Friday, June 29, 2012

Tumbling Tot

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Amelia loves to tumble, run, fall, jump, climb, basically anything that involves her potentially getting hurt. Her new school offers "Power Tots," aka gymnastics, so of course we signed her up for that. (When she turns three we can also sign her up for yoga, which is somewhat hysterical.) In the top video you can see her doing somersaults and the second video shows her "diving" in her kiddie pool.  I didn't get video of it, but she did try and combine the two and do a somersault in the pool, but the water was too deep. And yes, she does say she jumped "too high." Good to know she has some limits.

We got a paper yesterday from the Power Tots class explaining what the goals are for her class. We're a little concerned because it uses the words cartwheel, twisting, springboard and landing. Lord help us with this child. Please don't let her try any of that outside of class. Matt and I have decided we're going to have to go watch one of these classes because later classes say "side-aerials" and that just makes me nervous.

PS - Our family room was so empty because we got new carpet and it made a great running area for Amelia one evening.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It's Hot

 One of the worst parts of living in DC is that summer days can get so humid you can see the air and the heat. We've let Amelia run through the sprinklers in the past, but this time I had the hose out to water the front yard. She started off getting just her hands wet, but eventually was down to just her shoes. I did give her the hose and let her get herself (only while on mist setting because I didn't want to get wet) but she also enjoyed being chased down. Matt saw the pictures when he got home and all he could say was "My job is to keep her dressed, at least in the front yard." and "You have to send the video to my mom."
If you can't run around naked in the front yard, what is the point of being two?  


Monday, June 18, 2012

Life Lessons From Jug and George

Happy Father's Day to all the daddies out there, especially Matt. He is the best father I have ever seen. He's patient with Amelia, but never gives an inch to her testing boundaries. He laughs at her more outlandish antics. He encourages her to keep trying things till she can do them herself. And he gets up with her at 6 am, even on the weekends. Amelia loves him and every time I pick her up from daycare she asks if Daddy will be home. When I say "in a little while, he's working," she always replies with "AGAIN??" and then laughs. Any night that Matt isn't going to be home before she goes to bed, she's convinced he's at a hockey game. I've tried to explain that he doesn't do that right now, but I've given up. So now all evening activities are "Hockey Games." Recently she asked to have a picture of him in her room so she could sleep with it. After waking up with the frame on her face I convinced her that it's best to leave the photo on the bookcase. It moves every day, so I know she takes it down each night and I've even heard her talking to it. She may be in a mommy-phase, but she still likes to sit with Matt and tell him that she's his munchkin. And she is. Happy Father's Day Matt.

Last year, I did a list of lessons learned from my Mothers and Grandmothers. This year will be what I learned from my Grandfather (Jug) and my father (George). My step-father Kent is wonderful, but he and my mom married the summer before my Senior year in high school, and even then we've never lived in the same house. I'm especially impressed with his devotion to family and how he's been able to turn my mother in to the Pastor's Wife (PW) without her changing her unique charm. I'll leave it at that before I get myself in trouble. My mother's father passed away before I was born and her second husband (whom I grew up with more than Kent) taught me to fine-tune my a$$hole detector. Beyond that, and being Roger's father, he has few redeeming qualities, so I'm not going to say anything else about him.

And so begins the lessons learned from Jug and George.

1) Education, Education, Education - my Grandfather came from a humble background, but with hard work and education, he was literally able to go from the assembly line to the Board room. He made sure his children and grandchildren went to good schools, and would have been so proud to see Anne graduate from Stanford. He sat on the Board for both Standford Law School and The Bishop's School (which is where all my cousins went and where my Dad and his siblings went.) He was a force to be reckoned with, and he made sure all his children and grandchildren lived up to their potential, as much as he could. My father has been the same way, and encouraged each of his children to go to Stanford. (So far he's 1 for 5, but has the potential to go 2 for 6) When we didn't want to go to Stanford (you could not have paid me to go there, even if I had been able to get in) he made sure to take us to visit different colleges so we were sure where we wanted to go. But he did try to color those decisions by taking me to Boston in February and then making me walk the Freedom Trail. I have never been so cold in my entire life.

