Friday, August 29, 2014

Shiloh - 3 months

Towards the end of our trip to Washington, Shiloh turned 3 months old! She has had a busy three months and has gone with the flow with smiles and contentment! 

Shiloh is by far the happiest, easiest and most content baby I think I have ever been around and by far the happiest out of our three. She is constantly smiling, always content and rarely cries! She LOVES people and loves being around activity!

Here is what is going on with Shiloh at 3 months:
  • You are sleeping great at night! You go to bed around 7:00 and sleep until 10:00 and then wake up around 6:00 AM and then go back for a morning nap about an hour later! 
  • You are also still napping a bunch….3-4 times a day easily!
  • You are cooing, saying "a-goo" and smiling all the time. We got what sounded like the beginning of a laugh from you the other day!
  • You love watching what is going on around you and are not interested in toys. You would much rather watch people! 
  • You have found your thumb/hands :(
  • You LOVE your milk and are nursing about every three hours during the day and doing great!

These three months have flown by yet have been so peaceful and more than I could have imagined with adding a third baby. I have cherished this newborn phase with Shiloh so much and am so thankful for it!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Trip to the Washington Coast

Two years ago when we went home to Washington we went on a camping trip during it and had such a wonderful time as a family building memories exploring our new home state, we also realized that it was a nice break and a way to reconnect during our trip home. Spending time with family, coming and going and mostly working on our house are all wonderful things but they take time and we found that taking a couple of days to get away helped us reconnect, talk about the upcoming year in Saudi and so much more. So, this year we wanted to do the same….and camping with a newborn seemed like a bad idea so we had to research some other options. My mom's bible study had done a women's retreat at the housing development/beach front community called Seabrook on the coast of Washington. We looked into it and decided to head out there! We rented a little cottage for two nights and off we went!

After packing up the car with kids, a pack n play, clothes and food we would need we started the drive to the coast and of course a Washington family trip wouldn't be complete without a ferry ride….we actually could have made the trip without a ferry ride but we decided to take a longer route because there was a hike that we had wanted to do in the Olympic National Park the year before that we didn't do and thought that it was worth the extra hour to our drive to be able to experience it. So off we went on the ferry!

We stopped in Port Townsend for lunch for everyone and enjoyed a 50's diner lunch before heading into the National Park and our hike!

We then made the drive into the Olympic National Park and to Hurricane Ridge and it was breathtaking! I am so glad we took the longer route and experienced it! The kids always love a nice hike and it was just full of beautiful scenery and lots of wildlife to see.

We then had a snack/feed the baby break and headed on our way towards our cottage rental and of course we completely overestimated how far we would be able to get before someone needed a bathroom break or a nursing break and so we had to stop in Forks, and then somewhere else and then a third time off on the side of the road to nurse and then burp the baby….who at that point was over the car and wanted to be outside….

We finally made it to our house, unpacked and got settled in for the night. It was such a cute house and decorated really nice and beachy! The big kids had fun bunk beds and then Shiloh was in our room. The community has a general store, some restaurants, an indoor pool, tons of playgrounds, paths, the beach and other amenities and it was a great place to relax, have some family time and recharge!

Someone was happy to be out of the car!

For the next couple of days we soaked up the beach, exploring the changes in tides and what we could find, went for walks, played at the parks, had campfires, board games and had a great time as a family! The beaches in the Pacific Northwest are so much fun and such a different experience than our beach days in Saudi. There is so much to explore and the weather makes it much more enjoyable to be out longer although this time we were actually pretty cold most of the time….I didn't come prepared!

Another great family vacation on our vacation and a great time exploring another part of Washington! We look forward to next years trip and hopefully in a couple of years get back to camping as a family!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Summer Activities in Washington

Summers in Washington are amazing! Beautiful weather, so many activities that you can't possibly do everything, tons of family time with my parents and sisters, a bountiful amount of gluten free food options for the kids and it is easily my favorite time of the year. The summers rejuvenate us as a family and helps us get through the rest of the year in Saudi. This summer was no different!

We visited our favorite Thursday night music in the park and loved being able to walk to it from our house!

We also found another music in the park on a different night and actually found this one to be our favorite one and we looked forward to it every week. Great music, great time with family and beautiful scenery!

My biggest worry  going into the summer with a new baby was that we would become so busy with family time and house projects that we wouldn't enjoy and cherish these early months with Shiloh. I was so worried that we would look back and not remember her early months and it be a blur like unfortunately it was with Graham. But I kept reminding myself it was a vacation and not a move and to slow down and it was amazing! I also went into the summer saying that I was going to enjoy the summer, enjoy food, enjoy wine….allow Shiloh to have bottles, and not worry about getting into shape ….my purpose that summer was to relax, take in this new baby and rejuvenate and it was amazing!

I spent so many mornings laying in bed with her, cuddling her and we loved being home with Shiloh! We were able to watch family bond with her and John had four weeks of uninterrupted time to bond with her! At the end of it we realized that John was able to have five total weeks between the week he took off when she was born and our vacation to bond with Shiloh in her first twelve weeks! It was wonderful! 

I wore Shiloh everywhere in the carrier, and enjoyed so many mornings and days of just being me and her wandering around farmer's markets and antique shops and bonding with Shiloh and often without the distraction of the other two. Our summer really was the most perfect thing for us. 

One downside to a Washington summer is that towards the end of July and early August it gets hot…and although high 80's is not hot in comparison to Saudi…it is when there is no AC. Many houses don't have AC and our old 1920's home does not! Which meant some MISERABLE days! It was so bad one day we called to get a quote for an AC unit and after hearing an obscene number and being told it would mean giving up half of our already small master closet space we decided that would not be an option. Next year we will invest in a portable AC unit to use upstairs but for this summer we spent days outside in the pool playing and just surviving the five day long heat wave!

Look at this cute baby!!! 

One afternoon we took a trip on the ferry to Friday Harbor on the San Juan Islands! We walked on the ferry and spent the afternoon walking around the town, exploring and taking in the sites. My little sister was in town from Texas so it was a great weekend together and great family time. The kids always love riding the ferry!

Friday Harbor is such a cute town with lots of little stores to wander around and explore. We would love to explore the San Juan islands more and will be planning a camping trip as soon as Shiloh is older. 

Since my little sister was in town, my family wanted to do as much as possible and so the very next day they went on a whale watching tour. I was pretty sure a little baby on a boat for the whole day sounded like a horrible idea so Shiloh and I stayed home and John went with my family and the big kids. I was worried that they would get bored or not see anything close enough to understand what they were looking at but apparently that day was one of the best sightings that even the tour company has seen in a long time. There were tons of whales, all very close and it was a great day.

At one point, Peyton asked my mom why would they have whales at the zoo when this is where they are supposed to be. I am so thankful that we are able to give our kids these opportunities to take in nature, experience the things they do and I love that Peyton saw the injustice that captivity brings to these whales. A great day for them! I look forward to the day we can all go together and experience it.

The next big part of our trip was a family trip away to the coast…..