Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dessert, Defined

On Tuesday after dinner Kailey said to me, "Mama, can I pleeeassseeee have dessert?  I haven't had dessert in SOOO long."

I replied, "Kailey! You just had cookies and brownies after your winter performance last night."

She agreed and added, "And today at our Jazzerettes celebration I had skittles and cookies and popcorn!"

"OK, then what do you mean you haven't had dessert in so long?" I asked.

"MAMA," she retorted, "Dessert is something you have after DINNER.  It's a treat after you eat your DINNER.  Those were just treats I had for other things.  They were NOT dessert."

Dessert.  Defined.  This kid is a lawyer in the making.

(I should add, I looked up the definition and she's right -- it is the final course of a meal so, technically, those other treats were not dessert. Glad to see her mastering the English language!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Performer

Kai is not really a performer.  Some kids will dance and sing and act for just about anyone.  They like to show off their tricks and regale an audience.  Not Kailey.  She likes to perfect her skills behind closed doors and, even once perfected, she isn't one for putting them on display. 

That said, school has been helpful in drawing Kai's performing abilities out.  Since Kindergarten, she's been in settings where she was able to perform as part of a group.  Kai is emboldened by having her friends and classmates around her.

Her first few drama performances in Kindergarten, she was still timid when she was on stage.  But, as she got more performances under her belt, we started to see her let loose when on stage.  During Kai's Opera Performance at the end of her Kindergarten year, she didn't seem nervous at all.

That trend has continued this year.  Over the weekend, Kai had her Jazzerettes performance and - seriously - she was on fire.  She attacked those songs.  One of the other moms said to me, "your little white girl has RYTHYM."  She really did.  I'm trying to get a copy of the video so I can put it on the blog.  She owned that performance. 

Then, yesterday, she had the winter performance at her school.  They recited a poem "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow" -- and, again, Kai was effervescent on stage.  She was having such a good time.  And one of the dads said, "Kai could be a talk show host!"  Her charisma was shining through.

Not sure this link will be good for all of time -- but this is the link to her performance:  http://youtu.be/7t16tdZIHCg 

I'm so glad she is learning how to get up in front of an audience and perform.  It's not easy.  It took me until I was well into adulthood and having to do public speaking on a regular basis that I got comfortable with being the center of attention.  And, Kai still hasn't moved to being the sole performer or speaker.  But, she's come a long way. 

After the performance Kai told us she was scared but that being scared helps her to be even better.  She has always been a kid that can overcome any challenge -- since her earliest days as a 3 pound baby surrounded by the lights and noises in the NICU to her now 6-year old self that can command a stage and draw everyone's eyes to her.  She is a remarkable kid. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Crawling and Eating and Kissing


Alden is such a fun baby these days -- except at night.  At night he is not a fun baby.  Although, to his credit, he keeps a VERY precise schedule.  He goes to sleep at 7:30 PM.  I transfer him to the pack and play so I can go downstairs and finish cleaning and hang out with Kai and Eric for a half hour before she goes to bed.  Then, at 8 PM, I return to our room to have some down time/iPad time while Eric puts Kai to bed.  Alden wakes up and wants to come into our bed at about 8:30, but snuggles right in and falls back asleep.  Then, he wakes up wanting to eat at 12:30, 3:30, 5:30 and is up for the day at 6:30.  I swear, I don't even need to look at the clock.  He is like a clock.  A clock that is slowly driving me batty. 

Last night he actually missed his 12:30 wake up but he has ME programmed, so I woke up anyway and then couldn't get back into a deep sleep because I was just waiting for him to roust.  He finally woke up to eat at 2 AM and then was up again at 4 AM and 6 AM.  So, he threw himself off a bit too.

The nights have definitely been rough.  But, the rest of the time he is a joy.  He's so happy -- although loud.  He is LOUD.  You cannot ignore Alden.  He doesn't cry when he wants something.  He reserves his cries for being hungry or tired or hurt.  That's it.  If he's crying, it's definitely one of those three things.  But, when he wants something (another bite of food, to be put down, to get out of whatever contraption he's in so he can crawl around, etc) he YELLS.  He just hollers.  And he keeps hollering until his wishes are granted.  We had friends over this weekend and he was hollering and they said, "is he upset?"  Well... not exactly.  But, he does want something! 

