A Place to Call Home

ManagingtheEveryday When our little blog world gets quiet, it usually means that real life is anything but. 

The last month or so has been no exception. 

I keep trying to come up with the perfect post to explain everything, but I think this email we sent our families does a pretty good job:

Hi Family, 

Email is far from the best way to let you all know about our latest top secret project, but we wanted to let you all know at the same time…

We’re moving!

We will be staying in Seattle and aren’t sure which neighborhood we will be in yet, but we are going to be leaving our much loved spot on Capitol Hill – likely in the next few months. 

(No, I’m not pregnant.)

But we do need at least 2 bedrooms in order to pass our adoption home study.**

Yes. You read that right.

We are planning to adopt a child through foster care. :)

(a pause for you to be able to read that again…and again.)

Adoption has been something we’ve talked about for sometime and back in January we decided to officially go for it. Since then we’ve done research and talked with a couple agencies about the different options: international, domestic infant adoption and adopting through foster care. 

We decided that foster care was the best fit for our family. 

It’s going to be a long and complex process.

First, we have to find a new place to live. 

Then we have to take classes, get background checks, fill out LOTS of paperwork and do everything it takes to become certified foster parents. 

After that, we will be able to start receiving referrals. It will probably take a while to find the right “match”. 

And there you have it. 

Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. 

To give a little better idea of how it can look, this piece was written by a couple who came and spoke at one of the foster-to-adopt info sessions we went to. They adopted their son through the same agency we are planing to use. 

I’m sure we will be talking with each of you soon. 

Love, 

Lindsey, Juan & Javi

So…ta da! We are adopting. And selling. And buying. And moving!

Crazy.

I’m also happy to report that we are currently under contract both to sell our place AND to purchase our perfect-for-us new home in Ballard!

The entire home selling/buying process has made for an amazing story and I’m looking forward to sharing more once everything is finalized. 

By the end of June, we should be settled into our new place and ready to begin a mountain of foster/adopt paperwork. 

We are excited, nervous, uncertain and sure all at the same time. It’s going to be an adventure. :)

**In case you are wondering, Javi’s current bedroom doesn’t count as an actual bedroom since it lacks a window. 

Spanish Board Books for Bilingual Babies

Spanish Board Books for Bilingual Babies

Juan grew up speaking Spanish. I grew up speaking English.

We want Javi to be fluent in both languages. How to best make that happen is something we are constantly chatting about (if you have advice for us, please share in the comments!)

We speak both languages at home and Juan does his best to only speak to Javi in Spanish. 

Another thing we’ve done is to fill Javi’s bookshelf with Spanish-language board books. Javi loves books. He likes looking at the colors and trying to turn (and eat!) the pages. 

Here are some of our favorite titles:

Oso Pardo, Oso Pardo, ¿Qué ves ahí? 
(Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?)
by Bill Martin Jr & Eric Carle

Clifford y la Hora del Baño
(Clifford’s Bathtime)
by Norman Bridwell

Perritos: Un libro para contar y ladrar
(Doggies: A counting & barking book)
by Sandra Boynton

 
¿Eres Mi Mama?
(Are you my mother?)
by P.D. Eastman 

Buenas Noches a Todos
(The Going to Bed Book)
by Sandra Boynton


La Oruga Muy Hambrienta
(The Very Hungry Caterpillar)
by Eric Carle

What are your favorite children’s books?
Also, any tips for raising bilingual kids? 

 

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this blog!  :) 

How to Give Parenting Advice

Managing the Everyday: How To Give Parenting AdviceYesterday, I was at Target with Javi and noticed a couple in the baby aisle. She was very pregnant. He was looking at a list on his phone. 

I soooo wanted to go and give them advice on what stuff to buy. Heck, if they had asked me to walk around the store with them and tell them what to get, I totally would have done that and thought it was so cool. 

I like giving advice because I like helping people.

I like giving advice because I actually feel like I have some to give now.

I like giving advice because it makes me feel knowledgeable and since I quit my day job, a lot of what I used to pride myself on knowing how to do well isn’t relevant.

