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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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.

House Hunting Update 2016-2017

We started looking at places to live as far back as October when we found out where we were living. We have looked at quite a few places since while living in a rental home downtown Centralia.

I feel at times we have taken our realtor on a wild adventures trying to narrow down just what we want and need. Looking for homes this time is different than it was in Wayland. We are at a different place in life and are looking at the place as a longer term location, where our children will possibly be living with us through elementary school. So we are asking questions about safety, clear play areas, school districts, and how close the home is to Luke’s work, the grocery store, as well as church and town activities.

We’ve learned we want a rural suburban home. I know it sounds strange. We like the idea of a quiet house with a few acres but that is within 20 minutes or so from the gym, church, school, work, restaurants etc.

Fortunately around here that is possible to find but it does take some compromises. Many places have a lot of property and a house that needs major work. Or a house that is great but a property that is not. Or both are great but the drive is longer than we want and could be difficult in the winter time. Luke and I are willing to get a place that needs work down the road, a  place we can update. What we cannot do right now is a major overhaul before baby comes, that’s too much stress and a huge time crunch.

One of the beautiful presents we received over the holidays was that our house in Wayland went under contract with a buyer! The day we left for my parent’s house we got news of an offer. Over the holidays we negotiated and finalized a decision. I was shocked, I never suspected our house to sell in the dead of one of the coldest winters and especially over the holidays.

Since then we have been signing paperwork and scanning in files to all the right parties. Several steps of the process have already been completed and we are hoping by the beginning of March we will have our house sold.

So we are really ready to find a place to live, and now we are starting to feel the time crunch of a May due date. We’d love to be at least semi-moved in by the time baby comes. Even if a nursery is not set up and painted we would like to bring our child from the hospital to the home they will be in for at least the first few years of their life. The baby will be in our room in the cradle at first anyways so that would give us time to get a Nursery set up if necessary.

So that is the house hunting and selling so far, more on this to come as we move forward.

 

Borst Park Christmas Lights

This past weekend Luke and I decided to check out another local Christmas event: the light display at Borst Park. Borst Park is close to the freeway and downtown; not far from Luke’s work.  During most of December (9th-25th) the park hosts a light display open from 6-9pm for people to drive through. FYI I am not the best iphone photo taker especially when it’s at night and we are moving so please excuse my unfocused pictures, I hope they still provide a glimpse of what we experienced.

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We arrived at the park right as the after-dinner line started outside of the park entrance. It took awhile to get to the main gate but the path was well lit and cheery. The entrance fee was only $3 per vehicle. Or it could cost less if you made a toy or canned food donation, which later are given to charities in the area.

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When we paid for our entrance we were given a pamphlet sharing thank yous to the local organization who donated to make the display possible. It also listed which non-profit organization in the area was hosting each evening’s display, who in turn receive parts of the proceeds for that evening.

Passing the entrance booth a sign showed the name of a local AM radio station playing classic Christmas music. We tuned in and waited in line until there was a good distance between us and the car in front of us.

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Along the right side of the loop were well lite holiday greeting billboards sponsored by different donors from the local area including business, organizations, and churches. Since we are new to the area we found this helpful.

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On the inside of the loop were several animated LED light displays. There was something to see for everyone including: scenes of penguins playing at the north pole, Santa rocking out with Rudolph on the guitar, (or peeling away in a hot rod), a train filled with toys, carolers singing outside of a church, and a nativity scene.

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This little trip gave Kira a chance to cuddle into a nice warm car with us.  I really do think she enjoyed the lights, she stared intently out the window for the whole loop switching occasionally to different side of the car so she could look out both windows.

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I grew up near Los Angeles and went several years to huge light displays at Griffith park near the observatory.  The LA display is a major time commitment and requires hours of sitting on the freeway exit to even get to the display. In fact it has recently been replaced by a light display at the zoo probably for that very reason.

This instead was a nice less-than-an-hour Christmas outing which supports local events and non profit organizations, that is a great Christmas win-win in my mind.

Tractor Parade

This past weekend we decided it was time to check out our first local seasonal event: The Christmas Tractor Parade. This parade I have been told is the biggest of the year and at least a thousand people bundled in their warm clothes line up along the parade route.

The main route goes through  old downtown Centralia. Fortunately we live only blocks from there. So Luke and I put on our warmer clothes and walked downtown.  There we met some family friends, some of their kids, and nephews and found our spot along the brick street.

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Please Note: these pictures are from the Centralia downtown’s website: http://downtowncentralia.org

You may wonder: what makes a Christmas parade a tractor parade? Well most of the lighted floats were either pulled by tractors, pulling tractors, carrying tractors, or had tractor themed decorations on them. We saw a motorcycle dressed up in cardboard to look like a tractor, several holiday blow up santa-riding tractors, the parade queen sat on the bucket of a tractor, and we saw a lumber tractor on a semi truck bed decorated with full limbs of fallen timber.

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We were told the entry fee is minimal so on average there are 80 or more float entries! Floats are judged for different categories before the parade begins at 6pm. Each tractor or float was creatively decorated and lit; advertising their organization, church, farmers market, or store. Many had music, bubbles, or snow machines.

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What was most suprising to me was how interactive the parade was. Young people dressed as angels, elves, snowmen, reindeer and more walked alongside each float with buckets. When they saw children, they would pass out candy, toys, stickers, coupons and information about their organization.

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The family we came with were prepared with plastic grocery bags. The kids were given so many goodies they could fill up their stockings! Eventually we were given a bag too as the parents tried to get rid of some of the sugar heading home with them. When we got home we opened our bag to find some really amazing treats (not only candy canes and dum dum lollipops).

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Other than floats the local high school band played, motorcycle groups wove up and down the street passing out candy, and a local equestrian team came through with very disciplined horses who were unfazed by the semi truck horns, tractor engines, or the lights they were decorated in.

Overall it was a lively and inviting Christmas parade. It was well attended too in-spite of the rain and cool temperatures. Let’s just say it was a great first local outing and we will probably go again another year.