Saturday, June 30, 2012

Olympic Dreaming!


Sorry for my little pity party yesterday. I posted that and then felt like saying "Wahhhhhhhh!" Haha. I love my crazy life. Really would not have it any other way. I know people say that all the time, but I really do mean it.

The weekend is off to a great start. We watched the Olympic swimming trials last night. Paprika was riveted. She was laying on the floor "swimming" alongside those swimmers and saying how she wants to go to the Olympics one day. It was so cute.

I had a great meal of Thai food last night and got to hang out with Mr. M and watch 24. We are on the last season (Netflix) of a marathon that started almost eight months ago! Yes, we are dedicated. I am about ready to say goodbye to Jack Bauer forever, but that's okay. It was good while it lasted. Haha. Then we will be on to the next marathon (Downton Abbey or Louie, I think - but that doesn't sound quite as exciting as 24).

This weekend we have swimming (of course!) on the agenda, possibly going to see Brave, and a few other fun things up our sleeves. I love the weekends. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them now that Mr. M actually HAS a weekend! :-)


P.S. Yesterday's post was post number 1500! I pressed publish and saw that and was a little in disbelief! I guess it's been over 6 years since I started writing this blog, so it's no big surprise, but I was still a teeny bit proud of that. Who knew when I started this that I'd still be doing it 6 years later? I am so glad I have this little space to record our crazy, fun, and always changing lives!

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Surrender Dorothy!


This is our first week of summer, since Paprika just got out of school a week ago! This week has been filled with swimming lessons, a playdate at a friend's house, a few trips to the park, and a lot of unstructured free time - that means just hanging out and trying to keep the kids occupied so I don't go crazy!

The good news is that Paprika and Ginger are two peas in a pod. They are always looking out for one another, and I could not ask for two closer sisters. They are such a pair!


This week has been challenging for me. I was so sad for my brother to go back to Indiana. We had such a great time with him here - he is so easy to be around, and so positive (especially in light of everything he has been through this year).

Being home with all three girls is a lot for me to handle, especially with Mr. M working so much. It's just tough, no way around it. I feel like I keep looking for solutions to help me - like hiring a babysitter or joining a gym with daycare - but really, nothing works for long!

I had to quit the gym this week - it was just too much trouble going there, and it kept ending in disaster and the aftermath of it just wasn't worth it. For example, I tried taking the girls there on Tuesday, and what happened was pretty typical:

First, Paprika didn't want to go (she never wants to go but always has a great time once she gets there). Then, Ginger didn't want to wear clothes, so I had to struggle with her to get dressed. Finally, got everyone in the car and drove 15 minutes to get there. Then, when we got there, Ginger didn't want to let go of her water bottle (she wanted to run around with it open and spilling everywhere). So, I took that away from her and she had a huge meltdown. Then, I dropped Violet off and raced over to the gym. I hopped on the elliptical and 22 minutes later I got a call saying, "Your baby has been crying for the last 20 minutes. No matter what we do, she cries and it's escalating."

So...I quit working out (obviously), and came back and picked up the girls. Mission: Fail! The rest of the day was pretty much a disaster because Paprika was overstimulated, Ginger was grumpy, and Violet was overtired.

I feel like it's like this no matter what I do with them. I have also tried having babysitters, but it just doesn't work very well. Violet has major separation anxiety, so she has to come with me always. Paprika is difficult for other people to manage, and I have a hard time trusting anyone to watch her (she can be frustrating to people, and then I worry how they will treat her). Ginger is fine, for the most part. A few people have told me that my kids are very hard to babysit, and I think it's true. I wonder often: what am I doing wrong? Why doesn't my life resemble Pinterest? Haha!

I feel like I am just trying new things all the time trying to find SOMETHING that works to give me a little free time to myself, and nothing works.

So, my solution has been basically to surrender to THIS being my life for now. My kids and my husband ARE my LIFE. I know this is probably not making sense, and it sounds kind of pathetic. But, everyone knows that when you have a child, you give up certain things. And the truth is, the more children you have, the more that is true!

