Thursday, March 26, 2009

She's Rolling

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I finally caught a roll on tape! Now if I could just figure out how to post it vertically...

Monday, March 23, 2009

When is it going to stop?


I just can't seem to stop thinking about the cops that lost their lives in Oakland this weekend. The suffering of the family members of these officers has got to be beyond anything imaginable. The fellow officers of these brave men- I can't even find the words to describe how difficult it would be to put on the uniform and go back out on those streets. I live 4 1/2 hours away from Oakland now- and can feel the tensions and dividing lines that are being drawn all the way up here in my small mountain town. My parents live in the same East Oakland house I lived in for 18 years, a home that holds so many of my wonderful childhood memories. Everytime I hear about the break-ins, the violent crimes, the murder rates, I think about my parents- who taught for a combined 55 years in the often-times hostile Oakland Public School environment- and are trying to enjoy their retirement years in a city that they have given so much to. I think about them, and I am grateful to those brave officers who go into Oakland everyday and do what they can to protect the people of this city. I always worry about my parents safety, but I always rest assured that they are going to be ok. As I sat and watched the pictures flash on TV, my jaw dropped and the tears flowed. These are the streets that I called home for so many years. These are the streets my family members and friends still walk everyday. I can't imagine walking down the street and seeing a man stand up and open fire on two officers in the middle of a busy Saturday afternoon. I can't imagine the terror for those hours as the cops went on a manhunt, and eventually engaged in this horrific gun battle in an apartment complex where so many people live. I saw a picture of an elderly woman walking with a young child, and SWAT and OPD officers running and darting around her with assault rifles drawn. It looked like a scary war zone. Like any tragic event, it is so unthinkable that something like this really happened. It's like some terrible nightmare that real people are trying to muster up the energy to get through. I guess it is sitting so heavily on me because it hits so close to home, literally. No matter where I have lived in my life, Oakland has always been home- because it's where I was born and raised. It's what formed me into who I am, and after I moved away, it's the place where we have always gathered when we get to be with all of my family. Lately, with all the hostilities increasing amongst the people of Oakland and the police force, I have been thinking the city is really starting to get bad- worse than I ever remember it being through all the years I lived there. I even talked to Wes about it one night and said, "I'm beginning to think Oakland is a great place to be FROM," I'm finally coming to the realization that the violence that permeates the streets of the O- can reach anyone. That scares the heck out of me. I have never given up on the city before. Not when the man with the gun robbed the bank with my mom in it. Not when the man with the gun attacked, assaulted, and robbed my dad after school in his own classroom on his last day as a teacher in Oakland. But now- I feel a strong sense of fear that there is no end in sight and my parents and brothers could really become the worst kind of victims. I am going to do my best to have faith "this too, shall pass..." but I don't know how much more of this fear my heart will hold. For now, all I can do is pray for those who have lost loved ones, and hope that somehow Oakland will rise again.

Friday, March 20, 2009

What a Week!

My goodness, I don't know if Kylee's little heart could take anymore excitement this week. It's a good thing it's Friday- we are gonna all need a nice break from all theses big life moments to transition back to reality! In the past 5 days Kylee has lost her first two teeth, has become a little bit famous in our small town for having her picture in the paper, and just recieved the Principal's Award as Kindergarten Student of the Month at her elementary school assembly! I'm so proud of my Kylee, we decided to treat the kids to ice cream after school. Whoo hoo! Here are the pics... Kylee's super happy race finish makes it to our local paper! Kylee's teacher gives her the Principal Award The Superintendant shakes Kylee's hand Owen gives Kylee his star card he and mom made her Madison loves watching big sis Kylee, toothless, with her two awards from the assembly

Thursday, March 19, 2009

All about Owen


When we found out we were having a baby last year, our biggest concern was definitely Owen and how he would react to this big change in life as he knew it. He was going from being our baby, mama's wild little man, to being sandwiched by GIRLS as the middle child. I spent my pregnancy butting heads with him, he was dealing with his terrible two's and three's, and I was tired and huge and had a ton of anxiety about what this little ball of energy and fury would do to a newborn baby. Luckily, when Madison was born, she became Owen's pride and joy. I couldn't have been more wrong about how he would handle his new role in the family. He has taught me that WORRY is a useless waste of time, and I need to enjoy each day I have with them. Oh the things I learn from my children.... the list is very long!

