Weekending 44: Holidays Part 2

This is a week late because the holidays were happening and I wanted to live them and THEN report back on them.

The kids have started doing this thing where they just yell at each other during bath time. They think it is the best and funniest activity.

We were an hour late to Christmas Eve because naps did not happen when they should have and there was wrapping to be done and showers to take and food to buy and it was a giant race to the finish line. But we made it!

There was family and presents and food and joy.

Grandparents and Great-Grandparents and Uncles and Aunts and Cousins. And cookies. So many cookies.

And Kamel is in basically none of these photos because he rented a fancy camera for the weekend and it was manual only and … I can’t be trusted with such things. I do not have time for manual cameras, ok? It’s just not going to happen for me.

I really really love the mantel at my parent’s house.

Christmas morning started at about 730. Kamel brought Gabe into our room without him seeing the tee-pee that Santa had brought. And by Santa I mean that my grandmother had made me when I was little and we now have for my kids. *Magic*

Fae was appropriately WOAH about it.

Gabe now lives in there. We see him for meals.

And then we all went downstairs to scope out the tree!

And all the gifts my parents had brought over a few days before, along with Kamel’s parent’s gifts that were shipped and wrapped by us – like magic!

My parents were such good sports and came over right away in the morning so we could all do presents together!

Fae was a little overwhelmed, so for a while she just stayed on Kamel’s lap just like this, clutching a christmas tree cookie.

Both the kids were super into creating present piles!

(Oh! This was Kamel’s christmas present from moi.)

We got Gabe a Sofia The First amulet. I wouldn’t allow Santa to take the glory for that one.

Tia Regina and Tia Lara got the kids an outdoor picnic table! So of course, lunch had to be al fresco! Fleecies and coats and boots for all!

It wasn’t raining, just cold. So we played outside most of the afternoon.

A+ parenting.

Then we went to the beach! And stayed there, throwing rocks into the water and watching Gabe ride his bike, and saying hello to all of the dogs, and playing on swings until it was very, very dark.

(Epic toss into the water, Gabe. Epic!)

Oh look! Kamel let me take a photo. It isn’t completely in focus.

On Monday, the kids were out of school and Kamel and I had the day off from work, so we went over to Claire’s to terrorize their cat, Nala.

(And love it unconditionally) GROUP HUG.

And then we ended the weekend with dinner at my parent’s while Kamel helped my dad set up his new computer!

The end!

Weekending 43: Holidays Part 1

This weekend was cold. Saturday was in the 20s and we started the weekend off by getting Fae a booster flu shot.

She did so good though! And stopped crying within a minute. Gabe was telling me all about how the ear worked. (ha)

It was so so cold, but the weather has been wintery for weeks now (as does happen in winter) and we just had to get outside.

Even with backwards helmets.

Even when the playground equipment was so cold it was practically burning my hands. You try to keep gloves on babies.

It was us and 1 other family at the park. Gabe kept saying “No one is here!”

Oh, we also made burgers.

On Sunday! Gabe got a haircut! And though he flinched and whined, he DID NOT CRY. (Or scream or repeat “almost done almost done almost done” like the traumatized kid he is.)

“Look over there, Gabe. Do you see that big snake on the wall?”

He is so fair with his short hair. His edges are all blonde like they glow.

Whoops.

(She did not get up there by herself)

(My oh god please don’t die face)

This is for sure the cover of the official holiday album of the PNW.

After haircut we played at the park, cut cupcakes, and then went to grab brunch. Where Fae busied herself by rearranging the furniture. How nice of her. Then she broke a jar of something and out of humiliation and after offering 700000 times to pay for it, we left.

Oh look at this adorable face. The face of a little girl who refused to nap, cried for 20 minutes, was quiet in her crib and not sleeping for another 30 and then fell asleep for 20 minutes only to wake up SCREAMING in a sweaty drooly mess. Adorablness is deceiving! (No it’s not, COME SNUGGLE ME FAE)

Then it was holiday party time!

