Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Saben's first bike ride - 4yrs 2 mos old

First of all, I missed getting pictures of Saben's very first ride on a pedal bike with no training wheels because I didn't even bring the camera. I honestly didn't think he'd really get that far because he was whining about not wanting to do it. Obviously I was quite wrong.

We adjusted the seat and he pretty much just rode off down the hill. It was insane. Kyle just barely helped him back up the hill to home by pushing his hand on Saben's back when he struggled to get the pedaling strength. He mostly did it all by himself.

After a whopping 20 minutes of practice, he was riding through this mud puddle, no problem, not putting his feet down at all. Seriously, i was in shock. He was turning, pedaling through bumps, having a ball. Honest, he has never pedaled a bike without training wheels until this evening.

We are so extremely proud and excited for him.
I have to add that riding a glider bike is what taught him the balance & skills to just hop on a bike like that. He's been riding this one for two months and had a different one for part of last summer. He's ridden it up to 2 miles (to town & back easily), takes it down 5 ft. dirt jumps (just rides down the big dirt hill) and can do almost anything he wants on it. Uphill, downhill, it really gave him the confidence that he can ride & balance on a bike.
After our experience, it seems almost criminal to put a kid through the torture of training wheels. Seriously, go buy your kid some sort of glider or take the pedals & training wheels off the one you already had. The gliders are generally extremely lightweight, which makes them easy to get uphills, so I think they're worth the money instead of just taking pedals off a heavy one. Just make sure they learn to pedal on a tricycle or something and they should be ready to go.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Anniversary Weekend

This year, for the first time in 8 years, we stayed home for our anniversary. Scratch that...we've stayed home 2x before - when we went to Egypt a month before our anniversary and last year when we traveled to Hawaii and then Italy. (I can't believe now that we did both trips in one year. crazy) But this is the first time we've chosen to stay home but still do something special.... Usually we take a nice long weekend away someplace not to far away like portland, the methow valley, vancouver island, etc.

My parents took the kids Friday night until Monday morning and let me tell you, I really needed the break. It was so nice to just be calm for two whole days and do whatever we wanted. I love my children dearly, but the peace of no screaming, no fighting, no chattering, no was heavenly.

The best bit was that I was able to clean & organize the house Friday because there was hardly any packing or planning to do. And it was so motivating to know that my cleaning was going to last TWO ENTIRE DAYS. I love that.

So friday we put the kids to bed at my parent's house and then drove home late when my parents got home.

Saturday morning we got up whenever we felt like it (ah.....) and then walked downtown for breakfast at old town cafe. Another nice perk of staying home is that you already know your favorite restaurants and don't feel guilty spending the money because you aren't paying for a hotel. I highly recommend it.

After breakfast we went out for my first time kayaking in puget sound - something I've always wanted to do. We borrowed the kayaks, strapped them onto a borrowed truck, grabbed sandwiches at old world deli and launched near the fairhaven ferry dock. The water was calm which is amazing luck since I throw up at the slightest wave. A kid & his dad came flying past me in their double kayak, but stopped long enough to point out that I was paddling completely wrong. Dang.

Along the way, we passed some small rock islands covered in seals. I paddled towards them but they succeeded in intimidating me. What if seals were notorious for tipping over kayaks and I just hadn't heard? They certainly had the aggressive glaring down....We admired them from afar and my fantasy of paddling with a smiling seal swimming alongside vanished. Almost.

We headed south all the way to Chuckanut Island, ran around a bit on the island and then headed back. Going back was painful and felt about 4x longer than the trip out. We rounded at least 4 different points that I thought were the last one before the launch dock finally came into sight.

In the evening, we did a couple more things that we NEVER EVER get to do. We rode bikes downtown, chowed some carne asada burritos at Casa and then rode to some friends' house who have kids our age (the kids were in bed already) for late evening drinks. awesome. So fun to be the ones out & about with no kids.

Sunday...slept in again, breakfast at Avenue Bread. Seriously, what is with that place? It is like they are so cool, they don't have to have decent service. We got our pastries, kyle got his cooked-to-order breakfast sandwich and then we waited ten more minutes for our tea & latte. Ridiculous. (But I only get that attitude at the fairhaven one, the rest are much better.)

Did a little shopping & kyle helped me pick out a dress to wear to summer weddings because he is such a sweet & patient guy. I think it nearly killed him. We were physically tired from kayaking and it was warm & sunny so.... we decided to come home & wash our cars. Weird, I know. But we NEVER wash our cars and it sounded sort of fun, lots of water to cool us down, etc. But of course kyle got freaky about the whole thing and ended up completely detailing his car from top to bottom so I had plenty of time to finish Eclipse finally and then do some gardening. So nice.

Sunday night we finally went to Prospect Street Cafe, which is absolutely our favorite place in town. We walked again (kids really make you appreciate the freedom of taking long walks together) and had a nice long dinner.

So seriously, staying home was the most fun ever. It was so relaxing and I loved having the house clean, not much unpacking to do, low stress nature of it. The kids came home at 11am Monday so I even got to go grocery shopping before they arrived.

The ironic part of all this is that we are also doing a weekend in Seattle - I realized it would be super awesome & convenient if Kyle's parents watched the kids the weekend of a wedding we are going to (in Seattle) and then I was able to book the westin for super super cheap. woo hoo! Since those are our only vacations planned (so far) this year without the kids, I didn't feel super guilty.

But then...On Monday my friend emailed me about tickets she found to Madrid for $388. And I could get one at that exact, insanely cheap price, for immediately after Kyle's bike show in Germany. He'd just have to meet me there two days after the show. What to do, what to do.....

Lastly, in case you haven't noticed, we have the most amazing parents ever. I am so very grateful, from the bottom of my heart, that both sets of parents love our kids and are willing to invest their time and energy in relationships with our children. Not only that, they are willing to watch them for us so that we can get breaks and strengthen our husband/wife relationship. It is one of the best gift I've ever recieved. (and I'm not just saying that cause I want to go to madrid.)
: )
This made my morning...a kids album by the Presidents of the United States of America frontman, Chris Ballew. You can preview the entire album on the website. Thanks Todd & Betsy! I can't wait to listen to more great kids albums that I am sure you'll unearth. : )

We had a most fabulous weekend celebrating our anniversary by staying home without the kids. I really really want to write about it soon, but between the garden, basement projects & fun park dates it might take a day or two. Or maybe I'll do it this afternoon if it rains.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This weekend annika was running down a hill FAST and suddenly tripped and fell. This is nothing new, but when she stood up, her leg kept buckling under her. We tried to pick her up, but she wanted to keep running. But then her leg would buckle and down she went tilll we forced her, screaming, into the stroller.

Seriously, is this a second child thing? Impervious to pain? She limped the rest of the evening, but no swelling and was fine the next morning. Sheesh.
How do you teach a child that there is a direct correlation between the painfulness getting your hair brushed and running your gooey food covered hands through your locks at dinner time (rice dreads), lunch time (jelly gel) and breakfast (cornflake mats)?