Usually these days he wants to be let loose.  He is serious about practicing his standing skills and annoyed when he's trapped in the bouncer, the high chair, or someone's arms and unable to practice getting up on his own. 
video


These videos are about a week old -- now he can pull himself up on almost anything and no longer has to search for the perfect place to accomplish his stunt!

He can also crawl now.  Not the commando crawl he's been doing since he was just shy of 5 months.  The regular crawl on his hands and knees... although, he still prefers the commando but, just as he reaches his desired destination (usually some object), he pulls himself up onto his hands and knees and does a proper crawl in order to get to where he's going.  Not sure why he only ends with the hands/knees crawl -- but, that's his style.

The other thing he is really into right now is feeding himself.  I am so paranoid about babies and eating.  I know, I know -- he's SUPPOSED to learn to eat.  He has 7 teeth.  He can crawl on his hands and knees.  He can pick up his own food and get it to his mouth.  He's ready for something with a bit more consistency than a finely blended milkshakes.  I know.  But, I don't like it.  I finally gave him so puffed cereal yesterday and he was STOKED.  I would only give him one at a time, but he was so happy to get to pick up his own food, get it into his mouth and chew.  He entertained himself for an hour eating one puff at a time.  I also let him eat a banana without mushing it up first and he quite enjoyed that as well.  Letting him eat something that can't just slide down his throat is not my favorite thing, but it is one of his!

Alden is also starting to say a few words and understand language.  He says, "mama" and "dada" and it's clear he is referring to us when he says it.  He also gives me big, open mouthed kisses when I say, "Alden, can I have a kiss?"  They are slobbery messes of kisses -- but I love them. 

This year has gone so fast -- I cannot believe he's closing in on nine months.  But, the eating, standing, kissing, and first signs of speech are clear indicators that this baby is zooming towards toddlerhood.  I wish I could just bottle his babyness -- he's been the sweetest of the sweet babies.  I'll miss it when it's gone. 

Family Pictures

 
For the first time, we got professional photographs taken of our family.  Since Eric and I never had a wedding or any other formal event, we've never had professional pictures even of just the two of us.  And, we haven't had them with the kids either.  My boss is a great photographer and she took baby pictures of Kai and Alden, but this is the first time we have pictures of all of us. 

I never get around to these kinds of things -- but, another mom at Kai's school organized a "photo party".  Basically, each family reserves 20 minutes of time for their photo shoot.  You just show up for your 20 minutes, pay the photographer your portion of the sitting fee, and then get a cd with all the prints from your sitting.

Now I am kicking myself for never having gotten around to this before -- I love the pictures she took!  My goal is to do this much more often in the future. 















 

 
Looking through these -- it is craazzzyyyyyy how long Alden is! In the picture where Eric is holding him -- he's the size of a two year old, practically.  8 months.  He's 8 months in these pictures.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

Trying to Keep Up


That seems like a good title for this post, given how far behind I've gotten with updates on the blog, Alden's seemingly endless desire to try to keep up with his big sister, and our new efforts at being more on top of social engagements, school and - of course - work!  In general, life these days feels like we are all trying to keep up with everything going on.

Which is a long way of saying, this post is really just an update. 

HALLOWEEN


For the first time in my life, we now live in a neighborhood where Halloween is a BIG deal.  In fact, the Sacramento Bee said our neighborhood is the #1 place to trick or treat in all of Sacramento.  This equals LOTS of trick or treaters.  Apparently, the former owners of our house always got the place all decked out (and quite scary) for the big event.  We managed to put out a few of the decorations we got last year-- although, that entailed getting home on Halloween evening at 5:30 and throwing some lights on the path, putting out a few decorations and hurriedly carving our pumpkins.  Somehow, we were "ready" to go by 6:30 when the first trick or treaters started rolling in (we got about 450 total kids coming to the house!)  Luckily, we bought a LOT of candy, but we have a ways to go to live up to the expectations of the trick or treaters around here.  I look forward to rising to the challenge in years to come. 

We did have fantastic costumes -- thanks to my mom who somehow managed to sew Alden and Olaf costume despite FOUR broken bones.  Amazing. 


Kai was Elsa (along with most every other 4 - 6 year old girl in the country).  My mom made this costume, too (prior to the accident) -- and, if I do say so myself, Kai was the best Elsa around. 


