11 December 2017

Ike is Seven

Somebody praised me this past weekend for keeping up with my blog, and I thought, "Uh, if writing birthday posts qualifies as keeping up, then thanks." With that said, last year it took me a few months to write Ike's birthday post, and this time it's only taken a few days!

For his actual birthday we went to Chick-Fil-A (because I had a gift card). Then we drove around to see Christmas lights, particularly a couple of local houses that have lights that sync to music. The day after his birthday was my father-in-law's retirement lecture at BYU, so we went to hear him speak. Afterwards we had a big lunch, and everyone sang to Ike for his birthday.

Ike's middle name is FUN. (It's not actually, but maybe it should be.) He loves to play, especially with friends. Playing is what motivates him to get his work done. At seven years old, Ike has a handful of responsibilities around the house. He makes sure his laundry is where it goes (whether that be the dirty clothes basket or, if clean, then put away in the closet and drawers). He helps with the small rubbish bins around the house. He puts away the dishes he can reach, wipes down the table, and sets the table for meals. He puts his own toys away and does a lot of general helping as needed. Yesterday that involved holding a very tired and crying baby while I cleaned up the house and prepped it for the ward choir to come practice. He also practices piano, sometimes happily, but sometimes not. It depends a lot on what he is learning. Here we are playing a little duet we've been working on. (P.S. I love PianoMarvel. I haven't talked to you about it, it's probably because we don't talk often enough. It is a great program.) (When I try to link to the website, it just won't work, so we'll do this the old fashioned way: https://www.pianomarvel.com/).

When Ike isn't playing with friends, he likes to play with his brother. They have been taught in the ways of their father and enjoy setting up detailed battles with army guys. I'm sure they play other things too, but they are usually in the basement, and I don't really know what goes on down there.

Ike is a great student. He reads well, and his teacher praises him as the Eagle Scout of her classroom. We had Ike work on writing all summer long, much to his dismay. (I really didn't want him to regress in reading and writing over the summer. Reading, I think, is easy to keep up with, but not so much with writing. I don't think there are many reasons for a kid to sit down and write unless that kid really enjoys it.) When he started the school year his teacher said he had the best handwriting in the class.

Other highlights from the last year:

  • He finally lost a tooth! (And then a few more after that.)
  • Ike learned to tie his shoes. We had tried to motivate him, but ultimately it was his first grade teacher who provided the adequate motivation to get him to learn. (I don't even know what the motivation was, but it worked. Once he was ready to learn, he learned in about 10 minutes.)
  • He learned to swim. He's not spectacular, but sometime in the summer's swimming lessons things started to "click" for him.
  • He's a great hiker.
  • He is such a huge helper with his little sisters. He really loves them.
  • He started reading with inflection, and he doesn't sound like a robot anymore. (Again, thanks to his first grade teacher!)
  • We finished his soccer season in the spring, and now we're just taking a break from all extracurricular things.
  • We discovered he has a pretty bad horse allergy. It's a bummer.
I love my little boy, and stereotypical as it is, I can't believe how big he is getting. He is so full of excitement for life. He has a lot of questions and likes to ask me lots of "what if" questions. He still holds my hand when we go places, but I'm usually the one to initiate it.

And here are some pictures:

Spring soccer with a very pregnant mom coach:

Holding his newborn sister:

For our family reunion my father-in-law had the grandchildren memorize sections of "The Living Christ" and recite it. Here is Ike helping his little brother with his lines. (We had practiced both parts so much that Ike and Felix knew each other's parts, but I think Felix froze up for a second.) (Mom still remembers their parts too.)

From a hike to Stewart Falls:

The day after his birthday in the Skyroom restaurant:

01 December 2017

Felicia: Five Months

Oh how I love this little girl. She is a pretty mellow baby, especially after she's eaten. Except, not RIGHT after she's eaten. Immediately after she's eaten she seems to always be really sad that it's over.

