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Hiking, Hiking with baby, Mount Rainier

Lily Meets The Mountain

Lily has been on a whole bunch of little treks around the Watershed and Tiger Mountain, but our first “big” hike as a family of four – snowshoeing on Mount Rainier – was…interesting. Okay, so it was complete chaos from beginning to end.

Paradise Paradise

We were too tired the night before to start packing in advance, and we don’t yet have a routine down for what we need to bring on a toddler + newborn hike, especially in snow. Then Lily woke up too early from her nap and was cranky and overtired, our grocery/nursing stop along the way took far too long, and we pulled into the Paradise parking lot much later than we had anticipated.

Paradise

Paradise

As if we weren’t late enough already, everything takes sooo. damn. long. when there’s one small child for each adult, especially when one child is a totally helpless newborn and the other is a toddler, intent on creating mayhem wherever she goes.

Paradise

When we finally got our snowshoes on and the kids strapped to our bodies, it was so late that we realized we just wouldn’t have time to have the fancy picnic we had planned and still make it back down the mountain before they closed the gate at Longmire at 5pm. Gaah! So we just hiked up to a spot that was relatively sheltered from the wind, dropped our packs, and decided that we were going to have fun no matter what, damnit! And we did.

Paradise

Nora dug into the carrots and hummus with gusto (and refused to wear her sunglasses most of the time, because toddler) and chatted up a storm about how she wants her own crampons and snowshoes and that she’s going to climb Rainier one day just like pappa.

Paradise Paradise
Paradise Paradise

She also rediscovered the joy of glissading!

Paradise

Lily was still overtired and had her crankypants on until I gave her a pacifier in her wrap, and then she melted into my body like butter. It’s pretty much the greatest feeling in the world.

Paradise

Throughout the whole thing, I had Jason Mraz’s Life is Wonderful stuck in my head, and you know what, it really is. I’m so glad we have these girls and each other and these mountains and this life. And I’m so glad I’m in a mental place again where I can look around at the chaos and say, in total honesty, that even a trip like this is worth it. (I could do without the backseat screaming in stereo, though.)

Paradise

So, lessons learned for next time: (1) Write a pack list. (2) Get everything ready the night before. (3) Enjoy the madness. (4) Bring earplugs for the car.

Paradise

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Baby, Layouts

Lily’s Birth Story

The theme for Ali’s February product release is, unsurprisingly, all about luuurve! I used the opportunity to finally get Lily’s birth story down on paper for her baby album. I’m glad I had jotted down some notes a couple days after the big event, otherwise the story would have read something like “I coughed and then this amazing baby came out”.

I loved the gradient LOVE YOU journaling card, so I used this Photoshop trick to turn the background transparent, then just erased the part that went over my shoulder. Ta-da!

Lily

I spent the day before Thanksgiving in bed with what was either bronchitis or pneumonia – whatever it was, I felt sicker than I have in years and years. I had just coughed so hard that I sprained an intercostal muscle and had to get help just to go to the bathroom, so I hoped that my body would know to not go into labor just then. But nope. Another coughing fit (while watching Shameless on my laptop in bed – sorry I don’t have a more romantic story for you, kid) broke my water and I knew there was no turning back now – I was going to have a Thanksgiving baby. I called the midwives and just tried to get some sleep.

I woke up at 2am with contractions, and stayed awake the rest of the night. They were spaced pretty far apart until they suddenly, out of nowhere, started coming every 2-3 minutes. I freaked out, picturing a baby-born-in-car scenario, and woke JK up so we could rush off to the hospital at 5am. Bessefar stayed home to wait for Nora to wake up (I’m so glad she didn’t see me in that state).

I vividly remember thinking that I would give birth within an hour and that I could make it that long, but the second I laid down in the hospital bed, the adrenaline wore off and my contractions became very spaced out and erratic. On top of that, I had to get intravenous fluids and nutrition since I hadn’t been able to eat or drink much the last couple of days. There was a contagious disease warning sign outside our room and almost everyone who came in wore a mask, which didn’t help the whole I-feel-like-death thing.

I knew my contractions would come faster if I were standing, but I didn’t even have the energy to get out of bed…and eventually realized I didn’t have the energy to get through the contractions much longer at all. I talked it over with Kim, my midwife, and decided to go for the epidural.

It felt bizarre being so numb during labor, but this time it was definitely better than the alternative. I was even able to rest for a couple of hours while JK watched a Manchester United match. I really didn’t like that I wasn’t getting any natural cues from my body anymore and I was worried about having to do coached pushing this time, but it was fine – I let Kim know that I was starting to feel some pressure, pushed for about 15 minutes, and then little Lily was born.

