Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Seaside 2015: Jam-packed days and anxiety dreams

A couple weeks ago we got to spend a week in Seaside, Oregon - the place I have been vacationing since I was an infant. It's a fantastic town, complete with a huge beach, delicious caramel corn and some interesting locals.

We had a GREAT time. Freddie and Elsie lived it up with their American cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. They built sand castle after sand castle, jumped the chilly Pacific Ocean waves and had one-on-one 'dates' with their parents to get giant ice cream cones. They even enjoyed the long car journey. "That was a great road trip!" said Freddie, covered in granola bar crumbs and nectarine residue, as we arrived.

I don't know if I'd say 'great,' but it wasn't too painful. I was expecting the 5+ hour car ride to be the most difficult part of the vacation (William got car sick, Elsie learned how to THROW toys precisely at Freddie's head and we listened to 'I've been working on the railroad' on repeat) but instead it was something else.

Ever since that New York Times article came out, I can't get the 'big one' out of my head. For those not in the Pacific Northwest, the 'big one' is a huge 9.0 earthquake that is due to happen in this area. Actually, it's OVERdue. And the worst hit spot? Seaside, Oregon.

Yes, I spent the week in Seaside having a blast with my kids and rest of the family but I also spent it very low on sleep. Every night I had horrible anxiety dreams about the earthquake, tsunami and how to get everyone out alive. I memorized evacuation routes, parked the car at the beach (3 blocks from the house) so we'd have a quicker method out if the tsunami hit (and the roads were drivable - unlikely), and carried the Ergo (baby carrier) everywhere in case I had to throw one kid into it and make a run for it. By the end of the week, I was a blurry-eyed mess.

The article was a real eye-opener, so for that I am grateful, but I was also happy when we drove past the 'Leaving Tsunami Hazard Zone' signs on the way home. I feel like I'm at a real dilemma here. Are we not supposed to go to Seaside ever again because of the risk? Should I just live in denial? Oh, and where should I store our disaster preparedness kit (yet to be packed) in case I store it in the part of the house that collapses and we can't even end up getting it out?

Whew. Let me know if you have any answers to those questions and, in the meantime, here are some pics of our holiday! :)

Monday, 17 August 2015

Camping with toddlers

Corina, Freddie, Ollie & Keeley - the 4 'big kids'
Some of my best vacay memories as a kid are from going camping. Good old-fashioned pitching a tent and cooking meals over the fire (and by fire I mean camping stove). We've gone camping twice this summer so far and it's been awesome! Not a ton of sleep but LOTS of laughs.

We've gotten over bathroom fears (of the automatic toilet flush - NOT going in the woods), tent tears (picture a double air mattress with Freddie squeezed between William and I) and the youngest two straight up eating dirt.

Here are some pics from our trip last weekend to Lake Easton, just over an hour from Seattle.

Couldn't believe her good luck!
Washing dishes at the spigot!

Tent time!
Elsie learns to climb...everything!
Smiley GG.
Fire ban means roasting mallows on the stove!
Cookin' up some breakfast.
Booster seat = only thing making Elsie sit still. 

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Happy 4th! (aka the best time to be back in the USA)

Following the age-old phrase 'when in Rome,' we jumped right back into the swing of things today. What say you Brits? It's just an average ol' Saturday? Not here. It's Independence Day! A day to celebrate being finally free from those durn Redcoats. Here are our highlights (so far) from the holiday weekend:
  1. William got yesterday off work. Woohooo! Long weekend! We celebrated with banana pancakes on our new pancake griddle. (That's right - we may not have our own house but we did buy a brand spanking new pancake griddle. Only the essentials.)
  2. Flag shirts. If you do not wear red, white and blue on the 4th of July here you are by FAR the minority. Not only that - you're weird. It's simply a must. William and I sported his and hers flag shirts while the kids wore white shirts they spray painted with red and blue paint (genius idea by my sister Anna.) 
  3. The parade. Americans really like to kick up their heels whenever they can. Halloween, St. Paddy's day (?!), a solo trip to the grocery story (you MUST treat yourself to a frappuccino) - whatever it is, it's time to go all out. On the 4th of July, every city, town, village and suburb has their own parade. Continuing the tradition of my childhood, we made a float (wagon) and the kids partook in the Edmonds 4th of July parade. One word: chaos. (See the stunned faces below). A delightful barbecue followed, complete with aunts, uncles, cousins and two kiddie pools.
  4. Fireworks. I'm just assuming this will be a highlight because, let's face it, it always is. I plan on watching the Kenmore fireworks display (what up Log Boom) from the comfort of my parents' living room. Although, when Freddie and Elsie are old enough to make it past 8pm, we'll almost certainly head to Edmonds for their evening do. Can't beat that pre-fireworks dance party on the dusty park grounds. Hip hip hooray!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Living in the U.S.A.