She loves to grab her feet and is getting better at using her hands. She loves to hold onto my clothes or hair when I'm holding her. She also frequently reminds me of Ike because she balls up her fists and holds her hands to her chest, like Ike used to do.

Felicia still loves snuggles. If she is not being snuggled and we plop her on the floor, she immediately rolls to her belly. She is content on her belly for a bit, but inevitably she gets frustrated after a few minutes and cannot seem to remember anymore how to get off her belly. She has also learned to rotate while on her belly. I think there is a slight chance she'll be crawling within a month.

I posted a picture of Felicia on Instagram, and my brother created this side-by-side of his daughter at about 17 months. People frequently ask me who she looks like since she doesn't look like the other kids. She looks like me and my side of the family, as you can see!

This month I sleep-trained Felicia. The sleeping arrangements we had going on in our family were just ludicrous, and it was time to get her to sleep for more than an hour at a time in her own bed. We are all sleeping better now. Except naps. Her naps are still terrible.

05 November 2017

Felicia: Four Months

Last month I was all, "Oh, she's getting better at sleeping," but folks, this baby is terrible at sleeping. It's a good thing she is so happy and cute and loves to see me.

We blessed Felicia this month. I worked really hard on her dress, and it turned out beautiful. I am happy she will have it to pass on to her own posterity.

This little girl is really so sweet and happy, even if she doesn't like to sleep. She is rather smiley and talkative, and she loves attention and being held. Her siblings still really like her.

We re-used the same costume that Trixie wore, and Felicia was an adorable little pumpkin for Halloween. On the night of Halloween I wore her in the Ergo as our family went tromping around the neighborhood. She did great despite the night being rather chilly.

Felicia learned to roll from her back to her belly this month, but it is not yet something that comes easily to her. She is getting really close at being able to purposefully grab things. I think that will come this month.

Hopefully, also this month this baby will resume sleeping in chunks of time greater than two hours.

12 October 2017

Felicia: Three Months

Felicia is three months, and she is incredibly interactive. She is very smiley and chatty.

Her siblings love her, especially Trixie, who asks to hold her at least once a day. You can see that Felicia tolerates these brief moments of sisterly affection.

Felix knows that Felicia looks more like him than her other siblings, and he loves to talk about that. Sometime in the last month he asked me to take a picture of them together, and even though I don't think this picture of Felicia is very much like any of Felix's baby pictures, I thought the two of them look a lot alike here. Felix likes to interact with Felicia and usually precedes her name with the adjective "silly," because he says she makes funny faces.

We went on a hike to Stewart Falls sometime in the last month. I carried Felicia in the Ergo. On the way to the falls I carried her on my chest, and she did great. I fed her at the top, and then I put her on my back for the journey down. She was cranky toward the end, and when I took her off my back to feed her I realized she was a little cold. Next time we'll put socks on her feet and make sure we don't forget the hat.

Felicia is on the verge of rolling over from her back and is very wiggly. I often plop her in this little non-working swing in the kitchen, and now I have to strap her in it because she squirms her way up and out of it if I don't.

The bald spot in the back has stretched around from ear to ear because she has gotten better at sleeping in the last month. (But I fear that will end once she's rolling off her back. I'm pretty sure we'll have to stop swaddling her in the next month. It's not going to be fun.) Her eyes are brown, and I don't think they will change much anymore. She has an adorable little chin, and my mom says she looks a lot like I did as a baby.

She has discovered her fists for sucking, and it is adorable to watch.

I need to take more pictures of her with the actual camera instead of my very sub-par phone.

10 October 2017

Felix is Five

When the Primary sang to Felix a couple of weeks ago, the leader who announced birthdays said, "And you may not believe it, but Felix is going to be five!" Felix very quickly added, "Yeah, you can't believe it because I look like a three-year-old!" Most of his clothes are size 3T, some are still 2T. He still rides in a car seat and isn't even tall enough for a booster. He's just a scrawny guy.

In the last year, Felix got tubes in his ears, 

became a big brother again, and

finished three-year-old preschool and started four-year-old preschool.

