31 October 2014

Friday I'm in Love

Two posts in one day - what?! It's Friday and time to get back on the Friday I'm in Love wagon. Be sure to check out what MishaKendra, and Mary Beth are loving this week, too!

ONE: Matching Rainboots

This fall, Madeleine and I are rocking matching rainboots. They're comfy, easy for her to put on and off, and oh so practical in the Pacific Northwest...especially for a kid who leaps into every puddle she sees like her life depends on it.

TWO: CARES Safety Harness

I mentioned that our flight to San Jose was Madeleine's first one in her own seat. We debated about what to do with her because carrying a car seat onboard is a hassle, but a lap belt is not really safe for a toddler and also may not contain her if she decides she wants to open it. The CARES harness worked perfectly for giving her the familiar feeling of a 5-point harness and keeping her safe without creating a big hassle. Even better: it's small and light enough for her to carry it in her little backpack.

THREE: Cold Stone's Marshmallow Ice Cream

Cold Stone has done it again! One of their current seasonal flavors is marshmallow, and let me tell you: that ice cream is delicious! I thoroughly enjoyed it in the seasonal signature flavor Campfire Classic (marshmallow ice cream with chocolate shavings and graham cracker crust pieces) and hope to try another combination or two while it lasts. Yum!

What are you loving this week?

Happy Halloween

Today's the day when my Facebook and Instagram feeds burst with cuteness, and I can't wait to contribute!

Around the house, I did a few simple decorations this year. I just love that the brainchild behind the handprints on the pumpkins managed to have the worst print. Repeat after me: more paint makes a better handprint. Madeleine is a handprint-making expert, so I should have followed her lead. Next time!

The kids' costumes, on the other hand, were an all-around success. For the past two years, Madeleine's costumes have been determined by whatever was in good shape and her size at the consignment store. Even though Madeleine doesn't really "get" Halloween yet, this year I wanted to choose a costume for her that might help her understand the concept. One of her favorite books right now is Green Eggs and Ham (aka Sam I Am), and I knew exactly what we had to do as soon as I saw this blog post. [More details here.]

Madeleine's Sam I Am costume consists of a hat made of felt and stuffed with batting, a yellow t-shirt worn under a yellow dress sewn from fleece using one of her existing dresses as a general pattern, white tights, white shoes, and a little plate with green eggs and ham made using felt, cardboard, batting, elastic, and hot glue.

I've always told myself that I wouldn't make Halloween costumes because it's only for one day, but this was a lot of fun (and surprisingly easy)...and even has me thinking about whipping up some real clothes for Miss M. She was so excited at every fitting and so proud to wear the final product (for at least five minutes)!

Elliott's Cat in the Hat costume is even simpler. He's dressed in a black onesie, black pants, and black socks topped off with newborn white gloves, a bow tie made of felt hot glued to a pin, and a (way too tall) hat made of felt and stuffed with batting.

I'm off to check out the rest of the Internet's costumes...and maybe sample some candy. What do you like best about Halloween?

30 October 2014

San Jose, California

We visited the San Jose area last week. Our flight down was full of firsts: first flight as a family of four, Elliott's first flight ever, Madeleine's first flight in her own seat, and Madeleine's first time being responsible for carrying her own little backpack. We had lots of success and a smooth adventure. We seem to have mastered our routines for the tough parts - unloading the car, checking the bags, getting through security, boarding, and deplaning - so that really cuts down on the overall stress.

In Silicon Valley, we rented a condo, and it made a huge difference. We had plenty of space and didn't have to worry about noise during naps or eating out with grumpy kids. Madeleine did great adapting to a different big girl bed than her own. Because we had an actual place rather than just a hotel room, we were able to entertain some friends, which meant more time visiting and less time trying to entertain a fidgeting toddler at a restaurant table. The location was in the heart of a downtown area, which had perks like walking to sushi and story hour at the local library.

This was primarily a business trip for George, so the kids and I kept ourselves busy during business hours. One morning, I took the kids to downtown San Jose to explore the Children's Discovery Museum, and it was a big hit. Actually, it probably would have been a big hit even if we didn't go inside because it has a giant inflated rubber ducky on the roof, train tracks beside it, and the SJC approach path right above. What more could a transportation-obsessed toddler want?

We did go inside, though, and Madeleine spent about a third of our time there playing on and around an old fire truck. This was rather convenient given that Elliott decided he needed to eat as soon as we got there.

This is serious business.

Even so, Madeleine decided that her favorite part of the museum was the bubble exhibit. Who wouldn't love playing in tables full of bubble solution and a machine constantly dropping huge bubbles from the floor above?

Of course, my favorite part about visiting Silicon Valley is eating at La Villa catching up with our friends in the area. In addition to a fun and delicious but unphotographed Sunday brunch with Mike and Tracy, we had several play dates with the Midglets and some time to hang out with their parents.

Of course Madeleine's favorite part of the art class was reading books.

I can't help but think back to when the toddlers were closer to Elliott's age.

