Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 A Year in Review

First off- I didn't do my New Year's Resolutions whatsoever!! ha ha ha No Spanish! No emergency kit! No recipes from Food and Wine! (although I did try internet recipes) And no new photos in frames! It's a good thing I figured out other things to do, but wow. What a way to not accomplish a few goals.

Ok, so here's what DID happen in 2011. Rather than separate it out month-to-month I'll just take it in big categories.

Frannie- finished kindergarten in June. Her teacher was Mrs. Byers and her friends were mostly Zoie, Heather and Nicole. She also finished her gymnastics class and I decided to try her in piano over the summer. I have this thing with extra-curricular activities that I want the kids to express some amount of joy and willingness to do the thing- whatever it may be- because it takes me time to schlep them there (which means Adam and Natalie get schlepped too) and money to pay for it. So I'm not super-keen on continuing an activity that I have to bribe participation in. And gymnastics required the bribe of a Del Taco .49 burrito. Anyways, so I decided to put gymnastics on hold for the summer and I started her in piano classes with a teacher who lives next door to Nataki. Her name is Linda and she's super sweet and a good teacher. Frannie has since finished her first level 1A book and is working on the next one. It's a joy to me to hear her practice and play and I hope this is one activity that she'll continue to grow with. I never did re-sign her up for gymnastics or anything else in the Fall. Mostly because she started first grade and it is a longer school day and we wanted her to adjust to that. I figured piano was enough. I do have the desire for her to learn some sort of dance just because there is so much value to learning body control and movement, but for some reason it's just not the right time. I'm starting to think about homeschool dance. Shoot. I took lessons all those years. Why don't I teach my own kids to dance?

As far as other interests she loves to ride her bike (and now skateboard) and play with Legos and build things in general. She loves crafting and cooking. Basically, Francesca is a DO-er. Give the girl something to do hands-on and she's a happy camper, and that includes chores and organizing games with Adam and Natalie.

As I mentioned, in the fall she started first grade and so far it's been magical for her. The girl loves school. She loves her friends. She loves her teacher. She asks to go to school on the weekends. She asks to do more homework. And darnit, that's the way it should be. Shouldn't the little ones just LOVE school? Yes, I think so. So I'm happy that she's enjoying herself and that it's been a good year so far. Her reading and math skills are improving, and she's basically just where she should be. Her teacher is Mrs. Hansen, and her best friend at school this year is Heather.
At home she's a great big sister and helper to me.

Adam- I've seen big changes in Adam this year. And I feel that even in the last month I've seen him grow and change a lot. First, he got taller and he got bigger feet! His feet are now bigger than Frannie's which irks her no doubt, but I can tell he feels like a Big Boy because of it. In fact he told me today when I called him my "little boy" that he's not a little boy, he's a big boy. Well, ok, you can be mommy's big boy. I used to worry that he'd be so shy and not make friends well. Wrong. He makes friends with other little boys just fine. He's got an active imagination with all of his trains and cars and even though he can be an introvert, it's not a socially handicapping kind of quietness. It's pretty cute because I can see the quiet smirk or whatever it is and know that inside he's really into whatever is happening.
On Tuesdays I take both he and Natalie to the mommy n' me preschool class and he loves that. They both do. I think he's doing well with his "kindergarten readiness" because before I know it, it'll be fall and he'll be off to school.
Both he and Frannie asked for skateboards from Santa Claus, probably because of this video that Jason showed the kids. It is Adam's favorite youtube thing to watch by far.


The funny thing about skateboarding is that Adam is a "two feet on the ground" kind of kid. So it actually isn't something he's taking to just yet, although he definitely likes the idea of it. Frannie on the other hand is on that thing every day.
Other than preschool we don't do any special activities other than park days on Wednesdays and Thursdays but that is really all he needs. During the weekdays Adam and Natalie play together and fight constantly as is typical for kids. All of the kids have a good close relationship actually and that's nice.