2) Pick Your Battles - My father can role his eyes like no one else in the world. I think it and tennis are the only things that keep him sane. There wasn't much he didn't allow me to do, so when he would put his foot down, I tended to listen more than the average teenager. If it's not something life-threatening, gigantically stupid, or going to Cal, he would usually let you do it, but you knew exactly how he felt about it when he rolled his eyes.

3) Nicknames Last Forever - A friend of the family remarked that my Grandfather looked like "a little brown jug" when he was 2 and the nickname Jug stuck around his whole life. Most people called him Bill, but close friends and family still called him Jug until the day he died. I think this is why my father, and his mother, fought us calling my sister "Bunny" so hard, but eventually gave in. (Her real name - Alexandra Catherine) My Grandfather was George Williams R, II, my Dad is III and Will is IV. When Will was about 9 the Indiana Jones movies came out and Will figured out that Grandfather was a Junior, so he started calling Grandfather that. I think it lasted three days.

4) Travel - My Grandfather loved planes and traveled extensively for work at a time when it was rare. When he would go on trips he often took my father or one of his siblings. This showed them the world outside San Diego and gave them a perspective you can only get by seeing other cultures. My dad continued this tradition (for a number of years out family vacation was based on where the AIDS Conference was) and has taken his kids to South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Vietnam, and everywhere in between.

5) Play A Sport You Can Play Forever - For Grandfather it was golf and for my Dad it's tennis. Beyond the exercise factor, you can make friendships that last a long time and you always have a hobby to go and enjoy when you need to get out of the house.

6) Know What You Are Talking About - Both men had the ability to know completely random facts that made them good at Jeopardy, but also knew history, languages, and had immense knowledge in their work field. They are always reading and learning new things. I once corrected my father on the flavoring in a dish in front of some of his residents. He said "That's right. I was wrong." The resident sitting next to me whispered "I've never seen Dr. R be wrong before." I managed to not laugh or choke on my drink. 

7) Love Deeply - My Grandfather spent the last years of his life fighting Alzheimer's, but on the day my Grandmother died, he sat and held her hand, told her he loved her and never took his eyes off her. Once she had passed he gave her one last kiss before leaving. I sat next to him at her funeral and it's the only time I have ever see him cry. My father's younger (and only) brother passed away suddenly and quickly a few years later. My Dad and uncle were extremely close and I've never seen heartbreak like the look on my Dad's face after my uncle's ashes were put in the columbarium. On a less depressing note, he's loving being a Grandfather. Amelia can do no wrong and I hear that he brags about her quite a bit.

8) To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Expected - My Grandfather's generosity knew no bounds. He gave of himself both with time and money. There are too many stories to tell, but it was really amazing. My father has made his work all about finding cures and disease prevention. It really is about making the world a better place. While his training was in pediatrics, he's now an epidemiologist working on projects and grants around the world. Which is way better than him being a pediatrician. He has the worst bedside manner and never sugar coats anything. EVER. He also tries to be in his children's lives as much as possible. He's coached soccer games and sat on committees at the VA just to spend more time with his kids.

My Grandfather passed away almost four years ago, and I still think of him everyday. I can honestly say that I am a better person for having Jug as my Grandfather and George as my father. While no one is perfect, they do try and act in the best possible interest of their children and grandchildren. And for that I will be forever grateful. Happy Father's Day.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Future Geography Bee Champion


Why yes Amelia is wearing kiddie Jackie O sunglasses with her tennis outfit. She wears the sunglasses in the house, and then tries to put them on top of her head like Matt and I do.