I tried so hard to get a picture of them together -- but, Alden was really not cooperating. 


As I said, Kai was not alone in her Elsa attire.  In fact, there were so many Elsas at her school that they did a group shot just with the Elsas!  I think the funniest story from Halloween is that when Kai got to school, her friends ran up to her and said, "WOW!  How'd you grow your hair so long?"  Because Kai is such a blondie, the long braid extension I got for her hair was apparently totally believable! 


 
 
It was fun to get into the Halloween fun this year -- and Kai loved hanging out with her friends all dressed up. 




SOCIALIZING

As we near the end of this insane year, things seem to finally be calming down.  Eric's job is not as crazy as it was.  Kai is doing fantastic in school and loving it.  Alden is becoming more and more of a person (less baby) and is so very engaging.  We are all settling into our house -- we recently bought a dining room table!! It's so fun to eat together around an actual dining room table in an actual dining room.  We're socializing a lot.  A LOT.  Seriously.  I see more of my Bay Area friends now then I did when we lived in the Bay Area.  Sarah, Penny and Max spent a day with us not too long ago.  Deb has been here twice.  Brian was over recently.  We also have been socializing a lot with our new Sacramento friends.  We've had playdates with kids in the neighborhood and Kai's school friends.  I met another mom with a baby Alden's age and we signed up for a Music Together class together.  We've had work friends over for dinner.  We've done more socializing since moving into this house then we've done in probably the last several years combined.  It feels a bit like trying on someone else's lifestyle.  But, I think it's been good for all of us to just get out there a little more and break up our usual routines. 

ALDEN

Alden is commando crawling like a pro, but also frequently pulls himself up onto all fours.  Then he rocks back and forth before dropping to his belly to commando crawl to his next destination.  He also LOVES to stand while holding onto something.  The look of pride on his face is priceless.  He continues to be such a happy baby.  He had his first cold this week but bounced back quickly (not before passing it onto both me and the nanny.  Sigh).  I am so in love with him -- he brings so much joy (and noise!) into our lives.

Alden also continues to be the best dressed baby -- thanks to the MANY amazing hand-me-downs we got from friends...

.
.. and because of the mad knitting skills of my colleague!
 
Even when he's missing his shirt, though, he's pretty darn cute!
 


 
We are also starting to do a nanny share with the baby of a colleague of mine.  I think it is so great that Alden has a friend to play with during the week -- he LOVES other babies.  So far, Will has only joined in a couple of times.  But we're hoping it becomes more regular in the months to come.  The two babies look like brothers -- and are exactly 4 weeks apart in age.  It seems like such a great match!  I really cannot believe how lucky we've gotten with early childhood for both of our kids.
 
 
 
 
 
 Alden has also taken a few tumbles lately -- poor baby!  And, this week, he has his first cold.  He seems to bounce back very quickly from these things -- but, so hard when he is sick or hurt.


And, he's still quite the eater!  Can't resist the pictures of Alden devouring his food.


SIBLINGS

Kai and Alden get closer every day.  They play together all the time.  Can't believe Alden is old enough to be grabbing the steering wheel from Kai already!


 
KAILEY

Kai is spelling and reading up a storm these days.  So crazy how it just catches on.  Her favorite subject at school continues to be math -- which is so cool.  I hope she holds onto her love of numbers. 

She also has become quite the cook.  She scrambles her own eggs in the morning and makes pancakes with Eric on the weekend.  It's a huge help and makes her so proud of herself. 

 
Kai also won the jog-a-thon at school!  She did 56 laps and got the most laps in 1st grade (among the girls, I believe).  She was so proud.  I am not surprised she won -- Kai is SO determined, especially when there is a trophy involved!!
 


FAMILY

 
Because of my mom's accident, we've been to Portland a couple of times this fall.  It's been fun to get there to spend some time, even if the circumstances are less than ideal.  It also means that for the first time ever, we got a picture of all the grandchildren on my side of the family.  Kai had a lot of fun playing with her cousins.
 


And, one last shot! 

 

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Book by Kailey

Kailey has been writing books at school.  I remember spending endless hours writing books as a child, and I love that she is getting into the writing process.  I also love her phonetic spelling, although, it does take some translating!  Here's her latest creation.