Instead of being upset about it, I have just decided to GO with it. Is there another choice, really? I feel like whenever I struggle against that process of surrendering, I just make my life harder. I definitely DO choose my battles and for the big stuff, I definitely do take a stand.

But, I have come to realize that I may not be able to have an uninterrupted conversation for the next five years, and that is okay. Really. I may live in yoga pants and Old Navy t-shirts until my kids are older. It's fine. My laundry is piled up and the floors need mopping? Check!

I am tired of wishing I had family living closer or looking for someone to help me out part-time. It IS what it IS. I love being around my kids, and while it is all-consuming, it is just my life! So, instead of being upset that Mr. M and I can't go out for dates all the time, I am just going to be happy about putting a movie on for the girls and ordering in take-out on Friday nights. If that's a date at this stage of our lives, then I am okay with it. Happy, in fact!


So, that was a novel! Haha!

We went over to a friend's house earlier this week for a little playdate - she has a little girl Ginger's age and a little girl Paprika's age. We had a great time. It was fun to just lay there with Violet in the grass while the big girls had a ball playing.


We put down a blanket for Violet, but all she wanted to do was crawl off it! That stage of "laying on a blanket with toys" kinda flew past us. I would not be surprised if Violet just stands up and starts running one day soon - at 7 months, she is so strong it pretty much blows my mind!


And back to that idea of unstructured playtime? Basically, this week the girls have had a ball playing around the house and in the backyard. I went outside yesterday and Paprika had put together this little ensemble. She said she was a witch named Goo and that her broom had lost its magical powers and she was trying to get the powers back. A little fairy (Ginger) had stolen the powers and hidden them in the backyard, and she had to find the powers to fix the broom so she could fly again!


Her little get-up made me think of my new motto: Surrender, Dorothy!

And my other motto, too: There's No Place Like Home!

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dog Days of Summer!


It's already Thursday and I am just now getting around to talking about last weekend and the end of Robbie's visit with us. Whew - that's summer for ya!

Last weekend we had a full house. We had a doggie slumber party for Daisy (translation: we watched our friend's dog overnight). The dogs had soooo much fun together. They were both smiling their dog smiles the whole visit. The other dog was a boy and wasn't fixed (Daisy IS fixed...thank goodness!) The boy doggie spent most of the time trying to mount Daisy, but she was just so happy to have a friend to play with she didn't seem to mind. They had their run of the backyard and played non-stop for about 8 hours the first day. Then, they slept hard inside overnight. The next morning, they got up early and wanted to go out and play again - they were both so happy. It almost made me want to get Daisy a permanent playmate - but hey, I'm not that crazy! A new baby and a puppy all in one year was enough for me for a long time. Haha.

Friday night we ordered in Thai food from our favorite place - it was Robbie's first time having it, and I think he liked it! I know I liked it! :-)

On Saturday, we had plans to go to The Grove to the American Girl doll store for Ginger's birthday present. She had been talking about wanting a little doll like Paprika's (a Bitty Twin). I had promised her we could take her on Saturday and get Ginger her very own doll. But when Saturday rolled around, neither Paprika nor Ginger wanted to go to the dollie store! What?! I wasn't going to talk them into a trip to go buy an overpriced doll...that just seemed kinda silly.

So, we decided last minute on a Plan B. We are members at the Aquarium of The Pacific, so we decided to all go there. Robbie had never been and he was excited to go. I forgot how crowded it is on the weekends (I seem to forget this about once every year!) - so we hopped in the car and went.


The Aquarium was packed with people. It was overwhelming, especially with small kids, so we decided to split up. Mr. M took Ginger. I took Paprika and baby Violet. And Robbie explored on his own. I think we all went into survival mode. Haha.

Even a packed day at the Aquarim is fun, though. Paprika was having the best time playing with the sea lion. He was following her everywhere she went. It was so cute!


After about 20 minutes, I opted to take Paprika and Violet OUT of the Aquarium. The Aquarium is right on the Long Beach Harbor, so we just went outside and looked at boats and Paprika played on the rocks on the shore. It was so much more peaceful and enjoyable.


