8.23.2016

Silly Sisters

Claire:

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I'm the right-est person in the whole world! 

This ham tastes like pigs. 

Claire: Gigantic is the biggest. 
Adam: Yeah. 
Claire: Almost as big as your head! 

As our parents get ready to leave...
Claire: I want them to stay so they can see their grandchildren run around and say flowers flowers flowers hamburgers hamburgers hamburgers cha cha cha cha cha!

Claire: I have a really snotty nose.
Katie: Do you need to blow your nose?
Claire: No, I have a balloon.

Claire, to Dolly, who's in her hand: We're going on a dangerous mission.

Talking about the passion on Good Friday...
Claire: But did he have a blue mustache?
Adam: No. Why would he have a blue mustache?
Claire: That's what happens to your mustache when you die. 

Getting ready for dance class...
Caitlin: Hello, ballerina!
Claire: I'm not going to be ballerina when I grow up, I'm going to be a meat wrapper. 

Looking at some homemade books they'd made...
Claire: Let me look at this one first. It has bad drawings. It's yours, Maggie. 

Grownups don't have very much quiet time.

Adam: Okay, let's start cleaning up the toys now.
Claire: How about we not do that. I'm going to go read a book. 

Adam: why are you sucking your thumb?
Claire: I'm practicing for the car ride!

Betsy needs to concentrate on growing her hair out. 

Can you hold my dolly? But no sucking your thumb.

Holding Claire's hand and walking out into the water at the lake past my waist (and her shoulders)...
Caitlin (gasping): Ahh, it's too cold! 
Claire: Are you joking? 

Maggie:

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We're not going to London? We're going to dance class?

Coughing...
Maggie: I have germs!
Adam: Do you have the plague?
Maggie: No.
Adam: Tuberculosis?
Maggie: No, my germs are called waffles!

Getting dressed...
Adam: You're a cutie!
Maggie: I'm not cute. I'm a beautiful girl. 

Walking into a restaurant, Maggie reaches out to hold Grandpa's hand...
Grandpa: Wow, I'm so lucky!
Maggie: Yeah, you are so lucky. 

When's Prince Phillip? (Her imaginary friend.)
Oh, he's getting donuts. (Her response to this question 90% of the time.) 

Adam: What was your favorite part of the day?
Maggie: picking up Claire. (From Catechesis.)
Adam: Why? 
Maggie: Because I like her. 

Caitlin: What do you want for dinner? Maggie: Ketchup. Just ketchup.

Trying to distract them for the television at a restaurant by playing I Spy...
Maggie: Look, I spy a show! 

I'm going to poop on the potty...yesterday. 

After I burned myself on the oven...
Maggie: I think you need to go back to a play kitchen, Mommy. 

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Lots more silliness right here.

8.11.2016

Six Months With Betsy

Six Months Official

Birth Weight: 7 pounds, 2 ounces.
Current Weight: 15 pounds, 12 ounces.

Birth Length: 19.5 inches.
Current Length: 25.75 inches.

Likes:
Sitting in her high chair at the dinner table.
When we sing "The Wheels on the Bus."
Rice rusks, banana, and watermelon.
The comfortably warm public wading pool.
Briefly getting up on all fours.
Being worn on my back in the Ergo.

Dislikes:
Getting shots.
The backyard baby pool filled with cold hose water.
Biting off more than she can chew, literally.
Sitting in the shopping cart for more than a few minutes.

New Tricks: 
Sitting up on her own.
Taking regular naps without a fight.
Almost getting her pacifier back in by herself.

Six Months Collage

Here are some more pictures from the last month: 

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Here are the rest of Betsy's monthly reports! And for comparison's sake,  here are Claire and Maggie at six months old. 

8.03.2016

July Happenings

Besides visiting my parents for July 4th and a bunch of Adam's family coming to visit, we squeezed even more fun into July! 

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Adam's family arrived on a Saturday, the same weekend as our town's summer festival, so we went the Friday before everyone flew in. Claire and Maggie got to go on a couple of the little kids' rides and then we hung out by city hall, listening to live music and eating ice cream sandwiches. A perfect summer evening. 



