Rainbow Falls State Park

I know I am playing catch-up from summer activities but that is what happens when you have an infant. Last month when my brother and sister-in-law met Zach (see:Zachary: 2 Months for more) we decided to go on a family hike. Rainbow Falls State Park is about thirty to forty five minutes from where we live.

When we got through the main gate and parked we started sunscreen, bug spray, leashed both dogs and put Zach in the carrier. We walked towards the falls ready for a hike. But there was no hiking along the river or by the five foot fall. Instead Matt and Stina followed a short path to the river bank and across a few rocks to get a closer view. We saw several families swimming and eating lunch at the waterfront.

Confused by the lack of trails, we went back to the gate and were told to drive to the other side of the river. So, we packed everyone back in the car and found parallel parking across the highway from a small trail-head entrance.

The hiking paths were all different distance loops connecting to each other. We took one and figured we would on the way decide if we wanted to keep going or not. The trail was quiet and beautiful with speckled sunlight coming through the pines and the ground was covered in ferns and moss. Even in early July the it was muddy in a few places requiring a planks.

We climbed a slight elevation and down as well as hit a few turns along the way. It was not a high exertion trip which was probably good as this was my first real exercise since having Zach. To sum up it was a nice walk but we have similar views from our flat property at home. I would not probably visit this park again, but find a closer hiking trail with longer straighter routes and maybe a waterfall worth exploring.

Still it was great to get outside and spend time with family.

 

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Zachary: 2 Months

Well month two has been a whirlwind of new experiences and meeting new people.

We started with a visit from Zach’s Aunt and Uncle, my brother and sister-in-law. During their stay with we explored Rainbow Falls State Park and Zachary when on his first hike!

Then it was Zachary’s first holiday: 4th of July. For more on what we did see Fourth of July 2017.

The next weekend, Zach experienced his first road trip to Nainai and Papa’s house. Zach met a lot of new people at a family BBQ and spent time with his other Aunt and Uncle, Luke’s brother and wife, and his three cousins. He did pretty well through his first professional photo shoot then enjoyed spending his first evening with his grandparents and cousins while Mom and Dad went to Luke’s High School Reunion. It was a busy weekend.

The weekend after this, Luke’s brother and family came to stay with us. Zachary went on his first train ride and to a Civil War re-enactment put on by the veterans museum.  That Sunday he met our birth coach and the little girl and her family who went through the class with us.

Last weekend, Zach met his great-grandparents. He hung out in the stroller as we walked around the Centralia Antique Fest and loved all of the attention from strangers. Later that week he went to Luke’s work’s annual family BBQ and again got plenty of attention.

During this very busy month Zach has learned to take a nightly bottle from Dad or a Grandparent.

Zach has grown by leaps and bounds this past month. He is talking even more and now smiles and sometimes laughs. Zachary has better ability to control his hands: gripping and pulling toys, shirts, and of course mom’s hair. He still very much enjoys music and attention from anybody and everybody he can.

More on some of these July events to come!

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Happy Father’s Day! 2017

Last week I said I would be honoring three men in my life this year for father’s day; more on the first two see: honoring father’s day

As for the third? Last but of course not least I have to honor the newest father in the family, my husband Luke.

Leading up to Zach’s birth Luke worked tirelessly at a seemingly never ending list to get us established and settled in a new home, state, and job. From the second he found out were were pregnant he fixated on selling the house in Wayland, setting up new insurances and bank accounts, looking for/buying us a home, getting us a safer/newer car and so many other details while also trying to establish himself in a new job. Luke sacrificed many weeknight hours and almost every weekend leading up to May getting us settled. This  includes also attending a twelve week birth class on the weekends with me and being attentive as we prepared for parenthood.

Adding to all of this, he was wonderful husband and coach through a difficult, and exhausting labor process. He was extremely encouraging, helping me through long hours waiting for Zach in spite of his own exhaustion, and hunger. Luke almost never left my side and only did so to update family. Near the end,  he provided the reassurance and wisdom I needed for us change our birth plan and bring Zach safely into the world.

