Sunday, November 29, 2015

Around Here Lately

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

We were really lucky to have a visit from my brother and his girlfriend. Before I post some pictures of their visit, however, I wanted to unload some recent photos from my iPhone.

Lately, Bennett has three activities he's always trying to do at home. One is pull a chair over toward the microwave, climbing on the chair and pressing buttons on the microwave. The second is looking through a photo book I made of our Hawaiian vacation pictures (he likes pointing and naming all the people in the photos.) The third is having these little "Hello" magazine/books read to him. Over and over again.

I recently had a trip back to Arizona for work for a week. It just happened to coincide with a trip that Michael had to New York, so my mother-in-love flew in town and watched the kids for us! We are so lucky to have her!

And Michael was lucky enough to see my parents in NYC, who were there for continued assessment/treatment!

My days were packed with work, but I was able to squeeze in some time afterwards to see friends and family. I had so much fun with JP, Alison and Kai at Top Golf. This is sort of like Cosmic Bowling in that it takes a relatively mundane daytime activity (a golf driving range) and amps it up for nighttime entertainment. We had a drink, snacks and a good time...and took time hitting balls into the range scoring points for hitting targets.

June and Bennett have been playing together more and more these days. We feel like Bennett's vocabulary is expanding a lot lately, and now they even have little conversations together.

Fall in Sacramento is so pretty. Sacrament's nickname is the "City of Trees" and those trees are really coming out in full force with the color change this year. We have a big tree next door that dumps leaves into our yard, so the kids and I were able to make our first leaf pile!

I was so glad that the leaves were still pretty by the time JP and Alison got out here for their visit! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Girls Night Out - Disney on Ice

A couple of weeks ago we had a Girl's Night Out, and by 'girls' I mean me, two friends and our daughters. We went to see Disney on Ice!

We told the girls that they could dress up, and the other two did but June didn't want to wear one of her fancier dresses. She wanted to dress up as if she were a real princess, which meant her longest maxi dress, glass slippers, necklace and tiara. 

The girls are so sweet and cute together.

Us moms let the kids know that they could each have a snack and a souvenir, but when they went for the snow cones in a take-home cup, we said that it would count for both. The girls still wanted them, which we realized was a mistake only after we'd gotten to our seats and realized what a messy, difficult thing it is to eat. We had originally planned to have all the girls sit at one end of the row together, but us moms needed to help them with their snow cones (which turned into ice balls quickly) so we moved around.

It was a great show! It showed a lot of Cinderella and Rapunzel with some of Tiana and Snow White as well. The girls were pretty entranced.

Afterward we went out to eat at a local place called Chicago Fire, which I haven't been to in ages. I texted Michael to let him know we'd be out a little later and he said that he was also out to eat with Chicago Fire!

I wanted to avoid him seeing me because if he did I thought he'd get whiney and want to be with me. I couldn't keep June and the girls away, though, so they went over to say hello!

Afterward, we headed home. While there was some moving-around of carseats, I took some pictures of the girls. They had just learned what a 'photo bomb' is, so I kept pretending to take pictures of random things ("Alright, guess I'll just be taking a picture of the door here" "I need a picture of this bush!") and they would try to photo bomb it.

It was a really sweet night with friends!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween 2015

We had a really busy Halloween Saturday!

While we were still in our pajamas, we finally got around to carving our pumpkin! The kids were interested in scooping seeds but not really wanting to get their hands in the pumpkin innards. June decided that she wanted to face to be a cat's face, and that the nose needed to look like a heart. We carved it, June named her Juliet and wanted to hang out with the pumpkin for the rest of the morning. ("I'm putting a collar on her." "She'll get sad if I go into my room and get dressed!")

Then we had a soccer game. It went well, June played goalie, all of the kids were interested and sweet, as usual.

Then Michael took Bennett home while I took June to a friend's birthday party, complete with a bounce house.

After naps and dinner, it was time to get dressed up. 

June wanted to dress up as Skye, her favorite character in the Paw Patrol tv show. Skye is the one who flies, hence June's little silver wings. 

I'll never get tired of seeing the excited look in her eye after I give her the mirror after painting her face. 

Bennett, who also loves it when we put Paw Patrol on, was Marshall. He didn't have much of a say in the matter, and I have a feeling that things might be different next year, but this year it was really sweet for them to have costumes that went together.

Bennett was Marshall, the Dalmatian member of the Patrol who is the fire dog.

I was fully prepared to have Bennett freak out and not want to wear the hat, 'pup pack' or even the full costume. But I held up the costume, said that he could put on the puppy suit and he seemed into it! He even sang the little lines ("Paw Patrol, Paw Patrol") of the song. I didn't know if he would understand the concept of dressing up to look like something else, but I really think he did!

