Monday, July 20, 2009

I never thought this day would come...

Last night, we experienced a family first: taking a bike ride as a family, with only one child on the back of a bike!

Jack got a smokin' hot new mountain bike for his 6th birthday. I swear, his bike is nicer than my everyday bike. Leave it to Steve to pick out the coolest, fastest, bike available in Jack's size!

Anyway, he's been practicing on our street, riding in circles for hours. Last night, we put the skills to the test, and rode around the neighborhood as a family after dinner. We live at the top of a rather steep hill, so braking ability is a necessity to make it down alive. Jack and Olivia opted to walk their bikes down the street to flatter ground.

We only had a few mishaps—while Jack is awesome at balancing, he's not completely proficient at steering or turning yet, and he doesn't always pay close attention to where he's going. He is easily distracted by his surroundings. He hasn't figured out that it's best to slow down before turning a corner, so there were a few wipeouts. He caught his handlebars on a post at one point and his bike stopped but he didn't...thank goodness for knee and elbow pads, gloves and a helmet!

As we were riding through the neighborhoods, I was reflecting on the past 10 years as a "family". We've been in the "baby" stage for a very long time. Now, we've reached the "kid" stage, where we can begin to do activities together that don't require a stroller, diaper bag, breast pump and bottles. Honestly, I wasn't sure we'd ever get to this stage. Now that it's here, I'm looking to the many adventures that lie ahead!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Next Best Thing...

Olivia has made it clear over the years that she feels gypped by not having a sister. While she adores her two brothers, she longs to share clothes, dolls and dreams with a sister. Since we can't deliver on demand (nor are we planning to!), she is having to accept the fact that she is, and always will be, the only girl in the house.

Today, she and Jack were upstairs playing quietly for a very long time. She came down with an extremely mischievous look on her face, and excitedly introduced me to:

Jack was more than content and pleased to be wearing one of her dresses, a pair of her shoes, and carrying a sparkly purse.

They then proceeded to put on a little show:

While it's fun playing dress up, I know Jack will be back to his grubby, sweaty boy clothes in no time, and while Olivia longs for a sister, having a brother who is willing to play along for the afternoon is the next best thing!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The First Vacation of Summer

Why summer vacation is called "vacation", I'll never know. Perhaps it's a vacation for the school for 10 weeks. But for a stay-at-home mom, it hardly feels like vacation. Entertaining three kids and keeping my sanity is more than I can handle most days.

For the past year, Jack has been requesting a trip to LegoLand for his 6th birthday. We made arrangements to go down to So. Cal., stay with Steve's mom for a long weekend, and make that request a reality. About a week prior to our departure, Steve had a last minute request to be in the Orange County office on the days leading up to our mini we all hopped in the car and headed south together. For me, this meant added days of not cooking, not cleaning, minimal laundry (which I'll explain later) and a whole lot of R&R.

While Steve and Joyce worked on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the kids and I played at the park, read books and swam in the pool. It was heaven. My mother-in-law insisted on doing all the cooking and cleaning up, while I laid on the couch and read 2 entire books in 4 days. That doesn't happen often (the reading, not the great MIL taking great care of us!)

Early Thursday morning, we headed south to Carlsbad for a fun-filled day at Legoland California. Crowds weren't bad...especially given that it was a holiday weekend.

Steve and I each got a little cozy with our Lego counterparts...

We had fun watching the Bob the Builder 4-D movie. What's 4-D you ask? It incorporates all the cool effects of a 3-D movie with real effects as well. Like wind blowing, snow falling, raindrops spattering, etc. Very cool!

Most of the rides were pretty mellow. Olivia and I went on a "Bionicle" ride, and got CRAZY!

There was a Lego workshop, where you could build your own race car and test it on the ramp. Not sure who was more intense...Jack or Steve!

We went out to dinner, and celebrated an "Almost Birthday" with Jack. He loved the crazy mexican singing...though he'd never admit it, and he barely cracked a smile while it was going on!

We spent Friday at Newport Beach, sunning in the same spot which has hosted Steve for all 42 years of his life, and his mom for the past 60.

The kids each had a turn being buried in the sand, which they mostly loved...

Jack and Grant each had a nap under a makeshift shade. Steve is amazing, and while this is only a minor example, his nickname of "MacGyver" suits him perfectly.

Saturday, we celebrated the 4th of July by setting off some legal noisemakers and watching fireworks on tv. No crowds, loud noises and rowdy hooligans (except our own) to contend with.

Sunday marked Jack's 6th birthday. The family came to help celebrate. Jack loved the extra attention, and had "the best birthday ever!"

Monday morning, we woke up at O-Dark-Thirty and hit the road. It was great to get back home, and once the laundry was done, I actually felt renewed, refreshed, and like I'd actually had a vacation!