Wednesday, October 16, 2013

On Two Feet

I went away for the weekend and returned to this new development:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Last Two Months

I just haven't seemed to find the time to post over the last two months.  I guess I was just too busy doing other things.  Important things. Things like watching seasons 1-4 of Parenthood. (FYI, I just checked how many episodes that is.  It's sixty-eight. Does it make it better if I tell you that I was watching while doing other things like folding laundry or cleaning the kitchen or drinking wine?) 

In any case, I thought that I'd just do a quick little summary of what we've been up to in the hopes that this catch-up post will remedy my blog lethargy of late.  So, what you should know about the last few months is the following:

We visited a farm and made friends with some goats and two cows, Roxy and Luna.


The girls and I joined another mother/girl child/younger girl child combo for a day trip to Half Moon Bay.

We celebrated Erin and J.P.'s wedding in Indianapolis.

The girls and I spent two weeks at my Mom's house, and Cousin D and Vola joined us for part of the time.

We caught up with dear friends.

We hit the splash pad, but forgot bathing suits the first day.

[When you're at a loss for the perfect way to make a first impression, why not try the Surprise Upright Spoon Maneuver? Works even better in a wet bathing suit! The kid in the stroller is taking notes.]

We visited the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and Air and Space Museum.

From DC, we headed up to Massachusetts, where we were reunited with Matt for the wedding of Jeff and Julia.   Alice had the honor of serving as their flower girl.  I entrusted the photography to the pros that day, so am sorry to say that don't have any of my own photos.

Once we got back to California, Alice jumped right into the routine of preschool.  So far, she's loving every minute of it.

And that, my friends, takes care of August and September!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I wasn't sure how Alice would adjust to gaining a sister. 

And, I have to admit, for the first few months of Joanna's life I was't sure how I was going to adjust to Alice's gaining a sister either.  The sleep! The meals! The schedules! The nursing! The one being loud when the other one was napping! 

And, I can't say that it's all roses 100% of the time. I mean, Alice still sometimes completely flips out at the prospect of having to share something with Joanna, or kicks her accidentally-on purpose, or rips away the very thing that Joanna is lovingly rotating around and around and around in her hand.  

For example, just last week, I stopped Alice as she was climbing into the stroller to inform her that she would be walking and Jo would be the one riding in the stroller. She stared at me with wild, horrified, disbelieving eyes, and began the craziest sounding laughter that turned into crying that I have ever heard. "You're JOKING, right? RIIIGHT?"(LAUGH-LAUGH-cry?-cry-CRY-WAIL.)  It was tragic.  I have high hopes for her future career as a star on the Lifetime network.

Anyways, where was I? Oh yes, the nice sisterly stuff.  All that is just a preface to my main point, which is this:  right now, these two little ladies are a perfect match for each other.

I can tell that they have very different personalities.  We were at Mass on Sunday, and Joanna was standing on our pew, facing backwards and beaming and graciously chattering with the family behind us while making eye contact with each of them.  At that very moment, Alice was at our feet, lying on top of the very narrow kneeler, trying not to expire from boredom.  Every now and then she would sigh dramatically, lose her balance and topple onto the floor.  The noise from her tumble was only exceeded by the noise from her stage whisper "I'M OKAY! I'M OKAY!" while clambering back into position on the six inch wide kneeler.

Jo Beeeean. Summersault tiiiiiiiiime. 

Alice pretty much operates at two speeds when it comes to her sister:

Speed One: All up in her grill

Speed Two: Further up in her grill

Tonight at dinner, she proposed that we all tell jokes to Joanna. She started.
"RUTABEGA!" Shouted right at Jo.
Crazy baby guffaws and insane three year old cackles ensued.

Joanna hangs on every word Alice says. Every syllable of invented Alice-ese that is barked at her from a distance of 1 inch from her face is received with delight and appreciation.

And without fail, the minute Alice starts laughing, Little Sister starts cracking up too. Chuckling her little baby chuckle with the high pitched squeak at the end, and banging her hand up and down like an old man slapping his knee.

Here, Jojo. It's a block on a cloff.  For you. 

Alice is also very, very loving toward her sister. I can't tell you how heart warming it is to hear an off-key alphabet song being sung/yelled in the back seat whenever the baby starts to get fussy. And guess what? It almost always works to soothe her.

The other day, I spied Alice patting Joanna on the back while saying, "I love you, Jo.  You're my marry.  We're married."

I gave the princess crown to Jo. She looks so fancy. 

All this to say that now that these two are turning into such devoted companions, it makes my job easier and so, so much more satisfying.  It is such a joy to sit back and watch these two sisters get to know one another.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Upstanding Citizen

Look who has figured out how to pull herself up to standing.

She's pretty pleased with herself.

Alice is also pleased to have found a whole new way to play with her sister.

Things are getting fun around here!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Three Years

We celebrated Alice's third birthday last Friday.

Grammy and Grampy came in from Indiana for the weekend, and on the morning of the big day, those of us who didn't have to go to work (everyone but Matt) headed down to Santa Cruz to check out the Seymour Marine Discovery Center.

