Not often, but sometimes.

Isaac’s very favorite prop is Juliette’s keyboard – if we let him roam, he’ll beeline for her room and head straight for the piano.  He bangs away at the keys, completely thrilled by his own mischief.  

Sometimes he gets to sit on the stool and we’ll turn on the piano demo as a backdrop to his banging.  This is a kid that feels the music in his bones!

He’s a cruiser, and he’s a climber.  If he’s got his eye on a prize and there’s a pillow or a pile of toys or a person is his way, he’ll plow on though – taking the long way around is for chumps.  He steamrolls Juliette daily and she pretends it hurts but secretly loves it.

He’s determined and he’s fast.

Life is a constant game of hide and seek.  I see you, Isaac, looking for stray Cheerios under the dining room table.

Though he’s rarely (never) content during his waking hours to sit still and just snuggle in my lap, he does love crawling on me, putting his chubby little hands on my legs and then on my chest and finally around my neck as he stands up and opens his mouth wide to plant a slobbery kiss on my cheek.  His affection is almost aggressive in its exuberance – it feels like he’s not just crawling to me, but trying to crawl through me.  We’re encouraging and modeling gentleness as much as possible.  

Gentle, Shane.

Isaac got the memo a couple of weeks ago that summer was on the horizon and has since spent a lot of time with his face pressed against the glass of the back door.  He watches birds while I do dishes.  

But when sister is on the other side of the glass, he really starts getting antsy.  Juliette snapped these pics and then I had no choice but to take him outside for a short backyard romp.  He was begging for it!

Our neighbors gifted us a couple of inflatable light sabers after their four year-old’s Star Wars birthday party and they quickly became Isaac’s most prized possessions.  For weeks he carried them everywhere, dragging them along as he motored around the house, stopping every so often to excitedly wave one in the air.  The force is strong with this boy.

He’s a champion eater and is game to try just about anything we put in front of him.  More and more, I’m able to set him up with his spread at dinnertime and he’ll contentedly feed himself while I enjoy a still-hot meal (such luxury!).

When he wants your attention, he tilts his head to one side, smiles sweetly, and looks right into your eyes.  It’s my new favorite thing.

6pm-7pm continues to be the longest hour of the day.  On evenings that Isaac is particularly fussy, I’ll put him in the stroller and take him to the park for a pre-bedtime swing.  Does his mood good.

On evenings he just needs a little mellowing, I put him in the Ergo for a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood.  He starts off antsy as he wiggles against being restrained, but his body gets calmer with each block until finally his head starts to rest against my chest.  I try not to let him fully fall asleep, as I’d rather he doze off in his crib, but sometimes he just. can’t. keep. those. eyes. open.

Sister is still THE BEST and bowls me over on the regular with her patience and tenderness.

She even lets him borrow her headband when his hair starts falling into his eyes and I can’t find the time or the patience to give it a trim!

Some sweet snaps from an afternoon on the lawn at Hiwatha, just because…

Coming home to this boy is the sweetest part of my day, seeing him beeline right toward me on all fours the moment I walk in the door, perching on his knees with his arms outstretched as I unload my backpack and take off my shoes.  Sometimes Shane and the kids are waiting out front when I get off the bus and it’s a gold mine of warm fuzzies, the way they roll out the welcome wagon.

And gosh, MY HEART when Isaac flies into my arms on the days I pick him up at daycare, gazing at me with such unabashed adoration that I have to stop on the sidewalk outside the car and just hold him close for an extra minute before strapping him into his seat.

Ten months old and more charming than I knew any little human could possibly be.

May: Glorious bouts of sunshine, weekends at the softball and soccer fields, and more quality time with Grandma and Grandpa!  My dad joined my mom in Seattle at the beginning of the month to pitch in on the childcare front as Isaac transitioned into daycare.  It was such a treat to have my parents with us for an extended amount of time and see them fold into our day-in and day-out.

Grocery shopping with an extra set of hands is so helpful – one cart for the baby, one cart for the food.  And speaking of helpful, Isaac feeds himself now!

My mom and I made quite a ritual out of our morning coffee and spent our few weeks together perfecting our grounds-to-water ratio in the French Press and the Chemex.

We also zeroed in on our favorite wine varietals for evening Happy Hour…

My mom held Isaac extra-close on her last evening here – she fell pretty hard for him, with his generous smiles and sweet baby nuzzles.

I mean, how could you not?

(For the record, Juliette got plenty of love, too!)

Mother’s Day was a mostly-chill Sunday, though Shane was thoughtful in layering on a couple of thoughtful touches.  The signet rings he ordered me with the kids’ initials were late in arriving, so he and Juliette dashed out for a backup gift.  Isaac helped me tear into it, and the look on his face says it all.  You got Mom a…?

Leaf blower?  Indeed!  And I LOVE IT.

Juliette made me a card and “Isaac” made me this funny bouquet at daycare.

I always request French toast when homemade brunch is offered.

We got out for a short post-brunch family bike ride and discovered Isaac loves the feel of the wind in his hair.  Er…helmet.

My crew…I’m the luckiest mama.

