Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Doin' the Happy Dance!

Today was the first day of school - Olivia in 4th grade, and Jack in Kindergarten.  

I woke up early, and laid in bed for a while, thinking back on my own first days of school...seems not all that long ago.  Then I had to get up and dressed, and pack snacks/lunches and make sure backpacks were ready to go, filled to the brim with new school supplies.

Jack did great, and I did too.  I fully expected to shed a bucket of tears (those of you who know me well know that I am a HUGE crybaby).

As he lined up on the snake and we followed him in to class, I felt a few tears beginning.  But as I watched him sit quietly in his spot on the carpet, and listen to Mrs. Rad (his teacher), I knew that my job to this point was complete.  And all I felt was happiness.

When I picked him up, he had a huge smile on his face and when I asked how his first day was, he exclaimed "GREAT!" I couldn't be happier.

Now I have 3 1/2 hours alone with Grant each morning, which I will treasure.  
And in 3 years when Grant goes to school, I'm certain that I'll fill the bucket that was left empty today.

Monday, August 25, 2008

9 Things I Love About Olivia

Nine years ago today, I became a mom.  After 10 painful drug-free hours of natural labor this beautiful, amazing girl arrived and has been a joy and a blessing to our family!



In honor of Olivia's birthday, here are 9 things I love about her:

1.  She is the bravest girl I know.  Braver than me, I think.  She'll go on any ride, no matter how scary.  She'll try any food.  When she was just 4, and I found a scary spider in the bathtub, I called her in.  She took one look at it, said "This one needs a shoe."  She then got a shoe, smashed the spider, picked it up with toilet paper and flushed it down the toilet.   She's braver than me.

2.  She is incredibly helpful.  She has lots of chores around the house, and only sometimes complains.  She looks for ways to help me, and will sweep the floor without being asked, pick up her brothers' messes with little resistance, will get me anything I ask her to.  She's amazing.

3.  She is kind to everyone.  Even if they're not always kind to her.  All of her teachers have commented on her kindness.

4.  She is the best big sister in the world.  She loves her brothers more than you can imagine.  She has never shown even an ounce of anything other than complete love.  She changes diapers, gets clothes out and on, reads books, entertains and adores them.

5.  She is incredibly smart and beautiful.  I'd love her even if she weren't, but I'm glad she is!

6.  She gives amazing back rubs.  She has been practicing, and now gets paid $1 for 15 minutes.  She may have a future as a masseuse.

7.  She has great confidence.  She can sing a solo in church or in front of her whole school and not freak out one bit.  

8.  She dreams big.  Right now, she has decided that when she grows up, she'll be a vet, an astronaut or a rock star.  Or she might work at Safeway.  (Her ideas, not mine) I know she can do and be anything she wants to.

9.  She tells me she loves me every day.  Even if I've yelled at her.  And I know she means it.  And I love her too...

Friday, August 15, 2008

San Jose Giants

 Yesterday my mom, my dad, my two brothers, and I went to see the San Jose Giants! I had a hot dog and Jack had a hamburger for dinner. After we ate we got our seats next to some of my dad's work friends.

Grant had a lot of fun too. 

In the middle of the game someone that worked there came around all of the sections to see who was the loudest section and guess what?

We were the loudest section so we got sunflower seeds! 

After the game there was fireworks sponsored by Yahoo!


Freaky Friday

I have been wanting to know what it is like to be the mom so today mom and I switched places. I am blogging this for her today. Today I made breakfast for mom and my two brothers. I also had to fold all the laundry while my mom watched Monsters Inc. with the boys. Then my mom cleaned the backyard and cleaned her closet. I will have some more chores for her today. Being the mom is fun. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Younger than my years...

A friend sent me this link, and I tested it out to see if I was losing brain cells as quickly as it sometimes feels. Much to my surprise, my brain is actually 7 years younger than I am, and I think that's a good thing! Check it out!

This is a Japanese web-site that tests how old your brain is... It's fun...
Here are the instructions for the "test":
1. Touch 'start'
2. Wait for 3, 2, 1.
3. Memorize the number's position on the screen.
4. When the circles appear on the screen, click the position of the smallest number first, then the next larger number until you have clicked on all the circle:
5. At the end of game, the computer will tell you how old your brain is

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Fun Weekend In The Dunes!

We spent this past weekend camping at Pismo Beach - just outside of San Luis Obispo.  Steve's sister and her family joined us, along with his mom, and a few friends as well.  It was crazy packed, and we ended up making camp right at the waters edge.  High tide was a bit of an adventure...

Our newly expanded dune buggy held up fine, and the hours spent welding it back together proved worthwhile, as it did not break in two when flying over the dunes!  

