Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Clara-isms, Gymnastics, Swimming, Father's Day and More

Argh - This is yet another dump of the random photos from my phone to document some of the little things while I have a free moment because I don't have the time or focus for "better" blogging these days.  And instagram makes it so easy to share pictures and short stories really fast so sometimes blogging feels a bit repetitive.  But I honestly prefer the blog and love to look back on it.  I should make a goal to blog something substantive once a month or something just to get back in the habit.

Anyway, here are a few recent Clara-isms:

Said in a sing-song voice when wanting me to pay attention to her while I was working on something else: "Mom, you better watch.  Or you will lost your privileges..."

Clara was building snakes with playdough and mentioned wanting a snowman so I smushed up a snake (mistakenly thinking that is what she wanted).  Apparently this was not good behavior and Clara let me have it, kindly but firmly.  At one point she patiently asked me, "Mom, do I need to call your friends and tell them not to come to your pretend birthday party and we just won't have it?"  After apologizing multiple times, Clara was still kindly but thoroughly berating me so I offered to let her call her daddy at work so she could discuss my behavior with him.  I wish we had recorded that conversation because it was hilarious.  After a lecture about choosing the right and me helping to fix the snakes, I was finally let off the hook.

"I need my paintnails toted!" (Followed by a confused look at how that came out of her mouth).

I told Clara that a particular yogurt I was pulling from the refrigerator had her name written all over it.  She looked at it thoroughly when I set it in front of her and then pointed out that I was losing my mind because she couldn't find her name anywhere on it.

Spoken completely out of the blue after she had clearly been pondering this concept for some time:  "Shampoo does not have poo in it.  It makes my hair clean."  Also, his gem:  "Mermaids don't pee in the water." 

While in line at the drive-thru at In-N-Out:  "What's that amazing yummy smell?"  Inhales deeply. "Mmmm, fries!"
While playing with the sticker book in the picture below:  "I wish I had a yard like this."  Then, spoken wistfully after a contemplative pause:  "I wish I was a sticker."

And now on to some pictures.  The girls went with me to visit the oral surgeons in Oakland who will be performing my jaw surgery (not for another 9-12 months but we still had to consult in advance so they can come up with a plan with my orthodontist).  Clara played with this skull the entire time and loved when I made him "talk".  Who knew being a mom would require ventriloquy skills.

I actually planned meals for the entire month one afternoon when both girls took naps (a rarity these days since when Clara naps she stays up until 11:00).  I love when I get meals planned - we eat better, I stress less, and we save money - and yet somehow it hardly ever happens and I usually am scrambling to figure out what to eat the day of which results in extra trips to stores.  I should get on top of things and start planning out July soon.  We have actually done pretty well about sticking to the menu this month (while maintaining a little flexibility and shifting a day or two here and there). 

Rose FINALLY got to start gymnastics.  She's actually still too young - they have to be 18 months to join the class - but after doing a trial class with her, the coach in charge of the preschool program said they could make an exception for this semester.  Rose clearly has been paying attention to Clara's classes over the past months because she hit the mat running (literally) once she finally had permission to participate.  She has been trying somersaults and hot dog rolls down the incline planes, climbing up and down the obstacle courses, and even attempting handstands and the balance beam.  She is still hesitant to jump on the trampoline though - I can barely get a bounce out of her - and prefers to sprint down the tumble track rather than jump down it.  And she admittedly had a meltdown on bars this week (not because she was scared though - she just didn't seem to care for it much and wanted to move onto something else and couldn't because we had to stay with the class).  It is so nice to be able to do a class with Rose while Clara is taking her class with her coach and every now and then the girls wave at each other.  Clara also chooses which leotards they will both wear and prefers their black ones so that they can "match". 


A group of mom's in our area got together every Thursday this past year for "Music Makers" where we led the kids in singing songs, playing instruments, having snacks, playing with a parachute, and doing story time.  We had an end of the year potluck picnic that was really fun and I took a couple of quick pictures of the girls.  Clara was always excited for Thursdays because of Music Makers so I know that she is going to miss this time. 



On National Donut Day Paul texted me to say that I had to get donuts for the girls.  Donuts are Paul's thing, not mine, but what kind of parent would deprive her kids of donuts on national donut day (I am that kind of parent).  Anyway, I have priorities so we had a good breakfast and went to the gym and only stopped for donuts afterwards (around 11:00).  And everything was gone.  At both donut stores.  It was so weird.  So we went home and I made donuts from scratch.  They looked pretty but they were seriously the grossest.  So we won't be doing that again.  But Clara had fun with the sprinkles and it was an interesting experiment.

A friend had a birthday party for her 2-year old that the girls were invited to and she sent me this cute picture of Clara attacking the piñata afterwards.  Clara LOVES this pink striped cardigan and pairs it was basically everything.

