Wednesday, September 26, 2012


It's no secret that Ruby is one of our very favorite kids.  Her parents are also some of our very favorite grown-ups.  Ruby's dad turned 40 this week and celebrated by renting one of the most awesome houses I have ever seen in Santa Barbara.  We were lucky ducks and got invited to join them.  

BVZ could not go because of work commitments, so I got to make the trip by myself.  As in three glorious days without work, or kids, or a house, or a snoring husband.  As in two plane flights by myself where I got to pee alone, eat alone, and read alone.  I read more in three days than I have in three years.  

Ruby's parents have a group of friends that have been tight for 15+  years and vacationing together forever.  They are all awesome.  It was an awful lot of fun.  A's husband also could not make the trip, so she was my date.  She was a fabulous date.  

With the exception of one grocery store run, I did not leave the property the entire time.  There was no reason to.  This was the view from the back porch of the house.  50 feet from that umbrella was the beach.  Which was connected to the ocean.

This was the house.  I think it was seven bedrooms, probably more bathrooms, giant kitchen and multiple living rooms.  It was gorgeous.

On Saturday night a private chef came in to prepare a four-course birthday dinner.  I am still dreaming about that goat cheese.

Thanks S's for a great weekend.  I would go anywhere to hang out with you guys.  Even if I had to bring the rest of my family.  

Dancing Girl

Norah loves ballet.  LOVES ballet.  We took a break over the summer to move and then the new house was too far away from the parks and rec center she was at before.  Luckily a brand new dance studio was scheduled to open August 1 not far from the new neighborhood.  Not so luckily, construction was delayed and the studio didn't actually open August 1.  It's still not open.  They  have no idea when it will open.  In the meantime, they have a makeshift studio in a double-wide trailer out in the middle of nowhere.

Norah could not care less, of course.  All she knows is that she can finally do a pirouette and got a new ballet dress. 

Some of the other parents requested that the studio provide a margarita machine while we wait in the hot sun on an uncovered porch while the kids are in class.  I can get behind that.

Norah's Dream Come True

She's been trying to get him to hold her hand during walks for, oh, 18 months now.  It was her greatest triumph. 


Norah took a soccer class back when she was about two.  Despite my best efforts, she wasn't that into it.  I have spent the past two years planting the seed and a few months ago, ahem, totally on her own accord, she expressed that she wanted to try it again.  I told her she would have to wear shorts, which she refused.  Thankfully, we were able to compromise on a tennis skirt, which is a skirt on the outside and shorts on the inside.  

There are a lot of soccer programs in Austin, not surprisingly.  All but one are held inside, again, not surprisingly.  That's the only way soccer can happen before December.  

She loves it and she's actually pretty good.  She is a good listener and follows direction well.  She's a fast runner and maybe, just maybe, one of these days, her foot will actually make a connection with the ball.

We enrolled Lou in the parent participation class, mostly because it happens at the same time (different field).  He likes it fine.  He is in the very youngest class (18 to 24 months) and is the very youngest kid.  There is a big difference between 18 and 24 months.  Basically, he can't listen or follow directions.  At all.  He just does his own thing.  He kicks the ball when he feels like it.  He mostly sits on the ball.

He still looks cute doing it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

First Day of School(s)

Norah's first day of Pre-K was a little anti-climactic.  She started her new school in July and although she moved classrooms (from Crocodiles to Kangaroos), there wasn't a break.  So starting school wasn't that exciting because, well, she'd been going to school all summer.  Pre-K is different though, with more academically oriented work.  There's still a lot of play, thank goodness, but the focus is shifted slightly.  The teacher she was supposed to have decided not to come back to work after having a baby and so there's been a bit of a scramble to sort things out on that end.  She's had a "substitute" for the past few weeks and the new teacher apparently starts next Tuesday.  

Norah has been a really great trooper about the whole school situation.  She's had a lot of upheaval and some bad luck.  This is her third school and on Tuesday it will be her sixth teacher.  Good thing she's so easy going.  The other day the aide told me that during free time some of the girls decided to work a puzzle and she overheard Norah complementing them on their work and offering encouragement.  I think the exact words used were, "good job, honey.  You are doing really great work."  Ha.  They think she's inspirational.  I think she's bossy.  Tomato, tomato.  

I missed her first official first day because I was in Houston for work.  I made a cute sign that had the date and "first day of pre-k" and instructed both Bubby and BVZ to take lots of pictures.  Even though we have a DSLR camera, both dummies decided to use their iphones (oh yes, Bubby has an iphone) and every goddamn picture is a blurry mess.  This was the cutest one I got from inside her classroom:

She likes school and I have no doubt it will be a successful year.  Her letters get better every day and she is creeping towards becoming a beginner reader.  Cousin Megan brought over a bunch of chapter books a few weeks ago and Norah has now decided that any non-chapter book is totally beneath her.  She loved a Nancy Drew and a Sophie the Awesome and we are on book two of Junie B. Jones.  I know Junie B. is a bit controversial because she's mouthy and naughty, but I think she's freaking hilarious.

I work three full days a week now and Lou has been on the wait list at Norah's school for months. Problem is, we need a three-day-a-week spot and that requires another kid in the same class who wants a two-day-a-week spot.  Those are hard to come by because most 18 month olds at a large facility like this one are in full time care.  Bubby has graciously taken care of Lou all three days a week for a while now, and while they are loving their days together, it was only supposed to be a temporary solution.

Part-time childcare is hard to come by and even harder to come by in a geographical area close to Norah's school.  A popular thing here in Texas (maybe elsewhere too?  I had never heard of it before moving here) are these MDO's, or Mother's Day Out programs.  It's basically half day pre-school.  Which is great unless you have a job and can't wait until 9:30 to drop the kid off or be there to pick the kid up at 1:30.  Thankfully, my job is flexible enough that I can roll in after such a late drop off and Bubby is willing to do the 1:30 pick up and then hang out with Lou (and wrestle him down for a nap) until Norah and I get home.