At first he didn't want to wear the hat, but by the time we wanted to take some pictures he was leaving it on. He even wore it around the neighborhood all on his own!

Here you can see his 'pup pack' and maybe you can see his little tail (it's the part that has a lot of black spots on it). 

The kids were so cute. June had been so patiently waiting for this day. She's got a cute way with words, you know? She'll muse to herself, "I just can't wait for trick-or-treating! I just can't get it out of my head, I don't know why, but I can't!"

She went up to houses, diligently said "Trick or Treat!" and made sure Bennett got a piece of candy. Bennett was surprisingly great at picking out a piece and placing it in his bucket! The first few houses let him have as many pieces as he wanted, so we had to rein him in a little at other houses. June said "thank you" consistently and we even got Bennett to say "dunk ooo" quietly.

I really thought Bennett would lose interest. Going on walks with him (when he's not in the stroller) has been hard lately because he'll find a house with a cat sitting outside of it and not want to move past it (he wants to just stare at the cat and say 'HI MEOW!' over and over). But I was surprised that he kept trudging along behind June, holding my hand and saying "Knock! Knock" to indicate that he wanted to go up to a house. Sometimes Michael or I would be holding his pumpkin bucket and he would stop and try to grab it from us, insisting on holding his heavy little bucket himself. 

I was a little disappointed by our neighborhood, though. So few kids were out trick-or -treating! I can't believe it since there are normally so many kids around. Maybe some are just to young to go out, or else they decided to trick-or-treat over at the really nice neighborhood nearby. We left a bucket of candy out on our stoop while we were out, but I don't think many came by. When we were home, we only had three groups of kids come.

(One group had boy with a Michael Meyers mask on, which terrified poor Bennett, who spent the rest of his short time before bed with his lower lip pouted out saying "Boy. Boy," with a concerned look on his face. )

Oh my gosh - look at Bennett's little belly!

I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween - we did!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Future School Tour & Fall Festival

Whenever I find myself in conversations with other moms these days, the conversation almost always turns to future elementary schools. I usually end up feeling overwhelmed and ill-prepared by the end of them. Recently a mom told me that the after school programs at our school fill up really fast and that I'd need to get on the wait list ASAP if I wanted to stand a chance. Feeling a little panicked, I emailed the school and just sort of asked, "Um...what am I supposed to be doing, here, exactly?" They reassured me that enrollment doesn't start until January but they invited me to take a tour of the school anyway that Friday.

So I went! (And all of the other parents were considering schools for the year following next, furthering my feelings of being late to the game!)

We got to go into the kindergarten classrooms while kids were learning, which was really fun. I couldn't help it - I got a little choked up, and couldn't believe we were already at this point. Sure, June's been in daycare since she was very little, but there's something significant about starting elementary school, even if you've been in preschool. The principal lead the tour. I loved what I saw and learned about the school. I asked my questions and watched kids play in P.E. and saw volunteers working in the garden.

Then the principal mentioned that we should bring our kids back that night because they were having a Fall Festival. I thought it'd be a great, casual way for June to see her future school since she's been talking about it a lot lately. Even though Michael was out of town, I took both kids for a fun night!

The whole thing was a fundraiser for the school PTA. So we bought a wristband for unlimited carnival-type games plus a few extra rounds on the cake walk.

June had a fun time, saw a friend from her soccer team and won a bunch of little prizes. I had to remind her that, yes, this is where she's be going to school in the future, but no, it wouldn't be a festival every single day.

We did the cake walk as a team (June, Bennett and me all standing together on one number together). I was trying to explain June the rules but then just decided to jump in and explain as we went along. So we gave them a ticket, walked around the circle and stopped on a number when the music stopped. They immediately called our number - we won on the first round! Here I was trying to explain how they called only a couple numbers ... and they called ours! June must have thought it was  a really great game where she plays once and gets a whole cake.

I told her she could pick out whichever cake/pie/bundt/pastry/cupcakes she wanted and she decided on this one:

After laughing pretty hard, I got her to confirm that yes, she was sure she wanted the skull cake. (There were so many cute or really lovely little cakes, but alas, this was the one she wanted.)

We actually kept playing because we had all those tickets, and we won again on what was going to be our last round. We ended up not taking a second cake home, but it was still really fun. Bennett learned a new word ("cake") and we went home and all ate a slice. Bennett surprisingly wasn't really into it, but June chowed down until her mouth was black. 

It was a great chance to see our new school - and a fun way to spend an evening, especially since Michael was out of town and we might otherwise have just been hanging around the house!