Greta is not quite a water baby. She was. Last summer. This summer she is much more cautious. No jumping in the water for her unless someone is there to catch her. This is good. I am actually relieved at this development. Her brothers by this age would put their vests on and they were off. No one to help them. They made it to where they wanted to go. Unfortunately, Greta is too light still to not be wobbly in the life vest. Hopefully by August, and with a few more weeks of her butter pounding (yes she prefers butter, not bread and butter, just the butter please), maybe she will weigh enough to be stable in the water. But for now she is content.
As you will probably see from the photos of summertime, swimming is a huge part of our daily lives. If only we had a pool. All week I will post water photos and info.
I grew up a strong swimmer. My sister and I spent every single summer for as long as I can remember in swim school. We started out as polliwogs then on to minnows, fish, flying fish, sharks, tiger sharks, then you were ready for the final test. Oh, that is after you passed the CPR course as well. The final test was jumping in water, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt and treading water straight for a half an hour. Only after this were you certified a swimmer. Needless to say, my kids are not swimmers, well. . . not yet.
This is a constant bone of minor contention between Aaron and I. Well, that and the closet shelves. He did not grow up swimming. He can swim, meaning not drown. But not s w i m. He can only jump in holding his nose because he is convinced, along with at least one of his brothers whom I witnessed doing this same nose plug thing in Mexico, that he was not born with the flap that closes his nose off from water. I have tried to explain to him that we don’t have a flap. But rather we train ourselves to slightly blow out air through our nose preventing water from going IN. He didn’t believe me. And when Gunnar and Sawyer were demonstrating this and encouraging their daddy to dip his head in the water and blow bubbles through his mouth, well, that’s when Aaron took his leave. There was no way his 3 and 6 year olds were going to school him on bubble blowing in the pool. But honestly, that is how they learn. It’s the first thing they do and gets them to put their face in the water and plug their flaps so to speak.
But I can already see the words Jr. Lifeguard on the back of Gunnar’s shirt. By the third day of swimming lessons he was moved up to the next level. And his excitement was undeniable. My excitement came the following day when I witnessed this.
You are probably thinking, what’s the big deal? Well, my friends, this is a stroke. The VERY first stroke, and one of many to come. We will go from freestyle, to breaststroke, to butterfly, to dolphin kick, back stroke. I get excited just thinking about it! Another huge feat he overcame this day was the diving board. He walked up there and just did it. All the while completely freaking out, but when he jumped in and swam to the edge he had the biggest smile spread across that face. Priceless.
Pinkalicious has been Greta’s favorite book since she could say the word “pink”. If you have a daughter, niece, granddaughter, friend’s daughter, you get my point, this book has to be in their library. I will personally feel you are depriving your daughter of literary joy if you do not get them this book.
So, of course, Greta’s very first party of her entire life had to be themed Pinkalicious. Not only does my daughter view pink as her favorite color, think her eye color is pink, and won’t wear something unless pink is somewhere on the outfit, but I had to indulge this girly party myself. Come on! I have been hosting boy or neutral themed parties for all of our friends children for 6 years. I most definitely can enjoy the benefits of a daughter.
If you have read the book, then the flower choice was a given.
We had a wide range of ages there so I was a little puzzled at what activities or crafts we should have. When the girls were first arriving they colored these really cute coloring pages from this website. Then we made homemade tutus. I was definitely glad I cut the 160 tulle strips the night before.
I think the tutus were a big hit, and pretty easy to make, with a little mom help of course. Then we breaked for another beloved pastime, dress up. The girls loved swapping costumes. How cute are they holding hands in their princess outfits?
Then it was cake decorating time and eating. Which, by the way, it is necessary to have a rolling pin when making cookies. This would be a kitchen tool that I do not own. Fortunately, my neighbor is much more baking friendly and loaned me hers. Also, a big heads up, you have to flour every time you flip or roll. Yep, every time, or else it sticks to everything. But we managed.
