Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Love

Kai climbed into our bed tonight (when she was supposed to be crawling into hers!) and said, "Mama snuggles for a few minutes?"  I don't get nearly enough Kai snuggles these days.  I usually put Alden to bed and Eric puts Kai to bed... So I miss my Kai snuggles.  So, of course, I said yes.  She settled into the crook of my arm and I rubbed her forehead and smoothed her hair away from her face.  She suddenly propped up and said, "I'm feeling happy but like crying at the same time and my body feels like it wants to shake.... I'm feeling all of that at once."

Eric smiled at her and said, "you're feeling love."


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Toddlerhood!

Alden loves to sing.  He has hummed along with songs for months.  And now, he has learned how to sing the tune of our favorite bedtime song, "sleep sleep"  The song goes, "sleep... sleep... sleep sleepyhead... sleep... sleep.... cuddle in your bed."  It is hard to capture on video, but Alden can get the tune pretty close and, at least to us, it's clear he is saying, "sleep sleep."  He wakes up in the morning and starts singing that song.  And he sings it along with me at night.  It's adorable.


He and Kai are also the dancing/car dancing team.  They love to boogie.  When I turn on one of their favorite songs in the car (at the moment, "Uptown Funk" is probably the most preferred song), Alden gives Kai a sideways glance as if to say, "are we going to do this?" and then they both start to go crazy.  So hard to get on video since I'm driving -- although, I did post that one awhile back of Alden rocking out. More recently, I captured Alden dancing in the living room -- I love how he keeps trying to hop! He has actually started to get some air!


Alden has also learned an amazing number of body parts.  I think our nanny must have taught him all of this.  I didn't!  He is definitely in that sponge-stage where he picks up on everything we do.  You can see him just watching us trying to figure out what we're doing and how to replicate it.  And, he loves picture books where he can learn new vocabulary.

Here he is showing off his knowledge of body parts!


It's clear he is in full-on toddler stage.  He runs, never walks.  He dances.  He sings.  He knows what we're saying and often gets that glint in his eye when he - very purposefully - does exactly what we told him not to do.  He understands the concept of time outs.  He pushes limits.  He insists on feeding himself -- which is so tough, since he signifies he's done by hurling his food off his tray and onto the floor with no warning.  He is learning more and more vocabulary every day.  Kai often looks at him and just says, "Alden, I love you sooo much."  That's exactly how we all feel. 

First Day of Second Grade


Well, the summer is over (although, I still have some posts to write about the end of our summer -- including videos of Alden, deck building, etc... it's coming.  I just have to find a few spare moments).   But, yesterday was the first day of 2nd Grade! 

Kai was really excited about the start of school.  This was the first year that Kailey is returning to the same school she was at the year before -- which makes such a big difference.  She has a group of friends that she loves.  She knows the school and the routine.  She knows her teacher, even though she hasn't spent a lot of time with him.  So she was more excited than nervous.

The report from the first day was good.  She said driving home, "Courtyard is a great school.  I love it there."  Couldn't really ask for a better report.

Alden, on the other hand, was not very excited to have Kailey leaving for the day.  He has so enjoyed having his sister around more this summer. 
 

Soccer!

Over Kailey's strenuous objections, I signed her up for soccer this Fall.  She insisted that she hates soccer and didn't want to play.  I told her that she might get to play on our neighbor - Nora's - team.  That made her slightly interested, but she still told me that she doesn't like soccer.

Kai has never been on a real soccer team; although, she's been doing soccer-like activities since she was 18 months old.  The team she was on in Oakland (that I coached) was co-ed and they never had games -- just scrimmages on small fields on Saturdays.  Kai didn't really like playing with the boys and generally didn't enjoy that season.

But, I thought we should give it one last try, so signed her up this year (I skipped last Fall because of the insanity with moving and settling into our new house).  Even though Kai had said she had no interest in playing, she was on fire the first practice.  And this even though she didn't get put on Nora's team -- when I found that out, I thought my whole idea for soccer was completely done for.  But, she surprised me.  When I broke the news that she wouldn't be on Nora's team, she was disappointed but agreed to still give the season a try.  And, like I said, it all clicked at the first practice.  She loved it.  And, I agreed to be the Assistant Coach for her team (seriously, what am I thinking?  I went from almost pulling her out of soccer altogether when I found out she didn't get on Nora's team because two practices a week and a game every Saturday with a kid that didn't want to play seemed like more of a headache than even I can handle -- and, within 24 hours, I had decided to help out with coaching and Kai decided she loved the sport.  Never say never).

