Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Around Town

Walking over to check out the park around Sutter's Fort, a restored fort from 1839, after a brunch in midtown.



Walks and bike rides...



A trip to the zoo...




(Riding on the train at the zoo)





Monday, February 22, 2016

That Slide

I swear, when Santa brought that slide down the chimney, we had every intent of it being an outside toy. And yet, it has become a red-and-blue plastic eyesore of our playroom ever since. I'm not sure how we'll ever get it out of there now.

The kids go down it. They find new and increasingly dangerous ways to get from the top to the bottom. And the 'rocket ship' playing. Sure, they go on adventures (led by June) to the planets, but the real joy is in the sharp turns they make that cause them to spill out onto the floor.



Just got home from from a ski day? Sounds like time to play rocket ship!


Sliding with a shirt hat while Mom is calling for "Shower Time" from the other room:


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Ski Day with Friends

First of all, I want to acknowledge that I've been much slower in getting blog posts up these days. Let's just say that life is hectic, work is busy and the class I'm taking right now is very difficult. So, for some real talk, I don't see much changing in the near future as far as quality blog content.

However, I do love this old blog. I love getting comments from you, family members, when you mention that you liked getting to see pictures of the kids. And I love being able to look back on it. So I might go periods without posting, and then write up a bunch of entries without many words, and schedule them to post over the next few days.

So anyway, back at the end of January, some friends asked us if we'd want to go up to Tahoe with them for the day. We packed up the kids, picked up the rental skis and did our thing!


We went back to Sierra at Tahoe, which is a spot that we had been to before. The moms and boys went tubing and the dads and daughters went skiing.





There was also a double tube, so we had a good time getting pulled up the hill all together, and then going down together too!



I interrupt this string of pictures to tell you that I asked Michael to show me the pictures he took of the girls skiing together. He promptly told me that he hadn't taken any. MEN, am I right?!




It was snowing like crazy the whole time we were up there. It was so pretty! But I'm sure it contributed to the drive home taking about 3 times longer than it should have!





Love these friends, and love living close enough to ski country to take day trips like these!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Bennett Lately

Bennett is coming up on his second birthday and every day it seems that more and more of his personality is bubbling to the surface. Two is such a complicated age...kids are testing boundaries, wanting independence and yet not wanting to give up their metaphorical safety blankets. 

This stage is plenty challenging for us. 

Bennett is trying out little acts of aggression. He'll get frustrated at June and intentionally pull her hair. He'll take a swat at me if he's mad at something I'm doing, such as, God forbid, wanting to actually brush his teeth instead of allowing him to do it. When we say, "Bennett! Do we push? Do we hit? Do we bite?" he used to solemnly reply, "No," but now he does it with a mischievous gleam in his eye.


He still decides that he wants to sit on my lap at meal times (usually right about the time I'm finally sitting down to my own plate after grabbing that last spoon/milk/no the other cup). Making dinner when Michael isn't yet home is quite the ordeal because Bennett wants to be held most of the time. If I cannot hold him, he'll squeeze his body in between me and whichever counter I'm up against and push me away from it with all the strength he can muster. Which is surprisingly a lot. 

When he wants more of something at dinner but hasn't eaten anything else (veggies, for example), you can't really bargain effectively when they're screaming. I'm still just...not really sure what I'm supposed to do? Just feed him endless cous cous and say to hell with the green beans if it means a peaceful meal? Insist on him eating one asparagus spear before he's allowed to have more mac-and-cheese, and just deal with the screaming that ensues?

He gets into these little moods that it's hard to break him out of. He just gets mad and then everything is just The Worst. He doesn't want oatmeal! Yes, yes, he does want oatmeal, how dare you put it away! How dare you stir it just like that! How dare you move the bowl slightly closer to him!

But I have to say, for all these challenges, he also has some of the sweetest, cutest characteristics. And I just don't want to forget them.

He loves singing. He sings all the time. Some of my favorites are when he sings the "Clean Up, Clean Up," song, or when he suddenly sings the last line of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" much faster than the rest of it. Sometimes he'll break out in a song I didn't know he knew, like when he sang "Be polite! Be polite!" the other day, which is part of the Manners Song.