Now that he has a few week’s experience as a father, I can say he has also been great as a parent. He was super involved in Zach’s care as well as mine after we got home from the hospital. Even now that he he is back at work he checks in with me during the day to see how everything is going. On the weekends he’s very attentive and helps with all aspects of Zach’s care and love to play with him. He has already established a strong relationship with Zach and can tell what he needs or wants sometimes better than me. On the very overwhelming days, Luke has been taking Zach and Kira on a walk in the evenings so I can get peace and quiet while I finished up projects around the house, shower, or take a nap.

I never questioned or doubted Luke would be an awesome father. But I admire him even more as a husband through this whole process. He has been here for me in ways I never expected or anticipated he would need to, and he has taken it all without complaint.

I am honored to watch the way he interacts with Zachary as they build up a relationship together. I can see how much love he has for his son as well as joy and hope as he looks to the lifetime of adventures they will have together.

Happy First Father’s Day Luke!

Honoring Father’s Day 2017

Even though all of my attention right now is being taken up by one particular little man, this year I want to honor three other very special men in my life.

First is my father. Although he lives in Southern California, he still managed to find time leading up to Zach’s birth to take the family crib and cradle out of storage, fix and clean them up, then bring them to us all during his work vacations. He helped Luke prep and paint the nursery among other house projects when we first moved in. My dad also decided to buy us a dresser for the nursery which he then built a beautiful oak wood changing table for. My father also spent all night alongside my mother praying and walking the halls of the hospital waiting for news about how Zach and I were doing. After Zach’s birth he helped with projects around the house, that is when he wasn’t holding or making faces at his new grandson. He is a amazing father who is  nurturing and kind and I am grateful for all his actions which speak so much louder than words.

Next is my father-in-law. With his business experience in construction, John did the inspection for our home for the minimal cost of a good home cooked meal, favorite dessert, and a beer or two. He has been consulting with Luke providing advice for work to be done in and around the house now and down the road. He fixed up and painted the family rocking chair to use in the nursery and helped pick up and deliver furniture to us several times. In addition to all of this, he also built us a baby gym for Zach. Using online designs as a guide, he made an improved all-wood and strings model that can be thrown in a bag. He also helped with a ton of house projects after Zach was born. He even helped us introduce Kira to our newest member of the family when we got home from the hospital. I am grateful to get to know this second-father better now that we live closer and for his hard-working  attitude of “what’s next?”

As for the third? Wait for my next post.

 

 

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Rest

We have a week before Baby Greene’s due date.

Everything on our long list is done. Our hospital bags are backed, car seat installed, meals prepped, nursery functional and stocked, birth class over.

Luke and I worked hard to have this time, to be present and find rest.

So now we are in a time of waiting. Neither one of us are good at being patient. It is difficult to intentionally slow down, stay in the moment, sleep in, simply be with and enjoy each other’s company. Yet that is exactly what we need.

If you have been following my blog, this past year has been a crazy roller coaster.  The transition preparing for a first child stressful. We added a move across the country, new job, selling a house, finding and moving into the new home and buying another car, to that list. And that of course is the short version.

Luke and I both have been running on a high speed since last July when the job hunting started. Then the speed picked up even more by October when we realized I was pregnant. When you have been running that hard and fast for so long-it feels counter intuitive to put up your feet for awhile.

But that is what we are going to do: rest. It’s long overdue. So if you do not see blog posts for awhile know that is because we are taking a break, focusing on each other, and joyfully waiting for Baby Greene to arrive.

Our New Car

So alongside a new house, and a soon-to-be new member of the family, we also just purchased a new car. Well it’s new to us.

