Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Jog

It started out to be a pretty good day. We began our normal morning routine eating breakfast and coloring. I broke out the flashcards and Liv practiced counting her numbers to 40. She's doing really well identifying numbers, counting objects, and learning the tens (10, 20, 30 etc.) Once we finished that I decided we needed to move around and get the blood pumping. On our quest to achieve a level of exercise I felt was at least adequate for a morning routine I walked the girls the long way to the park. They found a nickel and a dime along the way so everyone was happy because both of them were able to pick up a coin and everything was fair. Once we reached the park we started out on our one lap jog around the dirt trail. It was at this time I reminded Olivia several times to stay by me, not run so fast, don't do the silly legs or she would fall and get hurt, just jog please- J-O-G.

We made it about two thirds of the way around, the playground in sight, Ava's holding her own, and then it happened. Olivia's legs began kicking up high behind her back, she gained some speed, and then BAM, she hit the ground hard. Covered in dirt from head to toe, Liv began crying. I walked over and picked her up to access the situation, calling Ava to come back as she zoomed by me happily jogging away asking about sissy over her shoulder. First of all, I saw this coming and was prepared to not freak out. I knew one of these days Olivia was going to fall flat on her face because she acts so goofy when she runs but what am I supposed to do? Make her walk everywhere to keep her bruise free? Some things are just outta my hands. I made sure she was at least running around on the dirt verses the pavement. That's the best I've got.

So I pulled up her shorts and took a gander at her legs... bloody and filled with dirt. Both hands were pretty tore up and also filled with dirt. KEEP IN MIND THIS IS NOT WHAT I MEANT BY GET THE BLOOD PUMPING. I gave her a kiss and told her she was ok and we would head home to clean her up. She seemed ok with that. I also asked her if she wanted to play at the park first because I did tell them that after we ran the lap we would play at the playground and since she was already wounded I didn't want to make her any more depressed. She said she wanted to go home thankfully. Although Ava had different plans, she too said we could go home and take care of sissy and apply some bandaids to her wounds.

We jogged home, bloodied and teary eyed to clean the cuts. Ava watched a cartoon while I doctored Olivia who is now covered in bandages. Since then Olivia can not seem to move for herself. She needs to be carried and pampered and I am indulging. I mean it's not every day you lose a good chunk of skin. So today I am a slave to my daughter's every whim and wish and I couldn't be happier. One day she won't need me to kiss her boo boos, bandage her cuts, or schlep her around. I'm honored she needs me and happy to oblige.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Being Lazy

I set up the tent for the girls to play and be active. I walked out of the room and back in a few minutes later to find them sitting inside reading stories to their babydoll.
Note to self- go to the park to burn off energy.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Life At Grammie's

Interesting things seem to always happen at Grammie and Papa's house. Before we had arrived my nephews were fed pancakes with syrup and 1000 ants for sprinkles. Apparently mom left the syrup out in the kitchen and ants crawled in the bottle and died. Dad cooked the pancakes, handed them and the syrup to the kids, they poured it on good and then the boys just sat there. So when my mom walked out and noticed the kids just sitting there, food untouched, she came closer and there they were- antcakes. Disgusting you might say but if you know my mom you would know she is notorious for things like that. Once she served cheesecake that fell on the floor and called it Cheesecake LaFluer. Her guests thought it was fancy and gobbled it down. Another time she had put the fish food flakes in a salt shaker so my brother and I wouldn't over pour the food in the tank. She happened to forget doing so and that night for dinner my brother salted his salad with fish food. She's made cakes and put the frosting on the inside and the pudding on the outside, pumpkin pies without sugar, you name it- we have suffered through it.

Typically before Dave and I arrive my mom's house she removes all the breakables and the glass coffee table. I guess since the boys are older she figured she didn't need to. After the boys were there for 2 hours they had already shattered a beer bottle all over the floor when they hit the ottoman into the coffee table. The next day one of my nephews attempted to set his refilled glass on the dining room table and whamo, it hit the ground, water and glass everywhere. The next night my brother knocked his glass over while trying to grab the salt shaker from his oldest son's hand so he didn't put too much salt on his food. Maybe there is just a strong gravitational pull at Grammies. Who knows.

