Thursday, June 21, 2012

other haps and ramblings.

man June is just going a mile a minute! i can't keep up with it all, let alone blog about it all. summers are fun that way, i guess.

some random haps:

last weekend we made the terrible mistake of going to the drive-in with the girls. M called me around 4:30 on Friday evening telling me he wanted to do something extra fun instead of just lounging around the house. he then suggested the drive-in- which wouldn't start until 8:55 pm (almost an hour past bedtime). we thought that Alice might fall asleep- then Ellie- and that we could sneak in the double feature later...and could be potentially awesome.


it was potentially the worst family activity we have ever had.
we should have known when we were at dinner with friends and the owner of the restaurant told us people were complaining about us (what kind of owner says that to a customer? especially when the kids were just being happy-loud, not screaming-crying-loud?) that our children might be too hyper for a couped-in-the-car movie.
but we didn't listen to the warning signs.
we pressed on.
and we should have known when the girls were screaming while we were in line to get parked in the drive-in that we should just turn around.
but we didn't listen to those screams. we thought they'd be distracted once the movie started.


Alice just wanted to touch the steering wheel. and the AC. and the heater. and the windshield wipers. and the volume.

finally Ellie lost her patience and freaked. "I CAN'T HEAR ANYMORE!!!!," she said screamed. and then she whacked Alice. and then Alice cried. and Alice couldn't recover.

and after about 40 minutes of this struggling, Ellie said, "this movie is too long. i want to go in my bed."

and we gladly left with both girls screaming.
less than 1 minute and 30 seconds later, both girls were snoring.
true story.
worst family outing ever.
true story.

on a much happier note, our Anniversary date this year was so fun. we left the kids with Grandma and Grandpa (the best babysitters ever) and went into the city- which is just my favorite. i love living close to San Francisco- and whenever we're there, we always think, "why in the world don't we come in more often!?" (i think we need more visitors to make it happen, hint hint)

the date was super simple, but so sweet and fun. we tried a new Sushi place near Golden Gate Park called Sushi Bistro, which we loved. much more casual than your average place- but also super duper tasty and fresh. five stars from us.

then we drove into the San Francsico sunset (which was goorrrggeouuss) and to Dolores Park where they were playing a movie in the Park- Mama Mia. this park is amazing- with the most beautiful city-scape behind the movie screen. we felt like we were in a movie (think the Wedding Planner) as we cuddled on the grass surrounded by crowds of people also snuggled on the grass and talked and occasionally lip synched to the songs (while occasionally getting big wafts of weed. niiice). it was a perfect date- wish we could do dates like that more often.

for Father's Day, we celebrated with M's family- and left it entirely unpictured except for these two cute shots of daddy playing with the girls before bedtime.

we love our daddy who is 100% cool with dog piles 24/7. he is the sweetest and these girls are the luckiest to get him as their dad for eternity. and i am so grateful for my dad as well. missed him tons but had fun talking and catching up with him. in a perfect world someday we will not miss out on being with anyone on special occasions. i can't wait for that.

::one big bummer in my life right now: the girls have started fighting. i'm starting to lose my mind. Ellie has started doing this thing where she absolutely freaks if something doesn't go her way; if she doesn't get the toy she wants or the bowl or the spoon or to wear the certain undies or skirt or whatever- or if Alice is playing with a baby she wants, or a barbie, or a cup, or a toothpick- whatever Alice has is suddenly gold and she HAS to have it (or something identical to it) or else she flips. sometimes she just yells or screams really loudly- like in Alice's face (so sad) until Alice gives it to her (such a bully). but sometimes she hits or pushes really hard- even to me (today she smacked me in the face...twice).  i don't know what these outbursts are all about- and they're leaving me baffled. it's so sad to see your kids misbehave-especially seeing them so unhappy, just because they don't get their way. and even worse, seeing how their negative example is being copied by their younger sibling. today at one point i just let out a really loud yell because i was so overwhelmed. it was pretty crazy and Ellie said, "it makes me feel scared when you yell like that." i probably would have been scared too, but everyone was screaming and i just didn't know what else to do. does anyone out there struggle with this too? how do you handle it? the whole thing is really getting me down and making me feel like a bad mom. and when so of course, we've been saying a lot of extra prayers- which do seem to soften the tension and help somewhat...but the problem isn't going away. i feel like i'm not getting to the root of it, you know?

::one thing we have done is i started a sticker chart for Ellie and Alice (per the suggestion of my friend Amy). it is awesome- and they love it.

it has simple tasks on it like "taking a bath" "get dressed" "be brave in Swim Lessons" "be kind to Alice/Ellie" "eat healthy foods" "clean playroom" "say prayers" "be good at bedtime." it's amazing how motivated they are by a sticker- and the little reminder "remember, be kind to Alice so you can earn that sticker today." don't get me wrong, i wouldn't say problems have gone away, but i'd say the sticker charts are helping bring awareness which is always good.

