Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Princess Dilema

It is official. Annika would sell her soul for a princess. Particularly, anything - anything at all - that has the disney princesses on it.

She's been saying "princess" for about a month now, but only in the last two weeks has she started shrieking "PRINCESSSSS!!!!!" every...single...time....that she sees one in the store. And I bet you never noticed (unless you have a daughter) - PRINCESSES ARE EVERYWHERE. They surround us.

Princesses stand for everything I don't like in life. Ok, that's a bit extreme, but relatively true statement. Let's try again.

I don't like princesses. I hate how they portray unrealistic beauty, I hate how they are helpless, I hate how ridiculous the romance with a prince is, and I hate how skinny their little waists are. If I could do exactly what I wanted with no consequences, my daughter would never see a princess and especially a princess movie her entire life. (ogre, I know)

BUT, I've always said "I won't encourage princesses, but if my daughter is into princesses and barbies, I won't forbid them". Because I know all about the allures of forbidden fruit. And they snuck into our house via birthdays - because I didn't want to be psychotic about it and never told anyone I didn't like them. (I promise, promise, PROMISE, I am not angry if you gave my child a princess. Promise.)

Unfortunately, two year olds LOVE branded characters. Saben loved Thomas the Train at this age. But somehow boys are offered a hardworking train to admire, while girls are offered helpless beautiful damsels. And more than anything, more than I even hate BRATZ dolls, I HATE how...commercialism? the media? THE MAN? gets to choose what my child will be into. By plastering those stupid smug faces on absolutely everything. What two year old isn't going to be excited to see someone she recognizes on everything from toothbrushes to pillows? It is such glorious fun having someone you recognize on all your stuff.

So I've given up. I will get her the princesses because her joy in them is beautiful. I know a couple princesses won't ruin her forever. Saben stopped liking Thomas, so maybe she'll outgrow the princess phase too? (of course he never got into superheroes either - an entirely different blog post altogether)

Did I mention that she wants to wear her princess nightgown each and every night? She squeals and dances around everytime I pull it out. Who am I to deny my child's happiness? Even if it does make me gag a little everytime I look at their stupid little starry eyed faces and teeny waists.

First Family Camping Trip

It's been quite the summer, the busiest one I have ever had, but so many wonderful times & great family memories created. I am going to work super hard to get caught up here on the blog because there are so many things I just don't want to forget!

So way back at the end of July, we went car camping on San Juan Island together as a family for the very first time. The campground was absolutely gorgeous, situated on the east side of the island where we could watch the sunset over the water & behind Vancouver Island.

We arrived late afternoon via the ferry. Even though the Islands are close, the trip ends up taking several hours because you have to get there so early to catch the boat you want. We had fun waiting though and ran around on the beach with Roxxy. When we got off in Friday Harbor, we ran down to the docks & bought ourselves 2 live crabs to cook for dinner. Because what says "camping" more than fresh crab? I know, not normal, but I will say it was easy, low clean up and nothing beats cracking crab while watching the sunset....

Of course the kids immediately started playing in the dirt. Very normal.
I seriously can't believe it, but I didn't take a single picture of our campsite or the campground. Anyways, 1/2 way through our delicious crab, the sun was about to set so we all ran down to the beach to watch. It was glorious. We put the kids to bed in our giant tent and then finished our crab by lantern light.

Kyle is super cautious about leaving food out in camp and I sort of got annoyed because he kept putting everything that I needed away. How many couples do you know that fight because the husband is too tidy? Well now you know one. I'd go for a knife and it would be washed & in the car. Chips? Buried in a tub that I have to unpack.

Anyways, my point is....about 1 am the first night we hear this racket outside and Kyle immediately thinks it must be our cooler - the only thing we left out. He goes outside and finds out its not our cooler, but these black foxes that are breaking into our neighbors stuff. So thank goodness for tidy hubby.