So we finally arrived late Thursday night and the boys all slept in one room, my mom and dad in the room next to them, and Dave and I slept in my parent's room with Ava on a toddler bed and Liv in a sleeping bag on the floor. Needless to say the 3 and a half hour nap the girls took early that day allowed the girls to stay awake for our entire drive and then until about midnight. Here we are all packed in one room and Dave and I are ready to sleep but the girls are awake. And then at 5:30 AM when Ava decided to wake up I decided we were going swimming. 5 minutes later Dave and Livy jumped in the pool. Mom came out around 7AM and by 8AM the whole family was outside and swimming. For the most part the days were all the same. We woke up early and got in the pool before breakfast, and then again after breakfast, then the girls had lunch and took their naps, and when they woke up we swam again, had dinner and a shower, watched a movie and went to sleep. It was great. The girls got their exercise, were totally worn out for naps and bedtime, and they had a fantastic time playing with their cousins.

Friday the girls got to meet my Godmother Roz and her husband Louie who were in town visiting her family. They stayed for an hour and interacted with the girls and got some cute photos with them.
Saturday morning we went to have professional portraits taken which went smoothly, then we headed to the museum. It was at this time my nephew J discovers his RASH. He then began to rub it raw so it spread all down his leg. Wonderful. It was a very hot afternoon so we didn't stay all day at the museum. We went out for lunch and headed back to the house to save our sanity and our body temperature in the pool.

Sunday my mom and I went to the store and bought some chicken for barbecuing. My dad had taken the boys fishing that morning so Dave put the girls down for their nap and he hung out with my mom. It was 109 degrees outside while I roasted by the grill. When the boys got back from not catching any fish we all went swimming again. My dad couldn't get over the fact that Lady could see her reflection in the outdoor stainless steel grill island kitchen he has and she would not stop barking at herself so he got out to make her move when he open the door under the grill and found a trapped cat. So I got out and Dave and the girls got out and Dave and I looked inside again and found 2 kittens. Well after feeding a can of tuna to the mommy cat I pulled out 5 kittens about 4 weeks old. Dave put the kittens in a box, the mom in a cage, and then we discovered that the cat family had been inside the bottom of the island kitchen the entire time I was barbecuing. Weird. Interesting. Whatever. Like I said, THINGS happen at Grammie's. The kids all played with the kittens, we brought them inside for the night and fed the mom. The next day they went to the animal shelter for examination, shots, spaying, neutering, and to be adopted hopefully.

Monday night we drove home from our vacation, feeling good, relaxed, tanned, and believe it or not- well rested. The next day my parents drove the boys to the coast to camp in the RV and after being there for 3 hours, my nephew J got bit by a wasp, my nephew M fell in a mud puddled and was covered from head to toe, and God only knows what was in store for the other one. I guess strange things follow my parents everywhere. So to anyone who might cross their path while driving, camping, or just generally breathing- LOOK OUT, things don't always stay at Grammie's.

Friday, July 24, 2009

6 Years

Today is the 6 year anniversary of when Dave and I met. Time has flown by and we have achieved many of our hopes and dreams. We had a spectacular wedding in Maui. We have created two beautiful girls. We bought a house, pay a mortgage, own 2 vehicles, have two dogs, a cat, 3 turtles, and a variety of fish, and are basically living the American dream. We may not live a luxurious life style but we are proud and happy with what we do and that we are working together each and every day to make our girls feel like angels. I'm proud of us. We made it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Off We Go...

We are packed and ready to head to Grammie and Papa's house for a long weekend getaway. The girls are excited that they are going to meet their cousins for the first time. Actually Olivia met them when she was six months old at a wedding but she doesn't remember so it's like a first time for her as well. These are my brother's kids... yeah you probably didn't know I had a brother but I do. He acts more like a distant cousin and his wife is a nightmare so we don't speak to each other. Less is more.

My parents on the other hand speak to my brother to maintain contact with the grandkids. The wife has been otherwise removed from our family and quite honestly it makes everything much more peaceful. The boys get to visit my parents this year for 2 weeks. So since they are here my mom wants a picture of all her grandkids together. Everything is lined up for Saturday morning. Should be interesting... It's hard enough for me to take my 2 kids to get their pictures taken with or without Dave's help so now we are working with a bunch of kids ages 2, 3, 5, 8, and 10. I hope for the best. The rest of the time we will be lounging pool side indulging in my mom's food and booze. It's nice to go home and be taken care of and not have to be thinking about planning breakfast, lunch, and dinner and cleaning up each mess. And with the girls both being able to swim basically by themselves in their little swim jacket thingys they will want to spend a lot of time outdoors. Heaven... Can you say heaven...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cutting The Cord

I've noticed lately that the days my family and I get out of the door early and we do some sort of exercise that everyone is in good spirits, there's less fighting amongst the little people, the day passes even more quickly, and it usually ends up being a pretty good day. Because of this Dave and I have been really trying to get the girls outside for as long as possible during the day. They have been washing the vehicles more, Lady is now being walked every night and sometimes in the morning as well. We are adventuring to different neighborhood parks, water parks, and playgrounds.

