That Quarantine Life Pt. 2

First things first – BLACK LIVES MATTER.

If I did not use my platform, humble as it is, to speak this truth I would not be able to ramble on about the musings of skincare, my family, or Little Debbie Zebra Cakes. I think we can all take the time to listen, open our hearts and our minds, educate ourselves and fight for justice.

We went down to a day-time peaceful protest in Tualatin a week or so ago to show our support. I understand that this topic and everything surrounding it is controversial and personal.  It was the first time myself or David had done anything like that before. For us, it was incredible. Moving, sad, thought-provoking, just…good stuff.

And now, onto the sh*t show.

Things have been interesting around here. Like the rest of the world, I too have been experiencing life in a new way. And in the interest of brutal honesty, I switched medications and that has helped IMMENSELY. To any of my anxious and/or depressed friends out there, please consider therapy and medication if you have not done so already. What a game changer.

The quick and dirty of the past month – Both David and I are still working from home. School is now over (as of yesterday) and Clara is nearly 18 months old! Here’s the happs –

Just because it’s the time of the COVID does not mean I have to let cute clothes for Clara go to waste. Case in point:

Her shoes!

The June weather has been, in a word, shittay. It has only been hot enough for the wading pool one or two times. But guys, I have hope.

So much hope that I ordered them these:

The crappy weather has not kept us inside. E has become a bike-riding fiend and quite literally stays out all day riding around with friends, and sometimes her baby sis.

We even happened upon a drive-by birthday party with an alpaca. And now the bar has been set.

Our time indoors has also not completely gone down the toilet. Well…not literally. Figuratively? Maybe.

For instance…

And…

Ok, there have been some cute moments…

As for me? Well, I think I sprained my toe. And DON’T come for my long-ass second toe. It’s a sign of intelligence. FIGHT ME. It also means it’s the first toe to get stubbed.

I also caved and ordered myself a matching  tie-dye “set” ala errrr girl on TikTok (btw follow me @nataliekmichaelis). It has not arrived yet, but here is the one I ordered (I got shorts instead of sweats). I am pretty psyched.

I also decided to take FULL advantage of my quarantine grow-out and baby bangs and achieve my ultimate 7th hair goalz.

If your 7th grade self is also jealous of this style, its time for a night cream. AMIRIGHT!?

In culinary arts, things have gotten pretty exciting around here.

I squealed when David came home from the grocery store with this. Loudly.

We got a Crumbl Cookie near us! Another squeal.

We behaved ourselves and only got two.

This is Buckeye Brownie and Churro.

They weigh like 8 pounds each and are sooooo good. I mean, crazy good.

Lastly, I got another voxbox from my good pals at Influenster with the some goodies, including this Gold Bond Neck & Chest Age Defense Cream.

Pretty excited about this stuff. Such a neglected area for me! Btw, if you do not have an Influenster account and have a decent following on social media (Facebook, especially) – consider signing up. You get free things, no strings attached. It is amazing.

That Quarantine Life

Hi there my pecan sandies!

I figured it was time to start writing about my experiences during this absolute bat-sh*t time.  Because once it’s all over and we’re back to normal (someone please reassure me this is going to happen) I am going to feel like I blacked-out. Like the past several months were just a bad dream. And, I KNOW. I know I am supposed to keep my chin(s) up, be #thankful for what I have and see the silver lining in all of this. But as I like to say, “first things first I’m a REALIST”. And the realistic part of me has nothing good to say about this…because it freaking sucks. It just, does.

Luckily, the other part of me loves a good meme. And watching people make asses of themselves on TikTok (I don’t care what vodka says, you still can’t dance).

So we laugh. We fight. We bicker about whether Mighty Ducks 1, 2 or 3 is the best (it’s 2). We make up new “house rules” due to shared unpleasant experiences. 4 people in a 1,500 SF house on a rainy day…need I say more? Especially when 50% of the people are scream-singing “Into the Unknown” or just plain screaming.

these are the rules so far

Whew. My back hurts. My whole back. Damn Ikea dining chairs don’t hold a candle to the ergonomic Herman Miller Aeron chair collecting dust at my office. GOD stop complaining Natalie. Let’s get to it.

Food and bev has been top-notch. Not because I have turned a new leaf and suddenly started to enjoy cooking but because my husband shares my affinity for Digiorno. And the Rite Aid down the street always seems to have Lib Creek on sale for $5.98.

I should have warned you that some high-quality photos were in store, my mistake.

