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Baby, These days

These Days | New Year/New Baby Edition

We’ve been absolutely spoiled by having grandparents around through the holidays, but they left yesterday and now we’re on our own until September or so – eek! It’ll be nice to settle into our real life as a family of four, but we’re definitely feeling the absence of extra hands today since I am sick as a dog, again. I need to get my insomnia under control so I’ll have an immune system up and running before Nora starts daycare in a couple of months and inevitably brings home every virus under the sun.

These Days These Days

Anyway, both girls are miraculously napping at the same time right now – Nora only takes a nap once every fortnight or so, but we promised her a cup of hot cocoa if she slept, and by gawd it’s working #worldsokayestparents – so I’m going to attempt to blog. I expect I’ll finish this post in, oh, five days or so. Either that or it’ll be super hurried, random, and not proofread. But at least it’s something.

Christmas was a little different this year, given the aforementioned insomnia and the fact that I constantly feel as if I’m teetering on the brink of full-blown depression. Nora was totally into it though, so I’m already looking forward to next December when I can fully enjoy her infectious wonderment. Something that added to the magic this year was that we received several millimeters of snow, which is a Pacific Northwest miracle.

These Days These Days
These Days These Days
These Days These Days

So, self-care: When I go through depressive periods, it usually centers around feelings of guilt about not being good enough, and those particular feelings are plentiful when one adds another baby to the family. Add many months of sleep deprivation to the mix, and it’s no wonder I’m up and down, up and down. But! This time around, I know that the sleepless baby period does in fact end, eventually. (However, my own pretty serious sleepless period has been going on since July, which does not seem like a phase – that terrifies me.) And Lils is six weeks(!) old now, so I assume I’ll be cleared to start running again next week at my checkup, which will add some much-needed endorphins to my body. Had I known we would be able to get pregnant so quickly this time, I would never have timed the birth and postpartum period to coincide with (a) the darkest, coldest, wettest, time of year and (b) cold and flu season…but I’m so, so glad we have Lily, and I know I’ll get through this like I always do.

These Days These Days
These Days These Days
These Days These Days

I’ve also started cooking healthier meals again, which should make me feel better. And I’m trying, somewhat successfully, to stop mainlining chocolate.

These Days These Days
These Days These Days

Another good (excellent, marvelous, wonderful) thing is that Lils is a pretty damn chillaxed baby, at least compared to, ehm, our previous experience. She even does that whole “falling asleep drowsy but awake” thing sometimes, which I seriously thought was just a myth perpetuated by supposed sleep experts and smug parents. Huzzah! I really do wish I could combine the confidence that comes with baby number two with the freedom that comes with only having one kid – that would be a dream. Oh, and she started smiling on New Year’s Eve, which is pretty much the best thing ever. I can’t get enough.

These Days These Days
These Days These Days
These Days One Month
These Days These Days

Nora is taking her big sister duties seriously, as you can see, and is increasingly interested in Lily now that she’s getting more interactive. I’m so glad she seems to have handled this transition so well.

These Days These Days
These Days These Days

As for Wellie, he’s hanging in there even though the house is ruled by little women…he’s apparently already looking forward to Lily starting solids. Nora trained him well.

These Days These Days

Ehrmagerd, I managed to finish this just in time for Nora to wake up and demand her cocoa. Duty calls. Please send sleepy vibes my way and watch this space for more fragmented, not-at-all proofread, only-interesting-to-me-and-my-future-self blog posts in the future.

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Hikes of the Year, Hiking

Favorite Hikes | 2016

2016 will go down as one of the most hated years in history between the situation in Syria, the terror attacks, the celebrity deaths, and Voldemort being elected president, but for us personally, we had a huge highlight at the end of the year – Lily’s birth! There was also intense morning sickness, depression, illness…but let’s focus on the positive. Our first year of hiking with a toddler!

February Hiking!

This was the year of the lowland trails! Most of my trail time was spent in the Redmond Watershed, St. Edward State Park, or on Tiger Mountain. I was training for races, training for fun, and eventually using the trails as my therapist. And Nora found her trail legs on Cougar Mountain for her very first out-of-carrier hikes!

Photo by Glenn Tachiyama Turtlehead Overlook

Sometime around Christmas last year I realized that the Orcas Island 25K was coming up veeery quickly and I of course hadn’t even started training for it yet. I started running every time I had the opportunity, on the Powerline Trail, in the Watershed, and huffing and puffing up the Cable Line to get some uphill training. At the end of January, I ran (“ran”) the race, survived, and had an amazing time in the freezing snow and rain. Want moar!