Owen is thriving and maturing before my eyes more and more every day. He still has a temper, he still is overtired, but he is getting so much better about handling his anger in more positive ways. It has been such a learning process in parenting for me. He has very real strong feelings, and I find if I take the time to hear about them, he takes the time to calm down and not react so terribly. I think that with all the stress in the world lately, with Daddy and the crew searching frantically for construction jobs, with the schools struggling and teachers and principals leaving, and the worry in our hearts about what the future holds- though we haven't talked about it in front of them, the kids have picked up on the worry that is always there. I decided that no matter what happens to us financially, we need to focus even more on being good, positive role models for our kids. In the last month I've developed a simple, positive rewards chart in my house. It has been an AMAZING tool for the kids, especially Owen. I took our kitchen wipe board and set up a magnetic board with their names on the top, and different small rewards to get to each day- with a big treasure box reward at the end. The treasure box is simply full of little items from Target's Dollar section- and the kids love it! All they have to do is be positive people, and do positive things to move spaces forward. If they are good friends, good helpers, good sports, are playing nicely, are cleaning up their messes, washing their hands, setting the table, putting away laundry- if they do any of these things or other wonderful things they come up with throughout the day on their own- I notice, and praise them, and they move forward. They love working towards a goal, they love being rewarded for being great members of our "team" and they cheer each other on as they move forward. Moving backwards is the alternative, and it happens every now and then, and is devastating. It's worse than any time out or spanking, they work so hard for that goal, and hate to lose ground. It has been so great for discipline! Owen really, really hates moving away from that treasure box, so he does everything in his power to remain positive.
Owen moving up the chart!

Enough about discipline- on to the fun stuff! Owen's weekdays are busy with preschool, and then a few hours with mom and Madi before Kylee gets home from school. Twice a week he gets a playdate with his friend Hayden during that time, and the other days he's begging to play with his best buddy, Brian. I swear these two were seperated at birth- the teachers always tell "Owen/Brian" stories at school- they are like two peas in a pod. They have very similar personalities, are the same size, interested in all the same stuff, and are HILARIOUS to listen to. They both talk a ton- though, many have said they've never met anyone who talks as much as Owen- but, that doesn't bother Brian. Brian is the only one who likes to watch movies with Owen- they blab through pretty much all of them. They are also very good about telling each other how glad they are to be buddies, it is very sweet. The sad part is, Brian is a year older, and he is having to go on to Kindergarten next year, much to his mom and my dismay. We attend a state preschool, and he is just days away from the December cut off... so the preschool won't have a place for him. We haven't told the boys, we'll just have to have mandatory playdates next year to keep them together!

Owen and Brian check out the gold dust and destruction made by the Leprechaun's on St Patty's Day.

What I love so much about Owen is his enthusiasm for life. He is very smart, he thinks things through, and he loves to learn anything new. He'd follow Kylee anywhere, he simply adores her, and wants to do whatever she can do. He amazes us, because he studies how she does something... like say, getting all the way across the monkey bars... and he'll try it and do it the same day. Luckily, Kylee is a SUPER good sport, and is always proud of Owen's great ability to pick up on anything he tries so quickly. He is young in a big kids world, and there isn't much out there activity-wise for 3 year old boys in our small town. He has been good about sitting out and watching Kylee's soccer, basketball, dance, and now T-Ball, but I am hoping the coaches will at least let Owen practice with Kylee's team this spring. He's been craving some after school fun, as well!

Most of all, Owen is such a sweet, caring human being. He loves asking me to squat down to his level, and says "I need to tell you something," with a big, mischievous grin... and then whispers sweet things in my ear, like "You are the best mom ever" or "I just love you, Mom." He's silly, and loves making all of us laugh, and you can hear his hysterical laughter above all others whenever Madison does something super cute and unexpected. He loves when anyone asks about his sisters, he'll tell you Kylee is 5 and Madison is 4 months, and his job is to protect them. I'm starting to think Owen likes his role as the "man of the house" when Daddy's working, and he's already learning there are many positives to having an older and a younger sister. He always lets Kylee's friends baby him and take care of him, and he loves that the girls in his preschool are magnets to Madison's baby seat. He'll "demonstrate" the proper rocking technique for his favorite little preschool ladies. His Uncle Dave gave the Franco perspective I had never even thought of when we saw him over the holidays... when Owen's a teenager, he'll have BOTH older and younger girls visiting the house to be with his sisters! Maybe being a middle child isn't so bad after all.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Yay!

