Tuesday, July 30, 2013

epic july: week 4

i wasn't kidding when i said july has been the best month ever. last week, we took a little vacation down to the oregon coast.

we hadn't ever been to oregon and it's just a few hours away, so it seemed like a good place to test the waters on vacationing as a family of 4. we rented a cute little beach cottage via vrbo.com, which was perfect -- a zillion times better than a hotel, especially if you have kids.

our first stop was astoria, filming location of cult classic the goonies. the house still looks just like it did in the movie, except for an israel flag hanging outside. ;)

view from the house:

then we took a trolley ride along the waterfront, which was a huge hit with our little train lover. jack was so thrilled to board it (i told him a trolley was like a train, thinking he wouldn't know what a trolley was, and he immediately corrected me and reminded me of the trolley on daniel tiger's neighborhood. nothing gets past that kid.) and just sat there smiling & leaning out the window during the entire hour-long ride. it was a really fun, relaxing way to see the city -- b and i loved it too. 

on tuesday, we walked down to our little beach and played in the sand, even though it was cloudy and cold. here's us saying "THIS is the beach?!" :)

proof that huddy was there too:

that afternoon, we drove down to seaside to check out their little downtown area and get dinner...i was less than impressed, it kind of reminded me of coney island's ghetto tourist attractions. oh well :) 

wednesday we went to cannon beach! besides the goonies house, this was probably the most iconic part of oregon for me to look forward to since i had seen haystack rock so many times before in pictures (and in the goonies, ha). we made sure to go when the tide was low, and the area just around haystack rock was filled with the coolest tide pools ever. i had only been to tide pools in CA before this and they are totally lame -- this one was amazing, with tons of starfish and mussels and seagulls and puffins and crabs, and even a sea anenome eating a dead bird. jack's favorite part was finding a tiny hermit crab. there are a bunch of local volunteers at the tide pools to help you learn more about the ecosystem and animals, and told us all sorts of cool tidbits. also jack got to wear binoculars, which he loved. 

from there, we drove to tillamook oregon to tour the cheese factory! not going to lie, this was one activity that solidified our plans to go to oregon -- i LOVE that cheese (and ice cream). the factory was awesome -- cheese samples, lunch at the cafe, dessert at the ice cream counter, peeking in the factory windows to watch them make cheese, and a trip to their gift shop to bring stuff home. it was a delightful afternoon. 

that afternoon, we took a kite to the beach. in oregon you can drive right ON the beach! so fun (though i was worried our little accord would get stuck...b could totally handle it of course). it was sunny so we wore our bathing suits...but it was freezing. ha. i stayed in the car.

and thursday, we came home -- after a delicious brunch at mcdonalds. one thing i will say the oregon coast is lacking is good food...zero restaurants impressed me down there. then we drove back up to seattle, stopping only at an amish furniture store to diffuse a double meltdown (yeah...ask me about it sometime) and then we were home! such a fun trip for our little family.

Monday, July 29, 2013

epic july: week 3

during the second full week of b's paternity leave, we kept pretty busy. i threw jack a little birthday party with some of his friends -- it was about as low-key as you can get while still calling it a party. we met up at our favorite park, ate a bunch of donuts (me & jack's fave ;), got out the scooters and bikes for a little "road rally" (aka just riding around the park) and that was it. all the moms got to hang out and chat while the kiddos ran around -- it was 85 degrees that day, which in seattle is grounds for complete heat exhaustion, and we all barely lasted two hours before heading home. best of all, b got to come! i think he liked hanging out with all the moms -- he's pretty jealous of the SAHM life by now. ;)

we took jack to his very first movie in theaters, monsters university. i'd kind of been hoping to wait until "planes" comes out next month to get him into a theater, but we wanted to go now while b could come too and we were therefore a bit limited in our film choices. jack recognized all the monsters from seeing the toys at target, so he was pretty pumped. we snuck in a bunch of snacks and bought him popcorn (grand larceny on those popcorn prices, i tell you what -- after working at a movie theater all those years in high school, i am hard pressed to EVER spend money on concession stand crap but i do make the occasional exception ;) and made a big deal out of it. he did great -- sat still & engrossed throughout the whole thing and just got a little nervous toward the end at a scary part, but luckily he needed to go potty at that point so b took him out and he missed most of it. hudson was a champ, per usual, and slept in my arms the whole time. all in all, a great success!

the 19th was b's big birthday celebration, a week early. we went to see paul mccartney in concert! b is a HUUUUGE beatles fan, and a few months ago we had a conversation discussing which concerts we would love to see before we die. b said his bucket list concert would be paul mccartney, his best chance to see one of the remaining beatles perform live. a few weeks after that, i heard a commercial on the radio advertising a mccartney concert coming to seattle (the first concert in safeco field!) and i was ALL over that. i surprised him with tickets as an early birthday present and we headed out. this required two different babysitters -- jack stayed home with a regular sitter, and we dropped hudson off with my incredibly wonderful friend who volunteered to watch our tiny baby. i'm a crazy mother.