Luke and I have been primarily using my red ’01 CRV that I received in college as both our travel car and Luke’s commuting car. The first two years of marriage we shared the CRV as our only car. For more on this see living with one car blog from a few years ago. Once again the past four months we have shared the CRV as our only car.

We realized that with the big changes coming in our lives soon we would want a second vehicle. It would be a little ridiculous to wake up our new baby and get us both loaded in the CRV in order to drop Luke off at work early in the morning. All of this just so I can go to the grocery store and run basic errands. Then I’d have to pick him up for work again, and we live further from his work now in the new house. That adds almost two hours of unneeded driving to my day.

In all, we decided we could use an upgrade. So we found a used ’11 Acadia. It’s a ten year step up in both modernization and size. I am still trying to get used to all of the new buttons and technology. Also because it is bigger I am adjusting to the larger engine and turning radius in parking lots.

But now we feel like we have enough room for dog, us, baby, and all of our travel gear for holidays or vacations to see family in the Northwest.

The CRV will now become Luke’s commuting car and the Acadia will be the mom/ travel car. And yes it’s a little weird to think of this new car as my mom-“mini-van”. But with extra seating, lower mileage, and being a little less worn and torn it makes sense.

It’s nice that the back row of seats fold down so easily and the bucket seats in the middle do as well, so there is plenty of room for a larger trunk area on longer trips.

We bought the car just in time to bring it down to the BBQ/Shower at my in-laws house and fill it up with wonderful gifts. (More on the BBQ/Shower to come.)

 

 

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Day-cation

This past Monday Luke and I decided to celebrate Valentine’s day  by spending a day on the coast.

We were overdue for a day-cation so we could enjoy moment, and focus on each other and the beauty around us. Our goal was simple: enjoy a scenic drive, take a walk on a beach, and have some good food.

We took the 12 to Aberdeen, about an hour drive north west, then decided to explore the southern end of Gray’s harbor.  Driving a half hour southwest we came to the town of Westport. A small boating town mostly for collecting oysters, clams, and crabs, it also maintains a few seasonal tourist shops including charter boats companies,  candy and gift shops, and several restaurants across the street from the boat docks.

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Anxious to get to the beach,we drove to Westhaven State Park. We bought a Discovery Pass; an annual pass which pays for itself if you visit any state park more than three times in a year. Then walking over a short  dune we reached the beach.

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The day was unusually sunny and warm (in the 50’s).  Kira was more comfortable with the beach compared her first encounter at Christmas. (for more on this see). She chased the sandpipers and seagulls, jumped over driftwood, chased the waves, and even encounter a live crab.

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Luke and I enjoyed a quiet stroll down an almost deserted beach and soaking in the sun from natural seats in the drift wood. When the tide hit the drift wood we decided it was time to leave. We climbed back up the dune then discovered a concrete walking/bike path with views of the ocean along the jetty. We took advantage of this to get exercise in and to give Kira a chance to dry off  (I forgot the towels).

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I voice and interest in salt water taffy so our first stop back in town was Granny Hazel’s candy shop.  After selecting a  our favorites Luke noticed  unique truffles in the front display: all with beer bottle caps on top made of candy and filled with beer reductions (like bourbon balls). It didn’t take much for him to want to try them. Well if Luke gets chocolate so do I, so I got an espresso and salted caramel truffle.

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Next we decided it was time to eat. For an early dinner we went to Bennett’s Seafood Shack.  Luke got the hand breaded halibut and fried clam basket, I got a cup of chowder and their chicken tacos. There was plenty of food, and all of it was very good.

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Full and happy, we decided to  drive to Grayland. Only about ten minutes from Westport going south, we found the Grayland Beach state park which houses a large campground. There is no car access to the beach, instead their are several walking trails from the campground. Driving a little further we found several  remote and rustic state beaches with minimal drift wood.  We were surprised we could drive right out onto the sand.  Overall it was quiet and peaceful. We let Kira out of the car to run around and took in the view as the sun began to set. There was no better way to end a perfect day-cation.