The kids were so happy and so excited and such good sports. The cocktails were fantastic, the meal was super delicious, Claire and Lincoln were awesome hosts!

The kitty fled the children, as it should. But trying to find it was just as much fun as being able to pet it (never happened).

I really love my people.

(Long!) Weekend-ing 40

Thanksgiving happened!! And we roadtripped with the kids up to Vancouver BC to spend the long weekend with my best friend, Maris and her family. The end result was kid-palooza! And both Kamel and I talking about how much we LOVE to travel with our kids and wished we did it more often. More family vacations please. More more more.

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(That is real joy on my face after spending a really long time waiting for my to-go order before hitting the road northbound!)

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Our Vancouver airbnb was amazing. It was the perfect size and had a great kitchen, heated bathroom floors, and the kids thoroughly enjoyed running in circles all over it.

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When we got there, Gabe really wanted to document the place. So this next series of photos is all him. “Cheese with the movie!” (TV) “Cheese on the couch!” “Cheese jumping!” and so on.

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And then everyone jumped and promptly fell off the slipper odoman, so…

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The night before Thanksgiving was piling into Maris’s apartment with burgers and fries and all the babies.

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Gabe doesn’t sleep well alone in new places. So on vacation he usually piles into bed with Kamel and I if we have a king bed. This time around he got his own room, while Fae was in the packNplay in the master with us. Gabe was very excited that there were TWO pillows in his bed so that there would be room for one of us too!

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So I slept with Gabe the first night and Kamel slept with him the other two. Everyone sleeps, everyone is happy. Baby snuggles!!

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And then it was back to Maris’s where we headed out for a donut breakfast to kick off the holiday right.

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Exploring new playgrounds is one of my favorite things to do on vacation with the kids. It gets you out in the neighborhood, enjoying the day, and it makes everyone happy. We have playgrounded in Boston, Miami, and now Vancouver. Where will we playground next?

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Thanksgiving evening was total utter chaos. Because Thanksgiving with kids and babies and the cooking and the heat of the cooking and the children and the children and oh yeah the children… but it was chaos completely surrounded by love and family and the amazing spread Maris whipped up.

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Gabriel would not, could not stop talking about pumpkin pie. When will he get pie? Where is the pie? Is this the pie? Is it in the oven? Can he have it now? Why can’t he have it now? How about now? Is it pie time?

The whole time I had doubts as to whether or not he would actually EAT THE PIE because Gabriel… oh have you heard? DOESN’T EAT.

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He totally ate pumpkin pie. We all held our breaths and looked away and he proclaimed, “I’M TRYING NEW THINGS!….I get at treat because I am trying new things.”

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(Modern motherhood with my best friend, you guys.)

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The next day we had a relaxing start with bath time and Curious George before heading out to explore the neighborhood.

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(Classic auntie Maris, using her butt as an anchor.)

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In the afternoon we went to Kitsilano Beach Park and playgrounded hard.

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On our final day we made one last pitstop at Chez Maris for Uncle Alex’s Famous Crepes.

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And then… Maris and I literally ran to catch our booked sea-plane tour. Only to show up 5 minutes BEFORE the scheduled time and be told we couldn’t get on the plane because we needed to be there 10 minutes before.

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This is us after we watched our seaplane depart without us into the mist. Which probably caused a crappy tour anyway, so there.

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So we went on this super cheesy FANTASTIC video ride experience instead and it was amazing.

Meanwhile the kids were dry and warm, eating snacks.

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And then we drove home. And the next day we went to the zoo, which there are also photos of. But this post is getting to be literally a mile long so I will stop here.

I hope your weekend was fantastic and it somehow restored lost hope in humanity. Because yes.

Weekend-ing 39

Now we are all caught up! This was this last weekend. Another insane group hug of events. And I am so grateful for the friends and family we have in our community since moving back to Seattle. It is a huge joy in my life.

