Thursday, June 12, 2014

100 Happy Days - June 9 (day #9)

My awesome brother has been here for a few weeks helping us get ready to move. Although she was previously a huge fan, Phoebe has decided that for this visit she "doesn't like Uncle John". She reminds him of this frequently. However, when there is a computer and some ice cream involved, she'll hang out with him. Grudgingly.

Despite her declared dislike, Phoebe and John actually have a lot in common. I love watching the battle of wills when they interact.




100 Happy Days - June 8 (day #8)

Late on the 8th, Jeremy and Phoebe got back from the big camping trip. [Side note: I'll try to get John or Jeremy to post some camping pictures]. From all accounts the trip was a huge success and everyone had a great time. Phoebe climbed a rock wall, played in the river, and ate her weight in s'mores. After all that fun, and sleeping in a tent for two nights, everyone was a little worn out. When the campers got back, there were some quick showers, a light dinner, and then everyone just relaxed a little before early bedtime. Phoebe tends to get a little tragic when she is tired, so as a special treat (and to avoid full-on meltdown) we let her watch a little bit of Frozen before bed. She and Jeremy cuddled on the floor and watched the movie - watching them together definitely makes me happy. Jeremy is such a good Dad and it is adorable how Phoebe wants to be just like him - when they do things together she will watch him out of the corner of her eye and will try to copy him.


DANGER!!

Our cats have a fairly well-honed sense of self-preservation, so they have instinctively steered clear of Phoebe for most of her life. Lucy and Danger have both been a little more curious about Eleanor - especially when she is asleep inside her fleece sleep sack. Then I think they just assume we have conveniently provided them with a milk scented, fuzzy furnace to cuddle with.

Lately, Eleanor has been figuring out forward motion which makes her a bigger threat to the comfort of our four-legged family members. Lucy typically gives her a wide berth (and Rocky, as usual, stays well out of the way of all children). Danger though, is still interested in Ellie. He tends to bait her by sitting just out of reach. Then after she lunges and grabs him, he acts all put out and agitates for treats. He is not fooling anyone.




PS Please ignore the ginormous mess in the background. We're moving so that gives us a free pass on giant messes - right???

100 Happy Days - June 7 (day #7)

Fresh-from-the-bath baby in fuzzy jammies. 100% guaranteed to make anyone happy.


MORE!!!

 We started Eleanor on solid foods a little before her six month birthday. She is a VORACIOUS eater. At mealtime we need to clear everything off the table that is within her reach or she will shove it in her mouth. Ellie does not let her lack of teeth stop her from attempting to eat anything and everything she can get her tiny hands on. If you are a little too slow with the food, she is quick to let you know that she is waiting ...

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100 Happy Days - June 6 (day #6)

This was the day that Phoebe and Jeremy left for their big camping trip. I had spent all night on the 5th and most of the morning on the 6th frantically getting them ready to go then I had to head into the office to try to get caught up on some work. By the end of the day I was pretty worn out - not to mention a little sad that I was missing out on the Big Sur trip. But then I went to pick up Eleanor at daycare and I realized that there are definitely worse fates than having to spend a weekend with a cuddly, adorable seven month old.  Eleanor is a super sweet baby and often I don't get to give her much attention since I am busy dealing with Phoebe, or cooking or cleaning. I make the conscious decision to let a few things slide so that I could just spend a quiet, lazy weekend with my little munchkin.

Friday night we went out to dinner with my friend Rachel at a cute little German place in Seaside. It is run by an older couple - he serves and she cooks - the food is delicious and it definitely has "atmosphere" :)  We had a lot of fun at dinner, but after all the excitement of getting the campers ready and dinner out, we were both wiped. Eleanor even fell asleep on the way home. How could that adorable sleeping baby not make someone incredibly happy??


Our Little Dare Devils

At the park a few nights ago, I was holding Eleanor and we were watching Phoebe go down the slide. Every time Phoebe would slide, Eleanor would start kicking her legs and laughing. Phoebe said "Mommy, I think Babinor wants to go down the slide too". I tried to explain that Ellie was too little, but Phoebe promised to help and to be very careful so I decided to give it a shot. I put Ellie on Phoebe's lap and held on while they went down the slide - Eleanor LOVED it. She giggled and giggled and giggled.

After a few rounds of that Phoebe said they didn't need my help anymore and they could do it by themselves "just sisters, no mommies" is how she put it. In retrospect, this could have gone horribly awry, so maybe it wasn't my smartest parenting decision ever.  In practice though, Phoebe was very careful with her sister and very proud of how safe she was being. Eleanor, had a great time.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

100 Happy Days - June 5 (day #5)

Jeremy and Phoebe got invited to go on a big camping trip leaving mid-day on June 6th so the 5th was pretty busy. The group they were going with included six families with a total of 16 children among them. All the meals were communal so we had a bunch of grocery shopping and cooking to do to prep for our parts of the meals in addition to all the regular packing (tents, sleeping bags, etc) necessary for camping. Camping with kids is infinitely more complex than when it was just Jeremy and myself.  By the evening everyone was pretty stressed. Phoebe hadn't gotten enough attention while we all ran around getting packed, I was behind on the food prep schedule, and poor Eleanor was sitting in the jumperoo all neglected. I decided that we just needed to take a little break and head to the park. After all, if I was going to be up late making food, a half hour didn't really make or break the schedule and it would go a long way towards making everyone a little happier. I am trying to make more decisions like this - where I put aside the hustle and bustle of what needs to be done and just take a few minutes to do something that makes everyone happy and lowers the general busy-level in our house. These smiles were more than worth it!





