Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Emily's 4th birthday

I'm going to try to back track a little to remember a few of the important things over the past couple of months. Emily turned four August 8th about a week after we arrived to San Francisco. We had her birthday party Saturday July 27th in Louisville before we moved. It was difficult to plan a party and her gifts while also packing, finalizing the details for the move to SF, and getting everything wrapped up for the sale of our home. I look back now and I don't know how I didn't have a complete mental breakdown! Somehow it all got done which was nothing short of miraculous. Of course I wish I could have added a few more special details to her party, but I did my best considering the circumstances.

We decided to have a party at Lakeside Swim Club with our family. Dinkney and Poppy, Nan and Pop, and Stephen, Becca, Cooper and Maddie attended. Laura and Will were on the mission field and Jen and Ed were driving back to NC that day. Wish it would have worked out that Jen, Ed, and EB could have been there, too since they had just been in town, but this Saturday was the only time that worked for everyone else. (We had a hi/bye Party at Nancy and Don's the previous weekend.) I was looking forward to showing my brother and his family Lakeside for the first time. I knew the kids would love it. Unfortunately, it rained on and off during her party. :( There was NO ONE there except for our family. Luckily, our tables were sheltered from the rain, but it was a cool, cloudy July day and I was disappointed that it didn't work out for everyone to swim. Well, the kids played a little in the kiddie pool, but it wasn't as I had hoped. Oh well.

We ordered pizzas for the party and also had fruit platter, drinks, and cake. I LOVED her cute little Barbie doll dress cake. Funny story about the cake: a few weeks prior to her party, Emily saw a demo doll cake at Heitzman Bakery. Well, she just HAD to have it! She wanted to walk out of the store with it that day! There were tears shed and I tried to encourage her that the demo cake was old and wouldn't tasted good. We could order one for her birthday. She must have asked about the cake a dozen times! She was very particular about what she wanted right down to the type of doll and the color of the dress! I was so happy to see her eyes light up when we FINALLY able to get her the special cake she had asked about for weeks.

Our family was very generous and Emily got lots of nice presents. Jeremy and I gave her a Trek Mystic bike for her birthday. It is mint green and pink with a sweet little basket and ribbons. She loved it and was so happy. She learned to balance on her Strider balance bike really well this past year; however, we decided to leave on the bike training wheels to make sure she understood how to do the brakes and steering first. Since moving, we haven't had a chance to take off the training wheels and work with her on the balancing. I'm really in no hurry since she just turned four. She still likes to use the balance bike occasionally, but prefers her big girl bike best. And now she also is begging for a scooter!

After the pool party, Nan and Pop, and Stephen, Becca and the kids came over to hang out the rest of the afternoon. It was the last time we would see them before we flew out of Louisville July 31st. The memory that I like to think about from that afternoon is little Emily and Cooper (3 yrs.) sitting together on our back porch, popsicles in hand, making each other laugh. They were so silly and giggly. Sometimes these two can fight like siblings so to see them happy together that day was really special.

Here's a few photos of the birthday girl that we took before the pizza was delivered. Dinkney and Poppy were a  bit late since they were helping send off Jen and Ed for NC. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of them with Emily. 

I took Emily in for her four year old check-up a couple of weeks ago. We are going to Alameda Pediatrics which is only about a mile from our house. She was 3 ft. 5 1/4 in. tall and weighed 38 lbs 5oz. She's in about the 75th percentile. She's grown so much in a year! I can remember when she got a bunch of new 4T pants and skirts. I was cinching up the waists as tight as I could this spring and now I've let out all of the adjustable waist bands. She's really filled out and grown tall. Sometimes when she enters a room and I first lay eyes on her, I expect to see someone four inches shorter. Her voice sounds the same, but the person I'm looking is now so much taller.

Four year old Emily has been challenging. I didn't think three years was as bad as many people made it out to be, so maybe Emily was saving up. At four, she hasn't completely given up whining. She knows that we hate it and that she will be disciplined for it so that makes it even more frustrating. You kind of expect a 2-3 yr. old to whine and when they are still doing it at four, it drives you bonkers. At four, she is SO smart and nothing gets past her. She can fixate on something like you wouldn't believe (e.g. asking about the birthday cake for weeks). She never used to whine for special things at the toy store or grocery or if she did, I could change the subject pretty easily. We've had several episodes where she has cried when I didn't get her something from a store. She throws some pretty impressive fits when she doesn't get her way. It's like she thinks, "if I can just get them to understand, they will give it to me." Hearing, "no" sometimes does not compute. So, I just send her to her room to whine and cry until she gets it out of her system. She knows that she can come out when she's done. Luckily, she doesn't throw big fits in public, but she will cry sometimes.

