Thursday, August 22, 2013

Proud Mommy Moment

Yesterday, Grace and Charlotte returned to gymnastics. We had the girls take the summer off for obvious reasons.

I was a bit apprehensive about going back to gymnastics. Grace has been out of her casts just shy of four weeks and while she is doing well, gaining strength and not complaining of any discomfort, her gait is still off. The doctors say it will take a couple of months and that we should encourage all 'normal' activities to help strengthen the muscles in her legs. We've repeatedly asked Grace if she was ready to try certain activities and for the first few weeks post cast removal the answer was a definite no. Things started changing. Her strength began returning and so was her confidence. Soon, the answer about going back to gymnastics changed! She was ready!

Charlotte has been ready all summer! Charlotte turns 3 at the end of September and at age 3, kids can participate in gymnastics without a parent assisting. So when I was re-signing the girls up, I fudged a little and told them Charlotte was 3. I was looking forward to an hour of sitting and sewing, catching up on emails, watching my girls participate as opposed to jumping around out on the floor in Mommy & Me kinda fashion.

I am happy to report that all went well yesterday! In fact, it went smashingly! Charlotte rocked her class. No apprehension. No tears. Followed directions well and overall, had LOTS of fun! At the end of class, the teacher gave me a thumbs up and said Charlotte did great!! After class, I told her I was so proud of her!

Grace also had a successful morning! A few of the other girls in class were having a difficult morning. Not following directions. Running all around the gym. A few tantrums. The coach had talks with just about every child - all except Grace. At one point, the entire class went running across the gym - laughing and giggling and carrying on; clearly having a fun time. The look on Grace's face was interesting. I could tell she oh so wanted to be a part of the fun but she stayed in line where the teacher had told her. I know she won't always follow the rules - and not all rules are meant to be followed - but I was proud of her nonetheless. I was even more proud when the teacher told the class that if they could climb the rope to a certain point (about halfway) the girls could ring the bell! Ringing the bell is a big deal because it means you have done something all by yourself. I didn't expect much out of Grace on this activity because I had watched her try climbing that rope before. But a switch was flipped when the teacher through in the bell-ringing curve ball. She walked right up to the rope and climbed the damn thing like she'd been doing it her whole life. Like she'd been born in Tarzan's tree house and started swinging on vines before she could walk! It was unbelievable! I was stunned. So overjoyed for her because she was the only one to ring the bell!

The only bit of trouble we ran into was when Charlotte heard that Grace had climbed the rope and rang the bell! That sent Charlotte spiraling into uncontrollable sobs because she wanted to climb the rope and ring the bell too!! Of course she does!! All in good time Miss Charlotte! All in good time!

I must admit my mommy heart burst with pride yesterday. Both girls growing up and having confidence-building-moments. Teeny tiny moments like this make the millions of frustrating, exhausting, repeat-yourself-300,000 times moments SO worth it!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Early Picks

Our new house is located caddy corner from an apple orchard!
Oh yeah!! (Said in Vector's voice if you've seen Despicable Me!!)
We've anxiously been waiting for apple picking season...and finally picked a few the other evening. 

Unfortunately, we are still a wee bit early. When these babies come online out!!
I'm banking on the plethora we pick to keep the proverbial doctor away for a looooong time.
I think we are due for a dry run on the doctor front. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Quick Trip...Big Fun

During a time of the year when Court is beyond busy, we were able to take a little break and head to Seattle for two nights!
Even though it was a quick trip, we were able to sneak in lots of fun!

We kicked it all off with dinner at Ruth's Chris - our home away from home!
I'm telling one does a steak better!

The next morning, after a trip to Top Pot, we headed to the Pacific Science Center!

On the way, we got to see all the water exhibits!

The girls had never seen a 3D movie and what an introduction they got!
The movie was about the monarch butterfly and it was very well done. Interesting and believe it or not - emotional. I cried. At a movie...about the monarch migration.
True story.
It was fun watching the girls reach out and try touching the butterflies that appeared to be fluttering all about us. 

