Friday, October 11, 2013


We spent the last week of summer on a beach vacation with our very good friends, the Mahons. We were celebrating Mike's 40th birthday and hoping for some relaxation despite the large number of small children around. The beach house came with a 4 year old, a 3 year old, and 3 babies. 

Given those numbers, we weren't sure what it was going to be like. But it turned out to be pretty relaxing! The boys played beautifully together, fighting was limited and the babies didn't sleep any worse than they did at home. I think that can be considered a successful vacation.

The house was right on the beach and sunrise was stunning each morning. Unfortunately, we were usually up to see it. Now that we've stayed beachfront, I'm not sure I can ever go back! I am so spoiled! It was just so easy to go back and forth to the beach and not feel like you had to commit to being there for a long time. I have commitment issues with the beach. 
Took these with my iPhone. Can you believe??

The first weekend was Labor Day weekend and Lakshmy's sisters joined us with a husband, baby and fiance in tow. It was so fun having a packed house; it felt like a party all the time. Charlie got to see the infamous "Charlie bit my finger" You Tube video and also watched some Bollywood. He found both to be fascinating! 

Sandbridge is near Virginia beach and therefore near the Naval Air station where pilots are trained. All day long you can see and hear fighter jets flying over. This was of course very exciting for our two little boys. 

Because Mike works for the government and is former military, he was able to take Brad and the boys on the naval base to see the planes. They got to see some take off and land and see the hanger where technicians were working on the jets. Cameras were not allowed, so they just had a few shots from outside the base. It sounded so exciting! The girls stayed back home but we were sad to miss it! It was definitely a highlight of the trip.
We drove over to Virginia beach one night to walk on the boardwalk and have dinner. We checked out the places online first because we really wanted some oysters. We found the perfect place, got a table, sat down, ordered some oysters and waaaah waaaahhh no oysters. They don't serve them anymore. Such a bummer.
Strollers. The Ultimate Hip Dad accessory.
But we were sitting outside with a beach view and were even closer to the jets flying over. Like, you could not talk when they were nearby because it was so loud. If I was staying in those hotels, it would get so old. But the boys were captivated throughout dinner and that made it awesome. 
Begrudgingly cooperative
We walked over to a carnival type place after dinner and let the boys ride some rides and play games. Fortunately, we were the only people there or we would have spent a fortune getting the boys stuffed animal prizes. They each left with 3. 

The rest of the time we played on the beach and relaxed at the house, enjoying the beautiful views. And there was wine. Lots and lots of wine. Many episodes of Paw Patrol. Some kite flying. We found a closer restaurant on our last night and finally got our oyster fix. 
An example of lots of wine.

Virginia Beach also has the Virginia Aquarium, which Lakshmy and I wanted to see but could not interest anyone else in. We are really counting on the girls being interested in aquariums. 
Sahana says I don't think so

Overall, it was a wonderful beach trip, even with all the children our beach house came equipped with. I had beach withdrawal the entire following week. Sign of a good trip, when you're that sad it's over. 

Charlie's First Soccer Team

Charlie is on his very first official soccer team this fall. He is playing with the Richmond Kickers. He's done some soccer classes before, but these are actual practices and games.

Not having ever played soccer, I had no idea what to expect. But he's 4 so I thought, how serious can it be? Quite serious as it turns out!

We showed up at the first game in the uniform we bought from the team and some regular sneakers. Because what I didn't realize is that 4 year old soccer requires cleats and shin guards. And each player needs their very own size 3 ball. I didn't even know the sizes of the balls before that day.

Brad used to play soccer and I could tell he was quickly realizing he should be managing the soccer team aspect of our family from now on. One would think the team organizers would send out an email with this information, but no. So we were totally unprepared for game 1. Mommy fail!

Don't worry, I got it all together before the first practice the following Wednesday. We got a bright green ball of his choosing, some cleats and I even bought him extra socks. He actually already had shin guards that we got him just for fun one time.

The games are as you would expect - like herding cats. They had to combine the Under 5 and Under 6 groups so sometimes we are playing teams where the kids have had a year of coaching already and are much, much better. It's kind of annoying.

Overall, I haven't been thrilled with the Richmond Kickers. I don't think we will play with them again. It's been disorganized from the start and we didn't even get coaches assigned until 2 days before the first game. Those coaches, who are in high school and play in the Kicker's older age groups, didn't even show up for our last game. Brad and one of the moms who used to play soccer coached. I sat there and wondered what all the money we paid was going towards.

Even though we haven't loved the league, Charlie loves playing "real" soccer. It is all he wants to do these days. He would wear his cleats everywhere if I let him. He gets mad at me when it's time to go home from practice. Unless it's hot - that kid hates playing in the heat!

