Thursday, July 14, 2011

whew! busy summer!

The summer is flying by, as it tends to do - and we're busier than ever!
In June, we started a remodel at Copper Willow. We've been in our space on washington blvd. for about 1.5 years now and after some time in there, we wanted to move things around so we had more space and the space we have it being used well. So one thing led to another and we added a door, a window in the front wall, painted the floor, added retail space, furnishing, decor, and an office. Yes one thing did lead to another. And we just had our 5 year anniversary, so we're planning 2 celebratory events as well. I will need a long nap:).

The girls are enjoying the summer too in their own ways.
Audrey is wearing her super cute sun suits and little dresses and knocking everyone's socks off. I can't count the number of people who fawn over her every single day. The second they get a glance at her in the carrier or in my arms, they gush:). Such a sweet baby, or how adorable, or she's so pretty! And she is:). A very cute and pretty baby for sure. And very playful - she loves to sit (up right on her own now for a couple of weeks) and play with toys and explore and enjoy time with her sister. Laurel doesn't necessarily play with her, but sometimes next to her and hands Audrey things to examine. Audrey is not going to crawl afterall. She'll sit and play like Laurel used to, but not go anywhere until she takes off walking:). If I try to put audrey on her belly, she fusses and rolls over. Audrey is changing up her taste in food. She used to eat baby food from the jar and then came down with a cold (caught it from Laurel!) and her appetite has decreased. And she's gotten suddenly picky. She didn't want to eat from the jar anymore, so i started making my own food. I have a great food processor and started blending foods and she liked it at first and now jams her hands into her mouth and over her face so I can't get any food in her mouth. She seems to just want to eat off of our plates but she has no teeth except for those 2 from months ago - so I'm not sure how she expects to eat! But she does happily eat whatever small pieces I can tear up or mash for her. Regardless of her eating, she's growing healthily - bigger and longer than Laurel at this age. She's fitting 9 months perfectly and even some 12 month clothes are fitting just fine.

Laurel has been attending a summer camp at the neighboring rec. park. She's met some little friends and seems to enjoy it. I will be volunteering 3 times during the session to "co-op" with other parents. She mostly plays, does some crafts and games, and plays outside on the playground. All things I want her to do over the summer. We've also been playing constantly with friends. I've gotten to know a few moms from her school-year pre-school and they are very active ladies. They are always out on play dates and going to parks to play. We've been tagging along a lot and I haven't had a chance to breathe, we've been so on the go! Audrey tags along of course:). Laurel continues to wear her pretty summer dresses and regardless of the temperature outside, she will NOT let me put her hair up. Laurel's biggest change seems to be intellectual - she is in the "why" stage - big time. Pretty much anything we talk about results in a long chain of "why". I do try to be patient, but I have definitely used the "because I said so" and "because god made it that way" phrases a lot:). She has also jumped into a cooperative play phase. She wants to play with me or anyone with her figurines and dolls. She went through a phase of playing lots of educational games on the computer and her iphone and now she has rediscovered her doll house, castle, princesses and pet shop animals. At one time she wanted to be in her kitchen constantly and then another time, dressing up a lot. Always changing:). She hasn't change physically all that much. Her feet are going to be small for her eventual size - like me. She has maybe grown a 1/4 size or a 1/2 at most since last year. We finally replaced her sandals from last year with a nice versatile pair of sneaker styled sandals.

Alex has recently started working for his Dad in Orange County. He has chosen to commute every day (1 hour or more in traffic each way). Life for me hasn't changed much, I am with the girls all day every day as before. But he gets home a little later, by about 8 pm. It wasn't his first choice of course, but a career change is needed and we'll be trying this for a few months to see how it goes.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fourth of July

This year for the 4th, we went down to OC for what turned out to be a beastly hot day. We went to Mission Viejo's street fair and sweated it out. The kids didn't care too much but my tolerance for that is low now! We spent the afternoon at Alex's parents' for a bbq and the kids ran around the back yard playing with the sprinkler and water balloons. I bought some little water guns for them to play with too. It was a really fun day, and a nice break from work and the every day run around. When the kids have each other, it's easy to sit back, relax, and just watch them play. We went down the hill to their local park and camped out on blankets for the fireworks. It was a great day:).