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(The kids are a constant loony tunes of rumble tumble)

We had a three day weekend because of Veteran’s Day, where Kamel had a day with the kids and I felt sad and left out in my office.

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Saturday morning was pancakes and a race to go grocery shopping and then off to get Gabe a haircut before the real event of the day occurred.

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(We had another 4 year old birthday party at the indoor play space!)

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(Happy Birthday Dominic!!)

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(It’s impossible to take photos of 3.5 and 4 year olds on the loose)

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(So sweaty)

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On Sunday we spent the morning at my goddaughter’s baptism! Ellen is a smiley, clappy, happy little chunk! And she did such a great job!

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The children couldn’t make it through the whole mass. Thank goodness there was a break in the rain.

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Post Baptism reception was a baby-fest if there ever was one. Gabe is really great with babies – to my great relief.

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(Happy Baptism baby Ellen!)

And then we went to Costco. Weekend complete!

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My Best Friend’s Wedding

At the end of September, Claire got married. It was hairspray and lip kits. It was spanks and strapless bras. It was candles, mood lighting, and a gaggle of women in robes with rollers in.

The world talks about weddings as the coming together of two people and two families. Two become one. But when you’re in someone’s wedding and, honestly, even in regards to my own wedding it’s mostly an experience surrounded by the amazing women in your life. It’s best friends and sisters, best friends who are sisters, mothers, aunts, and grandmothers. It’s women helping you adjust your breasts in your dress. It’s women standing at the door of a stall, chatting, while you pee. It’s shared joy in hummus dip, it’s delight over Fritos and knowing how to eat Doritos without messing up your expensive makeup. It’s someone who remembered to bring the straws for champagne and the perfect music playlists. It’s hours of sitting around half dressed, loving on each other, telling each other how beautiful you are because you are, and occasionally looking over to the bride in a communal sigh of can you believe it. It’s the silent side eyes, it’s the army of protection around the bride who needs a quiet minute to herself before she walks down the aisle. And I’m sorry to that random aunt who I barred from entering, but my job is to care about one person on that day and I’ve got her back more than I care about your feelings.

View More: http://dsmith.pass.us/clairelincolnweddingpt3

I was chatting with Claire’s little sister about what it’s like to watch your person get married. And I told her for me (for us) the emotion doesn’t come from the love between Claire and Lincoln. That is their experience. My emotion comes from watching one of the people I love most in the entire world take a leap. Watching Claire move through a major life milestone, take a risk, say the vows, move forward – that is why I cry. I cry because that’s my person up there. It matters because I love that she is happy, I love that she is living in this moment and I get to see it all unfold.

Weddings are, of course, about the two people promising their lives to each other, but they are also all about the community of women who have supported us, are supporting us, and will be there when you get back from your honeymoon. They will be there when you hate your partner and have left for a walk with just your cell phone and your house keys. They will be there when your partner is sick and when there are babies and when you need to go out in the world alone to remember who you are. And they are there for this one great moment that will define so much of your future.

All The Things

You guys. My best friend got married, it was so beautiful and I kept having not to cry all day and then I did cry a little when the stress of my children being late crashed down upon me. More on that later.

And then yesterday my husband had surgery and he is home being in pain and I hate it so much. And since this blog is all about ME I’m going to take two seconds to say: Being the caregiver is hard and sad and stressful. And it’s ok to hate it. While also helping them put their pants on and laughing good naturedly at their sheered section from where they operated and making sure they are drinking water and staying on their medicine schedule. During that time it is also ok to grumble about having to be the one to do all the house things and all the kid things and all the usual things while your partner plays video games and does what they are supposed to do – which is to HEAL and REST because if they are fucked up for 1 more goddamn day outside of the 6 week schedule… so help me god.

In other news: I am trying to jump start this space and I have not forgotten it or abandoned it. Tomorrow there will be pretty (and stressful) wedding stories to share and hopefully my husband will also be in less pain.

