Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Build-Up!


We've been ramping up to Kindergarten these past few weeks (I know you're probably sick of me talking about it, but it's been a big deal around here!)

I know I have talked about our daily picnics on campus we had all summer long. I did that so Paprika would be familiar with the campus and it wouldn't seem like some big, scary place on her first day.

The school has had a couple of social mixers for just the kindergarten classes to get the kids acquainted. There was a popsicle social a week or so ago, and we went to that. I don't know if I mentioned it before, but it was a disaster!

We got to the school, and they hadn't mowed the grass in a few weeks, so the grass was long. Well, Paprika did not want to walk in that long grass because it itched her ankles. Then, when she finally did walk across that big open field, everyone was eating popsicles (with Red Dye 40, I might add!) and she of course wanted a popsicle but didn't want to actually eat the popsicle. So, as you can imagine, the popsicle got melty...and that didn't go over well!

I asked her if she wanted to meet the other kids, and she said "I just want to go home and play with my dolls!" I could tell she was on the verge of an uncontrollable meltdown, so that's what we did...we went home and she played with her dolls and she was happy.

Now, of course Ginger wanted to stay at the school, and she was enjoying her popsicle very much! I think Ginger thinks she is the one going to Kindergarten, and is enjoying these socials more than any of us!

When I asked Paprika about it later, she said she had such a wonderful time at the popsicle social and could we go back again. Ha!


Yesterday was the Kindergarten ice cream social. It was in the middle of the day, and Mr. M took a long lunch to come with us, since I knew that there was a good chance Paprika was going to have a hard time with it and I was going to need a little help.

We got there early, so Paprika wouldn't be overwhelmed with an onslaught of people. Well, turns out all the older elementary kids were hanging around (about 70 of them) right by the check-in tables waiting to give campus tours. So, while we thought we were walking into a calm setting that would slowly get busier, it was chaos from the start!

The good news about getting there early was that we got to talk to Paprika's teacher for awhile before the other parents arrived, which was great.

Once other families started arriving, Paprika found a quiet nook and buried her head in a book for the rest of the social. At the end of the social, they had all the kids and parents go into a classroom to meet the principal and the teachers, but Paprika just could not do that. She was totally overwhelmed, and getting her down off the meltdown ledge was I am really glad Mr. M was there because he took charge of Ginger and I was able to get Paprika home. She was kind of a wreck the rest of the day.


Ginger had a great time, of course, and is talking about how excited she is to go to school with Yaya and start kindergarten! ;-)

The whole thing from start to finish was one hour...but it seemed like a whole day! The social was actually really cute, and they gave out T-shirts to everyone that said the class of 2024! So, when we got home, Paprika wore her new shirt and again was so excited to go back to Kindergarten.

So, we will see how today (her first real day) goes! I will be reporting back later...fingers crossed!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

29 Weeks!


I am 29 weeks pregnant! I have noticed that I am definitely in the third trimester - I am a lot slower than I was even a few weeks ago, and get tired much more easily! Things have been so hectic with summer, Paprika starting kindergarten, and chasing Ginger down from the rafters that I haven't had a whole lot of time to sit and ponder things.

Right now I am craving dark chocolate peanut butter cups, lemonade, and fruit (lots of fruit!) That's a great thing about California - there is always fresh fruit available.

I am feeling a lot of kicks now, and the baby is laying on my spine all the time...which can make me lose feeling in my legs, and almost fall to the floor in know, stuff like that! ;-)

We have been brainstorming names, and have a few on the short list. I want to name the baby after Mr. M, but he wants nothing to do with that. I figure after all these kids, he should get one named after him - but he insists that there won't be any variation of "junior" in our family...even though we couldn't really do a junior (for obvious reasons- ha!)

Today I told someone I was pregnant (another mom at Paprika's school) - and she acted surprised! I hope by now it's obvious. I mean, I hope so! Otherwise, I really need to lay off those dark chocolate peanut butter cups. ;-)

I have to admit, I am getting really excited. Some days it all seems too good to be true. But I am just trying to focus on the positive and hope that things turn out well and that's all I can do. It is out of my hands.

I have started preparing for the baby...just making changes around the house to get things set up. I bought new carseats (narrower ones so hopefully we won't need to buy a minivan!), and Paprika and Ginger are now sharing a room so we have a guest room for the many guests coming in the next few months!

I will be posting about them sharing a room later because, trust me, that topic deserves it's own post! Haha!

