Preparing for the Holidays

This is our last weekend before all the festivities begin. Amy and Tom will be arriving on Wednesday, then a week from today we’ll be hosting Ava’s 3rd birthday party! Definitely looking forward to that. It’s going to have a ‘Thomas The Train’ theme, so that should be interesting. Obviously if Ava’s birthday is nearby, that means that Thanksgiving is also just around the corner, and we’re certainly going to have a full house that day as well. Lots to look forward to in the very short-term.

Since we’ve got so much to get ready for, we’ve designated today as a housework day. We’re going to move the girls out of the small bedroom and into the large guest room, then make the current girl’s bedroom into the new guest room. This allows us to have everything for the girls in one room, rather than have their stuff split up amongst multiple rooms. Our good friend Laurel is coming over to assist Jessica with organizing, and of course I’m just here to move furniture and other heavy items. Later this evening our friends Jim and Cara from next door will be coming over for dinner. I wanted to do something nice for them as a way of saying thank you for watching Bella while we were away in Vegas. On the menu will be Caesar salad, followed by a jumbo prawn pasta with garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms, and whatever else I find in our refrigerator. I believe Laurel is sticking around for dinner, and Cara is bringing desert, so it should be a lot of fun.

Last weekend we had a really nice visit with Jim, Brenda, Kristy, and Madi. It was great getting to see them, as well as check out Kristy’s new home in Des Moines. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve been spending more time with them than anyone, and I’m thankful for that because we always have a great time. The girls love playing with Madi, which is awesome because she is such a good influence and role model for them. I’ve been close with Jim, Brenda, and Kristy my whole life so spending time with them couldn’t be more natural for me, and they all really love Jessica, so its perfect. They’re all going to be here next weekend for Ava’s party as well.

It seems like the weather really turned while we were out of town. Before we left it was typical cloudy rainy weather that you expect up here, but since we’ve been back it’s been extremely cold. Each morning when I’m leaving for work its been in the low 20’s, which is unseasonable for us in the Pacific Northwest. I don’t mind it though because it seems to have had a positive effect on my morning commute. Before Vegas, my average commute time each morning was 90 minutes, and that’s only the average. It wasn’t too uncommon to have a commute that took up to (or more than) 2 hours! Its maddening, especially when the only apparent cause for it is the rain. It drives me nuts because we live in Seattle and we’re used to it raining here, but the effect the rain has on traffic is incredible. I’ve recently taken to listening to classical music in the car, particularly when I’m stuck in bad traffic. It’s hard to get too worked up when you’re swaying to the sounds of Mozart and Beethoven. I probably look like a nut to people driving near me, as I find it difficult to keep from ‘conducting’ the music, but I don’t care. It keeps me sane in an otherwise maddening environment.

I don’t know if it has anything to do with daylight savings time, which means we actually get a little sunlight on my morning commute, or just the fact that its been dry, but this week my average commute was only 60 minutes, and that was a nice change of pace. Tuesday was Veteran’s Day, which meant there was no traffic, and the rest of the week was markedly better than what I’ve experienced since the end of Summer. We’ll see if it keeps up though…

I should probably mention that although no news is good news in terms of Jessica’s pregnancy, everything is going well. She hasn’t gotten sick in about a month, so even though the morning sickness lasted considerably longer than normal, she appears to have crossed that bridge entirely. Thank goodness, because seeing her go through that was the worst! She’s still on schedule for a Feb 1st due date, which of course is Superbowl Sunday. Just like Ava’s birthday will always be right around Thanksgiving (and Elise falls on the French Holiday Bastille Day), it appears that Enzo’s birthday will always fall right around the Superbowl. For a sports fan like myself, it seems fitting.

The girls are both doing well, although nighttime has been a challenge lately. Case in point, last night between Jessica and I, we were probably up a dozen times with one or both of them. As soon as one falls asleep, the other wakes up crying. This isn’t typical with Ava these days, but it still happens from time to time. Elise, on the other hand, has been developing a bad habit of not wanting to sleep anywhere besides in bed with Mom and Dad. She’s absolutely done with her crib, so we’ve switched things up by putting her mattress on the floor. At least this way she isn’t caged in, and its been a slight improvement, but not enough. She hasn’t slept through the entire night in a month, even though she was doing so well for a couple months leading up to this. Yesterday we ordered her an actual bed, so hopefully that will make a difference. We can’t afford to keep bringing her into bed with us, particularly because it won’t be long before we have a newborn in the house, and presumably he will require considerable nighttime attention. As with everything related to young kids, its just a phase and I’m sure we’ll be out of this one and onto the next one soon enough, but it has certainly provided a unique set of challenges as of late.

I think it’s fair to say that the ‘honeymoon’ stage of our idea about moving to Germany down the road is over, and we now realize that the likelihood of that actually happening is very low. We initially got excited about the idea, but over time we started to realize how difficult something like that would actually be, and have ‘come to our senses’ about the reality of the whole thing. That said, I don’t regret mentioning it because if nothing else, it helped solidify our commitment to providing our kids with as many experiences as possible. I have no doubt that we’ll do a good amount of traveling once the kids start getting bigger, and I’m thankful that Jessica and I are on the same page regarding not being tied down to a particular location. Obviously we just recently bought a house, and we’re certainly not going anywhere anytime soon, but we love to dream about relocating and experiencing new things.

Here’s a couple recent photos of the girls. Ava has been quite in love with her wardrobe lately, and its not uncommon to see her walking around the house carrying a dozen hangers, each with their own outfit. Guess who ends up picking those up and putting them back in her closet. It also appears that the ‘girly’ phase may be beginning, hence the tutus.

Ava in her AC/DC shirt
Ava picked out this shirt all on her own because it’s “just like Daddy’s.” That’s my girl.

The girls in their tutus
And so it begins…

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