The other wrinkle is that most (maybe all?) of these MDO's are associated with a church.  Now, I have no problem with church and I have no problem with church childcare, it just isn't necessarily for us.  Okay, really not for us.  I won't get into my search process because I don't want to offend, but EVOLUTION IS A REAL THING.  Anyway, I found a place that meets our needs.  It is in fact in a church but a church I can deal with and the staff is great.  He is there to have fun and play with other kids and for that I can handle a Christmas program involving the nativity.  He is totally going to be an adorable wise man.

I was legitimately worried that he was going to bite another kid, but so far (two days in) so good.  He loves the outside playground and seems to get along fine with everyone.  He could care less when I leave him (the other kids go bananas when their parent takes off), which I find reassuring and a wee bit sad (for me).  He's thrilled to see Bubby when she gets there.  He didn't eat a bite of lunch the first day and only had a nibble the second, but I suppose that's to be expected.  He didn't bite another human person.  I am focusing on the positive.

We are committed to the school at least through December, but after that we will likely move him to Norah's school when and if a spot ever opens up.  I just need the more flexible hours and two different morning drop off are a giant, enormous, colossal pain in the ass.

Yay for school!

Monday, September 03, 2012

Louis: 18 Months

As of about a week ago, Louis is now closer to two than he is to one.  He's a great kid.  He has changed so much over the past six months and his baby days seems so very long ago.

He's a string bean.  He's still at the 75% for height, but is now hovering at just above 10% for weight.  He lost about two pounds when he had that awful stomach virus and hasn't seemed to be able to put it back on.  He's only about 22 pounds and doesn't have an ounce of baby fat on him anywhere.  He has enormous feet and I am buying him new shoes every month.  His hands are also big and he has super long fingers and toes.  He still wears 12 month pants because anything else just falls off him, but they are ridiculously short.  Good thing he'll be able to wear shorts here until December.

His eating is hit or miss.  If he likes something he will pack it away like there's no tomorrow.  If he doesn't, it goes straight to the floor.  That would be frustrating enough, but what he likes/doesn't like changes on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.  I would love to be able to send him to bed without dinner some nights, but when you have a skinny kid you make allowances you might not otherwise.  His table manners are atrocious.  He's a big milk drinker and has never met a cracker he did not like.

His sleep is also pretty hit or miss.  We had a long stretch of him sleeping through the night without issue, but lately he's been regressing and waking up several times a night.  He's not upset when he wakes up, he wants to play.  He's going crazy developmentally right now, so I get that his brain is on hyper-drive.  I am so not into playing cars and/or jumping down all the stairs at 2:00 am, but he sure is.  We are pretty zombie-fied around here.

He loves, loves, loves, LOVES playing with cars of all kinds.  He's also really into trains and legos and balls.  He's very physically agile and I anticipate with be a good athlete.  He is fearless and will climb and jump off just about anything.  He's a fast runner.  Really fast.  I actually have to run to keep up with him.  He loves to play hide and seek.  He loves being in the pool.  He doesn't like being in his own floaty but totally digs jumping off the side.  I have anywhere from 3 to 5 heart attacks every time he's in the pool.  He loves being outside.  After dinner most nights I take both kids out back and spray the hose at them, riot gear style.  They can't get enough of it.

We went through about a month of the worst tantrums on record.  He would get angry at anything and everything and lash out physically, either biting Norah or Reid, or scratching and hitting me.  He didn't do it all of the time, and recovered quickly, but it was really upsetting when it would happen.  He's for the most part (knock on wood) stopped getting so pissed, so quickly, and I think (knock on wood), we are passed the worst part of it.  He starts a pre-school program on Thursday and I would be lying if I said they idea of him biting another kid at school didn't keep me up at nights.

When Norah was a baby she would sit through me reading book after book after book.  That has never changed and if she had her way we would read 15 books a night (we've started doing chapter books and I have to put strict limits on how many pages we do).  Lou was the opposite and had no patience for anything except the shortest of stories.  As he got a little older he got really into those first word books (the ones that aren't actually stories, but rather sight words with pictures) and now he is obsessed with any and all books he can get his hands on.  He can't get enough of them.  Thank goodness.  His current faves are a Cars book I got him at Target and the Wheels on the Bus  one that came all they way from London.

His communication is getting better every day, which I know is directly related to the decrease in tantrums.  He's started to put together two word sentences, most notably "Mama's car!"  He wants to look at, touch, or ride in my car on an hourly basis.  He adds to his vocabulary every day.  His receptive language is off the charts and he understands just about everything we say.

He's not a huge cuddler (he won't let me rock him at all anymore), but will crawl up in your lap and cover your face with kisses.  He loves to watch Melmo (ie, Elmo) videos on my phone and knows how to sweet talk me into letting him have just one more.  He terrorizes and idolizes Norah at the same time.

He's a really funny kids and likes to do stuff to make us laugh.  He and Norah crack each other up.  He has one of the best laughs I have ever heard.  We love him a whole lot.  I think we'll keep him.

Changing Room

The downstairs bathroom has a shower stall.  I don't think anyone has actually showered in it yet, but it's nice to have.  A couple of weeks ago I started finding piles of Norah's clothes in there.  She would apparently pick out an outfit upstairs in her room, walk downstairs to the spare bathroom, and get dressed in the shower stall.  Then she would leave her nightgown and hanger wadded up in a corner of the shower.  She told me it was her changing room and getting dressed in there made her feel mysterious.  

I need to put a laundry basket in there. 

That's a Pig