Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sibling Love.

I started making this video just to capture how cute and imaginative Ellie is. It ended with Adam waking up from his nap. I'm so glad I caught the look of love he gives his sister. They are darling together.

And this happened this morning. Who doesn't love a little patty cake and getting squashed?

We had a busy day yesterday. Ellie helped me make pancakes in the morning after an early wake up, and then before nap time we made some lemon cupcakes to bring down to see my friend Maree. Maree lives outside of Washington DC, but her dad and stepmom live in Carlsbad. Maree, her sister Renee, and her nephew Langdon (and her parents) have welcomed us to dinner in the past, and since she was in town again, we took them up on their invite yet again. Ellie and Langdon are a month apart, and they got on like a house on fire. There was sand scooping, dining al fresco at the kiddie table, chasing each other around the house, roaring like dinosaurs and a sweet dance party. We didn't leave until late, and Ellie didn't fall asleep until later. And then of course, was up early again this AM.

So it's no surprise that this is what happened during our family walk this morning:
This is the first stroller nap she's taken in probably over a year. Now she's fighting her regular nap, which should make her a huge treat when we bring her out and about to a classmate's birthday party. Hooray!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Best Laid Plans.

Oh the children, sometime I don't know why I try. Probably because I love them like crazy.

This week we started solids with Adam. We're going the hippy-fied "baby led weaning" route, which basically means you put small chunks of vegetables and fruit in front of your kid and let them have at it. If they eat, they eat, if they don't, they don't. But they eat what you're eating as appropriate, and in small enough chunks, and they learn how to feed themselves at the same time. We didn't do cereal for very long with Ellie - she didn't like it, and it caused some bad back ups in her system, so I'm skipping it completely with Adam. On Wednesday night we gave him some small pieces of avocado. He enjoyed squishing them and pushing them around, and then we helped him get a bite in his mouth.

As you can see, he's not that into it. Oh well. We will try another time, and then move on to other foods to see how he does. Starting solids is a funny thing - it seems like it should be so fun, but it's mostly a lot of work and extra clean up, and it's more for taste and experience and less about nutrition. So we'll see how he does.

Meanwhile, today was Ellie's first dance class. We decided to take a break from music class and see if the girls would like to learn some sweet dance moves, and thankfully there was a class at the community center. Both Ellie and Lexi missed the first class last week, but we hoped they'd be willing to jump in. Yeah... not so much. First off, Ellie fell in the parking lot and busted her lip, so there was a ton of screaming about that. I got her calmed down and into the right shoes (tap shoes) but she was only in with the teacher for a few minutes before she got sent out for being hysterical. It's about ten little girls and this week they weren't having the parents sit in. I tried reasoning with Ellie, bribing her, showing her the classroom through the window, pointing out what a big girl Lexi was being, but it was all for naught. She just sobbed and sobbed about how she didn't want to do it. She wanted to go home. I even pulled over half way home and held her for awhile to see if she would consent to going back, and she just begged to go home. I ended up calling and unenrolling her so I can get the class fee back, because I figure it's better to wait and maybe try again in a few months than spend the next eight weeks having her freak out every Friday morning.

She looks so cute though!
Maybe she can be a tap dancing bunny for Halloween.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Six Months.

How has this happened? How has six months gone by so very, very quickly? I feel like I was just pregnant a minute ago. Heck, I can't believe Ellie isn't six months old. Waaaaah!

Oh, our little Adam Howard. He is a doll. As you can see all his hair has grown back, but his baby smell has gone. At six months he spends a lot of time babbling, including making this sort of "dah dah dah" noise that I call "dog baby" because he sounds like a dog with peanut butter in its mouth. He is quite the little wiggle worm and rolls quite easily from stomach to back and back again. Within seconds of being put in his bed, he flips to his stomach, thumb in his mouth, butt in the air, lamb-lovey clutched in his hands. He's a great sleeper at night and at naps (hooray!) and still loves hanging out in the ergo. He's scooting a little here and there - not crawling, but getting himself up on his flexed toes and shoving himself forward to reach what he wants. His favorite toys are his lamb, his Sophie (well, Ellie's Sophie with all the spots licked off) and his bug ring teether. No teeth yet thank goodness, but the copious drool means they're coming.