We also kept waking up because Annika was rolling all over and not staying in her sleeping bag or on the pad we put down. So she'd start crying because she was cold, we'd wake up and have to get her covered again.

The next morning was freezing. It had been 95 degrees in our house when I was packing, heat records were being broken all over the state. It was only supposed to cool a bit that weekend - into the low 90's for seattle. So it seemed absolutely insane to pack pants or sweatshirts. I mean, I hadn't worn either one for weeks. Bad idea, I was sooo cold and so were the kids. This fog rolled in, a breeze was blowing away our breakfast and so we loaded the car and went into town to escape into warm stores & look for some cheap warm clothes.

Annika had a breakdown as soon as we arrived in town, I did not find any cheap warm clothes and we barely survived until lunch. Annika napped on the way back to camp, the sun came out and we were much happier campers by late afternoon.

I was relaxing in the sun reading a magazine when I suddenly realized there were crowds of people down on the beach - ORCAS! I squealed and ran down with Saben - he was interested for about 3 minutes while I ooohed and ahhhed for a good 30 minutes as they slowly faded from site.

That night, our friends arrived to share our campsite. They have two girls, one who is Sabens age & one who is older. They had so much fun the next couple days, exploring, playing in the dirt, walking roxxy, etc.

That night we made our first Jiffy Pop and took it down to the water to watch the sunset again. We watched divers enter the water for a night dive and the kids climbed around & jumped off a giant log that was there. Divine.

That night went much the same way - Annika waking outside her sleeping bag, scootching all over the tent in her sleep. We had no idea what to do with her. Then at 6:30am our neighbors who'd ridden in on a LOUD Harley decided to warm their bike up before heading out. TEN MINUTES of a super loud Harley puttering away, then them riding out of camp. I'm sure the entire campground woke up.

Later I was complaining about it and our friend says "well, I figure it doesn't matter, I mean, sometimes our kids are really noisy & that probably annoys people too. It just happens." I replied that "Well, if I thought my kid was going to wake everyone up by crying or screaming, I wouldn't even risk coming camping". Please. Do not ever say anything like that to anybody. You will be sorry. Read on....

We headed out to American camp in the morning and once again it was pretty foggy, but a lot warmer. We had an amazing beach all to ourselves and spent hours exploring it.

I love how Allison just assumed she would be part of our picture when we asked her Dad to take one for us. So cute. We took 15 pics at least and never got a decent one of both kids. oh well.

When we got to the beach, Annika insisted on putting on her swimsuit. She quickly figured out it was too cold to swim, but wouldn't change back.

Saben & Allison spent a lot of time "building" this fort that was already there. They would take sticks and wedge them in or lay them on top....

As the afternoon wore on, it was clear the Annika was exhausted. (I mistyped that, but I can't bring myself to change "The" to "That". "The Annika" is so perfect....)

Went back to camp, Annika napped while our friends went kayaking. The whales showed up again and I took all the big kids down to see them. We stayed & played on the beach in the sun and it was relaxing & wonderful.

That night we decided to take a risk and try going to Roche Harbor for dinner. We had no idea what sort of restaurant was there or if they'd be appropriate for kids. It was late, we were all hungry - very risky. Amazingly, there was only one restaurant and it was absolutely perfect. They were super busy but happened to have a table for six open on the balcony overlooking the marina. Beautiful. Our food took forever, but it was still perfect.

Then...Saturday night. Annika was still having trouble sleeping and woke up sort of screaming/crying at about 4am. It took us a couple minutes to get her calmed down and she managed to wake our friends & their kids. I felt awful.

At about 8:30 am, Annika woke up and immediately completely lost it. Crying, screaming, shrieking - I had no idea what was going on or what was wrong with her. We tried everything - offering her food, getting her dressed warmly, but she was in complete hysterics. I couldn't even get her diaper changed, she was writhing and screaming so violently.

At this point the whole camp was pretty much awake anyways (before she started screaming) and we just were trying to make sure there was nothing wrong with her. Unfortunately the only people still in their tents were our neighbors, but I kept hoping maybe they were out somewhere else.....

