Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy B-day, Big E!

Holy moley, big're 5!

It's hard to even know where to start. You're such an amazing kid and honestly, it's hard to imagine what life was like before you. And even more honestly, we love you so much, we don't want to imagine those times anymore anyway.

We love that you can watch the 10 WORST NASCAR CRASHES OF ALL TIME without a tear, but you bawl when see the cartoon Thomas-the-train fall off the tracks. Your sensitivity runs beyond TV, of course. When you see that one of us is upset, you try to comfort us or joke with shows an emotional selflessness that's well beyond your 5 years.

We love how you truly are honest. Even with the small fibs that are starting to develop, you still always make sure you add "Just kidding!" or "April Fools" at the end. You're silly and fun and hearing your laugh makes the day, the household, and our crazy life so much better.

We love how you love your sister and your dog. How you play together and look out for each other. How you hug her and ask her if doing this or that "is a good idea?" How you clap your hands and lead Bailey into your room for story time. How you comfort J when she's sad.

We love that you're becoming more and more self-sufficient. How you can get your clothes and shoes on all by yourself. How you wash yourself and we rarely have to remind you to use the potty. And while these things make life easier, we ultimately appreciate how it's a glimpse of the kid and the responsible adult you're going to become.

We love how you've blossomed at school. How you used to cry at drop off and now you run in and are so excited to be there. How all the kids call your name in greeting. And the "sticky hug" routine where we hug, lift you off the ground, sighing "How am I going to get any work done with this kid stuck to me?" and then your giggles as you kiss one - two - three times to 'un-stick' the hug.

We love how you're drawn to projects and engineering. How your teachers tell us that your voice is the first and the last to be asking questions of how things work. And how your favorite toys and books and activities are all around building, making, or understanding -- even if those projects are labor intensive for you and us. You have a mind and memory that, even at 5, can be a force to be reckoned with.

We love how imaginative you are. There's not a moment in the day when you're not pretending to be a PJ Mask (your current favorite TV show) or playing on the GIANTS or being a robot or an airplane. It's fun to watch now, and it's going to be a powerful tool when it's harnessed to that problem solving mind.

We love how into baseball you you know the GIANTS by sight, their numbers, and that you know how to tell the score. How you will watch an entire game. How you'll get inspired and have an entire pretend game, including the part where you belt out, "Now batting, number 28, E Baaaaalllllloooou. He hits it high" [dramatic pause] "he hits it deep" [another dramatic pause] "it. is. Outttaa HEERRREEE" and then careen through the house before "sliding" home.

We love watching you play t-ball..and we're pretty sure there's nothing cuter in the world than you in that batting helmet. We love to see how much you've developed from last year when playing in the dirt was more interesting than the game to now where the dirt is only interesting between batters. It also shows your ability to commit to a thing and stick with it, even on days when you're hot / cold and hungry (heck, those days we're all cold / hot and hungry).

We love how into camping and outdoors you are. How you love the idea of hiking and how we plan our upcoming trips...even our backpacking trips years ahead of us. We love your collection of rocks and leaves you always find. We think it's so cute how you love maps and will walk around Gilroy Gardens with one, finding our way or when you asked for the (free) Kirkwood ski area map as your souvenir.

E, you're growing into such a great young that we're honored and excited to have as our son and a member of the family.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

We All Have Jobs To Do!


Things are good in these neck-'o'-the-woods. This wet winter has treated us well, even if it's been at a crazy pace. Besides the routines of Pre-K, swimming lessons, gymnastics, ballet class, having Nana & Papa with us on Thursday/Friday, T-ball games and practices, church, Friday date nights, and (oh yeah) plenty of work, we've had a number of highlights in the last couple months:

E went skiing for the first time while we were visiting family friends, Joan & Dave, up in the Sierra foothills (such a fun trip, both on the slopes and off). We took the short & snowy drive from their place up to Kirkwood. And I mean SNOWY....there were parts that felt more like a snow tunnel than anything else -- as you might've heard, some resorts in the Sierras got 700+ inches over the course of this season. There was a storm brewing and there were flurries all day, but he did great -- until the last hour of being out in the elements all day. Lisa took some classic video of him (from afar) that shows him on the magic carpet. Come to find out that he was bawling the entire recording (too far away to tell). Later, he said that he had a great time skiing, "just had to get used to the last part."

Speaking of skiing: Uncle Tim and I took a ski trip to Snowbird & Alta. It was awesome snow, empty, and (after using Southwest frequent flyer points) cheaper & easier than Tahoe. I'm not sure I've skied that hard in a decade. The strangest part: finishing at the slopes at 4pm, walking to our hotel room 100 yards, and then having my only obligations being (1) hot tub, (2) shower, (3) eat, (4) sleep (5) get ready in time to make the slopes by 9am the following morning. The second day, after binge watching some show, I turned to tell Tim, "is this what life is like for single people with no kids & disposable income?" It's wild...and a little boring. A nice state to visit, but I was so happy to get back to the chaos of life.

