3.09.2017

January and February Happenings

The Bad: 

- All three of our children had stomach bugs, back to back to back. Adam and I had to attend Mass separately for the first three weeks of 2017. Maggie got sick first, then Claire, then Betsy. The two older girls had it for a week each, but thankfully our baby got over it relatively quickly.

- Our washing machine broke, after not quite even three years of use. It was the tub bearing, which is such an expensive part to fix that you might as well buy a whole new washer. We knew it was on the outs because it had been making an increasingly louder and louder noise while operating for the last several months. So loud that you could hear it from the street! Somehow it limped it's way through the weeks of small child stomach distress and actually died at the perfect time - we had washed everything except for a small load of delicates, which I just did by hand. After reading lots of reviews, we went with this Maytag one that we found on sale for $600. It's got an extra cubic foot of capacity, which means I have to stand on my tip toes to reach the bottom!

The Good: 

- Adam and I went to the movies twice. Adam picked Star Wars Rogue One, which we both liked a smidge more than Episode VII. That seems like a somewhat controversial opinion, but we thought it was a great story of redemption and sacrificing for a cause you believe in. I was completely torn between Hidden Figures and La La Land. I didn't make up my mind until we were walking into the theater! Ultimately, I went with Hidden Figures because uplifting historical dramas are my absolute favorite type of movie. I was not disappointed. It was such a great girl power movie - I personally can't think of another film about women kicking butt in STEM careers like this. I would love to watch it with my daughters one day, especially since Adam is a software developer.

- But then I got to see La La Land with my friend, Libby, and I loved it so much more that I thought I would. I thought the lack of a happily-ever-after ending would bother me, but it really didn't. Not all relationships have to end in a happily-ever-after to be beautiful. It's just such a gorgeous film - the cinematography, the costumes, the music. I can't wait to see it again with Adam!

- We've gotten into the habit of watching a movie together on Saturday nights. We feed the girls dinner first and then watch while eating potstickers on the couch. So far this year we've seen Hell or High Water, Queen of Katwe, Hail Caesar, Arrival, and Hackshaw Ridge. We really enjoyed Queen of Katwe and Hackshaw Ridge, although they both had scenes that were pretty hard to watch. We thought Hell or High Water was kind of the movie version of Hillbilly Elegy - very similar themes at least. We didn't enjoy Hail Caesar or Arrival as much as we expected to. We thought Hail Caesar ended really abruptly and the fact the main characters in Arrival ended up divorcing pretty much ruined the ending for us.

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- We had some family friends over to celebrate Epiphany. I made salmon en papillote and galette des rois. I've ordered from a local French bakery in the past, but I missed their deadline this year. Turns out it's super easy to make yourself! We also hosted our married group dinner in January. After our meeting the guys served dinner at the homeless shelter. We all made a batch of Maple Dijon chicken with roasted vegetables (delicious!) and then each contributed the dinner sides, breakfast supplies, and sandwich fixings for lunch the next day.

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- We celebrated Candlemas and Valentine's Day with simple family celebrations. For Candlemas, we had crepes with strawberries and Nutella for breakfast, which is a tradition we discovered while studying abroad in Provence. The girls were so excited about our fancy breakfast and we even made it to morning Mass (very, very late) to get our candles blessed. We got lots of use out of our heart shaped cookie cutter and festive plastic plates from the Target dollar spot on Valentine's Day. We heart shaped toast with strawberry jam and Nutella for breakfast. We had heart shaped cheese and ham with crackers for lunch. And we ate dinner by candlelight! I made some frosted sugar cookies for the preschool bake sale - royal icing make look prettier but strawberry cream cheese frosting is just so much tastier. We were also assigned to snack duty that day - it had to be something healthy (aka sugar free) but I knew that something festive would be appreciated, so I made heart shaped soft pretzels.

Valentine's Day

- We took the girls to the member's sneak peek of the new children museum. It's a really pretty space with lots of great new exhibits. And then we went again on President's Day and it was an absolute zoo. We got there fifteen minutes after it opened and all the free parking was already full. It used to be in a suburban shopping mall, but now it's right in downtown Bellevue amid a bunch of office buildings. We miss the old location - it was so much less crowded and we loved that you could walk to several lunch opens in the mall after playing in the museum. We'll probably still visit like once a year, but I think we'd almost rather drive to the museum in Everett than deal with all the crowds at this one.

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- Over MLK weekend, we drove into the mountains to go sledding at Hyak Sno Park. We had fun, but it was only ten degrees outside and our layers really weren't enough. The thermos of hot chocolate we brought with us definitely saved the day! As soon as we got home I ordered everyone snow gear from Land's End. We went again over President's Day weekend with the proper attire and much warmer temperatures. Everyone had a great time and we were very proud of our brave older girls.

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- On two Monday mornings in February, we woke up to snow! We hadn't seen snow in our backyard since November 2014, so twice in one month was quite a treat. Preschool was cancelled and Adam "worked" from home. We built snowmen, had snowball fights, and made "snow cream" - fresh snow mixed with a little sugar, milk, and vanilla.

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We've had a wonderful winter, but we're ready for the cherry blossoms and tulips of spring!

2.28.2017

Betsy's Photo Project

First Year Collage

Another successful twelve month photo project in the books! 