the concert started off a little slow, for me at least -- b was loving it, but i didn't know a lot of the more obscure songs. about halfway through, things picked up and sir paul played all our favorites ("let it be" is my all-time favorite beatles song, with "hey jude" as a close second -- both were amazing live) -- and then, for an encore (after the fireworks!) he brought out the living members of nirvana and totally rocked out. everyone went crazy since nirvana is seattle's own, and it was incredible. also incredible: dave grohl. i have such a huge crush on that man, and his hair. they did three encores together and it was amazing. we got home at 1 a.m. (who ARE we??) and were on a post-concert high for days.

july continued...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

epic july: weeks 1 & 2

sooo basically i can never ever say a mean thing about b's employer again because of one incredible perk: he gets one whole month of paternity leave. that means he took all of july off to stay home and hang out with us and it has been a-maz-ing.

seriously. some days it's a little weird, like having every day be saturday with no routine or schedule -- and since my type-A self totally thrives on things like that, i had to adjust a bit to being so go-with-the-flow -- but mostly it's been pretty much awesome. being able to hang out with b all day every day -- not to mention having him here to help with the kids or let me take a shower at my leisure -- has been the best thing ever. a lot of my friends have told me they take it pretty easy during the first weeks with a new baby, but for me it's been the opposite. i've been so energized to go out and do lots of things and it has been the best month EVER.

so, here's a look at what we've been up to.

b's first day of leave was the 4th of july (my favorite holiday). we spent the day with friends, swimming, eating, jumping on the trampoline and watching fireworks (which jack hated, but granted it WAS three hours past his bedtime by the time they went off). b also participated in a fireworks-driven civil war where a bunch of grown men ran around shooting roman candles at each other...but luckily all survived without too much injury.

the next week, b's parents came to visit! we had so much fun taking them all over seattle -- having visitors is always the best reason to get out and explore. first up, we toured the gates foundation visitors center (where you can add your picture to a wall-size photo gallery) and swung by pike place for all of our favorite treats like mini donuts and beecher's mac & cheese.

we took them to a mariners game against the red sox (we lost in extra innings) and hudson loved his first game so much he slept right through it. :) 

friday was our birthday! jack turned 3 and i turned 29. we celebrated with waffles and presents in the morning. in the afternoon, janie and joel volunteered to babysit both boys (!) so we could have a little birthday date. we went to our favorite spot, agua verde, and went kayaking on lake union followed by delish mexican food. then we came home and took jack to the park (after all, it WAS his birthday too ;) and went out to dinner. 

saturday was the bulk of jack's birthday celebration -- we took him to see thomas the train in real life. this thomas thing goes around the country, dressing up engines at real train stations to look like the beloved blue train and making millions of pre-schoolers' dreams come true in the process. the whole experience wasn't quite as magical as i'd hoped -- not the best logistics, a little attitude from our newly-minted three year old, and sooo many kids running around -- but we still had fun. and now i've crossed that one off jack's bucket list.

(i had to bribe jack with a cookie just to get this smile out of him.)

more to come from our epic july...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

before the arrival

so, hudson was due on june 12, but didn't make it until the 18th. right. june had been crazy unseasonably hot so we'd been spending the past few weeks getting outside as much as possible, per usual seattle behavior -- i hauled my giant pregnant self to parks, pools, lakes, backyards with slip & slides, you name it. also, the friday before, my best girlfriends and i went out to dinner in bellevue for one last girls night pre-baby. i love these people!

then my mom flew in on the 12th and we ended up with lots of time to kill. being overdue is a funny thing. every day you wake up wondering "is this the day??" and then by mid-morning when it looks like this WON'T be the day, you decide to get dressed and go out and do something with yourself. i'd forget about the baby thing until about dinner time and then realize huh, guess we'll chalk up another one. maybe i'd just stay a mom-of-one forever.

anyway, between looking for entertainment and trying to entice my body to evict its little resident, we were plenty busy with grammie in town. here's a look at what we did -- and thanks to instagram for supplying me with all these photos because it's the only way i document anything these days.

we took her on the grand tour of microsoft (it includes lunch and their famous free drinks!), went to the farmers market, walked to the park.

we re-did our unfortunate zoo outing of 2012 on a MUCH sunnier day, accompanied by our friends the davises, and ended the trip by discovering an a la mode pie shop right across the street. (that is incredible serendipity if you've ever met my mom and her pie obsession.)

we went strawberry picking at my favorite local farm and ended up with 17 lbs of berries, enough to make strawberry waffles, shortcake, two batches of freezer jam and a bunch of frozen ones too.

