Monday, November 09, 2009

I need 3, 'cause I'm 3 now.

Mason has perfected the art of extending the birthday celebration well beyond just one day of fun. His birthday is in October, yet just yesterday we were lighting this cupcake candle and singing the birthday song just for fun.

This year we decided to have his party a week later than usual because my family would be traveling to town for a visit then. Just before Mason's actual birthday he informed us that he would be having his birthday at Whole Foods (one of his favorite spots in town). Shopping there with him is always eventful. He has his routine down. He likes to hit the bakery for a loaf of cinnamon bread, dairy section for eggs and milk, dog aisle for bones for Onyx, then we cruise by the butchers and see if they have any meat samples out (if they do it is usually cause for celebration), then we have to hit the "make your own" trail mix bar, and finish things off in the produce. The trip isn't complete without stopping by customer service for his Kids Club treat and to say hi to his favorite employees. His actual birthday fell midweek on a Wednesday so we decided to invite a few friends and family out for a birthday celebration at Whole Foods. He was so excited to see everyone and play at the little play store inside. We ate dinner and enjoyed his cupcakes that he made with Ariana and Rylan. He opened gifts and even got a giftcard from the staff at Whole Foods. As we made our way over to get his Kids Club treat the lady asked him how old he was and he said, "Well, last night I been 2, but now I'm 3."

A week and a half later we celebrated with his teachers and friends at preschool. He picked out lollipops to share with everyone and was so excited to wear his "party hat". He had told me about it on the way there and I wasn't sure what he was talking about. Then when he had the special birthday cake hat on I knew just what he meant. He was so excited to wear it and sit in the special birthday chair. Everyone sang to him and he sang right along with everyone. One boy in the class shouted with a big grin, "Hey that's my birthday song too."

That weekend we celebrated here at our place with his pumpkin patch party. Such fun! We enjoyed a day of family, friends, and great fall weather. That morning he was telling me about the party and how he would need to get his party hat ready. I knew I should have bought that birthday cake hat when I saw it at IKEA last summer. Thanks to MaryEllen for swinging by there to pick one up for him. It was meant to be the thing even had 3 candles and 3 strawberries.

Thank you to all that were able to make it and help celebrate. I think one of my favorite parts was when Mason was singing Happy Birthday to himself just before blowing out the candles.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Mommy and Me+s

The other day my mom and I were talking about my return to work and we were remembering my first return to work after being home with Mason. My how he has changed...

He is bigger, more talkative, more humorous, more mobile, has lighter, longer hair, has a little sister, is an awesome big brother...I could go on. Yet look how he is the same...

He still loves cuddly blankets, especially when there is someone to snuggle with. I love it when that person is me. The other night he asked me to help him build a nest on the big bed. He had all the pillows out in a circle at the foot of the bed, but was struggling to get this Thomas the Train blanket to cover all the pillows. We worked together and made a nest that was "so comfy". He hopped in and we read some books. Then he heard Ellie in the other room and said, "I need Daddy to bring Ellie in by me." The following is what I got to enjoy. Two little "Me"s with their Mommy.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Happy 4 months!

My sweet, little girl is 4 months old today! I love you Ellie!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

My Love/Hate Relationship with Fall

The First Day of Autumn arrived in the heat of Sacramento, but thankfully we have begun to feel a little cooler. I love this season for oh so many reasons that I will not take time to mention. Over the past couple of weeks I have seen hints that this time is approaching and it shocks me because I still feel as though it is summer. The heat and being off work will do that to you.

Extending my maternity leave has been such a magical time that I hold dear in my heart and will remember always. As summer began the fall seemed far away. As I glanced off into the distance that would be fall I saw my return to work, Mason starting preschool, Mason turning 3, Ellie getting stronger, and all the joys that Mother Nature brings to us this time of year. It seemed far off in my newborn mommy haze, but now these glimpses that usually give me a rush of excitement bring a twinge of sadness and tear as I have come to realize my special time is quickly coming to an end. I am trying not to let these feelings linger and ruin these last few days so here I am to celebrate Mason and Ellie.

I love that our summer garden is still in production. I sent Daddy and the kiddos out to harvest a bit more beans for dinner and they had a basketful. Ellie tried to help as best she could. I wasn't there so I'll let Mason tell you.