100 Happy Days - June 4 (day #4)

Uh oh, only day #4 and I've already resorted to pictures of food. Yikes! This is a picture of our homemade pizza which is a semi-regular dinner around these parts (almost always served with a veggie for a nod towards nutrition). Jeremy mixes a batch of dough in the Kitchenaid so it is ready when we get home from daycare pickup. Phoebe does the rest (with a little help of course) - she likes to stretch out the dough, spread the sauce (with a few licks of the spoon just to test things out), and put on the cheese and pepperoni. A good amount of cheese and pepperoni goes into our helper rather than on the pizza, but that's part of the fun. Even though things are a little messier (and a lot slower) when Phoebe is in the kitchen, cooking with her makes me happy. I will be super happy when she is capable enough that she can cook dinner for us all by herself ... but I think we have at least a few more years before that happens :)


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Landscaping "Help"

Some friends of ours live downtown Monterey and have a huge empty lot next to them that they own and are fixing up as an outdoor hangout space (complete with fire pit and garden). It is a great place to hang out with beautiful ocean views and great company (for both the adults and kids). There are actually two families that live right next door to each other with two kids each, so when we all get together you can typically count on one or two parents at a time rotating through kid duty while everyone else gets a chance to have a glass of wine and talk to other grown ups.  Last weekend when we got there to cook out for dinner, they were finishing up a garden project - spreading hay on part of the lot. The kids were more than happy to help out. Let's just say our plan to skip bath time was quickly abandoned.









100 Happy Days - June 3 (day #3)

Today we took a walk to the park after dinner. Evenings can sometimes be a little rough because neither of our girls likes to nap (lest they miss out on something exciting) so by the end of the day they can be grumpy and whiny. Tonight after dinner we rallied and headed to the park at the end of the block where we played chase and swung on the swings. Both girls were tired, but had a great time playing at the park (Eleanor loves the swing!). Not only does family time at the park make me happy, it had the added bonus that both girls were asleep by 8 PM!
Eleanor is excited to ride to the park on Daddy's shoulders

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fashion - Phoebe style

Phoebe can be pretty particular about her clothing.  She's not into traditionally girly clothes, but she definitely has her preferences: fuzzy pants when it is cold, leggings when it is warmer, super hero shirts, headbands, capes, lots of blue, a little sparkle, and (recently) bicycle shirts. She also likes crazy mis-matched socks (bonus if they say "Hanes" on the bottom) and day-of-the-week underpants. Recently Phoebe has discovered accessorizing. For her that usually means a baby-sized headband (despite us purchasing her own headbands, she always wants her sister's), a cape (or a jacket worn as a cape), and sunglasses.  This Sunday, while we were out running errands, Phoebe went through several wardrobe changes:

In the car on the way to lunch. (1) Leggings (they are too small, but were the only clean pair we could find - part of this trip was to purchase a few more pairs of leggings to avoid having to squeeze into a two-sizes-too-small pair ever again), (2) super girl t-shirt (this is probably Phoebe's favorite shirt - it has velcro tabs and a cape that attaches. She loves to wear her cape. This day we forgot the cape, so she spent part of the day with a receiving blanket tied around her neck), (3) Infant sunglasses.
At lunch. Hoodie jacket with hood up. Sunglasses inside.  

While I was digging through clearance leggings trying to find Phoebe's size, she helped herself to a whole new outfit. Since everything was on sale and I didn't have the energy to wrestle her out of the clothes, we bought her the outfit and let her wear it home. The sunglasses in particular have been a big hit ... she even wore them in the bathtub last night.


100 Happy Days - June 2 (day #2)

Phoebe loves being a big sister - sometimes a little too much - her style of love can be a little aggressive :)  Phoebe always wants to help with Eleanor and lately she has been offering crawling tutorials as Eleanor tries to figure out how to move around. Eleanor has also just started to stand with support (and can even pull herself up every once in a while). Phoebe is really excited by this new development, and often insists on sitting right behind Ellie "so if she falls over I can catch her right away".  While we often have to remind Phoebe to give Eleanor a little space, big sister helping little sister is definitely something that makes me happy. I think these two will be thick as thieves when they get older and it is really cool to watch that relationship develop.