It says "By Kailey.  Mad at sool.  Mad in 2014.  Fro Kis.  The Sekerit Feres." 
Translation: By Kailey.  Made at school.  Made in 2014.  For kids.  The Secret Fairies.


It says: Wous a pon a tim. Dewus three fairys.  Not gist odune fairys.  Da wrol sekit fairys."
Translation:  Once upon a time there were three fairies.  Not just ordinary fairies.  They were secret fairies.

Unfortunately, that is as far as she got in her story -- but, I'm hooked!  I love the spelling of ordinary. 

If she finishes the story, I'll post more!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Food

Alden loves eating.  Loves it.  I feel like I probably should have started him on solids long before he turned 6 months.  He has taken to eating with such gusto, lunging at each bite and banging his little fists between bites, demanding more.  He is hilarious to watch.  So far we've tried bananas (LOVES them), avocados (likes them just fine -- especially if mixed with milk and rice cereal), pears (meh - he wasn't that into them), yogurt (loves it), sweet potatoes (seriously loves these), butternut squash (likes it), broccoli (HATES this... you could tell he felt tricked.  He SCREAMED.  But, later we mixed it with rice cereal and milk and he choked it down... a boy has to eat, after all), oatmeal (the baby kind -- he likes it), rice cereal (likes it). 

Alden will eat a whole banana and a bowl of baby oatmeal for breakfast and still nurse from both sides (about 7 - 8 ounces of milk).  For lunch he'll have half an avocado, yogurt and rice cereal and another 5 - 6 ounces of milk.  He usually nurses in-between breakfast and lunch, too.  I mean, he LOVES eating.

Which may explain why he is in 12 - 18 month clothing already.  He's far from fat.  In fact, he's only about 70th percentile for weight.  But, he is tall.  99th percentile for height.  And, all that food seems to make him just grow and grow. 

Feeding him is so satisfying because he loves it so.  It's adorable to watch.  And, really, not that messy anymore.  He is serious about getting everything into his mouth.  We have let him play with his food a few times, and that made quite a mess.  But, he loved fingerpainting with his avocado and it was fun to watch (less fun to clean up).

I'm hoping that Alden continues to love food as he gets older.  Kai has become quite the picky eater, and it's so irritating.  All she ever wants is noodles, sushi, pizza, shredded bbq chicken, or ham/cheese sandwiches.  She's still pretty good about fruit.  She really doesn't eat many veggies -- except soy beans.  She loves those.  And corn and peas.  And sometimes artichokes (for the butter, of course).  We still make her try everything we're eating -- but, whenever I do something different, it's such a hassle listening to her whine and complain.  I'm hoping she outgrows this phase. 

Actually, I should say, the last few days have been better.  Recently, I went with Kai on her class field trip to the pumpkin patch.  There was a little show that they watched while there that re-enacted the three little pigs and focused on the 5 food groups and how important it is to get something from each of the five every day (dairy, grains, protein, fruit and vegetables).  After that, Kai was complaining one night about food and refusing to eat.  Eric threw his hands up and said, "Kai, if you don't eat you're going to DIE."  He actually freaked her out, and she started taking bites.  And then she started asking questions and I reminded her of the play and how important it is to get all the food groups every day.  We talked about what was on her plate (the casserole had protein, grains and dairy and there was a veggie).  We talked about what she had for lunch and breakfast (grains and fruit).  She started to get into thinking about what she was putting in her body.  This morning, she scrambled her eggs (she scrambles her own eggs -- how awesome is that!) and then had a banana and gorilla munch.  After eating, she said, "I got protein, fruit and grains -- pretty good!" 

So, hopefully we're turning a corner with her and food and she'll start expanding her repertoire.  Now that we are settling in, I'm back to meal planning and we've been eating at home a lot and eating together.  Kai has also been cooking with me, and that helps to keep her engaged and interested in what we are eating.  I think all the chaos with our moves set us back in the eating department because we started taking so many shortcuts with meals (eating out, fridge night, using easy stand-bys like mac and cheese or ramen).  Kai got used to being able to mostly just eat the things she really likes -- but, now I'm focusing in a bit more on nutrition, cooking, and preparing meals as a family.  Feels good to be getting back to the basics -- and feels good to have both kids eating healthy most of the time. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Finding the Fun



About a month ago, we were in Portland and Leo and Soren met Alden for the first time.  Being the baby that he is, Alden squirmed around and was passed from adult to adult.  Leo and Soren didn't have much to do with him.  Later on, Amy texted that she had asked the boys what they thought of Alden and they said, "he's boring like any baby" but that "when he gets older, he'll be fun!"