But I kept my mouth shut. Here’s why…

3 Tips for Giving Parenting Advice

Managing the Everyday: How to Give Parenting Advice

1. Assume that they already know.

In the book Bringing Up Bébé, author Pamela Druckerman tells of when she was pregnant and enjoying a cup of coffee at a cafe. A stranger stopped at her table to tell her that there were “lots of studies about the dangers of caffeine“. Druckerman was annoyed – not at the advice – but at the assumption that she hadn’t read the studies

With the internet and books like What to Expect When You’re Expecting, you can assume that parents and parents-to-be these days have read, researched and spent hours on baby forums until their brains are about to explode.

If you must advise, I suggest starting with “You probably already know this…” or “When that happened to me, someone told me about xyz & it really helped.” 

Managing the Everyday: How to Give Parenting Advice

2. Wait for them to ask for advice.

If I’ve done my research and still need help or want to get ideas from other moms, I know I can ask. And I do. 

If a parent vents about a rough day on Facebook, but doesn’t ask for advice, this is not an invitation to share your wisdom (as tempting as that might be because you, like me, want to help and like being helpful). 

All you need to say is “I’m sorry you had a rough day”

Side note – there are some parents (like me) who enjoy using sarcasm as a coping mechanism. Don’t worry about us, we are not lamenting our changed life when we post about our crazy day. We are actually doing ok and finding ways to laugh about the craziness. Our goal is to get you to laugh with us. I know, sarcasm is tricky like that. 

Managing the Everyday: How to Give Parenting AdviceYou mean I’m too young for tacos? 

3. Really want to give unsolicited advice?

Start a blog. Then you can say whatever you want. :)

First photo via Frank de Kleine

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. Thank you for supporting this blog! :)

The #1 Best Piece of Advice for New Parents

Few things are more certain to attract advice than a round, pregnant belly. 

There are books to read and classes to take. Well-meaning strangers, friends & relatives are eager to pass on their wisdom (whether you are looking for it or not). 

LaborDay

The #1 best piece of advice we received? 

“Pretend this is your Third Baby.”

 

JustBorn

hands

This was the advice we got from our Newborn Care class instructor. She encouraged us to consider the third (& fourth, fifth, etc.) children of the world.

Unlike their older siblings, third children sometimes have to fuss in their cribs for a few minutes instead of being immediately scooped up and attended to.

Their parents have their hands full: chasing older kids, making lunches, getting everyone where they need to be.

Third Children have to go along with the flow of the family instead of setting its rhythm. 

And you know what? They turn out just fine. 

Javi&Papá

There were definitely times – especially in those early months of adjustment – when you would hear this around our home: “It’s OK Javi. Just a minute Third Child. I need to finish this and I’ll be right with you.” 

Or see me – sleep-deprived and in my pajamas – sitting with a cup of tea (or bowl of ice cream) and taking a few deep breaths while Javi cried in his crib, quietly chanting “He’s our third child. He’s our third…”

ChuponArmy

No, we didn’t (and don’t) neglect him. And yes, in many ways he gets First Child treatment (a hundred photos of his first bite of watermelon? Check!).

The “Third Child” perspective gave us permission to relax. 

To know that everything was going to be ok if we didn’t immediately rush to Javi’s every cry or do everything perfectly.

To move quicker from the days of sterilizing pacifiers in boiling water to the days of embracing the mystical powers of maternal saliva and the 5-second rule. 

To lighten up our self-expectations and our diaper bag.

And for two exhausted people who dearly want to be perfectionists, it was exactly what we needed to hear. 

Javi&Mamá

I think he’s going to turn out just fine.

A Day of Rest

Sabbath

Do you Sabbath?

A day of rest. A pause. A time to breathe. 

Sabbath

I love to-do lists and getting things done. I like trying to pack as much as I can into the weekend, the glorious days where Juan is home and we can tackle life and 9-5 parenthood together. 

Sabbath

But lately I’ve felt a gentle nudging to let go and rest. To take a day to let things just be – undone and postponed. To put aside my phone, my laptop, my continual efforts to keep things in order and trust that it will all be OK. 

SabbathYesterday, we rested. We went to church. We played. We took Javi to Volunteer Park for the first time.

Sabbath

Checking out the Koi pond

Sabbath

Javi loves the park

We went out for yummy food. I purposefully left my phone in the car. We talked about interesting things we had read lately and our bathroom remodel dreams. 

Sabbath

We took a nostalgic summer walk in our old neighborhood. 

SabbathJavi was unimpressed with our old apartment building. 