They left a week later and the following day we became godparents to Eloise, the adorable second daughter of our dear friends, Libby and Jon. Our combined five girls under five were surprisingly well behaved during Mass. Libby and Jon threw a really wonderful brunch to celebrate afterward. 

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My family came to visit the last two weekends in July. My mom's sister lives on Vancouver Island and took the passenger ferry from Victoria to Seattle. They picked her up one weekend, took her to Richland for the week, and took her back the next weekend. Their first visit was shorter, so we didn't do much of note except go to our town farmer's market. After they left on Sunday afternoon, we went blueberry picking at Mercer Slough Farm. The City of Bellevue owns two U-Pick blueberry farms - how neat is that?

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On their longer visit the next weekend, we had brunch in downtown Kirkland and then went to the lake in our town later in the afternoon. The adults saw a movie each evening, so Adam and I took turns going. I saw Bad Moms (which I, as the target audience, found very funny) and Adam saw the new Star Trek movie (which he didn't like quite as much as the other two).

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So glad we got to see my brother, Scott, again before he leaves for the fall semester at Pitt. And so glad we got to introduce Betsy to Aunt Patty!

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The last day of July is our anniversary. Six years! Because my family was in town, we were able to sneak away to 7:30 Mass by ourselves. We hosted a church thing that evening, but we still served our traditional anniversary meal of fajitas and derby pie. (The food from our wedding luncheon.) We have a date night planned this Friday to celebrate!

  4x6 Version

During the week, we've been keeping ourselves occupied with very low-key summer activities. Claire did two one-hour a day "camps" at our local park. She had tennis the week before July 4th and soccer the week after. We took a break from scheduled activities while Adam's family was visiting, of course, and then the last two weeks of July both older girls did swim lessons at the private pool down the street.

Since we were able to walk to the pool and were home most of the day, it was the perfect time to focus on getting Betsy to nap on her own. After a couple days of minor fussiness, she is on a predictable schedule and I feel a thousand times better about life. Totally worth it. She is also reliably sitting up and starting to eat solid foods. We're not really doing purees this time around - she's just been eating what she can from what the rest of us are having. She can gum on watermelon, apple slices, green beans, bell peppers, bread or pizza crust, etc.

Maggie moved into a toddler bed (aka her crib with one side removed) right after our July 4th road trip. It was a completely seamless transition. Potty training hasn't been perfect, but overall is going really well. Oh, and I can't forget to mention that Claire can buckle her car seat completely on her own now! So happy that I no longer have to climb into the back of the van to buckle her anymore.

Remember how we hired a cleaning service to come weekly at the beginning of January? Then in May we were debating hiring a lawn service or just dropping the cleaning to every other week? Well, we decided to stick with cleaning but the service we were using (Handy) just stopped showing up at the end of June! We never had any issues up until that point. They rescheduled twice the week before July 4th and both times emailed me shortly before the appointment to cancel. I made another appointment the day before Adam's family arrived and didn't receive a cancellation email, so we went to soccer camp like usual and expected to come home to a sparkly clean house. Nope, they just hadn't even bothered to let me know they weren't coming this time. Adam and I got to spend Friday night frantically cleaning instead. Adam sweetly arranged a one-time cleaning from a different service later in July, but it was definitely more expensive than Handy so we were planning to just make it through August ourselves. (We can't fit a cleaning service into the budget permanently, so we were already going to quit at the end of the summer.) But, I just got an email from Handy this afternoon advertising a flash sale - 2 hours of cleaning for $30 - so I made another appointment for Friday. We'll see what happens...

We're still kind of in survival mode when it comes to dinner, but I've somehow squeezed time in for baking. Probably because I think it's much more fun! I made blueberry buckle with our freshly picked berries and then froze the rest to use in muffins throughout the year. After I over-zealously bought a ton of cherries at Costco, I made these cherry turnovers for a funeral to use them up. I've never worked with laminated dough before, so I was pretty proud of how those turned out. My parents have zucchini coming out the ears from their garden and brought some to us when they visited. Of course, we ate plenty just as a side dish with dinner, but I couldn't resist also whipping up some zucchini bread - I made one chocolate and one orange coconut. I've also made so, so, so much applesauce with the fruit from our backyard tree. Hopefully just one more batch to go, whew.