Our ward had an Elder's Quorum cookoff that has apparently been an annual activity for 30 years.  Paul entered both the Entrée and the Dessert categories and took first place in both.  He made smoked baby back ribs (my uncle Richard's recipe - he is from Texas and knows his smoked meats) and s'mores bars (the hungry runner girl's recipe with just a little bit of coaching from me although I stayed completely hands off and tried to keep my commentary to a minimum).  Each wife was assigned to judge one category and then ballots were collected and tallied and prizes were given out.  It was fun to see what the guys brought to show off their skills although I did not expect almost every single dessert to be a peanut butter/chocolate combination of some kind. 

I took Clara to see a live children's production of Peter Pan with some other moms from church.  We had fun although it wasn't amazing.  It was one of those productions where every kid gets a part so they have an enormous group and it is more about dance numbers for everybody that about a really quality show and it got a little long by the end.  Clara was nervous about Captain Hook and the crocodile but handled everything pretty well.

Beach days have started up again and we are loving it.  It has been so nice to catch up with all our old friends from Hillsdale ward and the girls have been enjoying playing in the sand and the water with the other kids.  Rose is a hat girl and has been good about keeping her hat on the whole time.  Unfortunately, she turns out to still be really interested in sand and I often catch her dumping shovel or cupful of it into her little mouth, just to see if it still tastes the same.  Such a goof. 

Clara is struggling to learn how to ride her bike, even with training wheels.  The biggest problem is her confidence and understanding of pedaling.  If we are on any sort of incline whatsoever and she feels the bike moving, she falls apart and there are tears and tantrums aplenty.  But when we are on totally flat ground, she actually is starting to get the hang of it.  I get her to go out and practice by telling her we will ride to the park so whenever she wants to give up I explain that it's fine and we can just turn right around and head home if she is ready to be done.  She never wants to do that so after some wailing and gnashing of teeth, we press on.  The return ride usually takes half as long as the ride to the park and she doesn't have the same hesitation as when she first starts out.  I'm hopeful that by the end of the summer we can take the training wheels off and she will be able to ride on her own at Yosemite this year.

Rose is just the cutest little busy body.  She loves running around with no bottoms on other than a diaper and she gets into everything.  She is always underfoot when I am cooking or getting ready or cleaning.  And oh my goodness she is such a character.  When Paul gets home from work and we are all sitting in the living room, Rose will stand up and lecture us while gesticulating with her pointer finger.  She tells us to stay put (seriously, she gives us these looks and jabbers her command to stay where we are and waits for a pause to see if we got it) then sprints out of the room only to come back a minute later with some item she has retrieved from one of the bedrooms like a blanket or a book she wants read or a toy she wants to play with.  And she knows our routines well and will often get her shoes or my shoes preemptively when she knows we will be heading someplace soon.

She is obsessed with fruit and loves all kinds but pluots, apricots, peaches, watermelon and berries (so basically all the summer fruits) are particular favorites right now.  At the farmer's market we were hanging out on the grass enjoying a Mexican shave ice when I realized that Rose had snuck into our basket and was gobbling down pluots as fast as she possibly could.  She will stuff her face full of watermelon like a chipmunk until she can't close her lips and juice is dripping down her neck and she starts giggling like crazy about it while we laugh.

We stopped for soft-serve at a cute, old-fashioned creamery in downtown Pleasanton.  We let Rose hold Paul's ice cream cone for the picture and to have a taste but she refused to give it up afterwards so she ended up with her own (that I helped her with).

This was her face after we had tried taking the cone back from her.  You can see the proteciveness of her grip and withering look of "you aren't going to dare trying that stunt to separate me from the ice cream again, are you?".

A new Whole Foods opened up nearby and they have the kid-size shopping carts that are perfect for Clara.  We went on a Saturday so Paul could check it out.  I don't shop there often because it is more expensive but there are some times when I go for particular items and I love that place.  The meat section is seriously just beautiful and they have the best selection of fish and things like ground lamb.  And they actually make excellent breads in their bakery.  It's maybe silly or lame that we think family outings to the grocery store are fun times, but it's what we like to do I guess.

We've been having some hot weather so we have been spending a lot of time at pools and splash pads.  Both girls started swimming lessons last week and did great.  I found a place called American Swim Academy where there are classes for Clara and Rose at the same time and it is indoors so I don't have to worry about sunscreen or changes in weather.  It's a semester based approach so we are signed up for 13 weeks and depending on how it goes maybe we will do fall semester too (or opt to try soccer or dance or something else instead). 

One of the new splashpads we found out about is connected to a really awesome park with a zipline, huge slide, and tons of other fun equipment.  We went back on a Saturday morning with Paul to play before it got too hot.

