i’d never even HEARD of celebrating a half birthday until we moved to seattle, but we’ll take any excuse to eat cake and pizza and make our friends all hang out together. (not that we NEED the excuse..but it helps.) and of course, taking more than just a moment to celebrate this sweet girl of ours, to marvel that she is becoming such a person, whatever that means, and to take a deep breathe and acknowledge that she is HALF WAY to FIVE.
and we love her and she is loved and she loves all her/our friends so much.
Last weekend we stayed in a fancy house on Vashon island with some friends. First of all, it is SO awesome that we are so close to such gorgeous islands here in Seattle. We haven’t even been to all of them, but Vashon, Bainbridge, Orcas – all so close and so beautiful.
It was pretty much just 3 days of cute babies, great food, lots of coffee, a roller coaster of all things 4 year old, and some good old fashioned board game playin. So basically just like every weekend except in a MUCH nicer and bigger house than our own and right on the water.
Oh we also went to a sheepdog festival, which was just as exciting as it sounds. (Very exciting).
And Ivan and I talk about it all the time – life is just easier when you are living with/near other people. I am such a fan of the idea of living in a commune, or building houses with friends on a huge piece of land, or co-owning a huge house with friends or just planning to live on the same STREET as friends. And if that doesn’t work out, making sure that we make an effort with our neighbours makes such a huge difference to our quality of life, we’re lucky that we’ve ended up with some pretty great ones.
My mum (we call her Oma now) has been spending time with us this month and yesterday we said goodbye to her as she heads back to NZ via Vancouver. It’s always a bit of a gamble as to how I’ll feel when we say goodbye after a visit, but this time felt like it was much too short and she has left a bit of an Oma sized hole in our lives. If we are speaking literally, the hole isn’t that big because she has lost a ton of weight and looks AMAZING. But if we are speaking metaphorically (which we are), the hole she is leaving is quite large. She gives Mika so much (attention and love, but also donuts..) and she is so confident and helpful with Teo. To hear ‘you guys just go, i’ll put them to bed, we’ll be fine’ is like the biggest sigh of relief and has ivan and i running like love-struck teenagers to the movies? a restuarant? a bar? the park? who cares really, we just needed some TIME together and we really managed to get plenty of it while Oma was here.
We went swimming, we went hiking, we went camping, we went to 5 different farmer’s markets, we went to a yoga class, we walked the lake. We explored beaches, we explored supermarkets. We cooked dinners and we ate out. We made pancakes and we picked berries.
Lately we have been wondering about the size of our family. Is 4 just perfect? Or do we want 5? Or 6? And when we have family visiting with us it makes me think that if we all lived in the same city then maybe i would definitely want a larger family. But because we are so far away and everyone we love is so spread out around the world, a part of me thinks that a little family unit of 4 might be just perfect. I’m still not entirely sure. If you have 3 (or more) kids I would love to hear your thoughts!
Our dear sweet boy is 9 months old and our days and hearts are full.
He wakes up before everyone (around 6 or 7) and Ivan takes him for a coffee. Mika wakes up around 8 and I try to get an extra half hour in bed sometimes if I’m lucky. Teo is still feeding through the night, mostly 2 or 3 feeds but sometimes more.
He gets so much milk but still he loves food. We are cautious about what we feed him still, but so far he has tried carrot, sweet potato, mango, cucumber, melon, strawberries, blueberries, oats, avocado, pasta, raisins, prunes, apple, potato, pear and banana. His favorite is when he can hold it himself, so we finally bought him a highchair that we all love. And oh yes there are two teeth! Two big strong bottom teeth!
And just when I starting worrying that he wasn’t saying much, he started saying ‘mama’ and ‘mamamamama’ and ‘dada’ and now mostly ‘nanananana’. It’s so cute to hear him making more sounds and I especially love how he chooses to say ‘mamamamam’ when he’s hungry and ‘dadadada’ when we call ivan on the phone and ‘nanananana’ when we try to put him down for naps. And also, this sound is the best thing ever.
Naps have been very tricky lately. We have been trying to do 2 good naps a day but because it is summer and mika has such random activities scheduled (a ballet camp! swimming!) and there are fun things to do like summer markets and free wading pools, it has been tricky to keep any sort of routine. He’ll usually do little naps in the carseat or the stroller, but when I try to put him down for a proper nap it ends up taking a good HOUR to get him to chill out and actually sleep. And that sucks for Mika to be waiting around, and so sometimes i just want to throw him in the stroller and head out the door or put him in the carrier and walk him to sleep and not do any ‘proper’ naps at home, but then i worry he’s not getting enough ‘good’ sleep. In any case, I’m sure once fall is here and we have a bit more of a settled schedule we’ll be able to get a better routine in place.
This boy loves to stand. And he can pull himself along the floor army-style but he doesn’t really enjoy doing it yet. He sits like a champion and can pull himself up on ledges but still hates lying on his belly. He’s trying REAL hard to get onto his knees.
And it seems that when Mika was 9 months old she was the biggest and oldest and smartest baby on the planet. So how is it that 9 months seems so tiny now? I think maybe because with Mika a part of me was always wanting her to get a bit older. I was excited for every new stage and for a while it seemed like the new stages couldn’t come fast enough. But now it feels like the EXACT opposite and I really can’t believe that he’s supposed to be crawling and pulling up on things cause it seems like he was just born.
But even though it sometimes feels like he was just born yesterday, he has wiggled his way into our lives and hearts in such a big way and all my worries about missing the days when it was just the three of us or wondering how i’d have room in my heart for 2 children seem like such silly worries now because he is here and we can’t imagine it any other way.
So my perfect idea of car camping is to splurge on some key comfort items and keep it minimal for the rest. Strive for a balance of efficiency and luxury. A big factor for me is how long it takes to get from not camping to CAMPING READY. And then the same in reverse – I want to get home from our camping trip and be like ‘what camping trip?’ with the ease and speed at which we can pack it up.
SO. That being said. Here is our list.
- Tent (we have this tent and it is so easy to set up and so great, but it is too small. Next summer we will get a bigger one and it will be so, so great.)
- Queen sized air mattress + pump. (A bit of a luxury, yes? We actually turn it sideways and sleep on it like it’s a king-size with our feet on pillows at the bottom. Cause yep, we all sleep on it.)
- Sheet/blanket/sleeping bag (Another easy luxury with the car, just throw in some warm blankets and a sheet).
- Pillows (Just grab em off the bed!)
- Chairs. (These are super duper comfy. But I also have this one because I would sometimes sit in the tent and nurse and this little thing is AMAZING and perfect for nursing whilst camping).
- Table cloth. (the easiest way to make camp dining feel not gross. Even fancy!)
In the ‘utility/cooking’ box:
I have this small box ready to go all the time. Stocked and clean and I know everything that’s in there.
- Gas burner + gas
- Cleaning soap
- Sharp knife
- Paper towels
- Spice tower
- Trash bags
- Coffee maker + filters + ground coffee
- Herbal tea
- Cutting board
- Rope/string (for hanging clothes etc)
Each person gets their own bag for clothes, toothbrush, towel and bathing suit. For 3 nights I usually pack 2 extra shirts and 1 extra pair of shorts. I also pack a pair of long warm pants and a cozy sweater and a warm coat. Don’t forget the warm coat!!!!!
- Bug spray
- Playing cards
- Baby carrier
- Inflatable water toys
- Sand toys
That’s it! It’s been a foolproof list for us this year so far. I’d love to know if you make it camping with wee kids.