The rest of the weekend involved several trips to the park - one trip to the big park near us and a few more to our little neighborhood park.

Paprika and Ginger both made some friends on one visit, and we might be doing playdates in the future with those kids.


The girls' favorite game is still hide and go seek. Robbie played that A LOT with them. He is a good sport. Here is a fort they made using a towel over the picnic table. It was a fun hiding spot for them:


Ginger counting with her eyes covered up:


And the girls discovering Robbie in his hiding spot. They thought this one was sooo funny:


Mr. M and I also got to go on a quick date Saturday and Sunday night- we popped in a movie for the big girls while Robbie babysat...and we took Violet with us. We took Violet down to the beach and had a little walk with her at sunset. They were perfect mini-dates (just like an hour or so) - and that was super refreshing.

And...that was the weekend! Now of course, it's almost Friday! Now that Mr. M is home on the weekends (not working), I look forward to them so much. I am glad that tomorrow is the start of a new one! It has been such a busy week - I am ready!

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Best Laid Plans!


Well, there goes my big plans for the summer! The pool requires kids to be three years old to start swim lessons, and as luck would have it, Ginger turned three the week before summer session.

So, I signed her and Paprika both up for lessons all summer long (4 days/week!) The first day of lessons, Ginger was soooo excited. She was dancing, singing about how she's three now so she gets to go to swimming lessons. Paprika was patiently explaining to her how wonderful it would be, and telling her all about the great parts of swimming.

Then we got to the pool, and they called everyone into the pool. I guess Ginger thought I would be swimming with her, because as soon as the teacher came over to her, she hid and started crying. She was NOT going in that water.

I didn't want to force her (obviously) - and it quickly became clear that she is still just too young. Most of the other kids are ages 4 or 5 - she was by far the youngest and the smallest. So, we can wait a year. No rush.

But MAN - I was sooooo excited about the prospect of them both swimming this summer. Now I have to occupy Violet AND Ginger every day during lessons! No rest for me!


On Monday, Uncle Robbie was here and helped me with Violet while Ginger was having her meltdown. Thank goodness!

That afternoon, I called the pool to get a refund for TEN weeks worth of Ginger's lessons, but because there was a refund fee, I opted to just roll that money over into more lessons for Paprika.

So now for a few weeks, Paprika will have a private swim lesson before her group lesson. She really can't get enough! The pool has open swim on the weekends, so I will probably take Ginger to the pool then and swim with her to get her more comfortable with the water.

In the meantime, I am looking for an activity for Ginger to do that she wants to do! Truthfully, she just wants to hang out wherever we are, play in the backyard, and go for adventures in the car. She has no desire for school (yet) and basically just wants to enjoy being three. And I am inclined to let her do just that! There will be time for lessons and preschool when she's ready - which right now, she's telling me she's NOT! Haha.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Big Baby!


Last week I took Baby Violet to her 6 month check-up. She is doing great. I realize this is just interesting to moi, but here goes anyway.

Violet is growing great. The pediatrician was very surprised at what a great crawler Violet is. In fact, this week Violet has started trying to climb stairs. Oh boy!

She is a very strong baby, and I would dare say even athletic! She is quite happy, and she is very vocal. She is loud when she wants to be - her little voice is going from sounding like a baby dolphin to more like a dinosaur ROAR!


Her stats are:

Weight: 20 pounds (90th percentile)
Height: 28 inches (95th percentile)
Head Circumference 45.5cm (96th percentile)

Last visit (her four month appointment) - she was 26.3 inches long (86th percentile), 18 lbs. 4oz in weight (95th percentile) and 43.9cm in head circumference (92nd percentile).

She always manages to be around the 90-95th percentile for I was kinda laughing a bit this time because the pediatrician was trying to make sure I feed her enough. I kind of looked at her like, "Does she LOOK well-fed?! Ummmm...because she is!"

Seriously though, she is still just nursing pretty much exclusively. We have been introducing some baby food to her - and she is still much more interested in nursing than anything else - by a long shot. So, we're taking the solid food thing very slowly. No need to rush, as long as she's just kinda getting that opportunity to explore food. So far, she likes hummus and organic applesauce - or at least likes to spit it out. Haha!

