Monday, June 28, 2010

Another Park

We went to a cool park last week, and by that I mean we didn't go to one of the 12 courtyard playgrounds in our housing complex... we actually got in the car and drove to a park. Since the coolest big-kid playground was closed because they were cutting down some huge trees right next to it, we had to settle for the baby/toddler playground which is actually best in my opinion because its safer for them. The boys wore outfits my mom sent in a package recently and I just LOVE the overalls on Charlie. He is such a cute boy with that ever-present mischievous grin. Thanks mom!!

Speaking of Charlie, he is starting to pronounce words so well! He clearly says the ending "t" in "out" and just this afternoon repeated a perfect "almost." He is such a tease and will offer things to people, only to retract it at the last moment. He likes to knock down Alec's towers or close his laptop over and over again wearing his little grin. He LOVES to read books and can last through even the long books. I can't believe he is the same age Alec was when we started him in playschool two years ago in September. Wow, 21 months is such a young age when you realize how young even a 3 and half year old can be.

Here are some pictures from Alec's very first week of playschool in 2008.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Baby Shower

Some great friends/visiting teachers threw me a baby shower this week. It was BEAUTIFUL! We had a tea party complete with scones and tarts and cucumber sandwiches etc... Everyone was so sweet and generous to me, and I'm lucky to know them all. Again, I'm struck with how well this ward takes care of us. Now we're pretty much ready for this little girl to come! Except, I still need to wash the clothes and pack a hospital bag.

The strawberry centerpiece was an edible strawberry topiary, where you pulled a strawberry off, dipped it in sour cream and rolled it in the brown sugar base. A-maaaazing. Thank you, Mary!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

We're half-way through the move and so when Alec and I tried to make breakfast in bed for Chris this morning we couldn't find a can opener. Since Chris did most of the random things packing/moving, I tiptoed upstairs to ask him if he knew where it was. He didn't but suggested a pocket knife and after finding it I let Chris show me how to use it. Despite Chris' very accurate description, somehow I couldn't do it right but I didn't want to wake Chris up any more so as a tribute to my Dad I used my creative juices to "make-it-work"... somehow. I kept having images of being starving and stranded somewhere with 1 can and a pocket knife and I KNEW it had to be possible.

I totally destroyed the can, but I did figure it out close to the end of creating my own hole.


Anyways, we had fun giving Chris some special attention today. He totally deserves it for just being the best Dad ever but also for all his hard work with our move yesterday. He kept doing trips, then did a bit of organizing even after I hit my wall and was in bed asleep at 10:00. Amazing. I love him and am so glad I got him to ask me to marry him 6 years ago next week.

Alec and Charlie writing their cards for Chris this morning. (Charlie mostly ate his marker...UGK!)
So proud of their breakfast for Chris, although that also could have just been their acute hunger.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Moving and Cookies

We're moving tomorrow and Monday to the next courtyard over so they can renovate this apartment in July (we're moving now so we don't move the week of our due date). Since we'll also be moving in late July (so we don't have to move again in 9 months when they renovate that apartment) we're trying to pack smart and not even unbox anything we won't need in the next month so its ready to go again for the second move. Luckily both moves are really close and so a lot of things can just be relocated without being put in a box as in drawers of clothes or bins of toys, etc.

Without Playschool to keep Alec entertained, I'm trying to think of fun activities to do together with Charlie. Last week we rode bikes to a nearby park, and went to a local free museum. Early this week we made cookies and I let the kids do the whole rolling out, cutting, out, and decorating on their own.

I knew in advance any dough I gave Charlie would end up in his mouth so I used an egg-less sugar cookie recipe. (Also that means, I could have some!) He did actually cut out and put on the pan a few really great cookies.

Favorite part: eating the dough.

Second favorite part: rolling it flat.


Alec did fantastic. I didn't help him at all and he made some really great shaped cookies. Also, I don't think he ate any dough until the very end.

