The blahs

I’m having a hard time settling back into normal life after our long vacation. Actually, it’s not even “normal life” since JK is still on parental leave, which makes it even more annoying – instead of simply enjoying all this time we have together, I find myself stressing out about having to be productive and getting all the things done, and then I don’t get anything done at all because I’m exhausted. This is part of a more systemic case of the blahs that started while we were in Italy, fueled by insomnia and insecurity, and I want it to end as soon as possible. Like now, preferably, before it morphs into something more sinister.

Whenever I start feeling like this, I find that it’s helpful to set some personal goals. Any goals. Teeny tiny goals. Something that will give me a sense of purpose and structure during the time it takes me to get back on my feet. Feeling like I was working towards something was hugely helpful when I was depressed, and it’s a good way to nip blahs like these in the bud. I’ll have to sit down and decide what the specifics should be, but I’m thinking it would be smart to start training for Beat the Blerch (well that’s appropriate), which I’ll be running in September, and, once again, cutting down on the sugar, because I brought quite the spare tire home from Norway. If you haven’t tried Norwegian chocolate, you’re missing out (but then you’re probably also at a normal body weight, so there’s that).

Europe, Norway, These days, Travel

These Days

These days, we are settling back into normalcy after five weeks of vacation. JK saved his parental leave for this summer so we could go on a grand adventure with Nora – visiting Norway (to show off lil’ Norbert to friends and family) and Italy (to attend a wedding).

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Nora experienced so many firsts! First flight (transatlantic, no less), first seven-course meal, first boat ride, first swim.

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In Italy, she visited the Dolomites, swam in the Adriatic Sea, and ate impressive amounts of pizza.

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In Norway, she stayed at my parents’ summer house, explored the outdoor playground of my childhood, and picked chanterelles almost every day.

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Back here in Seattle, she is already over her jetlag while her parents, old as the hills and apparently no longer adjusting easily, are still exhausted (I’ve been up since 2:30, ugh ugh ugh). I had grand plans for this week, but just…no. The couch is where I’m at, chugging coffee and finally catching up on Orange is the New Black. JK still has two weeks of leave left, so hopefully we’ll be back in the swing of things soon, ready to take on our normal summer here in Washington.

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Hiking, Hiking with baby, Top Trip Reports

Nora the Explorer

Our year of introducing Nora to our favorite trails and places continues! When it comes to Melakwa, it’s definitely more of a favorite place than a favorite trail. I usually visit these lakes when I do the Tuscohatchie loop, so I can’t even remember the last time I hiked the trail back down. It’s pretty rocky and kind of sucks, especially when you’ve become used to the soft, rolling, luxurious trails of the Issaquah Alps. But the destination more than makes up for it – upper Melakwa Lake is one of my Official Happy Places.

Melakwa Lake

The last time I was here, it was just me and Wellie running the Tuscohatchie Loop. I was doing a lot of soul searching, trying to come to terms with the possibility that I might not ever become pregnant. The mountains, the lakes, the sun, the tiger lilies, and one loud marmot were my therapists that day (and on so many others). By the end of my run, I was so high on endorphins that I knew I would be able to handle whatever the universe sent my way.

Melakwa Lake

Thankfully, the mountain gods chose to send us this wonderful little creature. I can’t quite describe the feelings I experience when I return to a place like this with Nora in tow. “All the feels” will have to suffice.

Melakwa Lake

Normally I wouldn’t even be able to get to Melakwa in May (without an ice axe and a sizable pair of ‘nads), but thanks to the low snow this year, it looks like mid-July up there. The parking lot was overflowing by the time we reached the trailhead at 9, but the trail is long enough that it didn’t feel crowded, especially once were past the Slippery Slab which is the destination for most of the families with older kids. That’ll be us in a couple of years, but for now we’re enjoying being able to do regular hikes with a non-ambulatory baby on our backs.

Melakwa Lake

Once we popped out of the woods, we just got roasted in the sun. We worried that Nora would be too hot, but the thin wool layer she was wearing seemed to keep her pretty comfortable. I’m definitely on the lookout for a thin, breezy set of hiking clothes for her for the summer though, something that will protect her from the sun and bugs but still keep her coolish on sweltering days.

