Saturday, August 29, 2009

Back to School

The boys headed back to school this week, and it's been wonderful. Sometimes I feel a little guilty about liking it so much, but I wasn't the only one. They were all very excited to go, and they love their classes/teachers. As Spencer was telling me about his teacher the first day, he exclaimed, "I can't wait to go back tomorrow!" I always ask them about their day when they get home from school, and their response is always the same: "Awesome!"
We're the Pandas, so we get to have this fun mascot in the front of the school.
Dallin started kindergarten, and he LOVES it! No tears, no extra hugs - just a big smile and wave good-bye. There were, however, lots of other kids and parents crying. First-timers. Actually the one I had crying was Brennan. "I wanna go to school! I don't wanna go home!" he screamed each day as we dropped Dallin off. So we did some fun things like story time at the library with cousins, shopping (he loves to shop), and out to lunch with Dave. Everything is so much easier with just one kid.
Funny Brennan story: he's into dressing up as a "bad guy" these days. So the other day he had a sword and was telling me "I cut off your arm! I cut off your leg! I cut off your penis!" I said, "But Brennan, mommy doesn't have a penis. Only boys have a penis, and I'm a girl." He looked all confused and asked, "What you got, then?"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

End of Summer

Friday was our last official day of summer vacation, so after a doctor's appointment I took the boys to our favorite barn by the beach. Of course they fed the animals
climbed on farming equipment,
reached for grapes,
played in the toy shop, and bought candy crystals.

Then we went out for lunch at Fat Cat's. I don't typically take the kids to restaurants, especially without Dave, but they all did extremely well. We ate outside, and it felt awesome in the shade with a fountain behind us. Spencer ordered calamari (squid), and it was a huge hit - probably every one's favorite thing there.

While waiting for our food I asked Spencer and Tyler to take pictures of me, but I didn't like any of them because they made me look fat. I said, "Why do I look so fat in all these pictures?!" Spencer calmly answered, "Because you're pregnant, mom."

After lunch we walked down to the end of 3rd Pier. There was a huge bunch of pelicans hanging around near the fish-gutting station. I started taking pictures of the boys getting close to them until I realized that this particular pelican was trying to snap at Brennan's head! They were very aggressive. One even hit Dallin's arm with its wing. So we quickly moved on.

We like climbing down below the pier and watching tons of harbor seals and California sea lions swimming around, as well as star fish clinging to all the poles.

Mostly these guys just sleep. But we did get to see a few fights between males, which is always fun.

The sun's in every one's eyes here, so it was hard for them to look at the camera. It was a great way to end the summer. Now time for school to start tomorrow!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Jacob's baptism, Dad's birthday

Saturday was my nephew's baptism, and he was so cute and excited. They did this thing I'd never seen before but really liked. While they were changing out of their wet clothing, we wrote messages on little note cards to the 2 children who got baptized. Wouldn't that be a cool thing to have from your baptism day? Then the whole weekend felt like a holiday - what with all the family around and not feeling like we had to do anything but eat and hang out. The baptism was in the morning so my dad could be there before heading off to work. Then we went over to Kristen's house for pizza. The kids played together happily all day, the men played sports and games, and the women visited and copied our favorite recipes to give to a friend for her wedding. Whenever one of the husbands came into the kitchen, he'd say, "You're still doing recipes?!" Actually, it was a lot of fun, and we only stopped because we had to get dinner ready before leaving for the reception. The kids hung out all evening watching movies while the men played more games (it's a good thing they have each other or else they'd never get to play their games) while the women enjoyed a beautiful wedding reception. It felt like girls night out, and we decided we need to do that more often. Then yesterday was my dad's birthday, so we all got together again after church for french dip sandwiches and cherry pies. You'd think by this point the kids would be sick of each other, but we went to the park this morning with a mom's group from church, and they were all excited to see each other there. Cousins are awesome.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How does the baby get out?

Pregnancy brings up all kinds of questions in kids. Recently Dallin asked me how the baby gets out, which is a common one. I think it's really important to tell kids the truth about these things, but in a simplified way appropriate to their age and understanding. We have a book I love called The Visual Dictionary of the Human Body by Eyewitness, and we have read it so many times it is literally falling apart. It has such great, clear illustrations and simple explanations for kids, including a couple of pages on reproduction. So I brought out the book and showed him the picture of the baby inside the mommy, explaining contractions, the cervix and the birth canal. This cleared things up a little, but he still wanted to know more about it. So we got on my favorite pregnancy site and watched some animated videos together. My kids love watching the videos of the developing baby, but you'll need to preview them first because some of them show a little too much - at times I need to cover up the mom's bare chest with my hand. The one about labor and delivery was excellent (it does start out with the bare chest though), and then we watched the real-life c-section. At first they weren't too sure if they wanted to watch it, like when the doctor started the incision. But then they were amazed when the baby came out and ended up watching that part over and over. One of the boys exclaimed, "This is real mad science!" I think that when we are comfortable and honest with our kids, it will make them comfortable with the subject matter and continue to ask questions as they are ready for more information. And visual aids are always important.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Out with a bang

Brennan is into dressing up with anything he can find
These last two weeks of summer are full of birthday parties, pool parties, a bridal shower, a baby shower and a wedding. On one hand it's hard to believe summer is just about over. But on the other, much larger hand, I'm ready for school to start.

