Wednesday, May 28, 2014

18 months old!

My little guy is already a year and a half old.  It seems crazy that it's been that long since I first looked my son in the eyes, and still it seems like the blink of an eye.

Colin becomes more fun every day.  His language skills have been exploding lately and he regularly picks up fun new words.  He's starting to have preferences regarding his food.  Recently, he prefers everything else to meat.  His favorite food is probably fresh tomatoes, but he still loves bananas and cherrios.

His steadfast confidence amazes (and sometimes frustrates me!) to no end.  He'll look at me, knock on the fridge door and say "Apple."  "No, Colin, we don't need anything out of the fridge."  "Apple."  If that doesn't work, he'll come over, grab my hand and put in on the handle like he's the one being a patient parent while saying solemnly... "Apple."

All of that confidence does come wiht a decent amount of frustration sometimes.  Colin has set ideas about how things should be and he doesn't particularly like when things don't go his way.  Still, I love watching him explore the world and start to make his own Colin shaped  place in it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How Does your Garden Grow?

Summer must be here, the tomatoes have arrived!!!

So far, the Garden is doing fantastic.  Last year's plant that we left is huge and already producing some delicious tomatoes!
It is a little weird though, because they look like heirlooms (they aren't, at least to my knowledge) and the bottom of them are a bit... well, strange.
 I think it looks like it's giving birth to a little baby tomato.  Weird.  But they were delicious so I didn't worry about it!  I suspect it might have been because it took so long for them to ripen.  The rest of the green tomatoes I see on the plant don't seem to have these anomalies.

Colin is enjoying the garden so far, especially eating tomatoes.  He wants to pick all of them though, so we are working quickly on the difference between red and green!

Look how much it's grown already!!

Looking forward to an entire summer of yummy homegrown tomatoes (and by the looks of it, even some peppers!!)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Show me what Love Sees, reflections for Mother's Day.

It's been a bit emotional at our house. As I struggle to seek that perfect balance of mom, wife, engineer, incurbator, friend, hostess, organizer, decorator, I start to drown a bit in the details.  I'm mostly too tired lately to really take stock of my progress or failure, but when I do, I sometimes feel discouraged and frustrated.

I see the piles of mail slowly building.  I see the scratched paint on the stairs, the crumbs in the corner of the kitchen floor, the cat hair on the sofa.  I see the work task list long and unfinished next to the not started professional development list.  I see the goal of thanking my husband left unchecked yet again.  I see my well intentioned art projects for Colin unopened and the pinterest ideas untried.

And if I'm not careful, I quickly see a mounting list of my lifetimes failures and short comings.

I randomly opened a magazine laying on our counter and found this quote:

"Tell me your Story, Show me your wounds.
And I'll show your what love sees, when love looks at you.
Hand me the pieces, broken and burised.
And I'll show your what love sees when love looks at you."

And I stopped to think about it.

When Colin looks at me, his look is full of love  and trust.  He doesn't seem me as the sum of my professional achievements, or my house keeping, or my ability to do everything right.  I'm just mommy.  He sees mommy and he loves me.

Being a mother is the biggest responsibility I've had.  It's a humbling honor and I am so grateful for every moment with my young, growing family.

"Happy Mother's Day, Mommy."

Monday, May 12, 2014

State Parks: San Clemente

Mother's Day weekend was lovely at our house.  Daddy was home the entire weekend and we had a great time!  Our first adventure was San Clemente State Beach!

We went early and it was beautiful!  It was around 70 degrees and perfect for playing in the sand and walking on the beach.

I love watching Colin's delighted face as he explores the world.  As he happily played in the sand and climbed the rocks with daddy, I mostly convinced myself that we'd be able to come to the beach easily with an infant, we have a pop up tent to keep the sun off delicate newborn skin.  I'm not sure how much of that is just pregnancy optimism, but I really do hope we make at least a few more trips!

As far as the actual beach goes, it was less crowded than Dana Point, but that could also have been the weather and the time of day.  Colin was pretty excited about the choo-choo tracks and occasional train beind us. 

It's early, but it's starting to feel like summer!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mini Vacation: Wild Animal Park and Harrahs

Last weekend we loaded up the car and took a mini vacation to San Deigo.  Well, San Diego County, at least!

We had a long ago expired group on deal (the first, and last, I will likely ever purchase at the request of a friend) for the wild animal park.  It had a small value associated with it and we thought it would be fun to take a trip.  But the Park is a bit of a drive, so when we recieved a promotion for a free room at Harrahs' Rincon we thought that'd be the perfect way to make the trip into a mini vacation!

We didn't get very many pictures, we were mostly busy enjoying ourselves.  We did get one of our floor:
We stayed on the 13th floor!!

We took Colin to the buffet.  Colin has always been a great eater, but he's starting to show clear preferences.  Especially when presented with as many options as a buffet.  I don't mind, I do mind his method of demonstrating his preferences; First he puts the food in his mouth.  Then he fishes it out and says "Momma" until I let him put it in my hand.  He will not put it on a plate, a napkin, or anything else.  Just my hand.  Yum.

We did have a small incident.  Colin had been picking at the mashed potatos on my plate when he accidentally grabbed a handful of horseradish!!  I realized it right as it went in his mouth.  His eyes got big and he coughed a little bit, but he was fine.  Poor baby!

The next day we went to the Safari Wild Animal Park.

It was ridiculously hot!

 We arrived as they opened and took off straight for the tram to see the wild animals.

I was so excited that Colin was able to successfully identify the giraffees!  He wasn't really impressed though. He looked up when I asked him what that was, said 'raffes' then went back to playing with the door of the tram.  "What's the big deal mom?  We have a million of those in my room..."  Oh well!  I was proud of his ability to identify the animal from pictures/toys.  He also called the baby Lions 'yats' which is close enough.

Here's a quick picture tirp down memory lane from our first trip to the park in 2008 with Gavin's sister's family, when pushing strollers was NOT a part of my regular life:


What a difference!!

It might not look like it, but it was seriously hot.  We manage to see a few more exhibits before my hands and feet were so swollen I could barely funciton.  We gave up and headed out for lunch.

"Lunch?? Where??"
We went down to a mall a few miles away for burgers.  (Apparently all of the signs in the park worked on me!)  We also stopped by their play place for some air conditioned play time!

Back at the hotel, we tried to convince Colin to nap, but eventually gave up.  The new Harrah's has a new family friendly part of their pool that includes a lazy river.  I wasn't expecting much, but we loaded Colin up and headed down.

I'm a little sad we don't have pictures, because we had SO much fun!  The lazy river was actually really cool.  They had areas where little bubbles came up from the floor (Colin's favorite!)  water fountains you could go through (or under!), water falls, a foggy cave.  We had a fantastic time!  We took along Colin's little floaty and he splashed and dipped his head and bounced.  We considered staying another night so we could spend a little more time in the pool, but decided it would be better to get everyone home and caught up on sleep!

Hotels are a bit of an adventure with kids.  The phone is irresistible and just like we did in Lodi, we ended up needing to unplug it and just let him play with it.  It did keep him occupied for quite a long time.

Colin's favorite part about travel is eating!  (Except horseradish!)

So far, it seems we've been lucky traveling with Colin and this trip was fantastic.  It seems like for us, the keys for managable travel are being organized ahead of time and flexible during.  I'm hoping this holds out and we can manage a BIG family vacation next year!!