 Upon exiting the movie, we realized that it was gonna be a really nice day! 

And as it was approaching another meal time, off to Ray's Boat House we went!
Upon arrival, we had the option of sitting in the shade or the sun. Obviously, we chose the sun. 
Fifteen minutes later we realized we'd made a mistake. 

These girls, who spend an incredible amount of time in 90+ degree heat for weeks on end, couldn't handle the Seattle sun! We could practically see them melting in front of us.

Hempfest was going on while we in town and that meant traffic, traffic and more traffic. 
Luckily, the sun zapped  the girls and slept through the painful ride home.

And then something truly amazing happened. I mean - out of this world, never-happens-amazing!

The girls fell back asleep after we took them out of the car!!
An you know what that means!
Mom and Dad got to take a nap too!
And not just any nap. A three hour epic nap! 
Best day EVER!!

When we woke up, it was time to eat again!
So off to Benihana we went...

with Auntie Molly!

Who knew Benihana was super family friendly?

The children's menu roll up into chef's hats.
Uh genius! Girls loved it!

Somebody else loved the chef's hat!!

Ever since Auntie Molly babysat a few weekends ago, she has been requested on a daily basis.
Often through tears.

The girls were very happy that Auntie Molly joined us!

The "chopstix with training wheels" made eating more fun!
Grace is not an adventurous eater on a good day but she tried everything and decided to stick with the rice. Charlotte on the other hand...

Finally, a shout out to our friendly waitress June!
She kept us well hydrated throughout the evening...if you know what I mean.

With that, our jaunt to Seattle concluded.
Next up, getting stuck on the pass on the ride home for over an hour due to an accident!
Not the ending we were looking for but home safe n sound nonetheless!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Visits...of All Kinds!

The girls and I snuck away for a few days to visit my parents.
While it was hot in our neck of the woods, it was even hotter in Boise. Luckily, my parents have a pool in their neighborhood. All of Boise must have been camping or vacationing or something because the pool was empty everyday! Score!
We swam. 
We hit the splash park.

Enjoyed quiet time by the river at dusk. 

Excitement, heat, a long drive and staying up way past bedtime eventually led to this:

Just a few short days in Boise, then we headed back with my mom in tow!
My dad followed a few days later to visit and to drive my mom home!
They had yet to see our new house, our new dogs or the chickens!!

This guy showed up right after they left.

Yes, that is a kitten.
In a nest.
In a tree.
Clearly, the word is out in the animal world that we are good people.
Funny how the universe works. When all those "let's-have-another-baby" feelings (I blame them completely on Prince George!!) start bubbling and brewing, I am flooded with babies - but of the canine/feline kind. 
Not exactly what I had in mind but it has quelled the fires...
for now. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Grace's Perspective

Grace is taking more and more of an interest in taking pictures. Perhaps having a camera shoved in your face since birth will make you want to get on the other side of the lens from time to time! After a BBQ at Court's parents where my mom and brother were also in attendance and a day out and about, I finally went through my photo stream. It was fun and interesting to see what she captured!

Uncle Johnny-roo ah Uncle Johnny-roo again!

Playing with perspective

Her feet. 

Lots of photos of her feet.
Bruising and blisters from casts. 

Surgery scar. Court told her its a kiss from her cast.

Mommy in the morning. Fresh and fun!

Mommy in the late afternoon.
Not so fresh. Not so fun. 

Luckily, she's only given the camera on rare occasions. Otherwise, I'm sure we'd have far too many pictures like the one above!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Birthday Celebration

Court was kind enough to turn a year older over the weekend. He's not really a birthday-celebrating-kind-of-guy but when my sister graciously offered up her babysitting skills, the birthday celebration was on!

With Molly in charge, we hit the road for one of our favorite, close-to-home (but not too close) destinations - Walla Walla. We arrived early afternoon with enough time to walk around downtown - which we hadn't done in ages! There were so many new restaurants, wineries and stores! We did stop into a new patisserie and scored big time when we ordered their peach and blackberry pie tart thingy. 
It. Was. So. Good. 
I could have eaten three - before dinner - but we were responsible and split one. 
Why is it SO hard to be good?