Who are we I wonder? Anyone who knows me knows I'm pretty damn lazy so really I don't know what's going on. Partly it stems from my hatred of the girls watching TV. I mean I love TV but I am also an adult who's brain has already rotted so when I tune in to my favorite program/s it is for a brief break or relief from a chaotic day. When the girls tune into TV I envision their brains turning to mush, their activity level dwindling, and the advertising world of America creating values in their minds that I would really not like to have in there nor do necessarily I believe in. So we've turned the box off for the most part except for times where I need the girls to be quiet due to an important phone call or if I need to cook dinner and there's a lot of stuff going on in the kitchen and I don't want them in there for safety reasons.

At first I felt like the days were just dragging and I was racking my brain trying to come up with new ideas and things to do. Then somehow things slowly fell into place. Who knew there was a book reading at the book store in the mornings? I do- now. There are probably 20 parks in a 10 mile radius of our house. We have been to about 6 of them frequently but now are expanding our horizons to the other parks. We kinda get stuck going to the water park a lot because well- there's water there to play in. It makes all the other parks seem less interesting.

Today we ate breakfast and put on our jogging shoes. I walked the girls around the neighborhood and took the extremely long way to the park. When we reached the park we jogged the big dirt trail that is next to it. This was Ava's first time to actually have her feet on this trail. Usually she is in the stroller when Olivia and I walk the trail. So I told the girls if we accomplished one lap around jogging we would play at the playground. The girls took off running. I feared Olivia was going to fall flat on her face like usual but she held her own and shook her booty. Ava went jogging too while clapping all the way. There were a few moments Ava asked me to hold her hand and as soon as I stuck out a finger and she grabbed on she went jogging away and let go. We made it around the trail everyone still smiling and entered the playground. The girls slid, swung, and ran all over the place for another 20 minutes and then we headed home to cool off in the pool.

After the girls finished playing in the pool Ava brought out her Legos and Olivia and I worked on her number flash cards. She has been really excited to go to preschool so we have been going over some of the things she will learn there. It's been fun. Ava has started working on the alphabet flashcards now that she learned all of her colors and shapes. She has been picking up knowledge so easily by having Olivia around and repeating things to her all of the time.

After awhile Ava started to doze off so I woke her up and fed the girls their lunch. Olivia ate hers in record time and Ava struggled with the meat but did finish it so she could eat some grapes. Soon Ava was in bed sleeping on her puzzle like usual (Dave calls this puzzle-acupressure) and Olivia and I played with the dogs. It has been a good day so far today. Time flew by, no one had a tantrum which are in fact actually getting better since Ava is understanding the concept of 'use your words', and the girls both learned something from their experiences and not from the TV.

After reading my parenting magazines and discovering that roughly 20% of all 2 year olds have a TV in their bedroom I am proud that we fall into the 80% that don't. We also have never let the girls watch anything rated PG due to the fact that shows like Spongebob have characters that hit or call each other stupid. So far my girls don't call each other names and I'd like to keep it like that for as long as possible. I'd like them to remain innocent and young while they are in fact innocent and young. Kids today are acting like adults at 12. When I was 12 I got my last doll for Christmas.

Every day I think about how the girls are being raised and what ideals are being instilled. It scares me sometimes to think about how sexualized the kids are in school now or the fact that guns and violence are so predominate. Just thinking about it makes me cherish my girls even more. It makes my desire to teach, share, and explore with them positive adventures even greater and even more necessary so they learn to be kind, loving, forgiving, silly, outgoing, and adventurous- and I hope for all hopes somewhat nerdy, somewhat geeky, and somewhat like me and Dave.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Everyday Madness

Let's start with the fact that we did not make it to the baseball game Thursday night. Dave came home and was rushed to get the girls' dinner and get out of the house on time. Whenever they are rushed they seem to hit super slow drive and refuse to do whatever we'd like them to do. So as Dave frantically rushed to eat and get stuff ready the girls picked at their dinner, Ava had 3 or 4 meltdowns, and Olivia just didn't care that the timer was set or that it was going to be going off and she wouldn't be able to go. Ava ended up choosing to do timeout in her room and then decided she'd rather be there then come downstairs. She was also NOT going to wear her panties. So the game ended up being a bust. Everyone was pissy, and no one wanted to cooperate.

Friday we hung around the house, played in the pool, had lunch outside in the yard, and just relaxed. It was pretty much a free for all for whatever the girls wanted to play with. When they wanted their markers, they colored. When they wanted play dough, the created sharks, cows, and of course snakes. Olivia played on her computer for awhile in between completing her book of mazes. Ava chased the dogs around. The dogs chased the cat around. You see where I'm going with this... Basically a pretty calm laid back day.

