Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas 2018

The Christmas season started with the girls school parties. Alexa's class had candy cane fishing and lots of crafts. Our little artist loved it. Addy's class decorated gingerbread houses. She enjoyed putting lots of candy on her house. She even ate some along the way.

The weekend before Christmas we drove to Williams, Arizona to take a trip on the Polar Express. We went in 2014, 2015 and 2016. It was fun to return again this year. This year the weather was very cold, but no snow. The girls enjoyed bundling up with hats and big jackets. We explored the town, ate lots of yummy food and took endless pictures. This year we even did the Santa sleigh zip line for the first time. This is the first year both girls were tall enough. Alexa and Justin went first. They enjoyed it with lots of laughs along the way. When it was time for Addy and I to go we were both nervous. I tried to act tough, but Addy could read right through it. She was requesting to go with Justin (who is clearly braver). I knew it was a good opportunity to show how tough we could be together. We ended up having a great time. Addy even wanted to go again.

That night we put on our matching PJs and headed off to the north pole. Addison still didn't want to go near Santa. She settled for sitting on my lap next to Santa for our traditional photo. Maybe next year... Once we got on the train we drank hot chocolate, ate cookies and sang songs. Addy took a nap but woke up in time to see the elves. Once Santa boarded the train, the girls excitement went even higher. It was a magical ride that I hope to always remember.

Once we were back home in San Diego we attended and volunteered at our churches Living Nativity. This is our second Christmas at Horizon and it's probably my favorite part of our church. Both girls enjoy being in costume, heading the kids that attend and talking about Jesus. What more could you ask for? The girls helped in the craft area for a few hours. Later they left me to help in games. By the end of the night, both girls had their own booths. Somehow there tiny statures have the confidence of full grown adults.

On Christmas Eve we attended church. The girls went into the children's service and had a great time. That night we went home and opened on gift. Before we opened them, Addy stopped us and reminded us we should pray first. Both girls were eager to give each other their gifts. After laying out milk, cookies and carrots (shredded of course) they were fast asleep.

Christmas morning was magical. We opened gifts, played, ate, video chatted with Grandparents, ate some more and watched Christmas movies. It was relaxing and fun and perfect in its own way. I used to be sad about not having family around on big holidays. Now I realize I enjoy just spending time with the people I love the most in the world.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween 2018

Back in August we celebrated Addy's fifth birthday by going to Disney Land. Both girls were able to get full princess makeovers. Part of their makeovers were fabulous dresses. My thought was they could get the dress and then wear them again for Halloween. Fast forward a few months.. both girls are on board with wearing their pre-purchased dresses. Took the stress out of October for me.

We started our fall season by driving to Julian. We have driven though there, but never experienced more then some pie. Instead, this time we stopped at a local farm. We all painted little pumpkins (which later ended up getting washed off by an unexpected rainstorm). We played in the petting zoo. We were told we could pick up any of the animals. Next thing you know, our sweet animal lover, Alexa June is carrying a chicken around. That turned into Addy chasing chickens. It was a sweet moment. Next we visited the reptile show. The girls both enjoyed holding and playing with the snakes. Next was apple cider making. The girls had the opportunity to put apples in and stir the machine. It was pretty strong, but Alexa liked the flavor. After eating lunch in downtown Julian we came back to the farm for candle making and a hay ride. Then we stopped by the next door farm to pick apples and search for pumpkins. It was a great day.

Later in the month, Alexa had her Halloween piano recital. Since she was going to be Jasmine, she opted to play "A Whole New World," from Aladdin. She wore her full costume and did great. We are so proud of her. That same weekend we attended a Halloween party at our friends house. Everyone there was dressed. There were games, crafts and endless laughter. Definitely one we will remember.

On Halloween morning the girls got up early to get in costume. Addy was Ariel from the Little Mermaid. We opted to color her entire head red. She looked fabulous. The girls had a parade at school and then class parties. Justin and I rotated between their classes. It's nice having them in the same building, but it's still hard to juggle. After school the girls at their dinners in record speed. We then hurried out to tick or treat. We went through our neighborhood and the one next to ours. It lasted about 2 1/2 hours. Addy would walk into peoples homes when they opened their door. It was fun, but scary how comfortable she was with strangers. She enjoyed seeing so many of her classmates. Alexa was going for quantity. She was racing as fast and she could from house to house. I am not sure she enjoyed the scary parts of Halloween very much, but she enjoyed her treats.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

More then the leaves changed...