We shared the twins' assessment of Alden with Kailey.  She didn't really say much at the time, but about a week later, she was playing with Alden while he bounced in his bouncy chair and they were both cracking each other up.  Afterwards, Kai said, "I found the fun in Alden!  Leo and Soren didn't find it... but, it's there!"

What a great way to put it -- she found the fun!

Here they are finding the fun together:

video

video

Best Week Ever

Kailey is having a great 1st grade year so far.  A lot of that is because her teacher, Ms. Peters, gives the students so many opportunities to shine every week.  And, recently, Kailey seems to have grabbed all the opportunities in one super stellar week. 

On the first day, Monday, we got a note from Ms. Peters at the end of the day.  It said:

"I wanted to let you know that Kailey had an amazing day today!  Not only was she the mystery student and got o pick from the pink basket, so also moved her pin on our behavior chart above Super Student on to me, earning herself two stars!  I am so proud of her."

The behavior chart is a stroke of genius.  Every day the kids start out in the green zone, "ready to learn".  Then, throughout the day they can move their clothes pin up or down the chart, depending on behavior.  Above the green, there are three levels -- ending in "super student".  If you end the day in the super student zone, you get a star on your pin.  After 5 stars, then the student enters the "hall of fame" and gets to choose a prize out of the mystery basket.  All the students remain in the hall of fame, and then get a new clothes pin to start collecting stars again.  In a single day, if the student is  already on super student and does something else worthy of moving your pin, then he/she gets to pin to the teacher and that earns the student two stars at the end of the day.  That's what happened to Kai on Monday.  The result was, after Monday, Kai had 3 stars on her clothes pin.  Two more to go to be in the Hall of Fame.

Also on Monday, Kai was the mystery student.  The mystery student is selected each day, but no one knows who it is.  If the student is good all day and moves up the chart, then at the end of the day the mystery student is revealed and that student gets to pick a prize.  If the student is not so good, then there is no announcement of the mystery student.  The kids love the element of surprise and it encourages them to each stay on track in the hopes of being the day's mystery student. 

Kai came home that Monday on cloud 9.  Two stars PLUS mystery student.  She was primed for an amazing week.  The next two days, Kai was on her very best behavior and shot up to super student both days.  That meant, on Wednesday she had her 5 stars and entered the hall of fame -- she was the first student in her class to make it to the hall of fame and to get to see what was in the elusive basket of prizes that had been tucked away over Ms. Peters' desk.  Kai choose a couple of fake tattoos (what is the fascination with tattoos?)

But, the week was not over.  That Friday was an all school assembly.  Actually, there were two all school assemblies.  At the beginning of the day, the students came together to hear the speeches of the students running for student council.  I stayed for the speeches -- they were adorable.  Then, at the end of the day, they reassembled to hear the winners and also for the monthly Paws Lottery drawing.  Throughout the day, teachers and administrators can hand out "paws tickets" to kids that they see going above and beyond.  For example, paws tickets are handed out for cleaning up a mess they didn't make or helping another student in need.  The paws tickets all go into a bucket and once a month there is a paws lottery drawing.  They draw six names from the lower grades and six from the upper grades.  That Friday, Kai was one of the lotto winners -- earning her yet ANOTHER prize (this time some lip gloss). 

It was quite a week for her.  At the end of the day Friday, I asked Kai who she voted for President of the school.  I had told her that morning to vote for Hyden because he's our neighbor.  Like the good voter she is, Kai ignored me.  Instead, she listened to the speeches and selected the candidate that appealed to her the most.  Kai told me, "I voted for MIchael because he said he would start a club just  for little kids and that he was going to let us pick our own lunch.  I'd pick cake, cupcakes and nachos."  First lesson in politics, win over your constituents with pandering and food. 

