i'm not chelsea.

collector of thoughts, images, and cats

five months.


i just recently went back and re-read all of my blog updates for Forest and let me tell you… i am so thankful that we have kept this record to memorialize as much of his growth as possible. it's hard to keep track of everything, but it's been a wonderful refresher to my heart.

personality // little bear's personality has been developing so fast lately & every day he shows us a little bit more of who he is. like i've said before, he's pensive BUT he enjoys being around people. mostly people watching when we go out (like the grocery store or farmer's market) but gets overwhelmed when he's the center of attention. being around family or large groups of friends will bring out the fuss in him, so we try to keep the hang outs down to one-on-one time. i think the secret to get on his good side is to be chill AF (so basically he's like a cat. if you act too into him, it's a turn off) or have boobs that feed him (that's just me so sorry). he doesn't much like to be touched by other people and has a really judgy look. i find that look adorable. hopefully his RBF keeps annoying people away. he also knows exactly what he wants – stubborn and not afraid to voice his opinion ;) he has been giggling periodically. the BOOP sound and fart sounds are the funniest and he LOVES watching videos of himself and also his mirror reflection.

stuff & things // between last month and now has felt like the LONGEST month. maybe it's because we moved across the country (errrr midwest) again, but i just feel like a lot has happened this past month. he is STILL wearing his 3mo clothes and i'm probably going to just start transitioning into his 6mo stuff because i feel that we had a good run with the others. forest loves music, super hot and super cold weather – none of that lame & comfortable 73° shit. he sits up like 79% confidently and can roll but never feels like it. we are getting ready to crawl by kicking off things with the feet! he loves new things all the time and would rather play 24/7 than sleep. one of his favorite things is watching mom and dad talk and then chiming in with his own opinion.

parents // mom & dad both got new jobs, a new home, and just a lot of new new new. i'm personally one of those people who lives for change. i love it. i love new challenges and making every day different. as far as baby things go, i had a minor bit of hair loss – nothing crazy, just a little bit of extra hair in the brush. THANK. GOD. i have a ton of hair but i was really worried about that happening. knock on wood that i'm in the clear. i started to lose a ton more weight so i am *almost* back to my pre-baby goal!! i was hoping i would be there already but when you gain 75#… you need time. tomorrow Arnold will be going back to Colorado for the last time to finish getting our stuff and we will be moving into our new place here! i'm so excited. finally the next chapter of our life is starting! hopefully next month has even better updates!

lately. 


weeelllllllp. we are back in Iowa. me anyway. Arnold won't be back until TOMORROW. seriously it's been the longest week ever. Can i brag about how absolutely lucky we are to have a husband/daddy who will be in a home alone just so he can finish off his job professionally and also finish packing and cleaning our apartment so we don't have to? I just imagine that would be so hard. He's 10 hours from his family and we miss him so much. 

Last Thursday night at 9pm, Arnold & Forest & cats & I packed up as much as we could fit in the car and hauled butt back to Iowa. Arnold had just finished a long work shift and i had been tending to Forest all day so we were tired. We decided to leave at night because normally, Forest sleeps and we thought it would be worth a shot to see if it helped. OMG. Thank you to whoever sent us good vibes because IT DID. He fussed for about the first hour, but managed to sleep the whole time. We made two stops for feeding and gas and he passed out. Kit Kat, on the other hand – screamed and howled the whole time. We made it into Iowa at 830a and I could have died happy. 

This transition has not been easy. There are a lot of things that make relocation hard. We are staying with my parents until we get an apartment locked down – I don't anticipate that taking more than a few weeks, but i'm thankful that they're letting us crash during this time. The cats and baby and us are adapting and working very hard to go back to as much of a "normal" routine as possible. 

A lot of people have wondered why we moved to Des Moines and not the Quad Cities. We have friends and family in both towns and it's just not fair to say we made that decision for the people and to be upset about our decision isn't right. Yes I'm from here, but that doesn't mean I own Arnold and we are here because of that. Des Moines, first of all, has Microsoft. Arnold works at microsoft and got a transfer. Arnolds career is important to Arnold and to me as I fully support him in chasing his goals to grow and move up. Des Moines has more opportunities. He's actually interviewing with a few other places and willing to work his ass off so Forest can have us around and not have to go to daycare or be in anyone else's care.  I got a part time job at a vet clinic because of a friend (Yes, i was going to be a full time SAHM but I just can't NOT do something and the vet clinic is super flexible and lets me work a few night shifts). We happen to like Des Moines a lot better because THERE ARE MORE THINGS TO DO HERE. Like I said before, we follow opportunities. If Portland calls or new york calls – we follow. 