What a crazy few months it has been. I am determined to keep writing stories for the girls to have as a scrap book if they ever want to look back on. Over the last few years I have felt the desire to work and have contribute to the family outside of the home. I knew I wanted to wait until both girls were at Sage and on a full day schedule. Starting in May I applied for 1 job with Justin's company. They hired me just to start my security clearance. Of the summer I didn't think much about it. Come August, another position posted. I applied, interviewed and got the job. They wanted me to start within a week. So we spent the last weekend of summer arranging child care, schedules and our new crazy life with two working parents. The girls started their first day of school. Addy started kindergarten and Alexa started second grade. It was a bittersweet day. My girls are growing up. They are happy, kind, smart and funny girls. I knew it would be one of the first (for Addy) and last days that I would get to walk them to Sage for awhile. I tried to really take it in, but it flew by. On their third day of school I woke them up, got them dressed, did their hair and then went to work. I cried the entire way there. Trying not to be red and crazy looking I had to suck it up and cover my face with fresh powder.

The girls started afterschool care a few days a week (only for 2 hours) and the have a part time Nanny two days a week as well. The arrangement so far had worked well. Addy has her moments where she is tired and just wants to go home and relax. Unfortunately that is not in our schedule for now. Alexa seems to be keeping up with the hustle and enjoying her new routine. Second grade has been a great year so far. Alexa enjoys being reunited with some of her kinder friends. She has made new friends and has a great teacher. She also enjoys the challenge of the academics. Being an early reader made Kinder and 1st grade a bit easy for her. Second grade offers new areas of learning and she loves it. Addy has made friends but also knows some of the kids from preschool, soccer and siblings of Alexa's friends. I think school is a lot of fun for her. She enjoys learning. I do think the academics are a bit more then she was expecting. She seems to be keeping up and always talks highly of her class family.

I am hoping I can soon start working earlier hours or more hours from home. My goal is to be able to be home with the girls in the afternoons. For now, we are sticking with out schedule until we can find a better balance. What a change it have been the last two months. Soon it will feel normal... I hope.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Soccer Mom

I think we can officially say we are a soccer family. Both girls are playing full time this year. Alexa's competitive team practices twice a week and has 1-2 games every weekend for 3 months. It's a bit much, but she loves it. Alexa's confidence has grown. Her athletic ability went from very little to thriving. She works hard and really gives it her all. We are so proud of her!

Addy has been in preschool soccer programs a few time. This season she started on a real team. They practices every week and have a game on Saturday's. The games are pretty mild. The only real rule is on goal kicks, the offense has to go back to the half way line. Outside of that, the girls run around.. learning positions and ball control. Addy has scored a few goals this season. She seems to understand positions and enjoys playing goalie and defense.

Both girls plan on trying out for competitive once this season is over. Alexa loves her team and hopes to stay on it. Addy is more particular and wants a certain coach with certain teammates. I think it will be a good life lesson coming her way soon. Until then... I will continue coaching like a crazy soccer Mom from the sideline.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Summer Goals

Each year I try to plan ahead on what will make summer break the most memorable and meaningful for the girls. As usual I have some academics planned. This is usually reading, writing, flash cards  and some Kumon books. The girls enjoy completing these and negotiating rewards for their sticker charts. This year I wanted to push them a bit further. I had each girl come up with 3 personal goals. I gave some ideas but in the end the goals were theirs. For accountability I am posting them below.
Addison's Goals
1. Learn to ride her bike without training wheels
2. Learn to swim in the deep end
3. Learn to read

These are some ambitious goals but I am happy she is dreaming big. Her first update: After 2 weeks of summer Addy has been going without training wheels around the block. She needs some help with sharp turns and getting started. So far so good. Swimming is making progress as well. She still has work to do. Reading is also improving. It will be her toughest goal.