Meanwhile, our munchkins were partaking in their own patisserie a la Auntie Molly!

Soon it was time to head for dinner where we sat for over three uninterrupted hours eating and drinking and talking. So fun!

Side note: My track record of mis-hap packing for date nights continues. Remember this? 

Brought my black shoes - but two different shoes.

This time I brought a matching pair but for whatever reason, they didn't fit. They were too big...or it was hot and my feet were sweaty and sliding every which way. Either way, they were ill-fitting four inch heels - not a good combo under the best of circumstances.
Ever been out and seen a girl clodding along like a linebacker in high heels, than you know exactly what I was up to on Saturday night. If I tried to walk on my toes, my heels would slip out and I'd trip. If I walked heel first, my stride and balance were all off making me look a grizzly bear prancing in a circus. Not pretty.
I didn't get up to go to the bathroom until the end of dinner and only because I thought I was going to explode. The thought that I could potentially tumble in the middle of a restaurant in my mid-30s because I didn't 'test run' my heels was enough to risk an even more humiliating accident. Luckily, that is why God made alcohol!

Regardless of my ongoing inability to appropriately dress my self far into adulthood, we had a great time! In the morning, we hit the breakfast buffet and then made our way back home. Short but sweet!

It's amazing how long you yearn for some quiet, peaceful time away. But when it finally happens, it somehow doesn't feel as glorious as you anticipated. Don't get me wrong, there is some gloriousness - it's just short lived. Before you know it, the clock starts ticking - counting down the time until you get to come home - and you can't wait!

Happy birthday Court!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Ironical Weather

Grace has had her casts off for officially one week now. In that week, we've had only one, quasi-warm-enough-to-swim day. It's been windy, cool and overcast. And today? Today was the day I had planned on swimming and it is raining!! RAINING?!? In August!! I think Alanis Morissette would have a little something to say about all this....It's like RA-ai-IINNN when you get your casts off....Isn't it ironic? (You know what's ironic? All girls LOVE scream singing Alanis and all guys hate anything Alanis Morissette related. I think she touches a little too close to home for most guys. Hmm? Don't you think?)

Anyway, we did 'force' a swim day on Wednesday. Not super warm, but warm enough. The girls' cousins were finishing up swim lessons in the morning and I had an emergency dentist appointment at 11. (Long story.) So we scooted down to the local pool - which was empty - aside from the kids in lessons! It was so nice...but the water was cold. Grace and Charlotte went in and immediately got out. They made me put their clothes back on and everything. Not 15 minutes later when swim lessons were over and the cousins were ready to play, guess who wanted to get back in their swimsuits?!?!

Oh to be a kid and get so much joy out of such simple things.
Water and jumping.
The water they are jumping into is shallow - Charlotte can stand with her head above water.
But the pool is on a gradual incline so it gets deeper. The bigger kids kept meandering deeper and deeper and it didn't cross Charlotte's mind once that she couldn't keep up - regardless of the fact that she can't totally swim yet!! It was hysterical, challenging, frustrating and scary all at the same time!
No flippin' fear I tell you! Have to watch her like a hawk!! 

The good news is we are headed to Boise next week where it is supposed to be hot as blazes so a trip to the water slides might be in order!

In other news, the chickens spent their first night outside in their coop. Of course, I chose the coolest night of the summer to acclimate them to their new home. 

Before I went to bed, I checked on them and they were all huddled and squished together. They compacted themselves - all four of them - into an area the size of my fist. So I'm pretty sure that meant they were cold. I tried putting a heater in the coop but found out (the hard way) that the outdoor outlets nearest the coop don't work. Ahhh...another thing to add to our (long) list of broken or damaged items that need fixing or replacement. Oh the never ending joys of home ownership!!