Well, we've been stateside almost 2 months so I guess it's time for a Kay/Kearns family update! We arrived in Seattle on April 28th, with a well-rested Elsie (5 hours sleeping on William's lap on the plane), a semi-well-rested William (dozed with Elsie) and a very tired Freddie and I (spent most of the flight eating, drinking coffee and watching TV). We were met by 3 of my 4 siblings, waving American flags and welcome signs. What can I say, Americans are expressive! As always, it was a relief to get off the airplane and take a big breath of fresh air.

We continued on a sickness run (no, I haven't yet gotten past the chicken pox misery of March/April. Brutal!) and within a week of arriving I had mastitis and after another week William had mono and a bad throat infection. Thank heavens for antibiotics and lots of family around to help us rest! We are all (even Freddie after his recent fall off a rock/bloody head/trip to the ER) back to good health now, thank goodness!

We've been enjoying the Seattle summer, which apparently started in April this year! It has been hot and sunny pretty much every day since we've been here. We packed away the coats and snowsuits, gone through copious amounts of sunscreen, and Freddie has freckles. Adorable. He is suddenly so mature and capable (he'll be the first to tell you he's 3!). He climbs trees, dresses himself (even the sandals!) and can cruise on his balance bike and scooter. He looks after his little sis very well and loves sharing the new 'kids room' with her. They chat a bit before naps and bed and miss each other when the other one's not in there, too.

Elsie has followed in her climbing brother's footsteps and climbs up on toys, chairs, cushions, and anything else she can reach. She isn't saying much (other than the constant 'hiya' and 'hi' to her cousins, Nina, Grandpa and her favorite companion  Booter, my sister's dog) but she signs 'more' and 'all finished,' so can definitely still get her point across. Her volume has increased as well, which helps. :) Both Freddie and Elsie are beside themselves with excitement every time their cousins come over or we all meet up somewhere. Instant friends!

The job front has been amazing — William got a job within two weeks of us arriving (did the interview two days before he got mono) and he's really been enjoying it. I've been working with my sistahs (check out Cascadia Content for all your web copy/content needs) but despite being busy somehow William and I are spending more time together than recent years. Nice to have so many babysitters nearby!

We REALLY miss our friends and family across the pond. Hope you are all doing well and planning your Seattle holidays! ;)

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Happy 1st Birthday Elsie!!!

Yes, it's been awhile since my last post but I have a REALLY good excuse. The day after I wrote that post we discovered a few spots on Freddie. Chicken pox? Noooooo, it couldn't be. IT WAS. Fast forward a few very itchy, very tired weeks later and they've both had it. Whew. 

The pox may have canceled Freddie and Elsie's joint birthday bash (meant to be last weekend) but at least we could celebrate her big day today. That's right - at 5:40pm on April 25, 2014, the biggest surprise of my life popped out. A girl! For some reason, we were absolutely convinced we were having another boy and were SHOCKED it was a girl. 

I was in labor for 3 days, most of which was spent having contractions at home and out in my favorite spot, Holyrood Park. It was painful but there were breaks, including the night before I had her when I wolfed an entire Dominos pizza (large). YUM. Margaret and William cheered me on until 4am on the morning of the 25th when we decided it was time to go to the hospital. Elsie didn't arrive for more than 12 hours later and during that time I tried pretty much every pain relief option available. Haha. Tens machine, birthing pool, gas and air and, finally, an epidural. 

Once the epidural was in (took three tries...yikes!), I relaxed and waited for our little gal to show up. We chatted with the midwife, medical student and doctor. In a bizarre turn of events, the doctor was the same woman who did my c-section with Freddie. AND, in another bizarre turn of events, the medical student just treated Freddie in the children's hospital last weekend. I was touched that he remembered Elsie's birth and even more touched that he said he almost didn't recognize me (45lbs lighter haha). 

