Strolling the Kirkland Waterfront with a Baby

Addie will become quite the jet-setter over the next few months due to a) her bi-coastal grandparents/extended family and b) her parents’ seemingly unquenchable wanderlust.

Pause: do babies accrue frequent flier points?  Hm. Probably not since we don’t have to buy her an actual plane ticket until she’s two.  All in due time, Adeline Grace.

Before our first family-of-three journey to Nashville in October (Tyler’s hometown) or San Jose in November (my hometown) or any other destination, we were fortunate enough to have our entire immediate family make the journey to the PNW within her first 6 weeks of life.  How loved this little girl is!  Between visits from my parents and Tyler’s parents, my oldest and only sister, Shari and her six month old daughter, Meredith came into town.

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I think it’s the coolest that Meredith and Addie are six months apart, nearly to the day.  My sister and I were pregnant at the same time which made for some hilarious and hormone-riddled late night/early morning text messages.  (Real example: “Do you ever just get tired of being pregnant? Sometimes I just want to lay down on my back.  Instead, I will watch some Top Chef on my side and dream of our fridge delivery on Friday.“)  She also sends me oodles of clothes as Meredith outgrows them, right as Addie fits into them.  Shari will forever play the older sister card as I encounter the same child-rearing questions she faced, just on a six month delay.

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So where do you stroll with a two week old and a six month old?  Seattle summers beckon waterfront visits all over town.  We journeyed over the 520 bridge to Kirkland which is about a 15 minute drive from Seattle.  Kirkland has a uniquely chill Eastside vibe.  Its “downtown” features oodles of restaurants, art galleries, independently owned boutiques, and the only Eastside downtown frontage along Lake Washington’s shoreline.

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Kirkland’s “beach” (my snobby California self hesitates to call it that) was indeed a perfect place to walk with a newborn and an infant.  After strolling along the flat, paved shoreline path, we ventured up to my favorite sandwich shop, Homegrown. Turkey, bacon, avocado on wheat bread = YUM.  Wide doorjams and a large outdoor patio made it easy to roll in and out with our strollers.  Oh, and free parking!  Kirkland is one of the few larger cities in Washington that doesn’t empty your wallet with parking meters.  And ya’ll know how much I like free.

May I disclose that this was one of my first “public” breast feeding attempts?  Just being real here.  There were a ton of benches on the waterfront and lots of kiddos running around.  Glad to report it wasn’t a complete and utter failure (do I dare make an “udder” joke??  Oh, wait I JUST DID.)

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Strolling for Things I Don’t Need

Part of my new routine as a temporary stay-at-home mom includes a substantial morning walk.  I have hopes of getting back to my relatively fit and healthy self in a reasonable amount of time post-pregnancy.  Since I don’t love the gym, we walk.

Also, can you call something a routine if you’ve only done it three times?  I vote yes.

My walks take on different purposes depending on my mood.  Sometimes I walk to explore a park.  Other times I stroll to gawk at the ridiculously large and historic homes in a particular neighborhood.  But I like my morning walks to have purpose.

Before I had Adeline, I was a once a week grocery shopper.  It would seriously irk me if I had to stop at QFC on my walk home from the foundation on any given day for a forgotten ingredient.  Now, I’ve found myself spreading out my shopping to give myself an opportunity to “do something” each morning.  For someone who loves the most efficient everything, this has been quite the newsflash.

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This morning, I decided to strap Addie in the Ergo (which I’m still mastering how to do gracefully by myself. Currently, I resemble a cross between a novice contortionist and a cat that doesn’t want to be picked up).  Once she was securely fastened, we headed out the door to the main drag in Queen Anne.  Destination: Bartells.  Task: Purchase hair dye.

Because I’m not actually a redhead.  Shh.

Lucky me, my favorite hair dye was on sale for $7.99, a savings of $3!  I love saving money even more than I love walks which is why my next action made no sense.  I strolled a little too slowly down the hair care and styling isle and paused to look at the curling irons. I grabbed the most expensive one and walked decisively to the cashier.  $36.20 later, I am now the not-so-proud owner of a professional grade 1 1/4 inch curling iron.  A device I don’t need nor really have space for. Also, did I mention I already have a curling iron?  (BUT THIS ONE WAS CUTER!)

I get why homemakers sometimes find themselves with a plethora of “stuff” – it’s so easy to look for ways to fill the time.  Let this be a warning to myself for all of my future walks – try not to buy things you don’t need because you’re a little bored.

And if I can’t be trusted to walk with a relatively high limit credit card, it may be best to bring only enough cash for my pre-planned purchase.

Strolling Chateau Ste. Michelle

Weekends for a real estate agent are typically scheduled with client tours and open houses but last Saturday, my husband Tyler had a rare but true laymen Saturday with no appointments.  We took full advantage of it, packing an “everything but the kitchen sink” picnic and headed 20 minutes outside of Seattle to Woodinville (after consulting my Baby Wise schedule, of course).