Alexa's Goals
1. Back walkover
2. Running a 5k 

She hasn't come up with a third goal. I am hoping she will as the summer continues. Her back walkover is a big goal, but she can get them. Alexa and I have started the couch to 5k training program together. So far we are half way through week 4. Our race is scheduled for August 19th! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Farewell Preschool

After seven years of having a child in preschool/daycare the day has come where they are moving on. I cannot believe Addison preparing for kindergarten. She has spent three years in preschool at three different schools. This of course was not the plan. The school she started in was located in La Jolla where we used to live. When we moved to Carmel Valley, Addison moved to Solana Beach Presbyterian Preschool. Although the school did have a lot of benefits to it, it was not the best fit for Addison. We decided for her last year of preschool she would move to Horizon Prep. We felt Horizon gave her more opportunities for growth and will give her the extra help to get her ready for kindergarten at our accelerated elementary school. 

During this last year, Addison has grown so much. She has matured beyond what I thought was possible for her. She enjoys Spanish class, music class, eating lunch at school (this is new) and then moving into a full day schedule. She spent about 5 and a half hours a day at school. This has been great for both of us.Her personality has come out in the last few months. She is quite the leader and enjoys on stage. Her enrichment teachers always give us great reviews on her behavior. Her Spanish teacher told us that Addison has a heart for the Lord. I truly feel Addison is ready to start kindergarten in a few months. If anyone is not ready, it's this Momma. SO proud of where our peanut is going in life. 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Field Trips

As most things in the girls lives, they both had field trips the same week. Addison's was first. It was to Helen Woodward. It is conveniently located right next store to the preschool. Addison always wants to visit the animals and knew her school would be going at some point during the year. The day of the field trip arrived and Addison was very excited. Her class walked over to the animal center. They were able to see a bunny, miniature horse and parrot. Addison enjoyed holding the parrot but the bunny was her favorite part. It was a cute introduction to what field trips will be like next year.

Alexa's field trip was the second day. I was chosen to join her class on the field trip. It started out as they usually do on the bus. Each parent was assigned 4 kids to keep track of. After a science lesson we were given full range of the museum. Keeping tabs on 4 kids who have 4 different ideas of where they should go was quite the challenge. Alexa and I enjoyed some time together but also with the group. At one point I could not find Alexa. She ended up finding a book and went behind an exhibit to read. After the museum we all ate lunch around the fountain. I am grateful I was able to go and that Alexa still enjoys me doing things with me.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Father Daughter Dances

Both Addison and Alexa's schools had father daughter dances around Valentine's day. Addison's was first. Leading up to the dance Addison was unsure what a dance was. She was thinking Justin was going to be attending ballet class with her. We tried explaining it in terms of a wedding reception, like a party. She was insisting she was not going to a wedding with Dad. Luckily when the time came she was pleasantly surprised. She picked out her dress with Grammie. I think it was the perfect combination of sweet preschooler, fun dance and eloquent. She let me do her hair. It took us an hour, but it turned out great. She also wore shimmer and a little bit of make up. She felt like a princess. Justin bought her a flower plant, which she loved. We got some great pictures and off they went. According to Justin they had a great time. Addison didn't care to dance with Justin but did enjoy dancing on her own. She ran around with her friends, ate tons of sweets and fell asleep in the car on the way home. It was a successful first dance.

About 3 weeks later it was Alexa's turn. Alexa has been to several dances so she had more opinion on her dress and the events leading up to the dance. After a few attempts we found the perfect dress on amazon. It fit Alexa perfectly and was great for dancing. Unfortunately, her skin was super irritated by it. She still managed to wear it to the dance. The next few days she had some bumps but they did heal. Alexa also asked to get her hair done professionally. Since I have been getting relatively good at doing the girls hair, I was a bit offended. I swallowed my pride and took her to her favorite saloon. She ended up with a cute up-do. Her best friend Sophia was there as well. It was sweet to watch them enjoy the milestone together. Alexa's hair dresser asked if she could add glitter. I said sure, then it was going to be sprinkled on. Nope... she ended up with streaks of blue in her hair. Oh well! After hair we came back home to get her ready. She also choose some shimmer and make up. Justin ordered her a corsage to wear. Unfortunately it was huge so we returned it for some pink baby roses. At the dance Alexa was with her group of friends. They had dinner, danced and partied until 8:30pm. Alexa came home smiling.