The day after the race, we decided to make the most of our island getaway by going on a bonus hike to Turtlehead Overlook. It was so gorgeous and lush and green, and the perfect place to shake out my post-race legs.

Snowshoeing with grandma and grandpa TNAB West Tiger 3-2-1

In April, grandma and grandpa came to visit and Nora dragged them along to Mount Rainier for our annual Paradise snowshoe! Nora discovered the joy of glissading, and I cherished being in one of my happy places on a gorgeous day with my family and a teeny tiny embryo (which was not yet wreaking any sort of havoc).

The presence of the aforementioned grandparents also allowed us to join our first TNAB hike since I was pregnant with Nora. This time I was pregnant with Lily, and had to huff and puff up the good ol’ Cable Line without doing any actual huffing and puffing. It felt so good to go on a sunset hike again and reconnect with old friends.

Franklin Falls Ebey's Landing

A day or so after TNAB, morning sickness hit. And then it got worse and worse and worse and worse and I spent most of the spring with my head in a bucket. I did manage to get out on some very easy hikes once the worst was over – short and sweet trails like Franklin Falls and the old family favorite Ebey’s Landing.

Red Top Lookout Hood Canal Birthday Getaway

We also made it over to the other side of the crest a couple of times so we could hunt morels (not that I could eat them yet, since I had a mushroom aversion in this pregnancy too – but huzzah, that means we have dried morels we can eat now!), and on one of the trips we hiked the super short trail to Red Top Lookout. Nora hiked most of the way herself (except near the top, because gaah, dropoffs)!

My birthday weekend coincided with a heatwave, so we skipped our usual Teanaway camping trip and instead took a last minute trip to a rented house on the beach in Seabeck. Okay, so this wasn’t a hike, but we spent the entire long weekend outside and it rivals St. John as my favorite vacation of all time, so it deserves a spot here. I never go around to blogging about it, but I journaled about it on this scrapbook page.

Mirror Lake Margaret Lake

The summer months were difficult for me. I struggled with depression, which I’ve later found out is fairly common after going through a long period of bad morning sickness. We spent a lot of time on local trails and on chanterelle hunts, but the only “real” summer hikes we went on were to Mirror Lake and Margaret Lake – thankfully, they were really good ones.

Naches Peak Loop Skyline Loop

Aaah, this was the best weekend of the year. Another last minute long weekend trip, this time to Packwood, near Mount Rainier. We hiked the Naches Peak Loop, which was the perfect length for Nora and is generally just one of the best bang for your bucks hikes in the state, and the Skyline Loop, which was a bit too long for my very pregnant self – but the fall colors and marmots made up for it. I think these long weekend cabin trips will be the best way for us to vacation in the upcoming years.

Skål! Lily's first hike

Later in the fall, one of my trail therapy sessions led to a night of contractions that worried me enough to lay off the trails for a while, and the only little hike I dared to go on (until I hit 38 weeks and started getting antsy) was the flat-as-a-pancake one-mile walk around Gold Creek Pond. We made an afternoon of it by having a picnic by the pond, and we just had a really lovely, low-key time together in the mountains.

On December 15 we took Lily on her first hike! It was cold as balls, so we left Nora at home with grandpa and just went for a 3.5 mile loop in the Watershed, where I spent hours and hours and hours running and hiking while I was pregnant. Given my history and how this year has been (and the fact that we’re in the darkest, wettest time of the year), I’m on high PPD alert, so I’m trying to get out for a good walk every day. Our hikes among the big trees in the Watershed make me feel so good (and these days I can carry the ten essentials in my giant undereye bags, which comes in very handy). I’m not sure what 2017 is going to look like, hiking-wise, but it’s good to know that our trusty Watershed is such a close and accessible way to introduce our littlest lady to nature.

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Baby, Pregnancy

Meet Lily

This little bundle of perfection (if I do say so myself) arrived on Thanksgiving Day – welcome, Lily! We love you so very much already. This chunky holiday nut loaf (it doesn’t feel right to call her a turkey) weighed in at 8 lbs 4 oz, 20.5 inches long, quite a bit larger than her big sis was back in the day.

