Sunday, August 31, 2014

One More Moment of Summer

The temperature topped out around 78 degrees in our sunny backyard this afternoon, and the house was stuffy enough to turn on the air conditioning for the first time since we moved here. I have no complaints about the weather here so far, but it has been a far cry from steamy South Carolina. This morning, as we were trying to decide what to do with our day, I could think only of how much I longed for a trip to the sunny Atlantic beach. And that, as Don said, would have been a long drive. 

We ended up spending a low-key day at home. By the time we went out to start the grill for dinner we were all a little warm and cranky, and some sprinkler time was just what was needed, for the kids and the lawn. We spent so many afternoons like this in summers and places past. It was so nice to have a moment of summer out here, too. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Catching Up, Times Three

Hello, friends. I've been checking in all summer with little bits of what we have been doing for the last few months, but very little about how we are doing, and I feel I've been neglecting of the spirit of my blog by sharing very little of what's been actually on my mind. I hope to catch up a bit tonight, for real, so get comfortable, I have no idea how long this will be. 

My world revolves around the three little munchkins above, so let's start there, and we will begin with Amy. 

Amy is within three months of turning seven years old. Seven! I'm not trying to rush her through the last bit of being six, but I feel that it is always about this time every year that I start rounding up her age in my mind. She has grown at least an inch and a shoe size this summer, and has added pumping on the swings and tying her shoes to her mastery list. And in usual Amy fashion, both items had been taught and tried and taught again and again, amidst many bitter tears of frustration. Then, one day, she suddenly could do it, just like that. She's close to being able to tell time on a regular clock, too. Reading has long since been mastered and she reads pretty much anything fluently, tripped up only by really unusual words. She has also discovered the pleasure of reading on her own as "something to do" when everyone else is being boring. She stays up for at least an hour past bedtime reading by flashlight. 

The biggest news in the Amy department is the confession-update that I have officially wimped out on my plans to homeschool this year. Somewhere in the middle of the summer, when Caroline started crawling, I said "oh, shoot" and decided to revisit the school subject. As I had planned on sending William to two-morning preschool anyway, I was intrigued to discover that the church school we were planning on for him also offered elementary grades. I have spent a huge amount of time thinking about this but when it came down to it it was really a pretty easy decision. I still adore the idea of homeschooling, and I still see it being a very nice fit for our family... at some point. However, in there here and now I have a baby who barely naps and otherwise is into everything, and I have a little boy who is in danger of being squeezed right out of mommy's attention by his loud and bossy big sister and his loud and demanding baby sister. And I have a big girl who is way more extroverted than the rest of her family and has LOVED school not only for the steady diet of information and learning but also for all the people it puts in her life. I know, I know, there are plenty of opportunities for homeschoolers to socialize, and I don't doubt that one bit, but for just this moment, in a brand-new place, I don't have the resources to provide the kind of stimulation that she would get from the nice tidy school package. Sigh, I hope you don't think less of me. 

Anyway, we'll be talking about school again I'm sure. Amy is really excited, and that's really all that matters for now. 

Moving on to that sweet boy in the middle. William has also grown like a weed this summer. In many ways he's just as capable as Amy, and has the boyness about him that makes him a skilled tree-climber, for instance, while Amy is too cautious to even make it off the ground. He hasn't totally left his babyish moments behind though, and treasures his Buddy (blanket) and the chance to just snuggle on the couch and be quiet for a bit - with or without company. He is way more laid-back than either sister. Both he and Amy are heavily into Star Wars, still, with an emphasis these days on the "Clone Wars" series, watched every afternoon via Netflix. From it they've added a whole new cast of characters to their daily play and pretend. 

William has a sweet and soft side for all things cute and cuddly, yet also spends most of the day with some sort of pretend weapon in hand. I really hope he isn't sent home from school for blasting Stormtroopers. I'm a little nervous about his first ventures out into the world away from Mommy, but I am also excited to see how he does, what he learns, and what he thinks of school. He's awfully smart - probably more mathematically inclined than Amy, but not quite as far along in the reading skills as she was at his age. He knows all his letters though, and can sort-of write most of them. He also loooves Lego, and spends a good chunk of time making little figures or droids. He's hinted more than once this summer that he and I "never get to play any more," so I am seriously excited about the chance to have one-on-one time with him again. 

