We have a nanny that takes him to his toddler classes in the mornings, and I take him to preschool one morning per week.
Being in a room full of preschool classmates and parents isn't exactly "alone time," though, nor is it usually "alone time" when he and I are at a park or grocery store. When Orelia is around she is often dictating what we all do together.
Last Saturday Bennett was just so content playing in our sun room, I just sat on the floor next to him watching him be himself (while Orelia and Daddy were elsewhere).
It's amazing how without a distracting big sister around, Bennett can just stay in the same area for an hour playing with whatever toys are nearby. Trucks being an essential element, of course.
And without my attention pulled elsewhere I can let Bennett play on the stairs for a change.
He can maneuver himself on stairs well enough normally, but when your hands are full of puppies and Paw Patrol, it can be a little more difficult.
I loved spending some quiet alone time with this sweet boy.
Technically we weren't "alone," I suppose, since Harper was also around to help with Bennett. :)
Of course, having Daddy back was even more fun for Bennett. Alone time is nice, but time with all of us together is the most fun.
In California we celebrate September birthdays at the pool.
Bennett celebrated his second birthday the last weekend our community pool is open for the season.
It wasn't balmy, but it was warm enough for all the kids to have a great time playing in the water.
Orelia was very excited to celebrate Bennett's big day (especially since I strategically gave her a new bathing suit that morning).
Raise your hand if clothes are the most important part of a party!
We were able to rent out the entire kiddie pool for the event, and co-hosted the party with one of Bennett's buddies who was born a week before him.
The pool is only three and a half feet deep, which is perfect for Orelia who can safely walk in the entire thing.
Daddy spent the whole morning at Bennett's side while he splashed around, "rode" the water bike, and played with trucks.
I washed some of Bennett's favorite trucks and piled them on top of his cake with some crushed Oreos for "dirt." He was so excited to get his hands on it and blow out his candle.
Swimming really works up an appetite.
Bennett preferred the cupcakes to his actual cake, and downed about three in a row, as a birthday boy should.
Of course he also took his cake toppers for a spin around the pool.
Pretty much as soon as he saw his cake he was asking to play with the trucks, so we had to do cake cutting slightly earlier than we may have otherwise.
Once Orelia got too cold from the pool she switched into a dry bathing suit (I know my children and brought second suits for both - since neither like to sit in wet bathing suits for long) and played "beauty salon" for the second hour of the party. True to form.
After three cupcakes Bennett had tons of energy to burn in the pool.
He took a cue from one of his buddies and started blocking the water sprayers with a submarine.
There's nothing like getting completely drenched in the face.
I had to stand in the pool to get these photos, but I knew it was worth to risk to my camera to capture Bennett's big smiles.
It was all fun and games...
Until it wasn't. Ha!
Luckily he recovered when he realized how much fun it was to drink pool water from his trucks!
We had so much fun celebrating this silly, funny, truck-loving boy!
Orelia has been in school for over a month, and I forgot to post her back-to-school photos. Whoopsie.
I wish I could say that I hardly even remember taking these photos, but it was such a challenge that I remember the morning very well.
To say Orelia was uninterested in taking photos before school would be an understatement.
This pouty face accompanied by some snark were very much present on the morning before we went to the school open house.
Luckily I still had my camera in my purse, and after a successful first day, a much happier girl was able to be prodded into some genuine smiles at the front door.
I guess in retrospect the morning before the first day of school is filled with lots of emotions and anxiety, so it can't possibly lead to the simplest photo shoot.
Orelia goes to school four mornings per week now, and I attend school with her to work one morning per week.
She is always so excited when it's my work day at school, and other than a bit of complaining in the car or at the breakfast table, she's been fine with drop-off the other three mornings.
Her class has twice as many boys as girls, though I'm not sure Orelia has really noticed. It makes it very easy to get to know all the girls in the class when the numbers are limited, and hopefully they will all become close friends (or maybe even invite some boys to play).
I absolutely adore Orelia's teacher, and love the way she leads the kids in such a fun and creative way. I think Orelia loves her too, because she is always eager to show her teacher new outfits or proudly describe how she opened an English muffin all by herself one morning.
I can hardly believe this is Orelia's last year of preschool before she will be in kindergarten next year, but looking at these photos makes me realize how grown up she really seems now.
I am looking forward to seeing Orelia grow and thrive in her classroom this year. Her school is a wonderful place to be a kid, and this happy, funny, silly, smart, and creative girl gets to be herself there.