Last night at dinner we decided to let Ellie try out the booster seat. She has been getting stronger and is very observant when anyone is eating around her so we thought she might be ready to join us for dinner. She jumped right in on the conversation and had much to say. Mason noticed, "Now we aren't missing anyone." As all our chairs were filled. Daddy, Mason, and Ellie were a total crack up.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Don't You Wish You Lived On The Big Brown Lawn?

So if you have been keeping up you know that we tend to enjoy living here in our "Little Plastic Castle" on our "Big Brown Lawn". Our house is old and quirky, but it is filled with much love, and our yard is wide open for exploration and adventure. As you have seen in previous posts our quiet little neighborhood is great for growing a plentiful garden and having good times, that is of course except for the odd chance when weirdness aligns and A Winnebago Drives on through the yard or this year's maternity leave "You Won't Believe It Story".

It was a mellow Friday evening and Mason had woken up from a long nap so we decided to make it a movie night. Josh bought a new movie on iTunes. It seemed to be a good choice to go along with their excitement with cooking, Ratatouille. We started watching and to my horror the opening sequence scared me a bit to think of a huge colony of rats hanging in my ceiling, but I got over it as the animated critters were becoming entertaining enough for me to fall asleep to. Mason on the other hand was wide awake until 2 am. This led to a late start to Saturday and a lazy day around the house. We had plans that evening and as the day went on we needed to motivate to create a birthday gift for our friend, Max. Josh had a gig in Davis that we would drop him off at and then meet up again after the party. After spending a couple of hours creating a father/son cookbook and ingredients to go with, the party gift was ready and it was time to pile into the car and head west.

Josh went outside to start loading the car and I tried to finish wrangling the kiddos and gear. Moments later, Josh returned saying....

Readers - wait take a deep breath you are going to need it.

"A rat or something got into the car and there are poops everywhere and napkins are all shredded and I don't even know if it is still in there."


I could not comprehend the creepiness of it all. I was completely grossed out and didn't even want to see it, but somehow I was drawn to it. I had to see it to believe it I guess. Mason on the other hand was fearless and ready to help anyway he could. He grabbed his shoes and the vacuum hose and ran outside, "Daddy I've got my vaccum!"

I peeked in the windows of the car and sure enough there were poops and bits everywhere. I suddenly had flashbacks of the year I went back to school to set up my classroom and mice had taken up residency in my good ol' portable. Lucky for us there were plenty of toys and things in the car to make the clean up that much more exciting. I am sad to say some things made their way into the trash, if you can't be sanitized in the washer, you're a goner.

We recently attended a parent meeting for Mason's preschool where they discussed children his age and how they don't get freaked out about such things until we show them it is something to be "freaked out about". I kept trying to keep this in mind as I wanted to go crazy. It was so true. He was out with Josh at one point while I went in to calm down and feed Ellie and he came in saying, oh so matter of factly, "Mommy I might have rat poop on my hands and maybe on my body."


This is what I wanted to scream, but instead I said, "Are you sure?" Which of course led to a completely confusing conversation with a 2 year old ending in, "Let me go ask Daddy."

I went inside, washed Mason thoroughly and went to grab a spray bottle and gloves to help with the car and somehow it was unscrewed and the dang thing dropped and spilled all over my shorts and shoes. "Mason was right there by my side saying, "It's okay Mommy we'll just clean it up."

Ellie was not creeped out at all, she used this time to stay out of the way and catch some zzzzzs.

Needless to say we did not make it to the party or the gig.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Making Connections

Mason and Josh harvested our peanuts a couple of weeks ago and this weekend they were hanging out.  They were talking about a mole and Josh said, "A mole is an animal that lives underground." 
"Like peanuts?" asked Mason.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Little Mid-Week Fun

A Wednesday evening at home was spent outside in the gardens.  Mason was proud to show off his latest tricycle riding skills while Daddy, Ellie, and I looked on.  After checking his mailbox he and invited me to watch him shoot some hoops at his new basketball hoop from Valerie. 

We then were playing a bit of catch with our new lacrosse game when we heard Daddy calling us to see what he found in the garden.  
"Mason come quick!  You won't believe it!"

We left our game and hurried over to see the treasure he found.  As we entered the garden, we were greeted by the Dipper Gourds that seem to get bigger every time we turn around.

As we made our way past, Ellie and Daddy showed us what they discovered under the beautiful peanut plant leaves... Our first peanuts!

We have been noticing quite a few changes in the garden over the past few days. The herb garden:

The tomatoes are towering over their cages.

The bean teepee is healthy and strong.