His favorite thing in the whole world is his sister. In the early days, I remember thinking "I can't wait for them to be big enough to play together" and it's finally coming to pass. I love how he looks at her, and how she makes him laugh. This morning she came running out of her bedroom and began kissing him and rubbing his head and saying "oh, good morning little baby! Hi! Hi!" as I was feeding him.

He is nowhere near as chubby as Ellie was at this age, and he's definitely longer. The one milestone where I think she's going to have him beat is sitting up on his own. Ellie started sitting up the week she turned six months. Adam shows NO interest in sitting. He's happy to have you hold him so he can stand and stomp his feet and hoot, but if you try to bend him to sit he generally WILL NOT do it.

This is his favorite face to make:
Farewell, lower lip!

Here he is, wearing the Peter Rabbit outfit that Eileen bought me when I was first pregnant with Ellie, before we knew what we were having. It was the very first piece of clothing my kiddos received.

It is flattering on all babies (three month old Ellie.)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Trip Photos.

Here's my faves:

Driving through the middle of nowhere

Beautiful and a little scary

Bears, they're crazy.

Pink toes in Lake Tahoe

Adam and Pa have some lumberjack time

Ironman morning

Iron bunny

Ellie on our last night

Motorcyle mama on the way home

The support team in our matching shirts. Oh, and Jake.

Oh Lake Tahoe, some day I would like to swim in you.

The swim start of the Ironman

Our favorite Ironman, about to get on his bike, hoping his circulation will someday return.

Across the finish line

Monday, September 23, 2013

Home Again, Home Again!

The big news first: Jake qualified to go to the Ironman competition in Kona, Hawaii next fall. The Kona race is the original Ironman, and now the championships of the Ironman. Only 50 people from each race get to go, and there were 2,500 people in the race at Lake Tahoe. We are so proud of him, and hoping we can go and see him kick some ass in Hawaii. Especially because it won't be so cold.

We had a great time watching him, and the whole race itself was inspiring. Part of the marathon course went around our hotel and under our room, and as we were getting ready for bed last night at 10pm there were still people trudging around the track, working against their own exhaustion and the clock (they close the course at 12 midnight. Breaks my heart to think of those people who hit the water at 6:30am being unable to finish the race after all that work.) Jake was in good spirits every time we saw him, and it was great to get a wave and a smile from him as he blasted by us, with our matching shirts and our signs.

And here's our man, only yards from the finish line. I had a hard time not ugly-crying once he finished, because I felt so proud.

And I was tired from walking around all day to try to see him race. UGH. SO HARD.

Plus these children, they are so heavy.

The kids were so good during the day. Ellie was very enthused to cheer during the early part of the day (she was a little weird at the finish line - I think because she couldn't see anything.) Adam spent basically all of our spectating time peacefully sleeping in the ergo. They both took good naps in the middle of the day (I hollered at Jake from our hotel room window) and then we had one last trip to the pool last night and while I was packing, Adam was sitting in his bouncer and Ellie was saying "don't you dare giggle Adam!" and he was just SCREAMING with laughter back at her. It made my heart melt into a giant puddle. They love each other so very much.

We had a long day today driving home. Looooong. On the drive up Adam played with toys before he fell asleep, but he spent most of the drive today crying, which just broke my heart. We kept stopping to feed him and change him but at some points, we just had to let him cry until he fell asleep. I kept reaching back to stroke his hair, and Ellie would tell him that it was okay and not to cry. She was a great little traveler the whole time. She mostly wants to color and listen to music - I was amazed at how little work it was to keep her entertained on our eleven hour drive. I couldn't have asked for better travel buddies. They both slept well (especially considering that they were in the same room and could have spent all night going back and forth waking each other up. Also funny - during nap times we put Ellie in our bed, but then poor Adam ended up sleeping in his crib in the bathroom so that we could sit on the couch and talk at a reasonable volume) and Ellie took full advantage of everything vacation had to offer.

Tahoe was absolutely beautiful, and I hope we can visit again in a few years when the kids are bigger and can go water skiing and hiking and take advantage of everything the area has to offer. Or maybe we'll be back next year, since Jake ran the inaugural Lake Tahoe Ironman and is now a legacy.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Jake did it! He not only finished, but he finished in the top fifty and will most likely be going to Kona. I wanted to ugly-cry when he came across the finish line - I'm so proud of him and all of the athletes out there today.