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Uncle Robbie!


My brother, Robbie, has been visiting for almost a week now. He is set up in Ginger's old room (now the guest room). It is a room filled with PINK, but he seems fine with it. Haha!

He has been great with the girls - we've had lots of days at the park playing hide and go seek, tag, and having impromptu picnics. He is great at reading stories to them. He even helped me pick up and drop off Paprika at school this week.


Paprika was very excited to introduce Uncle Robbie to her teacher and her friends!


I've put him to work around the house...he's been helping me with my little summer to-do list. ;-)

But it hasn't been all work - He spent a day down at the beach and found a cool surf shop. He's been to two guitar stores in the area - a local one and a chain - all to find some parts for my guitar.


He's restoring a guitar I got from my dad for my 17th birthday present - my Washburn 12 string. It was damaged in the fire of 2000, and Robbie is fixing it. He's quite talented and handy like that.


We only have him here until Tuesday, when he's going to a wilderness camp in Colorado. be 17 again! Haha. But being 34 is pretty great, too, all things considered. :-)


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Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Graduate!


School is out for summer! We are probably the last school in North America who gets out this late - it's almost JULY for crying out loud!

Today was Paprika's last day of developmental kindergarten. Her school had a promotion ceremony for the kids, since they are all going on to kindergarten next year.


Paprika was so excited for us to come to school for her "graduation" and party. The kids all got little certificates, and said goodbye to their teacher.

I was so glad Uncle Robbie was here - we put him to work carrying the water bottles to the classroom. Haha!


Paprika said she will miss her teacher very much, as well as all her classmates. She is already counting down the days to "Senior Kindergarten" and she is hopeful that there will be more girls in her class next year. That should be easy since there were only two other girls in her class this year. Haha.

This is Paprika with her teacher on the last day of school:


And this is her with her teacher a few weeks ago. I forgot to mention it, but Paprika won a raffle at school to have a private lunch with her teacher. Paprika was so excited about it and had me pack her a special lunch to share. Paprika wasn't feeling so hot on this day, so I kinda felt bad about that after the fact (I didn't realize she was under the weather until after she got home). Anyway, Paprika still said she had a great time and was so glad she got to have her special luncheon:


I can't believe the school year is over! I am already feeling anxious about Paprika's class placement next year. I found out there is one teacher we should prefer, and I didn't request her...and now I am a ball of nerves wondering who Paprika will get!

I am excited for summer - we start swimming again on Monday, and then boom...I know the summer is going to fly by, and next thing you know it, it will be back to school time.

I know I went back and forth about whether to put Paprika in "regular" kindergarten this year - and I am so glad I opted to give her an extra year's time. This has been a great way for us to ease into the transition of school and I know she is VERY prepared - academically and socially - for next year. She is also super comfortable at the school - she knows all the teachers and therapists, and that makes things so much better. Next year she will continue occupational therapy, speech therapy, and her friendship group. I feel like I have already done so much groundwork, we're off to a running start.

But for now, I will just exhale a little bit and let myself enjoy summer. :-)

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Birthday Girl!


Ginger woke up on her birthday in a mood. She was not happy! She said, "It's not my birthday today. I am still two years old. I don't want to be three." She was not having any of this birthday stuff.

I got to the bottom of what was bugging her. She thought that if she was three, she'd have to use the potty instead of diapers. And that was NO GOOD in her book. So, I told her she could wait for a little while longer to be potty trained, and she was very happy after that. No reason to ruin a perfectly good birthday over something so inconsequential. Ha!

Over breakfast, I gave her a little gift - the purple treasure box you see in these pictures. I told her that later we'd open more presents (after daddy got home from work). She said, "But I already have a present!" She has been wanting a treasure box like this for a long time (Paprika has one very similar) - so I knew it would be a hit.


For her birthday (the actual day)- we went to the park and played around the house. That night when Mr. M got home from work, we had our little party. For months she's been insisting that she wanted Vanilla cake only - NOT chocolate cake. So, we made sure to get a white/vanilla cake. Paprika, of course, requested chocolate- so we got a little mini cake for her in chocolate.