And last but certainly not least is Miss Caroline, who is eight months going on two years. The only thing she hasn't done faster than her siblings is cut her first tooth, which doesn't seem to be happening any time soon. She pulled herself up at six and a half months, crawled at seven, and has been thoroughly on the move since then. She can stand without holding on for a split second, but has a ways to go before she'll be walking. But I would be surprised if she doesn't do that early, too. I'm not sure what she weighs these days but she seems big and wears 12-18 month clothes easily. She does a great job with finger food and eats some portion of pretty much everything we do. Only small amounts though, and I am still nursing her quite a bit. She can usually be counted on to take one decent nap each day, in the morning, and most days will nap again in the afternoon but that is usually a catch-22: if it's too long of a nap, she'll have trouble staying asleep at night, but if it's a poor nap, we are in for a cranky evening. The school routine will benefit her as well, and hopefully some consistency will help her find the right balance of daytime and nighttime sleep. 

Caroline is so sweet, and funny, and charming, and delighted by the world around her. I am also looking forward to two mornings of time spent just with her when both other munchkins are in school. I haven't had one-on-one time with a baby in six years! There is lots to look forward to in the coming months. 

Of course a post about my children wouldn't be complete without a kitty update: We find ourselves out west with just two of our three felines - airline rules and the darn limitations of having only two hands meant that after much consideration, Spencer (the newest addition) stayed back east with my parents, and is currently living the good life with his new older brother, Salem. He has had no trouble making himself right at home there. 

My orange boys, Ollie and Humphrey, made the plane trip with us (ha! what an experience!) and are happily settled in here. I think all cats are better off for the rearrangement. 

 And that brings you up to date with the personnel. More thoughts to follow on some local stuff, some cooking adventures, and hopefully some sewing again too. I'm going to take our last week of summer "off" from blogging again, but I propose a post-a-day challenge for the month of September. Otherwise I'm going to spend the rest of the year watching moments slip by and making blog-apologies for not writing more. So, I will see you soon!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The New Beach

I've been composing a lengthy catch-up post which I hope to post this week, but in the meantime I'll share with you our trip to "the beach" yesterday. More than a little different from a Carolina beach visit! Though our weather at our house has been sunny and lovely, it was cold and windy by the water. And this is summer! The jury is still out (and not expected back soon) on how I feel about this PNW business. But there is an undeniable beauty here for sure. 

The fog was too thick to see much of the water but we could hear the sea lions barking the whole time. What a place. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

First Four Days

Greetings from the west coast! I am happy to report that our cross-country flight went very smoothly, despite one early escape attempt by a feline passenger. I am so incredibly grateful to be here at our new home. As usual, so much to share but to keep it simple I'll let the pictures do most of the talking. 

Seat-back video screens are possibly the best invention ever, and our long flight looked mostly like this: 

And this:

And this:

With scenery out the window that looked like this: 

Quite the vast, beautiful country we live in. 

I could not have made the trip without the help and company of my brother, and we have spent this whole week enjoying the first extended adult time we've spent together apart from our parents. Seriously good times. 

Our house is beautiful!! The owners updated a 1960 house with great love and care and we found it instantly homey and I've been in seventh heaven arranging and unpacking and getting to know the place. The kids are ecstatic to have their own backyard swing set for the first time ever and since the backyard is completely fenced it has been marvelous to simply send them out to play. 

Yesterday Don took us for a short tour of his new ship. It's the smallest one he's been on yet but he's the XO so that's pretty big stuff. I'm not crazy about boats, but sure am proud of him. 

The views around here are pretty awesome! This is out our bedroom window: 

Honestly, this is only a so-so neighborhood in a so-so town, but right now it feels rather exotic, and our time here is really fairly short, so I can overlook a lot in favor of scenery like this. 

Today we drove to the coast to see the sea lions and took in some really incredible Pacific views. 

All in all, it has been a very good week. Hard to leave my folks and hard to be so far away but glad to be together with Don and to have this awesome opportunity to explore another little corner of the country as a family.