Felix loves to be outside, and usually enjoys going on walks in the gardens and going on hikes. This summer while Eric was out of town, Felix frequently took it upon himself to go cut flowers for me and put them in vases (something Eric usually does). He loves hugs and kisses and is a very affectionate child.

He has a great sense of humor and has a terrific belly laugh. He also has a terrific temper and is working on learning to handle his emotions.

 Felix favorites:

  • color: golden
  • movie: Planes: Fire and Rescue
  • food: probably pizza
  • places: the dinosaur museum, the Bean Museum
  • music: I Am the Tiger (Eye of the Tiger); Lord of the Rings soundtrack; 1812 Overture; Slave March; New World Symphony; Gethsemane

Felix has become quite the social butterfly and constantly wants to play with friends. Although there are many kids his age on our street, he usually asks me if he can play with their older siblings. We frequently have conversations like this:

Felix: Can I play with Justin? [Age 8.]
Me: Don't you want to play with Paul? [Justin's four-year-old brother]
Felix: No, I want to play with Justin.

We do this with other sibling combos including: Ricky (6)/Ella (5); McKenzie (8)/Archie (4); Presley (6)/Bridger (5). I am working on getting him to accept the fact that he is not as old as he'd like to be. But I also understand where he's coming from. I always thought my older brother's friends were just awesome.

Right now, Felix starts many conversations with, "You know what? Guess what." He leaves no room between the question and the statement.

Sometimes he can be really helpful. I usually will not let him go play with friends without first doing some chores, so he'll approach me with, "Mom, what's my job?" When I give him a job, half the time he's okay with it, and about half the time he balks that it's too hard or he can't do it by himself.

With Ike in school all day now (instead of just half days like last year), Felix and Trixie have become better buddies. She still is not very good at playing with other kids, but Felix is becoming more patient with her and learning better how he can play with her without her ruining his schemes.

For Felix's birthday we grabbed a pizza and headed for a picnic near the dinosaur museum. On the way, Eric asked Felix what music he'd like to listen to, and he declared without hesitation, "New World Symphony." His one gift request was for a fidget spinner, and we obliged. When we had our family party for him, he chose rice and lentils for our meal.

One of our family traditions is to go to Cold Stone the Monday after a birthday to get ice cream (using a buy-one-get-one coupon). The birthday person gets to choose one flavor and mix-in, and Eric and I get to choose the other. The kids always want cotton candy ice cream, much to mine and Eric's dismay. This time Eric told Felix that he should try the green cotton candy ice cream (actually pistachio), and Felix said he preferred it to the blue. Eric can outsmart a five-year-old! Now, if only we could teach him that gummy bears are a terrible mix-in for ice cream.

05 September 2017

Trixie is Two

Well, Trixie made it to the two-year mark with no open-heart surgery, and with none in sight. We are so thrilled with our little miracle girl.

We celebrated her birthday with donuts on the actual day and a little family party a few days later. In the L family we sing a birthday song from an old radio show called Big John and Sparkie. (You can listen to it here, but you have to listen to about 30 seconds of the guy introducing it to you.) The song starts with, "Today is a birthday, I wonder for whom. I know it's for somebody who's right in this room. So look all around you for somebody who is happy and smiling, my goodness it's you!" It is so fun to sing this and avoid looking at the birthday child (especially if the child is very young), and then for the whole group to look at the child and point when the lyrics say, "my goodness, it's you!". Trixie was just so thrilled with this, both when we did it as our little family and when we did it with the bigger family.

Trixie is such a sweet and cuddly girl. She loves her baby sister so much, and it just thrills me to no end. She is still absolutely obsessed with animals. When we visited my brother to watch the eclipse a few weeks ago, she just constantly followed his beagle around trying to pet her, and possibly ride her. It's a good thing LaFawnduh is so patient.

Trixie has some speech delays, presumably because of the chronic ear infections she had from about September through February last year. (Yes, she still had chronic infections even after getting her tubes in December.) However, she is really making progress in the last few weeks, and I feel like we are on the verge of a breakthrough with her language development. I know that eventually she will be caught up with peers, and I'm not terribly worried about her in that regard. I'm just looking forward to being better able to figure out what the heck she wants.

