Monday, March 27, 2017

Kidfree Staycation

I remember after Ez was born it was a long, loonnnggg time before Joe and I took a date night. And even longer before we spent a night away from him. All that first baby stuff about how we didn't want to let him out of our sight and we genuinely just wanted to spend all our time together as a family. Fast forward to having an almost 2 year old and an almost 4 year old and we'll take any chance for alone time that we can get. My parents and brothers were kind enough to watch the kiddos this weekend despite the fact that nearly every time they do Declan brings some kind of death illness into their house. Everyone was healthy this time around so knock on wood we finally broke that curse. Thanks Gangy, Grampa, and the uncles!

Joe and I opted for a mini staycation and decided to explore Sacramento without worrying about strollers and naptimes and carrying around a bag full of snacks at all times. After nearly four years doing this parenting gig I've kinda forgotten how light it is to travel without kids. We actually had a free hand to carry around Starbucks. #itsthelittlethings

We dropped Ez and Declan off around noon on Saturday and then came the big question: Now what?? 

We didn't have a plan but we were determined to do stuff that we wouldn't be able to do with two crazy, rascally toddlers in two. So first things first we headed straight downtown for a caffeine pick me up at a cute little cafe with homemade coconut macadamia milk. So, SO delicious. And we actually sat down and drank out of real, breakable cups. 

The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering around enjoying all the random art scattered around Sacramento, venturing into shops with tons of breakable items that we'd normally steer clear of (hello BevMo's 5 cent wine sale!!), eating at restaurants without kid's menus, and stopping to smell (and photograph) all the beautiful spring flowers. 

We also stopped by the Leland Stanford Mansion, built in the 1850s and full of tons of cool history - and breakable items. Sacramento has so many beautiful old Victorian era homes and I've always wondered what the insides looked like. This was our chance to finally wander around one and check it out. Not only was the home restored as close to its original state as possible, but it actually still had most of the original furniture as well. It was just like stepping back into the 1800s and it gave us a fun glimpse into the past. 

We capped off our evening with cupcakes, wine, and a Netflix movie. A perfectly relaxing end to a perfect day.

By Sunday we were well rested, the house was in a rarely seen state of organization, and we were so ready to hug our babies. There's nothing like a kid free day, but the reunion is always the sweetest part. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tourists in Our Town

For no good reason at all I've been on an unintentional blogging break. Maybe it's burnout from the move? Or laziness because now that blogger and my phone no longer get along I have to actually get out my laptop when I want to blog? Or maybe I've just been reacquainting myself with my bookworm side and have had a lucky string of really good books that have kept me captive. (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet, The Things They Carried, and Some Luck if you happen to be looking for really old book recs).

Joe has been dropping not so subtle hints along the lines of "why do I even check your blog anymore?" which have escalated to "I'm going to unbookmark the blog because you never put anything new up there," so, just for my number one fan, here's a little update on life lately in our new hometown.

When it hasn't been raining in record proportions we've been out and about exploring our new surroundings. On a cold, cloudy day we decided on a whim to visit the Sacramento Zoo, and thanks to the weather we were among the very few people wandering around that day. Cold cloudy days are the BEST zoo days. The crowds are gone and the animals are out. Not only did we see the normally elusive big cats (my fave), but the giraffes put on quite a show for us, sprinting back and forth several times for no apparent reason. I'm not sure if you've ever seen giraffes run in person, but they're a gangly uncoordinated mess and it looks like their long legs are going to get tangled up pretzel style. Check out the video below if my description is lacking ;)

Declan was completely into the whole zoo experience, pointing and yelling at the animals, stomping any puddles he could find, and trying to chase down the train every time it passed by. Ez gave us precisely 2.5 seconds at each exhibit before he demanded we go. Then, as we finally left for real he exclaimed, in all seriousness, "Well that was fun!" Ummm...really? Toddlers will forever be a mystery to me.