Monday, June 2, 2014

100 Happy Days - June 1 (day #1)

Reading makes me happy and reading with my kids makes me super happy. Last week my mom sent Phoebe her very first chapter books. We weren't sure she was ready, but she has jumped right in. We have read The Magic Treehouse books 1-4 numerous times in the last week - other than a little confusion about the difference between mommies and mummies things are going great! Even though the stories might be a little slow for mom and dad (a little less exciting than say Game of Thrones) reading them with Phoebe is one of my favorite parts of the day. She usually wants to read right after she gets up in the morning, or before she goes to bed at night. We've also been reading the books as part of mandated "quiet time" on the weekends. Phoebe snuggles up on one of our laps and will stay there through a whole 10-chapter book if we're willing to read that long. Phoebe snuggles + getting to share one of my favorite hobbies with my kids is definitely something to be happy about.


100 Happy Days

There is an online challenge called 100 Happy Days (http://100happydays.com/) that encourages people to take time to enjoy the good things in their lives. I have been pretty bad at appreciating the good in my life lately since there has been so much chaos and stress (new jobs, moving, sick kitty, etc). So it seems like the perfect time to jump in and challenge myself to focus on the positive at least once a day. When it gets right down to it, I have an amazing family and pretty darn good life. As part of the challenge you are supposed to post one picture a day of something that makes/made you happy that day. I'll take a photo each day, but will likely post them in batches. Let's see if I can actually keep up - here's hoping for happy :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt 2014

Last year we hosted an Easter egg hunt and had a great time. It was so much fun, that at the after Easter sales I stocked up on a ridiculous number of little plastic eggs planning to host again this year.  Sadly, with everything going on, I didn't even realize Easter was almost here until it was far too late (and our house was far too trashed) to throw together an egg hunt. I was feeling a little guilty, but luckily, our good friends decided to have us all over to hunt eggs at their house instead so our eggs got put to good use.

I would like to say that it was a 100% fun time, but as with anything involving toddlers, it was kind of a mixed bag.  Phoebe didn't sleep enough the night before and woke up early in a mood. Before we'd even left the house, I'd had to count backwards from 10 about 9000 times to keep from yelling at her and as the culmination of our getting-ready-to-go battle, Phoebe stepped in the middle of the casserole I'd prepared for the pot luck brunch. Nothing like the tread of a toddler sneaker to add a little flavor to your French toast.

At the egg hunt, the kids played and had fun ... alternating with ridiculous tantrums and fights. Apparently everyone under four has decided that blue is the BEST COLOR EVER so even if there are multiple toys of exactly the same type, everyone MUST HAVE THE BLUE ONE. Seriously. Let's just say I went ahead and told the guy pouring to leave the OJ out of my mimosa and maybe instead of champagne he could find something a little stronger. People look at you a little funny when you say something like that with a sleeping baby strapped to your chest.

I did have a good time catching up with some of our parent friends in short snippets, but I spent most of the party dealing with some sort of kid crisis or trying to keep the sleeping baby out of the fray. I know this is just a season in life that will pass soon, but it can get really frustrating. I want to be able to enjoy an uninterrupted twenty minutes of adult conversation. I want to be able to eat at a party without balancing a plate on the head of a sleeping/fussy baby. I want to be able to eat slowly enough to actually taste my food again. I would like a small person to say "hey mom, thanks for buying eggs and treats and taking the time to stuff said treats into said eggs and putting all this together" instead of flinging herself on the ground in a screaming fit because the egg she picked up has jelly beans instead of M&Ms. Sometimes I just feel all parented out. I don't want to sit down and have a calm conversation about sharing and hugs I just want to say "Fine. You kids want to roll around in the dirt and punch each other over who gets the blue sidewalk chalk? HAVE AT IT, I've got $2 on the guy in the light up sneakers".

I don't want to give the impression that I don't love my kids (or that I'm an alcoholic). I do love my children, desperately. It is just that sometimes I also desperately feel like I need a little break. (and, for the record, I only had one no-OJ mimosa). I also think it is really important to be honest about stuff like this because when you look at the pictures, all you see is a bunch of adorable kids having a great time. It can feel like you're the only parent struggling. But age three is seriously kicking my butt. I love watching Phoebe learn and grow and discover new things. We have a lot of great moments and I really do feel that at her core she is a good, compassionate kid. But the day to day can be a serious grind and sometimes I feel like a pretty ineffective parent.

But, without further ado, now that you know the whole story, here are some pictures of adorable kids having a great time ....

Phoebe is deciding whether she will jump from the top of the jungle gym ... onto the dog.  In this case she actually made the right decision (also the dog - who is no fool - relocated herself)
Baseball!
Hockey!
They are just so darn cute when they aren't causing trouble. So deceptive. 
The kids saw a wild turkey in the neighbor's yard.. They are calling out to it to try to get it to come. They are surprised that the turkey decides to head the opposite direction. I am not.
Double trouble :)
The egg hunt is about to start. We asked the kids to line up by their baskets. This is what happened.
The egg hunt started and all the kids took off. Except for Phoebe. She seemed a little put out by the whole thing ... until we reminded her that some of the eggs contained M&Ms.