The girls, well. Clara obviously could GAF what is going on. She is just living her best toddler life, toddling around, getting in to sh*t she shouldn’t and learning words like “No!” and starting to hit me in the face. (ps i don’t even care that she hits me in the face, i love her sooooo much she is my perfect babyyyy). E is weathering the storm too. Poor thing had to turn 9 during all of this and took it like a champ. Here is what has gone down with them:

New hairstyles

ok she looks a lil crazy here

E being forced to become bffs with someone 8 years her junior.

in the television daze

This killed me. E dressed them up in her Uma (from The Descendents) Halloween costume. Major Toddlers & Tiara vibes.

why YES that is homemade cornbread on the stove!

Fort building.

Floor puzzle construction in a dazzling art smock.

Here is the “double decker” pb&j that E made because she was “so hungry” when we only had one precious loaf of bread left.

she barely ate half

Clara’s 15-month well child exam with our amazing pediatrician. We could only send one parent (hence the FT) and temperatures were taken in the car before they could come in. LOVE it.

As for David and I…we’re hangin. THANK BABY JESUS for good tv, puzzles, alcohol, you know. We are both working from home and trying our best at being parents. We look SO forward to our 8:30 ish alone time where we recently polished off season 3 of Ozark (HIGHLY recommend).

my home is SO clean

As for me…I have had my moments. I have run the gamut of emotions. One moment I am perfectly fine and the next I am in the throes of anxiety. Depression has also crept in…yuck. However I take a little comfort in the fact that I know I am not alone. The whole world is feeling this. So if everyone else can do it, so can I.

Here are some things that have helped along the way…

I MEAN

owwwww

My mom gave us a bag of “girl books” from her house recently. I found a few gems from my childhood including this one. I opened it up, found this message and yep, ugly cried.

Man I miss my parents. And our friends. And TJ Maxx. THIS IS HARD.

How are YOU surviving?

Clara is ONE

WELL. It happened.

And I tried so hard you guys. I did everything in my power. And it still happened. I am not okay with this for the following reasons:

  1. The older she gets, the bigger she gets. And the bigger she gets, the less she will let me hold her. And ALL I want to do is be able to hold her forever. Luckily, I am a pretty big lady so fingers crossed she will let me.
  2. Also, the older she gets, the less it is acceptable for me to bite her thighs, kiss the bottoms of her feet and nuzzle my entire face into her neck to the point where she is upset at me.
  3. Basically there is nothing good about her getting older.

On the day of her actual birth, we had a low-key family day.

I started it off with a rather dramatic cry. It just came out of me. Probably didn’t help that I listened to “Goodnight my Angel” by Billy Joel while I gave her a bottle.

Then I took her 1-year pictures in the chair and she was being so cute and funny.

Then, we got ready for her birthday outing! An afternoon at the Wiggle Room (a softplay center for babies).

Thanks to Auntie Meg for the matching hats!

And the next day, we threw her a birthday party. We did a Nutcracker/Land of Sweets theme and boy did Nancy go to town on the decorations! Clara is pretty lucky to have a Nana like her.

So adorable, yes?

I made her smash cake, which never got smashed.

I even bought an organic cake mix and used this bougie canned frosting that was like $6.99.

I am such a good mom, I know.

Clara Jane was just the sweetest she could be.

It was the best time ever.

We love this human so much. She has completely changed our lives and spreads the love where ever she goes. Happy birthday to our CJ!

Family Photos

WARNING! These were taken approximately 390834 months ago (or in early June) and therefore warrant the following disclaimers.

Disclaimer 1: I did not get my hair done prior to these photos.  I did have a haircut, but the color is REAL ROUGH. I know it’s bad and I’m sorry.

Disclaimer 2: The state of my hair is due to childbirth. If you are unaware, having a baby can cause hair loss. If you would like to know more or see additional unsightly photos, read this post.

I realize the first two disclaimers are about my hair. Believe me, there’s a reason.

Disclaimer 3: I did not look at this dress in a full, body-length mirror before these photos were taken. If I had, I would NOT have opted to wear an ill-fitting, unflattering garment simply because it was a nice brand in a nice color from the Rack for $14. Also, you cannot tell in the photos but it was stained AF. I made a poor, poor choice.

Disclaimer 4: I did not come prepared for these pictures. I did not bring a blanket, or any props or really anything at all.

Disclaimer 5: C and E’s outfits are just mehhhh. I chalk this up to my rampant indecisiveness that is a horrid symptom of my PPA. It came down to the wire on what they would wear and I just could not make up my mind for the LIFE OF ME.

OK, now that those are outta the way…feast your eyes!