Trixie continues to be my best eater. She loves most things and will try pretty much anything. She frequently eats as much food as her older brothers. She's not crazy about meat, but I think that's mostly a chewing issue.

If Trixie could spend her entire days outside wandering around, she absolutely would. Either that, or going to the nursery at church. She loves both of those things.

Trixie is an incredibly friendly and fearless child. She frequently goes up to perfect strangers at singing time at the library and sits in their laps, uninvited. She also likes to visit different families during church and cuddle with anyone who will hold her. It's like she's a neglected middle child or something.

A few other things Trixie loves:
  • Dancing to music
  • Listening to music
  • a few books including a book about dogs and a book about dinosaurs. She's not so keen on other books.
  • washing her hands
  • brushing her teeth
  • taking baths
  • putting lotion on
  • getting dressed
  • helping
Eric's parents gave her this little pony that sings and walks. As annoying as it is, it is so fun to watch how much Trixie enjoys it. She can't get enough of it.

We love her curly blonde hair and her light blue eyes. We love watching her close her eyes while we sing to her at bedtime. We love her little lamb-like run when she is excited or in a good mood. We love her chubby cheeks and willing smile. We love this little girl.

01 September 2017

Felicia: Two Months

The big news for Felicia this month: BABY SMILES. I love them. She isn't yet a super smiley baby, but she smiles here and there, and I can't get enough.

What color are here eyes? Nobody knows. Grayish, blueish, brownish. We'll just have to see.  You would think one of our kids would have brown eyes since Eric and I both have brown eyes, but none do so far.

I had a company party at the zoo. Eric was away at summer camp, so I took all four of my kids by myself because, FREE ADMISSION TO THE ZOO! Felicia didn't seem to notice we were anywhere special.

I'm crocheting a blessing dress for her. I don't know whose crazy idea this was (actually, yes, I do. It was mine). (Forgive my angry face. I just really stink at selfies. I'm always so focused on not wiggling the phone too much that I forget to look happy.)

Rise and shout, the Cougars are out! Felicia watched (read: slept through) her first BYU football game last weekend. She's not a serious fan yet, but I'm sure she will be. Trixie slept like this through her first BYU football game too. (Sorry for the blurriness. I just don't have a steady hand.)

And this was just yesterday while we hung out on the front porch as our big kids played outside. Felicia was looking so alert and curious.

Other things I want to remember about this past month:
  • I took all four kids to Jackson Hole to watch the eclipse. I had Ike sit next to Felicia, and he was great at sticking the pacifier in her mouth as needed. We only stopped once each way, and Felicia showed she can handle some road tripping.
  • Trixie is still absolutely in love with her baby sister. Right now Felicia has a hard time with it, but one day they'll be best friends, just like Ike and Felix are now. I really look forward to it.
  • Felicia has gotten much better at sleeping. We still have rough nights here and there, but she usually only wakes up once per night. Her morning nap is generally really good too.
  • I love wearing her. She sleeps so well when she's cuddled against me. I got an Ergo in the spring, and it is so much better than the other baby carriers I've had since it allows me to hold the baby's weight on my hips instead of just on my shoulders. I did love the K'Tan for Felicia's first few weeks, though. I wore Felicia to a Real Salt Lake game last Saturday, and she just slept the whole time.
  • Felicia has really long fingers and toes. I'm wondering if they will get more proportional to her body at some point, or if she's just going to keep them. At her doctor's appointment we learned she is in about the 70th percentile for height and about the 40th percentile for weight. Those proportions, along with her facial expressions, make me wonder if she'll be more like my side of the family than any of the others.
  • She still loves to be held, swaddled, and kept in motion. (Not necessarily all three at the same time.)
  • She already has a bald spot on the back of her head, and a headband rubbed some of her hair out recently too. So, this dark hair is not going to last much longer.

