Thursday, September 24, 2015

Rosie Posie

It feels like it has been a while since I have done a post about Rose.  How is this not-so-little gal 20 months old already?! I swear she just started walking but here she is talking to us and understanding almost everything we say to her and tackling challenges like swimming lessons and gymnastics and potty training.  In case I haven't recorded it anywhere else, one of her very first words, besides Mama, Dada, and No, was "Apple".  She also says please (it sounds more like "meeee"), dog, Clara, and her first sentence was "I do!" spoken when I hollered out to Clara that I needed a helper to come set the table.  Rose yelled from the other room "I do!" and came running. 

Rose is our mischievous little scamp.  She loves to tickle, tease, tackle, and torment.  She loves to climb shelves in closets, tear apart drawers and cupboards, hang from anything within reach, and run away with any object she thinks might be off-limits (it drives Clara absolutely crazy when Rose steals her toothbrush and Rose knows it - consequently there is almost a daily fight over that thing).  One of her favorite things to do is to pull apart my shelf of active wear and try on sports bras, tank tops, and running pants, then proudly strut around the house showing off.  Another favorite activity for her is catching somebody in a state of partial undress and then pointing and loudly braying at their nakedness, which she finds absolutely hilarious.  Its not the best for the ego but her cackling is one of the funniest things ever.

When I lay her down for naps, I can hear Rose singing "ABC's" to herself for quite some time before she drifts off.  She usually does the same thing in the morning too, because I won't let her get out of bed and play at 5:45 (which is when she usually wakes up).  I just go in and take her wet pull-up off and give her a potty break and some milk, then lay her back down since it is still pitch black.  But she never goes to sleep - just sits in there happily singing and telling herself stories until around 6:30 when she gets bored and I go get her.  Then she likes to be held and smile at chatter in my arms for 10 or 15 minute, happy as can be to have me all to herself before we start making breakfast and getting ready and waking Clara up (who has started sleeping in lately).  She sometimes even consents to snuggle in my bed for a little bit, until she remembers that one of her favorite games is called "pushing mommy off the bed" which she is amazingly good at. 

I can proudly say that Rose is now officially potty trained.  Yes, we are still having accidents but we are down to pretty much just 1 a day and I even feel confident about taking her out in public to run errands or go to the gym in her big girl panties instead of a pull-up because she does what she needs to immediately if I sets her on the toilet or she shakes her head vigorously and states "no", not to tell me that she won't do it but that she doesn't need to and I can take her at her word at this point.  It took about 5 days for her to catch on to the concept of what she was supposed to be doing on the toilet, and another 2 weeks to really get consistent about it but for the past week or so she has shown lots of progress in telling me she needs to go (not in words - more with her eyes, grabbing herself, or stopping what she is doing and getting quiet) and as long as I am not too distracted I usually pick up on her cues and we get there on time.

Clara, bless her heart, has been such a help and honestly so patient though this process.  We spent hours and hours and hours in the bathroom playing Go Fish, reading books, "washing" toys, singing songs, and telling stories.  And Clara was always eager to reward Rose with praise, applause and marshmallows whenever she had a potty training success.

Rose is my water girl.  Whether it is sprinklers or fountains or ocean or pool, Rose likes to be in the water, splashing around.  And I can't get over how insanely cute she looks in her swimming suits with her chunky little legs and round little belly.  This is one of my favorite photographs of her standing on the sprinkler in the backyard.  I had so much fun taking pictures of the girls in that hazy, golden summer light that afternoon when it was 100 degrees and we were staying cool.  This was only a few weeks ago but as I am typing this it is early in the morning and chilly and that day I already a memory of our summer.

Rose is doing awesome in swimming lessons.  We went all summer and the girls did so well and progressed so much that I signed them up again for the fall session that goes through December.  Rose can hold her breath for seven seconds and kick up from underwater and grab onto the side of the pool to pull herself out.  We also do these "swim passes" with her coach where Rose has worked up to just sitting on my arms and when given the cue, she sort of flops forward off of me and kicks her way over to her coach a few feet away.  It is pretty amazing because it looks like actual swimming.  And she has an absolute blast every time we go. 

We stopped by a vineyard the other day after a gym class on our way home when the sun was low in the sky and I let the girls wander down an aisle.  It took them a few minutes to discover the grapes hanging from the vines, but when they did they were in heaven.  Sticky grape juice was covering the hands and faces and they were so, so happy.  I wonder if there are any "pick your own" grape vineyards for eating grapes, not wine grapes, like there are strawberry patches or apple orchards because my girls would be so into that.  These grapes were the dark blue, small variety that are used for vine, I'm sure, and had seeds, but the flavor was absolutely delicious. 

As feisty and fierce as Rose is, she is also such a little love.  She gives tight squeezes and when I hold her after sleep she likes to pat me lightly on my back.  She can usually be coaxed into giving a kiss and she loves, loves, loves to have other people hold her, whether that is a friend I am speaking with at the moment, a gymnastics coach who she thinks needs a hug, or the nurse at the doctor's office.  Rose just walks over, stretches up her arms and pleads with her version of "please".  And when they scoop her up she almost always lays her head right down on their shoulder and starts patting their backs.  It is the sweetest and I love how generous her little spirit is.