In the seating tournament, she was all over the field.  Seriously, all over.  The head coach was laughing and saying, "she never stops running."  So true.  She scored two goals and came away beaming from ear to ear.  She is a soccer convert.  She was so excited to pick up her uniform, buy new shoes, and has been practicing at home.

I don't know what came over her -- but, it's been so fun to watch.  Soccer was my sport as a kid (and Eric's) and it's fun to see her take to the game and get so excited about it.  She has been completely jazzed at every practice and improving before our eyes.  Can't wait for the first real game this weekend!

Pictures from the seating tournament:




Friday, September 4, 2015

Camping!


Our summer extravaganza is coming to a close -- on Tuesday Kailey starts second grade.  But, these last weeks of summer have not been lazy days.  We took two weeks off at the end of August and spent a week (5 nights) camping in Big Sur and a week building a deck off the back of the house. It was Alden's first time camping and the first time Kai had been in a long time.  We made reservations for the camp spot six months ago!  So, it was hard to believe it was finally upon us.

Earlier in the summer, I realized we were going to have to get a new tent.  Eric and I bought the one and only tent we've ever the second year we were together, after one too many trips with Eric's one-season tent that he came to the relationship with (well, at the point we had it, it was only a one-season tent -- so ratty that it really wasn't much more than a thin piece of fabric, partially concealing you from the great outdoors).  I think it was camping somewhere in Virginia in the dead of winter in the middle of a lightning storm that resulted in us getting completely drenched that convinced us of the need to buy a four-season tent.  That, of the time we went to the horse island in Maryland and slept in the puddle that was our tent while the sleet/rain/hail poured down around us.  It was one of those times.  Anyway, early on, we bought a mountaineering tent.  Meaning it was built to weather storms.  And to be super light - for backpackers.  And super small.  It was intended for two people that liked to sleep curled up in a ball, forcing themselves to be the size of one person.  We've had that tent and that tent only for all these years -- including the camping trips we've been on with Kailey (and there have been several).  When I thought about our tent and camping in Big Sur with a squirmy baby that doesn't know how to sleep through the night, I realized an investment in our future was in order.

We went to REI and asked them when the next used gear sale was -- an event that happened on a monthly basis in Berkeley and was always a good way to score cheap gear.  In Sacramento, it turns out the gear sales happen a lot less often and are a thing.  A major thing.  We were told that we were lucky -- the sale was Saturday.  The store opened at 10 AM, but we should probably line up by 8.  Earlier if we were serious.  I was serious -- I wanted a 6 person tent in good condition.  Not the easiest of finds. And, it turned out, Eric had a work event that day -- so it meant going it alone.  It was an ordeal.  Alden was none to happy about the two hours in line.  But, we did it - somehow - and we got the tent!  Woo hoo!

Next stop -- Big Sur!  We went with our friends from Courtyard (Kailey and Dean are classmates) -- and I feel like we've found another family who really shares our camping style.  We ate terrific food, did activities without being overly scheduled, took turns cooking and cleaning, went hiking, divided up and did our own things part of the day, took naps, played in the hammocks, went to Junior Ranger programs, hiked every day, went swimming, played at the beach, had campfires, sang camp songs, roasted marshmallows, played games -- and just had fun.  Alden adored it.  Man, he got dirty.  He had so much fun just throwing dirt on himself. 

The one downside was the campsites were surrounded, and I do mean surrounded, by poison oak.  We told the kids to be super careful and pointed out the plants at issue.  A week after returning home, Eric said, "well, looks like we all escaped poison oak".  can you hear the "dunh dunh dunh" music playing in the background?  Yea -- that evening, Kai started itching, and has been covered in poison oak rash.  Like she rolled around in it at one point, which I don't recall her doing, but seriously -- she was covered.  It has been an itchy week around these parts. 

But, despite the poison oak, which didn't disrupt the trip at all but has just made the last week a little less fun -- we had an amazing time.  And, the other family we were with actually cares about documenting the journey in photos -- so, lucky for us, we have tons of great pictures.  Can't wait to go again!