Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Colorado 2014: Vacation by Cities

We got back last week from spending eleven fantastic days in Colorado with family and friends! We were so grateful for so much time there, and it was a great mix of relaxing days and seeing people and places all over. Here are some of the things we did, not necessarily in chronological order.

• Lots of time on my parent's deck, watching storms come in over the mountains.
• Naps with dogs.
• Nash got to catch up with some of his little lady friends (and us with their parents).
This was them in Colorado last July, and now this July. Time flies.
His fun little friend who is just 2 weeks older than him.
• Noodles & Co. (twice), Sonic, Chick-Fil-A (three times), and Dunkin Donuts.
• Alcoholic otter pops made by my mom, along with lots of her other excellent cooking.
• Fire pits and s'mores and sunsets.
• Lots of great time with my family.

• Breakfast at The Buff with my sister and my good friend Tory. With a view of the flatirons, no less!
• Tried some fun beers at Avery Brewing Company.

• Went to service at Ascent Community Church, co-led by my college ministry pastor and the youth pastor that I did middle school ministry with while I was in college.
• Dinner with the Colorado fun friends and families!

Fort Collins
• We got to meet this sweet little boy, the son of my good friend Taylor!
Future best buds.
• Lunch at La Luz. The potato burrito was amazing!
• Then we sampled a few beers at Odell...

• Mike and I (and Kaela!) saw The Avett Brothers (and rainbows) at Red Rocks! It was such an amazing show at the best venue in the world.

• Got to taste some Breckenridge bourbon.
• Ate lunch at an old favorite, Kenosha Steakhouse.

• Spent the night at my family's cabin. Unfortunately the altitude did not agree with Nash, so I had to drive him back down to Denver at 4 am. Womp womp.
• At least Mike, my dad, and my sister got to stop at another old favorite when they drove back at a much more reasonable hour.

• Toured (and tasted) Stranahan's with friends.
• Dinner and margaritas at the Rio. Duh.
• A quick beer at Our Mutual Friend. I got to try a Brett beer. Finally!
• Went to a really fun lecture series put on by The Denver Museum of Contemporary Art called Mixed Taste. We saw Soul Food and Salvador Dali, and it was really fun, especially because the Soul Food speaker brought samples. :)

Whenever we weren't out and about, we were probably parked on my parents couch watching movies. It was magical. Special thanks to all of the friends who took time off of work, spent time driving, etc to hang out with us. And a VERY special thanks to my parents for hosting us, and to them and my sister for being so fun and for babysitting. :)

Friday, June 27, 2014

June Recap

Ok, I know June isn't over yet. Small detail.

Also, I'm going to start with May 31st. Our friends Chad and Ashley got married in downtown Seattle! It was such a beautiful wedding, and it was extra fun because several of our good friends from Colorado flew in for it since Ashley is a Colorado girl too.

my hot date and me
Mike left directly from the wedding to go to a conference in Montreal. He took a cab to the airport and caught a red eye. LOOOONG night for him. I got to spend the next few days hanging out with friends who were still in town enjoying the amazing weather.
a little doof at Gasworks Park
Nash and I had dinner at the beach one night. I do love living in the Pacific Northwest.
Next up: the Butler birthday extravaganza.

June 5: Noah's 1st birthday (If you haven't heard Noah's story, visit his mama's blog.)
It was a sad day, but it was also really neat to see how many lives he has changed in one short year. We decorated his special place with balloons and we wore rainbows and we missed him very much.

Over that weekend, we were able to get together with Mike's family to celebrate all of the family June birthdays. Noah on the 5th, me on the 10th, and Mike and his brother John on the 11th. We had BBQ at a park and the boys threw the football around for a while.
Big Butler birthday party at the park

pre-birthday party with some local craft beers while Mike's parents babysat
June 10: My 31st birthday (I can't say thirty and flirty and thriving anymore.)
My mom and sister flew in that morning for a visit! We just ordered pizza, my brother and his wife and baby came over, and we all hung out. That's basically what I always do for my birthday.

June 11: Mike's 33rd birthday! (and John too!)
We went out while my mom and sister babysat! We had margaritas, way too much Mexican food, and ended the night at our favorite neighborhood pub.
June 11th was also the due date of Noah's baby brother, but it came and went with no baby. Then on Sunday, June 15th (which just so happens to have been Father's Day!) we got the call!