The mysterious cucumbers that like to hide out under their leaves.

The driveway garden is booming.  The spaghetti squash is climbing, the Cinderella pumpkins are beginning to peek out from underneath the leaves and the corn "is as high as an elephant's eye". 

After watering, harvesting, playing, and digging the sun was setting and it was time to head inside.  The fun didn't end there.  Mason was checking out the Bumbo seat we borrowed from Ana and wanted to give Ellie a turn.  She is so cute sitting in it.  Mason kept bringing her toys to play with.  A train car, black steam engine, pretend foods, a CD.  You know, stuff babies like. Then he started singing the new song Josh taught him, "Hiccups".  Ellie loved it, too as you can see in this video.  Her new little laugh which she shared with us the other day briefly, was caught on film.

Thank you to all the family and friends that helped jumpstart the garden project this spring for my birthday.  Thank you Josh for all the hard work you put into our gardens this spring and summer.  I love that you have brought such beauty and magic to our yard.  I love that the tiny seeds we planted have grown taller than us.  I love that Mason knows so much about the plants and how to harvest those "red, ripe, amatoes".  He was so cute running over to Ellie and me with his basket full saying, "Mommy I'm bringing a picnic for us to share, here try a bean." I look forward to more special times outside with family and friends.  

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sweet As Can Be...

Sunday afternoon brought about many moments of fun.  Mason wanted to hold Ellie and then had me take their picture. 

The cooler, breezy weather inspired me to dress Ellie in her long sleeve cupcake shirt, which inspired me to search for a new cupcake recipe to try out.  We had some very ripe bananas, so I found a banana cupcake recipe and Mason and I got to work.  He has been Josh's sous-chef all summer and has become quite skilled in the kitchen.  

"Mommy this is a HEAPING scoop of flour."  Too funny.  

We realized we were all out of eggs, so Daddy ran to the store to pick some up for us.  We mixed all the ingredients we could.  

"Mommy, I need the bigger whisk.  That's the one that Daddy uses. I think it will work better." Ellie looked on intently, learning all she could. As soon as she can join in the fun she will be right there with that big brother of hers she loves so much.  This week she beams with the biggest smile whenever he is near.  

Once Daddy returned with the eggs we took a break from reading Charlie and Lola and Froggy Bakes a Cake to finish our sweet creations.  Once we had the cupcakes in the oven, it was time to whip up some frosting.  Ellie came over to take a closer look.

After munching on a dinner of solar oven cooked chicken, solar oven roasted garlic,  and fresh beans from the garden (our first ones of the season) it was time to decorate our cupcakes. We could hardly wait. 

Mmmmmmm! Life is sweet.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Let's Pretend

Mason has always found interesting ways to be creative. I smile thinking of the phase he went through when he found joy in helping by getting an ice pack if you were hurt. I imagine he liked the feeling he got when he was caring for someone. He even gave you a choice, "Do you want the green one or the fish one?" Unfortunately, the opportunity to tend to others in this manner didn't always present itself often enough for his liking so he would "create". Out of no where he would come up and hit me on the leg or arm and look at me with all sincerity in body language and tone of voice, "You need an ice pack, Mommy?" Then he would run to the freezer and ask, "You want the green one or the fish one?"

Lately he has been in a major pretending phase which is so comical and a joy to observe and interact with. When he is unable to have what he wants he is quite content settling for "a pretend one". I discovered this one day when we were in the car. He said, "Mommy, I need a Bandaid."
I replied, "I don't have any Bandaids here in the car, you'll have to wait until we get home."
"It's okay Mommy it could just be a pretend Bandaid," he said.
This was brilliant. All I had to do was make sure to actually pretend to get it out and then hand it to him (you do need to actually do the pretending part, too I have come to realize). I have since tried it out multiple times to much success. Do you want some pretend coffee? I can't walk on the "balance beam" (frame of the playhouse) while I am feeding Ellie. "Well you can just pretend, Mommy." Cool. I will sit in this rocker, watching you climb and pretend to join you. This is where the pretending on my part was put to the test. I had to give a running commentary of how I would cruise along the balance beam, following him. He made sure I didn't leave out any important parts. If I did, I was quickly reminded, "No you have to jump over that part."

On a random tangent, Mason loves to get a "Vanilla Latte" at Starbucks with me, which is a kids milk. The other day we stopped at Peets on our way to Tahoe and I was running in to get some drinks. I asked him if he wanted a milk and he said, "No, I'm fine with just a 'Nilla Latte." Oh, okay.