He did a really good job decorating too. Naturally, any cookie he frosted and "sprinkler-ed"... he ate. My favorite was the "rainbow sprinkler" cookie he made with all the different colored "sprinklers."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

how to guarantee naps

To have time to organize before packing (we're moving practically next door next week), I've been encouraging Alec to take naps during his "Quiet Time" which has slowly evolved to a short (15 min) bit upstairs with books on my bed then coming down every 5-10 min checking the time and asking questions. I try to at least keep him upstairs until I finish my scripture study/journal time, but one day Alec asked if he could do scripture study with me downstairs. How do you say no to that? I couldn't, so I got out his scriptures and we sat side by side on the couch for a good 20 minutes or so before he quietly put his books aside and promptly fell asleep. Same thing happened the next day and the next. In fact, I've almost equated Alec's "scripture study" with "nap time." Not sure that is a habit I should keep fueling.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

First and Last

Lasts: Playschool! We've decided to stop our co-op playschool for the summer. The kids had a fun last day with Amy taking them to the Police Station. I'm told Alec did a fantastic job yelling his name into the microphone/loudspeaker/radio thing. We've had a fun year and will both miss the extra activities and quiet time but also be glad for the break.

Insert picture here soon

First: Chris started his internship at PARC this past week! He's working with a research team. I think Chris role is fairly theoretical with hopes of contributing at a high level with the output for the summer hopefully being a paper outlining his process. (more details may follow as he settles in and finds out more details) We made him cupcakes to celebrate his first day.


FYI. I despise first days on jobs. I feel like I usually end up crying or completely bored. My first "real" job as a waitress when I was almost 16, I spilled a shake and messed up an order and sorta got scolded by my boss and then my mom and little sister walk in and I just lose it and start crying at their sympathetic loving faces. My boss comes over and tells me to take some time in the back and starts being a bit more gentle, but a "real" customer walks in and I have to go take their order and the ladies take one look at my face and say, "First day?" I can only nod and try, unsuccessfully, to hold back more tears. Everyone was really nice about it, but that didn't make the awful feelings go away.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Memorial day to remember

For his third birthday, we got Alec a balance bike. A couple of kids in our courtyard had been riding them around, and it seemed to us like a fun alternative to training wheels. The idea is that the child can push themselves along and gradually start gliding farther and farther, building up the ability to balance and steer.
That whole building up process took Alec maybe a week back in January, and since then he has been getting more skilled and confident on his balance bike. Yesterday morning we went for a walk/run to Lake Lagunita (a little over a mile away) and he balance-biked the whole way (and back).

For whatever reason, yesterday afternoon we decided to try riding a bike with pedals. We borrowed a bike from a neighbor and set to it. Alec was fairly apprehensive about this, and took several minutes of just slowly and barely moving, just pushing himself with his feet little by little. He was resistant to our encouragement to try and glide farther and/or put his feet on the pedals.

I finally got him to agree to pedal if I was holding onto his shoulders so that he wouldn't tip over. We pedaled in one direction, with me holding on the whole time to build up his trust, and then turned around. On the way back we got moving good enough that I let go for a second or two, with my hands in place to grab him if he faltered. He did great and when we came to a stop I told him that he had done it, and I think this boosted his confidence. On the very next time he went about 50 feet by himself, and then was basically good to go. We ran and got Brittney to come watch, and then he had to show all of his friends.

This whole time Alec is just beaming, a simple satisfied smile on his face as he pedaled around the courtyard. I jogged next to him his first couple of times around, but it became clear that he was very sturdy and very careful, and so I let him go by himself. After about 3 laps, he was willing to try starting by himself and was successful at that right away too. I was just standing their dumbfounded as he proceeded to ride around for the next hour and a half or so, like he couldn't get enough. (We were unsuccessful in getting him to come in and eat with us, but I can't blame him, since just watching him was more fun than eating for us parents!)

It was amazing to watch him go from being reluctant to confident and able in a matter of minutes. I think it would be hard for anyone to be that sturdy and sure on their first day of riding a bike. And to see the joy on his face as he enjoyed his new found freedom and speed. What a wonderful experience for all of us. Charlie even clapped for him spontaneously as he rounded the corner one time.

Charlie had fun learning to drive and trying some rollerskates from our neighbor (a girl, if you couldn't tell). He is so funny and different than Alec. Every time that his feet would roll out from under him, so that he was basically just hanging by his arms on my hands, he would just start laughing like it was the funniest thing. Alec in similar situations seems to have been more scared by such near falls. So fun as our boys grow up. I love being a dad.

Also, I am totally sold on the balance bike idea and would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone interested in getting a child to learn to ride. We got ours at www.kazambikes.com
and have been very pleased.