Tomorrow Paprika starts kindergarten, and I am walking (okay, waddling) her to school with Ginger in tow. I have a feeling that the hills between our house and her school are going to seem a lot steeper the closer we get to November! And that's a good thing! :-)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Weekend!

First things first. I finally bought a backpack for Paprika! After all that stressing about finding the perfect one, I went to the Pottery Barn Kids store yesterday and picked this one up for her. The backpacks were on sale (my weakness, of course) - and I knew I didn't have time to order one online since school starts Wednesday. I actually wanted a different pattern (the blue butterfy one, since blue is now Paprika's favorite color)- but they only offered it online, and so I just got this one since it was there. It is actually kinda growing on me.

(This is a photo from the Pottery Barn Kids website- I didn't have a chance to take a pic of Paprika with hers yet...but this is the pattern we got):


I was going to get her name embroidered on the back because: how cute is that???...but then I kept thinking about how if her name is on the back someone could call out her name and she might think that they know her...and next thing you know she's getting in the car with a stranger. Not that it would happen, but in my paranoid mind, that was enough for me to decide: no monogram.

Plus, now Ginger can inherit the bag when Paprika is too big for it!

Then we went to the pool for a day of open/free swim. We were there about an hour when, I kid you not, they evacuated the pool because someone went #2 in the pool. So gross! I promise you, it was not our family! We all had to evacuate the pool and they shut the whole aquatic center down for the day. Drama!


Can I just say I am so glad that we ended summer swim lessons on Friday? I am not wanting to go back to the pool anytime soon after the visual I saw yesterday!


Then, Mr. M and Paprika ran a bunch of errands for the next few hours. They ended up over at the house of the people who sold us our Craigslist bunkbeds. They have a little boy Paprika's age, and Mr. M and Paprika stopped over there to get a part for the beds...and Paprika and the little boy ended up playing together forever. So cute!


I stayed home with Ginger. She is my little tornado, and so fun. I think she's about 100x more exahusting when Paprika is gone because she always has a built-in playmate in Paprika.


She is just a singing, dancing ball of we had fun staying home and having some one on one time. I know we will have a lot more afternoons like this when Paprika is in kindergarten!


Today, Paprika had a birthday party to go to - it was in the afternoon at one of those jumpy jumpy places. I was really concerned that she would not be able to handle it, sensory-wise...but she did okay. There were only about 10 kids there, and the only part she had a really hard time with was the food. When they had the food and cake (it was strawberry, not chocolate), I just took her to the cafe and let her have her own snack. The smells in the party room were just too much for her. But she had a great time playing in the structure with the other kids.

Since I was a little concerned with how Paprika would do at the party, I took her by myself while Mr. M stayed home with Ginger. We were gone about three hours, and I missed Ginger so much! I realized that I am pretty much never away from Ginger for a rare night out with Mr. M. At the end of the party, all I wanted was to get home to my Ginger-bear and give her a big hug!


So, that's the thing...when I'm with Ginger, she totally exhausts me and I want to go lay down! But when I leave for even an hour or two, I just want to race home to her and throw my arms around her! That's life with a two year old, right? :-)

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Denial Is Thick!


I seem to have found myself with a very strong case of denial. Denial that I am pregnant, and not just fat. Denial that a baby will hopefully be joining our family in 10 more weeks. No baby items ordered, no nesting to speak of, no names picked out. I am finding it really hard this time to fathom that this pregnancy is real. Yes, lots of kicks are telling me it is. I want this baby so badly, I just don't know if I will ever get to that place of thinking that the future as I see it will actually happen.

It is very hard for me to say what I think will happen next year, or even next week. I never take for granted that we will all still be here - and I know that must seem so morbid. I just don't take it for granted that I will see all my kids graduate from highschool - it is something I hope and pray for...but I never feel like we are guaranteed even one more moment past this one.


I think I first learned that when I was in the fire way back when. Other events have solidified that for me. Vivian and Annemarie's deaths, of course. And my cousin Stephen last year. You think everything is going to be one way, and then it isn't. So, why plan????

Of course, I still plan. But in the back of my head, there is always that nagging "what if..." and then a plan B, plan C, and so on.

So, next week Paprika starts kindergarten. Well, actually it's developmental kindergarten (DK), which is basically a Pre-K through the public school. The DK covers the same material as kindergarten and the kids have the option of 1st grade the next year...which actually just adds to my confusion and denial about the whole thing. I am dreading it, nervous about it, and totally unprepared for it!

I should have ordered her a cute backpack a month ago, but did I? No! She wanted this one certain one from LL Bean, and I waited too long and now it's out of stock. I even called the store in Freeport, Maine to see if they have one there (Grandma Pat is going next month to Maine)...but they don't even have one in the store! And yes, no luck on Ebay either.