It was a really neat place, with all sorts of underwater creatures to see...

...and touch.

And it was located on a beautiful spot on the coast. 

We shared a lunch picnic outside.

And then made our way to the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk for some good old fashioned rides.

[I'm really hoping that this license plate isn't available when Alice turns 16.]

A quick snooze in the car, and the birthday girl was ready to continue the celebration at home with a family cookout and cake.

It was the perfect way to celebrate our sweet girl.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

On the Verge of Camping: Part Two (We Came, We Camped, We Conquered)

And now, for the much-anticipated, anticlimactic ending to On the Verge of Camping: Part One, I present to you, lone reader, On the Verge of Camping: Part Two (We Came, We Camped, We Conquered).

We figured that nothing would be more patriotic for the Fourth of July than spending time in the great outdoors, so in lieu of planning on the usual fireworks and watermelon, we reserved a cabin for the night in a state park a bit north of San Francisco.

The cabin, in Samuel P. Taylor State Park near Point Reyes National Seashore, was a lot nicer than I expected. It even had electricity, which I was not expecting and which made me feel kind of like I was cheating on the whole camping thing. It didn’t have it’s own bathroom inside though, so... not cheating?

We slept there this time. I promise. Actually, I mostly dozed off and on throughout the night while shifting around on the loudest plastic mattress that ever was and intermittently shining my flashlight out the window to catch any wildlife that might be trying to gnaw through the window glass to come inside and eat my children or use my toothbrush.

On the way home the next day, we pulled over to admire some harbor seals that we noticed in the water.  I was surprised at how active those beasts were. I couldn’t tell just by looking at them with the nude eye, but when I looked through the zoom lense on my camera, it was like they were all doing a group dance a la West Side Story or Bring it On.  Who would have thought that blubber could move like that?

We stopped at Muir Woods on the way home. It was ridiculously crowded and Matt very kindly offered to drop the girls and me off at the entrance so he could go park the car way back where we had seen available parking spots on the road leading in.

Unfortunately, after five years of marriage, it seems that Matt and I have yet to perfect our nonverbal communication skills. Just as I was shutting the trunk so that he could go park the car miles and miles away, a spot opened up right in front of me. I tried to get his attention, but he mistook my wild arm flapping and urgent facial expression, which I'm pretty sure are the universal sign for, “Sweetheart, please back up the car and park right here in this spot next to me that’s about to be available,” to instead mean, “Drive quickly away from us and look for parking elsewhere.”  

Now that we're letting it all out, I'll go ahead and tell you that I guess we could also stand to work on our verbal communication skills. You see, upon parting at the parking lot, we agreed that we would meet up “at the forest,” which I took as an understanding that the girls and I would pretty much stay put.  Matt assumed it meant that we’d be meeting at the main entrance to the forest (the one with the big sign and the entry fee collection).   Tomayto - Tomahto, am I right?

Well, the girls and I waited; and we waited; and we talked about poison oak; and we went to the bathroom; and we observed a tourist who found no use for the stall door, or the toilet seat, or toilet paper, or soap and water (I guess I wouldn't either if during the whole bathroom operation I touched literally nothing else besides the waistband on my own pants); and we waited; and we identified poison oak; and we talked about the lady in the bathroom; and we asked strangers if they had cell reception (no one did); and we waited.

Our patience was wearing a little thin, but we were hanging in there when, about 45 minutes into our separation, I observed Matt up on a path a bit above the one where we had taken up residence. I was so very relieved to see him walking towards us, so I waved excitedly. He continued walking (briskly! jogging, even!) towards us, and then he arrived to a spot on his path that was about parallel to where we were on our path. 

"Why is he not turning in to cross onto our path?," I wondered. My wave became less excited and more frantic, and I called out his name. But! Then! Was that a hand wave? And a grunt of recognition? Yes, I thought so. If not a wave, then certainly a finger wiggle. And definitely a noise of some sort.

Communication snafu number three. You see, I assumed that the finger wiggle/grunt combo meant, “Hello there. I see you all. I'm so glad we're reunited. I'll be right there" So, when he continued the walk-jog away from us, I was quite certain that he was just going to go ahead a little bit to see if his path connected to our path and then loop around to meet us.  About thirty minutes later, I began to wonder if I had misinterpreted the wiggle/grunt. Or if I had hallucinated my husband. Did I even have a husband? Where did these children come from? 

Turns out, he hadn’t heard me at all. Or seen us. Or finger wiggled. Or grunted. (In retrospect and knowing Matt, the not grunting part makes a lot of sense.)

Anyways, we finally reunited and all was well. We had a hearty chuckle at  our merry mix-up (in the words of Tobias FΓΌnke) and then headed into Muir Woods. I was relieved to learn that the scraggly path that the girls and I had been waiting on for the last 90 minutes was not, as I thought, Muir Woods proper but the trail leading from some of the parking spots to the entrance.

Once we made it in, we found that the actual woods were stunning: filled with big, beautiful trees and enchanting light everywhere. I’d love to go back, perhaps on a weekday when it’s not so crowded. Definitely with walkie talkies.