9.23.2016

Fall Schedule

2016-09-19

Claire started preschool this week! She's going to our town's cooperative preschool, which means that a parent has to volunteer once a week, but that it's over $200 a month cheaper than our parish preschool. They have centers, show and tell, circle time, story time, and outside play. It totally seems like a preschool from a generation ago which I love because I think they were doing early childhood education right back then. 

Preschool is on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday afternoons. The plan is for Betsy to nap in the morning, eat lunch, drop Claire off, run errands, pick Claire up, and get Betsy home for her afternoon nap. So far, so good. 

Tuesday is our volunteer day, which means Adam goes to work earlier and stays later. We only have one car (he rides his bike to work) so we have to swing by his office to get him on the way to preschool and drop him off on the way home.

Maggie and Betsy will also be doing music class during preschool on Tuesdays. I didn't think we'd be doing music class again, because my original plan was to have Maggie in the cooking class Claire took last fall at the community center that's across the street from the preschool. (The cooking class was $25/month less than music class and I think Maggie would have really enjoyed it, just like Claire did.) But, alas, they aren't offering the cooking class right now and I really wanted Maggie to have a little activity of her own. She'll be three in October, so she just misses the preschool cut-off, and is definitely sad to be missing out.

Adam is going to be the primary preschool volunteer, although maybe we'll switch every once in a while. Siblings are allowed to come for class parties and field trips, so I'll do those for sure. I know Maggie will love going to the pumpkin patch and the costume party next month.

Claire has Catechesis of the Good Shepherd on Thursday mornings. I'm hoping it will work out easily to drop her off, rush home to get Betsy down for her morning nap, and spend a little quality time with Maggie. Starting in November, Claire and Maggie will have ballet and gymnastics on Thursday afternoons. We are skipping the first session because I wanted to wait for Maggie to turn three so that they could be in the same class. And, hey, it's nice to save money too!

Fridays we have completely free to do fun stuff - play dates, the local children's museum, indoor playgrounds. I've heard great things about the free storytelling + art program at the Fyre Musem offered the first Friday of the month. We're going to check out the next one! Of course that will also be our day to go to the dentist, get flu shots, etc.

In the midst of all that, I'm trying to fit in time for prayer, exercise, and cleaning. We finally got the girls one of those clocks that turn green when they're allowed out of their room in the morning. It works unbelievably well. Their clock is set for 7:00 am. Adam and I have been waking up at 6:00 to pray together, get ready, and make breakfast and lunch. This is key to the day going well. Previously I had been using Betsy's morning nap to get ready and make lunch, but now I've been using that time for cleaning or other essential chores, like writing a grocery list or paying bills.

But, man, exercise is just tricky for me. I thought maybe I could get up at 5:00, pray, and go to Pure Barre at 6:00 while Adam worked on those morning chores. In reality, I can't wake up that early while I have a baby who is usually up once or twice a night. For now, I'll just have to stick to the 8:00 pm session, which is hard to make more than once a week. We have been doing a pretty good job with avoiding dessert, eating salad for lunch, and going for walks as often as possible.

My list of Saturday rainy day activities, which we'll have a lot of here in Seattle:

- indoor pool
- bowling
- the aquarium
- the bigger, fancier children's museum
- kids' concerts at the Symphony, Seattle Town Hall, or Kindiependent
- other museums, like the science center and natural history museum
- maybe ice skating? (It would be fun to even take just Claire.)

Our most exciting event of the fall will be going to Houston for Thanksgiving! We haven't been back since Claire was just over a year old, since we've been meeting Adam's family in other vacation spots the last several years. I'm extremely excited about Tex-Mex, barbecue, and Blue Bell ice cream. I'll definitely be rewarding myself with a bowl of mint chocolate chip after a four-hour plane ride with an extremely mobile baby on my lap!

9.18.2016

Seven Months With Betsy

Seven Months Official

Likes:
Timbits and ice cream.
Being upside down.
Her big sisters' toys, especially their princess figurines.
When Claire and Maggie play with her.
Family dance parties.

Dislikes:
Changing into pajamas.
When she's not fed yogurt or banana fast enough.
Nursing without complete privacy.
That she hasn't figured out crawling yet.
Long car trips.

New Tricks:
International travel.
Getting into a sitting position.
Rocking all fours, very close to crawling.
Pulling up to standing once or twice.