Saturday we got up and divided some chores up. Dave and his mantra of women went to the front yard and washed the vehicles. I and the animals went to the backyard and began pulling all the weeds in our retaining wall area. I started really early in the morning to avoid the heatwave that came around noon. Dave finished first so he brought the girls in and fed them lunch and put them to bed. Then he came and helped finish the last of the weeds in the rock area. I then took a shower, went to get my haircut, and hit the few stores I needed to go to. I picked up 2 Dora backpacks for the girls since they both wanted to carry the backpack all over the zoo. If I only bought one there would have been a fight over who gets Dora so now that's out of the way. The girls were pleased when they saw the backpacks pop out of the bag. The rest of the day we just did our regular stuff and took it easy. Dave ended up with a terrible sunburn and wasn't feeling too good so it was nice that the girls were decent.

Sunday we walked Lady, played in the pool, and watched TV. We mesured the girls again on the wall. They both have grown an inch in the last 2 months. I don't know how tall they actually are but they are 3 and a half inches apart. Ava's still cutting her top 2 molars as well. So anyway, we didn't do anything exciting or really worth writing about but we did spend the day as a family and that's the most important thing. My neighbors came over for a few hours and we hung out talking about wedding stuff. All in all this was the first weekend in a long time where we just sat around without any plans or shopping or just stuff to do. It was enjoyable.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

On A Whim...

Yesterday was another atrociously hot day so around 11AM I got this bright idea to pack a lunch for the kids and take them to Small World Park. I packed the lunch and sunscreen and thought to myself I had better check how to get there because it had been awhile and I wanted to make sure I got off on the right exit. As I was browsing the website I noticed that it said open Thursday through Sunday. WTF? I could swear it was open daily. I read it again. Oh great.

Since the lunch was packed and the girls knew we were going on an outing we jumped in the truck and drove to the zoo. I have several free passes for entrance, parking, and rides thanks to a friend of mine so we can go as often as we want and we don't have to stay all day to get our money's worth. The drive was easy, not much traffic, Ava napped slightly, and Livy just stared out the window. It was bliss. I thought to myself we really should do outings like this more often.

We arrived at the zoo and we were lucky enough to acquire the parking spot right by the entrance. Sweet. I love when we can actually park somewhere where we are not a mile away. We flashed our passes and walked through the gate and it was babies and strollers galour. Since we parked so close we didn't use our stroller. I had packed the lunches in Liv's backpack which she proudly wore on her back and I had my small backpack with the sunscreen, wipes, a jug of ice tea along with my wallet and keys. I didn't bring anything extra like a change of panties if Ava had an accident or anything. I figured we had 3 and a half hours we should be ok. Hopefully.

We headed to the rides first. The girls love the carousel. We walked right up to it and picked out our animals to ride on. Olivia wanted to sit by a dark haired little girl so she rode the zebra and Ava sat a few animal ahead because she wanted to ride the jaguar. When the ride began and the music started Ava's face was beaming. She was so pleased with herself. "I ride by myself Mommy!" She exclaimed. Awesome. Next they flew the airplanes and then we headed for the restaurant area so we could eat lunch.

Soon we were finished eating, we had applied our sunscreen, and we had not seen one animal yet after being there for an hour and a half so I said let's ride the train around the park and see all the animals at one time. Ok- lesson learned. The train ride is only a train ride with nothing to see but statues of animals. So we jumped off and went to the kid zoo and petting area. We saw the bats, lizards, turtles, tortoises, pigs, alligators, and we petted the goats. After a quick potty break we called Daddy to let him know we would be picking him up when he got off of work and then we headed up the hill to see the monkeys. The girls get so excited to see the monkeys jumping and swinging. They talked to them and danced for them and then we proceeded up the hill again to see the large animals.

It was at this time that it occurred to me that Ava really could hold her own. She had been walking for almost 3 hours all over the park and she was keeping up with Livy and I the whole time. The other important thing was that she was not having any blowouts and we were at the park during her nap time. I guess we just need to get out of the house more often. So now I had figured I was going to make them keep walking until we had to leave and they should just hit the truck and go to sleep. It never really works how I plan...

