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Friday, June 28, 2013

They Change So Fast

Anytime I have the realization that one of the girls has or has not been doing a certain thing for a while it really brings to my attention how fast things change, how quickly they grow and how tiny each stage really is. I think I take it for granted with Abby in our lives now. Instead of celebrating and lingering on every milestone that Rory made, with Abby we now are like, "Great! Ok moving on, that means we can do this now" instead of really cherishing that moment and giving her recognition for her accomplishment.

Abby will be two years old in less than 2 weeks. She will be able to eat two gummy vitamins, instead of just one. This sticks in my head as a big milestone. I can finally rid myself of all the yellow ones, since Rory only eats the orange and red ones, and they add up if Abby only eats one yellow at a time...

Ok, ok, yes there are other important updates too. She is working on her last 4 baby teeth; all molars. And she is just as miserable as all the others were. For months before they pop, she is a sad, whiny, mommycentric, cuddly, particular little creature. Its like PMSing for toddlers. And it comes and goes for weeks at a time. Thank God for baby medicine (Orajel, Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen - Sometimes all at the same time so she can sleep).

As for her personality, she is the sweetest, most even-tempered, easy-going kid I have ever seen. She goes with the flow (as much as you can expect a two year old to) and shares, gives and apologizes freely. She definitely is a peacemaker and just wants everyone to be happy. She often says she is sorry when I am trying to get her sister to apologize to her! She is a total daredevil and very sure of her physical abilities. She enunciates uh-HUH in the cutest way ever. She eats everything in sight and guzzles drinks like its nobody's business. (While Rory is eating more regular amounts, she still needs to be reminded to drink). And even still, she is the same height as Rory was at 2. 

Both her and her sister have taken a liking to their blankets. They have soft blankets they keep in the car, and often insist on bringing them to daycare. Abby has a different one she sleeps with  and is quite attached to as well. Rory is more attached (for sleeping) to her pink monkey Suessa. Since she still has that oral fixation, she chews on his tail. Not sure how long that tail is going to last. During the day I tell her to let me know if she wants to chew on something and I'll give her gum but sometimes she just doesn't think about it. That girl needs something to be in her mouth at all times. The rubber bands when I'm doing her hair. Necklace if she has one. (She is not allowed to borrow mine anymore - she chewed right through one of my silver chains). Her hair is getting really long, almost to her waist. She wants to grow it "like Rapunzel". She is exhibiting great signs of independence. I'm teaching her (and by association and imitation, her sister) how to put her shoes away when she gets home, taking off her own clothes and putting them in the laundry, putting on her own clothes, etc. She's doing a great job. The other day I asked her to do something that was out of reach, and realized she couldn't, and started to come get it for her, and she said, "no mom, that's ok, I'll get the stepstool." YES! One step closer to them being able to HELP with my workload, instead of ADDING to it!

She still has these super dramatic emotional meltdowns. And she often replies to requests with a frustrated whine. I have found that telling her that is not a very nice way to respond, and asking her to please say it again in a nicer way works pretty well. And when she gets in a full out tizzy, it takes a long time to calm herself down but she doesn't hold a grudge. She is incredibly caring and sensitive, and I try to give her positive reinforcement for all the good behaviors she displays. We are working on her reaction to being disappointed (which easily turns into a tantrum) about stuff that can't be changed. Yes, I would love to read you another bedtime story, but its already past your bedtime so you need to go to sleep. No you cant have another yogurt, we ran out and wont have more until we go to the store. No you can't have a sleepover at Grammy Cracker's house, its a weekday and she has to work too. We are trying to teach her that it does no good to flip out about stuff you can't change. It's ok to be sad about it but it won't change anything. I guess we all could work on that one a little more.

The bedtime routine takes forever nowadays. We start at 7:30 with bedtime snack, then go get changed into pjs, and brush teeth. Then bedtime stories and bed. Sounds like an easy quick process, but they need to be kept on track every second of the routine, and often get sidetracked, distracted, riled up, etc. Rory gets back up to go pee. Abby needs medicine for her teething and wants you to lay with her for a few minutes. Someone needs a drink of water. And its normally not until 8:30 or 9 before they are both truly down for the night. We actually love it on nights that we stay up (like movie night) or have events, because we just change them into pjs there, and then wait for them to pass out and put them to bed!

Whats so nice is that I feel like we are a family now, working together, experiencing things together (sometimes frustrating, but often wonderful), going out and doing stuff together. Its past the "survival" stage of infancy, and now we are on to experiencing life and creating memories that us and the girls can fondly look back on. I love it and have never been happier.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What Do You Mean Its Not Summer Yet? It Is In San Diego.

San Diego weather always throws me for a loop. We have this uniquely moderate weather that is pretty much hotish for a few months of the year, coldish in the morning for a few months of the year and absolutely perfect for the rest of the year. And when you have lived here your whole life - as I have - you have no real concept of what "real" seasons are and how totally miserable they are for pretty much everyone else in the entire nation. It's also really easy to get lost in which season it actually is, since they all sort of blend together and the difference between them is a 2 degree drop at night average and a notation on the calendar. This is the reason why only in San Diego are flip flops and shorts year round attire. Add a sweater for winter, tank top for summer. You get the point.

My calendar informs me that in fact, summer is still a whole week away. However, I am already in summer mode. I no longer need even a sweater in the morning before the day heats up. We have already gone on our first camping trip of the season (always Memorial Day up at the King's River). We have been to the Del Mar Fair. And of course we are ramping up and planning for our main summer trips. So for all intents and purposes, in my mind, summer has been kicked off already.

And its already the best summer yet. We are continually adding to Ruby's accessories, and she now proudly carries a refrigerator/freezer in her trunk, run off of batteries and solar power. This will come in real handy for our two week-long off-road trips planned in July and August. We tested it out for the King's River and it was a complete success. We had not fully realized how much space 3, sometimes 4 coolers take up in the packing process. We normally had one large food and one large drink cooler, then usually one or two smaller ones for water and Gatorade. With the refrigerator, we can eliminate all the added room needed for the ice to keep everything cold, and just pack it with food. Then pack a small cooler just with ice for drinks, and we are all set! Drinks can be packed at room temp and added to the refrigerator as needed. We were able to eliminate having to put any camp boxes on the roof-rack. While Ruby can certainly handle the load, we were able to drive a full 10 mph faster without the extra drag on the top (faster arrival), and our gas mileage was better.

The new refrigerator was just one of several things that made this year's trip the best yet with kids. For one, this was the first Kings River trip that we planned our meals with the Schotts, so instead of doing everything separately then either cooking too much food, or having tons of food to bring home, we had the perfect amount of food, got more time with our friends, and had less cooking and cleanup overall. It was win-win all the way around. Second, while some of the classic river Gods were not there (and we sorely missed them), it ended up being the smallest group we have ever had, and it was, to be honest, a really nice change. Previous years, especially the last few had gotten to be so big they were out of control. Upwards of 75 people, who all show up last min trying to squeeze into spots that have already been allocated, none of which you know and all of which are more "moochers" than "providers" to the whole camping and rafting dynamic... it was getting to be a little bit too much to handle for a family camping trip. So it was really nice to get back to basics and have it be  more intimate again. And with Laura [this] close to delivering, it was perfect! Next year, us girls will have to drink it up and get on the river again. :)

This weekend we have our second camping trip, Paso Picacho. What a great way to kick of the "official" start of summer. Ha!