02 August 2017

Felicia: One Month

Felicia is one month old, and she is so sweet. She is a good eater, and she's really good at sleeping if somebody is holding her. Otherwise, her sleeping is not yet very impressive.

She is already growing so much. She is too long for her newborn clothes already, but she is certainly not too fat for them. She has really long fingers and toes. She still has quite a bit of dark hair, but I'm confident it will all fall out and grow back in blonde. I'm pretty sure her eyes will be brown. The general consensus is that she takes after my side of the family.

Felicia loves tummy time. She enjoys her pacifiers, and she doesn't mind the car seat. She loves being held, being swaddled, and being in motion.

Her siblings love her. We were really worried that Trixie would not like her, but Trixie has actually been obsessed with her baby sister. Trixie frequently asks where Felicia is, especially when she firsts wakes up, and she loves to kiss Felicia and hold her.

I am loving having having a little baby to snuggle.

05 July 2017

Introducing Felicia - And a Birth Story

She's here! If you follow me on Instagram, you already knew that. And if you don't do Instagram, that's okay. Instead of uploading a million pictures to this post, I've just embedded some of my recent Instagram posts because of all the lazies I'm feeling right now.

My original due date was June 15, which basically meant our baby would be coming in June. But then at my 20-week ultrasound they pushed my due date back to June 26. And because I'm a little crazy, I started hoping for a July baby.

Not only could my baby have a palindrome birthday if born on July 1 (7-1-17), she would not mess up my family's birthday patterns of one birthday per month from August to December. A July baby would fit nicely in the mix; a June birthday would forever bother me as SO CLOSE. And, neither my family nor Eric's family has any July birthdays, whereas we both have multiple June birthdays. I make a calendar most years for Eric's mom with pictures of all the grandkids, and I thought it would be nice to fill in that July hole.

So I'm probably the first pregnant woman ever to hope to go past my due date and then be happy when it happened. I had told my doctor that I was hoping for July 1, and he set an induction for me that day.

The Wednesday before induction day (June 28) I had a checkup, and I was dilated to a five. My doctor said if I felt even a few contractions I really needed to go straight to the hospital. I agreed that was logical and basically put myself on bed rest. (I can do that because it's summer time, and Teacher Husband is home a lot, thank heavens.) Also, I had gone to the hospital on June 21 with frequent and mildly painful contractions. I arrived dilated to a four, but I didn't progress at all. They told me I could stay or go home. I opted to go home so Eric could sleep, and I could try to sleep until the contractions became unbearable. But they never did, and we both slept all night. And then the contractions never really picked up like that again.

So, on Friday night we went and delivered our three kids to their grandparents. As I got ready for bed I had a few uncomfortable contractions, but that was par for the course. I had been having contractions at night, sometimes painful ones, for several weeks. We went to bed. I awoke at 3:45 with a pretty painful contraction. I waited it out and tried to go back to sleep, but then I had another one. And another one.

The night before, Eric had given me a blessing in preparation for my induction. One of the things he prayed for was that I would get to the hospital in time. I thought that was interesting since we were scheduled for an induction. How could I not get there on time?

I remembered that phrase as I was having contractions and thought, "These are the real deal. We need to go." Even though they were painful, they were not at all unbearable. I still could easily talk through them. In fact, I was having one when I woke Eric up and told him we needed to go.

I put on makeup while Eric loaded the car and made me some toast. (And, I'm not even going to lie here, I'm glad I put on makeup. I looked pretty good in my post-baby photos, and it's because I was wearing some long-lasting lipstick, some blush, eyeliner, and mascara. That's all. But it made a huge difference.)

I checked into the hospital and learned I was dilated to a seven. Eric was not surprised given that I was a five two days earlier, but I was surprised that the contractions I was having had made that much progress since they really weren't that bad. I immediately asked for an epidural.

My epidural was placed without any issues, and my doctor arrived. He checked me and said I was dilated to an eight. Then he broke my water and immediately checked again, and by then I was a 9. He and the nurse stepped out for a few minutes, and Eric decided to take a little nap.