The other day, Josh headed to Home Depot for more playhouse supplies while Mason, Ellie and I hung out here. We decided to play blocks. Ellie was so excited to be included. She loves her big brother Mason. She looks at him with loving eyes. She quiets down in the car when he sings Jingle Bells to her when she cries. She smiles at him. It is so cute. On this particular day, Ellie laid on the Boppy pillow. Mason had gone into his room and brought out his cozy blanket and suggested we lay it over the Boppy "so she will be all snuggly". He then proceeded to gather all the "food from his fridge". Each block was another piece of pretend food. He would give them to Ellie and say, "It's okay Mommy, it's just pretend."

Mason thought it was so great to be playing with Ellie. He has been asking to hold her a lot more often. When I was pregnant we wondered how he would react when he discovered she was not going to be the playmate he was picturing right off the bat. He has done well with helping and protecting her and finds ways to interact with her. She always makes him smile and he stands a bit taller when he tells me he's her big brother. He had fun giving her pretend food and learning how to do it safely.

Ellie would just look up at him and smile each time he added more "food".

Soon she had quite the feast.

Then she started to get a bit full.

Our little masterpiece!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

For our 9th anniversary the kids decided to give us the gift of sleep.  (To celebrate this gift, throughout this post I will insert my favorite sleeping photos from the last 6 weeks of living with Ellie.)  

The night before last Mason had fallen asleep on the couch, 

and Ellie was close behind.  

The easiest bedtime routine ever turned into waking up at 3:00 am to Mason laying a new pull-up on me and telling me he had an accident.  In my sleep deprived state I put the new one on and dozed again as he decided to climb in our bed and be wide awake rolling around like a tornado. The first night Ellie decides to bypass the 2:00 or 3:00 am feeding, Mason is up.  Ellie decided to join the fun at 4:00 am and by this time Josh was ready to just get up, too.  So there we were, one big family awake before the sun was up.  Luckily, Mason is pretty cute, so you can't stay annoyed for long.  As Josh lay exhausted on the couch, Mason gathered and filled his water bottle and brought it to him, "Daddy I got you an ice in your water because I thought you might like it!"  His perkiness began to be a bit contagious and Josh decided to get up and make a huge batch of salsa.  After salsa came banana cornmeal pancakes with blueberries.  Lookout Tower Cafe you now have some serious competition!  

Mason wanted to hold Ellie and she loved it.  

"Mommy, take a picture of my hand." 

All the excitement wore her out and she was back to sleep.  Mason played blocks, ate breakfast, played up in the new playroom loft, and then was getting drowsy.  I decided to get him ready for a nap and while reading stories I thought, I will read one more, hmmm what time is it?  8:00 am?  This time warping is really getting bizarre now.  So he then slept from 8:15 and was still asleep after Ellie and I returned from getting an oil change, car wash, and mailing a box at the post office.  Josh had been working in the garden and on the playhouse and came in for some lunch.  Mason power napped until about 1:00 pm. Ellie napped, woke up to eat at the Honda place, and then continued to nap.  I must say I was beginning to get a bit jealous of all this napping and thought I should try to take advantage of it before it vanished.  I fell asleep on the couch for a bit and woke to Mason coming in asking, "Mommy will you snuggle me?" Couldn't pass up that request.  He snuggled in and we napped for a few more minutes, heaven!  

Last night Josh and I were feeling pretty tired, so after feeding Ellie, we both went to sleep, figuring we better get some rest, who knows what the night would bring.  The next thing I knew Ellie was waking up...I got up thinking, that's weird or as Mason would say, "That's weirded!" What time is it? Can that be right? Did I already feed her and not remember?  Nope.  Really 6:30?  Yep, 6:30 am, our girl slept through the night! (And our boy did, too.) Happy 6 weeks old Ellie! Happy Anniversary Mommy and Daddy!

Happy Anniversary Joshua!  I love you with all my heart and more.  I love our family, our laughter, our home.  Thank you for making our life so rich with happiness and joy.  Your creativity and passion for music and life is contagious and I love you for that.  You have given me the courage to be a teacher of music and I love that.  I look forward to learning more, sharing more, and laughing more with you in the years to come.  I love our children and I love you.  Here's to many new adventures,  simple, everyday magical moments, and here's to sleep, glorious sleep! (Cue the sleep montage!)

Alright, gotta go while everyone is still asleep!