Thursday, January 28, 2016

Constant Negotiations

Are there kids that just take a parents word as gold?  That just follow a rule without asking why?

 If there are, I don't live with one.  Orelia is always trying to negotiate everything with me and tries to come up with her own solutions.  This is great in theory, but hard to live with every day.

 Her favorite phrases lately are "...isn't that a great idea?" (when she suggests waiting to go potty, for instance), "how about..." (when she comes up with some crazy scheme), and "oh...don't worry" (when she knows I am indeed worrying).

She isn't a pushover, I'll give her that.  I am glad she is strong-willed, but I hope the negotiation phase ends soon, or I may lose this negotiation!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Evolving Weekend

Our weekends are evolving around here.  Bennett is old enough to enjoy soft pretzels and all the fun that comes with places that sell said soft pretzels.

As Orelia would say, "in the olden days..." Bennett would take monster morning naps, easily come along for errands, and got his kicks by being walked around the block.

Now, Bennett is transitioning out of his morning nap, would much rather play than sit in a shopping cart, and gets his kicks by walking around on his own two feet.

John used to take Orelia off on Daddy-daughter adventures, but now we are venturing out as a family of four.

While Bennett doesn't always experience every aspect of our adventures (poor guy didn't know he missed out on an ice cream sandwich), he is so thrilled to be along for the ride.

Orelia is thrilled to have Mommy and Bennett along too!

We had a great time at Happy Hollow the other weekend, and Bennett couldn't get enough of this one particular slide.

Orelia is old enough to stay close and play safely, so we luckily only have to closely keep track of Bennett.

It seems like just yesterday we were following her around the playground making sure she didn't fall face-first off the platform, but those days are long past for her.

 We drove down to Monterey to visit their famous aquarium recently.

Bennett was absolutely in awe of all the wonders around him.  He kept chanting "agua!  agua!" at all the water.

Orelia was significantly less awestruck and more eager to move onto the next area where she could run and play.

Both John and I felt that Bennett perhaps enjoyed the trip even more than Orelia, which goes to show how much things have changed around here.  

 Bennett isn't just some baby being carried around in a Bjorn anymore, he is experiencing and loving everything around him.

While in some ways it is more challenging to entertain a toddler than a baby,

It is a lot more fun to enjoy the sights with your whole family together.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Day in the Preschool Life

I am one of the class photographers for Orelia's preschool class where I work once a week.  On the days that my work in her classroom isn't too heavy, I love taking photos of her and her friends.

 Our blue-haired gal has tons of fun at school and is always into something new.

 Last week all of the students brought in tupperware full of ice to play with, and Orelia was especially fond of the giant purple ice someone brought in.  Everything with her has to be bright.  :)

 She loves singing songs and participating during circle time (though is slightly less interested in the story time at the end of class).

She is quite physical and likes to push the limits, so climbing out of a playhouse headfirst is right up her alley.

After getting the two outfits wet that we had brought to school, she borrowed Gigi's shirt and actually put on a pair of leggings.  This prompted her to become a "daddy" during her game of house.

 Nothing says "boy" like long curly hair and pink plastic necklaces.

Of course the bell was ringing for cleanup, but Orelia isn't one to go down without a fight.  She insisted on one last round of hopscotch before she would help get everything put away.  I, admittedly, wasn't cleaning up either, however, and was snapping this photo.  Like mother like daughter, perhaps?

My work days at school leave me exhausted, but I am so happy to be a part of her preschool experience.

Her school is such a great fit for her, and looking at photos of her adventures there always brings a smile to my face.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Boy and His Dogs

After Bennett turned one, we started adding stuffed animals to his crib in the hopes that he might find a "lovey" to comfort him at bedtime.

We have a winner!

Technically, it's two winners.

Bennett was already so in love with his soft brown puppy that we gave him a second one for Christmas.

He pulls both dogs into him as close as he can for a hug right as I leave the room.

It's so sweet to see him besotted with these puppies and to see them bring him so much joy.

Occasionally the dogs venture out of bed for a little romp around the room, but I have learned my lesson and try not to let them go downstairs (lest they be missing come nap time).

Even though he somehow looks like a teenager these days, I know he's still my baby who cuddles his dogs every night when he goes to sleep.

This boisterous boy is so full of life these days.  Everything is done with gusto.

Including those bedtime cuddles.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Christmas Break

We had a real break from reality over the holidays.  Orelia had almost three weeks off of school and John had five weekdays off of work.  Having John home so much was amazing, but having no planned activities was both wonderful and difficult at the same time.

Bennett's music class and "gym" class were also out of session, so he was on break too and happy to lounge around in his pajamas for most of the day.

My mom and dad were visiting for two weeks which helped pass a lot of our indoor time.

Of course no holiday break is complete without Christmas cookies.  Orelia absolutely loves helping in the kitchen, and she had a blast making waffle cookies with me because it required so many eggs ("Eggs!  That's my favorite part!").

We attempted a family photo in the reindeer antlers, etc. but the only usable photo was the one of just the two of us.  Probably one of the best photos of the two of us in years, and we are wearing antlers.

Some people may do behemoth puzzles over a long weekend, but we just attempt to get one 62 piece puzzle completed before one child loses interest and the other eats a piece.

Since Orelia essentially barely left the house for two weeks, she was able to wear her beloved costumes all day (we generally relegate them to indoor use).  Somehow her accessory game needed to be stepped up to go with her new costumes, I guess.

Every day was a little different while also being very much the same.  Parents experiencing extended breaks can probably relate.  It was a great Christmas break, but we are also glad to be back in the regular routine.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Mud Pit

As everyone knows, California is suffering from a major drought.  We are in the midst of the rainy season, however, which means that my backyard is basically a mud pit.

Guess which little boy is enamored with the rainy season?

This one!

When both the rain and Bennett's Hand Foot and Mouth cleared up for a bit, Bennett was more than eager to get outside to play.

And I was more than eager to break out my new lens that John got me for Christmas.

There's nothing like a crisp lens to enlighten you as to how dirty your son's face is even after multiple attempts to clean it.

Not to mention those dirty fingernails.

Bennett is definitely an outdoor kid who is constantly pointing to his bright orange coat and saying "on" - meaning "TAKE ME OUTSIDE!!"

Orelia is usually keen to skip most outdoor outings in the winter, so Bennett and I venture out when big sister goes down for her nap.

Harper is always game for going out, which helps entertain Bennett almost as much as the mud.


Harper brings more smiles than the mud pit, however, which makes for better pictures.