So, instead of focusing on the gazillion things I have going on, need to do, and desperately must take care of...what do I focus on? Her school backpack. As if finding that perfect backpack will somehow give us an insurance policy that DK is going to go well for her. Obviously, having a great backpack will equal a great kindergarten (or is it really kindergarten because it's DK???) experience.

All this anxiety is giving me nightmares. Last night, I had a dream that someone in Paprika's class told her there wasn't a Santa Claus. Can you imagine?! Of course, this made me even more convinced that this whole kindergarten business is a bad idea.


In the back of my mind, I am thinking...if kindergarten doesn't work out for her (for whatever reason), we have lots of options. Pre-K at a private school. A home tutor. Homeschooling. I have tossed every idea you can think of back and forth just so I don't have to process that on Wednesday I will have a kindergartener.

As I said, the denial is very thick! Now if you'll excuse me, I have a to-do list a million miles long that is calling my name...and a backpack to find...and a little girl to squeeze and love and remind her that yes, there really IS a Santa matter what anyone else says! ;-)


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Little Picnics!


One of our after swimming traditions of the summer has been our almost daily picnics. We used to go hang out on the grounds of Paprika's upcoming elementary school, but the past few weeks there have been people there...getting ready for (gasp!) school!

So, instead we have found a teeny little park near our house that nobody but us frequents. Whether it's something brought from home or a picnic in a bag from zee Golden Arches, it's always a good time. We eat together, then the girls play, then we all play hide and seek or our new favorite...treasure hunt!

Basically, treasure hunt involves the girls going through my purse, finding something of value, and then hiding it from me! ;-) We actually take turns, and because the park is so teeny, it's never too challenging for any of us. But the girls love it!


What is better to than being 5 years old and hanging out in your bathing suit all day? Maybe being 2 years old and hanging out with your best friend/big sister "Yaya" all day...

Or maybe being the mom and hanging out with these two all day. Have I mentioned how much I am going to miss Paprika when she goes to school next week? Homeschooling is looking better and better...


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Slippery Fish!


We are in the middle of Week 9 of daily swim lessons. The change in Paprika from the beginning of the summer is pretty phenomenal. When we first started, she was scared of the water and would not put her head in the pool. Now, she can swim freestyle (sorta), go all the way underwater, touch the bottom of the pool, and swim on her back.

Two weekends ago, Paprika had a major breakthrough at the pool...she jumped in! I was starting to wonder if she would ever do that...she had SUCH a fear of jumping in and would cry and just NOT do it for anything.

She overcame her fear (after 30 minutes of incessant prodding) and jumped in! Then she decided she liked it so much she did it 60 times in a row. So proud of her! And she's been doing it ever since!

I can't believe that next summer Ginger will be old enough to start taking lessons at the pool (you have to be 3 years old, which she will be in June). I think I know where we'll be next summer, too! It's all good, just so long as I don't have to wear a bathing suit! Ha! ;-)

I'm Going To Miss This!


It's our last week of summer before school starts, so we have decided to go big or go home this week. On Tuesday, I took the girls to Disneyland and California Adventure by myself. Yes, probably not the brightest move, as it's still summer (which equals crowds and 100 degree heat). But when we woke up this morning, it was barley 70 degrees and cloudy where we live so I figured it wouldn't be hot in Anaheim...and well, I was wrong! It was boiling!


We have had many great times at Disneyland, and also some that I like to laugh about in retrospect (code words for: not so great!) I hardly ever write about the not so great, and I'm not sure why. There was that one time we went and it was Miley Cyrus' 16th birthday and they shut down all the rides right when we got there. There was this other time when I took both girls by myself when Ginger was a newborn, and Paprika had a huge meltdown right in front of the parade route...laid down in the middle of the street and was almost trampled by a bunch of dudes on stilts. I had Ginger in the Ergo and ended up yelling explicitives to the Disney workers before it was all over (the meltdown was all their really, it was!)

Anyhoo- today was kinda in between. I knew it was going to be tough being 7+ months pregnant with two young kids by myself at two theme parks. We took it slow, and just kind of did what was easy today. Like when we got stuck in the crowd waiting for the parade to start, we decided to stay and watch the parade...but I made sure to stay far back from the street in case Paprika decided to throw herself in front of a moving float again - ha!

I wasn't actually worried about her having a meltdown during the parade- that one that she did have way back when was when the parade was more interactive.