Natalie- She's 2 1/2 and a feisty one. She's cute and smart and stubborn and has a VERY LOUD SCREAM! Oh dear. She's a really good talker and here are some of her most commonly heard phrases:
"I not paying with you eny-MO!" "Pbbb!" (That last part is her tongue out spitting at me.)
"I not gone to pay with you eber a-GIN!"
"Sees my sisso. He's my AM." (She's my sister. He's my Adam.)
"I want ba-ba cup!" (So we get her off the bottle, but she still needs to have a sippy cup of milk to go to sleep or for comfort.)
"Where's my bie?" She still loves that pink blankey and needs to suckle on it for comfort. We can NEVER lose that thing! She'd cry and cry and cry!

She did potty-train this year so that's good. She got #2 down really fast but it took all summer of me working on it with her to get #1. But she got it! So other than "I gotta go pee pee!" I also hear her saying "I need my pie-see!" (my privacy).

This year has seen one destructive act after another from Vasaline spread all over her body, to minty toothpaste, to massive yogurt smears, to drawing on walls and breaking the car cd player and our television by shoving weird stuff in it.  I sort of think she's getting better now (although I hesitate to make that declaration too confidently.)
All of this is ok though because Natalie is a very good cuddler and she's funny and cute.

Jason- Jason has fully embraced his biking and fitness hobby. He continues to post at bicyclefriends and he loves riding every weekend and riding with the kids too. He taught Natalie how to ride which he was super proud of. He also won a few races this year. He competed several times in the KnobbyTime mountain bike races held at Bonelli and he won a few 3rd and 2nd place finishes. He's made a lot of friends through the cycling community and bikes are his favorite thing to talk about! He continues to work for Canidae and does a great job for them. Jason is a super-duper Dad and I appreciate how he always helps with the kids and around the house.

Jamie- As for me, I love being here with the kids and taking care of them and life around the house. Maybe I'm tired because it is 11:50 on New Year's Eve and I'm feeling done with writing this, but I'd rather not write a big huge fat paragraph about myself! Suffice to say, things are much the same with me and I'm enjoying life.

and the photo that didn't make it to the Christmas card...
Happy, Screamy, Sulky- and Silly in the back
Here we are on our way to seeing the Metrolink Holiday Train.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Overheard

Frannie- "Adam! Stop shooting all the time! I don't want you shooting me anymore!"
Adam softly..."But I'm a boy. I have to shoot."
Frannie- "Well then go shoot somewhere else! Girls don't like to be shot at!"


Adam was talking to me one day and said something about when he has a son. So I tell him, "You know, before you have a son you have to grow up and have a wife first." Adam says something unintelligible that sounds like "fat wife".
So I say, "You want to have a fat wife?"
He says, "No, I want a straight one." "And she should play tennis."

Natalie says to me as she's suckling on her pink blankey: "I not a baby eny-MO!"
"You're not Mommy's baby?"
"No!"
"Ok Nattie, you're not a baby." (I don't care what she says, she's still my baby!)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Today was a perfect day

I wrote this post back in March 2011 
I just wrote my status update on Facebook that "Today goes down in the books as a perfect day." And it does.

Today was one of those days that from start to finish had an elegant flow of contentment and joy and productivity. It was an average day in many respects, but noteworthy in that everything good that can happen in one of my average days, did indeed happen.

On days like today, I love being a stay-at-home-mom and think that this is the best job anyone could have.

In the morning I made the kids egg burritos for breakfast and helped Frannie get ready for school. I did her hair as I always do and packed her a lunch. When I got home from taking her to school I began to tackle my kitchen and it was nice to just pat pat through the house doing my little morning chores. The kids were playing together so nicely this morning, no yelling, screaming or whining. Just the sounds of pretend choo choos and talking and whatever else they were doing. It had to be the most gorgeous day I've seen in a long time so the sun was coming in bright through the shutters and the breeze was coming in through the slider. It was just a beautiful day. I did have a pile of dishes overflowing in my sink, but since the kids were playing so nicely, I was able to have a relaxed conversation with a friend as I was doing my work.