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Camping - Sequoia 2011

Laurel and Audrey took their first trip camping in Sequoia National Park last week. An adventure for all! We left on Sunday, June 19th and drove to the park all packed up in the Camry. Megan and I alternated in the back , squished between the 2 carseats. Alex stayed home to work - also not a camper:).
Both girls were great car travelers. Audrey is so easily entertained now - quite a "handsy" baby - touching and reaching for anything. Just throw a few books and toys in her car seat with her and she's good to go! We spent a lot of our drive singing songs, playing "i spy" and just chatting. Mom needed to drop Molly off for boarding just outside of the park, but we made it into our camp site in the late afternoon. We spent 1 night in Lodgepole and had to move after that. We had reservations at another campground that were canceled due to slow snow melt. Our 2nd and 3rd nights were spent north, just inside Kings Canyon. The 4th night was back down in Lodgepole. The packing up was really the hardest part, otherwise, moving from place to place wasn't too bad - but not preferable!

Laurel handled the camping pretty well for her first time! She was super excited to put up the tent. The bubble guppies cartoon has had a camping episode on and Laurel had been counting the days until we were on our own camping trip. She helped us put up the tent and bounced around all over putting everything away. Food went immediately into bear boxes. She was also excited to roast marshmallows but after one taste, she wasn't really interested. Laurel is easily deterred from eating things because of the potentional mess and stickiness. Once i decided to hold it for her, she was willing to eat it, but she'd rather go without all together than get her hands sticky! Knowing her need to be neat and clean, I figured the dirt would be much more of a problem, but it really wasn't. She threw a fit over not being allowed to wear dresses and she was a little afraid of the dark. The first night she constantly asked what the various noises were and nervously shines her flashlight around. She quickly settled in and got used to it. I ordered her a tickerbell sleeping bag and brought her fleece little mermaid blanket. The nights were quite cold, we had to bundle up. But Laurel stayed up later than normal, so she was out the second her head hit the pillow (her lady bug pillow pet!). She also slept in each morning.

Audrey was a real trooper for beign just 7.5 months old. She napped on the go, she ate on the go. The days were warmer than I had expected, so I tried to carry her around by hand instead of pressed up against me in her carrier. I bought her a tiny pop up tent that went at my head in the tent. She went to sleep in it just fine with her music player, blanket and baby. But we had trouble getting into the tent ourselves to go to sleep after her. She would wake up and act frantic and ended up sleeping with me all night. It was definitely not comfortable and I realized I wasn't a teenager anymore when my body screamed at me every night from sleeping on the hard ground. I'll know better for next time!

Laurel enjoyed the sightseeing but was always anxious to get back to the campsite. I'm pretty sure she thought we'd just be in the tent all day and night:). Our 2nd and 3rd nights spent up north, we met a family that had a 3 year old boy and a 10 month old girl. Laurel and the little boy hit it off and they played each night. It was nice for her to have a little play time and run around. The campsite those nights was spacious and really lovely. Towards the end of the trip though, she started to get tired from all of the walking. She really kept up for a while, but she started to get a cold and all of the walking was wearing her out. On the 3rd day she crashed and we had to take some time out of the day to let her nap. On the last night, our neighbors were a german couple with a 4 year old girl and a 1 year old boy. The little girl was so infatuated with Laurel. It was quite enlightening to watch them play - not speaking each other's language.

The park on the whole was a great introduction for her to camping life. Fairly easy activity, reasonable weather, and bathrooms we could deal with:). No showers, so on the 3rd morning, Megan and I held her over the large wash sink and cleaned her hair and body. Audrey received a sponge bath on the 2nd night. Each day we took different walks to see the great sequoias. Laurel was excited to point out the large trees and collect pine cones.

We drove home after a detour to visit a cave. The drive was later in the day and Audrey was so tired. We had a great time! Laurel crashed on the drive home too and we came back to LA in peace:).