Also, major hat tip to Liz Wade our photographer who was amazing, SO easy to work with, patient and talented.

After having lived through this experience (it was touch and go), I can now feel justified in offering up the following advice:

  1. Bring a GD blanket. Esp if you are taking outdoor photos.
  2. Before the photos, take care ‘ya business. Hair most notably.
  3. Dress up. This ones a personal pref, but I think photos look 823873 times better in more dressy clothing.
  4. Floppy sun hats are a YES for the littles.
  5. If your baby is still too young to sit up on her own, you best bring something to prop her up with! Or get yerself a GREAT photog like we did that can Photoshop out your hand that was holding the baby up (see pic of Clara sitting up as evidence, baby girl was being held up by David’s hand in this pic!)

Palm Springs Vacation with Baby

Greetings rainbow sprinkles!

And please excuse my lack of posts as of late (I mean I know you are all DYING to hear more about my v exciting life). Working 30-ish hours a week and doing all the things is not easy for me. I realize some people work way more, with more kids and more responsibilities and do it all with perfectly clean homes bedecked in lovely autumnal decor and find the time to NOT look slightly homeless. As I have said many times over, that person I am not. I can barely find the time and energy to go to Goodwill and find my daughter a Halloween costume (because I refuse to spend $20 + on something she will wear for a single photo). * I did find said costume. It was $1.50.

So a few weeks ago, David, Clara and I flew to Palm Springs for our first official vacation together. Let’s get to it.

Our flight departed around 9 am which was good timing for baby’s napping situation. We went through TSA with a pre-made bottle and I got a chuckle when I told the agent, “This bag contains breastmilk.” We took the stroller and her car seat all the way to the gate and pre-boarded the with all our sh*t and a cup of hot water from Starbucks to heat up her bottle. She was a little fussy as we sat there while everyone else boarded and was ready to eat. We wanted to hold off on giving it to her until we were literally taking off to ensure her ears would be ok. It was tough but she ended up drinking it through take off and did not seem to have any trouble. After about 30 minutes in the air, David took her to the back of the plane and rocked her to sleep (he is the best) and I held her for the remainder of the flight which is MY FAVORITE THING EVER.

After landing, we took an Uber to Aunt Sandi’s house (our pad for the week) and…immediately jumped in the pool!

I did a bit of research before we left and decided to try this pool floatie for Clara. It ended up being absolutely wonderful! It was a tad big for her, so we just stuffed a towel down in the seat so she was up a bit higher. She loved the toys attached to it, kicking her feet in the water and splashing around.

The next day was David’s birthday! This year I got him a whiskey of the month club membership because I am running out of Blazers jerseys that he does not already own.

That morning, he hit a bucket of balls at the driving range.

Then an afternoon of swimming.

C is sporting her $4 swimsuit from Kohls.

For dinner that night, David’s parents and Aunt Sandi gave us a gift card to a delicious Italian place in Palm Desert called Castelli’s. Highly suggest if you are in the area!

Our reservation was for 5:30 pm because baby and we had a great time.

I was obviously feelin’ myself on the way there but upon closer inspection the baby hair breakage is abundant in this photo.

Dinner dates!

David’s steak was NO JOKE.

Check out the sky behind us!

The next day I made two astonishing discoveries:

  1. Coachella is not just the name of the music festival but also a town (face slap)
  2. We were about 20 minutes away from it

Curiosity got the cat and we decided to check it out and see what all the “fuss was about” (said in grumpy old lady voice).

Turns out Coachella, the music festival, is actually held at a polo club…and when it isn’t “Coachella” it really is just a polo club. And this one in particular was pretty amazing.

First of all, this is in the middle of the DESERT. Everyone’s lawns are rock gardens and cacti. So to see this giant, expansive grass and palm tree oasis in the middle of BROWN is pretty impressive.

The surrounding gardens were beautiful and nobody cared that we were just pushing our big ass stroller err whurr.

I also wanted to get a James Charles-esque picture before we left, so we explored the grounds and finally found a good spot.

We could have hopped the fence you see in the photo of me on the right to get closer to the rainbow windows building. But I wasn’t feelin’ it. You get the idea.

Then we had lunch at a Tavern on the property where Clara spilled a large glass of ice water directly into my lap and it went allll the way up my backside. However, all was redeemed by the saddle seats they had, especially after snapping this photo:

The next morning we were up bright and early with Clara so we went for a walk and happened upon this little gem: (had to take a pic for Nan)

Then we got the baby ready and drove into Palm Springs for some shopping! BB OOTD: (She dazzles in fruits)

We found her a pair of those Baby Hipster sunglasses but she hated even though they were evvverything.