We saw the elephants, tiger, camels, and giraffes. We rested on a bench and drank some water and gobbled down a noka bar (granola bar) and applied a lit more sunscreen and called Dave to make sure he'd be leaving work in the next 10 minutes. He said yes so we made our way back to the truck. The girls had had a blast. It had been on a total whim and everything worked out so smoothly. When the girls were locked in their seats I handed them a bottle of water and some gold fish crackers and headed to the closest BART to pick up my hubby. Here is where I imagined they would go to sleep and Dave and I would ride home with smiles on our faces in eternal bliss. Or not.

We arrived at the station and as he approached the truck and they started screaming an ear piercing scream, "DADDDDDYYYYYY!!!!" And that was how we rode home for the next hour...

Was it worth it? Absolutely. Although my hearing may have been slightly damaged, and Dave may have lost a nugget of his sanity, taking the girls out for an outing that they totally enjoy is worth the not so fun drive home. These two never stopped talking, giggling, screeching, until we dropped Dave off at his car at the BART by our house. Then they decided to... go to sleep. Of course. So long as Dave and I couldn't get a word in edgewise with each other in the truck their mission had been accomplished and they could pass out. The five minutes after that that it took to get home was refreshing. I heard a song on the radio, and I parked in the garage without 15 questions as to what I was doing, and I could say hello to Dave without chatter in the background. Oh glorious silence!

Tonight we head to the A's game. It's a night game so this should be interesting. Maybe the girls will sleep on the way home from that...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Space Chimps and Popcorn

For future endeavors I think this goes without saying that when Ava goes to movies she will be demanding popcorn and plenty of it. But she wasn't the only one with lips smacking away. Olivia ate her way through the entire movie as well. And they loved it.

We arrived late as usual and headed to the popcorn line. I guess if the movie is free you still have to wait in a long boring line for the snacks. Go figure. We waited. We twirled around. Ava tried to stick her hand up my skirt and was given a stern look of 'stop that.' And then our big huge ginormous popcorn bucket arrived and the anticipation had ended. Hands everywhere started reaching but were told they had to wait until they were sitting inside. I was sort of leery at this point knowing we were going to have to find a seat in the dark as we were now 30 minutes late but as we enter the theater the lights were still on. Surprise surprise. So we found a cool spot, hunkered down, plopped out our drink cups and bowls brought from home and the popcorn started flowing. The light went down and the previews (I had originally thought we missed these which would have been nice since Ava tends to hate them) began. Then Ava belts out, "Let's get outta here Mommy."

I thought perhaps we had jumped that hurdled but I guess not. During all three previews Ava had me sit with her eyes covered so the preview, "could not see me mommy?" as she so squeamishly asked. Then the movie began and we were in popcorn eating bliss. Olivia smacked away only speaking when she needed more and clapped when the movie ended and the chimps saved the planet. Ava sat for the first half in her own chair this time. That's better than last time. And she watched the entire movie. She actually looked at the screen this time. Who hoo! We are making progress.

Next week we are seeing Igor so I think as the weeks progress our movie watching skills will progress too. We didn't go with the neighbors this time and I kinda liked it better so we'll see which day we go next week and if we go with them. Now the girls are down for their naps and since it is 1000 degrees outside we will be heading to the water park when they wake up. Today's been a good day. The girls had fun, I had fun, and poor Dave gets to mow the lawn in the heat. Stinks for him but I know he's happy we are happy.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Odds and Ends of the Weekend

This weekend we went to the lake to go swimming. We went shopping in the morning and packed ourselves a nice picnic lunch to take along with us. Of course seconds after getting into the car and driving away from the house Olivia whispers from the back seat that she has to go poop. Just wonderful. So after a quick stop at a fast food restaurant we were back on track and headed for fun.

Ava took a little cap nap on the way there so she woke up seeming refreshed. She's been cutting one of her 2 year molars which is why we think she seems like she's been possessed by the devil lately. We hope. Since she was in a good mood we knew we'd end up having a great day. We set up the umbrella, pulled out our lunch, ate quickly- even Olivia, and ran towards the water. Since the girls both were wearing their swim support they could float in the water without us having to hold them. Ava was still a little skittish since this was her first time swimming without us holding her. Olivia knew what to expect and basically tried to go in every direction except the one we were facing.

We swam for about an hour, got out, reapplied our sunscreen, had a snack and some water, and headed to build sand castles. That was a lot of fun. The girls were really efficient at building thanks to their never ending supply of Legos. Again we were out there in the water for another hour splashing around, then we came back for a potty/water/refreshment break. By the time we ended up leaving we had spent almost five hours there. I couldn't believe it. Time really flies when everyone is having fun and getting along, AND WE ARE NOT TRAPPED INSIDE OF OUR HOUSE. We needed this day. We needed to get out. It was truly lovely. Fabulous even.