::so one other reason that i had made the sticker chart for them was because Ellie was starting swim lessons this week and i was really nervous how she was going to handle it. so i told her if she was brave and was a really good listener- and at least tried what her teacher told her to do, we could fill up the chart and see the movie Brave. Ellie loved that bribe. and let me tell you, she's hilarious in the pool with her teacher, Morgan- a cute Young Woman from our ward. Morgan asks Ellie to do things and Ellie politely yet assertively bargains with her. "i want to see you swim, Morgan." or "i'll dunk my head. but maybe later. like at the end of the lesson." in spite of her funny negotiating skills, she has made crazy progress in the three days. she wouldn't even dunk her head on Monday, and now she's like a head-dunking addict...and today she even swam a little bit by herself- first time ever. i'm totally impressed and excited for Ellie. and cute little Alice- she just sits so intently on the step of the pool, watching Ellie for the entire 30 minutes. you can tell she is just hoping with all of her heart to get the chance to go out there next. boy does she want to be like that Ellie.

::last week we went to the $1 summer movie "Happy Feet 2" with some friends. the girls LOVED it. Alice struggled a little towards the end, but for the most part the girls did great. afterwards we went shopping and the girls (and even Ellie's new little friend Madden- such a good lil sport) loved accessorizing. Ellie did not want to leave- and neither did i! we love having fun friends to do outings like this with.

:: we've loved our lazy sundays lately- where 9 am church is the hardest thing ever to get up and ready for (even though the girls are often up before 7, and i have early meetings...geeze, why is it so difficult to be on time for church? i don't get it) but where having the whole day to be together is the best thing ever. because while church is great, i admit that we totally look forward to all of the after-church lounging, relaxing, picnicking, gorging, laying on the front lawn, horsey-rides and blowing bubbles that wonderful Sunday afternoons usually bring.

::i've taken advantage of some "me" time lately- including a sneaky getaway where i told M i "needed to do errands" and i really went and got some yogurt from Yogurtland (hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to keep sane, you know? consider this 'mom jail break, episode 1').

i also recently went to the cutest baby shower for my cute friend Peyton (where i partook of the most delicious peach smoothie i ever did drink). i know i've said this before, but i just love the friends i've made here in the Bay Area.

::anddddd, our summer wouldn't be summer without our almost-daily fill of backyard pool and popsicle time- at our house and Grandma's and a friends'. it just feels right to pass the summer days when the pool, popsicles, and little people in swim suits are involved.

man, we're so glad summer's here to stay a while.

more things to come soon on the blog:

-Alice Week (it's just time. glance over at that side-bar with my labels cloud...and see Ellie's name is all huge, and poor little Alice's name just isn't. i think it's her turn to be bragged on for a few days)
-Joy School Graduation (it was so cute. holy moly i could die from the cuteness).
-a very late Disneyland post (as in, from the beginning of March-late), just because i'm missing it and i never got around to posting it. we probably won't go until September. my friend Jenny will be there tomorrow, i have had dozens of other friends posting about it...and, well, i'm having withdrawals. i know you all think i'm nuts but whatever. this is my blog and i can turn it into a disneyland obsesser one if i want.



Megan said...

here's an embarrassing confession: I didn't even realize I was laughing out loud during your "worst family activity" ever until emerie pointed it out to me. but I wasn't laughing at you - we've all been there. :)
also...I hear ya when it comes to the girls fighting. lately it's been that emerie thinks "sharing" means "ava shares with me...I don't share with her." it's led to arguments with the toddler and tears for the mini toddler. the chart is a great idea - as is the prayer! everything I learned in my degree just kept saying that consistency is key. these are phases and while they SUCK for parents, they will pass. and keep going for those mini mommy getaways to keep your sanity!!
love your happy blog. when you talk about the bay area, it makes me excited and not terrified to move there in less than 2 weeks.

Megan said...

ps - (as if my first comment wasn't long enough, I needed to add this second one!) our temporary housing is in walnut creek! I was excited when we found out because you had spoken so highly of the area. it looks beautiful!

Tiffany said...

I LOVE that Ellie negotiates with Morgan at her swim lessons because Madden does the same EXACT thing and its driving me nuts! She'll ask him to do something and he'll say "I can only do it if we go over there" and point to a different area of the pool. So they'll swim to a different area and then she'll ask him again and he'll say "not yet..." UGH! Morgan is a SAINT for being so patient with him! I just wanna jump in the water and dunk him myself! Lets get those 2 together to go swimming soon so maybe some of Ellie's swimming skills can rub off on Madden! :)

Tiffany Johnson said...

I love all the pictures. I miss you guys. Thanks for your sweet comments on my blog. Your girls are getting so big. Ellie looks like such a little girl and when you left here, she was still a little baby girl. I'm so grateful for blogs that I can keep up with friends. You're adorable.

Jessica said...

Sounds sooo much like my two--only in girl form. My boys are 4 years old and 19 months and yep, they are going through the same stages.

Just starting the "fighting" thing. Ugh. No fun for mom. But they are also able to have more genuine laughs and play time now too. I guess we just take the good with the bad. We are also doing swimming lessons and just started a chore chart too. So far so good. :)

Don't be too hard on yourself. You are a great mom! Toddlers/preschoolers are tough!