As I said in her birthday post, J is now officially a "three-nager" and is more sweet, determined, and cruise-directory everyday. Case in point, the other morning, E was having trouble getting motivated for school (hey, it was a Monday). Lisa walked in on J talking to him, counting on her fingers, "We all have a job to do. Mommy and Daddy have to go to work, you have to go to school, I have to go to gymnastics..." -- Yes, we know we're in trouble. Yes, I know this is the female, toddler version of me.

She does everything E does. Now, that's nothing new for people who have multiple kids, though we haven't been been able to use it to our full advantage yet. Example: "What will you have for dessert, J?" "I will have what E is has." "He's having strawberries." <refresher: she refuses to eat any whole, raw fruit> "I will have choc-Oh-lot."

E is becoming quite the little man.  He washes himself in the bath, he gets his own clothes on, shoes, the works. I love how sensitive he's becoming to those around him. He's aware of and responds to how others feel and shows how emotionally in-tune he can be. Most nights, I end up putting him to bed (J pretty much demands that "Mommy lay by me,") and I wouldn't trade our chats for Trump's entire fortune. We ask each other what a highlight of the day was and the other night he said, "Lying by you, Daddy." Heart. Melting. Again.

T-ball is in full swing and it's just as fun as last year. He's on the BULLS this year (no, it's not as good of a name as last year's Lugnuts). The roster is made up entirely of his classmates which is really fun for us and for him. A few of them are in the same Sunday school as well, so with the Saturday game schedule, they see each other every day of the week!

E has bloomed so much at school this year. The teachers recently told us about how when he first started he was so quite and polite, though he barely interacted with the other kids. I remember the tears at drop off. Now, he runs into the class as the kids shout greetings to him. They also told us how great he does at sharing, which is good to hear since we spend a lot of time deciding what to share. Evidently, he always comes with a very accurate and detailed story and everyone wants him to pick them when it's time for questions.

We're very, very lucky in that the kids truly are best friends. They spend hours and hours playing together everyday. Like any BFF, there are squabbles, but for the most part they look after each other. Though the other day we let them take a shower and they washed each other's hair and used over 24oz of shampoo.

Just because we were *bored*, Lisa and I signed up for a half-marathon in May, so we're both training for that as well. She's thinking of doing the San Francisco full marathon in July -- which I think I'm ok with loudly spectating vs. participating :)

So as you can see, we're all doing our jobs as best we can!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Happy 3rd B-day, sweet J!

Little Miss J,

Where do we even begin?! You've got so much personality, it's easy to forget that you're just turning three. And every day, you develop more and more. It's happening so fast, it's hard to capture this amazing time, but we're going to take a shot at some of the highlights of who you are at this very moment.

+You're incredibly loving and give, objectively, the BEST hugs. It feels like a bite of the best, warm chocolate for our souls. You squeeze and press cheek-to-cheek and squeal, "You're the best, ever!" And we melt. (side note: when you figure out that this combo will get you your way 99% more often than a tantrum, it's going to be expensive for us).

+You're a great sister. Seeing you and E as best friends is an indescribable warm feeling that results  from you're "hug walks" to you playing babies together to you figuring out whether to watch Caillou (your favorite) or PJ Masks (his). There are squabbles, for sure, but that's also part of learning to be close to another human being and you both show every indication of being masters at relationships long before we were.

+You're helpful. Daddy wants to get a cleaning service, but don't think we will because you love to help scrub the toilet and fold laundry. And who is he to smack a gift horse in the mouth?

+You're likely going to be a superb athlete, if you want to be. At gymnastics, when they let you "wall stand" for as long as you could (basically, a handstand using your feet on the wall for balance), they had to tell you to stop after hitting 75 seconds -- and the next closest kid in the class tapped out at 60 seconds. Also, looks like you've got the potential to be a great dancer've got a budding love for it and natural inclination.

+You're a goofball. And it's hilarious.

+You're a natural with dogs. Seeing how excited you get to pet Bailey or hug him or give him a check up, shows another facet of your extremely loving nature. And, boy, does that dog love you back.

+You're probably going to be a project manager, like us. Case study: we went to the Morgan Hill YMCA toddler water slide area and you launched into, "I will go first. Then you will go with E, and then I will go with Nana. And then, you will go again, and...[continues for a good 15 combinations]." And the scariest, most telling part is that you remembered the order and would correct us if we strayed.

+You're considerate. It's so sweet when, at the dinner table every night, you ask us each in turn, "How was your day?" or when you're concerned when one of us is sick and say, "But who will take care of them?"

+Your're very articulate. Most people cannot believe how well you speak for your age and they're right. We'd like to pretend that this is because you have some super well-spoken family around you. In truth, it's more likely that you figured out early on that the better you can communicate your wants, the more frequently you get your way.

+You're determined. Extremely determined. This is a trait that we admire so much. As with all strong traits, at times it can be used for good (already able to put on your own shoes) or other times not-as-much (you're absolute, blanket refusal to eat any raw fruit). You really are the perfect little girl as long as we're all doing exactly what you want us to. The experts say that you're just supposed to let a temper tantrum fizzle out...those experts haven't met you when you don't want to get your jammies on.

Want to know what's the most amazing thing? That in the next year, you're only going to get more personality. For that reason, it's nearly impossible to imagine and equally as exciting to imagine our letter to you next year.

We love you so, so, so much, Sweet J.
Mommy & Daddy