Things, July

This month is kicking my butt. I have no extra time and no extra money. I am late on getting Fae’s birthday video (coming soon) and showing you some photos from her baptism (coming soon). I had to skip a podcast week because we just couldn’t find the time to record and I have no more banked episodes (fail). I am drowning. Again. Even more. Next week is worse. Doctor appointments and dentist appointments and more more more.

There are some good things though. I have seen my best friends almost every weekend, and during the week for nearly a month now, and it will be this way well into September. Wedding events for Claire, Fae’s birthday, brunches, babysitting, drinks on rooftops, shopping excursions, and on and on. This is a big reason why I moved home. I am so happy to be living in the same place as my people.

I’m annoyed at my body. Not to the point where I can’t get dressed, I just don’t have time for that bullshit to be honest. But, I’m mad that I workout regularly, indulge rarely, and yet still… the postpartum stomach pooch, the thickness in the middle that is making clothes shopping so hard, the stubborn lbs that won’t come off. I’m just so frustrated. And I know that yes, I could restrict my diet further, I could be hungrier, I could. But fuuuuck, I just don’t want to more than I am. I really don’t. And part of me is totally ok with that. And the other part of me like… it’s been a year. Why can’t I shake these last 5 lbs? And even if I did, I’m sure I would still have this skin bulk right in my middle that makes dress shopping so frustrating, that makes muffin top pants so so so annoyingly real, that makes my workouts seem pointless. ERGH.

I have next week’s podcast all planned out, but I would very much like some topic suggestions. If you have a question, that is awesome! Email me at birlpodcast@gmail.com or betterinrealife@gmail.com, but even if you don’t have a question and just want to hear Kamel and I debate/discuss something, let me know in comments. My inspiration well is running a tad bit dry with all of the life stuff swirling around us.

Fae is transitioning out of the baby room and is headed into the “waddler” room. Like she’s no longer a real baby anymore or something. Not a fan of this thought process. Will she always seems so so little to me? Is that how youngest children work? Because the oldest is also little, but the littler one is SUPER little. Is that what they mean when they say, “You’ll always be my baby”? I wonder what her first word will be. It might be “ow” to be honest…

I want THINX underpants!!! I just haven’t gotten my shit together enough to spend $30 a pair on them!! This is me yelling at myself about it!! After having Gabriel nothing really changed with my period, even though I had heard that having babies can make your period heavier. But after having Fae – I leak through super tampons like they aren’t even there. (TMI, sorry, I warned you too late.) I end up wearing an annoying horrible pad for at least 3-4 days because at any given moment I can just spring a damn leak. So instead I want period underpants! But $30! A pair! My underpant plight is constant and ongoing. There is no justice.

Everyone is going on vacations. I see it all over the internet. I am not. I desperately wish I was. That is all.

I have been at home and not in an office since May of 2015. Isn’t that weird? I have always worked. And I mean, I am working, full time, but I’m just here, on my coach. Maybe it would feel less like I’m just sitting around in my underwear if I was sitting around in my underwear at a desk, in an office. But for now I am on my couch, being professional as shit, without a bra on, feeling waves of impostor syndrome wash over me. And not going on any vacations.

Maris Turns 30

The milestones, they just keep coming. Of course, we all look exactly like we did 10, 15 years ago, because duh. And really all this means is that we’re now both that much wiser. Right?

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(Sorry for the terrible quality, I think this was for one of the joint 19th birthday celebrations ELEVEN YEARS AGO what is happening to this world?!)

Maris is one of those people who I would not be me without. I literally talk to her almost every day. She is definitely one of the most driven, and smartest people I know. She is worldly, well traveled, and is a wealth of secret nerd information.

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Ever since Scripture class when we were 15 you have been surprising me with your complexity. Your love of peanut butter pickle sandwiches, your perpetually injured hands from some cooking experiment or failed failed failed DIY project. And let’s not forget our mad-dash race to Best Buy while Kamel drove like a sad sad old lady in order to get me hooked up with World of Warcraft.