How do I describe Elsie? Snuggly, sly, determined, sweet, fearless and feisty. Another pea in our pod, I couldn't imagine life without her. What an awesome year it's been for this little gal. We love you Elsie!!

E for Elsie.
Picking off the blueberries.
What a little 1-year-old!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

"I wanna walk, I wanna walk!"

"...a mile in your shooooooooooes." Don't get the reference? Watch this. Fantastic version. Hands down the best song from my childhood. And that's saying a lot. It beat out 'Backwards Land' and 'Shapes, Shapes!' (NOT this insane techno version).

Whew, that was almost so annoying I couldn't keep writing.

Anyhoot - the point is.......Elsie is WALKING! She took her first couple of steps a few weeks ago and is starting to cruise more and more every day. She loves pushing the bee wheely bug at 100mph down the hall (sorry paint trim I just redid) and can walk pretty steady between the couch and the chair.

She's starting to give her brother a run for his money (pun intended) in the race for toys and it's hilarious to watch them chase each other around their room. She's Freddie's number one fan and boy does he know it. Despite the power struggle (this morning's must-have item? a rubber spatula), they are best friends. Freddie even instructs Els to say good night to him every afternoon before his nap. And, of course, she does it. So sweet!

Our amazing Elsie celebrated her 11 month old birthday last week. Happy Birthday little gal!
Look out! Here she comes.

She's obviously inherited her mother's crazy smile. 

Big kiddo!
Little maniac on the loose. :)

Sunday, 22 March 2015

'Summer' is here!

I went for an exhilarating run yesterday to Portobello Beach. I didn't want to do it my running partner isn't here any more and I'd gotten less than four hours of sleep. But, when I couldn't come up with anything else to do (kids were out with William, I was fully caffeinated and there wasn't a new episode of any of my favorite shows available), I headed outside. 

The sun was shining, the park was hopping (where are all these people in the depths of winter? hibernating?) and I set off. At first, I was just going to do my usual 3-4 mile loop but it must have been the sudden burst of vitamin D that propelled me all the way to the beach and beyond. 

I've been hearing rumors of sunny, 60-degree weather (and higher!) in Seattle for weeks now but I've been ignoring them as I pulled on my boots, circled my scarf and popped on my hat every day. Until now. Thank goodness I'm wearing a tank top and shorts, I thought, as I sprinted down the sand. Should I have put on sunscreen? No, I'm sure I'll be OK, I reassured myself. 

And it wasn't just me smelling the sight of summer. There were kids with their tops off, putting their toes in the sea. 50-year old men skateboarding down the promenade. Teenagers wearing t-shirts and backwards hats (wait, that's back in?). Middle-aged couples waiting in line at the ice-cream truck. People playing beach volleyball! Beach volleyball!!

As I finished what ended up being a fantastic 8-mile run (maybe that half marathon won't be so bad after all!), I whipped out my phone to check the temperature. It must be nearly 65 I thought! 


It was 8° Celsius. That's 46°F. 46!!!!! What's going to happen when we move back and experience a Seattle Spring and Summer? Will we get heat stroke? Should we start carrying umbrellas for shade? 

One thing's for sure, I'm going to miss my fellow Edinburghians who truly know how to make the most of a sunny day. 

Vitamin D rush continued today. Had to get an ice cream bar
for the walk back from the store. It was 7°C.   

Sunday, 15 March 2015

No, I'm not moving just to get out of this run

Now, I know how this will seem. I conveniently decided to move one month before the Edinburgh half marathon that I've trained and raised money for, just so I don't have to actually run it. I swear that's not what happened! And, to prove it, I am still going to run those 13.1 miles. Just not here. 

Moments ago, I signed up for the 2015 Mother's Day Half Marathon in Kirkland. It's on May 10th (US Mother's Day) at 7:30am (those Seattleites like to get started EARLY!), giving me a good week and a half to get over the horrendous jet lag that awaits me and two small children and three less weeks to train than if I was here to do the Edinburgh half on May 31st. Guess I better get cracking with some runs!

I have to admit, my training lately has been scattered at best. 'Long' runs have consisted of Margaret and I running 20 minutes out to Portobello Beach, getting a coffee and chocolate croissant at the cute cafe on the promenade (once even a full breakfast!), wolfing it down and then running home. Not sure if that's really the recommended runners diet.

And this afternoon, I was so tired from waking up at 4:30am (Freddie's having nightmares about dogs and hair salons — the subject of an upcoming blog post, I'm sure) that I only managed 25 minutes. That, and the fact that it is still absolutely freezing here. 