Baby Miles was born that morning, and we got to meet him when he was just a few hours old!
I might have started weeping uncontrollably when I walked in, I pulled it together for this pic.
I have never cried such happy tears in my whole life!
We also came back a few hours later with Nash! I had never visited people in the hospital after having a baby before I had my own baby. When Nash was born our hospital was super strict about visitors checking in, and no kids were allowed unless it was a new baby's sibling. I just assumed that all hospitals were like that, so the day after Noah was born and we went to visit, we left Nash with my sister. When we got there, we walked right in and didn't have to sign in or anything. It makes me crazy to think about that we could have totally brought Nash with us that day, and it makes me so sad that Nash and Noah never got to meet. Needless to say, we were so excited for this to happen!
We are so so so grateful that he is here and he is healthy! We visited Miles (and his mom and dad) at home a few days later, and oh my goodness. I can't explain how much joy we had seeing them with their baby boy AT HOME! Not that any of the pain from last year has gone away at all, but oh man, Mr. Miles has brought an incredible amount of joy into the world with him. Love that little dude.
Due to the arrival of baby Miles and my family being in town at the same time, Nash got lots of grandparent time this month!
eating ice cream with Papa (Mike's dad)
eating doughnuts with my mom (I promise we feed him food other than sweets)
lots of family in town to celebrate my grandmother's 75th birthday
Nash is now a 27 pound 34 inch tall 15 month old. He wears 2T and never stops moving. He has been fussy lately due to getting in 4 molars at once, but the last few days he has been more back to normal, whatever normal is for a toddler. He just figured out how to climb onto furniture, and now he does it all day long. Sometimes he climbs up, and lays back like he's going to watch a movie or something. But that only lasts for about 15 seconds before he climbs down and does it all over again.

We also recently acquired a bike trailer for free! Thanks, Buy Nothing Bothell! Nash loves it, even though he has to wear a helmet. (Go here to see if there is a Buy Nothing group in your area. It's such an awesome community.)

We also made a summer fun to do list. Our bike trailer helped us cross the first item off of the list: bike ride! We are excited to cross off more!

pardon my 6 year old handwriting :)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Baby-proof Your Entire House for $14

If there is one word to best describe me it would be lazy. That's why when I bought those plastic latches to baby-proof our cabinets, and they were super difficult to line up and install correctly, I gave up after installing zero of them.


But I love my son, and I don't want him to eat Lysol, or soap, or trash. Actually, I just really don't want to put everything away that he would pull out from the cabinets. I should also add that the way our house is set up (tri-level) it is very easy to keep Nash contained and supervised. Even if I am on a different floor, it's so open that I can almost always see him. Baby proofing is not a replacement for supervision, it just buys you some time. :)

Cheap Baby Proofing Idea #1:
Rubber Bands - free

Just loop them tightly around your cabinet pulls. Whatever you do, don't try the latches like this one. We did. Not only was it baby-proof, it was also adult proof. Like I seriously couldn't get it off of our bathroom cabinets. I was a little bit freaking out thinking we would need to unscrew the knobs, but then I FINALLY got it off. Then I returned them.

Cheap Baby Proofing Idea #2
Fabric Baby Gate - $6.00

Our lowest level is our tv room, and it's also where all of the toys are. We needed a gate to block off the bottom of that staircase to keep Nash down there.

The problem is, baby gates are ugly. No offense. Also, I have always had issues with opening/expanding/collapsing them in my babysitting/nannying/Sunday school teaching days. I always just ended up stepping over them.

But let's just say that childbirth doesn't do your tailbone any favors, especially when you push for 5 hours. AKA it still hurts a lot 14 months later, so stepping over a baby gate multiple times a day (especially with a 27 pound baby) wasn't going to work. I thought one of those retractable baby gates would be awesome, but it turns out those are more money than we wanted to spend.

I had a vague idea of a fabric gate of some kind. I googled my little heart out, but wasn't finding exactly what I wanted. I bought four of those sticky hooks and used some fabric and elastic I already had to make basically a giant rectangle with elastic loops at each corner. I used two pieces of fabric and sewed them together like a giant pillowcase, then just didn't put any stuffing inside.

It's super easy to unhook one of the top corners to walk through, or hook it off to the side.

So far so good! Nash could absolutely escape if he wanted to, but I think the fact that it is opaque fabric (as opposed to a mesh or lattice baby gate) means that he isn't very interested by what's on the other side, because he can't see over there. I mean, he knows the stairs are there, but since all of his toys are down there in that room, he is more interested in those.

Cheap Baby Proofing Idea #3
Entertainment Center Cover - $1.50

In the same room, we have a small shelf thing that holds our Tivo, Blu-Ray, and X-Box. All of the flashing lights are very tempting to a tiny little boy. So tempting that one day in the time it took me to change laundry loads 20 feet away from him, he turned on the X-Box, ejected the disk, and hung from the tray until it broke. It took Mike 90 minutes and some YouTube videos to fix it. He is a saint.

We thought about trying to add a door, but then we would need a latch too, and it would never really match. I decided to try a super lazy and cheap fix and see if it worked. $1.50 worth of black fabric later, and we were good to go.

I have some plastic snaps and the snap tool (I don't know what it's called) from my mom, so I doubled up my 1/2 yard of black cotton, and put a snap in each corner. Then I super glued the other half of the snaps to the inside of the little entertainment center. I didn't even hem the fabric. Because I'm lazy.

And it hides all of this junk!