With that, who's ready for the weekend?!? Uh, this gal! Court turns a year wiser on Sunday so we get to drink wine excessively and not feel bad about it!! woo hoo! Have a good one!!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Now That It's August...Let's Catch Up On July

Nothing long winded of about pictures and bullet points? Ok maybe no bullet points. I'm not that succinct. Ok...maybe a little long winded. Ya with me?

Here we go!

It was HOT all of July and we were outside ALL OF JULY. With no relieve from water because Grace still had her casts on. The girls became quite the sidewalk chalk artists. Grace even drew all of us - complete with fingers, pupils in the eyeballs and all sorts of details. Unfortunately, I didn't snap a pic before it was gone. 

Rainbow by Charlotte

Rainbow by Grace

The good thing about HOT weather and the occasional afternoon car ride, a certain young lady falls asleep HARD!! She missed almost the entire dinner at Great Grandma's house - even after being woken up and transported inside from the car. This is the only time she naps - HOT mornings followed by a car ride - and it is nice in the moment. But bedtime can be rough!

Dad - this is for you! I opened up the local paper a couple of weeks ago and saw all the team little photos and I was SHOCKED!! I would say that of the 10 teams photographed, every single team had a girl on it! In fact, there was one team that was ALL girls, and I would say the majority of the players throughout the league were girls!! And there were a ton of women coaches! How times have changed?!?! My dad wanted me to learn to play the game the right way and to be challenged. It was hard to understand at the time and I dreaded every second of it, but now, I understand and appreciate the years I was the only girl playing baseball in the little league. It does my heart good - and I'm sure my Dad's - to see so many girls engaged in athletics! Way to go girls!

Of course, a July posting can't be complete without mention of the puppies! They truly saved our summer. I don't know what I would have done without them! They are getting bigger by the second. In fact, the vet said she thought Stranger (below) was showing a mix of St. Bernard!! (GULP!!) They say a rescue dog is forever grateful - that they seem to "just know" how close they were to a terribly bad situation.  While we may have given them a forever home, those dogs gave Grace and Charlotte so much this summer. As a mom on the brink of potentially dark days with surgery, recovery, moving, etc - we are equally as grateful. Those little rascals have wiggled and bounded their way into my heart and I can't imagine a day without them. 

Finally, the BIG day! The casts came off last Friday and someone was excited!! Me!! She wouldn't sit still for a picture she was pretty amped. Believe it or not, she was more amped for the trip to the toy store than she was for the actual cast removal. Oh to be a kid!



Her feet and legs were extremely sensitive. She wouldn't even let us wipe her legs with a warm towel and walking was out of the question. She was given boots to wear during the day and another pair to wear at night. In the picture below, we had just left the toy store (with a new doll!) and Charlotte wanted to go on the playground. This picture was a bit heartbreaking to me. Casts off, exhausted from an extremely long doctor's visit, and hot Seattle weather, she still couldn't join her little sister on the playground. On the other hand, Charlotte was a trooper ALL summer - she stuck by Grace's side - her little lackey - and during every appointment, was good as gold. She deserved a spin on the playground even if it meant big sis had to watch!

The good news? A few hours after the above picture was taken....Grace decided to stand!

We were beyond happy with such quick (painless) progress!

Once back from Seattle, it was time to get back to summer!! Swimming, swimming and more swimming!

Oh and showering! Grace's first post-cast shower was probably 35 minutes long! Not having ever had a cast, I can only imagine how good that must have felt!

While we can now swim and splash, the girls are still very much into being outside.
Particularly Charlotte.

Can I take a moment to mention that I LOVE having a garage!!! After years of burning hot car seats and scraping ice of the windshield, this is my new happy place!

I would have killed for this when the girls still regularly napped in the car!

In other news, the chicken run for the coop is nearly complete!
We let them explore it a bit yesterday. Tonight might be the big night! 
Throw in a bunch of unpacking and that my friends, has been our July!

Looking forward to soaking up the rest of summer! School starts for both girls in September and then we'll really get busy! At least I will be busy - chauffeuring!
Wouldn't have it any other way!