We did do a little housework (made the bed, ran the dishwasher) and did stop by the store for a few breakfast items, but that was it. No laundry, hanging artwork or taking things to Goodwill. 

We rested.

It was a good day.

Sabbath

Weekend Recap: Our Trip to Lummi Island

Lummi Island

Last weekend we spent a few days up north visiting my family on Lummi Island and celebrating Independence Day on Chuckanut Bay. 

Lummi Island is a tiny and peaceful San Juan island just off the coast of Washington State.  

Trees

There are no stoplights. People wave at each other when passing on the road. Everyone knows everyone else’s business. 

bouys

Getting there takes a short 7 minute ferry ride. 

Ferry

Javi soon settled into the relaxed pace of Island life. 

Javi

Napping in various places…

Javi napping

He also had fun playing with Uncle Zach. 

Playing with Uncle Zach

My mum and her husband have a beautiful garden. I always leave inspired to grow things in our building’s little side yard. 

Garden

Beautiful beets

Beets

Broccoli

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

And artichokes.

artichokes

And not to be forgotten…Chickens!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Chickens

We picked raspberries. Have you ever tried a golden raspberry? They are delicious!

Picking Raspberries

Chuckanut Bay was also beautiful.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

We had a picnic on the beach – undeterred by the occasional Pacific Northwest drizzle. 

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

My brother and his girlfriend took a brave turn at paddle boarding. 

Zach & Gillian

That night, as we left to head back to the Island, some of the guests started to light paper lanterns. The glow of the lanterns against the darkening sky was a beautiful sight.

Lanterns

There are always fireworks down by the dock. We enjoyed the informal show while waiting for the ferry.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

We usually try to get a lot of things done during the weekend. It was a nice change to just snuggle with Javi, drink tea, watch the World Cup and even go on a Date Night thanks to Grandmama’s babysitter service. 

Javi & Grandmama

Snuggle

Want to visit the small island I still refer to as home? Check out here for more info about Lummi Island and how to get there. Need a place to stay? There are several vacation rentals to choose from on VRBO and Airbnb. Also, these days you can’t say Lummi Island without mentioning The Willows Inn. Worth looking into for a special getaway and (I’ve been told) one of the best meals of your life. 

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

This weekend we are celebrating Independence Day here in the USA.

In Seattle, the 4th of July weekend marks the unofficial start to Summer. Warmer days, sunshine and a break from the usual grey and rain.

We are heading north to visit my family for a much anticipated mini-vacation. I’m looking forward to drinking coffee on the back porch, chatting with my Mum and playing late-night card games.

Here are some things that caught my eye this week:

A great post about raising siblings. (No, no baby #2 news here.)

Words to live by.

Prefer baby clothes with stripes & simple graphic prints instead of pastel teddy bears and cute sayings? Me too! I could buy Javi lots of things from here.

An awesome TED talk about living small. I love this.

I want to make this plant stand.

What happens when 350 musicians meet for the first time in Brooklyn?

A helpful chart for figuring out how much food & drinks to serve at a party.

Speaking of party drinks, how about St. Germain + Champagne?

And we could also serve this. Or this.

Have a great weekend!

p.s. Javi is sporting one of his new gDiapers in the above photo. Next week I’ll be sharing how our first week with gDiapers has been. Stay tuned!

Motherhood Update

IMG_3777.2014-06-18_224738Today I accidentally shot my child in the eye with grape-flavored baby Tylenol.

This about sums up the day so far.

To be fair, Javi helped by grabbing the Tylenol dispenser syringe out of his mouth and aiming it at his eye just as I pushed the plunger. (Note to concerned Grandmas reading this: He’s ok).

I’ve been feeling off today and so has Javi.

His first tooth finally broke through yesterday and today he has been a bit of a mess.

He woke up early from his nap and is currently hanging out with me in the Ergo and looking out the window while I write.

I’m hoping that the Tylenol that managed to make it into his mouth will kick in and he will doze off again for a little bit before it’s time to eat. He is clearly exhausted.

If he was older, I’d say let’s make a fort and crawl inside with big fluffy quilts, read books and take naps all day. And we would have grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. I could use a day like that.

But he is 5 months old. So instead, I drink a cup of now-lukewarm tea and sit with him on the couch, snuggling his sad little grape-flavored self. I rub his back, sing him songs and give him kisses.

Then I feel his tiny little arms wrap around my neck, his fingers grabbing my hair & skin while he delivers a sweet, spontaneous kiss-attack.