I'm so nervous and I'm stressed out wondering how things will be during this time. Once we get moved into our place and get into a routine, I think things will be better. It's hard not to worry about little things, especially your home and bills (okay i guess those are big things) when you have a baby. Part of me feels guilty because we don't have a house – Arnold and I haven't changed our names legally to "match" – and that we aren't following the "American dream." Like… it's embarrassing to stay with my parents. I feel guilty and like I did something wrong. But it's okay. We could have been doing this same thing even if we were waiting on our house. There's just a lot of silent pressure that makes you feel bad because if you're not established in your careers and life. I hope Forest knows how much we love him and how hard we are willing to work (and how we sacrifice so much time with each other) so he can be safe and with us. 

I also stupidly find me comparing myself to other moms. a lot. and of course i feel inadequate. I don't have a house, we don't have a lot of money, I don't have a career or own a business, haven't made much of a difference in the world – i'm just a simple wife and a mom who lives each day enough to be good and do good and provide happiness to my husband and baby. I don't even have adventures in colorado anymore but it really doesn't matter. i spent a lot of energy living my life for other people and giving a lot of my time to them, but i feel the best i can do is devote my time to my little family. they deserve it. I love when Arnold can come home to a clean house and food and a happy baby. I never thought that this would be me – I always imagined myself in a big city, maybe alone, focused on my job and career. I realize you can have both, but whatever. Here we are – in Iowa. Focusing on US – I'm not sorry if anyone thinks that's selfish. Everyone should definitely spend a little bit more time worrying about themselves. 

Now for the food… I mean good about Iowa. We can't wait to eat all the yummy food we missed. Colorado doesn't have Pancheros or Casey's pizza or zombie burger or amazing BBQ – that's what we missed about it here. LaMie baked goods, the cheese shop.. HyVee cheese and wine selection. Y U M M M Y. scratch cupcakes. THE MEXICAN AND INDIAN RESTAURANTS- you can't beat those. Errrrmmmm this is why I'm still not super skinny again. The Iowa State Fair – how Iowa are we to be looking forward to that. The college campus where we fell more in love and attended together, the place where Arnold proposed to me, the simple state parks – Iowa is okay. It's home and it's special. 

colorado. 

As our time in Colorado comes to an end, i am flooded with many emotions – sad to be leaving such a beautiful place, excited to begin the next chapter of our lives, and nostalgic for all of the memories and places we will leave behind here. These last two years were truly the best of my life – I’m not sure what Arnold feels, but I can guess he feels the same. We left on a whim, basically one night in February 2015, we had a few drinks at dinner and just literally decided “Let’s do it! Let’s move to Colorado! Why not?” And so we did! We had no plans, knew no one out here, and figured nothing was stopping us. There are a lot of other reasons why we wanted to move out here too – Iowa wasn’t doing it for us anymore, we felt that if we stayed in Iowa during that point in our lives, we would be in a rut. We had recently gotten engaged, earned our degrees, and thought now was as good a time as any to go. I can tell you now – getting out of our comfort zones and away from everyone was literally the best decision. Because of that, we had an opportunity to be us – no driving back and forth to visit people, no doing ANYTHING for anyone. It was about us!! Well, we saved a lot of money, landed ourselves some jobs and an apartment, packed up our lives (left at midnight and checked into our apartment at 10am, unpacked the whole next day without any sleep) and started our jobs two days later. PHEW. 

In the last two years, Arnold and i eloped in the mountains, visited the most amazing places, dipped our toes into the career world for a chance to grow, and had a baby. We did it. I’m going to be completely honest when I say this, but the only reason we are moving home is because of Forest. Living in colorado with a baby is not easy. Not because we aren’t close to people, i mean – maybe a little, but because it’s so damned expensive. We truly hope to move back someday once we have a little bit more age on Forest. Arnold also had a career opportunity back home and we also felt that was the next step in order to progress with our lives. We did want to be closer to our roots to raise Forest and are hopeful to move back here (or anywhere in the united states) if anything allows. 