Natalie went down for a nap at 11am. I made myself a tortilla wrap sandwich for lunch. Adam got PB&J. . I started the wash for our master bedroom sheets, comforter, pillow cases, etc... I've had two new king-sized pillows stashed in the closet for awhile, so today we not only got freshly cleaned bedding, but new pillows to enjoy as well. At 12:20 we left on our walk to pick Frannie up from school. The sun was just the right amount of heat and it was one of those days when I really did breath deeply and look up at the trees and enjoy the moment. I love watching Adam peddling away so well on his bicycle. I push Nattie in the stroller and always stop to pick a long strand of fox-tail grass for her to hold. Lately I've been arriving at Frannie's classroom a little bit early so I can help the teacher with any odds and ends like taking stuff off of bulletin boards or putting things up. Today, I put up new spring decorations on the classroom door.

When we got home, Fran had her snack and then Omar came over to play, so from that point on the kids were mostly outside in the front yard until dinnertime. They were in and out of course, (Frannie was inside for awhile watching her favorite Gilligan's Island and doodling a book "My Frend the Fairy") but the fact that they were mostly occupied and happy meant that I could continue with my pat patting through the house as I finished laundry and picking up. I started dinner at 3:00 and fried up some taquitos with last night's left-over pork roast, and made some guacamole and black beans. We ate at 4:30.

At 6pm I called everyone back inside for baths. Everyone got his/her hair washed. Clean jammies. At 7:30 all were in bed and I spent my evening watching American Idol (which is the best season in a long time if you ask me) and crocheting my blanket that is taking forever to finish.

And that, is a perfect day. (Oh! AND I started making my sourdough bread today. It's going to rise through the night.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Natalie Rides a Bike!

Success! Natalie rides a bike.  Natalie's been riding a Specialized type strider bike since she turned two.  She picked up the balancing part pretty quickly.  At the point she was able to balance and coast on her strider bike, a conventional 12" two wheel was still to big for her.  Her legs just weren't long enough.  So I just let her coast around on the strider until about two weeks ago when I new her little legs were able to touch the ground while seated on the two wheeler.


At that point, she needed to get comfortable with training wheels and actually figure out how to pedal.  You see the strider teaches balance but not how to actually pedal.  Natalie was a bit awkward turning the crank over and over.  She kept wanting to just scoot along.  I worked with her until she was able to pedal on her own.


This weekend I took the training wheels off and needless to say she can ride a bike!  I am so proud.  My lovely pint sized bicyclist!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Innocence

As I'm putting on Frannie's raincoat this morning, she comments about a boy in school: "Pierce is always cold. He's always saying he's cool. 'I'm cool' I'm cool."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Family





Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ok, so I need a new post so that my sad one isn't at the top of the pile

Yesterday I took the munchkins to the County Fair!


Eeeps! Bee hive in the tree!

Someone's a little too little to be a praying mantis.
So anyways, I know that I just need to keep busy in the mornings and that will help me adjust. Preschool starts next week so I'll be taking the kids to that on Wednesday. I'll also hopefully be able to volunteer in her class on Mondays. Tuesdays and Thursdays we have park playgroups that we attend. And Friday is the library. Hopefully that is enough to do to keep our mornings busy so that the afternoon comes quickly and I'm not spending the whole day just feeling her absence! Besides, now it's time for me to start thinking about Adam's schooling at the fact that he'll be in Kindergarten next year.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My foray back into blogging

People keep asking me, "How come you don't blog anymore?" and I don't have a great answer other than, "I don't want to."

But I'm here tonight at the computer because I'm sad and miserable and who the heck wants to listen to someone drone on and on about their misery? No one. So I'm droning at the computer instead.

So what is this silly thing that's making me so sad?

My Frannie went back to school last week and I hate it. It's 10:45pm and I'm sitting here crying, yes, CRYING because tomorrow is another school day and she'll be gone from 8-2:20. And I just HATE IT! I miss her too much dammit! I miss my little girl. And shit, she's gone so much she's just going to turn into a big girl like a snap and I'll freaking miss half of it because she's gone all day.