Lily

Unfortunately, I’ve been sick for five weeks now – first with some sort of really annoying cold that just wouldn’t go away (thank you, pregnancy immune system), and then, just as my cough was finally getting better, the entire family picked up yet another bug that turned into Nora’s first ear infection and a particularly ill-timed and nasty bout of bronchitis for me.

Lily Lily

I held on to the hope that my body would wait until I was better before going into labor, but life has its own plans. Last Wednesday, after a coughing fit that did something really weird and painful to my ribs, even just getting out of bed hurt so much that I started crying and had to get assistance moving around. Later that night, my water broke during another coughing fit while I was watching Shameless (not quite as romantic as Nora’s birth story where I started having contractions while out foraging for mushrooms)…and on 2:26 PM on Thursday, little Lily made her appearance.

Lily

Nora is doing so well with all of the huge changes that are happening, thanks in large part to my dad who flew here from Norway to help out two exhausted parents and shower the new big sister with lots and lots of attention.

Long story short, Lily is here, we’re oh so very tired, and we’re oh so very happy to have her here with us.

Lily Lily

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Albums, December Daily, Scrapbooking

December Daily 2015

It’s not quite December yet, but I really should get this post up now in case I suddenly go into labor or something. So without further ado, here is my December Daily album from last year!

(Some of these photos are really bad, but I refuse to redo them because that would involve crouching and bending over and other things I’m not into at the moment.)
When we left off last year, I had almost finished up November with a secret page…which I can now reveal was a pregnancy announcement! Our perfect nephew was born in June and we got to meet him this summer. Aaaw. I put the actual announcement in the album along with a photo of Nora skyping with the expectant parents and a photo of us celebrating the good news with champagne.

On November 30, we had a day that was so chilly and frosty that it almost looked like we had snow in the neighborhood for once, so I documented it on a stroller walk.

December Daily 2015

Now onto December! We made Nora an advent calendar last year, and on the first day she got crayons! It’s hard to see in this photo, but the background paper is the result of her very first crayon art.

The next day, we met up with Hike it Baby Seattle and went to see the Christmas lights in the Bellevue Botanical Garden.

December Daily 2015

Nora turned 15 months on December 2, so on the third, I dedicated a page to her current habits and whatnot. It was a good excuse to include a photo of her in her Christmas jammies plus one with a Santa hat. Squee!

December Daily 2015

December 4 is about sending out Christmas cards, so naturally I journaled about it on one of our Christmas cards.

On the fifth, we wrapped presents and watched Christmas with the Kranks, my annual guilty pleasure, so I just snapped a pic of our wrapping supplies. (I was supposed to get a photo of us doing the wrapping, but I had let my hair dry naturally and looked like Weird Al Yankovic, and nobody needs to see that.)

December Daily 2015

On the facing page, I added some bits and pieces of the actual wrapping paper we used.

December Daily 2015

December 6 was a two-story day! First we bought our Christmas tree, and then Nora stood up entirely on her own for the first time while we were decorating it!

December Daily 2015

On December 7, nothing much happened at all, so I took the opportunity to write about how we had lost our dog Basil earlier in the fall. I added some extra photos of him, Wellie, and Bobby wearing their festive holiday garb.

December Daily 2015

Still not much going on on the 8th, so I wrote about our tradition of always watching a Norwegian advent calendar show.

December Daily 2015

On December 9th, both Nora and I were sick. Cue photos of Nora picking her nose (sorry, kid) and eating her first bowl of magical, healing pho.

I also added a pastry bag from Starbucks, and when Christmas was over I used it to store the cards we received.

December Daily 2015

We were still sick the next day, so I just ended up writing about my favorite Christmas albums.

December Daily 2015

On the 11th, we were back to normal just in time to go see SANTA!!1! Nora wasn’t quite as enthused as I was.

December Daily 2015

Closeup. We’ll see how she does this year…

December Daily 2015

The next day, we went to a book signing by our friend Tom – he wrote The Lego Architect which has done so well and is super cool – the perfect present for geeks young and old!

December Daily 2015

On December 13, we celebrated Sancta Lucia by baking lussekatter. Nora was a fan.

On the 14th, I took a photo of our living room from the outside and wrote about what Christmas really means to me.

December Daily 2015

The 15th was a big day since it involved both a visit to Santa Story Time (Nora still wasn’t impressed, but this time she just ignored the big guy) and the arrival of grandma and grandpa from Norway! I ended up doing a day in the life kind of thing.

December Daily 2015

Closeup of this classic photo of Nora crying and Wellie expressing his feelings about that.

