Day in the 1800s

When Luke’s brother and family came to town (for more see Zachary:2 months) we took the opportunity to ride the Centralia-Chehalis railroad.  We had the option of sitting in a covered outdoor car or indoors both with bench seating. With two little ones we went for the indoor option.

Once the steam train started we finished our lunch while farms and houses went by.  There was no narration across the speakers just talking among passengers. As we traveled along the Chehalis River, the friendly staff offered the children a few pieces of candy. We took the shorter of the rides so about a half hour in, the train stopped, drove by us, and hooked up on the other end. Our older nephew Matthew really enjoyed watching this.

On our way back to the train station we saw a civil war re-enactment taking place on a farm not far away; we decided to check it out. We drove out to the farm payed to enter and got our wristbands. Ruth and I stayed at the car to feed the babies while Luke and Nathan took the kids to watch the reenactment. It was loud, even from the car, and we were surprised how many times they used the cannon. The reenactment was just ending as we came into the grounds.  Both sides had period accurate costumes, flags, weapons, and infantry. We saw quite a few women soldiers too.

Afterward we walked around the camps: everyone was in period clothing, some napping in their canvas tents, others making lunch in cast irons and pots. For all of the tents and period displays there were very few historical interactive opportunities for the children and little shade.

We saw on the schedule that a string group was preforming period pieces. Ready to get out of the heat, we found seats on hay barrels under the canvas tent and listened to familiar tunes. Afterward to cool off we enjoyed 50 cent frostys at wendy’s.

And that was our warm summer day set in the 1800’s.



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.



Zachary: 3 Months

This month our goal was to introduce Zach to more time with other people and less time with mom and dad. So all of us get a break once in a while.

We started the month with Zach’s first time away from family. The gym hosts a parent’s night out once a month for members. We dropped Zach off with diaper bag and bottle and had time for dinner and to play a board game before picking him up. Zach did great and loved the attention, Mom only looked at her phone about 5 times.

The following weekend, Zach spent a full day with his grandparent’s while mom and dad went to a renaissance faire (for more on this see Renaissance Faire). The next day he spent all of church in the nursery where he took a bottle then promptly fell asleep in the crib.

That next week Zach and I went to the gym so I could attend a Zumba class, it was great to get back to exercise and to take a live class again. Zach did great and only became fussy because he got hiccups near the end of the hour.

We are excited that he is doing so well at interacting and spending time with other people.

Zachary is talking up a storm and adding new sounds all the time. He has learned he doesn’t have to cry to get what he wants, just make the right noise. According to his two-month appointment (more like 10 week) he is ahead in many developmental markers.

Some of those markers include rolling from his back to his stomach, holding up his head on his stomach, reaching out and intentionally grabbing objects, and laughing and smiling spontaneously. He is also quick to get frustrated because his body cannot do what his mind wants it to such as crawl or hold onto objects. He drools like crazy because he’s already teething! And as you can tell enjoys chewing on his hands.

The biggest blessing of the month is that Zach no longer rages against sleep. He can self-sooth, suck on his thumb, to sleep at least for one nap during the day and if he’s almost asleep then he can be transferred to his cradle without many problems. In addition to this, he is now feeding only once in the middle of the night! So Mom is getting four to five hours of sleep in a row! I forgot what it felt like to function with a few REM cycles each night.

Zach is as full of curiosity, determination, and energy as ever.



Renaissance Faire

A few weeks ago Luke came home with a surprise: two free tickets to the Midsummer Renaissance Faire, valid any of the three weekends of the festival. Luke’s parents gladly volunteered to watch Zach for half-a day.

The faire was about an hour from home near Bonney Lake, based on reviews and our free promo tickets, we were under the impression this was an up-and-coming event. So you can imagine our shock to see hundreds of cars in a field off the main highway and police directing traffic.

After entering the main gate, we hung left at the may-pole and began to explore. A renaissance faire often brings about images of turkey legs, beer, and showing off a little too much skin. Although yes, there was some of all three it was limited.

The faire had two out-door pubs requiring ID; this way the alcohol and the more suggestive entertainment was contained in a 21-and-older environment.  For example, we enjoyed a rowdy performance by a Pirate-themed troop of actors and singers in the smaller of the pubs with plenty of suggestive word play.

