Monday, November 3, 2014

Falling in love

It is fall. I can't put my finger on which leaf has turned over recently, but something has changed. I am finally coming out of the undulating emotions that have paralleled my sleep deprivation in the last three years. It's not just the seasons changing, but it does seems appropriate with the holidays upon us that I am feeling more Joy and Gratefulness on a consistent basis. And it is wonderful. I am falling more in love with my toddlers and our simple daily activities more than ever before. The only thing that would make it better would be to throw a river, mountain, and forest in our backyard and then we'd be true adventurers. 

When I was childless I always thought that parents spoke of their children as opposites. Like one is wild, the other quiet, conservative. Well, that's certainly not true around here. Neither stop. Ever. There is no timid  little princess to be found in our home. Instead you can find them on top of things. If they are near to the ground, which is rare, then most likely there are wheels under them. (In our annoyingly tiny garage we have 68 wheels - bikes, skates, boards, wagons, strollers). Don't get me wrong, I love it. If we end up with a little gromette that becomes a professional surfer or a world trotting mountain climber then I will not just be stoked, but I will be trotting along right behind them. The only problem that comes with this is the unnerving anxiety that accompanies all of this. I am sure it is a combination of working in an ER and motherhood, but it is rare that anything streams through my mind without constantly thinking of worst-case-scenarios. 

Ava. 15 months

At 13 months, Ava started walking, then riding on a scooter by 15 months. The other day Robby found her in the bathroom sitting on top of the tank of the toilet. At the end of the summer when we spent every day in Nani and Papas pool, she just walked off the step like she could confidently swim. She charges right into San Diego bay the same way, at our favorite little spot, Kellogg beach. Recently she went from literally only saying "doggy" or "daddy" ?  in reference to everything, to sounding out all kinds of words. She is also becoming more cuddly, which is adorable. 

Riley. 3 years

Riley would only wear underwear everyday, everywhere if it were up to her. Although when she must get dressed, she has recently become very proud of herself for dressing herself. She also would only eat chocolate if she decided her diet. I could write a book on the things she says alone. It is hilarious listening to a 3 year old develop grammar and form sentences about what goes on in their little heads. She loves riding her bike. It's one of those gliders. About a month ago the gliding idea just clicked and now she just picks up her feet and goes all the way down the street without putting her feet down. It's a huge accomplishment for her and us. Now we can go on rides around the neighborhood, with Ava on the handlebar seat and Riley riding by herself. It's these kinds of things that are so fulfilling to me. She loves crafts or "projects" as she refers to them. Which is also very easy for me. She loves playing pretend "Okay, now you're mama and I'm the kid." Another huge summertime accomplishment was her ability to swim like a fishy. Thanks to her lessons she became such  a good swimmer! Next up, I cannot wait til they are just a touch older and we can have campouts in the backyard and sleepovers with their cousin Luna. 

With the girls being a tiny bit older and independent, Robby and I have been able to take a little more time to ourselves. We went to Portland for a long weekend, just the 2 of us, in September. Having no responsibility or schedule for a few days was surreal. I also did a little local beach camping with some amazing girlfriends. 

I know one day I will look back at these days and wish for the simple stressors that come with little girls instead of more grown up worries. I was driving home from the beach one day this summer when it dawned on me that once Riley starts full time school then this 12 year run of never being committed to a Monday through Friday schedule of mine will come to an end. Since college I have never had a job with a "normal" schedule. Iv'e been able to come and go as I please. The thought that one day soon I won't be able to travel with the girls whenever or go the beach in a moment's notice was shocking initially. I try to appreciate our lax days since this. I try not to judge myself for not being a teaching type of mom. If I were to attempt homeschooling, my children would end up as bohemian artists. 

All of the cousins celebrating my dad's 70th birthday with a surprise party (above). We started out fall at Oma's Farm (below). 

After I posted the other day, I remembered a few more milestones and events that I had forgotten. In September, we had a combined birthday party for the girls at the Waterfront park in San Diego, then that night Riley got so sick with croup that she had to go to Children's ER in the middle of the night because she couldn't breath. The following night, Ava, at 13 months, climbed out of her crib. These girls, I swear. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Little Pterodactyl

My little birdie is not a baby bird anymore (or pterodactyl for that matter). She is One. The day she came into the world I looked at her for the first time and didn't know quite what to think. I loved her immediately. But that immediate connection wasn't there the way it was with Riley. I can't put into words how I have grown to be connected with her now. I love that I feel a different, yet equally deep connection with my daughters. I look back at pictures of Ava in that first few months and it is unreal how much she has changed. She is the sweetest thing. She is funny and energetic, scoots like a gremlin on a lightning bolt. She bites. Oh does she bite. She has the hugest two front teeth I have ever seen on a baby. She is fascinated by her older sister. Riley makes her crack up in laughter. She is petite, in the 20 something percentile for height and weight, but her head is in the 70th. She is always bonking that thing and getting little bruises on her forehead. Silly girl. She still has a set of lungs on her that can be confused for neighborhood birds, except when you are indoors. I am sure the people trying to enjoy their meal in restaurants with us love the sound of a happy little baby squawking with delight through their meal. It is SO loud. She doesn't walk yet, but she scales. She can climb up slides, sets of drawers, onto ledges that are almost as tall as her. I like to "spot" her and let her do her thing and see what she can accomplish. Her climbing ability is quite fascinating. She loves swings and can get pretty upset if we take her out of one when she isn't finished. She doesn't like to be fed. She has to take it in her own fingers and feed herself. I'd call her fairly independent. But when she sees mama after a day without her at work, or even just a couple of hours, she immediately loses her little mind until she's in my arms. Even when wearing pink, she is assumed to be a boy by strangers. I get it when she's wearing neutral colors. But pink and purple? C'mon. Ava, you are adorable. You are beautiful. I cannot imagine my world without you. You make me laugh and smile. Thank you for sleeping better than your sister and giving me hope. Thank you, thank you, thank you for that. Oh, my Av, I am so excited to see you grow. But I also want you to be my little baby forever.  Happy first birthday my sweet little bird. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