ANYWAY… I am going to recap the standout times of our last two years. *cries*


Literally our whole lives were packed into this trailer, along with our two cars. We left at midnight with cats and ourselves and our belongings and trailed it to Colorado. We haven’t been back to Iowa since! 


After a long day of packing, we thought it would be only fitting and drove up to the mountains. This photo I will treasure forever, as it was our first of us and our first real adventure as Colorado residents. We were such babies! 


Work life!! the photos above basically encapsulate our work life. I worked downtown, Arnolds first job was a traveling computer repair guy so he basically worked wherever they needed him (was downtown a lot). The best part of those first few months was being able to head to work with arnold and enjoy a breakfast downtown before we started our days. I really loved working in the city – i had the best of both worlds // work in the city, play in the mountains. My lunch break consisted of shopping the cute little city stores and also doing some site seeing. The food down there was alright but my favorite – sushi burrito. My least favorite thing was the homeless people and my favorite thing was the view!! I could work in my stuffy office but still see the mountains. After work, Arnold and I would usually hop right into our car and adventure in the mountains. I will truly miss those days. Riding the light rail and experiencing public transit was also something i am glad i will hopefully never do again. 

Our first time camping! We learned quickly that traditional camping in the rockies required months of planning… otherwise you might drive around all day looking for a spot. Also, sleeping in your car is fun – we kept the door closed because we were afraid of animals. Another first? s’mores made with poptarts. 

Our first little “trip” was with work friends! We drove to St Mary’s glacier and hiked alongside a waterfall and made it to the glacier. One of the most beautiful places we’ve visited during the last two years for sure. Also the first time i realized that you could experience at least 5 different types of weather all in one day. Snow, spring, summer, hot hot heat, lightening storms, etc. We only went there once – the first hike like that while getting used to the altitude literally kicked our asses! 

These last two years would not be what they are without visiting the RMNP – our favorite. We got a season pass both years and when we didn’t know what to do, we drove up through estes (elk city!) and hung out in the park. Each time we would go to the park, we would visit something new. My favorite trip to the park was the day we hiked through dream, nymph, and echo lakes. A small trail in the south east part of the park with a pretty big incline the whole way up. Nothing like glimmering lakes, evergreen trees, and lily pad filled lakes. We also enjoyed driving to the tundra when the trail ridge road was open. One of the places we visited most frequently was our rocky waterfall. One time, we tried to climb as high as we could – “i bet we’re close to the top now!” ummmm no. and we never made it. We actually took Forest to visit that rocky fall area when we came up a few weeks ago!


Another favorite place – Pikes Forest – you travel west a bit on 285 and turn south and the Forest takes you east quite a bit – We enjoyed making the full circle trip as to not visit the same place twice. FUN FACTS about this place – our vehicles got stuck in the snow twice down in the valley of this Forest. The first time, we were together and our car slipped in the snow and we got stranded for a while. The middle picture above is when Arnold was hanging out overlooking the river and i did nothing to help but take photos. Thankfully the kitty litter in our car and some guy named Jeb helped get us out. The second time, literally the same area was me all by myself. Also the first and last time i ever explored by myself in the mountains because of how frightening it was getting my car stuck (errrr the front wheel) in the snow on the side of the road. Some lady luckily found me and roped my car out. I cried and then drove home. Pikes forest had some of the best wildflowers and the cutest donkey. 


My favorite picture at one of our favorite places, the Garden of the gods. 

i know they say take only photos and leave only footprints, but i definitely took my fair share of flowers and also left a lot more than footprints. don’t worry, i didn’t leave trash. I almost buried my rat in the mountains but the thought of a bear or a mountain lion digging her up kept me from doing so. She’s been in my freezer and i guess i’ll bury her back in iowa. If you’re reading this far, I guess you deserve to know that. 


We only summitted two of the 14k feet mountains – Evans and Pikes peak. We actually didn’t hike to the top of any 14ers. 


The only mountain we actually climbed to the top was mount Lily. Our friend Colin hiked with us and it was the most tired i had EVER been in my life. climbing to the top of lily was harder than childbirth. 


The view outside our apartment. Aren’t we lucky?


the food in colorado S U C K E D. compared to Iowa, there is no food here that i will miss. except these donuts. 