We went to Ikea and I rewarded the girls with their own cheap ice cream at the end of the shopping trip.  My cousin commented when I posted this on Instagram about how funny it is that Rose's scoop is practically the size of her head.  That thing dripped all over her because I was busy taking pictures and not licking the sides down like I should have been (a job I don't particularly like because I think the ice cream at Ikea is gross). 

Gosh I just love her.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Apple Picking 2015 Edition

This was our third year going apple picking at Gizdich Ranch in Watsonville.  It really is a trek to get down there - about an hour and a half drive - but it is such a fun tradition and we all love it.  I am grateful we have these recurring things we do each year because I have enjoyed looking back on the blog posts from past years and seeing how our family has grown and changed (2013 is here and 2014 is here).  The weather was cool and crisp when we set out in the morning from Dublin but by the time we got to Watsonville it was hotter than we have experienced before for apple picking and this year the apples seemed smaller or less plentiful - maybe because of the drought?  But we had a good time picking and eating together.  Rose was way into it and was grabbing apples off the ground left and right and trying to fill the bucket as fast as she possibly could.  She only slowed down when she realized she could sit and eat apples that we gave to her.

We mostly pick Galas for eating and Pippins for baking, with a few Golden Delicious thrown in for good measure.  The orchard has Red Delicious too, but honestly who eats those anyway?  Blech.  Clara and Rose will eat apples all day long though so we can actually pick quite a lot for eating and then I like to make pie, bread, pancakes with cider syrup, cobbler, and salads with the rest. 


After we finish picking apples, we always go to the barn to buy fresh apple cider (that stuff is AMAZING - so completely different from apple juice and so, so good that we go through it way too fast) and get pie to eat there.  The cider processing machinery is located in a big building next to these stacks of crates but we have never seen them making the cider, which I think would be really cool.  Maybe next year I will research when that happens and whether we can go watch. 

I love apple pie (all pie, really) but since I knew I would be making one with the apples we had picked, I opted for a slice of ollalieberry pie, which was delicious.  The girls and Paul had Dutch Apple, which is Paul's favorite.  It was all so yummy and the girls got very, very sticky.

We missed going with friends (the past couple of years we have gone with our friends, the Fischlis, but this ended up being the only day that seemed like it would really work out for us.  It was the perfect way to kick off the Fall season and we are looking forward to cooler temperatures and the many exciting autumn activities we have coming up.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Clara's First Day of Preschool

Yesterday was Clara's second first day of preschool.  Last year we did a preschool coop that was more like homeschooling with four other moms and kids from church.  This year we are in another coop preschool but it is much larger with 24 kids in her class, 3 full-time teachers and a classroom and everything.  The parents are required to work there two days at a time about once a month, so there are always 3 parents there in addition to the 3 teachers.  It is also super convenient for us because it is just around the corner from our house so we can just walk there every day. 

We visited the school late last spring when we found out we were on the waitlist and Clara has been talking about "her new school" ever since.  A few weeks ago we made a countdown chain together so that she could tear off rings and see how close we were getting to her first day.  She even took the last chain to bed with her the night before school started.  Paul also gave her a father's blessing and she was very reverent while receiving it and as soon as she stood up Rose jumped off my lap and climbed into the place Clara had just vacated and indicated that she was ready for hers too.

Clara's first day went great - no tears or fears or anything.  She went right in and joined the other kids and just had a wonderful time.  If anybody had a hard time, it was Rose, who cried when we left Clara (although it could easily have been because she wanted to play with the preschool toys as much as not wanting to leave big sister behind). 

She reported that they ate Star Wars crackers and she got to pour her own juice, played on swings, tricycles and with dress ups, sang songs, and did an art project.  On the walk home she told me that she thought her teachers were very nice and she played with two little girls named Alanna and Indiana.

She took me to the arts & crafts area where we found her painting still drying.  I'm impressed how Clara knows to look at the name tags to try to identify names start with "C" to see if she can find her own.  She jumps the gun at "Cassidy" or "Christopher" until she is reminded or remembers to look for the next letter in her name, but she has got the idea in her mind about how to identify her project by her name rather than by what the project looked like.  Oh, and incidentally, those white hair clips that Clara is wearing?  She puts them in herself and is so proud that she can do her own hair now.  I straighten it for her to clean up the ends a bit and part it, but then she wants to brush it and changes her clips in and out all day long switching between her favorite colors and trying to match her outfits.

We just can't believe what a beautiful, confident, fun little girl Clara is growing up to be.  She has a great imagination and a sweet heart and is just so willing and eager to be helpful.  We are so proud of her.  I took her measurements this morning for the record and she is just short of 42" tall and weighs 35 1/2 pounds.  I wasn't planning on school shopping for clothes for her, but as we have started to feel just the tiniest shift in temperature I went through her closet and realized that Clara doesn't have much cold weather attire that will fit her anymore.  So when we were at the store the other day I mentioned getting her an outfit for the first day of school and oh man, was she thrilled about that idea.  So she has a few new pair of leggings, shirts, cardigans, and dresses to wear and has been pleased as punch to get to cut the tags off and wear something new each day.  We did a few photos at a park in another one of her school outfits before school began and the poses were all her own.

We are thrilled to watch how she grows this year in preschool!