Then I breastfed her in the back alley of sus lunch spot we tried because there was shade. You can take the girl out of Spokane but apparently you can’t take Spokane out of the girl.

I also had to try on the spandex bike shorts that everyone is wearing these days.

Hahahaaa jk I just wanted to take a pic in them as a joke to send to my immediate family. All I need is a pair of those hideous chunky Filas.

The next day we went to the Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert! Baby girl wore her finest jellies.

JK these lasted .002 seconds before being promptly discarded.

The zoo was amazing! Especially…

The giraffes!

The petting zoo portion because GOATS.

And these amazing rainbow chairs that we snapped this adorable pic with:

On one of our last days, we decided to go to J.Tree and the weather was perfection.

Don’t freak, David was holding her in this pic.

And I was holding her in this one…

The flight home also went very well. We did the exact same thing as we did on the way there, except instead of pre-boarding we waited until literally THE LAST second to get on the plane. That way, we did not have to sit for 40 minutes while everyone else found their seat and baby got restless. It worked out way better for us that way and she slept most of the way home once again, in my arms. Bliss.

The whole thing really. Was bliss.

T-Giving & Our Christmas Tree

Happy December lads and lasses!

Thanksgiving this year was just delightful. Nan and Gare came to Portland, David took my Dad and I to a game at PK-80 and best of all – we didn’t have to make dinner. Yippee!

At the Moda center for the Duke vs Portland State PK-80 game.

Here are the Danielsons at dinner:

After dinner, we hung out while attempting a game of Quwarkle.

The next day was Black Friday so obvs:

Hold your comments until the end to tell me how pretty I am.

That weekend, we put up our tree! David and I wrestled with the lights for a good 45 minutes before deciding that some of them just didn’t work. So, I decided to add a couple strands of white lights to mix in.

Then, I got out my piddly little box of decor and sprinkled it around a bit.

And I nearly died putting this garland on the stairs.

But its done now 🙂

My hobbies as of late include:

  1. laying on the carpet watching Hallmark Christmas movies with Meira and threatening her life if she tries to get up.
  2. making a nest in our giant chair and trying to get Meira to lay with me (she will not).
  3. forcing David into my Seahawks onesie so we can take pajama pictures in front of the tree.

Murrrrrrry Christmas everyone!

Trip to North Carolina

Hey y’all.

I don’t know why I’ve already started this post out with a southern accent because truth be told, I didn’t encounter too many while we were in NC. We did however, encounter lots of other wonderful southern delights such as – Dunkin Donuts errrrwhere, the Piggly Wiggly, FIREFLIES and Family Dollar. We joked the whole time we were there that the “holy trinity” in each town was – a Dunkin, Hardee’s and a Family Dollar . JUST MY STYLE.

We took a red-eye over which is never an issue for this old lady, who can manage to sleep (mouth agape always) anywhere, anytime.

Saturday morning after picking up our rental car, we drove to our hotel in Garner and settled into a booth at The Waffle House while we waited for our room to be ready. That night, we attended a beautiful wedding for David’s friend Ben and his lovely bride, Camille.

Before the ceremony, we walked around the gardens and took tons of pics.

Look at my iPhone 7 DO WORK

The ceremony was lovely and the reception was beautiful as well. We had chicken, mashed potatoes, collard greens and corn with a delicious sauce. And rolls. I obviously like m’rolls.

Of course E made pals with all the little girls, including the flower girl who was SO cute.

And of course David took this serious glamour shot of me while we were waiting for our dranks. My arm looks about 7 miles long.

Processed with Rookie Cam

The next day we got up early, had continental breakfast at the hotel (LOVE when hotels have that!) and drove the 2 hours over to David’s brothers house.

We had a blast playing their pool. running through the sprinklers and really just getting to see E and her cousin play together.

Our Airbnb was about 40 minutes from their house on a golf course and after dinner that night we came home and totally crashed. The next morning though, we made a very cool discovery out by the pond…TURTLES!

Being Oregonians, seeing like 30 turtles waddle out to say hi to us was pretty damn cool. We stayed out there for like 30 minutes just watching them.

I pretty much DIED over the screened-in porch and have now decided that I need one of these in my future home.

Later that day, we all went to the beach!

The beach had ACTUAL shells, unlike the coast over here, where all you find is the odd broken sand dollar and the water was semi-warm.

That night, we had a super yummy dinner with the fam and flew back home the next day. Until next time, NC!