And lastly it would not be a true and proper Pinkalicious Party without pink cupcakes. This is one thing I wasn’t going to attempt to make. I know my limitations, especially after realizing the necessity of owning a rolling pin.
While the girls were feasting on the delicacies I took it upon myself to school them on the book itself, a friend took some video. I’m sure you can guess which child has had this book read to them nightly for several months. This was right before each girl was gifted with their own copy of Pinkalicious and a purse filled with girly goodness such as bracelets and makeup. Here is the link to the Youtube video she posted.
Don’t you just love the water’s reflection on Sawyer’s neck?
Fish. . . that is what I believe my children will turn into by the end of summer. We have the boys in daily swim lessons for two weeks now, and then another two weeks in a month, and then we are off to Hawaii. I believe I am starting to see gills forming near their necks.
Today I got to watch the boys since I wasn’t working and they are pretty funny. The expressions these boys have in the water, I don’t think you could wipe their smiles off if you tried. Greta will be joining them on the next session. It’s great because they all take their class the exact same times. No shuttling children back and forth or waiting for one to end and one to begin. Gunnar is in a class with 3 other kids, and Sawyer is in a class of 6. I thought I would share a few recent highlights.
I took these the second day of training wheel free bike riding. The first day had some frustration along with it and we had to have a few talks about not giving up and to keep trying. Get back on that horse bike. I think it sunk in just how grown up Gunnar is getting. He graduated Kindergarten a few days ago and is entering the realm of full blown elementary school kid. I’m just not old enough ready to have a first grader.
He is loving basketball right now. He took a 10 week long basketball class at the local park and learned the proper techniques of shooting and passing and with the Lakers/Celtics Finals, he was in heaven. He has been rooting for the Celtics all season, but now that they were up against our home team, he was quite torn.
I was going through a mental checklist of things Gunnar should know before he is 18 and the list is getting smaller and smaller. Swimming. Check. Bike riding. Check. Reading. Check. Shoelace tying. Check. Multiplication. Check. He totally gets the concept of multiplication and loves learning about it. He wants me to try and trick him, which occasionally I do. He can’t think too highly of himself yet, he is only 6. I think some of the only things left is learning how to drive a car and division. And fortunately for me, a learner’s permit is a long way away. But I would have told you that first grade was a long way away too when he was born, and look at us now. First grade is looming in the future. The big yard. The big kids.
At least now we can ride our big bikes onto the campus before the bell.
I mentioned in a previous post about my lack of ballet-class-taking desire. So when it was time for Greta to go to her first ballet class, I had mixed emotions. Of course, I wanted her to love the class, afterall she was too adorable for words in her little leotard and tights, oh. . the shoes. The school is very strict, kind of prim and proper, which is probably why I never liked ballet when I was a kid; and so ballet slippers, pink ballet slippers no less, was a must in order to take the class.
I don’t know if she really understood the whole concept, but the entire way there she just repeated over and over, “I going to ballet cass, I’m going to ballet cass.” Her particular class is for 2-3 year olds, and moms are not allowed in the room. This will be the first time she has ever left me to go to a stranger, with a wall between us. Honestly, I didn’t think she would do it. I figured we would buy all the stuff, pay the tuition, get there and she would look around and say, no way jose. Oh, how wrong I was.
This little girl didn’t even bother to wave. She walked into the studio with 2 other little girls, both towering above her by a good 4-6 inches, and never really looked back. The other moms and I had a little 2 by 2 window we could peek in to watch and take pictures. She caught me a few times in the window and just waved as she was flitting by on her little slippers. She loved Teacher Ewizabet, as Greta pronounces her name, and talks about her all the time now.
Yes, my daughter now takes ballet. I can’t believe we’re here already. I used to talk about this day all the time when she was a baby, we would pass the ballet school and I would see all these little girls in their outfits and buns coming out, and I just couldn’t imagine the time ever coming.
We’re here now.