December Daily 2015

Of course the 16th had to be about Nora and her grandparents.

December Daily 2015

Nora and grandpa spent much of December singing songs from her songbook, and at one point Nora ripped out one of the pages. Instead of taping it back into the book, I added it here.

On the 17th, I needed an excuse to use this adorable photo of Nora, so I just added a speech bubble with some of the new words she had learned that month.

December Daily 2015

I think this is my favorite spread of the month – we went to JK’s office where they were hosting a Frozen-themed holiday event for families, and Nora got her first taste of gingerbread.

December Daily 2015

She just looked so adorable on that ice throne!

December Daily 2015

On the 19th, we all went snowshoeing! We obviously took way too many photos to limit this to a single spread, so I just kept going until I was done. I also added a Christmas card from a friend that fit right in.

December Daily 2015

Family photo!

December Daily 2015

Nora LOVES the snow. That’s my Norwegian baby!

December Daily 2015

This was another two-story day since we had JK’s office party that night, so I added the invitation…

December Daily 2015

…and on the back I stuck some photos of the gorgeous decor at the party (plus a big photo of us all dressed up for once, not wearing convertible pants and puffy jackets).

December Daily 2015

On the 20th, I used another photo of Nora opening her advent calendar and wrote about how much she was enjoying getting another piece of a Duplo set every day.

The next day, JK and I went trail running and then it started snowing on us as we were going up the mountain. We hit Starbucks afterwards for a peppermint mocha to warm us back up, which was an excellent excuse to use this super cute red cup gift card. (Apparently this year they have ugly Christmas sweater gift cards!)

December Daily 2015

One of the best parts of the season is obviously baking (and eating) cookies, and Nora is already talking about how she is going to bake gingerbread cookies with grandma this year! Last year we made them into marmots, because I’m the boss.

December Daily 2015

We call December 23 Little Christmas Eve, and it’s almost as important to me as the big day. JK snapped this photo of Nora looking totally mesmerized by the tree lights, so I used it write about my feelings around her first “real” Christmas.

December Daily 2015

Bonus cute photo of Wellie and the tree.

December Daily 2015

We open presents on Christmas Eve, so the big day had arrived! Nora opened presents throughout the day, and I think the big highlight for all of us adults was seeing her in the bunad grandma had made her. (I can see now that I forgot to stamp a word or phrase on the little tab I attached to the journaling half page, oops!)

December Daily 2015

Random adorbs photos from the day:

December Daily 2015

…and last but not least, I had to include the story of my favorite present – JK got me a giant Mukmuk! That boy knows me so well.

December Daily 2015

To finish up the album, I filled one of the 2×2 square pocket pages with little bits and pieces and wrapping paper and cute tags people had made us.

That’s it for 2015! I’m hoping to put an album together for 2016 as well, since it’s definitely going to be a very special Christmas…but it definitely can’t be as detailed as this one was. But man do I love this album – so many happy little memories captured forever – it really does feel priceless to me. If you’re on the fence about trying a project like this, just trust me and go for it.

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Layouts, Scrapbooking

More baby layouts

I’m slowly but surely chugging away on Nora’s baby album, mostly focusing on the must-do pages for now…but I also have lots of cute filler page ideas I want to make so I can include the very best super adorbs photos we’ve taken of her.

First up – the birth story! I’ve actually made this before, but I hated how it looked, so for the first time ever, I redid the layout. This one works much better with the other pages I’ve made from the hospital.

When you were born

Here’s an obligatory page about the exhaustion/bliss of the newborn period…

Up Early, Up Late

…and one about Nora and pappa – this one is old, but I don’t think I’ve ever shared it here.

I love you

I think this is my favorite page of the entire album; it’s so cool to have all the important milestone information in one place on a timeline like this! Also: so many cute faces on one layout.

Little Details

I really do love making these little tidbit pages full of Nora’s little habits and quirks that I am bound to forget if I don’t write them down. This was her at 18 months.

18 months

And here’s a quick one about her second birthday celebration…

Two

…with a corresponding tidbits-at-two page using the same papers (like I unintentionally did on her first birthday combo).

Love You

As for further must-do pages, I definitely need to make something about her relationships with all of her grandparents (and with me!), and maybe one where I use a photo from every month of her first year so you can see her growing from a wrinkly little peanut to a big girl. And then it’s on to just getting all of those massively adorable photos into her album. <3