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!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

If You're Happy and You Know It...

... then your face will surely show it. Ellie has learned how to smile and boy is it contagious.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The First of July

The beginning of July means it's Josh's birthday and summertime fun is officially underway. At this point we are typically fully into project mode and good times are easily found.  This year Josh's birthday fell during the week of "Music School" (scroll down to a previous post for more details). We were having a great time with Daddy. Mason had discovered he could dress like daddy in his "rad" shorts. On this particular day they were on their way singing, "We're going to Music School" one of the many renditions of "The Farmer in the Dell" that were sung that week.  

On Wednesday of that week it was Daddy's birthday and Mason and I had been planning some fun.  Mason loves to sing "Happy Birthday" and get people to blow out their candles whether they are real or imaginary.  He makes pretend cakes and loves to tell us "secrets" about the fun parties that we are going to have.  He and I had talked about how it was going to be Daddy's birthday.  He picked out some birthday candles that Daddy would get to blow out.  We decided to share another picnic lunch with him to celebrate his special day.  Grammie joined us at the workshop that day, too and shared in the fun.  We ended up staying on campus to gather lunch, so our candles and cake would have to wait until later. After lunch and a retelling of Mason's favorite story, The Three Bears, Daddy went to the afternoon session and Grammie and Mason gathered sticks for our "campfire" and roasting marshmallows (leaves). We found that a pretend campfire is a great way to pass some time on a blistering hot day.

Ellie looked on with admiring eyes.  She loves her big brother, or as he told me the other night, "Mommy, she likes me!"

All the excitement wore her out, so she decided to power nap under the shady trees, and Mommy was hoping Mason would follow her lead, but no such luck.  

He decided to power through as we journeyed over to our good friend, MaryEllen's, new place that afternoon. She had come by to meet Ellie and bond a bit Monday night and invited us to visit her as we were so close to her new home.

We are so grateful that she has a high tolerance for our chaos as she welcomed us with open arms. While visiting we successfully left our mark.  Mason emptied all her coin jars onto her carpet, chipping one of them.  Ellie power-pooped all over one of her towels. Josh was going to make up for these antics by helping her move a monstrous, unwanted desk down her stairs and successfully put scraps and holes in her wall before snapping off the light switches at the bottom of the staircase. Fortunately, we had stopped at the nearby bakery to pick up some birthday cake to help distract from the damages.  Mason found a clock that was waiting to find its hanging spot in her new home and was suddenly carrying it around.  I asked him what time it was and he replied thoughtfully, "40, time to eat cake." Well, who can argue with that?

He ventured into the kitchen with MaryEllen to find some candles and get the cake. They came in singing and grinning. Being the creative thinker he is, Mason wanted to put the candles into these fancy candle holders he found (her dogs' Kong toys). Luckily, MaryEllen was there to redirect that idea.

"Make a wish, blow out your candles Daddy!"

Happy Birthday, Daddy! Thank you for being the wonderful husband and father that you are. We love you with all our hearts and more.  We look forward to many more years of creativity, imagination, laughter and all around good times. 

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Handy Mason

"Mommy, Daddy is a builder and I am a fixer," Mason told me as he loaded up his new tool belt with all of his tools from Uncle Chris.  He and Josh were working on building a play house in the back yard.  All the hard work was put on hold last week as we were attending the Education Through Music workshop, but that has not stopped Mason from being a "fixer". You never know when you might have a slice of banana bread that is just too big and you need it trimmed a bit. Call on Mason to chop it down to size with his trusty saw.  

He has taken on the big responsibility of "fixing" the chalkboard on the end of the island in the kitchen.  He saws it, hammers it, paints it, measures it, you know all the usual fixing jobs. It is very LOUD, important work.  Sometimes there it singing involved. 

(For those of you that are not familiar with Bob the Builder, he is singing the theme song.)

It Feels Like Summer

So the temperatures have kicked into summer mode just as we are beginning to have a bit of energy for outings with a toddler and a newborn. We met our wonderful friend, Valerie, downtown for dinner and frozen yogurt before her big cross country trip. It was tons of fun and we will miss her.
Mason loves Valerie and isn't afraid to show it.

The other night when she came over he wouldn't give her a hug goodbye, it is his new phase: boycotting hugs and goodbyes, but as soon as she walked out the door he realized it was Valerie and he said, "BUT I WANTED TO GIVE HER A HUG." I said, "Hurry before she leaves." So he ran to the door and out onto the porch in time to give hugs and goodbyes.

Dinner and dessert were delicious and we had great quality friend time. On our way home Ellie decided to freak out and want to get out of the carseat.  We stopped at McKinley Park in time for the concert in the park.  Mason had a great time on the playground and we took a family walk around the duck pond. It felt like summer.  

Mason loved the baby ducks. People were throwing bread into the pond to feed them. He was on the verge of asking them if he could share some and have a turn to feed them.  

I couldn't get enough of the cuteness. We would have stayed longer if we weren't melting in the heat. Be sure to notice the little head peeking over Josh's shoulder.  We'll call it a little game of where's Ellie?

Music School

"Hey Ellie, wake up...it's time to go to Music School," whispered Mason.

Last week we had the pleasure of attending the Education Through Music (ETM) workshop with Josh.  Mason was invited to participate in the observation classes with Josh each morning. This  gave us a change of scenery each day.  It also got us all up early and moving out of the house before 8:30 each morning.  We would trek over to Sacramento State to the music building and drop Josh off for the morning session, then go get breakfast and return for the children's session. The trip was filled with many attractions, crossing the bridge and "two rivers" (Mason could actually see the river under both sides of the bridge, so he thought it was two rivers and would announce it each time we passed.) We also went through several "tree tunnels" and went by the train tracks.  "Could we ride on that one?" Mason asked the first day when we saw a freight train. When I said no, he of course asked, "Why?" I told him it was a freight train and not a passenger train.  He proceeded to tell me this information every time we saw another train. 

After class our first day, we decided to venture out and return with a picnic lunch to share with Daddy on his break.  The trees near the music building are amazingly huge redwoods which provided a peaceful, shady spot for our lunch.  The busy morning wore the kids out and they were asleep as I pulled into the parking garage.  Luckily, our enormous stroller could still hold the sleeping Mason as well as all the picnic gear, so we were off to meet Daddy.  

Bringing a picnic to Daddy takes a lot out of a tiny month old Ellie...

..and a mighty, two and a half year old Mason.  Mommy didn't mind so much, she had a mini-date picnic.