Thursday, July 31, 2014

Russell and Alexa's Wedding

Russell and Alexa's wedding took place on an estate on a small lagoon that fed out into the ocean. The home itself was really interesting and cool, modern and sleek, but the garden was really warm and welcoming.

Michael snapped this picture of the couple during their 'first look' before the ceremony began.

Michael was one of two best men. He walked a maid of honor and the flower girl down the aisle.

Their ceremony was so sweet and personalized. Their friend officiated and they wrote their own vows, which were adorable and funny.

The reception also took place on the estate. They had a food truck arrive and cook up a few meal options that we selected from as we went through the line.

Michael gave a really wonderful speech which had people laughing and "aww-ing" and toasting the couple. 

We had some drinks, danced and ate some cake. (And if you hear rumors that I had three pieces of cake, just know that it was because I kept setting my plate down and it kept getting picked up and taken away by the wait staff.)

The night before, Judy had been moved to a nice, large room right on the beach with a balcony. Since she was going to be watching the kids all night, we made a mad dash to move some things into the room so she could put the kids down there. So when we got home from the wedding, we went to that new room instead. While it made for a stressful final 10 minutes before I had to leave for the wedding, it made for an awful nice morning of waking up to this:

That day we headed back to the wedding venue for a Sunday brunch. June consumed everything sweet in sight, including an ice cream drumstick that I just didn't have the heart to allow her to only eat half.

"I look like I have a beard!" she said.

And then it was time to say goodbye. We had such an awesome weekend with these two, we were sad to see it end.

(Though we couldn't be too sad...since we were heading off to Disneyland!)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sandy Carlsbad Days

On Thursday morning we woke up early to catch a 7 AM flight to San Diego. (I resisted the urge to say "HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ON THIS END OF THINGS?" while gently waking June in the pre-dawn darkness.)

We had a really great flight out and only had to wait a short time for my dear mother 'in-love' Judy to arrive. We packed up our things and drove to Carlsbad for some vacation time and the wedding of our friends Russell and Alexa. 

We packed a lot into those first few days. There was time on the beach, time in the pool, restaurants, walks and napping, not to mention the time we spent with Russell and Alexa in their wedding activities.  Michael was a co-best man in the wedding, so he was involved in pre-wedding golfing, partying and general fun-having. 

There were definitely challenging times. Judy and I were flexible with moving the kids around for designated nap and bed times. The toughest time for June was probably while we were at the wedding venue for the Rehearsal Dinner and Sunday Brunch since there weren't any toys and it was this sleek, modern home so there was a lot of exposed concrete, large panes of glass and some steps without railings. 

So I present to you a photo dump of the first few days of our trip! Don't mind me and my stream of consciousness!

We got great use out of the tent/sun shade I bought for this occasion. Thanks to the shade, Bennett spent hardly any time in the sun but got to enjoy the sights and sounds of the waves, along with rolling around on his towel. (Not to be a total curmudgeon, but I loved having a sun shade with a bottom/floor on it. I like feeling the sand in my toes, but I also don't really like feeling sand in my snacks, towels, sunscreen tubes, etc. etc. if you know what I mean. 

June was a fiend for the ocean for the first couple of days. She was charging the waves, wanting to go deeper, giggling and screaming and running. Then at one point, a wave came up and splashed her in the face, getting in her eyes. She cried, and from that moment on we couldn't get her within 30 yards of the water. This includes a family walk along the beach where she walked alone in the dry sand while the rest of us hung out near the water.

We had some drama with the hotel room messing up our reservation (we had booked two, had a confirmation email for two, but they only had one room for us), so the first night we were all in one room. This meant that June got her bedtime books while Bennett was already asleep in the room. Grammy read her some books by the comforting glow of an iPhone. 

There was a guest patio on which we ate breakfast every morning.

June picked the pose on that one. Grammy obliged.

On Friday, Judy went out for lunch with a friend. I was able to successfully get both kids down for a nap in the same room! Victory!

I got in some serious nap snuggling time with Bennett on this trip. I LOVED IT and didn't care for an instant that I was probably spoiling him out of being able to nap alone. 

I stole this one from Michael's phone. It's Russell hitting a golfball with a couple of helicopters flying over.

This was at the rehearsal, which June needed to be a part of. Since they had been running late from golfing, poor Michael was there in his old golf clothes before I showed up with his stuff to change into. 

See those boulders on the left-hand side? June was climbing on and jumping off of those all.night.long.

It was such fun little part of our trip. I can't say that it was exactly relaxing, but it was so nice to get to spend some time with the kids and Judy doing such stereotypical vacation things. Jumping into the pool and eating too much and using a million towels and sticking seaweed into sand castles for decoration.

These are the things, you know? The little pieces of kid life that you remember when you're older, memory snapshots we take and will keep and have when our kids are old and grown. When they're off building their own sand castles with their kids, I'll remember when June wanted to be a monster to tear hers down, and refused to go near the ocean to rinse off the sand, so we had to trudge back up to the hotel to take a shower rinse.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sweet Saturday

Looking back on the time leading up to and after Bennett's birth, we probably did see some behavioral outbursts from June. She was always sweet to Bennett, but there was definitely a time when she was throwing a lot of fits. At the time (and especially before Bennett was born), we wondered if it was just her being a typical three year old. I did a lot of reading online and saw a lot of stories of people saying that the 'terrible twos' are really more like the 'terrible two-and-a-half to four or so-s."