It was an amazing week -- and further evidence that we have found a superb school where Kai is really being given the chance to thrive. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Few of Her Favorite Things

So, of course, I haven't found time to actually interview Kai on her favorite things.  These days just run together.  I feel like we are never going to be unpacked and settled here.  It's weird living amongst so many boxes and empty rooms.  And, trying to juggle work, unpacking, baby care, regular life activities -- I just never think to ask Kai questions when I'm near my computer (and she's gone a huge chunk of every day at school).  So, I'm going to fill this out based on my own observations of her and - if I ever get around to it - will update it based on her own answers.  Should be fun to compare my own thinking with her answers at some point!

Book: Calvin and Hobbes -- Kailey and Eric read Calvin and Hobbes every night lately.  She references the jokes as we go about our day.  I also LOVED Calvin and Hobbes growing up -- so, it's fun to see her getting such pleasure out of my favorite comic strip.  She's a bit young to get all the humor, but she gets a lot of it.  I think she feels a bit of affinity towards Calvin!

Color: Kai has told me she likes ALL the colors EXCEPT brown, black, grey and white.  Basically, she likes color. That said, she still really gravitates towards pink and purple.  She loves anything pink or purple.  Elsa and the movie Frozen have her also loving the blues lately -- especially icy blues. 

Real Animal: Kailey LOVES animals. She stops to pet every dog we pass.  While we were in Denver the other day, a dog lunged at her and growled (she approached him from behind and tried to pet him, I think he was caught off guard and freaked).  It really scared Kailey -- but, it hasn't deterred her from going up to every dog we see to pet them.  She loves cats too.  She has started asking for a puppy or a kitten -- and, now that we're in this new house and settling down a bit, I would imagine we will accommodate that request sometime in the near(ish) future. 

 Stuffed Animal: Kai has never really gotten attached to any of her stuffed animals.  She plays with them sometimes and likes them all well enough.  But, she isn't that into any particular stuffed animal.

Subject at School: This category for Alden was "hold" -- but, that doesn't really apply when the person is six and a half!  So, let's talk about what Kai is liking at school.  She LOVES math bags.  She has requested that I volunteer during math bags.  She also loves science, cooking club, and jazzerettes.  This morning while driving to school, Kai declared, "I LOVE Courtyard!"  Basically, she seems to be really into school this year.  Woo hoo!

Song: Let It Go.  Here, Alden and Kai are in complete agreement.  We still have Frozen on constant loop in the car.  I am so sick of Frozen.

Outfit: Dresses.  Long, frilly, flowy dresses.  Kai almost never wears pants -- doesn't matter the activity.  She can run, climb, ride, play and wrestle in any dress.  She adores her dresses and most have about 30 of them.  It's insane.

 Activities: Make-believe.  Kai is still really into make-believe.  Most anything sets off her imagination.  She likes to play chef while she is cooking.  Waiter while she sets the table.  She is constantly talking while she goes about her day, making up stories in her head.  Kailey is also really enjoying cooking lately.  She scrambles her own eggs every morning.  She knows how to make coffee for me and Eric.  She loves making pancakes with Eric on the weekend.  Kai really enjoys being outdoors -- she likes riding her bike, running around the yard, monitoring the plants that she and Eric have ben growing (basil, flowers, wheat, and an apple tree).  Kai continues to be a very active kid and likes to be on the go all the time!

Toys: As with stuffed animals, Kai has never had a favorite toy.  Her favorite type of toy is crafts -- she loves to make things.  Her craft desk, which is stuffed to the gills with paper, glue, glitter, yarn, rubber bands, pipe cleaners, clay, and any other variety of crafty thing, is probably her favorite "toy".  She spends a ton of time at her desk creating all sorts of things.  If I tell her she cannot have something (like a new purse), she'll say, "that's OK -- I can just MAKE it" and then she'll run out of her desk and create a purse using paper and staples.  She draws all the time and her drawings have gotten really good.  She makes tons of rubber band bracelets and right now is really into braiding.  The girls loves to create.

This is so fun to do -- writing in categories like this really makes me think about the kids and consider what they are up to these days.  It also helps me to recall stories about them.  I will definitely try to do "favorite things" posts at least once a year! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

These are a few of his favorite things

I was re-reading old posts the other day, and really enjoying the fact that I recorded some of the things Kailey really liked when she was Alden's age.  I never would remember those little details if I had not wrote it down (patting myself on the back for keeping a blog all these years, nothing like a little self-congratulation now and then!)  So, in that spirit, I thought I'd do another one of those posts for Alden.  I'm going to interview Kailey later on and have her complete the list herself -- since, she's old enough to tell me her own favorite things! 

