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.

Finding a Home

We have been house hunting since October. At times it has been a frustrating experience; it is a sellers market right  which means there are not a lot homes for sale and when they do come up they sell fast and at close to their listing price. For more on our house hunting journey see . . .

But a few weekends ago we came a crossed a home in a great location: minutes from the freeway, grocery stores, our current church, and only twenty minutes to Luke’s work. It is on a quiet road with only a few neighbors and farms. The property is full of mature pine trees, creeks, and a pond that provide plenty of seclusion. The front and back yard are huge and fenced in so they would be perfect for Kira and kids.

But there were no picture of the inside of the house online, so we were a little unsure. Our realtor reassured us that  the home was currently a rental and the home qualified for loans that required the house to be in decent condition.

With this in mind, we checked the house out on a cold dark weeknight. Overall we were happy about the size of the home, rooms, and it’s layout. The home is still stuck in the late 1970’s when the house was built, but live-able. We walked away with a few concerns and wondered about items we couldn’t see well in the dark.

When we came home we spent dinner time talking about repairs and projects; ways we could transform the place and make it our own. We talked about cost, priorities, when we’d want to complete projects, and whether we could live in the home as is until then.

We have learned that in this market, with our budget, and with time pressure of a May due date there has to be a compromise. We have seen beautiful modern homes on small or unusual properties, we have seen great properties with houses that need a lot of TLC, or homes that have some  of both but are far away from our preferred location. This home it is in a great location, great property, and the house is in good condition, the compromise is in the work we’d put in to update it.

So we decided to make an offer and after negotiations we settled on a price and went under contract with the condition that the inspections went well. The next weekend we asked Luke’s father, an experienced general contractor,  to look at the house with us. Most of our concerns were resolved or turned out to be smaller projects than anticipated, and in the light of day the house was felt more inviting. Diana and I walked around talking about projects while Luke and John did the inspection. After we left, his parents came home and like us started brainstorming updates to the house.

Yes, there are a projects to do before moving in but they are maintenance items and none of them are too expensive or time consuming. Right now we are in the process of other inspections: septic, pest, water etc. if all of those go well them we may have a home by mid-March.

Moving Forward Part 2

On Monday we signed up at the local gym. Yes, we did the January gym sign up, but this is not just a new-years resolution. With only one car right now I’m doing exercise at home with the Zumba Fitness Core xbox 360 , but we need Luke to have a place to exercise before or after work.

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Thorbeckes is pretty nice. Membership gives you access to the work out equipment, several exercise classes, indoor track, and the pool. They also have several locations all with the same membership fee. Thinking ahead they offer child care for 2 hours of exercise for a low monthly child rate (much cheaper than babysitting). They also offer children’s classes and activities including swim lessons. Best of all, once a month they host a Parents Night Out where you can drop of your child at the gym for several hours of activities while you go on a date (again a whole lot cheaper and more fun than a babysitter).

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This gym is in the same parking lot as Borst Park, for more see: Borst Park Christmas Lights.  Luke took Kira to the dog run awhile back and she loved it. Each dog run features a picnic table, a fire hydrant, and a tunnel. Even though she had only been one time before she  went back to the fence where she had seen a squirrel the last time she was there.

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That night we decided to go to Mcmenamins Olympic Club downtown Centralia to catch a movie and have dinner.  This location has a restaurant, bar, movie theater, and hotel all restored to older glory days of the building (an old gentlemen’s club and saloon) but with Mcmenamins flair. We have been twice now to get dinner with my parents; they have great food, drinks, and a room for free pool and shuffle board. But this was our first time going to the movie theater. They show second run movies only 4$ for adults and have two show times (6pm and 9pm).  It’s a lot of fun to be in a comfortable atmosphere and eat dinner (you can order off the full menu and bar) while watching a recent movie.

After all of these activities, and more,   finally feel like we are settling into our new home.  Living so close to a nice park, good gym, good movie theater, and not far from a larger town with specialty shops and food we like; it is a major blessing. Although the past few months have been challenging: living in a rental, going back to one car, new job for Luke, no work for me, preparing for a child, this past weekend reminded me of why it is worth the effort, sacrifices, and adjustments.