Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Space Mountain & Nuh-Thin!

Wow. SoOoOo...between the holidays, an action packed (and people-packed) trip to Disneyland, craziness at work, school, cold season, birthday parties, marathons, Aquarium visits, meeting our new cousin F, family events, dishes, laundry, and on and on, the last few months have felt like Space Mountain -- you get the sense of motion from the wind and the projected stars, but you have to trust the track is whole on the next turn.

I won't give the play-by-play as I sometimes do, since none of us have that amount of time. Instead, I'll let the pictures/slide show (click below) do a lot of the summary.

Some particular things that I'd like to remember from the last few months:

+ Seeing all those kids together when Lil 'F came to visit from Alaska, it was so fun to watch our kiddos be the big ones doting. And having all the family here for a busy Thanksgiving as well as the festivities of the lil' guy's baptism.

+ A really nice Christmas and New Year. Santa brought J the Bitty-Baby -- her first (of many?) American Girl dolls and E a big-boy bike. Also, E was a shepherd in the St. Justin Christmas Eve Mass and he was so cute it was hard not to squeeze him and make him miss the performance.

+ One of the most-packed and fun trips to Disneyland and our first (of hopefully many) with BeLinda. It was great despite the crowds. I especially loved taking E on Big Thunder Mountain, his first big-kid roller coaster. And a close second was experiencing all the magic that Disney brings now that J is old enough to comprehend it (last time she was just 1.5 and she doesn't really remember).

+ Work being one of the most trying and rewarding periods of my career so far.

+ Watching the kids run next to Lisa, cheering her on, as she completed the Big Sur Half Marathon -- her first big run since before having those same munchkins.

+ New Year's Day dinner at my folks house -- the holiday we always hosted growing up. It was our first here and the first without GG or Cody. Still it felt right -- felt like home.

I will tell you that the kids are growing up faster and faster. They're amazing...and so much fun (most of the time -- hey, no one is perfect). It's so great to have both sets of grandparents around and so involved in life. I seriously have no idea how anyone raises kids without an army of help.

As E rounds the final bend to turn 5, he's developing into a sweet, sensitive kiddo who loves to learn how things work, conduct 'ex-perry-ments' and already knows more about WWII planes than I do (and cars and trains and rockets and basically anything mechanical -- thanks to his Grandpas and Uncle). He's very into PJ Masks -- a group of elementary kids who "go into the night to save the day" by changing into superheros when they wear their jammies. One of my proudest daddy moments was when he explained that he was rooting for the Falcons in the 2017 Superbowl (which he was enthralled by) because of the Millennium Falcon.

We're currently in the process of selecting his kindergarten. It's so hard to believe the stress, pressure, and seriousness associated with the decision. If my parents had this sort of lamenting over wildly different options, it was transparent to me. In the end, I know he's going to be fine no matter where he "gets accepted" or winds up because he's got that army around to help -- but STILL you hear that you should try to keep it in perspective, but then you hear all these other parents discussing it and it's difficult to keep from wondering how much we'll screw him up if he goes to a school with a 7 rating or not enough emphasis on STEM or STEAM! Who knew this parenting thing would be so hard? (Ok, everyone that's ever been a parent ever).

A friend of mine has a term, "two-nager" and I think it describes J perfectly. She's striking out as an individual and I love seeing her do it...getting herself dressed, feeding Bailey all-by-herself, that sort of thing. It's wonderful...until it happens that her individualism and mine are out of sync. It's funny (retrospectively) to hear her decide that it's not time to get jammies on (even though it clearly is). "J, it's time to pick out your PJs. Which ones do you want?" Flops on floor. "I will wear Nuh-Thing. Nuh-Thing " Us: "Okay. Go to bed naked," Wails. "I will be SO CO-OLD" "Right. What jammies?" "Nuh-Thing! I will wear Nuh-Thing "...and on and on and on. While this can be painful in the moment, it's my hope that she's training us early on how to handle an actual teenager -- when the stakes are no more life/death than PJs. (those of you who've raised teenagers, please allow me my delusion).

The above really represents a small fraction of J. The rest of the time she's so sweet...always asking people how their day was, giving the best hugs, and helping pick up toys or clean the potties. She's obsessed with her doggy, loves ballet/gymnastics, and is drawn to medical stuff. The other day, I mentioned that I had to take Bailey to the vet and she jumped up and down, "I want to come! I want to!" As for shows & books, she loves all things Princess. As a basic rule of thumb: if it has a princess, J likes it. If not, out of luck. That's not entirely true. Minnie is in the same category. Though it's not all Rapunzel and Aurora, she was totally into Star Wars and Princess Leia is a current favorite.

Lisa and I are keeping our heads above water more days than we're not. I got to take a recent ski trip to Salt Lake City with a buddy that was so much fun. And Lisa is busy at work and that's prevented her from running quite as much as she did in the fall, but signing up for another couple events in the late summer/early autumn so she's excited about that.

Phew. I'd make promises about a shorter duration before the next blog post, but I'm coming to understand that I should avoid improbable promises. After all, you never know where the next bend or hill is coming on Space Mountain -- and that's why it's a classic.

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