I am also tired from spectating, and have to pack before our long journey home tomorrow. Pictures soon!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tahoe Day One.

We are having a great vacation so far! Our hotel is really nice, Mimi and Pa are just a floor above us and only a few doors down, and both kids have been as good as gold. We got up and had some breakfast in our kitchette, and then Ellie wanted to go see Mimi and Pa. While Adam took his morning nap, I went for a run around the golf course (all of the Ironman competitors wandering around make me feel like a big fat fatty) and then when we cleaned up, we went down to the pool where thankfully the slide pool was open.

Ellie had A BLAST.
She did this approximately one thousand times, and there was quite a walk between the pool and the top of the slide. She started going down on her bottom, feet first, but after awhile she started mixing it up, going head first, going on her stomach feet first... she is a trouble maker! She was also the only kid in the pool so the slide minders didn't yell at her.

While she took a nap Eileen, Adam and I went poking around the little towns. Didn't buy anything, but we had a good time. And then the grandparents took the kids so Tim and I could have a quick happy hour drink. IT WAS VERY HAPPY. Me and my friend Mr. Tom Collins.

We got to see Jake's place and hang out with him for dinner tonight, which was nice. They're right on the water and have an absolutely gorgeous view. Ellie and I walked down and stuck our toes in.

It was a bit of a late bed time tonight, but hey, it's VACATION!

Sadly, tomorrow it's supposed to rain. This place is a dump.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

We Made It!

We were locked and loaded in our little Honda Fit by 7:30am this morning. Traveling with babies requires a lot of gear. We stopped and got donuts and as we pulled on the freeway Ellie yelled "daddy, you have a stinky butt" and then was impressed when she made me laugh. "Do you think I'm funny mommy?" Yes. Crude, but funny (my favorite kind of funny, really.)

We could not have asked for better travelers. The drive took us close to 11 hours, but it went better than I expected. We basically drive until Adam falls asleep and wakes up again. Stop at the closest gas station or restaurant (and there are not many on the 395 through the middle of nowhere) and then I'd feed him, Tim and Ellie would go get snacks and beverages and gas, and then I'd go to the bathroom and Ellie and I would do stretching and jumping jacks before we got back in the car. Adam would chat to himself, fall asleep and then wake up. Lather rinse repeat on a two hour schedule.

Ellie did remarkably well. She listened to music, colored many, many pictures and watched a little bit of a movie (only forty five minutes or so.) She really was happiest just drawing and chatting. Our hotel is quite nice, and we arrived in time for pizza with the crew, and then Ellie and I went down to the pool and had a nice swim and then a group bath (everyone but Tim.) Ellie is now on an air mattress and Adam is in his fun cage in the other room while Tim and I sit and enjoy the silence - hopefully they don't wake each other up all night.

Other than the Ironman on Sunday, we have no plans. I am trying to just relax and be in "vacation mode." If the kids sleep, they sleep, if they don't, we can nap. We have nothing to do and all day to do it in, and the scenery is beautiful.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Been kind of a crazy day around here. Woke up because Ellie had an accident. Then Thor peed all over me out of sheer terror when we were getting him ready for a return trip to the vet to check his glucose. Poor guy. Poor me. My poor washing machine.

But we've managed since. Went for a walk, got an over tired Adam to take a nap and then Ellie helped me clean the bathroom and make biscuits.

She loves to help.

Meanwhile, we are starting to gear up for our trip to Tahoe this weekend, where we will see Jacob become an Ironman. When we originally booked our hotel all they had available was a room with two queen beds or the Presidential Suite. I, being an optimist, booked the single room and figured we'd make do, but as the date approaches, I was beginning to claw my skin off at the thought of four of us in one room for four days. Don and Eileen have a suite, but there's no guarantee that they'd be near us and that we'd be able to use a baby monitor or what have you. I imagined Tim and I getting ready for bed at 9pm and laying silently in bed, willing both children to close their eyes and go to sleep. But thankfully, I called to follow up and they said they had a suite available! Not a valley view, but a forest view. As if I care - at this point I'd be ready to take the Presidential suite even if it meant selling an organ to do so (surely some Ironman contestant would need a kidney after what they put their body through.) We leave on Thursday morning and will drive drive drive until we arrive there, or until I get out of the car and give up, laying down in a ditch of dirty water by the side of the road. GO ON WITHOUT ME, FAMILY.

