Jaded Optimist

Mothering, making, and generally blathering on

Easter April 24, 2011

Filed under: Kids,knitting — bonniep @ 10:15 pm

We celebrate a secular easter, so it is all about the eggs and the bunny. Egg coloring, egg hunts, and easter bunny visiting.

Egg coloring was much looked forward to and then over fairly quickly. M continues to use a fearsome drop maneuver which results in a lot of cracked eggs. Usage of the supplied egg dipper is also fairly minimal.



This year C decided to leave a wish list for the easter bunny, along with a specially colored egg to “buy him off”. The plan failed, although she seemed pleased with the AG paper dolls (as opposed to the requested, and much pricier, AG Doll of the Year). Sadly, no pictures to prove it. M received a hand knit bunny that she immediately danced around with and pronounced her favorite. Good thing I knitted it last summer and finally buckled down for the facial embroidery!


No pictures of the perfect weather egg hunt on Saturday, as M and I arrived late having attended her final swimming class session, and C arrived on time-ish with G except having thrown up in the car due to reading induced motion sickness.

Sunday morning was our neighborhood egg hunt. Saturday night found me at Target at 9:30 searching for non-candy items to put in the eggs, going home to make 2 dozen ginger muffins, putting together 45 eggs and finally getting to bed around midnight. Sigh. Sunday I was up at 6 to complete my run before the 8 am hiding/9 seeking and eating. The littles got a head start before the bigs swooped in, but everyone seemed to have plenty of eggs!



The thrill of the hunt…



Luckily most of the hunt was done before the rain started up. And of course many thanks to the mom who put whistles in a bunch of the eggs that she hid! [Note: it seems like I hardly have pictures of C, but most of them contain recognizable pictures of other kids not mine which I prefer to not post online.]

Looking forward to a return to days without candy!


Super Sisters Seize Springtime April 21, 2011

Filed under: Kids — bonniep @ 4:56 pm

The weather has been quite odd around here—cold snaps, hail, days that start off dreary, turn to sunny for the walk home from school, and then rain again at night, etc. etc. But we take our enjoyment where we can.


Princess dress-up time on the weekends.


Some helpers with our half-hearted planting. Lots of space, lots of weeds, and random assortment of flowers from the fruit market that the girls picked out. Hopefully next year we will get a better handle on planting in the outdoor space.


Someone got a two wheeler (well, technically I guess a four wheeler) for her birthday and figured it out right away. Incidentally, C also got a new, bigger two wheeler…but for various reasons that we won’t go into there are no pictures of her on her bike. Sigh. Hard to take pictures when someone has a death grip on your arm.


Some chalking hopscotch fun, and some posing (sunglasses and umbrella? Only in Seattle!)

Not sure if you can tell, but C lost a top tooth a month or so ago. It slowly got wigglier and wigglier until I woke up at 3 am one morning to find C by the bed exclaiming “My tooth fell out!” Her excitement was met with “Wha? Put it on the dresser…go back to bed” and some explaining the next morning about how the tooth fairy plans her routes in the evenings and C had missed the cutoff for that night.


Hmm…and a package arrived. Whatever could it contain?

Actually, it held new sheets sets for a (hopefully) soon to arrive bunk bed. So expect more pictures in the next few weeks!

Ending, as we so often do, with some funny faces.



Suddenly, 3 April 9, 2011

Filed under: Kids — bonniep @ 10:57 pm

M’s birthday was yesterday and she mostly knows it. Although every time someone said “Happy birthday M!” she responded with “Happy birthday!” She brought peanut free preschool approved prepackaged Rice Krispie treats to her once-a-week morning preschool class, took an OK nap, and helped pick up her cake and ice cream (under duress from the girls I agreed to purchase vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream. We have a lot of ice cream in the house right now!) After a frantic dinner and table wiping, 10 kids and assorted parents arrived at 6:30 for cake, ice cream, racing around the house, and screaming.

M became quite shy during the presentation of the cake and asked G to do the candle blowing honors. 236239

(Cake from our local bakery, with delicious decadent fudge filling. Mmmm.)

After all that, there was only time to open a few presents before bedtime.

Today was the girls usual morning swim class, followed by lunch and nap. After some outdoor playtime we returned home to open the rest of the presents. Extended family invited in the modern manner.


After dinner (pasta—I have an 8k race tomorrow morning) we ate the rest of the birthday cake and did attempt two for candle blowing, with success this time.


M loves Little People ™ and baby dolls and got several items related to those. She has been proudly holding up three fingers to show how old she is (need to get a photo of that!) I think she had quite a happy birthday. She is a very [very very very] independent minded 3 year old which can be great (“Wow! You are swimming on your own!”) and not so great (“Wow! You tried to change your poopy underwear all by yourself!”) but she almost always has a smile on her face. She gives absolutely the best hugs. Talks a mile a minute unless anyone outside the family attempts to speak to her at which point she literally turns away and hides. Loves to play hide n seek, although her way involves directing you on where to hide and some erratic counting as the seeker (“1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,16,31,32,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,40 ready or not here I come!”). Has two very good friends and often asks for playdates with them. Adores the girl she calls “Big Sister” except for some pushing, grabbing, arguing, and on one occasion, choking. Still loves chuppie (ketchup) and wants it on everything. Also loves hummus and wants it one a lot too…including grapes. Eeew. Is sooooo close to being fully potty trained. Still deals with some mild diaper-like rash (which led to two separate incidents of yelling out “My butt hurts!” at NYC restaurants…) which we hope to find out more about at Monday’s 3 year checkup. Knows her colors, lots of songs, several jokes, and how to work the refrigerator water dispenser. Picks out her own clothes (adamantly) and prefers schemes such as “everything has flowers so it matches”. Has her daddy’s blue eyes and toes but still gets likened to me all the time. Insists on using each of her outdoor toys (trike, scooter, push car, and doll stroller) every time we play outside. Jumps one legged on the trampoline. Has a super expressive face. We all can’t wait to see what this next year brings.