May saw the end of softball season and dang it, I’ll miss watching these Dragons round the bases!

Isaac is also a fan.

Shane has often commended Juliette’s hustle, and it’s true – this kid leaves nothing on the field.

Saturdays were for softball and Sundays are for soccer.

It’s a pretty ideal way to pass a sunny afternoon, on a blanket with my boy while his sister dashes back and forth in front of us.

BAHHHHH!

May also brought several school festivities and after two years of hardly getting to interact with Juliette’s teacher or classmates, it was nice to spend an evening at the 2nd grade Spring Fling.

And the annual Move-A-Thon!  Issac and I walked over to the school parking lot on a sunny Friday to see how many laps Juliette could run in the space of 20 minutes.

Answer:  A LOT.

Playground weather is upon us and we’ve been heading down to Ercolini a couple times a week, first for the swings, but also for the plethora of riding toys.

See what I said earlier about the wind in his hair?!

Sister snaps:

And finally, cozy-time at home, because May certainly isn’t all sunshine and parks.  Chair snugs…

Couch snugs..

And floor snugs.  We’re a lovey-dovey bunch.

Juliette and I took a stroll during West Seattle’s big Garage Sale Saturday and she came home with this getup – we’re covered for Halloween 2022!

Or maybe just for a typical Friday night, knowing how this girl likes to roll…

Juliette also picked up this puzzle from a yard sale, which I thought was a terrible idea, but she loves a challenge!

Shane and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary with homemade Manhattans, fancy takeout, and a living room viewing of Top Gun while Isaac slept and Juliette spent the night at friend’s house.

I slept like a baby after that Manhattan, but Juliette got hardly any shut-eye during her slumber party.  She came home a bit of a mess and I asked her if she wanted to lay down with me, like old times, and voila…I still got it.

And now it’s June and it’s been awfully rainy, but I’m sure we’ll make it back outside for some backyard brunching before the month is over.  I think the best is yet to come.

I know I open each monthly update with, “I can’t believe how he’s grown!”, but YOU GUYS. I can’t believe how he’s grown.  Four weeks ago Isaac was still struggling to figure out how to crawl, perching awkwardly on his hands and knees and making the tiniest moves forward if I placed a toy just out of reach.

But then it suddenly clicked; he mastered his arm-leg coordination on a Saturday in early May and that day was one of the happiest he’d had in weeks – my dad and I watched baseball in the living room while Isaac zipped around on the floor, stopping every couple of minutes to contentedly play with a toy or read (err…chew on) a book. He reveled in his independence. Then tried to help himself to Grandpa’s chips and beer as a reward. FREEZE, kiddo!

Suddenly I had a fully-mobile child who can follow me around the house and pull on my pants leg while I’m washing dishes and attempt to crawl into the fireplace when no one is looking. He’s fast. And incredibly proud of himself.

Life is now a chorus of “Isaac, don’t go in there!” (said as he beelines for the fireplace) and “Isaac, that’s not for eating!” (said as he picks up Shane’s shoe by the front door) and “Isaac, no touching!” (said as he reaches for my beloved fiddle leaf plant) and “ISAAAAAAAC!” (said all the time, really). It’s exhausting. But the games of hide and seek are awfully fun. That smile, when he discovers me crouched behind the couch, make up for the tipped-over house plants.

He found Sister!

In addition to crawling like a big kid, he’s eating like a young buck – I’d been holding back on solids because of he wasn’t super-interested in them and was so prone to getting plugged up, but once my mom and I figured out that a steady breakfast of prunes and yogurt keep him regular, his menu has broken wide open. Baby boy loves avocados and cheese and especially little bits of grass-fed beef sausages (ok, they’re hot dogs!). He sucks down fruit and veggie pouches and pounds the bananas and strawberries like there’s no tomorrow.

His booster seat now doubles as a barber’s chair; Isaac’s hair was falling across his forehead and into his eyes, so my mom gave him his first trim last month while he sat not-so-patiently in his chair.  He has some long wisps near his ears that are driving me crazy, but I don’t love the thought of wielding scissors so close to his lobes when he’s so wiggly – he might be getting his next cut in his sleep!

The only waking hours when he’s really still are when we’re out and about – he still loves the stroller and is typically very chill in his carseat.  The shopping cart is a new favorite.  Like his sister, he’s an excellent errand buddy.

Isaac started daycare at the beginning of May and has largely weathered the transition like a champ.  A few tears at drop-off, but he seems to love being around other babies during the day and is all smiles when we pick him up.  Man, he’s tired, though.  Completely tuckered by 5pm, wanting to doze in my arms during Juliette’s soccer practice or grab a quick snooze in the Ergo during our evening walks.

Sometimes, though, the evening walks are all giggles.

And…the tidal wave of cute pics, starting with the sweetest of crib pick-ups.

Chair pics, of course.

And…just Isaac being Isaac.  This boy is a handful and a half, but he really is such a cheery, fun-loving little guy.

Oh, Buddy.  Friday mornings, after we’ve dropped Sister off at school and it’s Mama-Isaac time, make me so very happy.

Happy three-quarter birthday, Baby.