At the other pub we enjoyed beer and sampled mead as the main jousting events took place. Half the seating was around the bar, the other was a kid-friendly zone on the other side of the arena. Performers were split into teams, represented in coordinating colors and countries such as Spain, France, England etc.. Events included horse racing, long sword fights, jousting, fencing and more. The performers interacted frequently with the crowd and it was a popular event. If we knew we would have gotten food and ate at seats waiting in advanced.

We were surprised to see many families with little fairies, dragons, robin hoods, peter pans, and princesses just as much as we saw costumes on groups of adults. There were many children specific firms of entertainment including puppet shows, a robin-hood play, and musicians. In addition to this, for a small fee, children could shoot a water balloon out of a wood catapult at a play castle  and fight with Styrofoam swords and shields.

There were also interactive opportunities for adults including lessons in archery, long sword, and throwing axes. Beyond this payed entertainment there were interactive displays including a Latin mass service, a gypsy camp, and the may-pole dance.

We enjoyed wandering the booths of art vendors selling maps, leatherworks, metalworks, wooden goods, costumes, and more. It was nice to see different art and products that cater to a specific crowd.

We left with filthy feet and a little sun-burnt but we had a great time.  Luke and I decided we would come again when we have children old enough to appreciate and enjoy the family-friendly activities.

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!






Fourth of July 2017

For Independence Day this year we had several options of activities, festivals, and fireworks shows to attend. We had to sift through the possibilities to find what worked best for our one-month-old for a shorter outing.

We decided on Tumwater’s Artisanal Family Festival and Thunder Valley Fireworks show held at the golf course. With such an impressive title and yearly turn out of 10,000 people or more, we were expecting local vendor booths, many food booths and truck options, live music, and a great fireworks show.

Two hours after the festival started we paid our $10 to park. Loading up the stroller for the first time, we trekked our way to the driving range. When we got passed security, we saw family after family already set up with blankets, chairs, coolers, even tents ready for the fireworks show in two hours.

Hungry, we decided first to scope out the food options. We were surprised to only six food vendors on the left hand side of the stage, all of which had massive lines. Thinking we were going to stroll through aisles of booths, in reality there were only two local product vendors: one for Rainer cherries, the other for jerky.

We go a sampling of BBQ and Asian and set to find a place on the grass. Once settled, we look around a little more, on the opposite end of the stage were rows of inflatables and a children’s stage. We listened to a DJ mix dance-able songs, but were disappointed to never hear any local music.

A little later four skydivers dropped from a plane to a designated painted spot in the grass. Upon landing they randomly picked up raffle information cards placed on the field by children who entered to win prizes. The last diver displayed an American flag. It was definitely a highlight of the night.

Soon after it started to get dark and the count down to the fireworks show began with a lot of hype. We decided based on the crowd, and how Zach was doing, to leave during the show and finish watching from the car. The display was introduced by the national anthem and a short speech from the mayor. But the show lasted less than twenty minutes and was not extremely impressive.

Overall it was still worth while. This event was very family friendly, also, if you did not park in the main lot, was free of cost, so for many people it was worth the crowd.

We got a chance to try something new and see how Zach would do with a longer outing. He enjoyed people watching and listening to the music and didn’t get upset until he got understandably tired and hungry.We will probably go to a different event next year, but I think Zach had a pretty good first 4th of July.

What did you do for the holiday?



Zachary: 1 Month

It’s hard to believe that Zachary is now a month old. It’s been the shortest and longest month of our lives.

We as a family have learned so much about each other. Zach has become more vocal and we have learned what each of those sounds mean, even the different types of cries.

Zach loves to kick and wiggle, so swaddles never worked out and we went straight to footed jammies, even if they are a little big on him.

He learned to self sooth right away sticking his whole fist and occasionally thumb in his mouth. By week three, we introduced a pacifier. Mom, Dad, and Zach love having a binki.

Zach can turn his head from one side to the other and can turn from his back to his side-yes he’s a little strong one. He has also learned to grasp and hold on tight to my hair, clothes, and is working on ways to keep his binki in his mouth.

He loves listening to music, especially if Mom or Dad sings, and dancing around in their arms. He also enjoys time on the blanket under the gym his Papa made him looking at black and white pictures and or staring outside.

I want to thank everyone who prayed for us during our time at hospital and for recovery since then. Both Zach and I are healing very well and grateful for all of your thoughts and prayers.