Both dances were a great bonding evening for Justin with the girls. This Momma enjoys getting them ready but wishes I could join the fun.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Family Vacation

In September I came up with the idea of our family traveling for "Ski Week." My original thought was to fly to Cabo for the week. After doing some research I decided it would be too pricey to get four airfare tickets. I then moved on to look at cruises. As the goal was to go somewhere warm and also allow the girls to leave the country for the first time. So within 24 hours we had a cruise booked. Addison was envisioning sleeping on a fishing boat. She finally settled on the idea of the boat being as big as a hotel. The other thing we discussed was the water slide height requirement is 42''. Addison was 39'' at the time.

Fast forward to mid February. Addison is now 41 1/2 inches tall. She was becoming hopeful about making it onto the water slide. We drove to Long Beach early Saturday morning. Once we got on the boat we were all very excited. Endless ice cream, kids club and more to do then they could possible do in a week.

The first two port days were in Cabo. Both girls enjoyed everyone walking the beach trying to get them to buy whatever souvenir or service they were selling. Both girls decided to get their hair braided. I was pushing for this since it's something I did when I was a kid on a cruise. Addison also chose to get a henna tattoo and a mermaid fridge magnet. Alexa opted for a dophin that floats in a cup. The second day in Cabo we had lunch at a restaurant on the beach. Justin was picked to be in a drinking contest. He had to take a shot, chug a beer and then run around a pole 10 times at the beach. Lets just say it wasn't our proudest parenting moment. Addison also started getting sick in Cabo. We found a pharmacy and bought her some meds. It was an adventure reading the medicine boxes in Spanish.

After Cabo we went to Puerto Vallerta. We had an excursion booked for that day. We took a boat ride to a private beach. They serviced us lunch then we had access to ham micks, water sports and animals for pictures. The girls had the option of an adventure park. They both of course wanted to do it. We first had to pull them on donkeys up a hill. It was a fun experience but pretty dangerous when looking back. Once we made it to the top of the hill the girls ziplined down the hill. It was probably one of the highlights of the week.

The last two days on the boat where busy. The girls mostly wanted to hang out in kids club. Justin and I took full advantage of this and went to the spa. (Looking back weeks later this was a poor choice. I ended up with bronchitis and possibly pneumonia) We also all did animal towel making class and the life size sorry game. Justin and I were selected to play bocce ball. We won our first game but lost our second. In the evenings Justin and I went to the different music shows and comedy clubs. The girls were never ready to leave kids club. Addison fell asleep in there a few times but Alexa was always with her group of girl friends.

We were all sad for our cruise to be over. Maybe 10 or 14 day next time?

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Sports and more

Once again the girls were eager to rejoin as many activities as I would let them. Alexa tried out and made competitive soccer. It was a fun surprise. Alexa works hard but it very new to the sport. Competitive soccer is quite the commitment. She has practice twice a week, indoor games on Sundays and tournaments about once a month. In the fall the will play regular season games on the weekends. Alexa is still continuing piano. She just had her third recital. She seems to enjoy it for the most part. After another few months she will know enough to switch to a new instrument if she choices. She is also in gymnastics as a strength sport. And of course she is still doing AWANA with the family.

Addison is showing a real talent for sports. She has become quite strong (mostly a good thing) and is getting fast. We decided to move her back to a competitive gym for gymnastics class. After just a few months she has made a lot of progress. She is also asking to go back to soccer. She is signed up to play for Alexa's soccer club on their recreational league in August. We are officially a soccer family. Addison loves AWANA the most. She has made friends and loves her teachers. She thrives in that sort of environment. Our church program goes through 4th grade. Justin and I both volunteer in SPARKS (1-2 grade) this year. Next year, Addison asked if I would be in her group. I cannot wait.