But, here are the categories I jotted down for Kai when she was six months old -- now updated for Alden!

Book: Little Blue Truck (although, he really seems to like all his books)

Color: I haven't noticed him gravitating towards a particular color

Real Animal: Alden hasn't really taken to real animals much.  I think Abby is too old and lays around too much -- he may not realize she's real.  He doesn't react much when other animals cross our path.  Maybe soon.

Stuffed Animal: Octopus (Katie gave him a toy octopus that he really digs)

Hold: Alden doesn't like to be held in one position for very long. He likes to move.  He certainly wants to see out while being held -- but, he's rarely content to stay in any one hold for very long and he likes to be on his belly the most of all.  Alden learned to roll onto his belly when he was just 2.5 months old and he's been doing that ever since. Now that he can commando crawl, he really wants to get on his belly so he can move around.

Song: Let It Go.  Alden has been listening to Let It Go since he was in utero.  And, man, he LOVES that song.  I've reported on how much he HATES the car.  The one thing that can get him to stop screaming in the car is to play Let It Go on loop.  He stops crying immediately and tilts his head to the side as if to say, "oh! It's my song!"  He loves that song. 

Outfit: Alden has the BEST clothes (thanks to the hand-me-downs from my friend Leecia).  They are all super soft and comfortable.  Alden seems to love them all. 

Activities: Crawling (commando crawling), going on walks in the stroller, laying on his belly on a blanket in the grass, tasting ever object that comes into his orbit, talking to/looking at/playing with his sister (Alden's favorite activities by far involve Kailey -- he LOVES being around Kailey), sitting in on meetings (OK -- maybe that's not his favorite activity, but he is quite good at it and has spent a LOT of time in meetings.  I had him at a 3 hour meeting the other day and he was sitting on my lap, holding onto the table in front of him, and staring intently at whoever was talking.  It was SO distracting for everyone else in the meeting.  He wasn't crying of fussing -- people just aren't used to having this little baby staring at them as if to say, "is that so?"  It was so funny), jumping and spinning in his Johnny Jumper (you know those things that you put in a doorway that they can jump up and down in), standing and playing in his play saucer, eating (oh my!  We just started him on rice cereal and he lunges at the spoon as if he hasn't seen food in a week.  He has downed 3 bowls in the last 12 hours!  We're excited to start trying new foods), smiling at people (he has the BEST smile and flashes it wherever we go -- so many people stop and comment on his brilliant smile!)

Toys: spoons, spatulas, balls with rattles inside them, his teething ring (especially when it's icy), the whinnie-the-pooh toys that surround his play saucer, his toy monkey (it has a crinkly ear that he loves), mirrors (real mirrors -- he likes looking at himself).

So, those are a few of his favorite things.  I'll have to do these posts more often -- it's fun to really think about what it is that Alden is into these days. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Look Back on the Last Six Months

Alden had his 6 month check-up yesterday!  How is it possible that a half a year has gone by already?  In that half a year, we've been through a lot:
  • Packed up and moved to Sacramento (with a lot of help from my sister, Katie)
 
  • Got settled into temporary housing  in Sacramento (thanks to our friend Susanna who let us live in her house the last several months)

  • Wrapped up a trying Kindergarten year -- although, it must be said, Kai did so triumphantly overcoming much adversity.  I'm so proud of her
  • Sold our Oakland house (a home sale that involved much drama and consternation; although, it would turn out, not nearly as much drama and consternation as we endured buying our new house)
 
  • Got Kai settled into summer camp at the place she would be for the 1st grade
     
  • Chaperoned many of the field trips held during camp over the summer (we went to Art Beast, the park, IMAX theater twice, and Fairytale Town)
  • Spent a lovely week with my mom and got to go to the CA State Fair for the first time (it was such fun!)
 
