Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Girly-Girl!

I already knew this about her. Gabriella loves pretty. Pretty clothes, pretty hair, pretty coloring pages, and pretty parties. What I got to witness today was a glimpse into the depth of her love for all things pretty.

As we were leaving a play date at the mall today, we passed by the store Claire's. As we ventured inside to take a peek at a cute Hello Kitty purse I saw in there (thinking possible birthday gift idea), Gabriella was transformed. She had never been in this store before. Another first for my girl - her first venture into accessory shopping. And I believe we are in trouble.

She became a wide-eyed, mesmerized, robotic version of her little cute self. It was if she was propelled by some external force from display to display, hands in front of her, just absorbing all of the "prettiness" oozing out of that store. I truly think she was in her own personal heaven. She didn't even have time to beg for one thing too much because she was always drawn away to something equally as pretty. Lip gloss, nail polish, headbands, tiaras, necklaces, princess wands, feather boas, purses, notepads, hair clips = PRETTY!

She showed great self-control by not ripping everything off of the shelf and by putting things back when I asked her to. The sales lady only too happily offered her a little basket to carry around which she gladly accepted. I wasn't planning on making a purchase and could see that this was getting to be a less realistic goal by the second. I decided it was time to cut and run and told Gabriella as I pushed the stroller out of the store to return the basket to the sales lady and come with me to the car we were headed home for sister's nap time.

She was obediently handing the basket to the sales lady as I looked back over my shoulder on my way out of the store, and when she turned around from putting the basket on the counter, my heart just broke.

Toward me walked my completely broken-hearted girl. Golf ball sized tears dropped from her eyes, her lips turned down and her mouth open as she emitted her heart-wrenching sobs. Now I have witnessed many a meltdown by this dramatic girl. But this one was different. This was not an I-did-not-get-my-way sadness, or an I'm-so-tired-I-feel-like-whining-about-everything bawling, and not even an I'm-three-and-will-be-defiant cry. This was true, from the depth of her being sadness. Existing in a place that was the outward example of her inner-prettiness was no more. She was given a small taste of heaven and couldn't believe that it was over - and that she didn't get to take a piece of it with her.

So a purchase was made. But to try and redeem some small shred of good parenting skills, I did make her stop crying and explain her feelings with real words. Small shred. I was still in charge here, right? :)

Here are the words I got: "But I want to get something fun. Something new to take home!" I thought this was a pretty good representation of the inner-shopper that lives in most of us.

Then the search for the right purchase (that was mommy approved after looking at the price tags) ensued. And what we walked away with was nothing I suggested at all, but fit the price tag requirement so I just said yes. Funny girl. See the picture below for the item in the store that satisfied her inner-pretty.

Don't you know that every girl needs some clip-on rainbow colored hair!?!?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oliver's First Day of Kindergarten

Thanks to everyone who said prayers for Oliver and was thinking of us on his first day of Kindergarten! It went well as far as I could tell. We were all able to take him in the morning and it was a fine transition for all of us. I did my crying on Sunday so by Monday I was just excited. It took a couple of hours to draw anything out of him once he got home (which I knew it would) so we just had to be patient.

Some things we were able to get out of him:
  • It was a long day for him: "I was there in the morning AND the afternoon. It was a long time!"
  • He doesn't know anyone's name yet.
  • He had a fun day.
  • He saw a neighbor in the cafeteria at lunch but had to sit with his class which he was fine with.
  • He sat next to a boy and a girl at lunch.
  • He went to music and P.E. and played an instrument in Music which we couldn't quite understand but he was adamant that it had something to do with a Hamster wheel?
  • He did not go outside for recess but had recess inside in another classroom (we think this had to do with the construction - the school is being renovated).
  • He was HUNGRY after school. They do get a snack in the morning, have lunch around 12:30, and I brought him a little bagel and some nuts when I picked him up at 2:30. But that was not enough. He wanted FOOD! He eventually ate through that snack, some yogurt, a pudding cup and a piece of pizza before he was finally satiated.
  • He did not cry or miss Mommy :)
  • He played at the "McDonald's" center during center time (there really is such a thing).
  • He apparently really liked the rest time in the afternoon as that is one of the things he talked about the most. I think he was pretty tired at that point and probably really needed it! The teachers asked each kid to bring a towel to lay on for 15 minutes in the afternoon for the first few months of school while the kids get adjusted to the long days.
  • A lot of kids did not have a towel, but he did.
  • He came home without his lunchbox. I asked where it was and he confidently told me it was at school. I asked why he didn't bring it home and he told me that his teacher had told him it needed to stay in his locker... probably meaning during the day and not when it was time to go home :) My little rule follower.
I thought about him all day long and the girls and I were very excited to see him come pick-up time. We are excited for this year - I think it is going to be a good one!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Visit to the Northwest!

We had an awesome trip to the Northwest to see our friends Dewy and Jenni Webb who live just outside of Seattle. The weather was awesome, the kids had a blast playing with their kids, and we loved spending time with our awesome friends. We first met them when we both lived in Phoenix before we even had kids. Now we have three kids and they are about to have their fourth! Even though we haven't lived in the same city since our first babies were born, we've remained friends. Don't you love relationships like that!

Traveling to visit a family that knows how to do life with little kids was such a blessing. They borrowed car seats from friends, picked us up at the airport, had beds/cribs all set up for us, snacks galore, and of course the most important things - built-in playmates for our kids!! It was such a fun and relaxing trip! They have a five year old, three year old and one year old just like us!

They also had great ideas of fun things to do in the area with kids in tow. The first day we were there we went to a harbor area to watch fish swim up a fish ladder and see boats go through a lock to get to a lower water area where the sea water met the fresh water of a lake. Fun to see! There was a nice grassy area with hills to roll down and was perfect for the picnic lunch that Jenni packed for us. We got to see trains, birds, and splash in the muddy bank near the water. A great morning!

Rolling down the hill

Me and my three year old!

Best buddies Oliver and Jackson watching the boats go through the lock

The Webbs live on a great cul-de-sac with lots of fun neighbors to play with. We spent every afternoon riding bikes, playing kick ball, and playing "ninjas" - a game the boys made up. The weather was perfect and they had a great time just being kids!! We were happy just to have a time with nothing else we needed to do except play with our kiddos!

Oliver's first game of kick ball!

Gabriella even got in on the action

Cutest spectator ever.

Our little walker!

Sidewalk chalk with a one-year old... usually ends up in their mouth!

We were able to join them for their weekly family movie night which the kids loved. We do a family movie night at our house too so the kids knew just what to expect!

Jammies + popcorn (and a few M&Ms thrown in) + friends + movie = FUN!

The next day we headed to a rocky beach with a great playground for some cold water wading and playtime! Once again great weather, beautiful scenery and great company!


The Mamas and the Papas

Dewy and his little girl Shelby

We got to visit their church, introduce them to one of our favorite TV shows Psych, play lots of Settlers of Catan, and just talk and catch up! I also got to help Jenni get ready for her new baby by doing a little organizing (my favorite), going shopping for some baby items and making a few freezer meals that they could enjoy once the baby is here.

The big boys really hit it off and Jackson is convinced that Oliver is his cousin. They were both sad to leave each other and Oliver convinced Jackson to ask if he could come to our house on "Thursday"! Precious.

We love you guys and hope to see you again soon! Thanks for being such great hosts and friends!

Click here to see more pictures from our trip!