Dallin's water skills have improved immensely this summer. Two months ago he didn't even want to put his head in the water. Now he's swimming all over and doesn't want to get out, even when he has shivering blue lips.

Brennan will only get in if I hold him, but otherwise he is perfectly happy to just sit on the edge and put his feet in. And yet he loves to put on his swimming suit and go to the pool and wear goggles. You know, just in case. Unfortunately we lost his water shirt in San Diego and all the stores seem to have sold out of them; this causes sadness every time we swim because he wants to "wear water shirt!"

Monday, August 3, 2009

La Jolla Cove

Before our trip Dave did some research online and found out there was good snorkeling at La Jolla Cove Beach, just minutes from our hotel. It's protected by bluffs on either side and gets deep quick, so there are a lot of fish close to the shore.

As much as we love our local beaches, the water here is freezing. But down south it's nice and warm - no need for wet suits. Even I put on my swimming suit and got in, and it felt wonderful. We arrived at 9:00, and it was already sunny and warm.

It was great for exploring because there were lots of rocks and tide pools on one side. They found hundreds of hermit crabs, sea anemones and cool shells.
Brennan even ventured into the water a tiny bit, which he never does.

This was Spencer's first time snorkeling in the ocean, and Dave was amazed at how quickly he picked it up. We gave Dave a snorkel set for Father's Day, so the two of them swam all over the cove together and saw tons of fish.

We saw this fish the next day in one of the aquariums at Sea World, and they said they had seen bunches of them in the ocean.

Snorkeling was definitely one of Spencer's highlights of the trip. Here he is telling me all about it.

Then Dallin tried it out, but he just put his face in the water for about 2 seconds and was done. He and Tyler did a lot of body surfing, since boogie boards weren't allowed at this particular beach.
Tyler tried snorkeling too, but he just stayed close to the shore.

After a few hours at the cove, we went up the stairs to a huge grassy field overlooking the ocean and had a picnic lunch. I was glad we went to the beach early, because by the time we left it was getting really crowded there. We were going to go check out another beach in La Jolla to go boogie boarding, but we were all beached out and the boys wanted to go swimming at the hotel pool instead.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sea World

We love Sea World. We went a couple years ago and enjoyed it so much we just had to go back. It's the perfect combination of amusement park/aquarium/zoo. We were a little worried about me walking all over while pregnant, so we rented a wheel chair. It was wonderful! My feet and legs weren't the slightest bit tired after 12 hours in the park. I think we should do that every time.
Brennan and I hung out while everyone else went on a couple rides. He especially liked the beluga whales. As we left he said, "Bye beluga! Have a nice day!" I love their little smiles. They really looked like they were having fun out there.

But my absolute favorite thing at Sea World is Shamu. There is just something amazing about watching a humungous animal do flips out of the water. It gives me goosebumps every time.

I'm always amazed at how much Spencer knows about the ocean. He was naming all the different kinds of sharks we saw before the worker announced them. He was right every time.
They had a new 4D movie this time - Sesame Street. I liked it much better than the freaky ghost one they had before, and of course Brennan loved it.

Here are the bottlenose dolphins doing their synchronized jumps. This show was cute but too short. I wanted to see more tricks.

Sea World has the best sting ray exhibit. At other zoos and aquariums we've been to, they are really hard to reach, and they don't come close enough. But here they are super friendly and easy to reach.
Of course the boys still managed to get soaked.

We got through most of the park on Monday. Then we did a day at the beach on Tuesday, finishing with another day at Sea World on Wednesday. We had each of the boys choose their favorite thing, and we repeated them the 2nd day.
They went on this ride three times in a row because there was no line. I guess everyone was watching Shamu at the time, and it wasn't too hot yet. We came prepared with ponchos this time.
The sky ride is fun. It goes out over the bay.
I love all the beautiful views of the bay and marina.
Oops - we weren't supposed to take the animals out of the water at the tide pools.

Spencer holding a sea cucumber. Those sure feel funky - very soft and squishy.

Dave's favorite show was the sea lions - really funny.

After this we drove home. We had seen everything at least once and were starting to get pretty tired. We had a six-hour drive ahead of us, and we didn't want to get home too late. Plus we wanted to get ahead of rush hour traffic through L.A. I could have stayed in San Diego another couple of days - I love it there so much, but Dave had to get back to work. We need to save up those vacation days for when the baby's born.