Back then, the kids got to participate in parts of the parade, and one of the Disney workers brought Paprika in to dance with the characters, but then another worker decided that there was one too many they made her go back and she had to watch all the other kids dance in the parade when she wasn't allowed to participate. As a newly minted three year old, that didn't fly with her...and that's why she laid down in the street. And that's why I yelled explicitives at the Disney workers. ;-) It actually was over very fast, but it is branded into my memory like you would not believe.

Needless to say, I have been really hesitatant about the whole parade thing since then...but today's went well. We just stayed far back, and I let the girls stand on their stroller seats so they could see the action from afar. ;-)

The parade was actually pretty great. Paprika loved the Ariel mermaid float the best, of course!


After that we went to the Princess Coronation. Paprika really wanted to go, since she was dressed like a princess and all.

Ginger was not so hot on it, and ended up trying to dismantle all the fake flowers on the stage while the show was in process. She just could not figure out what they were and why they were in styrofoam and not dirt! Ha!

Paprika had a great time - she has been before (of course) but not since she was around Ginger's age, if you can belive that!


I brought graham crakers for snacks, but Ginger decided she wanted to eat them all at once...and it was too hot for me to disagree. So, I let her. Of course half of them ended up as crumbs in the stroller, and just when Ginger had broken the last one into a thousand pieces, Paprika told me she was hungry!


Then, we went to Pinocchio's house and I bought the girls $4 chocolate chip cookies and free cups of water...and as I was taking my receipt, my camera fell out of my hand, onto the concrete floor, and smashed so hard I think it bounced. The screen is totally broken on the back now and you can't see anything. Which wouldn't be a problem if the camera had a viewfinder (hello!) - but it just has an LCD screen. The camera still works, you just can't see what you're shooting.

So, I kept taking photos not being able to see a thing...and it was quite a surprise when I got home and uploaded them onto my computer. I guess having taken about 40,000 photos (no joke) on a point and shoot in the past 5 years has paid off a little, because they weren't half bad.


I know it sounds like the day was a disaster, but it really wasn't. We actually had a great day, all those minor snafus aside.


We rode a lot of rides, especially the air-conditioned ones! We did some things we hardly ever do (like just sit and watch the stage shows) because they offered a shady place to sit and relax and drink water (lots of water!)


The girls both had an amazing time, and are already planning their next trip to Disneyland! Ha! The whole time we were there, they were smiling and laughing, and just so in awe of everything. You would have thought it was their first time at Disneyland, and in fact, Paprika kept saying: we haven't been to Disneyland in such a long time! Well girls, I checked my blog archives and our last trip was on May 31st, not quite three months ago. ;-)

Even so, it did feel really nice to be back at the parks, and everything felt really fresh and new to me, even though I know we've done it a gazillion times before.


Overall, it was just a really sweet day. I don't know, I just didn't sweat the small stuff today because I am just really grateful to have these two girls to take to Disneyland, and to be 7 months pregnant with another child. All the little stuff just didn't really seem to matter because I knew how happy the trip made Paprika and Ginger. I know I am going to miss these days, so I guess I figure I'd better enjoy them to the fullest while they are here.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Birthday Party!


We did it! We had Paprika's 5th birthday party this weekend at our house, and surprisingly (at least to me!) it went off without a hitch. :-)

Paprika got to invite five friends (one for every year of her life)- and she set the theme and helped pick out the decorations and the cake. She wanted a "blue mermaid" party, so that is what she got! Well, actually is was more of an Ariel Little Mermaid party (because that's what they sell at Party City)- but close enough, right?


We got a big chocolate cake, and then decorated it ourselves. Mr. M wrote Happy Birthday and drew a blue mermaid on the cake. He is a man of many talents! :-)

Grandma Pat was a big help. She brought down lots of food, and even made up some games for the kids to play along with prizes. She planned a treasure hunt that was the hit of the party!


The girls also played a fishing game, Pin the Crown on the Mermaid, and the big fish pinata was the finale of the party. So fun!


We set up our bounce house for the little kids, and spent a lot of time outside (thankfully it was a beautiful day and there was no construction noise- hallelujah!)


I underestimated how exhausting party planning is - haha. So many of my friends make it look so easy and effortless. How do they do that?! I really did enjoy the party quite a lot, and was glad we did it...but I think I need a year to recover. Haha!

Paprika did great at the party - we kept it short and small so it wouldn't be overwhelming for her. She did great! I think the activities kept things moving. Ginger fit right in and thought it was her birthday party, too! :-)

Then on Sunday, we went to a double birthday party- Devon's daughters turned 2 and 5! It was a great party- ladybug themed and they had musical entertainment.