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As it turns out, Chateau Ste. Michelle is a perfectly lovely place to stroll with a newborn!  Lots of easy parking, tons of wide open, manicured grass, stroller-friendly pathways and of course, a full blown winery with an entertaining gift shop to boot.  Plus, it’s free aside from the optional wine purchase.  I am all about free fun.

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Tyler scouted the perfect spot to lay out our Seahawks blanket (sidenote: WordPress does not agree that “Seahawks” is a real word. Get with the 2014 Superbowl program, WP!)  We kicked off our shoes, sipped our crisp Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Chardonnay out of our plastic cups and just starred at sweet Adeline the way only new parents do. We will definitely be returning here soon to try out some of their other wines and snap more family selfies.

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On Becoming Baby Wise, Part One

In order to feel the freedom to buckle sweet Adeline into her stroller and head out of the house for any given period of time, I’ve found it’s helpful to know when she will be sleeping, feeding or potentially screaming.  And while babies are definitely not 100% predictable, thanks to the concepts behind Baby Wise, I do find that I have perhaps an 80% chance of knowing what Addie needs.

I had heard mixed reviews about Baby Wise but those who had positive things to say were beyond convinced it was the best thing since baby food squeeze pouches.  The cover claims it “gives your infant the gift of nighttime sleep.” Translation: it gives you, the parents, the gift of nighttime sleep.  Yes, please.  No wonder it’s so popular.

The basic concept of Baby Wise follows the rhythm of parent-directed eating, waking, and sleeping (in that order) on a 2.5-3 hour cycle.  As your baby gets older and can go longer between feeds, you eliminate a cycle from the day.  When Addie was two weeks old, we went from 9 to 8 cycles (combing the 2am and 5am feeds to one 3:30am feed – hallelujah).  We’ll eliminate the 3:30am cycle when she’s eight weeks old.  Which means there’s a possibility the entire Jones family will be blissfully sleeping through the night.

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Currently, our days look like these Feed/Wake/Sleep cycles (plus or minus 15-30 minutes and a meltdown here and there):

Cycle 1:  6:45am
Cycle 2:  9:30am
Cycle 3:  12pm
Cycle 4:  3pm
Cycle 5:  5:30pm
Cycle 6:  8pm
Cycle 7:  10:30pm
Cycle 8:  3:30am (no diaper change keeps her basically asleep through the feed and then she’s right back to dreamland and so is her sleepy Mommy)

The first week of transitioning out of the 2am/5am feed into the 3am was hit-and-miss but since then, she’s been giving US the gift of nighttime sleep – or at least two good 4 or 5 hour chunks. *see footnote below

Knowing when she’s likely going to start one of these eight cycles allows me to pack my diaper bag and head outside with confidence.  Some may find this type of scheduling a bit too rigid but the type-A in me LOVES a good agenda.

It’s currently 5:32pm and it sounds like Addie girl is just waking up.  She’s already more punctual than her mama.

*footnote: I vow to share the inevitable “Part Two” of this post when all of this controlled planning fails me.

Strolling Seattle with Adeline Grace

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I have always loved to walk.  Growing up in sprawling suburban San Jose, California afforded me many parental supervised strolls around our quaint, track housing development where I would pass by identical manicured lawns, trudging along the wide, kid-friendly sidewalks.

Fast-forward roughly 25+ years.

Seattle.  A beautiful city in its own right.  You can’t get away from the water and mountain views if you tried.  Unique craftsman homes butted up against each other, coffee shops dotting every neighborhood corner, narrow streets crowded with parked cars (because who has a two car garage in this city?)

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On July 22, 2015, my husband, Tyler, and I welcomed our first child into this dynamic and crane-filled city.  Adeline “Addie” Grace Jones, a little bundle of smirks and billy-goat cries.  When I was pregnant, I wondered if having a baby would change me: would raising Adeline dull my craving for adventure?  Would I become a germophobe and begin toting antibacterial gel wherever I went, requiring vaccination cards from all of our friends?  Would I become a shut-in or would I muscle through the exhaustion, lace up my neon pink sneakers, strap Addie into her stroller and head out into the world for a walk?

Ten days after Adeline was born, I begged Tyler to take me out of the house. The doctor advised we avoid large crowds for three months.  THREE MONTHS?  My curiousity around becoming a hermit was banished less than two weeks in.  I googled, “Where can you take a newborn in Seattle?” and came up empty-handed.  I can’t be the only new mom in this active city that wants to get out of the house but can’t risk going to a museum or a crowded shopping mall (not that their are many of those in the city anyhow).

Since there didn’t seem to be one consolidated resource for new moms seeking strolling options in Seattle, I decided to begin cataloging our adventures with Adeline.  Also, as a temporary stay-at-home mom, isn’t it just apropos that I should start a blog?