We've had a map on the wall for awhile to show Amelia where the rest of the family lives. I got her puzzle of the states and she was able to quickly pull out Florida and California and put them in the right place. In the last week, she's added New York, the combo Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts piece, Texas, Maine, Michigan and Virginia. She also has a special affection for Idaho, so either she wants to learn to ski or needs more potatoes in her diet. We're headed to Michigan in a few weeks for a family wedding and if you ask Amelia where she's going, she'll pull out the piece and yell "Michigan!"

We've tried to teach her things about each state, beyond a city or who lives there. Example - Kentucky, that's where they have a lot of horses. Matt did not find my description of Arkansas appropriate. What can I say? It IS full of razorbacks and people who have slept with Bill Clinton.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Yelling and Screaming

We're definitely an athletic family. Matt played golf and baseball, between me and my siblings we played tennis, baseball/softball, swimming, basketball, volleyball, soccer, golf, skateboarding, horseback riding, rugby and crew. That's a lot of practices, equipment and games/matches/regattas. Yesterday was the highlight of all those events. My youngest sister Amanda, was the coxswain for Oakland Strokes Women's Youth 8+ boat that won the National Championship in Oak Ridge, TN. We were able to watch the semis and the finals via webcast. I might have been a little misty when they won with open water between them and the Marin boat that came in second. We are so proud of her and it was awesome to watch. I also find it pretty amusing that the youngest of six is now a national champion at yelling and telling people what to do. Clearly she learned from the best. We're also very proud that she's headed to the Junior Olympic Camp later this month.
Congratulations Amanda and Oakland Strokes!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Family and Fenway

For Memorial Day weekend, we flew up to Rhode Island for some family time and a baseball game. I had been prepping Amelia with pictures of family and their names so she was ready. Of course that can only help so much. She did remember all her grandparents, so I'll take that as a win for this trip.

Flying with Amelia is getting easier as she gets used to it. There are a couple of major points that will lead to a good travel experience.
  • Just accept that she will take her shoes off at security even though she doesn't need to. God forbid that we do something and she doesn't do it too.
  • She will not hold your hand. The closest you're going to get is her holding one strap of her backpack while she holds the other.
  • The appeal of wearing her backpack ends about five minutes after putting it on.
  • Pre-board if you can because the harness thing takes a few minutes to get on.
  • Make sure the iPad is ready the second the light goes out. Now she knows the light has to go off before she's allowed to turn it on. And she remembers it.
  • Headphones are a 50% likelihood. 
  • Do not attempt to help with the iPad unless specifically asked to.
  • After the iPad has to go back in a bag have M&Ms ready. Given two at a time you can buy at least 20 minutes, which is an eternity in Amelia time.
  • Bring wet wipes. See M&Ms above.
 Amelia had a great time the whole weekend. She enjoys being the center of attention and having an audience. Gloria was able to record this little gem of her showing off her singing skills. My favorite part is how she ends the song.

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Could she be anymore of a ham?

Matt and I got to get away for a night in Boston with some friends. Matt had scored tickets for sitting on the Green Monster and it was awesome. I think these might be the best seats in baseball. You're high enough to see everything, but close enough to watch the ball on every pitch. Aside from the walk-off home run, other highlights included a child with the middle name of Fenway being wished Happy Birthday on the big screen and a marriage proposal with the help of Wally the Green Monster.

Actual seat. Instead of the normal rows, you were basically seated at a bar.

You had to get your hand stamped to go into the area. I can't even remember the last time I got my hand stamped for anything outside of Las Vegas.
 Matt at Fenway.

 To help Amelia keep the names all straight between visits I've set up a photo gallery on our dishwasher. It's full and doesn't even have everyone we wanted to put up. Our fridge isn't magnetic, so this is our best option. She likes to pull the photos off (half of which are Facebook photos I just printed on paper since I knew they would get manhandled) and try to name the people in the photo. She's got her godparents, grandparents, Uncle Will and Aunt Bunny down. Aunts Anne, Amanda, Courtney, Kim, and Gina are at about 50% recognition. For it only being up a week, she's doing very well.

PS - she still says "Uncle Pet-ah" with her fake British accent. It's awesome.