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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

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Hiking

Mount Rainier Babymoon | Suntop Lookout

Our plan for our last vacation day was to hike to Noble Knob on the way home, but between the heat (90 degrees, where did that come from??) and me finally respecting that I need to stop underestimating formerly easy hikes while pregnant, we decided to just have a picnic at Suntop Lookout instead.

Suntop Lookout Suntop Lookout

We had never been to this fire lookout before, even though you can drive right up to it. It felt like cheating to get that view for nothing!

Suntop Lookout

The lookout is manned by volunteers in the summer (it’s such a popular gig that they have a lottery to get in), so we chatted with the hosts for a bit and let Nora explore. She’s been to several fire lookouts before, but this is the first one she’s been inside. She was pretty excited.

Suntop Lookout

When the girls are a little older, we’ll have to go sleep in a lookout again.

Suntop Lookout

After exploring indoors, we sat down in front of the lookout to have lunch in front of that majestic mountain we love so much. It’s probably going to be a while before we get up close and personal with Rainier again (hopefully we’ll manage a snowshoeing excursion to Paradise when my postpartum body feels ready to venture out on snow and we feel brave enough to do something like that with two kids?), so I’m so happy we finally stopped procrastinating and went on this cabin trip. It was the perfect babymoon setting for this mountain girl.

Suntop Lookout

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Hiking, Hiking with baby, Mount Rainier, Pregnancy, Top Trips

Mount Rainier Babymoon | Skyline Trail Loop

The following morning, after another stop at the Mountain Goat for coffee and glutenous hiking essentials for JK and Nora, we drove up to Paradise to see how the autumn colors were doing. We weren’t disappointed!

Skyline Loop

This was our first autumn trip to Paradise since 2014, when we introduced Nora to Mount Rainier for the first time. Can you even believe the tininess?

Skyline Loop Skyline Loop

Our main goal for this hike was for Nora to see marmots up close. She has inherited my prodigious collection of plush marmots, and has been obsessed with them ever since I showed her a couple of youtube videos of marmots whistling. Luckily for me (since I had promised her marmot sightings), the fat little lovelies started popping up just past Alta Vista and kept us company almost the entire way.

Skyline Loop

They were especially abundant close to Panorama Point, which gave me a chance to take some much-needed breathers while Nora gushed over her new furry friends.

Skyline Loop

Remember how I talked about my tendency to underestimate trails during pregnancy? Well, I totally did it again. I somehow remembered this loop as being “pretty much flat”, which is…not true. When we reached Pan Point and I realized we would have to keep going upwards on the alternate High Skyline Trail due to a lingering snowfield, our collective morale plummeted. Nora needed a nap and was cranky, I was starting to feel overheated and was cranky, and poor JK was left to deal with two simultaneously cranktastic women. (Just you wait until we have two teenage girls in the house!)

Skyline Loop

Luckily JK is a wise man and decided it was time to feed us. A bar (Nora loves Lara Bars – most of them are just dates + nuts) while walking, followed by a watermelon picnic was just what we needed for a little reboot.

Skyline Loop

…and then we hit a shortcut that let us shave a little distance off our loop. I gladly accepted the lazy way out, even though it meant we would miss out on my favorite marmot area – that should tell you how tired I was. Oh, pregnancy.

Skyline Loop Skyline Loop

Another fun pregnancy fact: downhill is more uncomfortable than uphill, at least in the third trimester. But with views like these, the trick is to just stop frequently to rest and soak it all in.

Skyline Loop

By the time we made it back to the paved trails of Paradise, the afternoon light set the autumn colors on fire. It was so beautiful, the perfect symbolic ending to a very short but sweet alpine hiking season for me this year.

It made quite the impression on Nora too – she’s still talking about this hike in her cute, manic toddler sentence kind of way. “Mount Rainier hike mamma pappa Nora in the carrier eat crackers and watermelon Nora found rocks NORA LOST ROCKS marmot MARMOT CRYING eeeew marmot pooooop!”

Skyline Loop

Skyline Trail Loop | 5.5 miles | 1450 feet elevation gain –

Skyline Loop

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Hiking, Hiking with baby, Mount Rainier, Pregnancy, Top Trips

Mount Rainier Babymoon | Naches Peak Loop

All summer long we talked about renting a cabin near Mount Rainier for a long weekend, and all summer long we procrastinated…and then it was autumn, and we realized our weather window was closing quickly. So we booked a cute cabin in Packwood, and the following afternoon we were off!

Packwood Cabin Packwood Cabin

The drive down went so well, thanks to the fact that we finally caved and got Nora a tablet so she can watch Peppa Pig on long car rides. A lifesaver for non-nappers! We made it to the cabin at dusk, got it heated up and got Nora fed so we could get her in bed not too long past her normal bedtime, and then cozied up in front of the fire and watched, of all things, Sleepless in Seattle on VHS. #cabinlife

Pumpkin pancakes!

In the morning we celebrated autumn with pumpkin pancakes and the first of many stops at the Mountain Goat before driving up to Chinook Pass. Our goal for the day was to hike the Naches Peak Loop – I had hiked it once before and knew if would be the perfect third trimester/toddler trail. And it totally was – it’s only a little over three miles, so we had lots of time to mosey along and dilly-dally, and the views are just insane for the amount of effort you put in.

Naches Peak Loop

Naches Peak Loop Naches Peak Loop

Naches Peak Loop

Naches Peak Loop

Nora hiked parts of the trail herself (carrying her one essential – a Playmobile excavator, of course) and spent a looong time exploring the little lake.

Naches Peak Loop

Naches Peak Loop

We eventually made our way around to the southern part of the loop, where Mount Rainier stares you right in the face most of the way – to the point where it becomes mildly hazardous because you just keep staring at the mountain instead of paying attention to your feet. We found a great little spot for our lunch break, and Nora’s excavator kept her occupied to the point where JK and I could actually relax, like unencumbered adults. We also snuck in a 31-week bump shot.

31 weeks

Naches Peak Loop

Then we packed up and kept hiking, Nora looking absolutely adorable as she bounced merrily along the trail. For reals, how cute is this?

Naches Peak Loop

You have no idea how good it felt to be back in the mountains, all excited and happy to be alive, after the summer of doom and gloom. It’s good to remember, yet again, that rough patches are (usually) just that – phases, phases that will pass. I’ve always tended toward all-or-nothing thinking, so when things change for the worse, I immediately assume that OHMIGOD LIFE WILL BE LIKE THIS FOREVER. If anything, parenthood should have taught me that life is full of transitory stages that feel endless when you’re in them (morning sickness, inconsolable newborns, tantruming toddlers), but they do in fact end and life goes back to being pretty damn awesome.

Naches Peak Loop

…sometimes even so awesome that your non-napper takes a much-needed snooze in the car on the way back to the cabin! Now that’s a sign of a good hike right there.

Naches Peak Loop Naches Peak Loop

Naches Peak Loop | 3 miles | 600 feet elevation gain –

Packwood Cabin