Next weekend we have two birthday parties to attend. August seems to be the month of birthday least around these parts!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

All By Myself!


It is so fun watching Ginger's personality emerge. I couldn't have predicted how different in personality she would be to Paprika. They fit together like pieces of a puzzle and compliment each other so well.

Ginger is a little bit bossy, knows her mind, and is full of energy and love! She will tell you where to sit, what to eat, and exactly what she wants to wear.

Her favorite thing to say right now is: no way! Everything is No Way, Mama.

She is not particularly great at sharing (yet), and still has a tendency to bite people when she gets frustrated. Okay, she just has a tendency to bite Paprika when she wants something Paprika has. We are working on that, too!

She is very sweet, and very protective. She is always patting my tummy and wanting to know all about Pavenzia, or Zia, as she calls her! She calls Paprika Yaya, and we have no idea why.

She fits right in wherever she goes, and is generally a go-with-the-flow kinda girl. Much of her life right now revolves around Paprika's schedule (swim lessons, playdates, etc.) On Friday, I took both the girls to open swim after Paprika's swim lesson, and Ginger wanted to swim by herself, jump in the pool by herself, and of course got upset when I tried to help her even just a little bit.

Everything right now with her is in an "I can do it all by myself" stage. She really thinks she is 5 years old...I mean, she will tell you she's 2 (except when she tells you she's 4). She wants to sleep in a big bed like Yaya does (instead of her crib), wants to buckle her own seatbelt, open her own juice boxes, read her own books (recite from memory), put on her own shoes, not take naps (like Yaya), and in general just do it all on her own.

I am not ready for my baby to be a big girl quite so soon! But I guess she has other plans, and that's good, right? She is just always surprising me, and I love that!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Birthday Girl!


Yesterday was Paprika's official birthday, so we had to celebrate a little...even though her party isn't until this weekend.

Here is the play-by-play of our day! (I want to record it for my own memories)...

Paprika woke up about an hour before Ginger, came into bed with me, snuggled, and then I made her breakfast. She wore her special princess birthday hat she's been waiting to wear forever (about a month)!

After breakfast, we got Ginger up and dressed, and went to swimming. After swimming we swung by McD's for a "Happy Meal" (the girls split one) and then had a little picnic at Paprika's new school. Then we came home, changed clothes, and headed over to our friends' house for a playdate with Abigail, a girl Paprika met at swimming.

Over the past two months Paprika has made a good friend in Abigail and I have made friends with Abigail's mom. They just moved here from Korea and speak almost no English (seriously)- but yet we can all understand eachother quite well. Abigail's mom tells me that I'm her best (and only!) friend, so it was sweet we got to spend the afternoon with them. They had a cake with five candles for Paprika, and both Abigail and Paprika got matching swimsuits. Appropriate because the girls swim together five days/week!


Then we came home and waited for Mr. M to get home from work to open presents and have cake! Mr. M got a beautiful chocolate cake for Paprika.


She blew out her big "5" candle and made a wish. When she was done wishing, she said: Do you know what I wished for, mama? To grow up and be a real blue mermaid! :-)


Paprika opened presents - she was so excited about all of her presents! One of her presents was a light-up blue mermaid doll from my Grandma - she was so excited about it she wanted to take a bath with it...thankfully it was meant to go in the tub! So, off to the bath the girls went.


Then it was bedtime - all Paprika has wanted forever is to sleep in Ginger's room. Since it was her birthday, we decided it would be long as they were not troublemakers and got some sleep. Ginger has a big, comfy full-sized bed in her room, so the plan was that Paprika would sleep there and Ginger would sleep in her crib.


We put the girls to bed - but then Ginger had an absolute fit that she had to sleep in her crib and not with Paprika in the big bed. I mean, I have never seen Ginger so upset.

So, we decided against our better judgement to let the girls sleep in the full sized bed together. I kept the baby monitor on so I could listen to them. They stayed up until midnight whispering to eachother. When they finally quieted down, we went in to check on them and they were curled up together. They both slept until about 9am this morning.

When they woke up, I heard them chatting for a few minutes. Paprika said, "What did you dream about?" Ginger said, "Brown puppies!" Then Ginger said, "What did you dream about, Yaya?" (her name for Paprika)...and Paprika answered back, "I dreamt I was in a recital and fairies came and danced around me." :-)

So sweet.

Both girls are a little tired today...but I guess that's to be expected! Ha!