So we ate dinner and took off our bathing suits and relaxed a bit before packing up the car and heading home. We studied the butterflies and the dragonflies. We did some people watching. We rested fat and happy. Finally we had to go home so we packed up the car and began driving. I swear it was not 2 minutes later I noticed a rain drop on the windshield and then the rain started falling. Dave and I were so stoked we left exactly when we did and our outing was not ruined by trying to pack the kids in the car as well as the stuff we had brought with us in the rain.

Once we were home a neighbor came over to hangout for a bit while we put all of our stuff away. The girls melted into their little couches and watched one of their movies and I frosted a cake that Ava and I had made previously that morning. We sang Sugar happy birthday with Olivia blowing out the candle so we could eat the cake. You can't have cake and not celebrate a birthday according to Olivia so we picked Sugar this time. Lastly, we showered off our sunscreen and went to bed.

Sunday we woke up lazy and really didn't do a whole lot of anything. The girls napped and we watched a movie that the neighbor had given us, Dave watched some sports, the girls played in the pool, and the dogs ran around chasing each other like they had just met. The day passed pretty quickly and we went to bed. Then at 3 AM because apparently scumbags can't come during normal hours I woke up to what sounded like an explosion. Lady woke up too and was hovering by my bed so I sent Dave to the garage to investigate. He didn't find anything at that time but at 6AM when he went to roll the trash can out he found our mail box violated and laying lifeless in the street. The door was ripped off and the red flag was missing. All that survived was the 4X4 post that the mailbox was once attached to.

Today we had to purchase a new mailbox but I am not sad at having to buy another. I am actually happy about it. The old one was missing some paint and had the previous owner's name printed faintly across the side. I had always wanted to put our name on there but they had a long name and ours wouldn't have covered up theirs all the way. The wood underneath the mailbox had also rotted away and the box was barely hanging on by one lone screw. The door had been sticking for awhile because one of those screws had fallen out and the one I had used to fix it was too long so anytime I stuck my arm in there I had to be careful not to scrape myself. I had been meaning to fix the door and replace the board that the mail box sat on for awhile.

So to the scumbag that woke us up at 3 AM as well as all of my neighbors- Thanks, I needed to get on that. And now WE (Me and Dave) have our first official mailbox at our first home with OUR names on it. It feels like a rite of passage or something. I know I should feel violated but I don't. I'm really happy. I'm home. We are home.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Olivia's Eating Issues...

So I had been mulling over this topic in my head for the last few days as to where to start, how far do I go back with talking about this, and just my angst at having this problem to begin with. So let's just start with the facts: Olivia doesn't have any issues with what she is eating. She eats all the good foods- whole grain breads, a banana every morning, fruit for lunch, broccoli, corn, carrots, other random veggies, and sometimes lettuce. She eats eggs, cheese, all kinds of pastas, loves fish, crab, other shellfish, chicken, beef or turkey meatballs, salami, and peanut butter and jelly. She also has the random trashy stuff like pop tarts and juice every now and then but for the most part she eats very healthy every day.

That's not the problem- the problem lies in how long it takes her to finish a meal. She doesn't lag at the table because she doesn't like it, she lags because she is either talking excessively or just sitting there. If I try to remove her plate she cries because she really does want to eat. So an hour after everyone else has finished their food, moved away from the table, and we have cleaned up the mess she starts to eat her food and finishes it in like 15 minutes.

I tried to set dinner at a later time figuring maybe she just wasn't hungry yet- same result. We tried to set a timer when everyone else finished their food to give her a set amount of time but it didn't really change anything. We pleaded, we gave timeouts, we offered incentives- no deal. What gives??? Who the heck knows. She just apparently wants to eat by herself and take an hour and a half to do it.

So a few days ago Dave and I decided enough was truly enough. We sat Livy down, explained that she would be getting 30 minutes from the time everyone got to the table to eat her food including her dessert. If in the 30 minutes she didn't finish her dinner or dessert then she and the food would be removed from the table and she would be fed again at the next time we ate. If she missed a few meals, then I guess she would be either hungry at the next go around or she'd just skip the meal.

That night we fed Ava first since Olivia was in a timeout in her room for biting Ava. (This is a whole other story not even worth mentioning.) Ava finished her food so we set her up on her little couch with a sucker and a movie. When Olivia came down from her room she scoped out Ava and wanted to sit with her. We told her how Ava had eaten so quickly that she was getting special privileges and that Livy would be eating with us. We started the timer and let her know we would not be talking to her or answering anything she said. In about 10 minutes Dave and I had finished and had already put our plates in the dishwasher. Liv had been picking at her spaghetti piece by piece and had eaten maybe an actual bite at this point. Since Dave needed to return a movie anyway I suggested he take Ava and just get it over with and get the movie returned. There was no point in waiting around. Liv still had 15 minutes left. So as they were putting their shoes on Livy says, "hey, wait guys I'll eat fast." So Dave asks me if they should wait. I told him no, they were ready- they should go. So Olivia says to me, "Daddy could only take one person?" I explained, "No, Daddy could have taken both of you but you are still eating." She then used her fork and started taking real bites. At the 28th minute Olivia had eaten her food.