She calmed down when we left her alone for a few minutes and we thought we were through. But as soon as I went back in to offer her breakfast, she lost it again. So I decided to take her down to the water for distraction and to get her away from everyone having to listen to her. As we were walking and she is screaming & writhing out of my arms, I realized we needed to get her in the car & out of the campground.

Of course, right at this moment a man walks up and I literally thought he might have some clue why my precious girl had suddenly gone beserk and offer me helpful advice. I was so upset at this point. Instead he goes "I know you don't want to hear this, but when my kids did this at a campground, we put them in the car and left so that no one else had to listen to them."

I of course broke down into tears. Because really, I was trying to get her away from everyone and the only reason I didn't stick her immediately in the car is because I didn't know what was wrong with her. And we needed to get dressed first. So I learned my lessons (1) 3 nights of poor sleep does not work for Annika at this point (2) Next time just stick her in the car, because ultimately, that is what calmed her down (3) Never complain about a loud harley again, you never know when you will be the one annoying the entire campground.

Angel or demon? (taken about 30 minutes after she calmed down)

All in all, it was a super fun trip and I LOVE the San Juans. I want to go there every year really.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

he's getting hilarious...

Saben: Mommy, I know something that no one else knows about.
Mommy: What is that Saben?
S: I can't tell you
M: Please?
S: Well, I think that when you die, there will be cowboys.
M: Really? You mean in heaven?
S: No, not in heaven. When we come back to Earth. There will be cowboys here.
M: Why do you think that?
S: Well there used to be cowboys and now there aren't any, so they will be here when we come back I think.

Next day...
S: Mommy, I know how to keep monster trucks from driving on top of our car and smashing it.
M: Oh? How do you do that?
S: Just don't get in any accidents. Monster trucks only drive on top of cars that were in accidents.

Obviously someone was explaining (I think it was me actually, but a long time ago) that monster trucks only drive on top of cars that are junked up - ie. in accidents. I love the visual of getting in an accident and suddenly a monster truck appears to drive on top of your car. Run!!! heh heh.

finish line

Kyle has been in Europe for two weeks and today is our final day alone.

The dream: Annika takes a long nap in the afternoon, grab some coffee & cookie for the kids, go to the park for a walk, maybe fly our kites, stop by the store for some groceries & a fun $5 toy for each kid, get take-out on the way home, early bedtime, kyle home by 10pm.

Reality: Annika falls asleep in the car at 10am and only sleeps for an hour. There goes naptime in the afternoon - for the third day in a row. Ugh.

Go to starbucks for our coffee & cookie - Saben won't eat his half because it has yellow raisins in it. Annika enjoys the entire cookie herself.

Arrive at the park and it is really windy. Grab the kites, head to the beach, put my latte down....
Huge gust of wind, Annika starts SHRIEKING, kites are tangling, Saben's kite is about to lift him in the air, latte spills (I had about 6 sips of the entire thing - the rest into the sand). Boo!

Annika is still crying, kites still trying to escape, put the kites away, Annika is STILL CRYING. Everytime the wind blows at all she bursts into tears, screams if it gusts and clings to me like a bear is chasing her. Decide to leave the park.

Arrive at the store, put the kids into one of those "car" shopping carts. Its the only one and I have to literally lean my weight into it to even get it moving. Choice: Push & shove the broken cart around the store or take Annika back out into the windy parking lot to find a better one. Choose to use my muscles & haul the stupid thing through the store. The cart is definitely broken, by the time our trip is done, my arms ache & I am sweating.

Go to get the $5 toys I had in mind - they are out of the little lego kit Saben has been wanting forever. Of course they have a similar big one for $12. I cave & get it.

Get home & swear to not leave the house again until Kyle gets home. Except maybe for some thai takeout tonite. Why are the last days of Kyle's trips always the hardest?