One of the first orders of business after the move was to get ourselves a library card. Well, after those other pesky tasks like unpacking, stocking the fridge, getting cable set know, the boring stuff. And I'm very pleased to report that the downtown Sacramento Library does not disappoint. You can always tell a good library by the kids' area, and this one had the best setup I've ever seen. A whole floor all to themselves with a craft corner, an entire wall of toys, that felt board that Ez was obsessed with, and tons of other toys and books. The boys were completely entertained by it all while I got myself a huge stack of books.

And then storytime began.

I'm not sure why, but my kids seem to think storytime is a traumatic experience on the same level as shots at the doctor's office. They love reading books at home, just not at the library. I've tried and tried to make them like it. I have fantasies of us all going to storytime and having a wonderful, magical time. But the reality is that Ez immediately starts whining to leave and Declan starts bolting around the room knocking books off shelves or trying to escape. It's just not happening. So we took the hint and left. The important thing is I got my books ;)

Grandma Kat came up for a visit and we decided to take the opportunity to visit Fairytale Land, a little play area aimed at kids around Ez's age. There were a few farm animals to look at, a playground, some crazy steep and twisty slides that may have traumatized Declan forever, and some other smaller structures for the kids to climb all over. They had a good time but Joe and I aren't convinced it's any better than our neighborhood park so I'm not sure we'll be back.

And of course we wouldn't be real Sacramento tourists if we didn't stop by Old Town. This is probably Ez's favorite spot because of the trains. At first we were fooled into thinking he wanted to see the old trains parked on the tracks there, but it turns out what he really means when he asks to go see trains is to go to the toy store with an elaborate model train setup. And then talk us into buying a toy. Sneaky boy. 

As promised, here are those crazy giraffes:

If you made it this far, thanks for not giving up completely on the blog! I know I have some emails to return and I'm sorry for the delay. I LOVE reading your comments so expect replies shortly. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Moment in Time

Every now and then Joe gives me a list of things I should record in this little ol' blog here so we don't forget it, which is usually my not so subtle reminder that it's been a while since I've done a life lately post. Like the way Ez is obsessed with reciting both Little Blue Truck books by heart or how Declan has to get down and dance anytime there is a snippet of music playing. They both seem like completely different people compared to even just a few months ago and I want to remember every crazy little thing they do. Declan is developing into a little jokester goofball who will do pretty much anything for a laugh. Ez is getting to that (mostly) fun age where he says crazy things out of nowhere and cracks Joe and me up. They're each at the perfect age to interact and play with each other and they're really starting to get the hang of this whole "having a brother" thing.

Family Life Lately
We are so, so, so blessed that Joe gets to work from home now. It's been the best thing for our family and Ez and Declan are on cloud 9 having Daddy time all throughout the day. Ez has switched over to becoming a total daddy's boy in the last few weeks and I'm basically chopped liver now. He just shadows Joe all day saying, "look at this Daddy," and when I try to chime in he'll repeat again, "look at this, Daddy." Ok, point taken kid. That being said, Joe working from home goes a little something like this:

Sitting on toys with a basketball bouncing off his head while on his laptop pretty much sums it up. Not sure how he pulls it off, but somehow he does.

In the evening we're all about family walks, or just running laps through the house over and over and over till everyone passes out from exhaustion. Well, when we don't all have a nasty flu, anyway. It's becoming very apparent that I live in a house full of boys because roughhousing is pretty much everyone's favorite pastime. Except mine. Apparently I don't have that gene that likes wrestling. Thankfully that's where daddy comes in.

Ez Lately
Moving to a house with a backyard is basically like Christmas and birthdays all rolled into one. Ez wakes up and the first thing he says is, "Wanna play in the backyard?" Clearly we've been depriving him and he's making up for lost time. Laying face down, elbow deep in the dirt is his happy place. He's my little earth worm. And after a nice long digging and rock collecting session he'll come in with his mud-streaked face and say "that was so much fun!" which makes all the extra laundry so worth it.