I officially have a first grader. I feel old. Here are a few pictures from the big day’s picnic which they had right after the culmination. I don’t have any good photos of the performance. It was hard to see him behind this other kid and it was a little dark too. They did some songs, a rendition of Start Spreading the News. . .we’re leaving today. . .we’re gonna be a part of it. . First Grade First Grade! It was really cute, and emotional. They had a slideshow prepared of all the kids throughout the year which made you see how little they were when they began and how far they’ve come.
For some reason I have decided June is the month for home projects. As if we don’t have enough going on with Gunnar graduating, weaning Greta from the bottle, summer starting, swim lessons, camp, among several other projects.
A few weeks ago I just had it with our hall coat closet. It was not functional for us. We don’t wear coats in Southern California, it has one shelf that is not accessible and I began using the floor as a shelf for all things without a home.
Let’s just say our marriage was on the brink of disaster from this project. Of course when I explained my idea to Aaron he didn’t understand what I was talking about. So I showed him photos and he was now understanding me, but not agreeing with me. Then I told him I wanted to paint it a bright color. His response, “WHY would you paint the walls of a closet?” Ummmm, so it looks nice, and fun, and clean, and pretty.
Then the argument of all arguments came.
You see, my husband was raised with the mentality that if you can do it yourself, then you do it. He slowly has seen through the years that sometimes doing it yourself takes longer and ends up costing you more because during those hours you could’ve made more money actually working and pay someone else to do it. Then you have lost money doing it yourself just because you can. He fortunately also realized that no matter what he did, it would be more of a fight because I clearly envisioned something and he doesn’t have the tools or time to do it in a timely manner. So someone else made the shelves.
Then the dilemma of paint color came into play. I had gone to the paint store and picked up some cards with the color I wanted. He then offered to go back to the paint store to get the paint. Well, since we have had previous experience choosing paint colors, I knew I couldn’t trust a paint card. I need samples, on the wall, in order to get the right color. Remember, now, my husband sometimes has a problem going to the store and getting exactly what I need? So I was very specific. Here is the card, I need sample containers which cost $4 a piece with similar colors.
He called me from the paint store because he forgot the card at home. He said he got some cards for me to look over. No sweetie. I’ve seen the cards, I need actual samples. Remember, no lime, no hunter, just grass green, bright grass green, NO neon. I got it. I got it. Okay.
He comes home with TWO Q U A R T S of the most hideous neon green I have ever seen. He insisted they don’t have samples. I called and sure enough they have samples but Aaron wasn’t very clear with the guy at the paint store. Several hours later we had two very close colors of what I needed. Seriously, planning a wedding is not the most stressful event a couple goes through. Nor having a child. Nope. Home projects are the downfall.
He may have been raised in construction, but the boy is not a painter. And I have never painted a thing in my life. So we had quite the learning curve. Early on he decided that I needed to own this project and maybe it had to do with he just wanted to go to bed or maybe it was because he was unsuccessful at convincing me that everyone paints in just their underwear. You be the judge. I had already sanded and began to prime, then I figured well, once I started, I might as well finish. It took about 3 hours to prime the shelves and do the first coat for the walls, then I slept for 7 hours and then it took about another 3 1/2 hours to do the second coat on the walls and paint the shelves. I think for my first painting project I did quite well. Oh, and by the way, remember all the drama about needing to paint walls inside a closet? Well, Aaron now wants me to paint the inside of our linen closet. I love it when he concedes!
And here is the closet painted.
And the new repurposed hall closet, which is now our art depot. And no, I do not homeschool my children, but we do have a lot of activity books and supplies. I know.
And someone already sampling the new craft area. . .
The little green eyed monster rears his ugly head once in awhile in my home. It’s getting rarer and rarer, so maybe I just don’t see it coming and it totally blindsides me. I completely understand the sentiments of being a younger sibling. I am the youngest of 2 and I totally get how sucky it is in life to NEVER do anything first. If you are not a younger sibling, you just don’t get it. You never will. But that’s okay, I will try and enlighten you.
