Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Sun Will Come Out...At The Zoo

Yesterday was a strange day weather wise.  The sun would shine, dark clouds would roll in, it would pour rain, repeat.  During one particularly sunny time, I suggested we take advantage and get outside.  Jeremy's parents gave us a zoo membership for Christmas and we have been itching to go so we decided to give  it a shot and hoped the weather would hold.  As we drove down the freeway, dark clouds rolled in once again and it started raining, hard.  Then, just as quickly as they came, the cloud rolled on and we ended up with a spectacular view.

When we pulled into the parking lot for the Zoo it was sprinkling with half the sky bright and shiny and half full of dark clouds.  We were holding our breath, waiting to see which was heading our way.  Thankfully, by the time we got our tickets, they sun was shining and no more rain.  The rest of our time at the zoo was bright and sunshiny.

As a nice byproduct of the weather, the zoo was empty.  At one point Jeremy said, "it feels like we rented out the zoo" and it did at times.  We also had some of the best interactions with the animals that we has ever had.  Merrick had a really special moment with some penguins who were trying to eat his jacket through the glass.  He figured out he could control their movements and had entirely too much fun doing so.  We also go to experience the elephants up close and personal in their new habitat and that was just the beginning.

It was a great day at the zoo!  Thanks again Grandpa and Lollie.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Adventures in Potty Training: Carrigan Edition

This week we started potty training with Carrigan.  Last weekend was a long weekend (perfect for potty training) with Monday being MLK Day and on Friday I realized we were completely out of diapers so I asked Carrigan, in a very leading way, if she wanted to stop the fun times she was having playing and go to the store to buy more diapers or if we should be a big girl and start using the potty.  She declared that we should go buy more diapers.  So we did and I gave up on using the weekend to bite the potty training bullet.  On Monday afternoon we got home from running some errands and Merrick said he needed to go potty.  The next thing I know, CC has taken off her diaper and gone potty on the potty and wants to put on her big girl underwear.  So, in true CC fashion, we started potty training on Monday afternoon, heading into a long week full of responsibilities and places to go rather than at the start of a relatively free long weekend.

We are now almost a week in.  I remember with Merrick that about a week in I was ready to throw in the towel and feeling like it would never happen.  With Carrigan though, the future is looking pretty bright.  That is not to say we have not had our fair share of accidents.  When we put on pants we seem to forget that we don't have a diaper on anymore, but when we are home and she can run around in her underwear, she does awesome!  I don't think we have had an accident at home since Tuesday and that is heavenly.

I am sure for most of you reading this it is TMI, but for me, potty training is the single hardest task of parenthood I have faced thus far and when we have had this kind of progress, I can't help but shout it from the rooftops.

And, since I don't have any potty training pics (for obvious reasons), I will share these pictures from the kids trip to the dentist this week.  They both did great and no cavities!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Brotherly (and Sisterly) Love

As tomorrow is Martin Luther King Dad, it seems fitting to have a blog on brotherly love today.  Specifically, I want to talk about the brotherly/sisterly love between my kids.

I think it is every parents dream to have their children play peacefully together.  In fact, I may have mentioned this before, but growing up all my mom ever said she wanted for every birthday and holiday was "a clean house and kids who don't fight".  Trust me, I get it.  The dream of peaceful play seems like that most of the time, just a dream.  For some reason though it seems like my kids have been playing nicely together more and more.  A few weeks ago we were driving in the car to meet my friend, Lora, so we could go for a run (which is something we do a lot lately).  Anyway, as we were driving, Merrick and I were talking about how he and Carrigan had been kind to each other lately.  I told him that it was my favorite thing in the world when they played nicely together, to which he responded, "Even more than losing weight?!?".  Obviously losing weight is up there, but not number one.

It thought today I would share some pictures and examples of the love.

For Merrick's part he has been very patient in sharing his toys from Christmas.  Carrigan loves to try to play his games with him and VERY rarely understands or follows the rules.  He let's her play anyway.

He also has become a fan of helping her when she wants to play dress up with her hair pretties.  He even designed the belt you see here.

For her part, Carrigan let Merrick have all the time he needed to play with a new building toy and transform it from one vehicle to another without trying to destroy it (and she even helped a little).  This is big for her.