When he's not outside he's either asking if he can use "his" ipad, or eating. Seriously, that kid wants to eat every 30 minutes like clockwork. Apples are still the snack of choice and I have to cut him off or he'd eat a tree's worth every day. Also, it's a pretty good sign that my kid has seen one too many Youtube videos when he starts telling us, "Thanks for watching! Please subscribe." We've pretty much got a locked in subscription for the next 15 years or so... ;) Also thanks to Youtube Ez is basically a nonstop jukebox of nursery rhymes and songs. "Brother finger brother finger where are you? Here I am, here I am, how do you do?" is the current soundtrack of my life.

Despite the great upsides of our new place, there was definitely a turbulent little period when all the recent change caught up with Ez and he was basically a storm of emotions all throughout the day. When he's happy and excited he's the most bouncy exuberant little being you've ever met, but when he's pissed he's PISSED. Not sure if it's the move, a growth spurt, his age, or what...but it's a little hard to keep up with. I could do a whole post on "reasons my son is crying" and it would go something along the lines of: he asked to watch monster trucks so I turned on monster trucks; he asked for pink yogurt but all we had was blue yogurt; he wanted the yellow (box) mac & cheese not the blue one I gave him; he wants to play with the one missing toy instead of the 3,574 toys already strewn across the floor; the apple I gave him was "too big".... I think you get the idea.

Declan Lately
Declan is in that adorable gibberish stage and I really really wish I knew what he was trying to say. His made up language sounds like a cross between Arabic and Russian and there are certain sounds he'll repeat daily but I have no idea what they could possible mean. If anyone can translate Ah Shaka Doh for me, that'd be great, thanks. He likes to yell that at me periodically and for now I can only assume it means something along the lines of "bring me food, woman!" His English vocabulary has also grown a lot lately. "Doh!" (go or no), "Ca-kwa" (crackers), "wawawa" (water), "ba" (milk/bottle), "Ga doh?" (get down), Toooo!!! (Tootles - usually followed by a piercing scream) "dadada" (Dada). No mama yet though :(

He's forever my rambunctious troublemaker and whenever he gets caught redhanded doing something he shouldn't be he tilts his head to one side and sidles away without making eye contact, like if he can't see you, you can't see him. Some of his trouble making specialties include: dumping any glass of water he can find all over the floor. Splashing in the toilet. Typing on Joe's laptop the second it's unattended. Turning off the wifi. Storing bits of food in his toy garbage truck and then pulling them out for a snack later.

He does this wonky back and forth run like a little drunken sailor when he's trying to be silly and get a laugh out of us. His favorite perch is on the stairs landing where he can look down on the family room and watch whatever's on TV from his own private viewing box. Joe and I will be sitting at the table and all of a sudden this little blur of a boy goes running past full speed on his way to the stairs like he's on a mission. And speaking of running, running off and leaving us in the dust is becoming a pattern with him. Like that time he ran behind the bar at Outback and scared the crap out of me. He has the opposite of survival skills. If there's danger within a four mile radius he's automatically drawn to it. He just can't help himself. Gives whole new meaning to this meme:
Except there's a good chance I haven't showered...
Ez and Declan are at the stage where they actually share a few common interests and watching them interact is my favorite parenting experience. Declan is loving monster trucks and motorcycles and all things with wheels and he'll roll them all over the house (like literally, up the walls and everything) and then when he's done he'll walk over and hand them to his brother and stand there gesturing and talking his rapid jibberish. Ez has no idea how to react and usually stares at me baffled until I cue him to say "thank you Declan" which he repeats in his little voice and Declan seems satisfies and wanders off to find another toy to share with his brother. Cutest thing ever. Bath time is another bonding experience for them. Splashing water within a 12 foot radius never fails to get laughs out of both of them. Chasing each other in circles around the house. Building, and more importantly, destroying block towers. Ransacking and hiding in mommy's closet. I was shocked that they were able to sit quietly side by side in my closet trying not to get caught. Who knew they could be silent for minutes at a time?? Stealing each other's toys and then tattling on each other... All the normal brotherly stuff ;)

And in case you're not convinced, here are several more glimpses into the crazy I deal with on a daily basis. (Thank you YouTube for turning one of my clips upside down...):