It wasn't until I was a parent that I heard that the "terrible two's" aren't that terrible. It's the Three's that are rough. Rough? That may be an understatement. Riley. That girl. She's rounding the corner to three and she just gets more wild by the day. She is too smart. If I ask her a direct question, she will go into this secret language where she shouts weird made-up words like "hootie" or "toca." She knows exactly what she is doing when she ignores me. Here's one odd-ball example: we went on a boat in Alaska and she would not tell Robby or I which animals we saw that day. The next morning she met my friends niece on FaceTime and when their family asked if she saw any Alaskan wildlife, she simply said "Yeah, Whales, Puffins, Orcas..." She is unbelievably defiant. I have tried disciplining her with soap and she says "more soap please" when I take it out of her mouth. I tried taking her favorite toys away. Her response to that was to push Ava, look at me, then hand me her favorite toy. Attempts at Time-outs of all kinds? She requests them. She'll do something naughty, then look up at me, tilt her head and say "Time out please." Take away her iPad, no problem, she'll find something else to entertain herself. Smack her hand, she'll say "do it again!" Or she'll whack our hand back. Listening and following directions is not her forte. 

While I am on the subject of how curious this little creature is, let me also note a few of the things she has asked for in the middle of the night. And I really mean the middle. These are 2 AM requests. Cheese samples, for the tags in her pj's to be cut out, for her nails to be cut. And of course the standards - a soft blanket followed by a not soft or "cold" blanket as she refers to it, ice water (it must have ice), a specific stuffed animal that she has not played with or shown any interest in for months. These are just some of her nightly requests. Anything to get us back in to her room for some social time in the odd hours of the night. This girl is crazy. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Oh my sweet girls

I find myself saying "Oh my sweet girls" all of the time. I just love these two. Being a mom is the craziest, by far most stressful, and yet most unreal, most radical, best thing ever. 

Ava has gone from being incredibly quiet while inspecting the details around her, to being quite a little jokester. She does a little stare, like the quiet before the storm, and then cracks up and throws her body around, so much so that she bonks her head on the ground sometimes. She started to pull herself to standing just today. She crawls like a gremlin just like her big sister did. She is teeny tiny, just like Riley too. I guess I make 'em small around here. She is such a mama's girl, and I don't mind it a bit. She has 5 teeth. 

Riley is smart and beautiful. She knows what she wants and tries her hardest to get it. That is nuts to me that I am describing a 2 year old. The girl can push my buttons. I read something on Facebook once about your children being your little gods, in a way that they see where you need to grow (for example Patience) and force you to work on it. It was a great post, I wish I had the link. One of the funniest things right now is how she pronounces her R's when they are at the end of a word. She sound like she's from the East Coast, maybe Boston or New York when she says "your." She also is becoming quite a little fish thanks to swim lessons, enjoys Dora on her iPad, and loves giving Ava a kiss and hug as soon as she wakes up. 

Robby just completed his second Ironman 70.3. We made a trip out of it to St. George, Utah then to Zion National Park. I took 2 weeks of "baby bonding" time from work. It was a very nice 2 weeks. Robby did really well, especially since the temp was in the 90's on a tough, hilly course. Love you babe. He has become quite the endurance athlete. He is so driven towards better health. It inspires me. I love that I am inspired by my spouse after being married for almost 10 years. Not bad, huh? 

I'm kind of in a holding pattern. I am not completely content with life, which is usually my norm anyways, and which I find to be a good thing. However I am happy. Very happy. Today, Riley was sitting in my lap, then in front of her, Ava was in her lap. We were reading one of those soft, touch and feel the animal books. Riley was showing Ava how to do it. For a moment, life stopped, I was so fulfilled. I wanted life to remain stopped forever in that moment.

Generally though, I am always wanting and expecting a little more. Speaking of wanting a little more, I am taking steps towards a more Minimal lifestyle. More to come on that. For now, here's a few pics to recap the last couple of months. 

 We kept trying to get a family selfie while hiking towards The Narrows in Zion. This is as good as it got.

 Easter at my sister's house.

 Riley couldn't help but strip down and run toward the water when she saw a little beach near a park we were at in Coronado the other day.

 I can't believe how much older my nephews have gotten in such a short time.

 The new Waterfront park is San Diego is amazing.


It's starting to get really fun watching Ava interact with her cousin Luna (who turned One today - happy birthday Luna!).