Junior Kindergarten

Charlie started Junior Kindergarten oh.... a month ago. Since one of his goals in life is to Go to Kindergarten, Junior Kindergarten is acceptable for the time being. But we talk almost daily about starting Kindergarten.

They have so many older kids at his preschool this year that there are two JK's and a pre-kindergarten. They had to shift around some teachers. The pre-kindergarten is for kids who will probably be held back due to summer birthdays.

Both teaching teams for the JK class are wonderful. One team has been doing JK for many years and the others are the same teachers Charlie had last year, who we all loved. He ended up with last year's teachers and a few kids from his class last year.

We got an overview of what the class will be doing this year on the first day of school (meet the teachers) and it all sounded really fun and definitely well thought out. It's a nice combination of being outside playing and exploring their nature trail and inside doing projects. They have earthworms as class pets.

So far Charlie seems excited to go to school and loves telling me what he did all day. He is going 5 days a week. In the spring they increase the school day until 2 (I think?) to get them prepared for a full day of kindergarten.

Until then he is doing some of the after school programs like soccer and tennis. He loves staying for lunch and an activity - it makes him feel very grown up. I think that's a carryover from his London nursery, where the big kids stayed for lunch. Charlie was always quite jealous.

Brad delayed his flight out to stay for the morning and check out Charlie's new classrooms. Eleanor stayed with the sitter for a morning nap so we could focus on Charlie and make it his big day. And it marked the first day of my denial that my baby is starting Kindergarten next fall.

Oh and please excuse the dead plants in these photos. We were at the beach the week before school started and they all died!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

8 Months of Eleanor

I'll be honest, the last two months are kind of blending together, so I'm going to separate as well as I can remember. It was August. I was suffering from summer burnout. 

I do vividly remember we had sleep troubles throughout the month. She was still getting up in the night about half the time, sometimes more. I was a zombie a lot of the month, shuttling kids to this and that and then so relieved when bed time arrived. The week before we went on our beach trip she was up every night at 4 and I had no idea what vacation was going to be like. Then she slept beautifully there!

Army crawling started and Eleanor pulled herself all around the house. This felt earlier than it had been with Charlie but I went back and checked and it wasn't. I forgot how dirty their clothes get from scooching around the floors you haven't had time to sweep or mop. 

Probably the most surprising thing she did in her eighth month was completely reject pureed food. She would spit it out, turn her head, buzz her lips. She wanted what Charlie was having, so I started giving her more table food. Pretty soon that was all she wanted. And she will feed it to herself, thank you very much. If Charlie gets a snack in the car, she wants some and will be so loud until she gets it! 

She wants to feed herself the bottle, as well. I typically put her in her sling chair and she will bounce in that, eat and watch whatever Charlie is doing. Sometimes joining him is more important than eating. 

At night we have started a horrible habit. She takes her final bottle in the crib. I'm not even sure how it started, but she loves it and it's going to be AWFUL to break her of it eventually. A sleep crutch. What was I thinking?? And then I sit there and scratch my head and wonder why she's up in the middle of the night. She's used to sucking on something to soothe herself to sleep. Foot, consider yourself shot. 

She is not a particularly snuggly baby, though she does enjoy being walked around to view her kingdom from a higher vantage point. She does not like being held or rocked very much. She gets quite squirmy and the whole thing can get frustrating quickly.

She spent the entire month teething, with very little progress. I had definitely blocked out how frustrating teething is. It just seems to go on forever! 

Napping is all over the place, as it has been all summer. She's had to nap on the go quite a bit so that Charlie can have a life outside the house. Hoping we can have something of a schedule once school starts, though Mommy likes to have a life outside the house too!

Eleanor is a very happy baby and healthy, as well. Brad points this out whenever I start worrying about this or that and he is very right. Funny, though, he doesn't bring it up when she is up at 4am on the weekends and he gets up with her! But we are so blessed. She really has completed our family.

Back at Blogging. I hope.

I have been having problems blogging because of my hard drive. It was too small and had too little free space due to all the photos, videos, TV shows and annoying, space greedy children's games. I tried to free some up with an external hard drive, but got to the point where if I moved anything else, it would be hard to access and use the computer.

So I bit the bullet, bought a new hard drive and the folks at Apple helped me set it up. I even got a free operating system upgrade. It was just in the nick of time. My hard drive failed about an hour before my appointment. I had everything backed up, so no biggie.

I hope now that I don't have to spend blogging time trying to move files off my computer so I can download photos I can catch up on the blog. I think I recorded Charlie's every breath and poor Eleanor is barely going to be able to tell she was alive.

I hope the new hard drive solves my problems. I'm still seeing things running slowly and locking up. If this entire computer fails, blogging will come to an abrupt stop. *fingers crossed*