Warming up!

After a handful of “storms of the century”, the weather in on the upswing and I can almost squeeze spring out of thin air! We’ve spent a whole lot more time outside–not like it’s such inclement weather, we couldn’t be outside (eyeroll to us Californians)–and it’s warmly welcomed! Some of my favorite memories in the backyard are a sun-drenched day in the plastic kiddie pool armed with the hose on full blast, shooting it all over the yard and “watering” whatever came into view. Feet full of grass blades and dirt kicked up on the feet, sun kissed cheeks and all. I loved flapping that hose around and drawing pictures in the sky as my arm flopped to make certain shapes .. if that makes sense. Imagine Bellagio water display but toned down about a thousand knots.

Well. I found out this week the apple doesn’t fall too far! Luke is my protege in yard/hose-ery (hmm..). His favorite move right now is running outside, stripping down (hopefully a phase) and asking to play with the water. I think it occupied him for all of ONE HOUR the other day, which, if you know my child personally, is not short of a miracle. Here is his little self in “his element” …

luke3.jpgluke1.jpgluke2.jpg

14 months

IMG_0697.JPGIMG_0698.JPGWelp. Kate is no longer ONE, she is 14 months! So this has become a 14 months update. I’ll take it. It is such a wonder to me how two little siblings can have so many differences, and at the same time so similar. Genes are a mystery to me. I’m sure I could remedy that but I don’t know if I have the brain-space. So for now, I’m simply in wonder! Kate is different from her big brother in many ways! These don’t define her, but they have been the only thing I’ve had to go off of, and that makes the whole thing fascinating..

Kate has a mostly reeee-laxed temperament with spurts of inconsistency when it comes to food. Namely method of feeding and pace. Do not leave her in waiting, that one. Not too many other things can throw her off! She is, in the words of many who describe her, chill. Praise hands.

She also has such an openness to most people, and allows them to cuddle, hug and comfort her. This is simply nothing short of genius for my tired mama arms (on certain days!). She has so many people she reaches for, who make her laugh to high heaven, and who she just cuddles and rests her head on so naturally. She is a social butterfly, without fluttering away too fast. So maybe just social. I love this. It’s also refreshing given Luke laughs in the face of too much socialization.

She has the sweetest crawl that most of us refer to as the Tarzan. I think it’s the result of learning to crawl on tile and hardwood, but I could be wrong. She loves to crawl with her arms forward and her right leg in normal crawl position, while her left leg sort of saunters and scoots along under her, picking up crumbs and outside dirt so nicely on her clothes. Heh. I think it’s sort of brilliant because she can sit up so quickly and go forward and backward faster, but who knows!

She is not walking yet, but she can. So I don’t know how to quite describe that quality except for “can’t be bothered”? This may be a sibling influence, forgetting hands picking up too quickly (guilty!), or possibly loves to leave us guessing in the bipedalism department. Well played, child.

Oh yes, and her favorite foods are something like salmon, steak, roast chicken, hunks of baguette and maybe acai bowls. Otherwise known as not a cheap date!

Love her so..

The kiddos at Christmastime

img_2013img_2014img_2015img_2012img_2017

I’ve been remarkably bad at yearly holiday cards. I trailed off after our first year of marriage, when I burned myself out on wedding invites, thank you’s and of course, the beloved Christmas card. The timing of our wedding thank you’s in conjunction with the Christmas send out was unnecessarily stressful to say the least! I am in awe of families who have a professional shoot, followed up by a beautiful photo cards mass mailing. You, my friends, are on another level and I salute you.

So this year, I took a few minutes to put the kids in their only clean “dress up” clothes at the time and run outside with a blanket and my camera. I was laid out flat on the grass, using an inner tube to prop me if I needed some height. Luke was joining me in yelling at our dog, Maverick, to keep away from Kate. Then at one point, we weren’t sure if I’d rubbed my arm in dog poop. And if those things weren’t fun enough, trying to get a candid smile out of Luke these days is hilarious, if you find shouting the same thing thirty different ways, thirty times in a row, funny. I think it’s actually the definition of insanity.

Then. When we made it inside and could look at a few shots, I noticed my lens had a smudge. Funnnnnn! All things aside, I do like these imperfect pics of our kiddos. It totally captures them, smudges and poop and all! Sooo .. merry Christmas cards to you!

Chitter chatter

img_1979img_1977img_1980img_1978

These days, our discussions with Luke are busy, to say the least. He has questions and opinions about practically every fanciful thought that dances across his little mind, and he’s deeply engaged in having these things both voiced and resolved nearly immediately. 

His methods are incredibly effective, because, in fact, repeating a question incessantly with nothing but the answer’s reply satisfying one seems to ignite the “I may go manic right now” trigger in my psyche. So pleasant, I am. Patience, I’m learning.

So we have many discussions discussing discursive discourse. Countless chats chatting about chat worthy chatter. Round and round we go, we hope something is penetrating that wondering mind of his, that barely hears a reply before he’s off to the next wonder of wonders. So much fascination with the world around him to inspire his imagination to grow. 

Many mornings, as I fiddle away in the kitchen, I hear him quietly chatting away different scenarios in the next room. Different characters, friends, family, teachers, all converging on the set of Luke’s imagination, putting him in the seat of instructing, reminding, encouraging, helping, reprimanding, loving, feeding. There is quite a bit of feeding. In these moments, it feels like I get observe him sharing the things he’s taken in from the world around him. What he has digested from his surroundings, his understanding, his little heart, from us and other loved ones, is now being repackaged in Luke’s precious, raw, simple, cheerful, emotion filled way.