Jack and Olivia had a ball on our newly acquired quad, and I fear that I may have lost the ability to keep them completely safe all the time.

Steve carved out a small circular track right in front of our camp for them to practice on.  

Steering and braking skills need to be improved a bit before we test their skills on open ground, but we're getting there.

The weather was beautiful, warm enough for Jack and Olivia to play in the frigid ocean waters.

We saw dolphins jumping and pelicans fishing.  We ate our fair share of sandy s'mores.  We enjoyed the fresh air and lack of electronics and comforts of home.

We splurged and bought our very own port-a-potty, and Steve came up with a clever home-made shower.  We still need to figure out how to heat the water, as it was cold enough to take our breath away.  But it still felt good to be clean for an hour before we were coated in salt and sand again!

The best part of the weekend was watching the kids have so much fun.  It was worth every ounce of preparation and clean-up just to watch them enjoy it so very much.

Two Soon...

Grant turned 2 on Friday, which seems impossible to me.  I feel like he should have just celebrated his first birthday.  Somehow his babyhood has escaped me, and I am left with an adorable toddler, in the throes of temper tantrums, potty training, language learning and not nearly enough cuddles.

We celebrated his birthday while camping at Pismo Beach.  
His birthday cake came complete with a good coating of sand. 
And with no running water, cleaning him up after he was done was no easy task.

His language is improving daily - and he says the funniest things.

First thing in the morning, Jack says "Grant, how was your good night sleep?"  To which Grant answers "Dood" (good) and then says "Jack dood night seep too?"  (Jack good night sleep too).  It's adorable.

When I say "I love you", he answers back "I yuv you".

The classic lately has been whenever I ask where daddy is.  Grant replies "Daddy work.  Dune duggy.  Geg house." (Translated Daddy work, dune buggy, Greg's house - can you tell where a lot of Steve's time has been spent lately?)

I can understand about 60% of what he says, and the other 40% I just have to guess.  I know that soon enough, I'll be understanding everything and the "Grant-ese" will be a thing of the past.

Grant has lots of favorites right now:  Sesame Street (more commonly known as "Big Bird") is the program of choice, and thanks to Video-On-Demand is available at all hours.  I think this is where Grant has learned to count to 11, sing his ABC's and sing "The Wheels On The Bus".  I don't think I've taught him a single thing.

He is a bit of a picky eater, and I trick him into eating fruits and vegetables by sneaking them into things.  His beverage of choice is "Taco Milk" (Chocolate milk) - which I try to limit to a couple of times a week.

Grant loves books, and will sit and page through them for quite a while.  He doesn't last too long when I try and read to him, but we can usually summarize the pages and make it through!

He gives wet, slobbery kisses.  He pats my back when he hugs me goodnight.  He gives love unconditionally. And while it will be many years before he understands how deeply he is loved, I think he has some idea.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Does this thing have a volume button?

Growing up, we had a family "mantra" - a set of rules that my brothers and I were afraid to break, for we knew the consequences would be harsh.  We had these rules memorized, and I was called on more than once by my parents to recite them...perhaps as a pre-cursor to any punishment that might have been in store.

So, what were these rules, you ask?  Here we go:

"Calm, relaxed and quiet.  No running, 
no jumping, and always tell the truth."  

That was it.  Nothing about cleaning my room, weeding the garden, taking out the trash.  Instead, the rules directly oppose all things related to childhood.  With the exception of the "always tell the truth" - that one I stand behind.

Now, here I am with my own family.  I have 3 active kids.  Kids who sometimes don't know the meaning of "calm, relaxed and quiet", and who are incapable of anything BUT running and jumping.  

Grant was born without a volume adjustment.  He only has one noise level, and that is LOUD.  Even when he's not screaming, he seems to be yelling.  Perhaps it's the fact that he's child #3, and as such, has to work harder to have his needs heard and met.  Whatever the reason, today has been one of those days where I wish I could turn off the sound.

It started the moment we sat down in church.  He immediately started asking for a "doot nack" - he's smart enough to know that I bring a fruit snack to help distract him and keep him quiet before he goes to nursery.  When I quietly whispered that it wasn't time for the fruit snack, he proceeded to get louder and louder, until he was doing a combination of yelling and growling "DOOT NACK".  I pulled out the goldfish instead, which kept him quiet for all of about 3 minutes.  I then gave in and gave him the fruit snack, which he promptly devoured and then began yelling for more.  

I love his ability to communicate.  I love that he's beginning to say words that I can actually understand.  I love that he's so smart he remembers when he gets a fruit snack, and knows how to work me to get his way.  I love how he smiles and says "TEEEEEESSSSSEEEEE" (Please) even after I've said no, and then I have to give in because he's so cute, not to mention polite.

I think the best solution might be to invest in a good pair of ear plugs.