Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Mother's Day

Mother's Day was a beautifully sunny warm day in San Francisco. Jack and I had breakfast at a new restaurant in the 'hood that we had not been to before, and then mostly hung out in the sunshine.

I came, I swam, I conquered

Jack loves the water but doesn't love water on his face, doesn't like to go underwater, or know how to swim so he clings to me most of the time when we are in a pool. I decided it was time for some swim lessons. We did swim lessons together when he was months old but he would be with a swim instructor this time. I was a little nervous about how he would react to my not being with him in the pool but I was quickly put in check with how much self-importance I place upon myself. He jumped right into the pool with the instructor and in the first 20 minutes they dunked right underwater together!

First swim lesson

Underwater together!

The Castle

Jack's preschool classes end at 2:15pm and then we pay for aftercare where the kids are looked after by teachers and read or do an activity or play outside. To add a little variety, I signed up Jack for two "enrichment" classes: IncrediBuilders (where the kids build with various materials) and Toy Story (where the kids make a little movie).

For Toy Story, Jack was paired with his best friend, Zoe, who was also taking the class. The teacher asked us to bring in two or three favorite toys so we brought in a castle and Superman car.

Here's the short (very short!) film that the kids came up with:

Almost Hillbilly Jack

A few months ago, Jack was pushed on the playground and hit his mouth on a concrete play structure. His mouth was bleeding and I was quietly flipping out until I identified that the bleeding was coming from his gum (just above one of his two front teeth) and it went away quickly. Crisis averted, I thought.
Jack complained that his front teeth were sore. That's normal after the trauma he experienced, I thought.
Then three weeks later his front tooth started to turn brown. I immediately took him to the dentist who said she saw three of these a day. Not that comforting. What's the prognosis? It could turn more brown, turn back to white, fall out, or stay in -- and we wouldn't be out of the clear for up to a year so it's mostly a waiting game.
So far the tooth has settled on a medium brown color but thankfully it's still firmly intact. So far, so good I guess.


Jack's preschool class organized a preschool T-Ball team this Spring. His team was named the "Star Bears" and was a mix of kids from his Teddy Bear class with a few kids from the Starfish class - hence the name.

They received a great red baseball shirt and embroidered black hat and I bought him a little glove that came with a soft baseball. The team practiced each Thursday and had a game most Saturdays.

The Saturday games were amusing demonstrations of organized chaos. There were four volunteer coaches and a bunch of nudgy kids which made for a constantly moving and crowded field. Differently from the Star Bears, the other teams wore matching baseball uniforms and sometimes didn't even use the "T" in T-Ball and were able to bat at hand-thrown pitches. Nonetheless, everyone cheered on their kids - even when they often hit the ball off the T and ran furiously to third base. Or picked flowers in the outfield. Or chatted up the opposing team's first baseman when they made a run and had to be prompted to Run, Run, Run to second base. Everyone got a chance to be at the bat and to run around the bases. The games lasted an hour, no matter how many innings that turned out to be.

Jack definitely liked the idea of being with his friends and meeting new friends. He was the one chatting up the first baseman or twirling in the outfield or loudly yelling "MOOOOMMMM, I'M THIRRRRRSTY!" from the other side of the field during the game. He often watched the ball roll by until it occurred to him to chase it. Needless to say, he wasn't chosen to man a base or placed in the infield, but he definitely had fun in the sun and so did I.

CLICK HERE for more pictures.

Chinese New Year

 The Chinese (or Lunar) New Year was in February and Jack and I went to Golden Gate Park to celebrate.

We camped out on the floor of an auditorium to watch a dance troupe of women who performed ethnic and folk dances from China, Mongolia, Tibet, and throughout Asia. They were dressed in colorful traditional costumes and danced to the rhythmic drumming of live musicians.

The dancing culminated in an amazing performance of "lion dancers". To me, they looked like the usual dragon dances that you often see in Chinatown where you have performers under a dragon costume. But I learned something interesting - the Chinese lion dances have two performers (one at the head and one in the back) whose faces are covered by the lion costume. In contrast, the dragon dances have multiple performers and their faces can be seen because the dragon is held up on poles.

Afterwards, we walked over to the Botanical Garden where an author was reading two children's books (we bought a book on the Year of the Ox which is Jack's sign, and a fun one called Julie's Black Belt) and then potted a plant for the new year.