Kyawlorado. 


my second favorite part of colorado? (i think you know the first. stay tuned) GETTING MARRIED (ELOPING) IN THE MOUNTAINS. We eloped with our best friends, Deb & Tony Logan, at Eldorado Springs. It was a beautiful sunny day, not too hot, overlooking a canyon with water and mountains upon mountains topped with pine. My bouquet was mountain flowers that Debbie had picked for me before the ceremony. Tony wrote our service and married us and we sealed our love for all eternity on land we trespassed on. We married on September 12, 2015. Arnold says that on September 11 we never forget to buy an anniversary gift. that’s why i married him. he’s smart. 

I literally have a thousand photos of the sand dunes locked away in my memory and also in my hard drive. We visited this place every season and there are new things to find and love each time you visit. SNOW ON SAND. i mean… come on. Arnold brought his skateboard and snowboard and used that on the dunes. I did not because i am a baby. I don’t particularly enjoy the beach or the ocean, but i do love me some sand on the mountains. We did attempt to summit the sand dunes but it was another situation where the top just never came. 


another favorite trip of mine was visiting the black canyon down by Gunnison. We got up early, headed south west, explored the canyon and also largest lakes in CO and were home by late night. This trip was also one of the scariest because driving the perimeter of the canyon is literally my hell on earth. 


you guys. DENVER LOVES LIGHTS. The city goes above and beyond on the 16th st mall for its lights during the holidays, christmas lights in the suburbs are just messed up, and Larimer street (a block away from my office) always has lights strung out. My favorite cafe was on this street and sometimes the best way to start the work day was a coffee under the city lights. 


I’m going to be honest when I say i truly prefer fall in Iowa as the colors are more expansive, but you just can’t beat colorful trees in the mountains. My favorite part about autumn in Colorado are the aspen trees. 

Winter in Colorado… the first year, we were a lot more brave than last winter, mostly because i was pregnant and was NOT going to fuck around in the mountains in the snow. just. no. One time we drove around on a random week day off – We parked, Arnold skateboarded down the road and i took photos. Another thing about winter in the mountains is sometimes you don’t even have to wait until traditional winter months. Like i said before, go far enough up and you’ll find snow. when we visited RMNP a few weeks ago, there was still snow! One of the scariest moments of my life was when we were driving through white out conditions through the mountains. I about had a heart attack. i do not recommend. 

Our first christmas in colorado and as a married couple – this will ALWAYS be my favorite christmas. Christmas with just the two of us, no driving through iowa (if you’re family and reading this, we will never drive across a snowy iowa on christmas again and thanks to Colorado, we definitely will be enjoying it as an intimate family of three) – anyway – we feasted on our own meal, stole a tree from the mountains, and finished the day with a hike and a picnic somewhere in the mountains. Last christmas we stayed in and snuggled with our cats because i was fat and pregnant. 


My most favorite trip? Heading west to Moab and visiting the Arches. We spent a few days making it a road trip and then driving through the national park. Someday i would love to go back and explore more of Utah. 


On Arnolds 30th birthday, we had this week long trip planned for MONTHS. in MARCH. to go to the grand canyon. we would road trip and stay in a few places until we got to Arizona and then travel and eat and have fun EXCEPT the morning we left, Colorado had a shit surprise blizzard that literally trapped us on the interstate all day. Of course we tried. there was a hot tub and celebrations for my hubbies birthday ahead. We talk about what could have been and laugh about it now but still consider this our biggest regret. 


If you would have asked me two years ago what my biggest goal for colorado would be, i would have said “to see a bear” – i did not see a bear. or a mountain lion. I DID HOWEVER see mountain goats, sheep, bighorn sheep, moose, elk, turkeys, wolves, foxes, and a thousand or more deer. Remember when Iowa chelsea saw a deer and she thought that was cool? Well we can thank colorado for ruining that. 


We stayed in TWO airbnb with friends and family. Basically living the luxury life. 


We had a lot a lot a lot of fun in the mountains, in the city, and in our home as a family of two, but the best thing Colorado have to us was our little boy, Forest. While he took away many opportunities to visit the mountains, he truly gave us the best adventure that will last a lifetime. Becoming his momma and papa has been the highlight of the past two years and we are so excited to see what will happen next. 