 
  • Passed a major budget item through the budget process (my work -- and with the help of my dear friend Susanna)
  • Dealt with major work issues on Eric's side (including the water bond, drought, staff turnover, hiring, and more)
  • Toured dozens and dozens of homes in Sacramento -- Kai will be happy to never go to an open house again until she is well into adulthood
  • Spent a lot of time at the pool where Kai took her swimming skills to the next level -- she can skin dive under the water and do somersaults -- it's enchanting to watch her swim
video
  • Found a house we loved and made a bid, but we lost out to another couple
  • Found another house we loved even more and made a crazy bid waiving our appraisal and loan contingencies in order to get our bid accepted (we were assured by our loan officer that we'd know if the house appraised before our inspection contingency ran... turns out, that was not the case.  Much drama ensued.)
  • Somehow wrangled a way to still buy the house despite a TON of drama with the purchase (thank you Eric's mom and sister and our friend Deb!)
  • Got Kai settled into 1st grade
  • Went "back" to work -- adding traveling into my life once more (it was nice being home for 5 months -- even if I was working, the break from airports and travel days was good).  Traveled to LA twice, Denver, and New Orleans (all with Alden in tow) in one month's time
 
 
 
  • Traveled to LA for work without Alden
  • Drove to Oregon to visit my mom after she took a terrible, terrible fall and broke her left femur, left shoulder, right thumb and right foot (my poor mom!!) -- somehow Alden did great during the 22 hours in the car (11 hours each way).  Kai always does great traveling - and this trip was no exception. 
  • Hired a nanny and figured out all the nuances of taxes, payroll, domestic worker laws, etc (well, to be honest, I'm still trying to figure that all out)
  • Packed up again (thanks, again, to my awesome friend Susanna)
  • Moved into a new house (which will hopefully be the last move for a very long time)... well, that is technically happening tomorrow, but Alden doesn't turn 6 months officially until Sunday. 
 
  • Watched Alden and Kailey develop the sweetest relationship -- they LOVE each other
 
 
 
  • Watched Alden learn how to commando crawl, start solid foods, and be a generally joyous little guy
video
 


 
 



What the last six months have proven to me is that we can handle a tremendous amount of change -- although, truly, I wouldn't advise taking on this many transitions at once and I am in desperate need of a vacation to recover from everything.  I also am acutely aware that the only thing that got us through the last six months is the help of amazing friends and family.  We've been so lucky to have people helping us through each step of this process. 

And, here we are, on the cusp of settling down (not that I'm trying to tempt fate here -- really, I just want things to settle down).  Somehow, our resilient, beautiful children seem to have survived all the chaos mostly unscathed.  Kai is doing absolutely amazing at her new school.  They have a behavior chart at school that they use to encourage listening and following directions -- Kai has only move UP the chart.  She's never been asked to move her peg down for acting out or misbehaving.  I should be clear -- this doesn't surprise me.  Kai has always been a joyful person who is eager to please and intent on doing things correctly.  What surprised me is that her teacher last year couldn't figure out how to tap into her amazing qualities and her vast reserves of positive energy.  Instead, he brought out her stubborn and defiant side -- which is also definitely there - but, can be positively channeled with just the teensiest bit of skill and know-how of childhood development.  But, Kai is thriving now.  She loves school and is excited to share her work with us each day and tell us all about what's been going on.  It's a total transformation from last year. 

And, Alden has also thrived despite being dragged from meeting to meeting, driven to and fro from Oakland to Sacramento and back again a ridiculous number of times, and generally been expected to be the go-along baby.  He has risen to the challenge.  And, he's the happiest baby I've ever met.  He rarely cries, preferring to grumble a bit when things aren't going his way.  He's mellow and happy and sweet.  He's doing all the baby things he's expected to do -- commando crawling, teething (he has TWO teeth now!), eating, growing, sleeping, babbling, laughing hysterically (especially when his sister is involved), grabbing at any little object that comes into his orbit, putting everything in his mouth.  He brightens up every day -- I'm so glad he's part of our little family.

After this weekend, we'll be moved into the new house.  Hopefully I can post a six month update six months from now that says, "we relaxed.  We settled into our new home.  We watched the days go by.  We played."  I know there is always an endless list of tasks, that we will dig into home projects again now that we have a home again, that Kai and Alden will both have big milestones and accomplishments, and that our list will never be so simple.  And, maybe, that's OK.  I look back at the list and the photos from the last six months and I see more than silver linings and way more than drudgery and despair.  In the wise words of Kai, "good things happen, bad things happen, then good things happen again."  So true.  So, here's to the next six months and the good, the bad, and the good that is sure to come our way.