 

Kylee lost her 1st tooth tonight!
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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Madison at 4 months old

It's been two weeks since Madi turned 4 months old- and I've been a slacker posting about it! She's growing too quickly and still remains a super happy baby. She giggles all the time and loves being a part of all the excitement at home with her big bro and big sister At her four month check up, she weighed 14 lbs 6 oz, and is 26 1/2 inches long. She remains very long for her age- she was born in the 90th percentile, and now is above 95% for length. Weight wise, she's gone from 75-90% at birth to 50% now, but that's pretty normal for my kids. They start off big, then become petite! She also was a champ when she got her shots this time around, she cried for a couple of seconds, then gave the nurse the sweetest smiles! That made everyone happy. She is the first of my babies to like tummy time, which is making her very strong- I think rolling might be happening soon. We've started solid foods, and she is responding typically- lots of horrified faces! Here are some new pics and a video of Madison Joy. Tummy time Her first rice cereal feeding Sitting in the Bumbo
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Madi adores her Daddy! He can always make her giggle :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Kylee

I swear I do have two other kids... but Kylee seems to be having so many big things going on in her life right now, that I can't help but post about them. She's suddenly hitting all these "firsts" in her life- and with the craziness of our days, I have to sit down and write about them before the memories fade.
Our week nights have been busy with playdates, practices and games... and in the chaos of one of the nights, Kylee got all ready for practice and came up to me and said "I tied my shoes!" Sure enough, she had taught herself to tie and double knot those shoes with no help. She wears velcro or boots most of the time, so we barely ever have had a shoe to practice on... but at night she switches to her BBall sneakers and usually gets little help from mom because she's nursing the baby before we head out. But Kylee and Owen both love doing things without any help from us anyhow, so she figured it out on her own. I was quite impressed.

Last week we had our last FOUR Basketball games, and on Tuesday we had our final BBall party. Kylee's coach brought pizzas, awards, and team pictures to the gym and had a night of fun planned, which included some BBall drills as competition between the players and the parents. It was really fun, and in the end, the little kids romped us- mostly due to the fact that the coach implemented a "skipping race." She did this race in honor of her littlest player, Kylee, who made it a point to skip- instead of run- through almost every game this season. She said that Kylee's skipping was so powerful, that at one point she had 3 other teammates on the court skipping alongside her. It was hilarious! So, the kids skip-raced us parents- which was SO funny! Some of the super competitive dads tried hard to skip fast, but it was no match in style or speed for the K-2nd graders.

Last Basketball game against cousin Shawn!

Basketball is now done and before we move into our spring T-Ball season, we had a transitional running race this weekend. Every year my parents come up and race the 10 mile in Redding, while Wes, his mom and I race the 3 mile. This year, Wes and I didn't do the official race, but were able to work in a nice little jog together between all the races and the watching of the kids. Kylee was old enough to race the 1 mile this year- and her school put together 5 scoring teams to compete! She did awesome- she didn't walk (or skip!) once! As always, it was a great family day with both Wes and my parents- and his brother Adam and cousins, too!


The runners from Trinity County have a great showing at the NorCal river trail race in Redding!

Kylee racing the 1 mile for Weaverville

Kylee and some of her teammates

Our "official" family racers!

After the race with cousin Shawn

And finally, while Kylee has been waiting for her first 2 loose teeth to fall out, we've been staying very entertained in the backyard. I've got Kylee and Owen practicing their hitting off a T and catching, and they're mostly loving it (there is an incident involving mom hitting a line drive straight into Owen's chin... but we don't have to get into that.)! Kylee asked me to take her training wheels off her bike while we were out back, and she is doing so well riding! We have limited patio space, but she's been pedaling short distances without falling or standing to stop! OK... I think we're all caught up on Kylee's milestones... I'll try to post about someone else next time, I promise!

Riding with no training wheels!