Well, after we got Ginger's cake all decorated and what not, she took one bite of it and said: Yuck! I do not like vanilla cake!

Thankfully, Paprika shared her mini cake with Ginger and all was well. ;-) Those girls are great at sharing with eachother - and Ginger even offered to give all her presents to Paprika. Paprika said, "No, it's your birthday and your presents! You are too sweet!"


We had a great little party. We had lots of wonderful presents that family had sent for Ginger, and she had the best time opening all the presents. It was like Christmas for her! She was dancing around singing, "It's my birthday!!! I am threeeeeee!" She is a very loved little girl, and we feel very blessed.

I think even Uncle Robbie had fun celebrating with us. He timed his trip just perfectly for the party. Haha.

So, there ya have it. It was a low-key party, but just perfect. The more experience I get as a parent, the more I realize that when you keep things simple, everything just goes so much better. Also, having a little backup plan (like a spare chocolate cake - ha!) doesn't hurt, too.

All in all, a very successful birthday party for our little Ginger Bear!


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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Daddy's Weekend!


So, after I posted last week that Baby Violet was not crawling, she turned around and started crawling about 10 minutes later. It's like she knew I was writing about her! So, yes, we have a crawler on our hands now. She loves to crawl straight for the electronics and power cords, so I've started babyproofing again. :-)

The end of last week was a little bit of a blur because on Thursday night, I got the flu! I was sooooo sick. I fell asleep with Ginger on Thursday night and was a mess all day Friday. That was a hard day because all the kids were feeling GREAT and had tons of energy, and I was taking care of them while wanting to just fall down and sleep.

The highlight of Friday was when I took the girls to the park because my cleaning lady was coming and I had to get everyone out of the house. We got to the park and Ginger had a pooopy diaper that had leaked all the way down to her ankles. She didn't want me to change it. At the same time, Paprika had a meltdown because she wanted water with ice and all the water bottles I had were "too hot" - so she was freaking out. And then baby Violet started screaming because she was hungry and wanted to be picked up. There were some teenage girls hanging out near our van and I know they were thinking, "Wow, I am NEVER having kids." Haha.

But it worked out fine. I got Ginger changed first, put on a special app for Paprika on the Ipad that calmed her down, and picked up Violet and fed her. Voila, michief managed.


By Saturday I was feeling a little better. Mr. M was home, so that helped. We did our usual picnic thing with the girls. We pick up take out and go to a park and eat lunch while they play. We did a ton of stuff around the house and got the guest room ready for my brother, Robbie, who was coming to visit on Sunday.

Sunday was Mr. M's day, and he wanted to get Rubio's again and eat at the park. We thought it would be fun to take the van to the automatic carwash (the kind where you sit in the car and go through the wash). He doesn't ever take the cars there because it's hard on the cars - but we thought it would be fun for the girls. Well, Paprika LOVED it. Ginger was scared. And Baby Violet was probably traumatized by it. She did NOT like it one little bit. ;-)

But, Paprika loved it so much that Mr. M took her back with our other car later (just the two of them) and she had the best time riding through the car wash a second time. It had been about 8 months since the cars were washed (!!!!) so it was HIGH time.

Then we went and picked up my brother at the airport, now he is here. The girls are loving their Uncle Robbie. They think he is SO OLD (he is 17!) I think they just think he is old because he is very tall. To them, tall means old. Haha.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Ginger Is Three!


Three years ago today our little Ginger Sunshine was born.



She was born 11 months after her twin sisters were stillborn, and also after a miscarriage the year before.


She has been an immeasurable joy in our lives.


I would say she is a rainbow baby (that's what you call a baby born after a loss)- but really, she is more a bright, intense beam of sunshine.

baby power!

I am so grateful for the absolute JOY that she is.


She reminds me that when things look darkest, to never give up and to never stop trying - especially when it's in pursuit of building a family. She is such a gift.


Even though our family does not look the way I thought it would, not a day goes by that I am not grateful for how things have turned out.


Happy Birthday, Ginger! You are everything, and everything is you...


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