on saturday, b joined us and we rode the water taxi over to west seattle to try marination ma kai, which did not disappoint. it was one of those incredibly gorgeous seattle days and i loved our little outing. except that we almost missed our boat so we had to book it to the dock...you should have seen all the people watching me high-tail my pregnant self, power walking along alaskan way and the waterfront. quite an entertaining sight if you care to envision it.

sunday we went to church and fielded a million "no baby?!?!" questions, monday i packed my hospital bag and cleaned my house and walked around costco, and tuesday you know what happened. and that's how you get ready to have a baby.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

hello mr. hudson!

on tuesday, june 18, we welcomed mr. hudson elliott wells to our family! he was six days late (more on that later) so we were definitely ready for him to arrive.

i woke up early that morning, per usual (i never sleep well when i'm pregnant, usually waking up a few times every night -- it's both amazing and ironic how your body prepares you for the post-childbirth lack of sleep), and felt stomach cramps. it took me a few minutes to realize "hey, this might be a contraction!" and then i started getting really excited. i started tracking the cramps on a contraction app on my phone, but they were pretty erratic. after an hour or so i ended up falling back to sleep, so i was bummed when i woke up because obviously i didn't have anything too exciting going on.

i got up with jack, played with him, and went to the gym -- did the elliptical machine, weights and lots of squats...and tried to ignore lots of stares from all my fellow gym-goers. that afternoon, i went in for a regular doctor's appointment and got a non-stress test. while sitting there hooked up to the machine, i watched my cramps (which i'd still been having off and on all day) create perfect bell curves on the print out and started getting excited -- maybe these WERE contractions! they even started becoming more uncomfortable as i sat in the office. i chatted with my doctor, who was the one on call that night -- we made plans for a friday induction (i NEVER want to get induced, but it seems like whenever i schedule one i end up getting a baby right after) and i left with us both crossing our fingers we'd see each other again soon.

i stopped at the grocery store on my way home and ended up hobbling around as the contractions got worse. went home, watched the sound of music while my mom and jack played baseball outside, and called b to tell him to come home early just in case. my mom made tacos for dinner, we put jack to bed, and i decided it was time to go. our hospital is about 20 minutes away and my biggest fear was not making it in time (we know TWO people who have given birth in their cars on the way to the hospital in recent months -- yikes!!) but all was well -- i was definitely uncomfortable by the time we arrived, and had to seriously breathe through contractions while we waited in the ER for the labor nurse to come get us.

we got up to our hospital room at 8:15 p.m. i was NOT feeling very happy -- already dilated to a 6! -- and was even more irritated when they told me the anesthesiologist was 10 minutes away. great. i tried to focus on the gorgeous view out our window (a rainbow just for me!) and then finally he came.

i loved my epidural with jack -- it had been a light dose so i could still feel & move my legs -- and expected the same thing this time around, but as soon as he stuck me things got weird. i felt some strange sensations through my shoulder and back, i got super shaky, and pretty soon my whole right side was tingly and numb. the right side of my face started drooping and my eye got really bloodshot. i told my doctor about it and she and the nurse both said they'd never heard of those side effects before -- soon they were both out in the hallway googling my case, while b and i googled from my hospital bed and freaked out a little. not exactly the most reassuring thing to have happen in the hospital.

luckily, i didn't have to be on the epidural long because soon it was showtime -- i only pushed a few times and hudson was born at 10:39 p.m., just 2 1/2 hours after we arrived! they laid him on my chest and he calmed down as soon as i started talking to him. he weighed one ounce more than his big brother -- 8 lbs, 6 oz -- and had lots of dark hair. (and as soon as they took me off the epidural, my body went back to normal. yay!)

i already feel a lot more laid back about parenting with hudson -- there is definitely something to be said for your comfort level with baby #2. since this isn't my first rodeo, i feel so much more confident this time around in knowing that everything will work out, that weird things are probably just a phase, etc. also i have much better hair color than last time. ;)

by the time we all got cleaned up and i could move to my recovery room, it was after 2 a.m. and we were exhausted. you never sleep much in a hospital, though, and between all the nurse visits and feeding the baby i barely got any rest. the next day, my mom and jack came to see us and jack was SO excited to meet his "baby hudson." he got to hold him and check him out and thought he was pretty cool.

i had to stay an extra night in the hospital so they could complete all of hudson's 24-hours-old tests, and we checked out the next afternoon. that day, my mom asked jack if he wanted to go to whole foods for lunch (one of our faves) and he told her no -- he just wanted to stay home and wait for baby hudson. it felt so good to come home and start settling into our new routine!

oh, and for the record -- we loved the name hudson for a long time, and wanted another geographically significant middle name to go along with it. (jack's middle name is parker, after parker CO where he was born & where we lived for only three months during b's MBA internship.) we picked elliott, after elliott bay -- the beautiful part of puget sound that seattle sits on. much better than something like issaquah or snoqualmie or another crazy native american word. ;)