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For her birthday banner, I followed the instructions I helpfully left for myself in this post. I even saved the cardboard template! Since Betsy's name is only five letters long, not six like Claire and Maggie, she got an exclamation point added on. 

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But, I switched it up and made a different style of quilt. Claire's and Maggie's are striped, which was hard to keep straight with my basic sewing skills. Adam's mom, who is an amazing quilter, told me that twelve squares would be much easier to do well. She was definitely right! I used the quilt-as-you-go method for the big girls' quilts, so this time I had to get over my fear of sewing the finished front piece to the backing. I made her a doll quilt first to practice. 

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But thankfully it went off without a hitch both times! I continued my tradition of using yellow fabric for the backing because yellow just always makes me happy. Until they have a favorite color of their own, I'm going with my favorite color! I used store-bought white quilt binding. I know a real quilter was always make her own binding (and hand-stitch, no less) but I am absolutely not a real quilter and I like how the white looks with all the other busy patterns. 

I am planning to make her a Blurb photo book with all her monthly photos and the corresponding blog posts, just like I did for her big sisters. My goal is to have it finished by her half birthday...

Thus concludes Betsy's birthday celebration on the blog. Now I'm off write a to-do list for Claire's birthday party - I'm not used to having children's birthdays close together like this!

2.24.2017

Twelve Months With Betsy

Twelve Months Official

Birth Weight: 7 pounds, 2 ounces.
Current Weight: 20 pounds, 4 ounces.

Birth Length: 19.5 inches.
Current Length: 29.7 inches.

Likes:
Being chased.
Sleeping in a crib.
Going down slides.
Taking off her shoes and socks every time we get in the car.
Trying on her sisters' dress-up clothes and headbands.
Dip, particularly ranch dressing, sour cream, and ketchup.
When you pretend to give her favorite doll hugs and kisses.

Dislikes:
Not being allowed to climb down the stairs onto the gymnastics floor.
Having her food cut into unnecessarily tiny pieces.
That she's not allowed to run away from us in public places.
When anyone takes something away from her, particularly her sisters.

New Tricks:
Saying "uh oh."
Walking exclusively.
Squinting her eyes and giving her cheesiest grin.
Gasping and making a surprised face.
Shrieking extremely loudly.
Arching her back when she's upset.
Chewing with her new set of seven teeth.

Twelve Months Collage

Here are some more pictures from the past month: 

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For comparison's sake, here are Claire and Maggie at the same age. And here are the rest of Betsy's monthly reports. 

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Just for fun, all of my babies at twelve months old. I still can't get over Maggie's hair!

2.18.2017

Betsy's First Birthday

Our sweet Betsy turned one last week! We threw very simple gatherings for Claire's first and second birthdays. She had her first "themed" party with friends at age three. Maggie definitely had more elaborate first and second birthdays; I think mostly because we were excited to finally have a good group of friends here in Seattle! We've come to realize that simple parties really are the right way to go with babies, so that's exactly what we did for Betsy. 

Her actual birthday was on a Tuesday, but we did absolutely nothing to mark the occasion. She's cut five new teeth recently and was up screaming until 3:00 am the night before, so we weren't feeling particularly festive. Thankfully, she was feeling much better by her birthday dinner on Friday. 

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Adam and I decorated the living room the night before. We put her new birthday banner and some nursery decor (shadowbox, monthly photo frame, newborn photo) on the mantel. In the garage, we unearthed some tissue paper pompoms from past parties and an old piece of chalkboard, which we used to display some favorite Instagrams from the past year. Claire was so excited to see all the decorations when she woke up the next morning that she immediately rushed to her art table and made Betsy a birthday card.

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While Claire was busy at preschool, Maggie helped choose the flowers and bake the cupcakes. They are our absolute favorite - chocolate with peanut butter cream cheese frosting. We invited all of Betsy's favorite Seattle residents to join us - her godfather, Steven, and his fiance, Megan, our friend and most gracious babysitter, Linnea, and, of course, Libby and Jon. They are the only people who have attended all of our daughters' birthday parties! Their older daughter, Paige, is right between Claire and Maggie, and their younger daughter, Eloise, (our goddaughter!) is just a couple months younger than Betsy.

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We served pizza, salad, and clementines (Betsy's all-time favorite food) for dinner. We forced everyone to watch her first year slideshow before opening presents.

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She did get to unwrap the presents from her grandparents on her actual birthday (a little people fire truck, a toy piano, and some very cute outfits) but we saved our presents for the party. Mostly because I wasn't quite finished with her quilt on her actual birthday! Besides that quilt, we gave her a Corolle baby doll, just like her big sisters' dolls that she had been coveting for months, and a little quilt for her doll that matches her own.



Cake time! This wasn't her first go around with sweets by any means. (One of her first foods was Tim Bits on our trip to Canada this summer.) But she loved it all the same. She just learned how to make this really adorable surprised face which she did constantly throughout the party.

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We had to take a photo with the birthday girl before tucking her into bed. We hardly have any photos of just the three of us!

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It's become a little tradition to go on a birthday outing. We took Claire to the ballet for her last birthday and Maggie to the circus. So, on Saturday morning, we all went to the aquarium because we remembered how much the girls loved looking at fish at Betsy's age. Well, they couldn't walk at her age, so while she enjoyed seeing the fish, she also enjoyed trying to escape from us constantly!

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How is she so big already?! She's actually quite petite, but what she lacks in size she makes up in personality...and speed.