At two months old, Elliott was mostly just along for the ride but seemed to enjoy the new scenery. We're lucky to have such a happy baby and (by all appearances so far) another good traveler.

After so much fun with our friends and exploring some new places in the sunny 70-degree weather, it was a bit tough to return to rainy, 50-degree Seattle...but there is no place like home! 

22 October 2014

Elliott - Two Months Old

Elliott continues to be an incredibly chill baby. He is settling into a schedule beautifully, yet seems to be able to adapt and be patient (mostly) when things are a little off our typical routine. He's pretty quiet, but we are getting a little more feedback from him - unsurprisingly - when his sister isn't around. He loves Madeleine, though, and smiles from ear to ear basically every time he hears her voice...to which she shrieks, "Elliott, you smile at me!" We're all enjoying playing little games with Elliott. He's catching onto the tongue game (sticking tongues out at each other), and I think I even got a little giggle out of him the other day when I pretended to munch on his adorable little hand.

Probably the thing I most notice about Elliott is his size. He's currently wearing clothes that Madeleine wore at five to six months, and he's pretty close to her four month stats. His strength is pretty close to her four month strength as well, and we're already thinking that the Bumbo will be coming out soon. It's not terribly surprising that he's growing like crazy given his appetite. He nurses for roughly a half hour every 2.5 to 3 hours; occasionally, he has a day where he wants to eat every two hours. If he's being fussy for George and I ask if Elliott seems hungry, George will typically respond, "he's always hungry." That about sums it up.

Elliott now sleeps in his crib full time after starting out with more sleep in his Rock-N-Play than crib. I hesitate to comment on sleep for fear of ruining what we have going for us, but here goes: he typically takes about four approximately one-hour naps during the day, a longer nap in the evening, and then sleeps from about 10:30pm to somewhere between 4am and 5am and then again until 8am. I'm sure I'll love getting to sleep a full night through again, but I am certainly not complaining about just one nightly feeding right now. He still sleeps primarily in his Swaddle Up; I want to transition him into a more traditional sleep sack with free arms before he gets too attached to the swaddle, but I'm waiting until he figures out how to more consistently connect with his hands and use them to soothe himself. He takes a pacifier, which is extremely helpful when he is fussy in public or having a hard time settling down for a nap, but he doesn't seem reliant on it and rarely uses it at night.

It's a little hard to believe Elliott is only two months old because it really does feel like he has been a part of our family for much longer. On the other hand, I can't believe my baby isn't a newborn anymore.

17 October 2014

Friday I'm In Love

Welcome back to another Friday I'm In Love! Be sure to check out what Misha, Kendra, and Mary Beth are loving this week, too!

ONE: Nordstrom's Bra Conversions

Nursing is such a huge part of my day, between four and eight hours depending on Elliott's speed, that tools to make the process more pleasant are bound to catch my eye. I was thrilled to learn about this newish service (not sure when it started, but it didn't exist when Madeleine was born in 2012) offered by Nordstrom: for $16 a bra, they will convert any bra into a nursing bra (adding clips and a fabric sling). So few nursing bras are available in my size that this really impacted my selection. Perhaps the best part? When the conversion is complete, they mail the bras to your door for free.

TWO: Siblings

It wasn't long after Elliott's birth that I realized one of the benefits of having multiple kids is getting to watch a life-long relationship grow from the ground up.Madeleine and Elliott melt my heart on a daily basis the way they interact and adore each other. Madeleine constantly asks to hold Elliott, share toys with him, and, if he's sleeping, to wake him up. Elliott gives his smiles to Madeleine more freely than anyone else. We never had to prompt Madeleine to say "I love you" to Elliott, and I truly believe she means it when she says it. I can't get enough of these two!

What are you loving this week?

10 October 2014

Friday I'm in Love

I occasionally - and perhaps more frequently going forward - join Misha, Kendra, and Mary Beth for Friday I'm in Love where I share a few things that have recently caught my eye and made my heart go pitter patter.

ONE: Freemie

I feel like I should start a blog about all the things I've done while pumping...and I'm only about a month into this second pumping journey. This time around, I'm about a million times more mobile and about a million times more tolerant of pumping due to the wonderful invention of the Freemie cups, which fit right inside any bra. A dear friend got me these cups as a gift, and they have really transformed how I think about pumping. Now that I'm a Freemie convert, I typically pump while enjoying breakfast with Madeleine and at night while doing something else...like catching up on email, sewing, or reading. I realize that I could be a commercial for this product, but I promise that the lovely folks at Freemie have no idea who I am. I just love their cups this much. Oh, and I use them with an adapter kit and my Medela Pump in Style Advanced.

TWO: Somersaults

These guys are my new favorite snack. My current favorite flavor is salty pepper with Dutch cocoa in a close second. Yum, yum.

THREE: Amazon Smile

Did you know that you can donate to charity while doing your shopping? Yep - if you do your shopping at smile.amazon.com rather than traditional amazon.com, a portion of your spending goes to the charity of your choice. Same products with a little bonus. I love it. Find out more here and here. So, what's your charity of choice? Mine is Hopelink.

What are you loving this Friday?