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If I need a snacking buddy, I go to you. If I need shopping advice, I go to you. Social what-the-fuckery, I go to you. When I needed a buddy to drive with me to San Francisco – a place I had never been and was moving to – you piled in the car. We slept on the FLOOR of my future apartment, which would later be infested with mice! WITH MICE. But hey, sleeping bags and a shared foam mattress cover, paired with sweet sweet ignorance. That’s what best friends are for.

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(Maris’s 21st Birthday!)

We’ve been there for every major milestone. All the big birthdays. All the big sads. All the big happies. The big fights, the make ups. If I need someone to stare daggers on my behalf, I know who to call.

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Happy 30th Birthday Maris!!!! The next year, the next 5, the next 10 – it’s going to be a great adventure.

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Love,

Lauren

Weekending 35

We had a really great weekend. There was a lot of normal stuff that happened – Gabe’s dance class, a trip to Target where I finally made a LIST so as not to forget anything (except of course we got home and I was like “oh shit toothpaste, oh shit replacing that thing that broke, oh shit… xy and z.” Because you can never ever ever go to Target and get everything you need. It is the law), and we enjoyed the beautiful weekend. But then there were some extraordinary things that happened. Like a fun food truck festival across the street from our house and Maris being in town for her sister’s wedding shower which we then took advantage of as Weekend-O-Maris-Turning-30! Because the times where we are all in town at the same time only happen less than a handful of occasions every year and they always feel like the way things should be when they do.

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Gabe can be next seen on Broadway.

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After dance class we go next door for pizza because Gabe insists (And the pizza is delicious) and then he refuses to eat any pizza. MORE FOR ME.

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They also have fresh baked cookies. Imagine that.

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Sad Kamel is Sad because we did not plan on eating at the food trucks and just went to scope them out.

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Not too indulgent, just enough nutrition to sustain.

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Jump!

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Sending a video to Uncle Alex. Hi Uncle Alex!

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Happy 30th Birthday Maris! Let the Dick’s Burgers floweth!

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Sometimes you have to take the head rests off in order to enjoy each other’s company and watch Maris open presents.

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Instagramming at Phantom of the Opera!!

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Look! Custom menus!!

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Rooftop dining. Thank you Seattle springtime!

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Singing the happy birthday song from Red Robin, as tradition demands.

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The true essence of Maris.

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This weekend felt like 3 in the best way possible. There was all the usual stuff, complete with getting things back on track from my time away, plus extra fun Birthday celebrations, cuddling a newborn and dropping off chili and cornbreadĀ for my recently un-pregnant friend Maggie, a solo pedicure where I sat quietly for an hour (reading two magazines! HEAVEN!), and a lot of park time.

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Gabe was out sorts this weekend, refusing food, being extra grumpy and sleepy, just difficult overall. He even spiked a random fever on Saturday afternoon. Toddlers are mysteries. We only made it through half the dance class because Gabe was tired and squirrely and kept walking away from the group to go it alone. We did get some unprecedented participation, but he clearly wasn’t 100% feeling it so we went and had pizza instead.

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Saturday evening my friends surprised me with tickets to the restaurant (Hit It Here Cafe) in the Mariner’s stadium for a 30th birthday party! The weather was fantastic, the game was great, and the company was even better.

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(You can’t escape being pregnant even at your own party)

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(This photo took 3 strangers and about 7 re-dos before we could get it about right. And even then we’re missing Tricia and Jack who took off early because: KIDS… they ruin everything.)

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(The rocks were icky and he stood on only 1 leg for quite a while)

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(Maternity shorts. I never thought I’d see the day.)

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(Two feet into the park and: HOLD THE PHONE – GRAVEL!)

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(The best way to finish off a weekend – some Little Mermaid.)

Not pictured:

– Newborn snuggles

– Piles of laundry

– Gabe’s 500 meltdowns

Liz saving the day and babysitting on Saturday night.

– My freshly painted pink toes