While pregnant with Forest, we spent a lot of time inside where it was safe – mostly eating. We had the best thanksgiving dinner – duck. i plan on keeping the duck tradition alive in our Kyaw family. We also made some effort to go on a babymoon to New Mexico. Why new mexico? Well… i ate a lot of mexican food, thought that new mexico would have good mexican food (they don’t by the way), and we were going to go to mount rushmore but decided to go to new mexico because it was still a short drive and someday when we are in iowa we can visit mt rushmore. 


Thankfully we were able to take Forest to the spot where we got married, the garden of the gods, and to the RMNP. We will be back with this little guy for sure!! Can’t keep the forest out of the forest…

Colorado was the best two years (so far) and these photos only put a small dent in my collection. We will be back :)

four months. 


it just honestly blows my mind that our little guy is four months old. about this time last year was when we found out we were pregnant, and that in itself is giving me a ton of nostalgia. last summer i was tired AF, nauseous, and scared about what would happen – still tired AF but in a more external way and not a, my-baby-is-using-my-life-force-to-grow, kinda way. less nausea, but still wondering everyday if i’m doing something wrong or how on earth i’m keeping a baby alive BUT we are doing it. he’s alive and thriving and just the best little joy there ever was. 

personality // as the photos show, he’s smiling pretty regularly. for the camera, you get this really goofy scrunched up smile – what a ham. without the camera, he’s got the biggest dimpled smile and it literally melts me. Forest is a morning baby – wakes up ready to play and bounce and move move move. i can’t say that there’s any better way to wake up than to a smiley and happy baby. he’s only laughed once for us, not a belly laugh or anything, and since then he hasn’t laughed again. we are most looking for that milestone. not too long ago, he also decided that car rides were fun again and a good place to nap, so we’ve been taking advantage of that. this next week, we have a mountain trip planned. wish us luck! His favorite toys are the ones that hang from his playmat and bassinet and he loves music. LOVES MUSIC. arnold says his favorite song is “every breath you take” by the Police, but i think he’s partial to Alanis’ “Ironic” ;) In case you were wondering, the bouncy ball is still the *only* way (other than sleep nursing) in which he will fall asleep. my personal hell would be my ass being glued to the damned ball. We keep busy by snuggling, lots of talking, and walking around looking at new things. I have found that he enjoys sites than playing with toys – he likes to be involved and moving around, not so much shaking rattles. 

stuff & things // our 4mo visit to the doctors isn’t until this Friday, but i’m going to guess he’s about 16# and maybe 24in. (update – 15# and 25.5in with a 16.5 head circumference).  He’s still wearing his 3mo clothes – carters fits him perfectly except for the ones with footies are a bit short. i think he will have long legs like his mama! He’s practically grabbing things purposefully, maybe needs a little work grabbing with his thumb, but he’s almost there. he also rolled over for the first time a few weeks ago during tummy time and can hold himself up pretty well in a push up position – when he wants. he’s one of those mood-driven babies who does a lot better with grabbing and rolling over when he’s not hungry or wet or tired. Forest is still being exclusively breast fed and we do not have any plans to start solids on him until he shows interest, his tummy is more mature, and he can hold himself up better. Arnold and I are also starting to sign with him! I know it’s early and we have a ways to go until he starts reciprocating, but i’m excited to see how that improves his mental growth and our communication. 

parents // this last month was probably one of the most rewarding. i have a feeling that we will keep saying that. A week or so ago began the fourth leap – if you’re familiar, you know that there’s a sleep regression and a little bit more cranky, clingy, and crying. he definitely knows that crying will get us and some attention – we are totally okay with that. first of all, i want him to know we are always there for him (and no this won’t turn him spoiled or affect his independence) and secondly, hearing our baby cry is just literally the worst. we are surviving, though, and learning to cope with little sleep and many cups of coffee. I quit my job a few weeks ago in order to stay home full time with him – i’ll discuss this a little bit more in a future blog post. Arnold is working now and trying to decide what kind of career to advance with when we move back to Iowa. ONE MORE MONTH and we will be home!! 

3MO. 

sometimes the best you can do is whip out your DSLR, hang up some curtains, “throw” your baby on the bed, and click away. hence these 3mo. photos and his light & white photo shoot. like i always say… IT IS WHAT IT IS. i managed to not be in any of these photos, either, so my only goal before leaving Colorado is to hope and beg for a mountain photo shoot for me and Forest. As you can see, this little stinker can hold his head up pretty well, is a bit of a character, and smiles a bit better for the nice camera than he does the phone. enjoy. my heart explodes for these.