She also decided of all the toys and things she owns, that when it was her turn for show and tell at preschool, she wanted to bring a picture of Merrick when he was a baby to tell her friends about.

So it turns out occasionally the dream does happen and it happens enough that it inspires a different dream, one where my kids grow up to be close friends and integral people in each other's lives.  Here's to that!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Here Comes 2016 All Dressed in White

We are now just a over a week into 2016 and so far the highlight (there have been a lot of lowlights with the stomach flu and sleepless nights) has been our time spent in the snow.  Everyone had been dreaming of a white Christmas and when it didn't happen we were all anxious for a trip to the snow.  New Year's Day seemed like just the time for such a trip so we bundled up and headed out.  We typically go to Mt. Hood for these types of snow adventures, but a friend of ours had told us that they had been to Larch Mountain and it had lots of snow and was about 1.5 hours closer so we decided to give it a try.

Larch Mountain was a mixed bag.  It was certainly closer, only about 45 mins away, and it had plenty of snow, 2-3 feet deep in places.  The problem is that is was too densely forested to sled and the places they had cleared, they left stumps.  Sledding was pretty much off the table.  In fact, Jeremy tried to sled in one spot and it turns out there was a hidden stump underneath and he cracked our sled.  It was alright though, Carrigan would not have sled anyway and the kids just really enjoyed tromping through, laying in, and throwing around the snow.  The added bonus of staying so close to home is that when the kids decided 45 mins into it that they were done and ready to go home, I didn't feel so bad.  If only we had been able to sled it would have been perfect.  At that point we had no idea that our sledding dream would come true just two days later.

Sunday morning Jeremy and I were sleeping when Merrick came running in and said that he had looked outside and everything was white.  I had given up my vigilant watching of the weather forecast and I figured maybe a few flakes had fallen during the night, but it was not enough to motivate me to get out of bed that early on a Sunday morning.  Merrick went on his merry way and I drifted back to sleep for a little while.  When I actually did get up, I was completely shocked by what I saw.  The entire neighborhood was blanketed in white.

Once everyone was awake we decided this was too good of an opportunity to pass up and once again we all bundled up and headed out.  Our driveway is the perfect sledding hill.  Unfortunately, it needed just a bit more snow and our sled was broken from our Larch Mt. trip.  We decided that we had to figure out a way to make it work so we shoveled the snow from the driveway into one spot to make a track and got out the duck tape to repair the sled.  Thankfully, after our first run with the taped up sled our neighbors, Merrick's good friend Finely, showed up with a two man sled and saved the day.  They had a blast!

A short time later we got word that they had canceled church due to worsening roads and we were able to have to whole day home together and playing in the snow.  The snow/ice lingered for a few more days with Jeremy working from home on Monday, Merrick's first day back (Tuesday) getting delayed by two hours, and my preschool day getting canceled.  By Wednesday everyone's schedules went back to normal and so did life.  We are still early on in winter though so who knows, maybe we haven't seen the last of our snow in 2016.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Goodbye 2015

This week brought an end to 2015.  Jeremy had to work on New Year's Eve, but got off in the early afternoon and we decided to take that kids to Chuck E Cheese for the evening.  I think the last time we went to Chuck E Cheese was Spring Break and since then Carrigan has become much more interested in playing the games and not any less scared of Check E Cheese himself.  The kids (and the adults too) had a good time and we had no problem using up our huge pile of tokens.  Afterwards, we grabbed some dinner and headed home to hunker in for the night.

By the time we got home it was a little before 8pm and past the kids normal bedtime.  C.C. decided she had had enough fun and quickly went to bed.  Merrick on the other hand stayed up for ice cream and was beyond thrilled to get to watch his first ever Star Wars movie (we recently decided to let him watch the PG ones and started with Episode I).  It was about 10:30 when the movie was over and Merrick was ready for bed.

As for Jeremy and I, we stayed up a while longer and then got ready for bed.  Technically we did make it to midnight before falling asleep but from the comfort of our warm, cozy bed.

We are now a few days into 2016 and I do have some fun to report on, but for the sake of a clean break for blog book purposes that will have to wait.  Spoiler alert though, it involves a lot of white...

Peace out 2015.  You have treated us well.  Here is hoping 2016 will be as kind.