Friday, May 16, 2008 (TAYLOR IS 3 YEARS OLD)

GUESS WHO’S THREE?!?!

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That’s right…Taylor turned three this week! We’ve tried to keep the birthdays pretty low-key around here, so we didn’t have a lot of fanfare. We had dinner with my parents and brothers. Taylor could hardly contain herself all day because she knew that we were going to have cupcakes and she really, REALLY wanted to eat them. Thankfully, we were able to stave her off until after dinner and, I have to say, it was totally worth the wait. We got cupcakes from the Walnut Creek Baking Company and they were excellent. They were chocolate with cream cheese frosting and T.J. requested strawberries, so we added chocolate covered strawberries on top. Deeee-licious!

This third birthday should be called Independence Day, because we are noticing some really dramatic changes in Taylor lately and they seem to be centered around the desire for independence. Up until recently, T.J. was very reluctant to go to her once-weekly “preschool”. She cried almost every time I dropped her off. I know for a fact that she would stop crying as soon as I turned the corner, but it was still heart-wrenching to leave her as she cried. Then one day about two weeks back I asked her what she wanted to do and she said, “Go to preschool”. Unfortunately, the school was closed that day, so I asked what else she wanted to do and she replied, “I want to go somewhere where there’s other people and you can drop me off.” Perhaps I should have been offended, but it was quite the contrary. I was overjoyed. Ever since that day, she hasn’t protested when I’ve dropped her off to any childcare/school setting and she actually seems happy to be there. It’s been a real relief for me…it took almost a year and a half to get to this point so I’m hoping that it sticks.

This birthday is making me very nostalgic, and lately I’ve found myself looking through all of Taylor’s old blog entries. I’m not normally good at journaling, but I am so glad that I created a blog for T.J. I don’t know if she’ll appreciate it, but I really enjoy reading what she was doing last week, last month and last year. I would never have remembered the little details or even the big milestones. Whenever someone asks me, “What age was Taylor when she did…”, I always tell them that I have to check the blog. I love being able to compare what she looked like at each birthday:

AGE 2: Week 105d
AGE 1:
Week54a
AGE 0:
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I’ve thought a lot about how long I’ll keep going with writing and posting pictures on this blog. I’m still enjoying it, especially because it forces me to take pictures and keep a record of things that might otherwise be forgotten (or rewritten in our memories). Now that Taylor is three, though, I’m going to scale back a bit and post only once per month instead of weekly (the first Friday of the month). I think T.J. could use a break from the constant photography. Believe it or not, I’m really not normally a picture-taker, so it’s hard to believe that we have 896 photos in the album on this website. I only post a small percentage of the ones I take, so you can imagine how many pictures I have saved on my computer! Anyway, in the interest of reaching another milestone (900 pictures in the album) I’m posting these four pics of our daredevil Taylor jumping in her ball pool:

Year3cYear3dYear3eYear3f

Next posting: Friday June 6, 2008

Friday, May 9, 2008 (TAYLOR IS 2 YEARS AND 52 WEEKS OLD)

Last week, I had to bring my car into the shop for routine maintenance and so T.J. and I spent the entire day killing time in Walnut Creek. I was wondering if it would be difficult to find things to do, but we managed quite well. I documented the day as it happened:

9:00 a.m. – Dropped off the car at the mechanic. Started walking to Broadway Plaza.
9:15 a.m. – Stopped at the fountain in Broadway Plaza. Taylor wanted to throw pennies in the fountain, but she didn’t want to use the ones that she had in her pocket. We looked around the fountain for pennies to throw in. Total found = 0.
9:25 a.m. – T.J. saw a brick shelf in front of Talbots and wanted to sit for awhile. We both sat on the ledge and pretended to make food and sang songs together. Here she is on her ledge:
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9:45 a.m. – We got breakfast at Sunrise Bistro. I love taking Taylor here for breakfast, because they have great pancakes and T.J. will clear her plate. In fact, on this particular morning, she polished off all of her pancakes and then moved on to mine, too!
“Look out mom…once I’m done with these, I’m coming after yours!”
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She also built towers of coffee creamer. Here she is hard at work…
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…and proud of her results:
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10:15 a.m. – After breakfast, we went next door to Right Start. It’s a baby/kids store and they had a new toy that I’ve never seen before called the Explorer Ring. It has beads and various compartments and kids can turn dials and buttons to get the beads to move through the ring. It’s pretty cool – would have been great for Taylor when she was around two.

10:30 a.m. – Stopped into Aaron Bros for a picture frame. I got a frame. Taylor got a little trinket – a dog shaped pencil sharpener.

10:45 a.m. – Went into Pottery Barn Kids, which is like a wonderland for kids. T.J. loves to play in this place. They have a jungle theme right now, which looks a lot like Taylor’s room now. We played with the pretend vintage kitchen set – so much nicer than any real stove and refrigerator set you’ll see out there:
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11:30 a.m. – Off we went to Barnes and Noble. We sat down and read several books together.
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12:30 p.m. – Taylor was beginning to fade, so I strapped her into the stroller and we headed over to Nordstrom for a snack. We got a fruit/cheese plate at the cafe and brought it over to the fountain. T.J. sat on the stone bench and noshed while I sat and people-watched.
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1:20 p.m. – Back in the stroller and Taylor was asleep at last. Of course, about 5 minutes after she fell asleep, I got the call that my car was ready, so I headed back to the mechanic and our day was complete.
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Friday, May 2, 2008 (TAYLOR IS 2 YEARS AND 51 WEEKS OLD)

We’ve been wanting to try camping with Taylor for awhile. We thought that it would be a fun family activity, but were a little apprehensive about how well it might go. Last weekend, the weather was great and we decided to do a trial run. We packed up our tent and sleeping bags and went up to Mt. Diablo, which was the closest place to home we could think of to go camping (except for maybe our own backyard). We got a campsite just below the summit and set up our tent and once Taylor got inside, she didn’t want to leave. Ever. She actually stayed inside for a few hours, only coming out for a few minutes when Zach convinced her to go for a very short hike. She would have stayed inside for the entire night, but we made her leave so that we could go up to the summit for stargazing. It happened to be a really good night for stargazing and there were a bunch of amateur astronomy buffs with their telescopes out for us to check out the stars and Saturn.
Here we are waiting for the sun to go down:

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As soon as we got back from the summit, Taylor said she was tired and wanted to go to bed. She ended up sleeping more soundly than I’ve seen in a long time. We went home early in the morning, and on the way home, we learned a valuable lesson – Taylor gets carsick! She didn’t actually get sick, but she was certainly feeling queasy because of the windy drive down the mountain.
Anyway, we learned a lot and I think that the trip was a success. We would definitely feel comfortable going on a longer camping trip with T.J. sometime.