On the bright side, it is fun to be able to do more and more stuff with her. She can go on hikes with us and hang in there pretty well. She loves to pose for photos; she's so photogenic! Emily has a fabulous imagination. She has had a pretend friend named, Honey, for at least six months. Honey is a boy. She talks to him and they do all kinds of things together. Honey was her pretend friend before we moved, but he became a prominent member of the family after we moved. It made me sad that for the first few weeks, she didn't have anyone her own age to play with. She just had Mom and Dad, Caleb, Honey, and the occasional random playground kid. I'm relieved that we have a church and preschool where she can make real friends again.

On her actual birthday, we were in San Francisco at our temporary apartment. 

Sweet and silly Emily expressions!

Jeremy and I got her a huge cupcake, balloons and a princess "tent." 

So I packed a big "4" candle and you know what? I couldn't find it. It turned up when we moved out, of course.

She loved riding her bike on this promenade by the water which was right behind our apt.

Caleb is understandably looking hesitant and scared that big sis is holding him. Shortly after this photo, he squirmed, she dropped him and we caught him by a foot before his head hit the concrete. Thank God for Daddy reflexes!
The baby, toddler, and preschool years are going by very quickly. Next year she may be in kindergarten! This is something Jeremy and I have to pray about this year and hopefully come to peace about our decision. Technically, she can start school next year, but she would be one of the youngest in her class. (In California, you have to be five by Sept. 1st; her birthday is Aug. 8th). I'm leaning towards keeping her home with us another year, but that may change depending on how much she matures this year. I can make arguments for either choice so we will see. I don't want her to be gone from us every day, but kindergarten isn't a full day in Alameda so maybe it would be just fine. Anyway, it is something to pray about.

I'll leave with this quote from Emily:

"Mommy, I love you more than cupcakes, popsicles, and parties!"

Y'all that's a lot of love. See why I don't want her to grow up any faster?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

And I'm BACK! Well, kind of...

I'm not sure when I'll ever be able to sit down and type up a real blog post complete with photos and all, but just want to say that I'm back! Kind of. I mean I have a house and a desktop computer again and an internet connection. Right now I need to take a shower while Caleb naps and of course I need to unpack some boxes. Since my last blog post, we sold our house, said our good-byes and moved out, flew to San Francisco, moved into our temporary apartment in San Francisco, house hunted, celebrated Emily's 4th birthday, "vacationed" in San Francisco, signed a lease on a house in Alameda, started the new job at Twitter, moved out of the temporary apartment, moved into our new house, and Emily started preschool this week. Each one of those events I just mentioned could have a blog post of its own! Now, the real work begins--unpacking and trying to make this place a home. It seems unfair that the hardest part of the whole move is saved for last. I hate living in chaos and disorganization. Little by little we are making a dent in the boxes, but unless I hire a mother's helper, it will probably take a month to completely unpack, let alone decorate. Some of our furniture doesn't work well with the layout of this house. So, I also need to buy a few new pieces (e.g. a small eat-in kitchen table).

So, let me just say that we are fine. I'm not overly sad. I'm more overwhelmed than sad. I really like our island community in Alameda. I love the perfect weather. I feel sheltered here from the bigness of San Francisco, but we can be in the city in about 20 minutes in light traffic. Unfortunately Jeremy's commute is 45 min to an hour by bus and BART. However, he no longer has to spend time maintaining the yard and landscaping so that has helped him have quality time with us after work and on weekends. (Our landlords have a gardener that comes every Wednesday morning.) I do have a hard time looking at photos from home or photos of our old house, so I'm not ready to post those yet. The kids are great. Emily really ramped up playing with her pretend friend, Honey, last month. I'm glad she started preschool this week and can make some real friends. Jeremy and I both realize that we enjoy doing new things, meeting new people, living new adventures. Of course the logistics part of moving can be frustrating and overwhelming, but we regularly experience simple joys like "discovering" a new beautiful waterfront park a mile from your house or walking down the street to a wonderful cafe in your neighborhood or finding a beautifully restored old theater. These things happen regularly and it makes life interesting. I'm glad we can find these simple joys just outside our door because it is pretty crazy and messy in our house right now.

Addendum 1/7/14: Photos from our last days at our first home.

Emily's big girl room. 

We found Jeremy's old skateboard as we were packing and just had to get a photo of our cuties riding it.l

Good-bye Minoma Ave. You were a good first house.

Good-bye to our little nursery.

He looks sad to be moving, doesn't he?