Monday, July 27, 2009 (TAYLOR IS STILL 4 YEARS, 2 MONTHS OLD) – Monterey Trip

This past week, Gene and Toby came to town to visit with us. The kids see each other every 6 months or so, so you would think that they might take some time to get back in the groove. In fact, they clicked again immediately and began playing together right away. Over the six days they were here, the kids played non-stop and didn’t fight the entire time! The biggest conflict we had was who got to press the buttons in the elevator. It was wonderful having a playmate here for Taylor and we all had a blast together. The first night, we brought the kids over to the house and they played in the big dirt pile in the front yard. The kids really enjoyed showing us how STRONG they were by breaking the rocks apart:
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The second day, we took the kids to Mt Diablo, which was awesome! They absolutely loved running around in Rock City and climbing into caves. We totally wore them out, then went home to sit in the pool and hot tub.

On Thursday, we headed down to Monterey. I’d heard a lot about the Dennis the Menace playground, so I wanted to check it out. What a cool park! There was an old train car that the kids could climb on, and maze for them to run through. Also, there were tons of really big slides, a swinging bridge and tons of fun play structures. The kids ran all over the place and explored. After a long drive, the park was the perfect antidote. Here we are playing at the Dennis the Menace playground:
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On Friday, we got up early and went to breakfast at our favorite breakfast place, First Awakenings. The kids got Mickey Mouse pancakes that were the size of their heads! After breakfast, we strolled to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and spent the morning there. I absolutely LOVE the aquarium. The design is so kid-friendly, while also being really cool for adults. The kids wore themselves out after a couple of hours and it was starting to get crowded, so we headed off to get some naps and lunch. In the afternoon, we went back to the aquarium and spent the last two hours there before they closed. It turned out that we picked really good times to go because we missed the bulk of the crowds.

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After such a fun day at the aquarium, I thought we could just chill out at the beach, so on Saturday we headed to Asilomar State Beach. I remember going tide pooling when I was a kid, so I thought it would be neat to take the kids. I wasn’t sure if they would be into it, but they loved climbing around on the rocks and looking at the crabs and anemones. We brought some sand toys for them to dig. They had so much fun, they didn’t want to leave. They both slept for the entire drive home. BLISS!

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We were so thrilled to have six days of play with Gene and Toby and it was amazingly peaceful and FUN! It’s so wonderful that TJ and Toby have such a close relationship. I hope that they can grow up being good friends.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 (Taylor is 4 years and 2 months old)

Wow, it’s been a really long time since I last posted! There’s been a lot of change in the air. We’re renovating the house and during the month of June, we were living in a bit of a construction zone while the decks and awnings were being ripped off of the house. It was noisy and so I took Taylor down to my parent’s house to get away from the chaos. Their house was empty because they went on a cross-country road trip for 3 weeks. They sent Chiquita off to a friends’ house to stay while they were gone. I thought Taylor might be a little sad that they were gone, but I didn’t anticipate how upset she would become. When she got to the house, she cried and cried because she missed grandma and grandpa and Chiquita so much. I tried to console her, but was positively despondent. She tends to exaggerate a bit these days, so she was sobbing and saying, “Now I’ll NEVER get to play with them again!” I finally was able to cheer her up by setting up her tent inside the house so that we could “camp” indoors. Taylor got to sleep inside her tent in Zuzu’s office and we managed to have some fun after all. Just before bed, though, Taylor asked for help getting a picture of Zuzu and Paul down from the desk and she set it outside her tent so she could see them from her bed. It was very touching and heartbreaking all at once. She was SO happy when everyone returned home.

I had a birthday last month and grandma C.R. was kind enough to come up and spend the day with Taylor while Zach and I had a day to ourselves. TJ and C.R. had a lot of fun together – doing crafty projects and baking a beautiful birthday cake for me! It was delicious, too! Only problem is that they got the age wrong on the cake. I’m actually only 21 😉

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Once the birthday fun was done, we moved into an apartment where we’ll be living temporarily during construction. We decided to move Taylor’s castle from the house into her new room and her bed is inside. We thought that would be a great way to bring something familiar to the new place and also get some more use out of the castle. Here’s TJ in her “castle bed”:

The best part of living in an apartment…there is a pool in the apartment complex! We’ve been going down and spending time in the pool most days. Taylor was very afraid of the water at first, but she’s really coming around. She took her time getting familiar with the pool, so for a time she would just play on the steps. After awhile, she got more comfortable and we got her some water wings and goggles. Now she’s happy to float around the pool and she’s getting more used to putting her face in the water. We’re looking for swim classes so she can learn to swim while we have access to a pool. Here’s Taylor in her full swim gear:
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There were a couple of rough months there for a bit with TJ – I think she was having some trouble with all of the change that was happening around her. Now that things are settling back into a normal routine, she is in such good spirits! It’s really fun to hang out with her. Her imagination is going all of the time – she still loves to play pretend. It seems that when we play there are rules for now. But don’t try to figure out the rules, because they change to suit her needs. It’s pretty funny sometimes. She’s also really into magic and jokes. Most of the time, the jokes and magic are pretty bad or they just don’t make any sense, but she cracks herself up anyway. Her favorite is:
Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Boo, who?
Aww…please don’t cry! (At some point, instead of saying, “Please don’t cry!”, TJ started saying, “You can’t come in…here’s a tissue!”. She’s got quite a sense of humor, that one!)
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