I do feel I'm being a little overly dramatic here. And I'm almost embarrassed that I'm so damn sad about this. I know people send their children to school every day and this has been done for a LONG time and I know all of this. She's enjoying school and is happy every day when I pick her up.

It's me.

I just feel a little lost without her here. I know I've got Adam and Nattie, but they're a bit lost without her here too. She's the one who orchestrates all of the games. Anyways, so that's it. My Frannie started 1st grade and I'm miserable that I've got a whole school year of this. I'm already thinking forward to the next vacation when I can have her back.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Kids


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday




Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Kids



The Bicycle Family

Last weekend, I took the family on our first epic ride.  We rode four miles to downtown Claremont for lunch and back. The kids did great, obeying all the rules of the road.  We weaved thru the older homes between Foothill and Bonita, to our final destination, Downtown Claremont.  Along the way, Jamie admired some of the homes and even did a walk thru one "Open House".

Our goal was to eat at Saca's but sure enough they were closed on Sunday.  What restaurant CLOSES on a Sunday?  We ended up eating at a pizza place in the heart of downtown Claremont.  The food was okay.


Obey all the rules of the road.  "Stay on your right hand side!"


Smile for the camera!


Adam absolutely loves his bike.  He was the big brother and in his Thomas the Train backpack held Natalie's bottle, diapers and wipes.  He also had our bike lock stashed in there too!


Natalie takes a snooze while mommy looks at an open house.


It was a great ride 8 mile ride.  The kids did great and on the way home we stopped off at 21 Choices for some well earned frozen yogurt.



Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A good summer tip

This goes into the files of "practical things I want to remember".

We all know that my street is like Kid-City, and my front yard in particular seems to be the main dance floor. So I've got kids whooping it up outside of my door everyday, and that's how I like it.

But, I've also become more sensitive to my across-the-grass neighbors and don't feel it's right to have a bunch of kid toys littering the yard anymore. So into the backyard went the playhouse, and in go the bicycles (as much as I can keep up with anyways).

But what I do have is a basket of small spray bottles (like the kind hairdressers use). Those stupid spray bottles make the best squirt guns and I've got a veritable water-fight-war outside my door after school with each neighborhood kid vying for his very own bottle. Natalie comes in wanting her "wa-wa" too, so now I've got an empty dishsoap container out there too for her.

So that's my tip. Squirt bottles and empty dish soap bottles for squirt guns.

Yock

Today Natalie insisted on being totally naked. No daypo no nada.

But she did bring me two mismatched socks and shove them in my face with the order "Yock!"

Well, what Natalie wants, Natalie gets. Naked, with yocks.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Kids



Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Dirty Messy Stinky Baby

I sure do love this baby...

But she's a mess...

A real mess...

Always a dirty, stinky, filthy ol' baby.

                                                                        
The other day I couldn't find her, and here she was upstairs asleep! (She can climb into her pack n play)

 But, what the heck is the white crap on her ear!?

 GROSS! What the heck is it!?

Great...so she found my face lotion...There is always something with this kid!! 

She's my most feisty one yet screaming at me "Idowanto!" when it is time to go to bed or do anything else for that matter. 

But she's also kind of smart. She's fully poo poo potty trained at 20 months. (And yes that's a bit of a brag because I'm glad I don't have to lay her down and deal with her windmill legs and poop anymore.) And really, she learned fast! Pee is another matter, but she'll get there in a few more months. I'm often surprised with how much language she has. Even though she may not enunciate perfectly, she's got a word for almost everything. But she's a booger baby who does just what she pleases and pretty much runs the house. I work for Natalie. She's the boss.

Someone who reads this will think "Well you need to discipline your child!" And I do, and try to. But sometimes I think her almost two year old brain is smarter than my 32 year old one. How can someone so little be smarter than me and run me around? I don't know. Adam did this to me too. The boy kicked my butt for a year and a half before I finally started winning. So Natalie is kicking my butt and also being adorably cute at the same time. It's a dangerous combination because it means that I'm frustrated with her one minute, and then laughing at something she does (that I probably should be reprimanding her for) the next.
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