I immediately gave Lily a big hug, but she wasn’t crying and she was this awful grey/blue color that really scared me. The nurse started rubbing her until she finally cried, but she was a gurgling mess (not unlike her mamma) and suddenly a bunch of people were there to help suction a ton of fluid out of her. They considered whisking her off to the nursery for extra observation, but once we did some skin to skin and nursing, she perked up.

All throughout the pregnancy, I was worried about how I could possibly love another little baby as much as I love Nora, but the second I hugged Lily, all those concerns were gone. I know it was Thanksgiving, not Christmas, but my heart grew three sizes that day.

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Albums, Baby, Scrapbooking

Lily’s Baby Album

I wasn’t actively scrapbooking when Nora was born, so I never kept a good in-the-moment baby book for her (oh, and there was that whole overwhelmed and exhausted brand new parents thing), and when I did start scrapbooking again, I started a full-size 8.5×11 album for her. It’s an album full of mish-mashed pages and random stories, which is kind of nice, but if I want to be able to keep up with a good album for Lily, I’m going to need more structure.

So 6×8 it is. I’ve fallen in love with this size after finishing December Daily and Week in the Life projects – it’s such a neat little album if you want to actually finish a project, while 8.5×11 albums tend to go on indefinitely for me. There’s also not that much room in most of them, so I’m forced to keep things simple and structured, which is just what I need right now. So far I’m thinking: opening page (birth announcement), a spread about the pregnancy, a spread about midwife visits/how excited Nora was to become a big sister (I have some cute photos of her at my checkups), the birth story, and then I’ll jump into monthly updates.

Lily's album

(I just realized that I sent out like five of those birth announcements and then forgot all about them. Egads! Where are they even??)

I’ll stick with a really easy setup for the monthly updates – one main photo, four smaller favorite photos from the month, and a 3×8 page protector with written highlights from the month. I’m so bummed I didn’t do something like that in real time for Nora, because her first year is just a blur at this point!

For Lily’s two-month update, I used the digital version of Ali’s Numbers Story Kit, including the beautiful patterned paper from one of the journaling cards. It was finished in two shakes of a lamb’s tail, if you don’t count the 743 hours I spent looking at photos of Lily to decide on five favorites.

Side note: I really wish I had photoshopped out that gigantic, fugly WARNING label in the car seat in the main photo. Oh well.

Two Months

If there’s room in the album, I think I’ll add a couple of extra themed spreads like bath time, food explorations (when that time comes), and whatever other special things that may pop up. She’s growing up way too fast already!

Challenge, Hiking, Hiking with baby

Tiger Mountain Torture

Last week, I started getting that antsy feeling – a combo of needing to kick myself into gear now that we’ve fallen into a pretty pleasant routine as a family of four, and of definitely needing to escape the world of increasingly awful news stories coming at us every day. The solution, as always: trails!

First order of business, getting the girls both dressed up in the matching thermals they got from grandma and grandpa for Christmas. Massive cuteness.

Cable Line 01 Cable Line 01

Since I apparently wanted to go for maximum self-torture, I chose my old friend/nemesis, the Cable Line on Tiger Mountain. It works pretty well for our family since JK and the girls can dawdle around at the foot of the mountain while I climb to the top, so I think this will be my go-to gym this winter. On those extra special toddler days, I’m sure he’ll be working harder than I am, but luckily for me he knows how important this alone time on trail is for me (and subsequently for the whole family).

Cable Line 01

I guess calling the Cable Line a trail is pretty generous; it was as crappy and steep and muddy and eroded as ever, but man did I get a good workout. I reached the top in one of the biggest endorphin highs I have ever experienced to find that (a) it was snowing! and (b) I had made it up in 57 minutes, which is only 11 minutes slower than my PR. Not too shabby considering the past six months plus the fact that this was my first real postpartum hike with any significant elevation gain.

Cable Line 01 Cable Line 01

I kept the endorphin rush going on the way down the West Tiger 3 trail, listening to an excellent playlist and meeting several women adorned in pussy hats.

Cable Line 01

Back down at the bottom I found a happy JK, a Lily who was just waking up from her nap and was ready to eat (perfectly timed with my arrival so we didn’t have to use a bottle*), and a pooped Nora who wanted to ride “on the mamma pillow” the rest of the way back to the trailhead.

(And then I waddled around all happy but outrageously sore for the next two days.)

Cable Line 01 Cable Line 01

*Nora wouldn’t take a bottle so this is new, exciting territory for us. For those with experience in on-trail bottle-feeding, do you just serve it really cold or do you heat it somehow? I can’t really come up with a practical way to do so expect for carrying it close to your body.

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Baby, Challenge, 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.