He chants, which is something he gets from my side of the family. As in, when I'm making his snack, he'll chant "Can-ta-lope Time! Can-ta-lope Time!" while banging his fists on the table. (Other chant favorites are "Shower Time! Shower Time!" followed quickly by "Get naked!")

He's getting so many words now, and it's so cute to watch him put them together into little sentences. "Mommy...get...choo choo train!" "Want...to go...out der!" "June...play...rocket ship?" 


I taught him the old Sleeping Beauty routine, which is when he can kiss me to wake me up. The only problem with this is that it interferes with one of my favorite end-of-the-day activities, which is finding as many games to play that involve me laying motionless on the ground. June will be walking on my back, pretending to be a snow leopard, but Bennett keeps trying to kiss me to wake me up. 

He loves me and Michael so much. The excitement in his voice when he shouts, "HI MOMMY!" or "BYE BYE DADDY!" is just too much. Not to mention how sweetly he talks to June, asking her for help or asking her to do things with him while they play. "Here, June! Heeeere!"

His favorite songs are still these two songs from the Hawaiian Disney movie, Lilo and Stitch. Sometimes I can even get him to hang out in relative peace while I make dinner if I put these songs on repeat. "Hawan Dander!" he says excitedly ("Hawaiian Dancer"). 


We're a shower household (instead of baths), so I herd Bennett and June into the shower with me and Michael takes Bennett when it's time to get out. More and more, Bennett is using his imagination. He plays with the toys, pretends he's a puppy, makes a conga line with June. When I ask the kids if they will help me pick up the toys, Bennett shouts "YAY!" and excitedly hands them to me. 


Our little guy is almost two and I'm excited (and scared!) for what that has in store for us. But I think I can make it through any terrible twos if I can keep those wet, soft kisses that he presses into my cheek now and then.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Skiing with Friends

Hello from the tail-end of a really wonderful weekend.

June got to go to a Star Wars themed birthday party on Saturday, then Michael and I had a date night. (Barbecue food and then playing Scrabble at a coffee shop. He challenged me - correctly, it turns out - that 'da' isn't a word, but I got him with 'bosh.' He won in the end, though!)

Then today we had a great snow day up in Tahoe. But since I don't have photos uploaded yet, I'm blogging about last weekend's ski trip!

Some good friends - a mom and daughter that goes to school with June - asked us if we would want to go skiing with them. We were both so excited to go! The girls were so cute in their little jewel-toned ski gear.




I was a little nervous on two accounts. One, I knew that Sage, June's friend, has been skiing many times and I've seen videos of her, so I hoped that we wouldn't hold them back too much. This was, after all, only June's second day on skis. Second, this was MY first time back on skis after about 17 years! I started off learning to ski as a kid, but pretty quickly switched over to snowboarding, which I've been doing ever since. But to help June with skiing, I thought I should get back on skis for the day. So I was pretty nervous at my own ability to do even simple things, much less being able to improvise with whatever a four-year-old-in-training might throw at me. 

On the chairlift:

It was great. Our friends had created (and advanced past the need of) a set of leashes that connect to the ski bindings, so we were able to borrow those. It was great - it allowed me to ski behind her (instead of hunched over, holding her up) and it allowed June a lot of freedom to try out her turns. 



In an added bonus, it allowed even me to get by with just skiing in 'pizza slice' the whole way down!



I couldn't believe how well June did, especially since I found out later that Michael had never really had the time to work on turning with her on their day. By the end of it, June was able to turn back and forth pretty regularly. She would also probably shoot down the hill if I wasn't there to slow her down! 

With the exception of one crash landing ("June, we have to turn left eventually! If we don't we might run into that fence right th-"), it was a really successful ski venture.


After a few post-lunch runs, we had a cup of hot cocoa in the lodge before making the drive back down. It was such a great day with friends - and we're loving our new weekend activity of heading up to Tahoe!