Whirlwind NYC trip

Filed under: Kids,Travel — bonniep @ 10:23 pm

The girls and I headed to NYC for C’s spring break to see some fun stuff, visit some family, and experience the American Girl Store. Of course, a week or so before we left I discovered that an American Girl store is opening in a mall about 20 minutes from our house. Sigh.

Day 0 + 1:

We took a red-eye flight, landing in JFK on Sunday morning after a brief 4 hours of sleep. Uncle D was up and awaiting our arrival at his apartment. The girls were quite excited to see the dog we affectionately refer to as “Cousin” Rory. Breakfast, walking around Battery Park City, viewing the Statue of Liberty from afar, two playgrounds, fancy Soho lunch, hands on art museum, souvenir trip for me to Purl Soho, and ice cream for dinner at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. M took two naps in her stroller (SO glad I lugged that thing to the city!) and I crashed for an hour at D’s apartment while he entertained the kids, but C stayed strong until collapsing at our hotel (the quite nice World Center Hotel, with a small kitchen that we didn’t use enough and a small separate room for the girls to sleep in, enabling me to stay up past their bedtime. Well, at least after that first night!). Whew.




Day 2:

Uncle D had to work, so we were on our own. Breakfast at the hotel, subway to Central Park, short walk, bad pretzels, Belvedere Castle (closed on Mondays, natch). Natural History Museum—butterflies, evolution, lunch, dinosaurs, hall of minerals, store. Short walk (M napping, C whining). Subway to dinner at S’mac a mac n cheese themed restaurant, happenstance dessert at Momofuku’s Milk Bar.



(Not many pictures from inside the museum except C in front of a meteorite…and lots of crappy butterfly shots.)

Day 3:

Uncle D available again. First of two breakfasts at Kitchenette. Central Park for the Dairy and attempted Carousel ride (undergoing maintenance). Met up with Cousin P + family for lunch and wandering at the Central Park Zoo, including attempt by a snow leopard to attack and eat M. Thank goodness for glass barriers. Quick visit to petting zoo, walk through rain, dinner at Chat N Chew. Aborted trip to Max Brenner (sadly, no time to stop for dessert). Back to apartment to see cousin Rory and recently returned from China Auntie J. Whew.

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Day 4:

Met up with Auntie J for 2nd breakfast at Kitchenette and long playtime at Rockefeller Playground. Returned to apartment to get Uncle D, delayed by kid snack and subsequent outfit change for M. Times Square for Uncle D snack and long awaited trip to the American Girl Store. Tea, birthday present Bitty Baby for little M, doll ear piercing for C[‘s doll], arguments over how much they could each get. Times Square Toys R Us to see the wall of Barbie—escaped without spending anything! Dinner at much hyped (by Uncle D!) Mars 2112 and late night crash at hotel. Although I cannot say enough bad things about the restaurant ($2 cover charge for everyone just to get in?? 30 minute wait just to see our waiter—after I complained—when the place wasn’t even busy?? $10 for plain noodles kid meal—and that doesn’t include the cost of milk??) C is still talking about visiting Mars and how cool the fake Mars News was. Kids.




Day the Last (travel day—and M’s birthday eve):

Plenty of time to get up, finish packing, eat breakfast at hotel, and take car service to JFK. Checked bags without too much issue, although agent not able to switch our seats so C is with us instead of four rows back. Then…over one hour in security line. Quick bathroom trip, get to gate to find all rows boarding. C begins crying in line about not sitting with us. Gate agent able to switch her to row in front of us, and luckily aisle passenger in our row was willing to trade. Phew. Sadly, did not have time to buy food or water in airport. Wouldn’t matter, except sit on ground for 1 hour for them to rebalance luggage. Finally take off, all starving, and await JetBlue snack packs. M mentions need to potty right before snack service arrives at our seats…chose to wait for snack service and lived to regret it. M spends rest of trip in socks, t shirt, underwear and training pants. With my scarf between her and wet car seat. Next six hours “fly by” especially for C who watches hours of questionable cartoons. Exit plane to multiple compliments on girls’ behavior on plane (guess no one noticed the underwear?) and finally home to empty house at 7 pm. Whew.

Great trip overall, even if the travel parts themselves left something to be desired (haven’t even told you about M’s baby doll setting off alarms at security on the way there and the resultant toddler pat down followed by my full pat down plus search of all our carry on luggage…well, I guess I have told you now). M napped everyday, even if it was often preceded by about 30 minutes of crazy behavior (i.e., crawling into one of the exhibits at the history museum). We got to about 60% of the items on my list (somehow I thought we would make it to an art museum on Day 4) which is about right for how I plan. The girls were ecstatic most of the time, loved seeing family, didn’t whine (much) about wanting to buy things, and except for a runaway incident in Soho and several temper tantrums right as we went through turnstiles and boarded/exited the subway (all this M, by the way) were quite well behaved. Hopefully G will be able to go with us the next time.

A few thoughts for future trips…I hauled that camera around every day and barely took pictures. In retrospect I wish I had more. Extra toddler pants are a good thing to pack for the plane. Toddler size ear phones would also have come in handy. A travel neck pillow filled with Bucky Balls accessible by zipper should not be left where kids can get it.

One last comment…I picked up a little journal for C before we left on the trip and every day when there was time on the subway or a break at a park she would ask to write in it. I loved to see her little notes and drawings (“Going to Central Park is not easy. 1. You need to take a long train. You should go to the bathroom first”) and a little writing practice never hurt anyone!