Melakwa Lake

She woke up a little while before we got to the lake, and was very…vocal about not wanting to be in her carrier anymore. Luckily she cheered up once we got to the lake, and after eating lunch and getting a fresh diaper, she turned into the happiest baby ever.

Melakwa Lake

Nora <3 Wellie

Melakwa Lake

Whenever we hike with Nora, I go into it with low expectations of how much time we’ll actually get to spend at our destination, but she was happy as a clam hanging out by the lake. I think she likes watching the water. This bodes well for the summer ahead.

Melakwa Lake

Most people seemed to stop at the first lake, so my favorite best-seat-in-the-house rock was available for lunch and playtime. I even got some relaxing done, once I was able to stop manically taking photos of Nora whenever she did something adorable.

Melakwa Lake Melakwa Lake

Once Nora started showing some sleep cues (she always begins by subtly grabbing her ear, which quickly escalates to rubbing her eyes and yawning), we packed up and headed back down so she could nap in the carrier. We put in headphones so we could listen to music while she slept, then hiked back to the trailhead, all smiles (except for intermittent grumbles from me whenever I would trip over a rock and curse the fact that I hadn’t brought hiking poles).

Best baby hike yet, rocks and all.

Melakwa Lake

– Melakwa Lake | 9 miles | 2500 feet elevation gain –

Melakwa Lake


I slept!

I slept until 5 this morning! It was amazing! What a difference a little sleep makes – I feel excited about life again. The new thing I tried last night was to use white noise from Nora’s Mamaroo. Hopefully this wasn’t a one-time thing.

Since I actually had some energy again, it turned into a wonderful day. I manically cleaned the kitchen and living room in the morning, then took Nora for a two-mile walk on the trail before it got too hot. We also went to the playground so she could hit the swings and stare in awe at the older kids.

Monday Monday

Back home, I made lunch for both of us: Carib-bean (heh) stew, sauteed red spinach, avocado, and pear. Nora approved.

Between sprouting tons of teeth (she’s up to six now and is working hard on two more) and being in the process of dropping her third nap, Nora has been going to bed really early lately. Unfortunately this meant she missed out on our BBQ dinner…but huzzah, then JK and I could eat in front of the tv, like savages, while watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

Monday Monday

I couldn’t go for a run tonight since JK is out playing soccer, so instead I futzed around in the garden for a bit and am currently out on the deck, enjoying a nice Chianti (no liver or fava beans) while processing photos.

In short, a perfect day in the life of a suburban homebody housewife. Life is good when you don’t feel like a zombie.

(And I didn’t even eat any chocolate!)


Week Fivesixredux

Ugh, gaah, etc etc. Sleep deprivation really messes you up. I’ve never been a good sleeper, but I naively thought that after having a baby, I would be so exhausted that sleep would come easily. Nope. Worse than ever. I’ll wake up at the slightest noise (like a squirrel jumping onto our fence outside, even though I’m inside, wearing earplugs) and then not be able to fall back asleep the rest of the night. Waking up for the day at 2AM many nights in a row = ugh. It turns me into an unmotivated, physically and emotionally drained, sugar-craving, clumsy shell of a human being.

This turns into a Vicious Cycle of Doom wherein I spend my free time staring into space/internets/Netflix instead of doing something active or productive that would make me feel good, which again makes it harder to sleep the next night. So I’ll try to make up for these two lost weeks of the challenge by adding a Week Seven where I’ll try to break that damn cycle and get all excited about life again.

– 20 miles
– 2 runs
– no sugar (except for my birthday cupcakes, because birthday)
– do something productive every day (beyond raising a child)

This doesn’t sound very challenging for most able-bodied humans, but right now, it will be for me.

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Some highlights from the last few weeks (no photos of me with my head in a bucket after getting food poisoning – this really hasn’t been my week):

Strawberry picking – Nora “helped” | We ran out of containers while making freezer jam… | Nora turned nine months | …and she also turned 38 weeks and 2 days, which meant she has now spent longer on the outside than on the inside (hmm, that makes it sound like my uterus is San Quentin or something).