So, with this new, earlier deadline, I feel excited and energetic! For those of you who have donated already, a massive THANK YOU. I can't believe how much I've raised (over (£650!!). I have less than £100 left before I reach my goal so let's do this! You can donate here and I promise I won't plan another international move so I can get out of the Kirkland half. 

My last run - I think my face was frozen.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Learning to lie

Apparently, lying starts at a pretty young age. Now, you could call it 'seeing what you can get away with,' but the reality is — it's lying. Here are some of the lies Freddie has fed me lately:

1. Returns from the bathroom literally one second after he goes in to check for pee. I tell him to go back in and check for real and, looking me straight in the eye, he says 'I did Mama!' I tell him to go in again and I'm going to check on him if he can't tell me the truth and, once again, he returns one second later. 'I peed!' Lie. The next time, we go in together. With me watching at the door he turns, fully clothed, towards the toilet and says in a squeaky little voice 'pee!' I mean, come on. I look smarter than that, don't I Fred?

2. Half a page is ripped out of one of his books. When I asked what happened he said it just came out on its own after he was done reading it. Hmmmmm. Sounds suspicious. 

3. Me: 'What happened to Elsie's biscotti?' 'She gave it to me, Mama. She all full.' Hmmmmmm. Could be true, but I highly doubt it. 

Who, me?

The funny thing is, at other times he's brutally honest, even turning himself in when he's done something wrong. A couple examples:

1. Elsie is wailing and has a red mark on her forehead. Me: 'What happened????' Freddie: 'I just wanted to play with that recycle truck so I grabbed it and it hit Elsie in the head so she has an owie. It'll feel better real soon.'

2. Freddie is suddenly sans clothes the moment we are about to head out. 'Where'd your clothes go?' I ask, as he was completely dressed a minute ago. His response: 'I too hot so I threw my clothes up on top of the couch. I just wearing my birthday suit to the park.'

Let's hope he gets better at it or there's no way he'll be able to sneak out when he's older.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Photo of the week - Freddie in Els's jammies

I came into the kids' room yesterday and found Freddie trying to squeeeeeeze himself into one of Elsie's fleece pyjamas. This photo was taken during his proud-of-himself moment (for getting his arms in) but right before he started sobbing because he couldn't also get his legs in. 

Love to see him dressing himself! He can now, usually, get his boxers, trousers, socks and boots on all by himself. He's still working on the shirts and sweaters. Way to go Fred! 

We also had a good laugh about an hour later when I then tried to get his fireman's coat on and it got stuck on my arms so bad I almost called William to come home from work to get me out (my arms were starting to lose feeling!). Sigh. 

Monday, 16 February 2015

A new adventure...

It's the end of an era! After almost ten years living in Edinburgh, I am heading back to the good ol' USA in April. 

I arrived in this beautiful city in 2005  a fresh-faced 22-year-old whose biggest worry was understanding her Scottish professors. I thoroughly enjoyed my Master's degree, working in several different labs and transitioning from science to children and freelance writing. 

I've fully embraced life here (I even got a British drivers license after all) and really love the laid-back, international feel of Edinburgh. The architecture (everything and I mean everything looks like a castle), the accents and, above all, the people make it really hard to leave. 

To all my friends here — THANK YOU! You have been like family to me. You really have. Please know you have an open invitation to visit us in Seattle any time you can (well, maybe wait a few months until we are moved out of my parent's house!). 

To all my friends in Seattle — sorry for being a beast about keeping in touch! Can we be friends again? If you're reading this, then there's a chance. I'm still fairly cool, just with more squinty eye wrinkles and a huge dependence on tea.

Some of the many memories:

Halloween 2010. No caption needed really. Wow. 
March 2012. The top of Arthur's Seat (7 mths pregnant).

June 2010. The Edinburgh half marathon.

2006. Snagged myself a trendy Irish bf.

August 2010. Francie visiting for the Fringe!

December 2010. Making snowmen on our lunch break. 
May 2012. Baby Freddie. 
December 2014. Elsie and Santa at Dad's Rock.

June 2011. Breakthrough lab. 
November 2014. On the way to the City Chambers!
2008. Sistahs out on the town.

October 2014. Quite a different Halloween than in the pic above!
December 2013. With Freddie's friend Rhea in Holyrood Park.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...