Just as I was beginning to feel more pressure and more frequent contractions and was thinking about waking up my husband and paging my doctor and nurse, they came back in. They had been watching the printout of my contractions and said it was time to have a baby.

We were aiming for a 7:17 delivery time to go with the 7-1-17 birthday, but I failed. She was born at 7:20. She was my heaviest baby yet, weighing 7 pounds 13 oz. She measured 19 inches long and has a full head of dark hair.

For the first time, I didn't have my baby whisked away from me immediately. She got to hang around me and do skin to skin contact for a couple of hours. I was so excited about this, but she was not really happy about being born, and she was pretty fussy during that time. I began to be very worried about the demeanor of this baby. Thankfully, as the day progressed she became unbelievably mellow and sweet, and I stopped worrying.

Eric and I knew we were having a girl, but we kept it a secret. I originally wanted the gender to be a surprise, but I could see on the ultrasound pretty clearly what it was. Ike insisted from the get-go that he wanted a sister and that was his guess. Felix went back and forth throughout the pregnancy. For a while he said he wanted a brother so "the girls would be surrounded by boys" (said by a child who can't say his R's well yet). About the last six weeks of the pregnancy his tone changed to match his more generous nature, and he said he wanted a sister so that Trixie could have a sister. Trixie had no guess and was generally clueless.

Everybody is healthy and happy. She was easily my best delivery, and I am constantly grateful that I don't have giant babies.

Her blog name is Felicia (because I wanted that for a real-life name, after an ancestor of mine, but for Eric it was a no-go).

In summary:

  • Dilated to a five a few days before induction day, but no real contractions.
  • Contractions started in earnest about 3:45 the morning of the scheduled induction.
  • Hospital a little before 5.
  • Epidural worked well.
  • Baby girl (blog name Felicia) born at 7:20 on 7-1-17, my little palindrome baby!
  • Best delivery yet. (I should just keep having babies!)

11 May 2017

Baby Plan Dreamland

Y'all, I'm having a baby next month, or maybe the month after that. Time will tell. I don't think I ever made an official announcement here because nobody really reads this anymore, and most of those who do also follow me on social media. At any rate, my due date was June 15, and then it got pushed back to June 26, so we'll just see when this baby comes.

Meanwhile, I've done lots of fantasizing about how I want this to go. Overall, this has been my easiest pregnancy. I've definitely had the least morning sickness. I got my heartburn under control from the start (thanks, prescriptions!). The baby must not have spent any time being transverse because I've had virtually no chronic hip pain. (Plus, I've been seeing a chiropractor because my insurance covers it, so why not?) This baby passed the 20-week ultrasound, so I haven't been stressed out about a heart defect. I have definitely gained more weight with this one than any previous one, but I'm still measuring small and am well within a normal weight gain. I haven't had any really strong cravings or aversions.

Along this vein of best pregnancy so far, I'm hoping to combine all of my kids' bests into one Optimal Baby. The delivery will be like Felix. The baby will nurse like Ike. The baby will sleep like Trixie. The baby will spit up as little as Trixie. The baby will not mind strangers like Ike. The baby will not mind being put down like Ike. But if the baby needs to be held all the time it will be super small like Felix. It will be a voracious and non-picky eater like Trixie. It will nap like Ike. It will have the speech skills of Felix. It will defy all the other babies and not go bald after a few months.

I know I can't actually control any of these things. But it's nice to hope.

17 April 2017

Spring Break in Seattle

When your husband is a teacher, it makes sense to utilize your spring breaks. We haven't manged to do it every year, but we did manage this year. The fact that we won't be road tripping much this summer (with the impending baby and all), meant that we really needed to go somewhere this year. We decided to visit Eric's sister and her family in Seattle.