Stories yet to be told, and more

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Luke is really taking in story-time to the fullest right now. Most evenings, we’ll come into the bedroom with a bang. Having conquered dinnertime with it’s endless multitasking–pesto pasta, peel the oranges, fix Kate some cheesy toast, dishes clean, dishes dirty, fill the water, put out the dog, no show, yes show, no chocolate, yes chocolate, etc–and dinner is won. Bravely, we march, or rather wrangle, our way to the bathtub.

Luke is gloriously proud that he can now undress himself without me (as am I!) and put his toys in the bath, plug it up and place the soap carefully on the edge of the tub. Bath time roars on with laughter, cries, scrubbing, rinsing, nearly a thousand questions and then drying, toothbrushing and running the house naked. We take it step by step, then into to the bedroom and the pajama, diaper, lotion, vapor balm wrangling continues until that solemn, perfect moment of flashlights, a stack of books and a dark room full of quiet, under the cover coziness.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

With Luke’s imagination growing in such great leaps, every book is a wonderland. His absolute favorite practice, presently, is to dream up a new story and “read” it to me, allowing me to turn the page when it’s my turn. I’m sure he’s channeling his inner daycare teacher (thank you Miss Annie for being a fabulous role model). Stories typically include, but are not limited to, the following: Kobe, bears, basketballs, motorcycles, a dramatic climax of someone getting lost or going down a hill, mommies, daddies and sisters, and every sweet treat he can seem to drum up on the spot.

And then, of course, we have a few favorites .. Luke waits in anticipation for the climax of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom nightly (the boom!) and insists we sing the ABC’s at conclusion. He loves Goodnight Goodnight, Construction Site for the rough and tumble terms, and all the buffeting, huffing machines. Love You Forever is currently a fave, but oddly enough because he is enamored when it unsurprisingly brings me to tears; I think he’s mystified how it can happen every. time. Come to think of it, so am I! He also loves the page where the dad waits at the top of the stairs in the shadow because he’s fascinated with shadows.

Star Wars ABC is a interesting one. He opens it to a certain page (the Kaminoan–I looked it up, have no recollection of this character) and says it’s scary. Yet still asks for it! I am so aware of things that frighten, I should’ve taken it out a month ago now, but only finally remembered the other night. Anyhow. We have quite the collection of Star Wars kids books; to be expected when you name your child Luke, I suppose! Brown Bear, Brown Bear and The Very Hungry Caterpillar remain in heavy rotation, and Can I Play Too? has become more desired as of late (the Elephant and Piggie books are darling). Thought I’d get our favorites and a quick wishlist in one place.

A few we love ..

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Can I Play Too?
Good Night Ocean
Love You Forever
When the World is Ready for Bed
The Sunflower Parable
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Oh, the Thinks You Can Think
Brown Bear, Brown Bear
Goodnight Goodnight, Construction Site
Guess How Much I Love You
Corduroy

And a few in my Amazon cart ..

The Giving Tree
The Lion and the Mouse
Lullaby Moon
The Day the Crayons Quit
The Wonderful Things You Will Be

11 months

Screen Shot 2016-12-11 at 4.53.55 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-12-11 at 4.54.36 PM.png

Sweet girl! We’ve already had eleven months with you! You are such a picture of pure joy to us. Your smile, your excitement, your incredible bubbly laugh when your brother does anything at all (particularly jumping on the bed with him..). You flap your arms wildly when you like something. And you’ve begun to put your hands together to indicate more, which I’ll take any day over the smacking of your highchair tray until all your food is on the ground (and thus, eaten by Maverick). You now eat pouch veggies/fruits (praise God.) but still will only eat pomegranate seeds and butternut squash in it’s pure veggie form.

Up until last week, you slept in your hammock bassinet but you’ve just inherited big brothers old sleep suit and are now sleeping flat in your crib.. well, more like a starfish given that sleep suit (it’s seriously magic.. makes bedtime such a breeze!). You are, at times, my extra appendage, but I know that is fleeting, so for now I’ll keep you on my hip!

Oh! And I can’t forget that you love to twirl your hair while sucking your fingers during naptime and bedtime. For awhile there, you compuslively would grab strands of my hair and tug (nay, rip.) while you stick them in your mouth. It’s caused a few late night struggles between us.. But now that your hair is longer, you are happy twirling your own. Heh. We love you Kate..

IMG_2043.JPG

North coast

IMG_1959.JPG

Over the Thanksgiving break, we wandered our way up the salty, steep, winding coast with extra layers, blankets and plenty of fruit, yogurt and peanut butter and jellies to feed a small preschool. We have always loved the peace of a long picturesque drive to think or chat while children stare, chatter and hopefully sleep. Luke was discussing with James how he’d remembered listening to the Jack Johnson song before (“I remembered that one, daddy!”) while I tried to recollect the last time I’d been to the various farms, beaches and trails flying by on either side of the highway.

A farm stand where the squash was at least two feet long. The berry farm with their layered Olallieberry cobbler and velvety strawberry preserves.. And of course, there was the small state park I’d taken the same pictures at a hundred times–the chicken coop, the windswept cypresses, the beautiful white stables and pastures.

While we packed a big picnic today, when we’re less ambitious, we love the creamy, nutty cauliflower soup from Swanton Berry Farm. Or a crispy, melty woodfired pizzas from the Davenport Roadhouse in none other than Davenport; I often opt for the Pesto with roasted Eggplant and Shiitakes.

Today our agenda consisted of cows, horses, and treats.

So that we did.. Luke scampered along the dirt paths with his stuffed up nose and big breaths, while his chunky little fingers pulled his blonde wisps away from his eyes (finally getting a haircut the next morning), James keeping within an adventurous distance. Kate and I trailed along with the stroller as she propelled her little self forward to catch whatever she could of the action.

I love my days with these three.

IMG_1936.JPGIMG_1939.JPGIMG_1957.JPG