And finally, we had such a nice weekend celebrating both Father's Day and Paul's birthday.  Since Paul had a banjo lesson on his actual birthday and wouldn't have much time at home (and the girls go to bed early anyway) we just celebrated everything on Sunday (and sort of Saturday when we went shopping and Paul picked out a bunch of new clothes).  The girls love their daddy and we are sure lucky to have him.

For Paul's birthday, I made him a batch of bread & butter pickles using his Grandma Robertson's recipe.  He loves having them on tuna fish sandwiches but hasn't had them in years.  I got the recipe years ago with the intention of making some for him but didn't have the necessary bottling equipment until this past year.  Anyway, it took all day but I got them done and hidden just before he got home one night (although I had to text him and send him on errands so he couldn't come straight home from work because I was franticly trying to clean up and put everything away so it could be a surprise). 

And I think that is pretty much it for the latest goings-on around here.  Now I had better post this before Rose wakes up from her nap and Clara finishes her coloring project!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Random catch-up

This is going to be a quick, random catch-up post full of bad iPhone pictures.  I have got to start using the nice camera more again because I have become too reliant on the ease of my camera phone and miss having the better pictures I get from the Canon.
So anyhoosier, over Memorial Day weekend we went to stay with the Millers.  Ginny is due to have their fourth baby any day now and then they are leaving California for the summer to take the bees to North Dakota, so we wanted to get one more chance to see them.  Our girls were so entertained by Max and Ollie the whole time.  They have a great play room and the boys taught Clara about building forts (Ollie wrote her a "no boys allowed" sign to go on her fort since their forts had "no gurls allowed" signs on them) and after Sunday dinner at Jason's parents' house the boys took turns taking Clara and Rose on drives around the front loop in front of the mandarin orchard in one of those powerwheel jeeps.  Paul has some video or a picture of Rose doing this which I might have to pull from his phone if I remember to and add it here but basically she had a huge smile on her face the entire time and waved like she was in a parade every time they went past.
We went out for sushi and Rose at all the rice.  Like, when a side of rice was brought out that we had ordered for the kids, Jason and Ginny said that it was so much rice that there was no way that the kids would be able to eat it all.  And then Rose devoured the whole thing by fistfuls until she had consumed it all.  It made a mess but she was happy about it. 

We also played games and took turns showing the ridiculous random internet stuff that we have seen lately (mostly Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel stuff).  Also, on Memorial Day, Jason took Paul to work with him at like 5:00 a.m. to move bees.  They got back just in time for the wonderful crepes that Ginny made.  A lot of our favorite recipes, including the crepe recipe I use, come from Ginny who is an excellent cook.

We took the kids to a very little Memorial Day ceremony at an old cemetery in Auburn.  I thought the 21 gun salute would be more upsetting for the girls but they did just fine.

Aside from that little weekend trip, life around here has been laid back recently and we have fallen into a nice routine of gym, park, errands, preschool and play dates that is going to be shaken up here in the next couple of weeks as we start doing more summer stuff like beach days and vacations and stuff.  One thing that has already started up again is the Dublin farmer's market, which we enjoy going to even though it is awfully small.  I just can't resist the fresh peaches and apricots!  I made a couple batches of apricot jam already and it turned out awesome.  Clara enjoyed helping me husk some of the corn that we picked up the other week.  I remember this being one of my favorite jobs as a kid too.

I took a machine quilting class at a quilt shop I discovered in Livermore.  It was an all-day thing on a Saturday so Paul and his dad (who was visiting for work stuff) took the girls on a drive over to the coast while I spent the day learning how to machine quilt on my home machine.  It was a blast and I learned so much.  Now I need more practice and I want to do an actual quilt again soon so I can put my new skills to use!

I tried a funky braid on my hair that day and had to document it.  It was a dutch braid that I "pancaked" which is where you tug the braid apart a bit to make it a little flatter and looser.  I'm afraid I have too many fly-aways to really pull off this look. 

Rose is wearing nightgowns now.  The 2T pajamas were just getting far too tight on her and the tops wouldn't stay down over her belly.  So I pulled out the size 3T jammies, which work much better.  That batch of sleepwear also included three nightgowns that Clara had worn so we have started putting Rose in those too and she seems to love them, probably because they are so much more comfortable for her since she doesn't have pants cinched around her belly.  Also, we are dying over her beautiful little curls and amazing bedhead.

And finally, we have started a new tradition of watching classic movies on Sunday afternoons with Clara.  Paul and I had this conversation while on a drive with the girls about how much we loved "World of Disney" on Sunday evenings as children and how we missed it and that is where we came up with this idea.  So we have been watching movies like "The Swiss Family Robinsons", "Sound of Music", and "Mary Poppins".  Clara really enjoys them even though they aren't the cartoons that I think she would prefer.  I love how thoroughly good and decent these movies are - they have such enduring values like family and hard work and are just plain fun to watch.  Some of the movies we have in our collection but others I am just picking up from the local library. 

And that's pretty much all that has been going on around here!