PBS has been airing the new season of The Great British Baking Show. Finally! You can watch the episodes online as well and if you make a small donation, they'll give you access to the previous seasons too. We've also been loving the second season of the Jim Gaffigan Show. Since we don't have cable we bought a TV Pass on Amazon, but it's totally been worth the $15. Cardinal Dolan even makes an appearance in the first episode!

7.28.2016

Seattle Staycation Part Two

So, during the first half of Adam's family's visit, we took them to some of our favorite Seattle spots - Gas Works Park, Pike Place Market, and Snoqualmie Falls. Early Wednesday morning, we piled in the van and ventured much farther afield, to Mount Rainier! We pretty much stuck with the same itinerary as our day trip last summer, breaking up the three-hour drive by stopping for breakfast at a Panera in Puyullap on the way. 

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We were planning to do the one-mile Nisqually Vista Loop in Paradise again, but it was unfortunately closed that day, so we asked for a recommendation at the visitor's center and embarked another easy hike to a waterfall.

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We saw deer and marmot along the way!

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Although we had much better weather than our trip last year, the clouds were still hovering in front of the mountain all day. This was the best view we got. 

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We had a picnic lunch, admired the lobby of the historic Paradise Inn, and drove through Stevens Canyon to our next hike.

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First, we took a quick detour and stopped at Reflection Lake. As you can see, it would give you a fantastic view of the mountain if those darn clouds would just move out of the way!

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Our second hike was the Grove of the Patriarchs, an island in the middle of the river with a persevered old growth forest. Being on an island kept the trees safe from forest fires and the like.

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It's another one-mile loop, perfect for little kids, especially with the addition of a suspension bridge, gigantic trees, and a river perfect for wading and skipping stones. After that, we hit the road for the long drive home, stopping at a Five Guys in Federal Way on the way.

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On Thursday, we split up most of the day. The girls and I had a going away party for some dear friends that we really didn't want to miss. Some of the group went on the Underground Tour and some went to the Pacific Science Center to catch the Art of the Brick exhibit we saw early in the week, while they were at the Space Needle. We met up at our town's lakefront park in the late afternoon and then everyone came over for a dinner of steak, corn on the cob, and homemade berry ice cream.

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On Friday, we took the ferry out to Bainbridge Island. Gosh, I just love that place so, so much! (I also really love Betsy's romper and that candid shot of my two big girls laughing.)

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We headed straight to Fay Beach Park for the gorgeous views of Puget Sound and the driftwood perfect for climbing. 

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We had lunch at the best little Italian place, Via Rosa 11. It's actually not so little anymore - since we last visited back in September they bought the shop next door and expanded. We were thrilled to learn that they now have a pizza oven!

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I had to include the above picture because it so perfectly illustrates our life right now. It's not unusual for Adam to finish a meal surrounded by little girls! Our next stop was the Bloedel Reserve, an estate with the most amazing gardens. It's such an incredibly peaceful place, even if you're accompanied by small children whining about how much further they'll have to walk.

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My one regret is that we didn't have quite enough time to wait in line for ice cream at Mora Creamery before catching the ferry back to Seattle. We popped into Blackbird Bakery in downtown Winslow instead though, where the girls picked out adorable ferry cookies and we split a slice of lemon tart.

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We had an easy dinner of Costco rotisserie chicken at their place and then sadly said goodbye, as everyone flew home early Saturday morning. Although the week had a few minor downsides, like not all being able to stay at the same place and the challenges of a city vacation with a big group, we feel really grateful to have shown off the beautiful Pacific Northwest to so many of Adam's family members. This made us really crave another beach trip with all of Adam's siblings in attendance, like we did back in 2014. I hope we can make it happen again in the very near future!