And since that moment we have been setting the timer for 30 minutes right when we all sit down to eat. We don't speak or interact with Olivia and she has eaten all of her meals and has gotten dessert after dinner all in her 30 minutes. Again- what gives???

I think we were on the right track with the timer we just hadn't used it correctly. We were starting it after everyone left the table and giving her additional time. Now she is on our time and on time. Go figure. Next week it will probably be something else like an odd rash that won't go way. Don't these things come in 3's?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New Hair Cuts

Went to the shop and this is our results:

Both girls sat in the chair like big girls all by themselves!

Breakfast At The Park

Today we packed up our breakfast and ate it at the park. I also packed our sunscreen- thankfully this time. We needed it too. That darn sun was shining and burning. Combined with my hot coffee I was sweating. The girls on the other hand were running, swinging, climbing, and 'getting stuck in the net.' That's a game they invented where they hide on the play structure and call for help because they are stuck in the net.

Then Ava decided to climb the big rock. She shot to the top like it was a breeze. Olivia then climbed it too. She had a harder time figuring out how to turn around and sit down when she reached the top but once she did it a few times with help she mastered it by herself.

Today's been a better day. A little less arguing but still a few grunts from Ava followed by her usual "no" and she did hit Olivia in the face with her cup- unprovoked too. I think she gets irritated when Liv is doing something and not playing with her. Either way she sat in her timeout and apologized and we moved on to the next thing. I hope this ends soon. The terrible twos are way too exhausting. Even for Ava I think.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Grandma Says Goodbye:(

Grandma had to go home at some point I guess. The girls weren't so pleased with this notion. We decided we'd go to lunch and send Grandma off with a full belly and then it happened-again. Ava had another big blowout. She didn't want to go potty before we left followed with she didn't want to put her panties on when she finished. The terrible twos have arrived and decided to camp out for awhile.

These tantrums are getting worse. The screaming she directs towards Livy is getting worse. My ability to tolerate it and be patient with her is dwindling.

Ava has been getting the usual two minute timeouts. She is told how hitting hurts Livy and she apologizes when she is through with her timeouts but last night when she didn't get her way she reared her leg back and kicked Dave in his shin. She was immediately removed from the room and taken to hers for a timeout. My problem is necessarily how to punish her for her tantrums but how to prevent/ stop future tantrums. It's not like I can put her in a bubble away from the rest of society.

I know Ava is getting a grasp on her world, searching for autonomy, acquiring a sense of self control, expressing her frustration in the only way she knows how to, and I get it. Believe me. I get IT. But compounded with Olivia's never ending monologue, coping with losing a sense of myself, the stupid freaking doorknockers that come by my house everyday to impose their religious propaganda on me, and the "stuff" that I need to get done in the course of the day that gets thrown to the sidelines while breaking up these squabbles and tantrums I just want to have my own tantrum. So I did. I called Dave at work, explained that I'm going nuts, PMSing too, cried a little, and then left my office (the bathroom) with a smile on my face and went to entertain my kids.

Maybe there isn't some sort of special magic, maybe Ava just has to grow out of it, any which way you cut it someone is always on the receiving end of her tantrums. It sucks. But it is a big part of a toddler's life and I know that. Hopefully it will pass quickly and we can move on to something else. Maybe those nannies on TV can come and help us... they seem to do a good job.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th Of July

Of course on the 4th of July we partied. The girls started their day riding bikes, driving the jeep, and playing outside with the chalk with their friends. Soon our neighbors wheeled over a cart full of chips and dip along with a cooler filled with beer. We brought out our BBQ grill and 2 other neighbors rolled theirs over. You know the saying, "if you cook it, they will come.." Well it is true. Out of the woodwork flocked all of the neighbors with different kinds of meat, potato salad, corn, macaroni and cheese, you name it we had it. Lawn chairs were strung out all over the place. It was wonderful. No one ever had to worry about drinking and driving since we all live here.

Grandma baked us a peach pie from the bag of peaches a neighbor had brought us. She whipped it up like it was no sweat. Some woman came walking down the street and handed out flags- big ones and small ones- in celebration of the 4th. Fireworks appeared as if from nowhere. Great day. Very simple and easy.

