Last week we did it - we accomplished the impossible and enjoyed a weeklong vacation without our kids!
My parents generously offered to take care of the kids while we went away, and we are so, so grateful to them.
We spent the entire week eating wonderful food, exercising, and shopping - three things which are not easily done with the kids around.
I took almost no photos on our vacation since we were usually just lounging by the pool or enjoying a long walk. I realized that without the kids around, I didn't feel compelled to document the trip day-by-day.
We missed the kids so much and were dying to see them by the time the week was up. It was a strange feeling being without them, it was almost like half of me was left at home.
Hawaii was gorgeous as always, and we were so happy to be back. This was our first time in Honolulu and we loved all the amazing restaurants and shopping.
I read three books (The Clasp, Pretty Girls, and Station Eleven) and countless magazines. The last time I went on vacation with the kids I maybe finished one book and half a magazine. :)
It was so nice being with the love of my life and focusing on him instead of naps and trips to the potty and whether anyone needs a snack. Now that we are back home, it is so sweet to be reunited with our kids. I can't say a week away made me look forward to diaper changes any more than usual, but I do especially appreciate every cuddle and smile from the kids even more this week.
She has a handful of best friends, and they really light up her life in exactly the way friends should.
She looks forward to seeing them at every ballet class.
And mostly enjoys the after-class silliness that erupts from three girls that have been "staying on their line" for the past hour.
Sometimes when we have a day off from school she gets to take "field trips" with a friend to San Francisco.
Being in a new park with your best friend is just about the greatest thing in the world.
Orelia may drive her friends crazy at times, but she loves them like sisters.
It's so beautiful to see these girls care for each other so deeply and develop friendships that may last a lifetime. Friends are one of the best parts of life, and I love watching my girl experience this blessing.
Right around her birthday her language took another turn for the better and she started speaking in more nuanced phrases that she picks up everyday. Now she isn't just "speaking in sentences" like she was at age two, but she's speaking in sentences closer to how an adult would speak.
She still has a few phrases that are quintessentially Orelia and make me smile.
"From I like to." - Her response when I ask her why she did/does something
"He wants sister?" - What she asks when Bennett is crawling towards her/on top of her
"He loves me all the way?" - What she asks when she wants to make sure that Bennett loves her as much as she loves him
"That's gi-gusting!!" - That's disgusting! Yuck! This one is used frequently and every chance she gets.
She can now throw and catch and kick pretty well. She likes to practice these skills on her own time and is occasionally very interested in a game of catch, but usually ignores the balls laying all over the yard.
She can also successfully ride a tricycle pretty well. She likes doing it at preschool best where she can roam freely and needn't worry about staying on the sidewalk or anything practical like that.
She continues to be a smart lady, but she isn't particularly academically inclined. Some kids love memorizing, and that is just not her. When she wants to learn something she will, but until then she isn't interested.
Her internal math skills have gotten pretty good lately. She can do some simple addition and subtraction in her head like how many more stickers she needs to get a reward or how many more bites she has to eat to get dessert. The essentials.
I love that she knows how we do things in our house. She knows where things go and is happy (usually) to put them away when I ask her to. We are not an overly orderly family, but she knows where her shoes need to be put and where her dirty laundry goes.
She knows she has to sit in her place until she is excused and she is pretty good with the pleases and thank yous. It's amazing how much nicer a request is on my ears if accompanied by a little manners.
She shows as much spunk as ever and makes us and those around her laugh at her antics.
She can come up with her own fun nowadays, which is nice. She lately likes to pretend to be sick or take pretend naps (how thrilling, I know), and likes to play in her kitchen a lot.
She's an affectionate girl and loves to kiss, hug, and cuddle everyone in our family. She loves hugging her friends, though they are usually less inclined.
She loves princesses and Star Wars, so we are basically buying everything in the Target dollar bins these days.
She and John have now seen all six Star Wars movies together, and she wants to read her Star Wars books every day. Her favorite topic if conversation is to have Daddy tell her "how Darth Vader gets burned in the fire." HA!
She likes to "kill" Darth Vader with her light saber or her magic wand. She is always triumphant.
I think she loves the complexity of Star Wars and the "big kid" nature of it all, but she's very much a princess kind of gal too. She wears a dress every day (as well as a cardigan for every hour of the day including bed time) and has lots of opinions about her own clothes as well as those around her. A tiara is a common accessory and she can relate a lot to Fancy Nancy (still one of her favorite series).
Orelia is the nickname-giver in our house, so somehow she remains without one. Dad is sometimes "Dadum" or "Dum Dum" (which she doesn't even get). She calls me "Mar" occasionally, though I have no idea why. Bennett has changed from "Boosky" to "Buddy." Orelia is just Orelia. She is such a little person now and we love watching her grow more into her personality every day. We are so lucky to have her in our lives.
One of the hardest parts of parenthood is dealing with sick kids.
Not the tending to them part. Or the comforting part.
That is completely natural and exactly what your entire being wants to do.
Just having a child with the flu is hard emotionally on parents. Holding your child while they are unable to be comforted and knowing there is nothing you can do is an awful feeling.
I am so very grateful for the health of my kids. I know many people who are not as lucky, and my heart goes out to them. I snapped these photos after Bennett turned the corner on a bug he was battling. It was the sickest he has ever been (visiting urgent care sick, but not emergency room sick), and John and I spent many evenings doing our best to keep his tears at bay until bed time. Seeing him smile again meant the world to us. A huge weight was lifted from our hearts knowing our guy was back.