I just enjoy my quiet time and my space, and family vacations are not the best places to find such things. It's going to be great though. I've never been to Tahoe and everyone has been telling me how great it is.

I call this series "chit chat with old dudes."

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Today was Ellie's first full day in her big girl preschool classroom. We've been discussing her move out of the "twos" room for over a month now, and she's seem psyched about it. Seeming and being of course, being two very different things. Miss Kayla took her over there for an introduction on Monday, but she didn't last the whole morning. Her new teacher Miss Nira was impressed with Ellie's verbal skills, and her negotiating talent (Ellie lobbied to be sent back to her old room, and in return promised to spend the whole day today in her new classroom.) When I left her, she was red faced and screaming and trying to negotiate with me ("I want to see Miss Laurie! I want to go see Landon! I'm tired!") but when I returned she was happily sitting in her seat, eating her lunch, and she did not immediately burst into tears. PROGRESS! She seems so big and also so little in her new room. She's with kids who go up to kindergarten age, and there are 24 kids in the classroom versus 12 in the twos room (there is also an assistant teacher.) Less time on the play ground, more work time. She apparently did well after a few more minutes of hysterics. I did reassure Miss Nira that Ellie cries about EVERYTHING (I wonder where she got that from.)

Afterwards, we went over to Starbucks and had a beverage (me) and a scone (her.) She was so cute, demanding we sit on the couch and put our drinks on the coffee table and then standing up to do some dancing. When a lady asked me about how old Adam was, Ellie piped up "and tell her how old I am!" Almost three kid, or so I've heard (now that her birthday is next, all I hear about is her birthday.)

Meanwhile, when we came home I put Adam in his play mat so that I could get Ellie ready for a nap. We went to the bathroom, read a book and snuggled for a minute. Probably ten minutes in all that he was left alone. When I came back out to the living room, I couldn't immediately find him. Then I noticed how far he'd migrated:

Got himself all the way through the play mat (his feet were facing the couch when I left him) turned 90 degrees and flipped to his belly. He's going to be crawling before I know it.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Game Day.

Sadly, the Packers lost today, but at least the kids looked adorable:

And we had friends over for the game and served brats for dinner. My little sous chef helped me prepare them.
As you do.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Words, Words, Words.

Adam is starting to babble more, and has recently graduated from weird throat singing into actual consonant sounds (Kate, does this mean he's a genius?) Of course, he has started with the ever popular "da da da da da," the little turd. And he looks so funny doing it - like a dog with peanut butter stuck to the roof of his mouth. He'll get the hang of it eventually, and I look forward to when he starts calling explicitly for his dad in the middle of the night. I will laugh as I roll over and go back to sleep.

Sadly, he's also got a baby booger nose. We had a busy play date yesterday morning and he didn't get in a great nap, and so by afternoon nap time he was damn near hysterical. I finally put him in the moby wrap and walked the halls until he fell asleep, and then was able to lay him back down in his crib. Mama knows best, little man. Last night he was a little feverish, and he happily chewed on an ice cube. So it may be a cold, it may be new teeth, it may just be the pain of being a baby, growing and changing.

Meanwhile, Ellie is learning some new phrases, which cracks me up. Her favorite new thing to do is to be insolent or defiant until she gets reprimanded, and then she immediately bursts into hysterical tears (I think she gets that from Tim) and says "I'm sad! You yelled at me! I need a hug!" Basically, any time she gets called out on her behavior lately (even if it's in a calm, rational tone) she immediately says she needs a hug. Little suck up. She also likes to tell me before bed "you can't love me, I need daddy to love me." Fine then!

At least Lulu still likes me.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Beat the Heat

It has been a long, hot week around here. First of all, we are bereft of our morning activities. Music class is over, there isn't any preschool, Mimi has a mean boss who told her to go to work instead of spending time with her grandchildren - you get the picture. And it's approximately a million degrees, so while I walk every morning, I grow a four foot long beard of sweat and then come home, take a freezing cold shower and continue to sweat for the next hour. It is revolting and a little crazy making.

The good news, as always, is Grizz's pool.

It is the best concrete hole in the ground ever!

The Cutest Two Minutes You'll Have All Day.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Circus Baby.

Another member joins our acrobatics team!