Sugar and spice and all things nice. That’s what little girls are made of.

So I wasn’t completely honest with you in my last post… When I last wrote Tanya had in fact gone into labour that morning, though we weren’t sure if it was Braxton Hicks or not as she had decided to go into work. That’s dedication. If a woman in labour can go into work, I don’t think anyone can justify taking a sick day ever again! After keeping a doctor’s appointment at 2pm that day she was taken to the hospital and fully went into labour just in time for her cesarean section. Zara Willow Jones was born at 5.11pm (Pacific Time) weighing 7lbs 5oz :)

With Tanya and Harvey at the hospital, Ben and I looked after Zach on his last night as an only child. It was a pretty awesome thing to be part of actually; telling a 3 year old that his baby sister had been born and was no longer in Mummy’s tummy. I hate to say it but seeing the excitement and wonder in his eyes the moment that he had understood what had happened was almost tearfully adorable.

Instead of taking Zach to school the next day we all went to the hospital to see Tanya and baby Zara. She was so cute in her little pink bow hat! I’m not great with babies, their vulnerability can be daunting and I don’t trust myself to look after one just yet, but I gave her a cuddle and I’m proud to announce that no one was harmed.

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It was actually the first time I’ve ever been to a hospital to meet a newborn. The hospital room was huge, with a stunning view of Seattle. The midwives were lovely too, despite being overly enamoured by our British-ness. I guess you can’t blame them for laughing when “cor blimey”, “my giddy aunt” and other such phrases suited to Dick Van Dyke in ‘Mary Poppins’ were flying about all over the place. Ben and I bought a little balloon to put in the room and an ‘I’m a Big Brother’ wristband for Zach which I thought was the cutest thing ever. Turned out it was cute for about five minutes until he decided he didn’t want to wear it anymore!

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The hospital offered the service to have professional photographs taken of the newborn, and I thought this was a really lovely idea. The pictures turned out really well:

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After lots more pictures and baby cuddles, Ben and I left them to it, walking downtown to finally get a Seattle Harley T-shirt for Jamie. We revisited the eclectic Pike Pub and explored the quirky underground shops of Pike Place Market, including a comic book/collectables store complete with original film scripts and a life-sized cut out of Sheldon Cooper (!) Though my favourite find of the day had to be a small Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ merchandise shop filled with colourful sugar skulls.

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We also went back to the first ever Starbucks at Pike Place. I’ve always been a Starbucks fan (despite their tax dodging inclinations) but I think I drink more Starbucks than ever before. It is literally not an exaggeration that there is one on every corner. In fact there’s probably one on every corner and at least one in between that. On a side note I’m very sad that they’ve stopped making Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. I tried a Vanilla Spice but it was crap. Bring me back my Pumpkin Spice Latte please!! For lunch we grabbed a bite at Piroshky, Piroshky, a cheap yet highly reviewed Russian bakery that make pasty-like filled dough pockets that turned out to be delicious. After sampling a few savoury offerings I feel that we must go back again to try the sweet options. It’s only polite.

I don’t actually remember what happened the next few days… apart from the fact that Harvey and Zach would go to the Hospital in the morning and then Harvey would bring Zach back for us to look after in the afternoon. Tanya’s mum Lalka arrived from San Diego on the Thursday and stayed in the Hospital with Tanya. We tried to keep the house tidy for when Tanya and Zara returned, which they did on Saturday. They had to stay an extra day at the hospital as Zara was under observation for jaundice (something to do with Harvey and Tanya’s blood types disagreeing?) but she’s fine now :)

Sunday saw a return visit to Costco and an afternoon trip to the beautiful Gasworks Park to play football with Zach. Situated on the North Shore of Lake Union, the park is literally home to an old gasworks plant, the last of its kind in the US. For the film buffs of you out there, the houseboats from ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ are just on the other side of the lake.

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Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day & Barack Obama’s inauguration. We ventured out to Ballard, where we strolled along the stunning (yet freezing cold!) Golden Gardens Beach.

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We saw a family having a bonfire with their old Christmas tree which I thought looked like a pretty cool post-Christmas tradition. The centre of Ballard is quite eccentric, filled with interesting music venues, bars and kitsch vintage clothing stores. Seattle in general seems to be this way; I love the artistic vibe here, as well as the nice balance of green and urban spaces. I have a hunch that Vancouver will be similar, but even better :) We went to Cupcake Royale, where Harvey bought me a ‘Velvet Elvis’ cupcake – banana and chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and a sprinkling of crispy bacon pieces – so named after Elvis’ alleged favourite peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches! I’m sticking to my ‘try new things’ philosophy and I’ve got to say, it works.

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The only pub open in Ballard on this public holiday was the English ‘New Market’ pub (go Brits!), so we stopped for a few drinks where Ben was elated at the Strongbow on tap and the chatty barmaid experimented with cocktails for me to try. I had a concoction of blueberry vodka, raspberry puree, crushed lemons, sugar syrup and lemonade and then one with cherry brandy, absolute citron, grenadine and lime. Tasty stuff.

On Tuesday I had a chat with Mum and Weaven on Skype. I’m so jealous of the snow in England right now. Ben is gutted! How can it be snowing there and not here?! The boys went swimming again, yet another thing to be jealous of as I still don’t have anything to wear in the pool… Yesterday we went to Capitol Hill, the loud and proud gay neighbourhood of Seattle, and apparently the best place to go on a night out. We wandered around in the rain, coming across some awesome looking bars including the bar that the Barmaid from the New Market pub had recommended to us called ‘Moe Bar’. Next to this was a tiny fish and chip shop called the Pike Fish Fry where we tried battered catfish with lemon aioli and the best chip shop chips I have ever tasted. We’ll definitely have to come back to this neighbourhood on a night out when we have some more money! There are art installations everywhere, my favourite of which are known as the Broadway Steps; different dance steps infused into the pavement of numerous Capitol Hill corners.

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In the evening we went to a pool hall with Harvey, Mirko, Vladi, and Moriel to celebrate the birth of baby Zara. We had a great night despite Ben and I losing every single game of pool! I got attacked with red cue chalk, Ben tried moonshine, we introduced the wonder of jagerbombs to the guys and the barman and I enjoyed experimenting with cocktails. My two favourites were the ‘Beach Beauty’ (Malibu, mango rum, triple sec, crushed lime and cranberry juice) and a custom creation with whipped cream vodka (!), Baileys and chocolate syrup. Everything else is just a bit blurry…

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