Seven Months Collage

Here are some more pictures from the last month:

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

9.15.2016

August Happenings

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The first Friday in August, we went on a date to celebrate our sixth anniversary. It was also Adam's last day of work before his three weeks of paternity leave, so we had a lot to celebrate. 

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We walked around the Olympic Sculpture Park and then had an amazing dinner at Matt's in the Market. 

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It was such a fun evening! I wish we could go on dates every weekend, although they wouldn't all have to be at quite so fancy restaurants. 

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The next day we went to Fox Hollow Farm in Issaquah, where we played in a giant box of corn...

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saw all sorts of farm animals...

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worked on our driving skills...

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admired the beautiful farm house...

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and went for a pony ride.  

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Allie arrived on Tuesday evening. (She was on vacation the whole month of August, but visited my parents and brother for the first week of her time in the states.) I picked her up for the airport and we headed straight to Molly Moon's for ice cream! On Wednesday, we all had lunch at Cafe Rio, then Allie and I painted Claire and Maggie's nails before heading out for pedicures of our own. On Thursday, we had lunch at Chick-fil-A, walked around the lovely (and free!) Bellevue Botanical Gardens, packed for our trip, and made our traditional Nutella pizza to celebrate Claire's feast day.

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We left for Canada on Friday and arrived home the following Sunday, with a still a full week ahead to enjoy Adam home and Allie with us! On Monday, we just unpacked and did laundry in the morning while the girls had a joyous reunion with the playroom. That afternoon, Allie and I snuck out to shop for the rest of the fabric for Betsy's photo project and leisurely browse at Trader Joe's, where we picked up supplies to do an "appetizer night" for dinner. We got these amazing caramelized onion and feta tartlets, "Parmesan Pastry Pups" (basically pigs in a blanket on steroids) and their Unexpected Cheddar with Rosemary Raisin and Mango Ginger crackers. 

On Tuesday, Adam and I took the girls to the weekly kids' concert at our local beach park. We went the other Tuesday he was off too (the day Allie arrived) so we got to see both of our favorite children's musicians - Recess Monkey and Caspar Babypants. That evening Allie and I went to a Matilda Jane party at our friend Libby's house.

On Wednesday, we took them to Remlinger Farm in Carnation. It's basically the most amazing place in the world for small children - a little amusement park, a train that takes you around the property, a petting zoo, and pony rides. 
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Both Fox Hollow Farm and Remlinger Farm are really fun, but if I could only pick one (and I definitely might next summer when we have to pay admission for three children!) I would go with Remlinger Farm hands down. 

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That afternoon, Allie generously watched the girls while Adam and I went on a Theo Chocolate Factory Tour. You can't bring young children with you and we find it harder to arrange a babysitter during the day, so we've wanted to visit ever since we moved to Seattle. It did not disappoint! We loved getting to learn more about how this fair trade bean-to-bar company works. And we really loved getting to sample a whole bunch of chocolate. We brought home Chick-fil-A for dinner (and chocolate from the factory store) as a thank you.

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On Thursday, we all hiked to Franklin Falls. It's about an hour drive east from us and a one-mile hike each way, making it totally doable for little kids.

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We were very proud of Claire and Maggie for walking the whole way, with really very minimal whining. We celebrated with floats from XXX Root Beer on the way home. We went to our town's summer food truck night for dinner that evening.

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On Friday, Adam and I took the girls swimming at the public pool. (I took them by myself the first Friday in August, the same day we went out for our anniversary. I'm really glad we made it there twice this summer.) That afternoon, Allie and I had tea at the Heathman Hotel in downtown Kirkland. Last summer, we had afternoon tea at the Salish Lodge overlooking Snoqualmie Falls. We thought that one was slightly better, but the convenience of the Heathman is hard to beat. When she's back on vacation again next year, we'll have to round out the trifecta by trying The Georgian downtown.

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Saturday was Allie's last day with us and we tried to squeeze in as much fun as possible! We spent the morning walking around the farmer's market, where we bought two purple peppers and a painting of Mount Rainier as a belated anniversary gift to each other. We had burgers for lunch at the Tipsy Cow, picked up lemon ginger scones for breakfast the next morning at Midori Bakery, braved the thorns to pick blackberries at Bridle Trails Park, went to 5:00 pm Mass, got take-out pizza and chocolate chip cookies from Deru Market, and helped Allie get her suitcase under that pesky weight limit. I drove her to airport early the next morning to spend a few days visiting friends in Houston before heading back to the Finca. Then we spent Adam's last day before starting work again in a very exciting fashion - stocking up on groceries at Costco.