Again, he can undo the snaps, but he knows he isn't supposed to, so for the most part, he doesn't go there. And not seeing all the little lights flashing at him makes it a lot less tempting.

Regular Baby Proofing Stuff That We Actually Paid For

Wall straps for our tall bookshelves - $4.00

Outlet covers - $2.50

And there it is. We kept it simple. No toilet locks (we just keep the lids down and close the bathroom door) and no doorknob covers, he can't reach them yet). Does anyone else have any baby-proofing tips to share?

Friday, April 25, 2014

April 2014

What the heck have we been doing? You know, besides taking day trips to other countries...

• Mike's mom was here at the beginning of the month, and my mom is here right now. It's fun to see them interact with Nash since he is becoming more and more like a little person, and less like a baby. (Some moms get all weepy about that, but I love it. He's so cute and fun at this age! Except when he's throwing a fit.)

• Easter happened. The 12 month size suit that I bought when I was pregnant somehow magically fit! Ok, it was a bit short and a bit snug. Oh well. It still looked pretty cute!

• My baby nephew Miles will be here in less than two months, and I can't wait! Six of his mama's best friends and I are throwing a shower for them next month. I have been doing stuff for it since like February. I have literally spent hours planning and replanning the menu. It's a way for me to channel my excitement into something productive! Haha! But then when you multiply that excitement by 7, it's out of control! Miles is going to be one spoiled baby. Oh well. :)

• We're painting... again. Remember when we painted our entire house? Well, we never actually painted the pre-primed baseboards that we installed, so we're trying to get it done. While we're at it, we are painting all of the remaining wood doors and window trim in our living room and upstairs hallway. Our house is officially wood trim free!!!!!!!!!!! (Except for the master bathroom aka The Chokie aka WE WILL NEVER SPEAK OF IT AGAIN aka the room that I try to pretend doesn't exist.) Maybe someday I'll take pictures of it. Maybe. Everything is a hot mess right now, but Manny doesn't care.

• Mike and I have been trying to make healthier eating choices, which for us means eating smaller portions and only going to Taco Bell once a month. Easter candy and summer beers have been derailing me. Oh well.

• My friend texted some of us moms and asked for some outdoor toy ideas since it's summer. She lives in Colorado. It's 55 and raining in Seattle today. Thanks for rubbing it in.

• I bought coral boat shoes. I HAD to.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mike's Surprise Day Trip

I should start by saying that we have been watching Bates Motel. It's really good, and the cute little boy from Finding Neverland is grown up now and plays Norman Bates. I was curious where they filmed (the show is set in Oregon), and it turns out they film in and around Vancouver, BC, which just so happens to be a two hour drive from where we live. And then I happened upon this. They built a replica of the motel right over the border, and it's right on the side of the road!

So an idea began formulating: a little day trip. And because we almost never do anything super romantic or surprising for each other, I thought it would be fun to plan the day for Mike. I told him that I had a day trip planned, and we could go whenever. 

Well whenever turned out to be Sunday. Mostly because I really wanted to go, and if I had to wait any longer, I would tell him where we were going.

So we hit the road, and we headed north. The direction was sort of a giveaway for our first stop. Mike went to college at Western Washington University in Bellingham, just before the Canadian border. He has only been back a handful of times, so I thought that would be a great place to stop for lunch. 

We went to his favorite brewery, Boundary Bay. He had the saison, I had the scotch ale.

Nash had the ice water...

And it would have been silly to go to Boundary Bay and not walk the 3 blocks to Mallard Ice Cream. Mike had heath bar. I had coconut chocolate chip with almond and dark chocolate orange. Because I'm worth it.

Then it was time for the main event. I dramatically pulled out our passports. Well, Mike's and my passports and Nash's birth certificate. He doesn't have a passport yet. :)

We passed through the border crossing, and literally 4 minutes later, driving down a road in the middle of nowhere, we see this!

See the little Hitchcock in window?
Since they aren't currently filming, everything is boarded up, but it was still neat to see!

Our next stop was Stanley Park! It's way over on the northwest corner of Vancouver, but we had never been before, and have always wanted to check it out. We didn't know much about it, just that people like it. It was HUGE! It was dense forest that opened up onto several gorgeous beaches. There are beaches in Seattle, but the sand isn't amazing. This beach was so clean, the sand was so nice, there were lots of pretty shells, and it wasn't crowded at all.

And some babies LOVED the sand!

Our next stop was Granville Island. We walked through the public market, which is sort of like an indoor farmers market with stalls and stalls of fruits and vegetables, pastries, and hot food.

We also hit up the Granville Brewery where we tasted six different beers including a honey lager and a maple cream ale. Yum!

Then we headed home. Of course we had to stop here for dinner on our way back...

It was really fun to get away for the day, and Nash is old enough now that he eats people food, naps less, and enjoys doing new things. Just going to the beach and seeing him enjoy the sand for the first time was really fun. Hopefully we'll do it again soon!