CLICK HERE for more pictures of our Chinese New Year fun.

Lion dancers, not to be confused with Dragon dancers!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Stella Turns 5

If Jack is 4, then Stella is 5. Our good girl is as cute as ever (she is in more camera phones than I can count), and even more stubborn. I never tire of hearing her snore at night - it's so comforting to hear her nearby. And I swear, when I look in her big brown eyes it's like she's communicating with me. Jack loves Stella and understands that she likes to be scratched, patted, is part of our family and therefore we take care of each other. Happy Birthday Stelly Belly!

Jack Turns 4

Jack turned 4 this year!

Birthday Crown
I decided to start a new tradition and make a good morning birthday crown. It turned out to be a bit more papal than I imagined but I will have many more birthdays to hone my craft!

At 4, Jack would rather jump and climb than sit and color. And at 46, I love a big party. So I combined our preferences and planned a big boisterous birthday party with all of Jack's friends, classmates, and their parents at Pump It Up.

Pump It Up is a birthday factory. After an introductory video, the kids enter Room #1 that has huge inflatable slides and bouncy houses. The parents and kids put their shoes and things on a rolling cart and bounce.

After 45 minutes, everyone is rounded up and moved into Room #2 where there are even more and impossibly bigger inflatables. The cart of your things is rolled right in after you. And you bounce again. And sweat. Eighties music plays in the background. And you sweat some more. In the meanwhile, another party has entered into Room #1 unbeknownst to you.

And after another 45 minutes, everyone is rounded up again for a group picture, puts on their shoes, and is herded into the birthday room full of balloons, pizza, and cake. The room is thoughtfully chilled to cool you down. All the kids have red cheeks from jumping and running around.

Jack was heavy into superheros, so all the kids received a mask, matching cape, and a Tootsie Roll with a tiny mask and cape of its own that was printed with a Thank You for the birthday guests.

And in the meanwhile, another party has entered into Room #2 unbeknownst to you. They definately have the birthday party factory thing down to an amazing science. And everyone had an amazing time.

Afterwards, Jack and his Auntie Linda and I drove home. Jack fell fast asleep in the car for a nap so I drove into the garage and let him sleep while Linda and I setup a table and chairs and unloaded the car of presents onto the adjacent sidewalk. We had a couple of glasses of wine and leftover cake while waiting for Jack to wake up. When he did, we opened presents together and read several homemade cards from his friends.

CLICK HERE for more pictures of Jack's special day.

Morning book with birthday crown:

Sliding at Pump It Up:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Campbells - mmm mmm good

I love a full house. So, when my friend, Maggie, and her husband, Scott, and 3 year old, Lola, decided to visit - it was so much fun.

Maggie is one of my oldest friends, and it's very interesting that our age, we have kids within 7 months of each other. It's great to have someone to discuss "is that normal" convos with about your kids.

Her daughter, Lola, is a bubbly little girl who loves to chase and be chased. She often baited Jack by taking a toy and making him chase her - unfortunately, Jack didn't love the chase as much as she did and he often whined and went to his room complaining "he needed space" -- and then came back out a minute later for more.

It was nice to have a man around the house too (without all the complications!) -- my garage door was fixed in better condition than it might have, I had my 40 lb bag of dog food carried up 2 flights of stairs, and Scott chivalrously ventured out for breakfast in the morning. I also took away a few cooking tricks and learned how to make a roast and Yorkshire bread pudding which were both surprising easy for even this novice cook.

Stella's attention meter was refueled again with lots of hugs, kisses, back scratches, and ball playing.

In the end, Jack loved having "little Lola" here (not to be confused with his grandma, "Big Lola") and the house seemed too quiet with just me and Jack and Stella again.



Teddy Bears

Jack is in his first of two years of preschool. His class is called the "Teddy Bears". And they are all as cute as one!

Click on the image to make it larger

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ooey Gooey Goodness

I love to do crafty things with Jack and one of the things we received from the cousins for Christmas was a Goo Making kit.

Jack and I made four different colors of Goo one morning and were entertained for a looong time.

Caveat: the slippery slimy mess was nearly impossible to wash off your hands, your bowls, your towels, etc.!