And I’m reminded that these days won’t last forever.

Catching Up

 

New Home New Roommate

The last few months have been full:

1. We bought a home.

2. We are having a baby.

The Home

In April, we started actively looking for a new place to live.

We loved our little apartment, but it had a reoccurring mold issue…which we did not love.

We were planning to find another rental, but when we saw the listing for our now home we decided to check it out.

It was a small (656 square feet!) 2 bedroom unit in a 1924 brick building. What it lacked in space, it made up for in location and price. Right in the middle of our favorite neighborhood and thanks to a good downpayment (saved by renting for 3 years), our mortgage payments would be less than our rent.

Less than 48 hours later, we were under contract. (Hello Seattle real estate market!)

We’ve been getting settled in for the last 3 weeks and it is slowly starting to feel more like a home, less like a storage unit / flop house.

The Baby

Before we left to visit my family for Mother’s Day weekend, I purposefully left all pregnancy tests at home.

After trying for 6 months, I just wanted to relax and have a mental/emotional vacation from it all.

I assumed that getting pregnant would be easy. And compared to dear friends who have and are struggling to get pregnant, I know it was easy for us. But in the middle of it, it didn’t feel that way.

But when we got home late Mother’s Day evening, I decided to take a test.

It was positive. Faintly positive.

I didn’t want to believe it.

We had a positive test the month before and then had the crushing sadness of going from “We’re having a baby!” to “We’re not having a baby” only a couple days later.

So that night, I put the test aside and went to bed.

I didn’t tell Juan.

The next morning, I took another test. It was positive. This time, Juan didn’t want to believe it.

We anxiously took test after test for another week before telling our immediate family.

Now, my expanding belly and multiple doctor’s visits have convinced us that this is actually happening, which means we have gone from “Please be happening, please be happening…” to “Oh my goodness, this is actually happening!” to the more recent “You mean we are having a kid?! What were we thinking?!?!”

So there you have the recap of the last few months. We feel incredibly blessed.

Now that I’ve hit 14 weeks and my energy is starting to come back, I feel like I’m surrounded by a growing list of projects and a lot of everyday life that needs managing.

Which should give me plenty to write about.

3 Questions for Dealing With A Loved One’s Things After They Die

My great-grandmother recently passed away. She was a sweet, caring and feisty woman whose mind remained sharp throughout her 93 years. We all loved her very much.

Since she lived in Canada and many close family members live far away, we needed to go through her things after the memorial service. We went back to her apartment and decided who would take what. It was an odd experience, being surrounded by all of her things but knowing she was not there.

I’ve already written about how we are not our stuff. It seems harder to separate a person and their possessions when you are dealing with the belongings of a loved one. Each item takes on extra significance and feels like a way to connect. Giving up items feels like giving up the person. The very idea of tossing something can be full of guilt and fear.

The thing to remember is that all of these items have the same potential to give a feeling of connection, but not all of them are useful, beautiful or fit into your life the way they fit into the life of the person who owned them.

If you are in the process of sorting through a loved one’s belongings, here are some questions for working through these memory & emotion filled items:

1. Which items would I enjoy looking at or using on a regular basis?
In addition to some small kitchen items, I inherited my great-grandmother’s china. I love the pattern and plan to use them regularly. We sent our old dishes to Goodwill and just received her dishes to take their place. Is there something you could integrate into your life and enjoy?

2. Will I be able to give this item the love and respect I feel it deserves?
If this item truly is a memento of your loved one, it should have a place of value and be cared for properly. Not forgotten in a storage unit or stashed away in a box in the garage. If you realize you can’t or won’t be able to do so – consider giving it to other relatives who might be able to or donating it to a local charity.

3. What are other options for displaying or using this item?
Be creative. Just because this item was used or displayed in one way doesn’t mean that you have to use or display it in the same way. In his book, It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff, Peter Walsh suggests cutting a piece from a well-worn garment and framing it alongside a photo of your loved one wearing the item and a short explanation/story. I think this could be beautiful.

Choose wisely, allow yourself to let go of the things that don’t really fit your life and enjoy the items that do. Hold on to the things that you are happy to see and fill you with good memories (not guilt). Those are the keepsakes and memories worth keeping.

Note: This post contains an affiliate link

(photo by Christopher Gendron)