The gang of neighbor kids waiting to see the show...

Ava loved the flashing lights at first...

and then she wanted her eyes covered so the fireworks could not see her. Liv loved them from start to finish and wanted to see more. Ava asked, "I bite them candy?" after each firework ended.

Grandma had a great time with her Grandbabies!

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Outting

Today we visited the CA Academy Of Science in Golden Gate Park. We took the BART and the Muni to get there so it took us probably an hour and a half. During the BART ride Ava wanted to get out of the stroller so we took her out but then she needed to get back in so we could transfer to the Muni. Ava didn't feel the same way about the transfer that we did and she had a major blowout. It was lovely. Although Dave and I were both mortified by the outburst, the doors opened and we were free to escape the embarrassment. Thankfully.

After the chaos was finished we arrived at the CAOS and ate lunch. That put everyone in a good mood and we were off to see the aquarium. The girls loved looking at all the big fish and being able to touch the starfish. Dave got to see an old buddy of his who's a volunteer there so it was nice that he could talk to the girls about the starfish and their habitat.

After the aquarium we went into the rain forest exhibit and felt the humidity and the butterflies on our shirts. Olivia loved loved loved the butterflies.

After the elevator ride down we went to see the penguins and the rest of the African exhibit and then we headed home. Ava fell asleep on the Muni and didn't wake up until we got in the car at our BART stop.

Olivia was nervous about Ava and I sitting in front of the Muni while she sat with Dave and Grandma in the back. She was worried we wouldn't get off at the same stop as she did. Grandma said she never stopped talking about it. Ever since we went to Denver for the funeral Olivia has been very worried about me leaving and not coming back. She asks me at least once a day if I'm staying home. She tells me she loves me repeatedly and has become very clingy. I know in a while she'll understand but I feel sad for her that she even feels she needs to worry about it.

Once we were off the Muni and together again Olivia felt better. She started in on her usual chatting away which went on and on until we got home. Thankfully Grandma had to take the brunt of this one and listen to all of her stories. Sometimes I'm just done hearing it. I know that sounds bad but the girl just doesn't stop talking-ever. I'm thinking ear plugs... is that wrong?

So that was our journey for the day. We ate dinner and went to bed-literally. We were all exhausted.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Grandma B's Visit

Grandma B arrived late Wednesday night. The girls were already asleep so they didn't get to see her. When they woke up in the morning they ran right passed her and into my room. I told Ava that Grandma was sleeping and to go get her. Off she ran squealing all the way.

We all got up, went downstairs for some blueberry pancakes, and headed off to the strawberry fields. Grandma was excited to pick blackberries and strawberries with the girls. We walked all through the fields Ava ate her way down the rows and we picked big plump juicy berries.

Afterwards we came home and went swimming in our little pool.

Ava went to bed shortly afterwards since she was full from all of the fruit.

Olivia on the other hand had to eat lunch because she actually put the fruit she picked in the basket. And there's where the problems began again. I will post about this as a whole other topic later but Olivia has decided that she doesn't want to eat her food in an appropriate period of time. She has been taking up to 2 hours to eat a small plate of food.

So we waited, waited some more, took her privileges away, told her she would be going to bed, and finally just sent her to bed. Obviously Liv didn't care. She went to bed and went to sleep.

The girls got up from their naps a few hours later and tried on the new dresses that Grandma had brought with her.

Then we went to a buffet. Olivia had no problems eating there. She ate everything on her plate. Ava did as well but by the looks of her that's pretty obvious. Grandma ate crab legs with daddy. They were loving it.

We came home and got the dog and took her for a walk to find pennies. We came home with about 17 cents so it was fun for the girls and good exercise for the dog. That was the end of day 1 with Grandma and it was a pretty good day at that.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Ranch

We went to visit a BFF of mine from my Master's Program. It had been almost 3 years since I had seen her. She had moved away for two years and then moved back and every time we planned on getting together someone was either sick or busy or you know- life happens. Finally we got to see each other at her ranch house. The kids all got a chance to visit and play together too.

It was really great to physically see J again. She looked just as good as the last time I saw her. Of course she'll say she's got love handles and whatever but really she looked great whether she believes it or not. So for a few hours we caught up on the all the small stuff we never get to talk about on the phone, we played with all the animals, and we played outside on all the toys. It was a lot of fun and we made plans to see each other next week for a swim in her pool. The girls are so excited to get to go back. Only 7 more days of Olivia asking me, "is is today Mommy we are going swimming at Miss J's house with my friends ..."