You see, the only time our siblings are jealous of US is when we are too little to care. Sure, you bring us home from the hospital and we’re cute and tiny and the new kid in town and so our siblings throw some tantrums, scratch at our limbs, occasionally try to suffocate us, but honestly, that doesn’t make a difference to us. We are too young to know that we had that big of an impact on our older siblings’ lives. Ahhh, but the tables turn and they rarely turn back. Pretty soon we are coherent enough to realize that we get everything, do everything, second. . .or third. . .or fourth. Or worse.
This particular day was a tough one for Sawyer. Gunnar had a big day. And it didn’t even dawn on me to see the warning signs until it was too late. Gunnar had his kindergarten culmination today. Lots of oohhhing and aaaahing and photos taken and videos rolling, presents and cards. He also had this same night a really big public reading he got to do on stage, with a microphone.
I just figured that Sawyer was being bratty and not sitting still through the graduation songs. Loudly saying he wanted it over and that he was tired, no thirsty, no hungry. Gunnar got some graduation presents like new basketball cards, new Star Wars ship and a picture of the new bike he will be getting soon. Tonight Sawyer just hit the roof. The kid was so disobedient and downright rotten. He had 3 timeouts in a 10 minute span. His timeouts lasting 3 minutes each, well, you do the math.
And then it hit me. Like a bat over the head.
He was jealous.
And rightfully so. I would be too. Poor kid has to watch his brother on stage dancing and singing while I videotape, Aaron takes stills and what did he get? He had to sit there for an hour. Observing.
When he was dressed for bed I crawled in his bunk with him for a long heart to heart. We talked about what he was feeling, what jealousy means and how it doesn’t feel good. Then I dropped the bombshell on him. You remember Tati right, Sawyer? Yep. Well she is MY big sister. So I had to grow up and watch HER do everything first. It sucked. And I know exactly how you feel. But I did have to share one little secret that the older sibs don’t know. That is. . . although they may get to do things first like read, ride a bike, go to school, sometimes they do it wrong, or get hurt, or aren’t so good at it, and we can actually learn from their mistakes. And that means when it’s OUR turn, we are great at it! I gave him the example of riding a bike. Gunnar had just me and daddy to help him learn to ride a two wheeler (photos will be posted soon!), but when it’s YOUR turn, well, you will have me and daddy AND Gunnar to help you.
I tried to reason that although Gunnar is reading really well, he didn’t read until he was almost 5. Sawyer on the hand, baby, you started reading after your third birthday. So you are already so far ahead of the game. But I know it doesn’t really feel like it’s helping. I know it doesn’t really feel like it makes a difference. And honestly, I don’t think I realized this til I was an adult.
It really stinks most of the time to be younger. In fact, I don’t think of one good thing that comes out of being the younger sibling other than maybe learning from some of their mistakes, if they make them. But in the heat of the moment, you’d rather be the one to do it first, mistakes and all.
So for all you younger siblings, I feel for you. I feel for my two little ones who will always be striving to make their own imprints in major events and life in general. But I get you. I feel you. You will always have my sympathy, my ear and my shoulder to cry on.
We are loving a new book right now, Stellaluna. And thus we have a mild bat obsession going on in this house. This particular night I had read them the story and accidentally mentioned that there are a lot of bats where daddy is from, Minnesota. A few minutes later I was loading the dishwasher and all 3 of them barraged Aaron with a ton of questions about bats in Grandma and Grandpa’s house.
I peeked over the island and this is what I saw.
All 3 of them lined themselves up and listened with such intensity at the story their daddy was telling them about a bat that flew into his room one night when he was in bed. It got really exciting. . .
And none of them moved until the story was over. It is definitely moments like these that fill your insides with lots of warm tingling sensations and you forget all about the pee on your shoe and the snot on your shoulder from earlier in the day. It is bedtime stories like these that I think they will remember forever.