It was only after we'd had several weeks of relative normalcy that we could look back and see that something was really going on, and how it was tied to everything she was going through. And now it's even more clear to us when she's feeling a little squirrelly and in need of some attention.

It happens when we're really busy, sometimes it'll happen when we're both really focused on Bennett. It normally comes up in the form of her getting a little extra zany or testing rules. I've also noticed her starting to speak in baby talk sometimes.

Last week Michael made a long overdue observation - that we (and especially I) really need to make the effort to spend some one-on-one time with June. I don't know what happened...I had read this piece of parenting advice a million times...make sure to still spend solo time with your first born after the second one arrives. We just...hadn't, really. I guess in the back of my mind I felt like I was still getting lots of quality time with June. Having Bennett never stopped us from doing the things she loves to do, like going to the park or birthday parties.

But once Michael said it, it just became so glaringly obvious that I hadn't really spent time out of the house just with June. Hell, I hadn't even spent time inside the house just with June (other than during Bennett's naps).

So Junie and I had a mommy daughter date.

First I painted her fingernails and toenails.

It was warm outside, so we got to knock out two birds with one stone by shopping for a dress for a wedding and also getting to do the fun things that the mall has to offer.

She was so sweet and funny while we were shopping. She loves to climb into the racks of clothes and ask me what the password is. She would pick out the most garish of sparkly prom dresses and say "Oooh! Beautiful!" or "Look! It's an Elsa dress!"

(Taking a selfie to send to Mom for her opinion, of course.)

Then we took a ride on the carousel.

After that we got lunch, played in the mall playground and split a chocolate milkshake. (Breaking news: June loves milkshakes.)

(Also, she loves pretending to be Ariel up on a rock while a wave crashes behind her, and kept doing this type of move over and over on the mall play toy.)

At one point June told me she wanted to hold my hand. Independent June isn't really into holding hands all the time anymore. We only insist during certain times, like in crowds, crossing the street or in parking lots. I held her hand and asked her why she wanted to. "I don't want to get lost," she said.

So I held her freely-given hand and tried to absorb her little-ness while I could. I didn't want her to get lost either. I don't want to lose that connection we have, so I'm going to do better about having our little dates.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Baby Sitting Swap

We have some friends here in Sacramento who have kids around the same age as ours. Our girls are in the same class and they have a boy who is 7 months older than Bennett. We love hanging out with them because we have a great time and the girls are SO CUTE to watch play together.

We set up a baby sitting swap that has so far gone through one successful cycle!

Our friends dropped off their kids at our house one Friday night and we watched them for the evening. (We actually cheated because we had my mother in law in town, so we had an extra set of eyes and - more importantly - hands.)

After playing outside in the sprinklers, we headed inside where the girls dressed up in princess dresses and the boys cooled down in their diapers.

The little ones are the ones that require real work. The best thing about getting the girls together is that they entertain themselves. For example, Judy was holding Bennett while he napped and I was playing with their boy in the other room while Michael made dinner. Things were suspiciously quiet so I investigated what the girls were up to. 

They had June's tool box open and were playing doctor with one of June's babies. By SAWING HER ABDOMEN. 

I showed this picture to Shannon when she got home from her date and she said that it would be priceless if either one of them became an orthopedic surgeon!

So after a couple of weeks of busy weekends, we cashed in on the baby sitting swap. We dropped the kids off at our friends' house and had ourselves a date night!

We ate in a place in Midtown called Waterboy, which was actually pretty fancy considering the name. Awesome food. And it was so nice to just...sit and eat and talk, without a baby on my lap and without interruptions. (Not that I don't enjoy a, "Why is Maleficent mean? Is it because she has secret powers?" while I'm chatting about my day.)

After dinner we walked towards downtown and made it to the Capitol Mall, a large park surrounding the capitol building. There were tons of trees and memorials, such as this one to the Vietnam dead from the state of California.

Afterwards we had a drink and a small snack at a bar downtown, then mozied back toward the car to pick up our kids.

It was a success, we were told that our kids behaved themselves and got them home and transitioned into their own beds.

So excited that both of our babysitting nights went so smoothly...hopefully this means more date nights in the near future!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Amy and Erik's Visit

After we went to the 4th of July Parade in the morning, Michael stayed home with the kids while they napped while I went to the airport to pick up our friends! Amy, Erik and their adorable baby Duncan visited us from Seattle over the long weekend.

I've known Erik since we were about 4 years old, and I was lucky enough to be in their wedding several years ago.

We relaxed that first evening. We cooked burgers on the grill and went for a walk around the neighborhood. Since June (and the babies) would be asleep by the time fireworks started, we did a little sparkler-lighting of our own around 7:30 PM.

After the kids had gone down, we ate some homemade berry pie. (It might not be clear here, but it was supposed to look like an American flag. Stars are definitely not the easiest thing to free-hand into soft dough.

June also got to enjoy a little pie later in the weekend.

We really loved spending time with our friends for the rest of the weekend. We walked the neighborhood, went to the East Sac Farmer's Market, watched the kids play and hung out around the house.

On Saturday night we went out for sushi in midtown. The kids were all so well-behaved!

Look how sweet Duncan was with Bennett!

We loved getting to see them, so I guess this means I'll need to start looking into trips to Seattle soon! ;)