We had a great time. Google tells us that it's about a 13.5 hours to drive to Seattle, and we made it there in about 14. Our timing coming home was not so good, in part because of bad weather. We were also stymied by some mixed exits in Seattle and Boise. And also, we lacked the promise of "let's go see your cousins," which meant our children were not as eager to consolidate their bathroom trips and hurry up in general. (Also, I drove most of the way there, and Eric drove most of the way home, which says something about our driving, I think.)

We arrived on Sunday night. On Monday we went to the Kubota Garden, which was wonderful and lovely.

Then we went to the Museum of Flight, which was way cooler than I expected. We spent a lot more time there than we had originally planned. Everyone loved it. Trixie was enthralled with the full-sized airplanes hanging from the ceilings. She is used to the 1/72 scale models that hang in her brothers' room. There were cool exhibits, and it was just generally a great museum. (Plus, they are part of the ASTC Passport Program, so we got to use our Thanksgiving Point memberships to get us in for no admission!)

After that we met with Eric's sister and her kids at the arboretum. The kids were pretty tired by this point, but they did reasonably well with all the walking.

That evening Eric's sister and her husband generously watched our kids for us while we went and got dim sum, and it was awesome. I had dim sum a number of times growing up, but Eric had never had the experience. I need to look into restaurants in Salt Lake that do that kind of service.

Tuesday we took the long route to our beach house on Marrowstone Island. First, our family headed up to an awesome museum in Everett called the Imagine Children's Museum. (Again, this venue is part of the ASTC Passport Program, so we didn't pay admission.) There were so many cool things to do there. We could have stayed all day. (I took some pictures, but I won't bother you with them since this post already has so many pictures.)

When Eric's sister and her family were in our vicinity, we left Everett and headed to meet the cousins at the Skagit Tulip Festival. We were a bit early for the tulips, but we went to a tulip farm that had lots of daffodils in bloom, and we took pictures there.

From there we headed to Deception Pass State Park to enjoy some views and to throw rocks in the water. (And, if you were Trixie, to also try to eat some rocks.) Miraculously, nobody was hit by any errant rocks. (And, in case you were wondering, no, I cannot skip rocks. Eric can, though.)

Then we caught our ferry and headed over to our beach house on Marrowstone Island. It was a great beach house, and huge kudos to Michelle for finding it. She and Eric spent an absurd amount of time combing every possibility for a beach house for our two families and weighing pros and cons of all of them. I found it rather exhausting and definitely got to a point where I was like, "Just tell me when y'all pick something, because I do not even care anymore." I was well beyond that point when Michelle discovered this place, and it was priced way lower than it should have been and easily could accommodated a group bigger than ours. I don't have many pictures of the house, but I do have pixely phone picture of Trixie supervising her uncle in making Thai food.

The house had amazing views and lots of beds with lots of bedrooms. Plus, there was beach access via long and steep stairs.

The families went down to the beach a couple of times, but I only went down once. (It was beautiful but also pretty cold, and I was having back pain for some reason. Thankfully, it cleared up and didn't plague me the whole trip!)

The kids loved playing together in the beach house and down at the beach. Eric made Felix and his same-aged cousin recreate this picture from our Oregon beach house in 2015. It went really well, as you can tell.

On Thursday we eventually got ourselves packed up and loaded. We took the direct route back to Seattle and rode the ferry from Bainbridge Island into downtown. Eric and I rode it in 2007, and it was fun to look at the picture of us then verses our family of five (and growing!) now. We've changed a lot in these nearly ten years.

Then we went to the zoo. We had also gone to the zoo in 2012 when Michelle and I were both pregnant with our second kids. Again, it was fun to recreate a picture while we were there. Trixie was the same age for this trip as Ike was the last time we were in Seattle, so that was also fun to think about. She is crazy about animals, and her face lit up with so much joy the first few times she spotted some.

We had discussed staying until Saturday, but Friday's weather was pretty lousy, and the thought of diving straight back into real life with 8:30 church on Sunday morning, followed by me returning to work on Monday and Tuesday, made us decide to head out on Friday morning instead. It was nice having all of Saturday to run errands, do laundry, and just generally catch up before delving back into the last few weeks of school.